Firefighter On-shift Interval Workout

I get a lot of emails asking for good workout options for the firehouse when on-shift.  Working out on-shift is a major concern, you want to make sure you keep your body in good "fit for duty" condition but also want to make sure you have enough "left in the tank" to respond and perform in an actual response.  Over the last couple of years I have toyed with various workouts on shift; high intensity, heavy lifting, stretching only, and even some yoga.  I have found that interval workouts are not only the most effective but a great way to incorporate fireground movements (steps, crawls, sledges, drags, lifts, carries, and some core).

Here is an example of a "Sunday Funday" workout that I did with my crew.

Active Warm-up
Perform 2 circuits.  Set an interval timer for 35 seconds of movement with 5 seconds between to transition.

  1. Chops
  2. Step back twist and reach
  3. Spidermans
  4. On floor knees side to side
  5. X-overs
Fireground Interval Circuit
After completing the 2 active warm-up circuits perform the below exercises in a circuit 4 times.
I like to set the interval timer for 35 seconds of work with 25 seconds of rest.  If you are just beginning intervals you may want to set the timer for 30 seconds of work with 30 seconds of rest.

  1. Aerodyne (if you don't have an aerodyne you can use row machine or battling hoselines)
  2. Weighted Jump Rope
  3. Stair Crawling  (bear crawl up the stairs then run back down)
  4. Sledges on a tire (overhead and side sledges)
  5. Core Exercise (plank, bird-dog)
  6. Mountain Climbers  (or burpees)
Perform this circuit 4x for a total of 24 minutes.
Total workout time with the active warm-up is approximately 33 minutes.

Feel free to interchange the circuits with your favorite active warm-up or fireground exercises (please let me know if you do).

Stay safe and healthy,
A. Zamzow

Firefighter Workout- Intense Interval Overhaul to burn fat...

One of the best ways to incorporate fireground movements into your workouts is to perform what I call "10-minute interval overhauls."  These are 10 minutes of intervals that can vary in work and rest times that are performed after your strength training sessions.  You can read more about these "interval overhauls" by clicking here or see how to integrate them into an actual program by clicking here (FREE 28-day FRF workout).  Today I finished workout #3 of the Ultimate Fire Rescue Athlete Program and created this 10 minute overhaul....three hours later I'm still sweating.  

These intervals should be performed to the best of your ability, feel free to substitute in other exercises that you feel more comfortable with (and let me know your creative ideas). These overhauls help burn more fat and calories and as mentioned above are a great way to incorporate firefighter movements into your workout.  Give this a one a try!

After you compete the strength portion of your workout:

1.  Stepmill (or run stairs) for 2 minutes at 90 steps/min or more 
2.  Rest 30 seconds
3.  Jump Rope for 2 minutes (aim for over 300 jumps)
4.  Rest 30 seconds
5.  Stepmill (or run stairs) for 2 minutes at 90 steps/min or higher
6.  Rest 30 seconds
7.  Jump Rope for 2 minutes (aim for over 300 jumps)

Total of 10 minutes and 250-500 calories burned..

Stay Safe and Healthy,
A. Zamzow

Healthy Nutrition in the Firehouse (or any house)

Cooking in the firehouse for a bunch of hungry firefighters is not easy, trust me I know. In most cases we sacrifice health for taste to avoid complaints and heckling. But, in order to change the culture of the fire service (to a healthier one) cooks and food choices need to get better. Here are 3 easy and healthy tips that can help.

1. Assemble 5 simple and healthy recipes that can be easily tweaked to create different dishes.--
Learning new recipes are fun but isn't best done in a busy firehouse. We all know, the more times we make a recipe, the faster, easier and possibly healthier it gets--It becomes a routine, like putting on your gear. There are a lot of resources to find healthy recipes, pick some out and use them as your staples. You can get some free recipes by downloading the SOP's to eating lean in the firehouse (click here).

2. Have some healthy fruits and veggies always available.-- Around my firehouse we have replaced the random cookies and muffins with celery and orange slices. Put all of the processed sugary foods and cakes away and leave some of veggies and fruit out around the kitchen. After some calls, its habit to walk to the kitchen to see whats there, if there are healthier options out, we are less likely to search for the crap.

3. Replace pitchers of sugary fruit juices with water.--Muscles are comprised of water in a great percentage. That’s why when we get dehydrated our muscles look smaller and performance decreases. Only a 2% water loss decreases the ability to work by 15%. It is important to remember that you should never wait until you feel thirsty. It is a well
know fact that by the time you feel this way you are already dehydrated. So, replacing the sugary juices that don't add with any nutritional value with water can help us perform better. Need to spruce up boring water? Try to cut some lemons, mangos or limes and put them in the pitcher.

As mentioned above, we (as fire rescue athletes) need to make the firehouse environment more healthy.  Try to incorporate these tips at your firehouse (or any house).

Stay Safe and Healthy,
A. Zamzow

PS...Here is a quick and healthy option for lunch

Do-it-Yourself Salad Bar (serves about 4)
Steak or chicken (about a pound and a half)
One large cucumber
One red pepper
One cup of raspberries or strawberries
Package of sunflower seeds
small package of mozzarella (lower fat) cheese
16-20 ounces of salad 50/50 mix
Slice up the cucumbers, berries, peppers, and leave each in a separate bowl.  Put the salad in a large mixing bowl.   Grill the chicken or steak, I like to use olive oil and lowrys seasoning.  Place all items on a the table and let the crew create their own salads

You can serve this with some real potato (lower fat) chips and Raspberry vinaigrette dressing (look for a dressing with minimal ingredients)