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Perspective Wellness

Like most of us, you probably wondered where the last year went. It seems that 2011 just flew by.  Maybe that saying is right - that youth is wasted on the young.  I read a great quote the other day: “New Year’s Eve for the young means you get to stay up late; New Year’s Eve for the rest of us means we have to stay up late.”  Like many of your brothers and sisters walking the thin blue line it was a difficult year to stay on top of your physical training, nutrition and overall wellness.  I bumped into a buddy in the gym who I had not seen for a while. He fell off the fitness wagon and gained a few pounds. His uniform is not quite fitting so well right now.

Resolutions do not work and I will not make you read a column about setting goals and making resolutions. In my humble opinion it’s a waste of time.  So let’s discuss some simple things you can do to change your behaviors and habits to make this year different and better.

1) Get involved: Every department needs a cheer leader, an advocate, a role model.  Lead by example. Get ALL officers to go through 5 minutes of pre-shift stretching every day.  No more ‘bad foods’ in-house; have healthy snacks instead of sugary snacks and drinks. Little things make a big difference.

2) Change behavior: Some studies indicate that it takes a person up to 21 days to establish a new routine and to train behavior.  Bottom line, stick with it. 

3) Peer pressure: The academy PT training is successful because you are feeding off the energy and pull of your fellow recruits, and the DI yelling at you did not hurt your motivation either.  Find a buddy or partner to train with. The sheer knowledge of having someone waiting for you at the gym or track will keep you going.

4) Write it down:  A plan goes a long way toward staying motivated.  In professional strength and conditioning we plan the year out in cycles that involve various intensities and methods of conditioning called mesocycles, macrocycles, microcycles etc.  Essentially this means plan your workout in logical phases.

Phase 1: 30 days of power and strength movements with reps no higher than 10 and no lower than 5.  Exercises like rows, squats, hang cleans, pull ups, dumbbell presses fit in during this phase.

Phase 2: 30 days of total body / functional training involving complex movements with no more than 45 seconds of rest between sets, reps in the 15-10 range and some good old 3 minute cardiovascular intervals thrown in.  Exercises like cable row/press, squat presses, squat rows, plank rows and plank presses are perfect in this pahse.

Phase 3:  30 days of high intensity tactical type movements, all full body utilizing bands, bars, cables, kettle bells, ropes and playgrounds.  Yes playgrounds, see for yourself how we roll during phase 3.

Phase 4: repeats at phase 1. By following this type of plan we are able to constantly push and elicit change in the body while not getting board and not overtraining.

Diet: Lets deploy the KISS (keep it simple stupid) method for this section. 

  • Eat 5-6 small meals a day, keep the portions small and measured.  Eat half of what you would normally eat; it’s just that simple!
  • Prepare your foods and bring them with you to work, always eat a carb and protein together, never alone.
  • Stay hydrated at all costs!  In the bathroom every 75-90 minutes and WATER is your beverage of choice.
  • Eat more veggies.  One of the primary reasons Americans are sick, overweight, unhealthy and unfit is the sheer lack of healthy and healing foods we eat.  Green leafy and dark veggies are loaded with nutrients, fiber and all the good stuff you need to improve wellness and heal.

So there it is: 5 very simple tricks to keep you moving forward in 2012 toward your fitness and wellness goals.  Consistency is the key to it all. Without a plan and without executing the plan it just won’t work.  Write down your plan and follow it.  Nothing in life is achieved without effort, practice and consistency so stay the course and reap the numerous benefits and rewards it brings.  Stay tuned as we bring this column into the New Year with some cutting edge workouts and great fitness routines!


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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