Will TACFIT Fire Fighter First Alarm Work For You?
We have discussed at great length the importance of comprehensive and specific fitness programing for firefighters. We have talked about the increased risk in the firefighter population for cardiovascular disease and sudden cardiac death. We have listed many ways in which TACFIT Fire Fighter: First Alarm has been designed to fill a void that exists in the Fire Service.
How do you know that this program will work for you?
We are confident in this program because we have spent years developing and beta testing on ourselves and fellow firefighters. It was designed to deliver very specific results. It is clear that every single person that participated in the program as designed experienced great success. This program will change your body, your performance, and your life!
Take a look at the results of the study that we conducted in Whatcom County:
The Whatcom County TACFIT Study
Bellingham Fire Department and North Whatcom Fire and Rescue each conducted an informal study using the TACFIT program with similar results. Bellingham has 137 firefighters in its department. Sixty expressed interest in TACFIT, 40 participated sporadically, 20 maintained 60 percent compliance with the program, and 11 had 70 percent or higher compliance for the entire 108 days. The average age of the 11 firefighters with more than 70 percent compliance was 41 years old. There were nine males and two females.
Compliance was measured on a 10-point scale. Points were awarded for participating in the daily workout and eating healthy meals throughout the day. Firefighters who scored 70 percent or higher with their compliance had significant increases in the following physical attributes:
- Greatest Weight Loss: 11 pounds (Average 1.4 pounds)
- Greatest Fat Loss: 9 pounds (Average 2.3 pounds)
- Greatest Body Fat Percentage Reduction: 4.3% (Average 1%)
- Greatest Lean Body Mass Gain: 5 pounds (Average +1 pound)
- Greatest Push-Up Increase: 20 reps (Average + 4 reps)
- Greatest Pull-Up Increase: 9 reps (Average + 4 reps)
- Greatest VO2 Max (aerobic capacity) Increase: 4.9 ml/kg/min (Average +1.73 ml/kg/min)
- Greatest Reduction in Abdominal Circumference: – 2.25 inches (Average −1.2 inches)
Firefighters also reported significant increases in the following areas:
Mobility: Firefighters noted increased range of motion and better body movement overall after completing the program. The joint mobility warm-up, multi-planar exercises, and the compensatory movements all contribute to increased mobility and decreased pain. Improved mobility will assist in injury prevention and performance on the job when faced with physically demanding situations.
Mental Toughness: Participants expressed an increase in “mental toughness.” They were able to push themselves harder mentally as their training progressed. TACFIT takes you to the edge of your physical limits and teaches you to work through them. The mantra “if you can, you must” pushes you forward. Firefighters must work through the discomfort of the many physical, mental, and emotional stressors we face on the job. It is paramount that we retain cognitive function, mental acuity, and fine motor skills under stress. (Please note we are differentiating between discomfort associated with intense exercise and pain associated with physical injury.)
Work Capacity: The firefighters participating in the study had significant increases in aerobic capacity (VO2 Max), as well as increased muscular strength and endurance. This enhanced our ability to work near maximal heart rate, recover quickly, and continue working. This is critical during emergency operations. Not only does improved work capacity allow firefighters to maximize work time on one self-contained breathing apparatus bottle, it also prepares us to handle the extreme physical stressors placed on the body during firefighting operations.
Injury Prevention: The number one killer in the fire service is heart disease. Back injuries, as well as strains and sprains, are also common impairments for firefighters. TACFIT addresses all of these issues, and more, by providing comprehensive training. Improvements in metabolic conditioning, expressible strength through a greater range of motion, core strength, and joint mobility are all attributes that lead to injury prevention and improved heart health.
Teamwork: TACFIT was designed as a group fitness program. Each protocol has a variety of exercise options to meet the needs for all fitness levels. Firefighters rely on teamwork in all that we do. We work together, we eat together, and we train together. TACFIT allows us to exercise in a way that builds camaraderie and encourages us to do our best, regardless of differences in fitness levels within our team.
Efficiency: Few people have 90 minutes a day to work out, and firefighters are no different. In an environment where we are expected to do more with less, TACFIT provides a comprehensive workout in only 30 minutes.
A Fire Department Wellness Coordinator Point Of View
My name is Kelly LaBounty and I am the Health and Wellness Coordinator for North Whatcom Fire and Rescue. I have been a Certified Personal Trainer for 10 years and I’ve been working with the fire department for the last six years. I have researched and worked diligently to find the safest and most efficient functional fitness programs for the men and women that I train.
Close to three years ago I was exposed to TACFIT and was instantly intrigued by this safe, effective, efficient and unique program. The comprehensive design is optimal for training firefighters. Having the privilege to be so tightly linked to the birth of the TACFIT Firefighter program has been amazing as I have had the ability to see these effective TACFIT movements and protocols grow to specifically meet the needs of those serving in the fire service. Developing exercises to increase the performance of specific firefighting duties is brilliant.
Running the Health and Wellness Department for a fire district is a balance between medical and physical testing, on the floor training, as well as all other aspects of health related issues. Part of my position is sitting on the board of our Safety Committee as well as being the liaison for any Labor and Industry injury claims. With the development of our health and wellness program, consistent medical and physical monitoring, and the implementation of amazing programs like TACFIT, and now TACFIT Fire Fighter, we are able to improve the health of our firefighters and lower our medical costs and L&I injury claims.
A program that meets the needs specifically of a fire fighter is an amazing asset to keeping our team healthy and safe to perform the rigorous duties of their job and go home to their families. I am extremely proud to be a member of such an innovative, health minded team.
What Responders Are Saying
“Thanks again Ryan and Christian for the opportunity to test drive the new Tacfit Firefighter First Alarm program during the Recruit Academy. We are only in the fifth cycle and we have already seen improvements in flexibility, strength and endurance. What I really appreciate is the fact that most of these workouts can be completed in under 30 minutes, which is ideal for the limited time to exercise we have during the Academy and on shift. Yet I feel like we worked out much longer. I also feel strongly that this regimen will improve my physical readiness for any task that’s presented to me on an emergency scene. The website interface is intuitive and easy to navigate. I look forward to completing all the cycles and meeting the challenges you two have developed in the program. Well done!”
Fire Department Training Captain
“My journey with TACFIT exemplifies in many ways what Fire Fighters are all about – helping people. When our agency (sorry we are police) needed to put together a fitness program specific to the missions we perform, like many others in need, we called Fire Fighters. Enter Christian and Ryan, and the start of my journey with TACFIT and the CST principles it is designed around. The journey has not been easy – it has required discipline and faith in the system they provided – but my results have been amazing.
I was not ‘out of shape’ when the journey started, my athletic performance was very high, performing the Crossfit WOD, cycling nearly 20 miles per day, but looking back I was a ‘fit, sick person”. Six months after starting, my flight surgeon was shocked at my annual physical by how low my resting heart rate had become since my prior physical – at the same body weight and composition. I have been relieved of injuries suffered over the years including an aircraft crash and now live pretty much pain free. More importantly, I am better able to fix the tweaks and pains that come with 40 years of athletics.
The results that most interest people are strength and performance. My core strength, quality of movement, and power in grappling, have all wound the clock backwards. Many stupid human tricks are now performed with ease. One thing I love about the program is its similarity to rock climbing. With face climbing, a route can pose a challenge and send you home without bagging it, just like the levels of skills required in TACFIT Fire Fighter. But that rock is not going anywhere – if you focus on the small gains, and concentrate not just on the workout but what it teaches you about movement and internal athleticism, you will reach the top.”
“High energy, great exposure to a life changing program. Well worth the investment”.
Fire Department Division Chief
“I didn’t know what to expect, but I was impressed with the emphasis on joint mobility and injury prevention while including strength and conditioning”.
“This is a great program that applies to all firefighter levels. It is efficient, it makes sense and can be implemented without much equipment”.
“Great program. The use of functional movements was great. Very applicable for firefighter movements. I can’t wait to apply this to work and life.”
We at TACFIT Fire Fighter have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to beta test this program on such a large scale. We have been able to approach our firefighter demographic with laser focus as we have fine tuned TACFIT Fire Fighter First Alarm.
We submitted the results of our research to Fire Engineering magazine and they published it in the health and wellness issue (December 2011). We felt a deep sense of pride and gratitude when they published the article we had written detailing the results of our Whatcom County TACFIT Study and the importance of comprehensive and specific fitness programming for firefighters.
We can’t wait to hear your success stories!
Train hard, train smart, and stay safe.
Christian and Ryan