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 giant red vehicle with lights and sirens we grew up loving, and still have the same grin when we see and hear them now. We're proud of what we do in them, where they've been and the history they have. We look at them and smile on the inside (and sometimes outside) because of the pride we have in that machine. So why can't we do that when we look in the mirror at our most important machine?
We spend a good amount of time every shift checking our rigs. We make sure packs are functioning, tools are in place, fluids are at the right levels, the lights are functioning, and so on. The time we spend checking our engine, truck, rescue or squad is so we make can sure we are safe. That the equipment we use keeps us alive, and that the wheels we proudly ride in don't fail us and break down. How much time, though, is spent by the same firefighters to make sure that their heart doesn't fail them? That their muscles, mind, and lungs won't break down when called upon to do intense work?
One thing that many firefighters lack pride in, but take major offense to when it comes to it, is our bodies. I've been around the world, to many departments, and have never met a single firefighter that is proud to be called “chunky”. You can call any one of your crew fat and they'll probably get pretty pissed, even though they know they've been lacking in physical fitness. As you've read in our other articles, obesity is a major problem in the fire service. Borderline epidemic. A major role in this is the lack of pride that firefighters have in their body. Whether it's the mentality of having the job so they don't need to train for it any more, or simply not wanting to put in any more physical effort into an already physically demanding job. Even more so what we've seen is they think because their fitness level has gotten so bad they may as well just give up. Mentality is the first thing that will change everything. If you believe you can, you will. If you feel like giving up, you will.
Chances are many of you reading this either know someone who needs to devote more time to their body mechanics to make sure they are at proper functional level, or you may be that person, and your eyes are opening a little more and the light bulb is going off. And that is perfectly fine. That is what we are looking for. To make a change. To increase the PRIDE we all have in our bodies.
There is nothing to stop you from this new found pride. The great Socrates is quoted for saying; “It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable”. We find this to be a statement to stand behind, more as firefighters than anything. Take that quote and relate it to being a firefighter. The people that the community count on to save them in their darkest hour. We are held to a higher standard than any of the other public servants. A major part in this is because we are the ones wearing 50 pounds of gear or more, pulling a heavy handline into a literal hell fire to slay the devil and rescue a human being from his grasps.
We take pride in what we do, we take pride in our rigs and our favorite piece of equipment. It is time that the fire service, as a whole, takes pride in the most important piece of equipment that we all own; Our bodies. Without this sense of pride in the most basic necessity we need for being a great firefighter, we can never truly be proud of what we do.
Would you like to get started on a fitness program? Contact us today!
Ian is a professional fireman, a Veteran Air Force Firefighter, and a Certified Personal Trainer with ten years in the fire service. His passion for physical fitness has led him to begin Thin Line Fitness.