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Fitness: It's All About Control

As an officer or any public safety professional one of the first and most important aspects of scene management and scene safety is control.  Nothing is worse that loosing or not being able to control a hot scene and the stress it causes is extreme.  The same can be said for control of our health, wellness and fitness.  The longer you are in the job the easier it is to lose control of your health and wellness.  Pick your head up from the computer and take a look at some of your co-workers and friends.  Are they physically fit?  Strong? Do they have good defensive and offensive skills?  Are they healthy?   Are you? What kinds of medications are they on? 

Control of your health and wellness is just as paramount to having control over a hot scene, you had better get a hold of the situation fast or it’s going to go downhill quickly.  Many of the tips and tricks I teach to officers in my classes are simple yet very effective.  There are 5 key points that I teach to gain and or maintain control over your own personal scene.  Let’s face it, time is short, we are always in a rush and stressors are constant both at home and at work so control is they key.

1) Portion Control:  We as a society eat too much and we are served too much when we eat out and it leads directly to obesity and metabolic issues.  When eating out get it to go and ONLY eat half, save the rest for 3 hours later.  No more dinner plates at home eat off of a salad or appetizer plate and be amazed at how much better you feel when not over eating and watch how your metabolism responds.

2) Control your intake:  Bring it with you on duty.  The easiest way to keep your metabolism revved up while on patrol is to eat a small meal every 3 hours.  The only way to do this is to have it handy and prepared at home prior to heading to roll call. 

3) Carbohydrate control: Simple and refined sugary carbohydrates do nothing but slow our metabolism and provide us with nutrient free sugars.  Always combine a carb with a protein, trail mix, half a protein bar, half a turkey sandwich are all good  and easy ways to control those carbs.

4) Exercise control:  Since this is a job requirement one would think it does not need to be mentioned but brothers & sisters out there fitness is a basic requirement of your job.  Control when you work out, pre-shift or post-shift just and get it done.  Research has shown that short intense bursts of activity involving full body muscular contractions with little to no rest and using almost no machines has the greatest carry over into law enforcement.  Here is one of my favorite routines to get a good quick workout and stay in control.


1) 10 Minute Jog / warm up or a Frisbee makes a great dynamic warm up with your training partner in place of the run.

2) Stretch

3) On a soccer or football field, Fast run from the goal to the half field line.

                -20 Push up’s

                -Side plank 45 seconds each side.

                -Immediately run to the opposite goal line

                -15 Dumbbell or band squat to a press

4) run back to the far goal line.

 Rest exactly 60 seconds and Repeat 3 & 4  a total of 5 times.  .

5) Perimeter of the field jog 2 times

6) Stretch


5) Healing control:  Learn to use healing foods to help your body deal with stress.  There are hundreds of foods that will boost your immune function and decrease the nasty stress hormones that effect our wellbeing so much.  Eat some of these foods every day and you will reap the benefits.  Some examples are dark berries and juicy fruit, green leafy veggies, healthy fats like tuna/salmon/almonds, green tea, water and well this list can go on for pages.  A good rule of thumb is the darker the fruit or veggie and the leaner the meat the better it is for you.

Control and consistency are difficult and often hard for many of to attain.  By following the 5 simple steps above you will enable yourself to gain control over something that is often much more challenging and has more lethal effects that losing control over a hot scene.  Far too many officers succumb to medical and wellness related issues than anything else faced on the street, but you have 100% control over this scene.


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About The Author:

Bryan Fass is the author of “Fit Responder”, a comprehensive wellness plan for the first responder, and the Fit Responder Blog. Bryan has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Medicine and is certified as a licensed athletic trainer and a strength and conditioning specialist. He was a paramedic for over 8 years. Bryan has authored four books regarding fitness, wellness and human performance. Bryan is available for Consulting and Speaking on Public Safety Fitness Testing along with Fitness, Wellness and Injury Prevention Programs. Contact him via email to