People who are not familiar with airsoft think of it as players walking around the woods for a few hours shooting each other. While this is true on some level, it actually takes quite a bit of endurance to participate in an actual airsoft event. Most single day events are 8 hours, and you are running, crawling, climbing, and crouching for most of the day. If your legs are not sore at the end of the day, you are doing something wrong.
I recently watched a program that was talking about Nascar drivers being athletes, and I thought to myself: “many people think airsoft is just a hobby, but airsofters are definitely athletes too”. So the question becomes: “what does it really take to be an airsoft athlete”? Well first, you need to be able to make it through the entire event without quitting. I remember the first event I went to, I was totally not prepared, and was not able to make it the entire day.
So how does one “make it” through an entire day. Well I think the answer is twofold. First, it definitely takes good cardio health, and second it takes quite a bit of muscular endurance. When I play events, I usually go full tilt, and my leg muscles give out before my lungs start struggling. It makes it even more difficult because you are carrying a gun, hydro pack, ammo, mags, etc, and all that weight adds up and takes its toll. Now what about those guys/gals who participate in multi day events? All I can say is that they are better than I am; I would never be able to last more than one day playing airsoft.
So do not let anyone tell you that airsoft is “just a hobby”; Airsofters are hard core athletes. Personally, I try to run at least once a week, and when I have time, I do a session of P90X Interval training. I treat an airsoft event the same as one of my soccer games: warm up, stretch, drink plenty of water/Gatorade, and snack throughout the day (tactical jerky is always good), and cool down stretch when the day is over.