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Its been very well documented that the leading cause of firefighter-on-duty deaths is related to heart disease. Therefore any information regarding decreasing the chances of heart disease are very valuable to the firefighting community. I’ve recently been researching the correlation between cholesterol and heart disease and have found some interesting correlations. The long-established dietary recommendations of yesterday have created epidemics of obesity and diabetes, the consequences of which dwarf any historical plague in terms of mortality, human suffering and dire economic consequences. Despite the fact that 25% of the population takes expensive statin medications and despite the fact we have reduced the fat content of our diets, more Americans will die this year of heart disease than ever before. Statistics from the American Heart Association show that 75 million Americans currently suffer from heart disease, 20 million have diabetes and 57 million have pre-diabetes. These disorders are affecting younger and younger…Read More
High Cholesterol… Choose healthy carbohydrates, lower your cholesterol. Cholesterol comes from eating too many eggs, bacon, and other animal foods high in fat and cholesterol, right? Not always. First off, cholesterol works as a building block for all the cells in the body, as well as your body’s repair mechanism for damaged cells, especially the ones in your blood vessels and digestive tract. So when you consume foods that are high in additives, preservatives, colorings, and other toxic processes it leads to damaged cells. Often times the foods that cause this damage to your cells are your refined and processed carbohydrates. So your body’s response to damaged cells is to release more cholesterol into the blood stream to repair them! Can stress, family history, alcohol consumption and lack of exercise lead to high cholesterol? Absolutely. But in the end, what may be the main reason for your elevated cholesterol level?…Read More
As a trainer (and as a firefighter in the workout room), I hear people saying, I want “abs” and of course, I want to help people achieve this. However, I frequently see people performing the least productive exercise for their abs- the crunch. Yes, the movement performed while lying down on a mat with the head and neck supported. This movement, will not get you results. If you want to see “the abs” you feel during this exercise, change your diet! Which I will post about soon. The plank, for a modiefied (easier) version start on your knees Here is why the crunch is not the best exercise for your abs or core. The crunch exercise will shorten and strengthen your rectus abdominus (six pack muscles) and obliques (especially if you twist) from a position that is useless (non-functional) for the majority of daily and fireground related tasks. also, any…Read More
Fire Rescue athletes are at a very high risk of back injury. As a matter of fact almost 50% of all firefighters will experience some type of back injury during their career. Effective core training brings about a proactive approach to protecting your body and joints (especially your back) from injury. Core strength consists of hip, shoulder, and trunk stability. It is the foundation of efficient movement and vital to optimizing performance and your career as a FireRescue athlete. When should we work our “core” and how often. In my FRF Workout Programs, I recommend performing your core routine after an active warm-up. This should occur towards the beginning of the workout…Why? Because its easier to skip these core exercises if you leave it to the end of the workout. I know, I’ve been there, you do your strength training, maybe a little cardio then ‘promise” that you would do some…Read More
Now, as you probably know from reading my previous blog posts that I think that interval training is very applicable to what we do on the fire ground. A unique component that I’ve added to my workouts is a 10-minute Interval Overhaul. These interval Overhauls are a combination of exercises that challenges the total body, allows me to work on firefighter skills and simulates work on the fire ground. And they really “jack-up” my metabolism too! I challenge you to try one at the end of your next workout. Here is an example of an Overhaul I did after my strength workout the other day: Sledge o’ matic– For this Overhaul finisher you need a sledge (the heavier, the harder), an old tire, some heavy dumbbells (or saws from the truck) and an interval timer set to 30 seconds of work and 30 seconds of rest for 10 intervals (10…Read More
It’s that time of the year. The flu bug is in full affect and is probably making its way through a firehouse near you. We get exposed to lots of different viruses through EMS responses, hospital transports and via the close confines of the firehouse. I get a lot of people asking me if they should try to exercise while they are battling the flu or the cold. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, the general rule of thumb is that if your symptoms are from the neck up; then “yes” give your workout a go. If your symptoms are below; then “no.” Here’s what I mean: If you have a common cold, runny nose, sore throat, and/or NO fever, then light to moderate exercise is generally “ok.” If your illness involves body aches, fever, diarrhea, weakness, swollen lymph nodes, and/ or fatigue then it’s best to “REST.”…Read More