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 answer is simple, but how you go about it is tricky. YOU HELP A BROTHER OUT! He or she obviously has a peaked interest in bettering themselves physically, but their guard may be up due to the fact that you may be an intimidating individual or they may just be nervous to take that big step. How you interact with this next fitness phenom in your department will make or break their future.
greatness or with the strength we have today. We were taught, we learned, we trained and we listened to those who knew what they were doing. This is your chance to give back what you have learned.
Remember this; whether or not you see yourself as a “fitness expert”, the fact that you DO work out consistently and eat healthy puts you on a level above many others in the fire department. You just as easily could say “screw it” and eat some donuts and pizza instead and not hit the gym five times a week. But you DO hit the gym five days a week. You put blood and
sweat into bettering your body for the challenges it will face in life. And for that, you are looked at as the ambassador for change in your department. You should expect to be approached with questions, to be asked for help, or to even help develop a fitness program. You should welcome all of these with open arms and embrace them.
You should be ready and willing to HELP A BROTHER OUT.
Need tips or want advice? Want a workout plan for your department? Contact Thin Line Fitness today!
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. This has not only fueled debates among the fitness enthusiasts in the fire department, but also left the inexperienced among us thinking there are only a limited number of exercises we can use in our field to make them more functional and healthier firefighters. After years of research, testing, and experience, we came up with the following included in this article.
Push-ups, planks and pull-ups are the most simple calisthenics. When some hear these they think “Awesome workout”, and others think “Well I don’t think I can do many”. For the one’s who think they can’t do many, that’s
okay. It just means you need to start working more on these exercises. But why are they so good for being a firefighter? Because they don’t only work one muscle, but several. For example, a push-up works the chest, triceps, shoulders (or deltoids), abdominals, and your “wing” muscles- the serratus anterior. The reason they work so much is not only because you are holding a plank while in the “up” position, but also because you are putting these all at work by the pushing motion. And even more so when you add the challenge of putting your feet on a raised platform. This is why many say body weight exercises are best for responders.
Squats are a weighted, or non-weighted, exercise many also recommend for firefighters. This is because this exercise not only works out every muscle in your legs, which we all use for many of our most basic as well as challenging tasks. But it also works your entire core, from your abs through to your back. This is because you are working to keep the weight upright and stabilized. If the weight keeps dipping too low your back will quit on you and you will be at a high risk of injury. So you need to know what you are doing and practice good form. Once you are comfortable, though, the squat will be one of your favorite exercises.
Deadlifts have been called “The King of Lifts” for a while. And it is for a good reason. They are also the authors personal favorite exercise. Deadlifts are a war between your body and the weight, and they challenge everything in your body from your feet to your fingertips, and especially your mind. Like the other exercises, trainers and fitness experts recommend this exercise for firefighters due to it being a true test of ones strength, but also the large amount of muscles trained during this exercise. But just like the squat and many other exercises, this one requires good form or you risk severe injury. Make sure you practice with little to no weight before you attempt heavy weight. But you may also soon find yourself loving this exercise.
Sandbag exercises have become increasingly popular with responders and military personnel. This is because they create an “uneven load” while lifting the sandbag, forcing your muscles to adjust to the shift in weight. And these are perfect for what we do, because how often is something we lift perfectly and evenly loaded when we lift it? I can honestly say in my time as a firefighter; never. These fall into their own category due to how unique they are. It’s a part body weight exercise due to the stabilization you need to perform many of the exercises, and part weighted exercise.
By now you’re probably saying to yourself, “okay, you’ve listed a bunch of different exercises that are good for us, but you haven’t told us what THE BEST one is yet.” So here it is; The best exercise for firefighters….is exercise. There is no single best exercise or lift for what we do. We are firefighters, we have more than one way for doing EVERYTHING we do, and exercising our bodies should be no different. The fact that you are exercising and doing it consistently and making progress, is what the best exercises are for being a firefighter. You are bettering your mind, body and health, and that is what is best, especially in our field.
We’ve been there time and time again, it’s the night after shift or a night off and the group makes plans to go out to the favorite bar for drinks and food. But you’ve been doing good with your diet and have been getting gains in the gym, and are finally seeing the results you’ve been waiting for. You’re focused on a new and healthy lifestyle. So what do you do?
Going out and enjoying the company of the firefighters you work with is a definite must-do for not only your own morale, mind and happiness, but also your teams. You do everything with these guys. They’re your family. And you can still enjoy the bar with them. The following is how you can do it;
Liquor instead of beer: We all enjoy drinking the cold 16 ounce glass of beer, but when on a diet, that is a large amount of unnecessary carbs. And let’s face it, as firefighters we don’t have just one beer. Liquor, on the other hand, is much less calorie dense and in many cases has virtually no carbs. For example, Jameson has around 70 calories per shot and ZERO carbs. A pint of Guinness has 167 calories and 18 grams of carbs. Which isn’t much if you only have one. But if you have two or three more, or maybe a Guinness and a few Bud’s, you’re up to more than 500 calories and more than 60 grams of carbs. When it comes to your night out, the drink choice will make the difference. And sipping on a double can be a much better choice.
Food: What is your normal go-to at the bar? The usual answer is wings. It could be a burger or maybe pizza. Bars don’t usually have a large amount of healthy food. Shocking, I know. Fortunately, many bars are now serving more healthy options because they have noticed an increasing number of customers like yourself wanting healthier options while still trying to enjoy the night out with their friends. These include anything from salads (with or without a meat) to wraps. Again, it is the small choice of food that will make a big difference in your night out with your shift.
With smart choices, you can easily save yourself hundreds of calories and still enjoy your nights out with your shift whenever the invitation comes down. You would never want one of your brothers to cancel a night out with you or your shift for a small reason that could be easily mitigated, so don’t do the same to them. Keep the tradition alive with your brothers. You being around during the good times is just as important as being around during the bad. Build the memories, and remember, a healthy and happy mind is just as important as a healthy body.
If you have questions or would like any help visit the Thin Line Fitness website