Bear Grylls' show Man Vs Wild has inspired many individuals to venture into the great outdoors. But just what does it take to get into shape to make it through relatively unscathed and ultimately become a survivor? In this article from Bear's blog, he talks about just that. Despite what preconceptions you might have, and what you have heard in the news, it's still an article worth reading. Enjoy.
"One of the questions I have been asked a lot is about how I prepare physically and mentally for each of these survival shows.
The real answer is that the preparation for Man Vs Wild started when I was about five years old, and has been on going ever since.
The first thing to note is that I am neither an actor nor a TV host. I don’t have the luxury of stunt men or auto-cue. I am just someone who has been trained since a young age by both my late father and by the British Special Forces in quite a wide variety of skills.
As a kid I never had any ambition to be a TV person. In fact, in my ignorance, it took the first 'Man Vs Wild' producer three separate trips to come and see me to persuade me to film a pilot episode. I didn’t feel I would be any good at TV and was just busy just doing my stuff. The more I said this, the more I was told ‘we don’t want a smart TV host, we just want to follow and film some of the things you can do’. I agreed and this whole mad journey began!
But since very young I did have a strong driving ambition to climb, to follow my dreams of many different adventures and to join the Army. This is how I have tried to live my life. The only real difference since Man Vs Wild is that I now get paid better for doing this. But in order to be able to do all that I do in the shows I need to maintain both my physical and mental training throughout the year, whilst also filming a very tight schedule.
I routinely train for three to four hours a day to keep my physical fitness at the level needed to sustain the pace of each shoot; this routine includes weights, running, yoga, rucksack runs, yomps, and circuit training.
In addition I need to dedicate time and energy every day to maintaining my skill levels within each discipline I use: such as skydiving, climbing, paragliding, yoga, gymnastics, and martial arts.
In between all this I have my family to love and hang out with. I have two great boys and a wife who means the world to me. My challenge through a lot of the craziness of the last couple of years since Man Vs Wild took off, is to balance my family life with my training and filming schedule.
It is sometimes hard with a lot of pressures applied from different directions, but I am pretty focussed on two things: the first is making sure I am a good, loyal, fun and present Dad and husband, and secondly that I deliver ambitious, ground breaking, edge-of-your-seat style TV shows. Both of these require time and commitment. But both these elements I know are the key to any success I have had.
The final part of the equation is my Christian faith…I look at this as the thread that binds all these other elements together. I pray daily for my family and we also have little quiet times together, and I pray hard when out filming for safety, good judgement and for protection in all the dangers.
I am very aware that as the TV show grows, the dangers have also increased as we endeavour to continue pushing the boundaries and delivering bold TV. The tragic death of Steve Irwin was a sober reminder that just because it is TV does not mean it is safe, and ultimately it is my responsibiltiy is to ensure my own safety and make good decisions in some quite high pressure situations.
I hope this gives an idea of the preparation involved on a personal level for me, but ultimately I feel the luckiest man alive – it is a dream job that allows me to do what I love and have been trained to do. I feel like a giant kid: climbing trees, eating gunk, and invariably getting caked in mud! It doesn’t get much better than that.
I hope you enjoy the upcoming shows: 'Bear's Mission Everest' and the new 'man Vs Wild: Bear Grylls'. I have just watched them and they are definitely among the most exciting stuff I have ever done.
Thanks for watching, stay well