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Who are You Letting Down?


Before you read any further read this article by Captain Steve Heidbreder.


I don’t know about you, but as I was reading it, I got shivers up my spine.  This is how I’ve felt about firefighter fitness for quite some time now.  Although this is more aimed at a career firefighter it is equally as important for the paid on-call or volunteer firefighter.  As a POC or volunteer we have less time for training with our departments; this is why we HAVE to make time on our own to be fit enough to preform our duties.  Who are you letting down if you can’t perform a task in a timely manner?  The Chief?  A Fellow Firefighter? Joe Public? Your family? Yourself?  OR ALL OF THE ABOVE!!!


Let me offer you some quick and simple ideas that can help you get started without breaking the bank or taking up all of your free time:

Diet – make small changes and adjustments

You know how to eat properly, you just have to want to do it.

  • Skip the sugar and milk in your coffee
  • Drink more water; avoid soda and other sugary drinks
  • Eat more grilled chicken and other proteins, and try to avoid white bread
  • Use mustard instead of mayonnaise
  • Incorporate more salads, fruits, and vegetables into your diet
  • Avoid eating after 8 pm


You also don’t need to spend thousands on gym memberships & equipment.  You’re a firefighter, you specialize at thinking outside the box. 

Simple exercise ideas

  • Check out the functional fitness ideas in this article
  • Add weight to challenge yourself by wearing turnout gear
    • Mow your lawn with a push mower instead of a riding mower
    • On your day off, do 10 push-ups and 10 body weight squats or burpees every hour on the hour for at least eight hours (it literally takes less than 2 minutes)


There are plenty of free clips on You Tube to get you started.  Here’s a link to get you started: Functional Fitness Video Clips


In the POC & Volunteer Fire Service we also have members that “just want to drive a truck or run the pump”.  Don’t forget this also means carrying hydrant bags up hills, moving hose lines & the list goes on.  It’s up to you to make sure you are fit enough to carry out these tasks.


To be a firefighter you don’t have to have huge bulging biceps & 6 pack abs, but you are expected to be fit enough so you’re not letting anyone down.


Who knows, you may start to like the results!

This article was written by The First Twenty Firefighter Functional Training Panel member Chief Kyle Schneider of Tappen/Sunnybrae Fire Department, British Columbia. Follow on Twitter @TSFDChief

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