Firefighter Fitness Tip- Eat more Fruits and Veggies....

Firefighters have physically and mentally demanding jobs which means we (as fire rescue athletes) have demanding nutritional needs to match.  Unfortunately, research confirms that most are deficient in some essential nutrients. The most common deficiencies are in protein, water (hydration), healthy fatty acids, and the essential vitamins. Research confirms these same deficiencies for all athletes, not just fire rescue athletes.  Let's face it, with all the demands of the job  it’s really hard to get all the essential vitamins and minerals from food alone.  So, I came up with a couple of tips to help you manage your diet  and get more of the essential nutrients needed to stay "fit for duty."

Firefighter Fitness Tip- Eat more Fruits and Veggies... (mom was right)   

Eat more foods rich in vitamins and minerals (eat those fruits and veggies). Depending on your age, gender and activity level, you should consume between five and nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day.  This should include fruits and vegetables of a number of different colors to maximize the nutrients.  Varieties that steam in-the-bag in the microwave make it quick and easy for you to prepare your vegetables and they also help minimize nutrient losses.  Don't worry about BPA getting into your food with these "steam-ables," research shows that (Good Housekeeping 2012) these vegetables found no phthalates or BPA -steam bag vegetables are just as good for you as other frozen vegetables that you cook outside of the bag.

To get an adequate vegetable and fruit intake you need to be creative and consistent.   Add them to each meal and prepare snacks with fruits and vegetables.  Also, try to cut a wide variety of vegetables like celery, carrots, pea pods, and assorted peppers one or two nights a week and store them in bags or containers.  Instead of reaching for an unhealthy snack you will have these cut vegetables instead.   If you haven't been accustomed to eating much produce, start small -- aim for a couple of servings a day at first.

Firefighter Holiday Metabolic Workout

Happy Holidays- Yes that time of the year where we have a tendency to overindulge and workouts seem to take second place to the holiday rush.   To combat the accumulation of holiday pounds I created this Fire Rescue Metabolic Workout..  This workout requires minimal time, maximal effort and will give you an extreme calorie burn (throughout the day). The workout is adoptable for  various levels of fitness.  

Intermediate/ Advanced athletes should use weights that they can handle for 15 reps (even though you will only be performing 10 reps) while beginners will use body-weight for each exercise.  Each rep should be performed with control (safety first) and good form.  You must perform 2 circuits of the warm-up.  After the warm-up follow the appropriate circuit (beginner or intermediate/ advanced) as quickly as possible.  Your goal is to complete the entire circuit as quickly as possible.  You can record your total time (of the metabolic circuit) so you can measure your fitness progress from workout to workout.  

Holiday Metabolic Circuit
Perform the active warm-up exercises in a circuit, no rest between exercises; follow the suggested reps for each.  Repeat the circuit 2x. 

Warm-up Exercises (reps)

  1. Prisoner Lunges (6x each side) 
  2. Step forward Toe Touches (6x ea side)
  3. Chest hugs (20x)
  4. Waiters bow (6 each arm)
  5. Step Back, Reach Twist (6x each side)
  6. Spiderman’s (6 each side)
  7. Knees side to side (6 each side)
  8. Straight Leg Raises (6x each side)
  9. Hip Cross-overs (6x each side)

Repeat the warm-up circuit (total of 2x)

Metabolic Circuit
After the warm-up, perform the exercises in a circuit, rest as little as possible between exercises.  Remember to take rest if you need it.  The idea of the workout is to complete it as fast as possible (using good form) and try to improve your time each workout.  The suggested reps are listed in parenthesis. Click on the video below for an overview of the exercise for the beginner circuit.   Remember to record your total time (minus the active warm-up) and try to improve on it from workout to workout.  Enjoy.

Beginner Exercises                                                
  1. Push-ups (10x)                                                    
  2. Body Row (10x)                                                                             
  3. Prisoner Squats  (10x)                                                 
  4. Prone Plank Pulses (10x)                                                            
  5. Walking Lunges (10 each side)                                                   
  6. Bike 2 miles (as fast as possible)                                               
Repeat the circuit again (for a total of 2x).  Click on  the video above for an overview.            

For an even greater calorie burn and challenge try the Intermediate/ Advanced Circuit.  You must perform 2 circuits of the active warm up first.

Intermediate/ Advanced Exercises  

Click on the video below for an overview of the exercises of the Intermediate/ Advanced circuit.
  1. Spider Push-ups (5 each leg)
  2. Pull-ups (10x)
  3. Squat to Press (10x)
  4. Weighted V-ups (10x)
  5. Prone Plank Pulses (marching 10 ea leg)
  6. Weighted Walking Lunges (10x each leg)
  7. Run 1 mile or bike 3 miles (as fast as possible)
Repeat the Circuit 2 more times (for a total of 3 circuits).  You may want to leave out the last run or bike to keep the total workout time under 45 minutes.  Click on  the video to the right for an overview.     

Don't forget to record your times and try to improve from workout to workout.

Happy Holidays!
A. Zamzow

 You can get a "printable" copy of each workout by CLICKING HERE                                                                                          

Thanksgiving (Holiday) Morning Firefighter Workout to Ignite Your Metabolism...

Here is a great way to start your Thanksgiving morning (or any morning).  This is a little workout that will burn some early morning calories, ignite your metabolism, and make room for some good Thanksgiving food.  I always like to do some morning workout or fun run with the family on Holidays, I find that I feel better all day and don't eat as much.  Please give this a try!

Try to do as many circuits as possible in 15 or 20 minutes. Remember to perform an active warm-up before you begin.  (Click here for a good active Firefighter workout warm-up routine.) Do the suggested reps of each exercise then proceed to the next, rest as little as possible between exercises.

  1. Burpees x 10 reps
  2. Pull-ups or Body Rows x 10 reps
  3. Prisoner Lunges  x 5 reps per leg
  4. Squat to Press (around 20% body weight) x 10 reps
  5. Feet on Stability Ball (or bench) Push ups x 10 reps
  6. Plank (hold) for 30 seconds
Repeat the circuit as many times as you can for the allotted time (15 or 20) minutes.

Click on the video below for more instructions...

To help you eat a healthy during the holidays try to incorporate these Holiday Eating Guidelines...
-Always drink water, it will help fill your belly and aid in digestion
-Load up on vegetables not desserts (or sugars)
-Eat leaner proteins
-Avoid seconds
-Don't graze around the appetizer table
-If you really overeat, consider fasting for 14-16 hours after

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY....Remember the true meaning of the Holidays, be safe, be happy and enjoy family and friends.  On that note, Thank You for being a member of the FRF Nation, I wish you a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving (and Holiday) weekend.

Stay Safe and Healthy,
Aaron Zamzow