Do you want to be Fire Fit?
Sadly most of us are not fire fit! We have all heard by now how cardiac events are killing more of us than anything else. Obesity & lack of fitness is stopping us from helping those who need our help. My goal is to share my story and hopefully encourage you to get fire fit.
That was me nearly 3 years ago. I was eating & drinking crap and was out of breath just putting on my boots. When I was preforming CPR, or simply dragging hose, I felt as if I was going into cardiac arrest. Why was I volunteering all this time to help my community if I was going to collapse on the fire ground & take resources away from those who were trying to help, simply because I would need help?
I tried everything! Different diets & exercise programs. Nothing really seemed to stick. Then I went for my annual physical. My doctor said what I never thought I would hear “Kyle you’re OBESE”. Then he gave me two prescriptions, neither involving a pharmacy. His first prescription was to sweat for a solid 30-40 minutes every day, and not a little bit of sweat on the forehead, but pools of sweat dripping down my back. Second was to eat a healthy breakfast and lunch with as much fruit and vegetables as I wanted. Dinner I could eat whatever I wanted, but not eat past 8:00pm. The prescription was for one month. He said if I wasn't happy with the results in a month I could quit, but I had to give it an honest shot.
I followed my doctor’s prescriptions to the letter. I would start walking up a hill behind my house every morning, but I would not start timing until I felt the sweat on my back. This happened fairly quickly the first week. By the end of the month I was running in the beginning to get the sweat going. I ate a fruit smoothie for breakfast and lunch every day. Every time I got hungry between meals I made sure to have lots fruit & veggies around. Dinner was whatever I wanted, but I was starting to notice my appetite was diminishing. I wasn't used to eating breakfast. Remember you will not lose weight by skipping meals.
By the end of my “prescription” I had lost 5 kg. & moved up 2 notches on my belt. Best of all, I felt amazing. I was starting to push myself to keep up with the younger firefighters, instead of looking for other things to do during training.
After the second month others were noticing my weight loss. Six months later I ran my first 1/2 marathon. One year later, the day before my next physical, I ran my first marathon. My doctor was shocked; apparently I was the first to stick to the “Prescription”!
Does this sound too difficult? Try distracting yourself with music, training videos, or a book on tape for your 30-40 minutes of sweating. Walk, run, bike, lift weights, pull hose, mow the lawn or shovel snow, whatever works for you. Make you exercise “functional” so it applies to your work. As for my healthy meals, I would distract myself by thinking about my dinner.
If you think this sounds too easy, that’s because it is. Give it a month…
Article written by Firefighter Function Training Panel Member Chief Kyle Schneider of Tappen Sunnybrae Fire Department, British Columbia