First Responder Fitness: Stay Motivated with These Tips
These tips will help any firefighter, EMT, and/or medic overcome a lack of motivation and continually make fitness progress.
One of the most important aspects of maintaining a good health and fitness level is your mindset. We all have days that we do not feel like working out... And we all have days that we feel that our workouts "weren't good." Trust me, we all have them.
The key to maintaining and making fitness progress is to make sure you focus on keeping your mind right and staying consistent with your workouts. Today's post is all about that. Here are five tips that will help you stay motivated to continually make fitness progress. Please pay close attention to #5 below, I also included some of our most popular FRF "motivational" quotes.
- Set a goal (s)
Start with simple goals and then progress to longer-range goals. Remember to make your goals realistic and achievable. It's easy to get frustrated and give up if your goals are too ambitious.
For example, if you haven't exercised in a while, a short-term goal might be to walk 10 minutes a day five days a week. An intermediate goal might be to walk 30 minutes five days a week. A long-term goal might be to complete a 5K walk/run.
To give you some guidance on how much exercise you should be doing, for most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. Greater amounts of exercise will provide even greater benefits per the most recent research. As a first responder, you need to incorporate strength training exercises of all the major muscle groups into your fitness routine at least two times a week.
- Put it on paper.
Are you hoping to lose weight? Boost your energy? Sleep better? Finish a 5K? After you set that goal, write it down. Seeing the benefits of regular exercise and writing your goals down on paper may help you stay motivated. You may also find that it helps to keep an exercise journal or use an app (like the FRF/ TrainHeroic app) to track workouts and progress. You might just want to start by marking the days that you worked out on a calendar. Seeing all of the marked days will give you a sense of accomplishment and motivate you to do more. Recording your efforts and tracking your progress can help you work toward your goals and remind you that you're making progress.
- Follow a plan.
So, you have your goal and you have written it down. Now, you need to get a plan of action to follow to accomplish it. This is one of the biggest reasons people lose motivation and do not see results, they do not follow a plan. A consistent and functional fitness plan will help you accomplish almost any goal and stay on track. I have found that the most successful programs are around 8-weeks and focus not only on getting you to look better but to feel and move better also. For first responders especially, we need to be ready for any situation, a well-planned fitness program is essential. Make sure you plan your workouts and focus on improving mobility along with strength and cardiovascular capacity and then focus on looking better in your uniform.
- Join forces with friends, neighbors, and/or your crew.
You're not in this alone. Invite friends, family, and members of your department and crew to join you when you exercise. Working out with your crew and family can be very motivating and a great bonding experience. If you are the type of person that likes to work out alone, you may try to challenge your friends and crew to a fitness challenge or encourage them to do an event with you like the FRF 5K. Work out with your partner or other loved ones, encourage your children to join you.
As I travel around to various departments and conferences I find that almost every member of the fire service wants to improve their level of health and fitness. Tell people, especially members of your family and crew, about your fitness goal, you will be surprised at the amount of support you will get.
- Find a cause or event to train for.
Everyone experiences ebb and flows with our training and level of fitness. The times we seem to train the hardest are in the build-up to some sort of event – often a holiday, a wedding, reunion, or a fitness race/run. Choosing an event with a timeline and following a training plan makes the exercise more interesting. Training for a special event gives you a preset goal to focus on for each workout, and throughout the weeks of your training program. When you sign up for an event like a 5K or bicycle race, you keep yourself accountable by preparing to participate. Knowing there is a culminating event in the near future means you can give yourself checkpoints along the way, which will help you stay on track with your goals.
FRF has created an event to help you stay motivated! The FRF 5K+343 is a virtual workout event that raises money for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. You can participate in the event by training for the 5K+ 343, 5K walk/run, or a 2K walk. Event registration includes a workout program to help you train for the event, an event shirt or sweatshirt, a chance to win cash and prizes, coaching, and a donation to the NFFF. Enter today and start your training. Get Fire Rescue Fit and raise money to improve the health of the fire service.
Click here for more information on the 5K the FRF Way Virtual Workout Event.
Bonus Tip- Stay positive.
If you find yourself going down the "negative" tunnel. Stop and focus on some positives. Sometimes you must dig to find them, but it will help change your entire outlook. Try to engage in healthy self-talk. If you think you dread exercising, have a little chat with yourself, but do so as if you’re speaking to someone else. This is more effective than just speaking in the first person. You are your biggest competition. It is easy to start looking at what everyone else is doing, their progress, etc. Do not get into that habit. Create YOUR OWN goals and work on improving yourself every day.
Stay Safe, Stay Positive and GET FRF! Please consider helping FRF raise money for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation by entering the FRF 5K Event.
PS.- I posted some of my favorite FRF motivational pics and quotes. Feel Free to copy and share and let me know if there is one I can add.
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