Physical fitness and personal wellness are not two things that I have always been passionate about. Honestly, at the beginning of my career, I wasn’t fit for the job I was expected to perform. While it’s hard for me to admit this, it is a fact. At the same time, it is something that I have battled with throughout the last few years and continue to do so today. There is no doubt that being in the fire service, we need to be in top physical shape to perform when our citizens need help. They expect that we will be able to help them out of any situation, not only with our mental expertise but also physical ability. Part of my drive is fueled by the fact that I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I was not able to perform a task on the fire scene and a citizen suffered from it.
Information about the no-brainer relationship between physical fitness and the fire service is readily available in textbooks and online. It wasn’t that I didn’t understand that they went hand in hand, instead it was more that I didn’t realize exactly how out of shape I was. It wasn’t something that JUMPED right out at me either. Even though it was the obvious, I found myself in a state of denial. The slow realization of reality came from looking at photographs, the fact that I felt like sh*t all the time, and my performance on the fire ground.
Edward Hadfield writes:
The Spartans understood and embraced the concept of using hard physical training to develop the mind along with qualities such as discipline, honor, integrity and teamwork. They did not just rely on a good workout to develop their warriors; neither should we. Our goal should be to use physical training to carve out mental toughness and physical preparedness as a body of work, core competency, and an essential requirement to be a member of the fire service.
Throughout the last several years, I have had my ups and downs with staying in shape. Motivation seems to come and go, and so does the support of those around me. I have no doubt that if you are surrounded by others who are trying to stay fit and in the gym…it’s natural incentive to get you to do the same. There aren’t many people I know that will sit on the couch if the rest of your crew in the firehouse is in the gym. Through the ups and downs, my weight has fluctuated quite a bit. I am still far of getting back into the best shape of my life, but I’m travelling on that road.
Recently, through the determination of a few friends, I made a trip to CrossFit: Shifty Powers. It is one of the CrossFit gyms in The “Model City”. A coworker went with me, and we attended one of the free workouts. It didn’t take long for us both to realize how far we had to go and the room we each have for improvement.
While CrossFit seems to be the hottest thing since sliced bread right now, it also receives a lot of criticism. I personally believe a lot of it boils down to what you enjoy the most. Some guys at my firehouse have stated that they like to “just go to the gym and lift weights and get cardio in on opposite days.” A few years back while stationed at Headquarters, we started doing some of the CrossFit Workout’s Of the Day (WOD). While I did benefit a lot from these workouts in the firehouse gym, it is nothing like belonging to a box. I’m in my last week of the Basic Training, a 2 week class that focuses on the basic movements and form of the exercises. As soon as we finish the training, we will start the regular WOD’s with the rest of the gym. While I know the intensity level is about to increase....CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE at The "Model City" Fire...