As with my last article, I would like to apologize up-front if anything that is said offends anyone. I don’t honestly care, but you never know these days. I am simply speaking honestly and passionately about a subject that is near and dear to me. If you are offended, you more than likely are part of the problem.
First off, I would like to apologize if this article hurts any feelings. It is not meant to be a “shaming” article, nor does it aim to hurt ego's of those who read it. It is also mostly focused on male firefighters due to the fact that females are genetically smaller and weigh less than men. Hopefully you feel OK being left out of an article about heavy firefighters. This is merely an article of concern of something that is adding to the epidemic of obese firefighters. So, without further adieu.
You made it here. YOU are the one that has the knowledge in your firehouse or on your shift about physical fitness, diet, and how to make them work to benefit yourself as a better firefighter and to support a better lifestyle. You've noticed a few others taking interest in what you are doing every time you are getting work done in the gym or in the stalls when you're flipping the tire. Maybe they have even come to you and asked general questions. So, what do you do?
The best, single exercise for firefighters has been a long debated subject among many in the fitness world. Not as bad as smooth bore and TFT nozzles, but close. Many trainers tell you body weight exercises, or calisthenics, while others proclaim certain weighted exercises are the most beneficial for our jobs.
Pride. We all have it. Whether it's in being a truckie, a nozzleman, or on the rescue. Irish, Italian, German or Puerto Rican. We're proud of many things, and we all have pride in our rigs. The Engine, Truck, Rescue, Squad, or combination of the four.
The article you are about to read is written by a “Fireman's Fireman”, a very experienced firefighter, and a retired City of Ithaca Lieutenant. He is STILL a New York State Fire Academy Instructor where he has trained dozens, if not hundreds, of the finest firefighters the state has ever had. He has been a mentor for the owners of Thin Line Fitness since they met him in 2009, and a continued inspiration for many more since. This is a true story of how a brother, even through a battle with cancer, STILL trains the future brothers and sisters of our career field, as well as gives constant talks to many fire departments on cancer prevention. This article should truly motivate you, give you the sense that there really are NO EXCUSES, and give you the kick in the butt you need to get to your next workout.
You work with a great group. We all do. We go through literal hell together, see terrible things, and sometimes beautiful things like the birth of a child, but either way, through thick and thin, we are there for each other. You go out after shift or off shift and have a beer at the bar or go out on the boat and enjoy some free time together. You have built some great memories and unbreakable bonds with your brothers and sisters, but have you ever thought to yourself, or wondered, “Could we get even closer? Could our group become even tighter?”. The answer is a definite YES.
“We don't have any gym equipment”. We all know that person, maybe you're that person. You know, the one who blames the fact that there's no equipment, or not sufficient equipment, to work out. Dishing out the excuse that they think their peers will find valid enough to stay off their back. Well, here's the article to give you the road map to workouts with only a few pieces of equipment in your fire station, ambulance, or patrol car. And to give that person a good excuse TO work out.
In the second Thin Line Fitness article, we’re going to talk about what to eat (and not to eat) while on shift. Though this may come across as common sense, you’ll see throughout your endeavors as a Firefighter, LEO, or EMS provider, that it is not that common.
First, we need to start by saying that we know every body, and everybody, is different. The 200 pound beefcake on shift who works out every day will not have the same nutritional need as the 250 pound ambulance driver trying to drop to 200 pounds. These are just general tips and advice to start and continue healthy eating and snacking while on shift.
We’ve all been there; it’s breakfast time with the crew and the “quick and easy” meal most of us go to? Eggs, bacon, and toast in one manner or another. The usual. Maybe it’s the new guy's first week, and he’s continuously bringing in donuts or bagels with all types of cream cheese. No big deal, right? After all, we’re firefighters. We’ll surely burn these calories off throughout the day.
Well, take a look around your station. Tell me how well that’s worked out for a good portion of those you work with. Chances are, the image doesn't look too promising. How many firefighters do you work with that you can honestly say can pull you from a burning building? How many on your crew can you pull out?