Firefighter fitness success depends on our attitude, personal accountability, and action. But when it comes to working out, we all know that the most common barrier is lack of motivation. Nearly every firefighter agrees that being fit for duty is a fundamental requirement of the job. Although it would appear that this core tenet of firefighting would be enough motivation to make our fitness a priority, reality says otherwise.
Wherever you are in your fitness journey, all of us will experience times when we just feel like sitting on the couch and watching T.V. instead of exercising. So, how do we find the motivation to break through this feeling of complacency? Here are 5 simple tips that will motivate you to get up and get moving.
#1 – Exercise When the Timing is Right
Work out when you are most motivated to work out. There are no rules that dictate when you should exercise. You will get the most benefit from your workouts when you are mentally and emotionally “in the game.” Some of us like to exercise in the morning, some in the afternoon, and others are most motivated at night. Do what works best for you and your schedule.
#2 – Add Variety to Your Workouts
Incorporate variety into your workout regimen. Use a combination of standard exercise equipment, firefighting equipment, bodyweight exercises, as well as cardio, flexibility, stability, and plyometric training to keep your workouts fresh and well-rounded. Whatever you choose to do, make sure that they are functional and improve your performance as a firefighter.
#3 – Push Yourself with Positive Peer Pressure
Work out with a friend or a group. If at the firehouse, work out as an entire crew. This goes a long way towards building camaraderie and teamwork.
Set up specific times to meet with your workout partner(s). This fosters positive peer pressure and allows less leeway for backing out. Also, encourage them when they need it, and let them push you when you need the extra motivation.
#4 – Use Your Strengths as Motivation
Let your fitness strengths motivate you. Everyone has an exercise or routine that “fires you up.” Remember, your strengths are what got you to where you are now, so don’t ignore them. Use them to keep moving forward while you make an effort to improve on your weaknesses.
#5 – Enjoy Some Rest and Relaxation
Every so often, take a week off. There are both physical and mental benefits to this—It allows for a full body “reset” physically, and it keeps us from becoming either burned-out or bored of a particular regimen.
Staying motivated is no easy task. At the end of the day, we are still human. No matter how committed we are, we have our good days and bad days. But the bottom line is, being physically fit is critical for all firefighters. It is up to each and every one of us to set the example and lift each other up.