Fit For Duty

Our next blog post comes from Melissa and features something she is pretty passionate about – strength and conditioning for first responders. We’ve got a ton of first responders at the gym who are trained by or who train alongside Melissa. Melissa has worked in the field for over 15 years, always with a focus on prevention. She’s worn lots of hats in EMS and Fire including Field Supervisor, Consultant to DOH EMS, and Chief of EMS. Since beginning with us she’s gotten fairly strong. She actually PR’d her overhead press at 135 while writing this up for us.

Being at your best for those who are at their worst. Are you fit for duty?

If you ever worked with me then you know that prevention has always had my heart. If we know how to prevent a problem that can cause catastrophe, then why wouldn’t we?

So, I’d love to introduce my friends in public safety to strength training. While training for any public safety career it is made clear to students that there will be calls and days that push your body to the edge of its ability. With one of the leading causes of LODD for Firefighters, according to the NFPA, being sudden cardiac death due to stress and overexertion, are you preparing your body to handle the hard calls now or are you just hoping to make it through them? You owe it to the people you respond with, to and yourself to not become part of the emergency. There will always be unexpected medical emergencies but safety and prevention is your best tool to avoid becoming the patient on a call. There are many risks involved in Firefighting, so why not train in a way that reduces one of the biggest risks and makes your job easier.

Oh how I wish I knew HOW to strength train before I started working the road. My job would have been easier and my days off less filled with the need to recover. I joined a generic gym and like any novice I was able to get a little stronger because I was doing something more than I had before. It was better than nothing but it wasn’t efficient and it didn’t let my body meet its potential. I’d love to go back, knowing what I know now, and run out Linear Progression programming with job specific conditioning mixed in as I got stronger. I’d love to feel things becoming easier –  pulling and loading hoses, climbing stairs in gear with a high rise pack on and carrying patients – because of smart training.

I would eat more protein than whatever was found in cheez-its and I would train intelligently for an increase in general strength. In doing so I would be helping myself, the community I served and my brothers and sisters in the Fire service. My days on the road may be over (I never say never!) but now I ask my friends in Public Safety to consider all that is on the line when you aren’t prepared physically. You can start today… Get stronger starting, stay consistent and be better equipped to respond later. Are you confused about where to start? Ask and I’ll try to send you in the right direction.

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