It’s 2021, time for the new year new me BS right? Well yeah actually it’s the perfect time! We can all agree there is absolutely no debate that we need to be physically fit to do this job. It’s not up for discussion…ever. Training is our best line of attack (no pun intended), and physical fitness is a close second. Everyone that cares about being a firefighter should also care about fitness. However, there is one problem, which is maintaining a physical fitness routine! Let’s be honest, we work crazy unpredictable hours and on top of that we have to balance our family into this mix. If you are like me you can get motivated and workout easily, but a week or two into it something throws it off. Excuses start flying “I want more sleep,” “we had a late call,” “that last fire was a good enough workout.” We can screw up that schedule so easy. Our community depends on us, so let’s give them what they expect!
1. Weakness...You have to assess your weakness. This pertains to the job also, not just fitness. Are you out of breath easy? Are you overweight? Are you weak? Whatever the weakness is you must pick it out and realize that we all have weaknesses. Same with our job, do you suck at throwing ladders? Maybe you can’t force a door very well. It does not matter what the weakness is. Just admit and realize it! No judgement on that.
2. GOAL!!!!! One of the most important factors in everything we do is to have a damn goal!! Have a vision and knock it out of the park! Without a goal, you will FAIL at starting or maintaining fitness, I promise. Make your goal realistic and break them down into smaller goals if needed. If you want to lose 100 pounds, then I suggest you break that up 10 at a time. Why? Because the road to lose 100 pounds will be long and frustrating. Give yourself those smaller goals so you can feel the achievement! Set up rewards for each goal hit. You have to want the goal. WRITE the goals down. Writing things out make them real! Whether you want to lose weight, gain weight, or get stronger, just make sure you do it!
3. Plan, Plan, Plan. If you do not put a plan in place...you will fail. Pick realistic days and hours. Nobody expects you to workout 7 days a week. You have to make this choice. Are you a morning person? If the answer is no, then a morning workout might not be consistent and motivating. So, pick those days and hours and stick to them! Next, plan out your workouts. Not all workouts are created equal. They are designed to match...GOALS!!! I knew that word would come back. Google is such a great tool because there is at least 1 trillion workouts waiting for you to find them. There are apps galore also. If you can’t find anything, checkout (555 Fitness, Brute Force, or Athlean X) which are some personal favorites. You will also need to research workouts. People review and study workouts, and they post them for the world to see. I personally like the workout schedule style of the Push vs Pull method. Options, there are many options! Find one and run with it! Make sure it meets those GOALS. Otherwise scrap it and find something new.
4. Motivation. Surround yourself with people who support your goals. Find someone who loves working out and let them help you. If nobody you know is into fitness, then motivate someone else to better themselves. Be the trend setter. It may save someone’s life. I know some of you are thinking, “I want to workout in peace” or “I’m embarrassed to workout around others”. I get it! That’s fine to workout alone, but I can tell you it helps to talk with others about fitness. It will keep you involved, and you may learn something. Competition is great and may motivate better than anything but DO NOT knock someone who is putting effort into fitness. If they can’t lift as much as you, who cares? They are trying. I’m not talking about the normal firehouse ball busting, that’s good fun! But don’t shame those making themselves better. If we spent more time motivating each other maybe more of our kind would get on the fitness wagon. Fitness is not a trend. It will always pertain to our job. If we could reduce even just one LODD each year due to better fitness that’s winning in my book!
5. Make it Happen. I don’t care if you don’t have a gym to workout in. There is a way to achieve that GOAL one way or another. They make body weight workouts you could do in your living room, or you can get a nice gym membership. It does not matter. Hopefully your fire department cares about you and your health that they offer you a workout area or gym memberships, but we can’t always rely on that.
6. Food for thought. What you put in your body has a direct correlation on your health and fitness. If you drink pop every day and wonder why your workout isn’t making you skinny then look no further for the mistake. I’m not saying we need to eat kale salads every day. That’s not realistic. We are going to eat some unhealthy delicious foods in the firehouse. We sometimes have to rush or don’t even get to eat at all. But if you can eat healthy more than not, that’s huge! And a steak a day will keep the doctor away! The easiest place to start is by reducing sugars. Quit drinking energy drinks and pop! It’s bad for you! Maybe you need to quit using tobacco. That’s a tough one for me, but one of my co-workers Dylan Fisher just quit and he is pushing me to quit also. The advantage is if we work together, we can make that happen no doubt. Everybody needs a friend like Dylan that has the same GOALS and pushes you as you push them.
On a final note, please find something about yourself to change for 2021. You have to challenge yourself. If you are not willing to do that, are you really being the best that you can be? I’ll leave you with my favorite quote “You may be bigger than me, you may be stronger than me, you may be faster than me, but you will not out work me.”