The Researcher Fitness Plan


As we enter 2012 the media is full of reports of over eating, new diet fads and ways to start a fresh and shed those extra Christmas Kilo’s.  If anyone out there feels a little adventurous then i would recommend the field researcher fitness plan.  8 hours plus mountainous walking in a variety of hot and cold conditions fairly increases the metabolic rate and add to this 2,000 meters above sea level altitudes and you have the recipe for a fantastic fitness plan!

In the beginning filling the role of Chunky Monkey

As proof of this i would like to draw your attention to my first stint in Morocco as Richard’s research assistant.  Before i came to the field i had been working in a bar and regularly playing 5-a-side football but this did not prepare me for the rigors of field work.  Back home i would more likely be in the category marathon consumer than marathon runner (thats a Snickers these days kids!).  We spend our days in the beginning habituating new groups of monkeys, so we would walk the forest most days for long periods trying to find the monkey groups as we did not know their territory at all.  This was tiresome work to say the least and with a small if not highly un-nutritious lunch of half a bagette and speadable cheese from the ever dependable laughing cow we build up a fair calorie deficite.

A quick break from monkey searching

During the course of the next 6 months of trekking, monkey following and more 5-a-side football in the evenings the calorie deficate paid dividends.  Although i do remember one particular weekend game of football at noon in June with temperatures in the shade pushing the mercury beyond the 35’C barrier.  Thats a tough game of football for a Scotsman.


In the end i flew back to the UK close to 2.5 stones (or approx 15 kg if you are a metric-man (or woman)) lighter.  So if your New Year’s Resolution is to shed a few pounds and you have a sense for adventure maybe its time to embrace the field researchers fitness plan.


Confirming our hypothesis: there are NO monkeys in the Sahara


Happy New Year and best wishes for a fantastic 2012 from all involved in The Barbary Macaque Project!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *