Vote for the 2019 (round 1) Fit for Duty Champion…
- Congratulations to all the 2019 FRF Fit for Duty Challenge participants!
This year over over 100 Firefighters, EMTs and Paramedics entered their results. There were many inspiring results and stories showing how the Fire Rescue Fitness Workouts have helped change lives and careers.
The intention of the Fit for Duty Challenge is to help motivate others in the fire service to make healthy changes and get more fit for duty. Our hope is that these testimonial inspire others to join the FRF nation and change the fitness culture of the fire service.
Please read and share these awesome transformation stories. And, please comment with your thoughts on the winner (1 through 5) You can also vote by "liking" the athlete on our FRF Facebook Page (click here).
Voting ends on May 28th (at 7pm). Winners (final spots) will be announced May 28th at 8pm CST.
Here are the Top entries (listed in random order) in the 2019 FRF Fit for Duty Challenge (round 1).
Name: Kyle Kondoff
Wow! That’s the 1st thing that I have to say about the FRF 60-day challenge. This program has helped me improve so much. Where to begin…. Back in 2018 I was hurt on duty in a hoseline training incident. I broke my lower left leg/ankle/foot in 7 places. I wasn’t even sure if I would be able to come back to the job I love. Luckily, I am resilient and proved my medical team wrong! I was able to come back after surgery to put in AND take out the metal. I had to do 10 months of physical therapy to get back to work but deep down I also knew I needed to continue to make progress.
So, I took the FRF Challenge! FRF helped me continue my rehab, I was able to add strength to my recovered leg and muscle (I gained almost 3 inches of muscle on them). My goal for the challenge was not to lose weight, my goal was to gain a little... in muscle. Throughout the challenge I knew I was getting stronger and I felt that I was gaining muscle but was amazed when I did my final body composition measurements. My bodyfat went down and my muscle mass went up by 10 pounds!
The other great part about my fitness journey was how others noticed the results. My new department started planning a health and fitness program and asked me to help. I couldn’t believe that they were asking one of the new guy’s advice! Sometimes, I even got the crew to workout with me. I know you don’t know my crew, but let me tell you, that is HUGE!
Even though there were times when I didn’t want to work out or wanted to skip some exercises, I did them. I told myself that the only person I was cheating was myself. I didn’t do the challenge for the money or prizes. I did it to get better, get FRF, and get stronger.
Even though I had body measurements done, I knew that the best result would be proven on the fireground. About a week ago, we had a vehicle fire in a garage. I was the nozzle man. I had no trouble holding the hose and putting out the fire. For a while, I was the only person holding the hose. I didn’t freak out or have any reservations about stepping back on the nozzle after the accident because I knew that I was FRF. I knew that I was much stronger than I had been even before the injury occurred. In fact, I am stronger than I have ever been in my life.
I even have more energy now than I did before. I plan and am continuing the workouts and look forward to the next phase of the Challenge.
Thanks so much for creating such an awesome program,
Name: Rob Gibbons
I joined Fire Rescue Fitness for a couple of different reasons. First, I wanted to be in better shape and improve my job performance, but most importantly I want to be able to walk away after retirement intact. I want to grow old with my wife and see my son grow up to have his own kids and wife.
My results with FRF were absolutely amazing! Not only did I lean out and gain a lot of muscle, my cardio endurance went through the roof. I dropped a final total of 23 pounds and dropped a total of 2 pant sizes.
One of my proudest moments during this challenge was when I went in and did my department physical. My previous test was terrible, my blood work was an absolute mess, and my VO2 max test was a mere 64%. Well, this year was different. Now, my VO2 Max is at 100% and my blood work came back absolutely amazing! This was such a dramatic change that my doctor had to read the results twice…
The biggest change for me after using FRF was the passion and drive I have for physical fitness now. It has truly become a part of me. I enjoy the FRF workouts because they are not only pertinent to job related functions, but they are workouts anyone can do. In my case the entire family does it with me.
After working with the FRF programs I can truly say I am in the best shape of my life. I was able to achieve my success with the support of my wife and son. They are my rocks and motivation. During the program I was able to motivate not only myself, my wife and my son, but other family members and coworkers as well, including members from other fire departments.
Thank you FRF!
Name: Paul Burk
Finally Becoming Fit for Duty
On January 1st I stepped on the scale and was a bit horrified. 297. I knew I had let myself go, but I didn’t think it was that bad. I was able to move anything I needed to, perform my job at the station as a volunteer firefighter, and training never really took that much out of me. That week I reflected on my weight and my life habits, and realized I needed a change.
I’ve read about and seen the great testimonials that FRF has delivered and decided to finally take control of my health and fitness and participate in the fit for duty challenge.
In college I was at my best being 6’4”, 240 pounds, lifting every other day, and riding my bike whenever I could. In my mind I thought I was still that person yet when I looked in the mirror, really looked in the mirror, what I really saw was a sunken eyed, doughy faced tired man.
Even though I knew I needed to change and now had the tools to do so thanks to the FRF workouts, eating guide and motivation from the group… I still needed that one push.
So, I started to read about my fellow firefighters who took the challenge and I started to believe. I read about Josh Fulk losing all that weight, he made a life change and lost the weight I only hoped to eliminate. I put that hope inside of me and went to the new, and only, gym in our town. I went every day, except Mondays, and I didn’t dare step on the scale. I wasn’t until I needed to put more holes in my belt to make it tighter when I dared weighed myself five weeks later. I lost 30 pounds, 30 ugly pounds. I couldn’t believe it. However, it was not just working out which changed me.
After my father’s death in August of 2017, I fell into a bit of a depression. Despite having a beautiful family, I turned to drinking almost every night. It wasn’t just a few either, it was at least 10 or more. Sure, I was busy and worked on the things I needed to do at the house, fixed the car or truck, but whatever I did after work, I was drinking. I couldn’t wait until the end of fire meetings on Monday night, so I could drink. I have no idea how many calls I missed because I was drinking, all I know is I was letting my fellow firefighters down…my family down and myself down. I didn’t plan to stop drinking; I didn’t see it as a problem; I decided to do it to see how it affected my weight loss plan.
I changed my nutrition and how I viewed food. I started to eat fruits and vegetables, drank more water and planned my meals instead of hitting a fast-food place. I would pack a lunch and cook more at home. Pizza and McDonalds were no longer a staple in my house. I not only saved a bunch of money, I was actually feeling better, moving better and a lot stronger now.
I cannot explain how happy I am that I joined the Challenge and the FRF nation. I lost over 35 pounds and totally regained my life. And, since I started, nine other firefighters have now joined the gym. We are all supporting each other in becoming more fit for duty.
Thanks FRF, I look forward to continuing my journey (still have 20 pounds to go).
Name: James Bambary
The reason I joined Fire Rescue Fitness ultimate challenge, I found myself short of breath when climbing stairs at work, felt tired all the time, and I was out of shape. We had a structure fire at work, and I was sore and tired for two days. I said to myself enough is enough. I have four grandchildren and one more on the way. I knew that FRF would work, I just had to keep telling myself “if you keep to the program it will make you a better person.”
I have tried several Firefighter programs in the past and found I was taking the easy way out. So, when I came across FRF, I obtained and read as much information about it as I could, somehow it all made sense to me.. and it was easy to follow.
I really liked the eating guides, the recipes, the app workout concept, having cheat meals and the overall plan.
My results were amazing for my first 60-day challenge. I could see the change in my face and midsection within the first 3 weeks. I started receiving compliments about my weight loss almost immediately.
I could feel my body changing from eating right and cutting out sugar and lowering the carbohydrates. My energy level has been through the roof.
My first goal was to get to 249, I hit it and set a new goal of 245, I hit it and my next goal was 240, I hit that goal with two and half weeks left. I set my last goal of the first 60 days to reach 235, I missed it by a few pounds but that’s ok. I’m in the right mind set for this, its about feeling better, being more flexible, and getting stronger.
I have found I can’t wait for the next workout. While, I was doing the workouts at the station some of the firefighters on my crew were watching and asking me questions about the program. Next thing you know, one then two and three guys were working out with me. I laugh at myself when I’m doing the yoga/ stretching moves, something I would have never tried but they do really help!
The most challenging part of the program was Spiderman pushups. But I sent a quick question in and was given advise on how to do them with my arms on a bench, note; still working on getting to the floor.
I would like to conclude by saying at almost 52 years old, I can now sprint up steps in full turnout gear on air with a standpipe pack and feel good when I get there. I find My mind is so relaxed after FRF training, and I getting the best sleep I have ever had. Bring on the next 60 days brings.
Name: Jessica Ramey
Writing this has been a challenge. I struggled to fit all that I wanted to say in 2000 characters! I think I accomplished most of it so here it is...
At 35 yrs. old I have always struggled with my weight. I joined FRF because I was looking for a guided program without a gym membership. I want to be in better shape for myself, my job, my coworkers, and the citizens of the community I serve. In the past, I relied on a personal trainer for my motivation as I am not self-motivated when it comes to working out. I didn't realize how out of shape I was until I started this. I was interested in the extra boost of the challenge to keep me in check….AND IT WORKED!
My original goals when I started the challenge was to lose 40 lbs., lose inches to be a couple sizes smaller, and improve my overall health and strength to be able to better perform my job.
I am happy to say that the program has not only got me more fit for duty, it also completely changed my thought process. I catch myself saying "that food is not a good option for me, how about this instead? And my crew is always for it!" I went from being inconsistent with workouts (1-2 times/week) to a consistent 4 times/week, on my own with no trainer. I thought I was eating too many carbs and the right kinds of fats. By using the My Fitness Pal app, and the FRF Eating Guide, I learned what types of foods I need more, or less of. Turns out I wasn't eating enough carbs or protein and too much healthy fats!
This isn't a diet or exercise plan. It's a life style change and IT WORKS!! I love the option of a paper copy and app for tracking. Even while battling a shoulder injury, taking a couple weeks off, and modifying my workouts, I stayed with it and I have lost 12 pounds and over 11 inches. I have never had that positive of results in such a short time. I am stronger than I was and notice the difference in how I feel, the way my clothes fit, and can see parts of me that are shrinking. I see a real improvement in the gym and on the fire ground! I have a way to go to reach my goal, but I'm on the right track. I am so glad I signed up for the year of challenges from the beginning! I know by continuing the program I will reach all my goals and be FRF!
Congrats to all participants! Winners, including t-shirt winners and raffle prizes will be announced on the FRF website and FaceBook pages on Tuesday May 28th at 8pm CST.
Thank you all for the great support of FRF. Lets continue to change the fitness culture of the fire service.
I vote for Jessica Ramey, way to go Jess!!!
James Bambary is the winner hands down. I work with Jim. I have watched him follow this program day in and day out. He is 100% committed to it, whether it’s the diet or the exercise, and his results show it. He has proven himself to be a leader and following this program just exemplifies that. He leads by example, talking the talk and walking the walk. Thank you for giving him the tools to get in better shape.
I’m very proud of you Jess! Believe me, I know what it’s like to try to lose weight. A constant battle for me too. Looking at your before and after pics I can tell the difference! Keep up the good work!
Jessica Ramey is awesome!! Congrats girl!
I vote for Kyle Kondoff.
My vote is for Paul Burk.
To start, I congratulate all five of the finalists for their incredible progress and success with the FRF programs. The following is my raking of placements.
For winner 1, I vote for Paul Burk. Not only did he improve his physical self, but the fact that he recognized the mental factor is something I hope others in emergency services can learn and benefit from.
Jessica Ramey has my vote for winner 2. By reading her story, I can feel the passion she has developed through FRF.
Winner number 3, in my opinion, is James Bambary. Even though people his age often just accept that their bodies are the way they are, he accepted the challenge of improving himself. The change in his pictures alone is worth credit.
Kyle Kondoff gets my vote for winner 4. I can relate to him when he says that he is able to notice the change of his ability on the fire ground.
Rob Gibbons deserves credit for motivating so many and continuing the momentum of physical wellness in the emergency services and gets my vote for winner 5.
Again, well done to all the finalists and to everyone that decided to improve their lives through the FRF Crew.
Every single one of these top 5 deserve to be the winner. They are all the true definition of what FRF has set out to do. Each story is different, each struggle is personal and each one of these over came and accomplished what they set out to do against everything they faced. Congrats to you all for your accomplishments.
1st: Paul Burk
2nd: Jessica Ramey
3rd: Kyle Kondoff
4th: Rob Gibbons
5th: James Bambary
Again, it is hard to list people in an order when all of them deserve that 1st spot. I can not wait to continue my journey with these folks and look forward to seeing them strive in their lives and the paths they head down. True inspiration and motivation from these.
They definitely make you look deep into your own story, that is for sure.