The history of the fire service has never really pushed or took physical fitness serious. For decades the brothers and sisters of the fire service have been labeled as "hanging out" at the fire house, waiting on that call to come in .
We as members of this huge world wide family need to take a closer look at the health and fitness levels of our brothers and sisters to make sure we all understand what is EXPECTED of us from our community,co-workers, and family.
Fat to Fit all started when I was hired as a full time firefighter, my dream career! I was overweight most of my life. Never really cared what types of food or how much I ate. As a kid I played sports, I was the butterball on the team. I just went through my childhood with the attitude that I was overweight and it was just how it was. In 2006 I was hired by my local fire department after testing with them for the second time. In 2004, I did not make it through the Physical Fitness portion of the testing process. I was beyond myself to be hired and living my dream as a full time firefighter. I was still overweight and knew in the back of my mind I needed to do something to change that. It went through my mind many times while working with an extra 50 plus pounds of gear on my body, the high temperatures, the stress and workload of a "probie" in the fire service. I will never forget the day and events that took place to make the light go off for myself.
It was a June day in coastal South Carolina working a 24 hours shift and it would be a test of my physical and mental abilities. We had our normal summer afternoon storm roll through. We were dispatched to a house fire from a lighting strike. Upon getting to the scene my heart was pounding through my chest as hard as you could even imagine. I was about to be living my dream, fighting fire. I was very lucky that day due to the fact that I didn't fall out or have to be transported to the hospital due to being completely exhausted. I will never forget the fact that my head was pounding so hard and I really thought my heart was going to pound out of my chest for the rest of that shift.
That day was the start of my life changing process. The next day I joined one of the local gym in my area and started going five days a week. I had no clue as to what I was doing when I went to the gym. I would do some work on the treadmills and lift some weights with no real routine or purpose as to what I was doing. I started getting on supplements to help with fat lose (fat burners). So I thought.
I tried every one of the different, latest and greatest "diets" out on the market at the time. I would lose weight and get bored with diet and end up putting weight back on. I couldn't find something that would work for me.
What to do? I hired a coach. I was talking to a friend in the gym about hiring someone that works with athletes and has a back ground in nutrition. I did research and I found not only one of the top trainers/nutritional guys in the county I also ended up becoming true close friends with him and still am to this day. Not many coaches become true friends with clients and he will tell you I am the second client that he still talks to as a friend to this day.
Hiring my coach was the best thing I ever did in my weight loss journey. He was straight forward with me and didn't sugar coat anything. He always told me, he doesn't do anything but give me the tools I need to get the results I wanted. I had to do all the work with those tools to make it happen. Not only did he help me get in the best shape of my life, he educated me and explained that I was not on a diet. I decided to change my lifestyle. A diet is short lived. Life style change is permanent.
As I went from Fat to fit under my coach’s direction, I wanted to learn who and why this was so easy. Why is the rest of the county so lost when it comes to weight issues? So I decided it was time to get into school and learn the process of this. I enrolled in Precision Nutrition and Obtain a Level 1 Nutrition Coaching Certification. As a full-time firefighter and being overweight most of my life I found a way to help my brothers and sisters in the fire service.
This brings me to where I am today. I formed 1st Due Fit, which is a company that is devoted to helping the fire service reduce LODD's due to cardiovascular issues (heart attacks). 1st Due Fit is here to help fellow fire service members become healthier and better fit to do the job. 1st Due Fit is also about promoting proper nutritional intake along with physical fitness and the importance of these issues. The 50 plus brothers and sisters the fire service loses every year to these issues are preventable. 1st Due Fit is aware that everyone has to start somewhere, I fully understand the struggles of the overweight, sedentary person. Just remember you didn't become overweight and out of shape in one day or one meal. The same goes for making a Lifestyle change, it will not happen overnight, or with one healthy meal. A true lifestyle change takes time.
This transformation did not happen overnight, or in some crazy 30 day crash "diet”. True lifelong changes take time.
For all my brothers and sisters in the fire service please look at your career with this in mind:
Your fellow brothers/sisters on the job, your crew, department, family, and the public you are devoted to serve are entitled to have a healthy, physically fit "occupational athlete" that is ready mentally and physically for the unexpected at any given time. Every firefighter no matter rank should carry themselves in this mind set.
When things get tough, your body is sore, you want to eat junk just read this quote.
"Highest Expectations Are Minimum Requirements"-J.Brahm
Owner: Jason Brahm
Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certified.
Certified Personal Trainer
Conviction Training Facility Intern Program
NFVC Health and Wellness Advocate.
SC Firefighters Association Health and Safety Committee Member
SC FIT Team Member
Areas of expertise: Nutrition Coaching, Strength and Conditioning Programs, Physical Fitness and Wellness Programs/Consulting.