Firefighter Fitness- 4 Reasons You are Not Seeing Results

Simple adjustments can go a long way to help your fitness progress.

Lots of distractions out there, Covid-19, all the social media, childcare (now that school is out), summer… The list goes on and on.  All these distractions can leave your fitness on the back burner and cause you to lose some motivation.   A lack of progress is also another reason we start to miss workouts and get distracted.  In fact, I think a lack of progress is one of the biggest reasons we lose motivation.

If you are working out, you should be progressing. If you are not, there is something wrong with your program (or lack of a program). Simple. Right?

What is not so simple is understanding why you are not progressing.  Progress means so much more than extra weight on the bar, or another repetition, or a smaller waist size.  Good progress means an incremental improvement in the quality of your movement-- how smoothly and freely your workout goes, and most importantly improving your performance on (and off) the fire or rescue scene.

Over the past 25 plus years in the fitness business I have learned that that there are some key reasons you are not making progress in your fitness.  Look at these 4 common reasons:

Plan your workouts. Plan for success.

#1.  You are exercising instead of training...

When you exercise, you work out for the effect of that day, like relieving stress, burning calories, or working your biceps, etc.  Training, however, is physical activity performed for the purpose of satisfying a long-term performance goal.  For athletes (like firefighters, EMTs, and medics) training is a necessity or at least should be.  Training involves a long-term approach to fitness where one workout builds on the next, all leading to a long-term goal (better performance, leaner physique, more mobility, etc.).

So, now ask yourself this question: What's the purpose of your training?  Every time you hit the gym; you need a plan of attack.  A purpose.  You cannot just wing it, otherwise you will never improve.

Studies show that those who track and log their workout get more results.  Every workout compete against yourself. Even if you only beat yourself by one rep or one pound, you have evidence that you are improving. Who knows, you might surprise yourself by how much you kick your own ass week to week.

Need a plan and a tracking app?  Thousands of firefighters use these workouts and the NEW FRF APP (click here)..

#2. You are Wasting time at the gym or firehouse...

Procrastination suffocates and kills motivation.   Procrastination also impedes fitness progress.  One of the biggest reasons people skip workouts is time, yet, when I look around the gym (or firehouse) I see many athletes wasting time- getting water, talking, messing around with their phone, etc.

Here is a simple trick to stick to your workouts and keep them fast and efficient.  First, have a plan, you should know what you’re going to do before you hit the gym.  Second, wear a watch and time your rest periods in between sets.  Set a timer, as soon as the timer goes off, get back to work. You will notice that time goes by faster than you think. By limiting the time you are sitting around between exercises, you will get a better workout and yield better results.

#3. You're Not warming up properly.

Every day I cringe as I watch people wander into a gym or firehouse workout and immediately lie down on a bench and start cranking out their workout within seconds.  These are the people that end up hurting themselves and impeding their progress.    A properly performed dynamic warm-up can act as a catalyst for your workouts and your results.  Athletes that dynamically warm-up are less prone to injury and have greater mobility and range of motion.

What is a dynamic warm-up (click here for a good post about it)?  It is a series of movements designed to increase body temperature, activate the nervous system, increase range of motion, and correct limitations.  To gain range of motion at your joints and fire up (no pun intended) the muscles that you are going to use for that day’s work out, you need to do this type of warm-up.   Start warming up properly and you will notice a greater range of motion, more efficient movement, and an increase in strength... all of which will help you get results.

#4. You're looking for supplements to cure your poor nutritional habits...

Eating properly is half the battle.  You can work out five days a week and burn hundreds of calories, but if you are not fueling and refueling yourself properly, all that hard work is squandered.  The body needs good nutrition to make sure that it can support the work being done and to make progress.

So, if you are not making progress, then stop looking for supplements to cure your poor eating habits.  A protein shake here and an energy bar there will not do much to help you out if you are not getting good, basic, nutrition.

Supplements can help "supplement" your nutrition, meaning they can enhance it, but you must have the fundamentals covered.     Drinking more water, avoiding added sugars, and eating a diet rich in protein, vegetables, fruits, and good fats is the way to go if you are looking for a boost in workouts and progress.  Change out the pasta for quinoa.  Snack on raw green peas or beans instead of pretzels and chips if you want a crunch.  Choose the salmon instead of the T-bone steak.

Making decisions like these will send you on your way to better results.   After you have a solid nutritional foundation then you may want to add some supplements otherwise your pissing them (literally) down the drain.  Here is a great post about supplements if you are looking for more information (Do you Need Supplements to Make Fitness Gains).

Not seeing the workout progress you had hoped for? Look in the mirror and at your current approach.  Do you skip workouts, do you constantly tell yourself that "tomorrow is the day I get started?"  Ultimately, you must take responsibility for your progress... and/or your lack of it.

The good news is that you do not have to do it alone, I am here to help.  FRF has workouts and eating guides that will help you get and stay on-track!  Scroll down for some motivation.

My goal with FRF is to help firefighters, EMTs and medics get more fit for duty.  Let me know if you agree with this list.  Please share it with others and let me know how I can help you.

Stay safe and Get FRF!

Aaron Zamzow (Zam)


Fire Rescue Fitness is dedicated to getting firefighters, EMTs and medics “fit for duty.”  Each one of the FRF workouts will help you combat these 4 reasons.... I guarantee it.

 Look at the results thousands of Fire Rescue Athletes are getting with the FRF


Click here for more information on this Workout Program!

 Look the results Adam Hurford got using the FRF Fat Loss Program

Here are the results other firefighters got with the program…


“Hey Aaron.  Just wanted to say thanks for the easy to follow workout program and eating guidelines. Today is day 28 of the program for me and I am happy to report I had great success. Total weight loss for me in the 28 days was 10.5#, I lost 1 1/2 inches off my waist, 5 inches off my belly.  What a nice feeling it is to have loose fitting pants again. Thanks again and I will let you know the results when the program is finished.  Thanks Again and Take Care.”

-Charlie Bau


“So far, I LOVE IT!  Lost 8 pounds in the first month and my core is stronger than ever. I feel more flexible and move faster.  The interval overhauls are a great idea and an easy way to incorporate “real” fire ground movements.  Looking forward to the next 6 weeks….”

-R.  Heltsrtun


“Hey Aaron, I just have to send you a message to thank you for the workout program.  As of today, I have lost 22 lbs., my body has changed and become more defined and my turnouts are fitting me better.  The Eating Guidelines were a huge help and the cardio intervals kicked my butt in-shape.  I have a lot more energy!  I don’t feel rundown and tired after long calls now.  Thank You!”

-J. Markels


"I’ve only been on it for just over a couple of weeks and I’m already seeing results. I’m fitting into pants that I couldn’t get into a couple of weeks ago.  I really notice a difference on calls now, I’m able to climb in my gear and don’t fatigue like I used to.  I’m moving better, stronger and definitely leaner!”

-T Heptins


Create your own testimonial.  Click here to get Started and JOIN the thousands of other first responders using FRF.  All  programs include workouts, workout app access, recipes, eating guide and coaching.   



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