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5-5-5 Firefighter Fitness Part II: The "How"

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November 01, 2016 | NATIONAL ROBERT "PIP" PIPARO, Correspondent
This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.

By now you have had enough time to come up with some “whys”. But in case you haven’t, just take a look around during your next shift change or ride in the rig; those are your “whys”. In my last article, I promised you a “how to”; well, sort of anyway…

See, the “how” in fitness can be even more complicated than the “why” and because we are firefighters, we tend to make that “how” even more complicated than it needs to be, right?!
So maybe this time around we will spend some more time focusing on the “how not’s” rather than the “how to’s,” which surprisingly, may actually be a bit harder.

First and foremost, there is no quick and easy fix. If you want to make this work, if you want to do it for yourself, for your family and for your crew, you better plan to be in it for the long haul. Sure, a 28-day-challenge will work, especially one that provides you with what meals to eat, what you should drink and how you need to work out. It’ll work even more so for someone who has been primarily sedentary.

But what happens on day 29??? You either re-up your “challenge,” attempt to create on your own the same magic that just occurred, or it’s back to life as you knew it before. No matter what you see on TV or read in a trade magazine, there is no quick fix, and that’s the hardest pill to swallow.

Of course there is still a huge market of products, promising rapid results and ultimate changes. There are even some geared specifically to emergency services personnel. They might look pretty and flashy, or claim to “simulate” real-life training conditions, but here’s a tip; you don’t need them! Do they help? Sure, especially to the person whose just starting out. But over time, what happens to these gimmick products? They end up in a pile on the floor, in the corner, not getting used. Mrs. Pip will tell you that I too, have fallen victim to the next greatest fitness craze, but I call it research so it’s ok; right??

And please, let’s not forget about the thousands of training “styles” that are out there. You can pick from pretty much anything; Fire Fit, Cop Fit, EMS Fit, X Fit, Jump Fit, Box Fit, Planet Fit, You're Fit, I’m Fit, or Whatever Else Fit. Regardless of which you choose, you’re at least picking to be fit, right?! You see, that’s part of the “how” that 555 Fitness focuses on: YOU. It all starts with you and your commitment to bettering yourself, both physically and mentally.

The current wave of negativity sweeping through the fire service is the “look at me” phenomenon, which is allowing the “haters” to take control. These individuals tend to speak from their recliners and say that the only reason we are working out is to look good physically, even when year-after-year, the leading killer of firefighters is still from cardiac related incidents. Remember, you are never just working out. You are training for life, your life, and for those who you respond with, those who are waiting for you at home, and those who you swore to protect.

So, where’s the best place to start you may ask? Chances are if you’re still reading this article, you already know the answer to that question. You start by getting up. You start by moving around. YOU are the “how.” Even with the examples I gave above, it’s all you. Every one of them will work for you, but YOU need to make them work and here’s a pro tip; it’s not going to happen overnight. I’m sorry, but fast results, they don’t just come. It’s just like respect within a firehouse; it’s earned. Each and every day that I train, I’m earning my results.

Now I’ve told you about the “why” and I’ve told you about the “how.” Next time, I’ll start to talk more about the “how to’s” of fitness in the firehouse.

Till then, Train Hard Do Work Stay Safe.

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ROBERT "PIP" PIPAROCorrespondent

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