How many times have you heard us stress the importance of routine and staying on track? It’s everything to a healthy lifestyle. Working out regularly, eating wholesome meals and getting enough sleep are the three main ingredients to good health. But if you’re a firefighter who works long hours, the idea of routine takes on a whole new meaning.
“I work 48-72 hour shifts (2-3 consecutive days) depending on staffing levels for the days,” Firefighter Mario Ienni, Southern California
When a firefighter enters the fire academy, he or she has to be in a fighting fit condition. Training and testing is a rigorous six-month program that not only tests your fitness level but also your capacity for handling the stressful demands of the job. When the fire alarm goes off at three in the morning, it’s enough to rattle anybody’s nerves. So fitness for a firefighter goes way beyond the physical. They need to be mentally fit too.
Feed your body, feed your mind
On the job, this physical and mental fitness is constantly tested. Working irregular shifts with little sleep, the adrenaline rush of fighting fires, pushing your body to the limits under the load of heavy equipment and breathing apparatus requires an heroic level of fitness that needs an heroic kind of meal plan. The fire station canteen food, the greasy take-out menus planted everywhere, the tempting vending machine, none of this is good enough to fuel a firefighter.
As the Health and Wellness Coordinator for the whole fire department, Mario is in a position to change the way firefighters approach diet and fitness. He told us:
I’m bringing in functional stability training, a nutritionist and hoping to have all of my engines outfitted with some type of Fitmark bag to carry nutritional snacks as recovery aids after a fire.
But he’s doing more than that, he’s also a great role model to his brothers and sisters in the fire department:
Consistency is what keeps me on schedule. My work shifts start at 7 am. I’m usually in the gym at our fire station by 4:30 am till 6:45 am. I weight train and do cardio prior to my shift. My first meal is at 7 am. During our busy days at work, getting in 6 meals every 2-3 hours can be challenging. Carrying my food in my diet and meal management bag with me everywhere helps.
What does a firefighter like Mario carry in his Fitmark bags?
I typically take 18 meals to work for the three days I’m there. The Shield is a life saver and is great for transporting my food from home to work. When I’m out in the field working emergency calls, the Shield fits perfectly in my equipment cabinet on the fire engine. I have at least 3 to 4 meals with me, kept fresh and cool.
Staying on track is so much simpler when you have the right bag. Each of our diet and meal management bags comes with seal-tight containers to keep your meals fresh and ready to eat anywhere, anytime. Mario uses his to portion out his meals and macros for the day:
Each Fitmark meal container contains at least 7-8 ounces of protein from chicken, 99% ground turkey, 96/4 ground beef or tilapia. Also each meal varies on carbs but typically 25-50 grams jasmine rice, fresh veggies or oatmeal.
Even if your schedule does seem impossible, it’s easy to stay on track and eat healthy when you carry your meals with you.
Sport Your Lifestyle
The Fitmark Team