In 2009, we facilitated the first “TACFIT Challenge” for firefighters in Whatcom County. Compliance was measured on a ten-point scale. Completing the daily workout was worth four points and eating healthy meals throughout the day was worth six points. A perfect day was worth ten points total. Points were subtracted for missing workouts, consuming foods or beverages with a high sugar content, alcoholic beverages, etc. The goal was to average eight points per day over an eight-day period (eighty percent compliance). Firefighters who scored seventy percent or above with their compliance had significant increases in the following physical attributes:
- Greatest Weight Loss: 11 pounds (Average – 1.4 pounds)
- Largest Fat Loss: 9 pounds (Average – 2.3 pounds)
- Largest Body Fat Percentage Reduction: – 4.3% (Average -1%)
- Largest 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)
Fire fighters also reported significant increases in:
Firefighters noted increased range of motion and better overall body movement 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.
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. Fire fighters must work through the discomfort of the many physical, mental and emotional stressors that we face on the job. It is paramount that we retain cognitive function, mental acuity and fine motor skills under stress. (Please note that we are differentiating between discomfort associated with intense exercise and pain associated with physical injury.)
The fire fighters 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 fire fighters to maximize work time on one SCBA bottle, it also prepares us to handle the extreme physical stressors placed on the body during fire fighting operations.
The number one killer in the fire service is heart disease. The number one injury is back injury, followed by ankle strains and sprains. 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.
TACFIT was designed as a group fitness program. Each program has four levels of sophistication that can be applied with all fitness levels. Progression is built into the program. Delta level is designed for those new to TACFIT, Gamma level is for those who have been following the program for a several weeks, Beta level is for those conditioned to TACFIT, and Alpha level is for highly conditioned athletes. Fire fighters
rely on teamwork in all that we do. We work together, we eat together, and we train together. TACFIT allows us to exercise together in a way that builds camaraderie and encourages us to do our best, regardless of differences in fitness levels within our team.
Few people have ninety minutes a day to work out, and fire fighters are no different. In an environment where we are expected to do more with less, TACFIT provides a comprehensive work out in only 30 minutes.
We are planning to replicate these results on a world wide scale. The TACFIT Fire Fighter “95-Day First Alarm Challenge” begins on April 16th.
Register now by sending the following information to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Team Name
- Team Members
- Team Captain
- Team Location
Join us as we take our firefighter fitness to the next level!