Firefighters need to be healthy. I am no health nut, nor will you be seeing me in a firefighter calendar anytime soon.
However, I have been trying to be a healthier firefighter. I am not talking about wearing SCBA…I have always done that. I am talking about strength training, eating healthy, and being fit.
I am talking about being fit and eating healthy. As I type this, my whole body is sore from a chest workout on Monday alone at the firehouse, a tremendous leg workout on Tuesday with my wife, and some vigorous training this morning in Troutville on Rapid Intervention Teams…needless to say, I took the day off from working out.
Please do not take this post as being a “lecture” about what you should be doing. I just want to share some of my inspiration for finally making a difference for myself. I am not a nutritionist, nor am I a personal trainer. In all, I have lost 15 lbs. in the past 6 months. That may not sound like much, but I only weight 155 lbs. now. I am not a big guy. I did have some excess weight and still have some “baby fat” to loose!
13 years in my department. I was 155 lbs. when I got hired. The only difference between then and now is that I had well defined abs then. Now, they are still covered by a layer (not a beer gut) of fat. I am working on that! 13 years of eating whatever the hell I wanted and I was blessed with only gaining 15 lbs. I can’t complain.
Feel free to let me know what works for you.
This is where I draw some of my inspiration:
My Wife Becky
My wife is an amazing woman. Over a year ago, she decided she was going to begin working out. She got a personal trainer and started a regimen of working out twice a week with a personal trainer. Soon after, she realized that her goal would be to compete in a local figure competition. This summer she will achieve that goal. After a year and a half of training, strict dieting, and pushing her body to the limits, she will compete. I am so proud and excited for her. I began working out with her and her trainer several months ago. Two days a week, I wear myself out in the gym right next to my wife. Above the fact that we are working out, we get to spend time together away from the children and get to have fun, cut up, and workout. It has been beneficial to us as a couple as well as individually for our bodies. My wife works out other days of the week on her own. I join here when I can.
Even after working out with her and the trainer, I still lacked motivation to work out at the station…until last week. I have finally turned the corner and seen some results of working out and want more. I don’t have any set goals for what I want to accomplish with working out, but putting on some muscle is good enough for me. Don’t worry…I am not splitting shirts yet!
Friends who run
For years, I have seen friends on facebook, twitter, and blogs who run. Greg Friese and Chris Hebert are two that come to mind immediately. They run. Greg probably runs more than I ever will. I still have not found that Runner’s high, and I don’t run regularly. What I have found that drives me is running 5k races. I have done several now and enjoy my time pushing myself each time. The messed up thing is that I don’t really train for the races. We will see where this goes. I will also note that my wife ran in the San Francisco Women’s Marathon a couple of years ago…another accomplishment of hers that she set her mind to. Unfortunately, she incurred and injury during the marathon and was only able to compete the 1/2 marathon.
I am the firehouse cook at my firehouse. I enjoy cooking and am able to control what is served at lunch and dinner. I might add that I am a pretty
decent cook, know how to do it on a budget and the guys seem to like my cooking. Over the years, I have worked in firehouses where I cook on a rotation or might not cook at all. I have learned all kinds of recipes. While I am not a health nut that researches healthy recipes…yet. I do follow some basic rules with firehouse cooking. They took a little while to catch on for some of the guys who REALLY enjoy “comfort” food, but I do what I can. The only thing I can’t control is portion size. While I may be cooking healthier food, these guys might get three plates of it. That might be a little counter-intuitive, but at least the piles of food they put in their mouth is better for them. They just quite follow the simple caloric input/output ideology.
Here are some of my cooking rules:
- No dinner rolls…except for Thanksgiving
- Wheat wraps when possible instead of breads
- Olive oil if I have to use it (hurts the budget)
- I rarely fry anything
- Fresh veggies…almost always
- Canned foods only when necessary
- Desserts are rare
- Spenda instead of sugars…this also helps with one of my guys who is diabetic
My wife is helping me with the dieting aspect of healthy eating…I am working on eating every 3 hours. Two protein shakes and snacks of fresh fruit accompany my three meals a day. My breakfast is typically 4 eggs (or egg whites when possible).
Again, I am still learning.
The Fire Service Warrior
If you pay attention to Chris Brennan and Brian Brush of The Fire Service Warrior, they talk a lot about fitness. Chris especially speaks of his crossfit workouts. Between the blog, Facebook, and Twitter @ChrisFSW (be sure to follow the hashtag #FSWTraining) Chris is always sharing about his burpee sessions and other CrossFit workouts. While I don’t participate in CrossFit, I have watched his videos and understood his ideology. He is inspirational simply the way he shares what he is doing. He doesn’t guilt you into doing anything, his efforts are more on creating a community at FSW that promotes working out.
After way to long, this is a part of what has inspired me to get me in the gym and continue on.
The Thinning of My Department
Just today I bumped into a firefighter who probably isn’t ashamed to say he had put on some excess weight. He has lost a bunch since the last time I saw him. It is amazing. He isn’t alone. Several guys, including Willie’s Battalion Chief has lost dozens of pounds. I am amazed when I see some of these guys. Our department of 240 firefighters has offered several over the years. You see them after not being around them for a while and they are thin and trim. I try to make it a point to give them props for looking great. I am certain they appreciate it.
I know how easy it is to eat whatever the hell you want and as much as you can stuff in your mouth as quick as you can. I am still learning to have constraint when eating. After all, every once in a while I cook something that I just don’t want to stop eating. You should try my chicken salad! AMAZING…not as healthy as I would like but it doesn’t have any mayo and is excellent.
We all have “those guys”. You know, the ones who are built like Mack trucks. Standing next to them makes you feel like such a pussy. We have several guys who have worked out for years. They are freakishly huge, but they are stout and muscular. These are the guys who pose in firefighter calendars. I have worked around these guys for years and never had the motivation to take the first step to build muscle like them. Given, it doesn’t happen overnight…but I am working towards broadening my shoulders a little bit so that I don’t look like a high school explorer next to them!
So there you have it…that is where I am at. What about you?