FRF Birthday Challenge Workout for First Responders.

Earn Your Cake with this Metabolic (Birthday) Workout for First Responders.

For the last 8 years (including this one) I have completed this special "Birthday" workout (on my to help me measure my fitness and determine where I need improvement.   This particular workout doesn't require a lot of equipment and can be done at home or at the gym or firehouse (even if it's 2 degrees below zero).  

I encourage you to do this workout (or a similar one) every once in a while to help keep you motivated and to gauge your level of fitness.    I call these OBWs or outcome-based workouts because you are working out until you complete the goal (prescribed time or reps).  

I like these challenge or outcome-based workouts because:

 #1 They are fun and scalable,

#2 They are a great way to measure your level of fitness and

#3 They can help First Responders improve performance (if they include an active warm-up and some stretching).

This "Birthday" workout can be scaled to meet your available equipment and level of fitness.  Give it a shot, and add or substitute some exercises as needed.  You must however begin this workout, like every workout, by performing an active warm-up.

active warm up template


Active warm-up (perform for 30 seconds or 6 reps of each exercise for 2 circuits with no rest between exercises)

  1. Standing Chops
  2. Step Forward toe reaches
  3. Spidermans
  4. Knees side to side
  5. Cross overs
Repeat for a total of 2 circuits then foam roll or use the percussion gun on your tight muscle groups for 3-5 minutes.
Now that you are ready... it's on to the fun!
All you need for this workout is some type of cardio equipment- a treadmill,  jump rope, steps (or a stepmill), and a way to do pull-ups or body rows. 
Time the workout from the first movement to the last so you can track your fitness progress from year to year.
Rest when you feel you need to (try to keep it at a minimum).  Go from exercise to exercise at your own pace. Remember if your form starts to fail, take time to rest.  
Poor reps DO NOT count.

Start the timer.....then:

 1.  Run 400 meters on the tread.  If you don't have a treadmill you could create your own cardio component like jumping rope 200x or running the stairs.  **This year I improvised and rode my stationary bike for half a mile each time.  Aim for a high-intensity cardio exercise that takes 1 to 2 minutes.  After you complete this part then move to the next exercise.
2.  Push-ups - 10 reps
3.  Pull-ups (or body rows)- 10 reps
4.  Prisoner (hands on your head) squats- 10 reps
5.  V-ups- 10 reps
6.  Burpees- 10 reps
7.  Lunges- 10 with each leg
8.  Narrow Push-ups - 10 reps
9.  Body Rows (or TRX Rows)- 10 reps
10.  Super Planks (click here for a demonstration) - 10 on each side
Repeat for a total of 3- 4 rounds.  


Personally, I perform 4 rounds (one for each decade).  If you are just starting out try 2 or 3.  After you complete the last round, record your time then perform some stretching and foam rolling.  Make sure to rehydrate!

I perform this workout on my birthday to make sure I am maintaining my level of fitness.  This year I was a little better than last so I must be doing something right. 

I also monitor my body comp (body fat percentage) and weight from year to year.   This year is similar to last (by a pound or two) so I know I am on the right path.   And, lastly, I make sure that I have my annual medical appointment set up.  I try to make the appointment every year around my birthday.  I highly suggest that every firefighter, EMT, and or medic should get an annual medical, regardless of your age.    

You should pledge to maintain or improve your fitness level from year to year. Give this challenge a try!

Stay safe and Happy Birthday FRF!

-ZAM (Aaron Zamzow)


Did you look at the above workout and think..."no way?" 
FRF was created to help motivate firefighters, EMTs, and medics to get more fit for duty.    We have workout programs, eating guides, recipes, and coaching that can help you!    Click here to get more information.

Congrats Kevin!

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  1. Sebastian White on June 21, 2022 at 9:47 am

    What an exciting read! There is little doubt that demands on the first responders are both physically and mentally draining. Therefore, firefighters must maintain a top physical state to function at their best at all times. This is where lifestyle adjustments, such as more significant physical activity and a healthier diet, may be immensely beneficial in helping them perform at their best during stressful times.

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