Roadmap to Getting in Shape and Getting Hired as a Firefighter

Physical fitness and how to become a firefighter

Physical fitness is a cornerstone of the Firefighting profession. It is something that you’ll need to take seriously and incorporate into your daily routine in order to be the ideal candidate and become a Firefighter. Being a Firefighter means you’ll have to be able to complete a variety of physically demanding tasks. 


The high-intensity tasks range from forcing entry and advancing hoselines, to throwing ladders and ventilating the roof; a Firefighter must be able to do it all, and have gas left in the tank for whatever job comes next. Here are some habits that can lead you down the right path for your physical fitness as you prepare to become a firefighter.


Build Good Habits

Good habits are the key to success. No matter where your aim is fixed, having good habits will help you get a little better everyday and get one step closer to reaching your ultimate goal.

  • Wake up early. There are a number of benefits to waking up early. Making this part of your daily routine will help give your day purpose and give you some uninterrupted time in the morning to get the day started right. Wake up 30-60 minutes before you normally would if you were going to just roll out of bed and start your day. Take this time to make a plan for the rest of the day. Then capitalize on your motivation by knocking out some simple tasks like: making your bed, getting some quick exercise or stretching, or meditating. Completing small tasks like these in the morning will give you momentum to accomplish larger tasks throughout the day.

  • Hydrate all day. Water is an essential element for keeping the human body operating at maximum capacity. Without water, a person will experience fatigue, difficulty focusing, and increased heart rate while at rest. Needless to say, drinking plenty of water is necessary for optimized physical performance. 

  • Exercise everyday. Daily exercise is known to boost energy and improve your mood due to the release of endorphins. Making exercise a part of your daily routine will improve not just brain health, but physical health too. Daily exercise drastically decreases the likelihood of cardiac disease, lung disease, and cancer. Firefighters, as a whole, are exposed to many threats to their health while on the job. Since daily exercise can help combat these factors, it is important to make it part of your daily routine sooner rather than later.

  • Eat healthy food. Let’s start this section off with the disclaimer that I am not a nutritionist. However, if the food you’re eating comes in a package or a plastic wrapper, it’s probably not good for you.  At the very least, prepackaged and processed foods are high in added sugar, fat, and sodium, which can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. This is not to say that you can’t enjoy the occasional twinkie, but you need to understand that your physical performance on the job is directly related to the food that you put in your body. You will need the proper fuel if you expect to be able to carry out the multitude of high intensity tasks required of a Firefighter. Make good choices and reach for whole foods like: fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains.  These foods will help you operate at your best and be ready for whatever happens on the fireground.

  • Get quality sleep. Sleep is necessary for an individual’s overall health. Making the right choices throughout the day by exercising and eating healthy, only go so far if they are not combined with an adequate amount of quality sleep. Most sleep studies recommend 7-9 hours of sleep in order to give the body and brain enough time to recover from the workload of the previous day. Sleep is even more important when you are preparing for a potentially high-stress environment, like you will experience as a Firefighter. Getting enough sleep will improve your mental and physical abilities, and aid you in being successful in building good daily habits.


The Takeaway

Make good choices and be accountable. Your success in this career is solely dependent on the choices you make. The habits you build today will carry through the rest of your career. Start making good choices now with daily exercise, a healthy diet, and plenty of sleep. Stick to that framework and the results will follow.