firefighter workout | firefighter fitness










Fitness Professionals from around the world gathered at the Bellingham Athletic Club on March 18th and 19th to participate in the TACFIT Field Instructor Certification Course.  This 2-day course includes intense physical training and class room discussion designed to improve and evaluate coaching skills.  Each candidate seeking certification is required to demonstrate proficiency in technique for each TACFIT exercise, but more importantly they must demonstrate the ability to coach their athletes through high intensity physical training safely.

firefighter workout | firefighter fitness

Scott Sonnon, TACFIT creator and RMAX CEO, delivers the course curriculum.  Coach Sonnon is assisted by TACFIT Division Chiefs Alberto Galazzi, Christian Carson, and Ryan Provencher, and TACFIT Team Leader Angela Fisher.   Day one starts out with the “TACFIT Qualifier” pre-test.  This is a 30-minute high intensity workout featuring 6 different body weight exercises.  Each exercise is performed as fast as technique allows for 20 seconds followed by a 10 second recovery period.  This interval is performed 8 times followed by a 60 second recovery period for each of the 6 exercises.  The candidate records the lowest number of repetitions for the exercise and heart rate between each exercise.  The sum of low scores for each exercise and the average heart rate for the training session is posted on the grease board.

Candidates spend the rest of the morning discussing coaching psychology and exercise physiology with Coach Sonnon.  Here are just a few of the key points:

  •  A good coach will take the athlete to the limits of their conditioning, but not beyond.
  • A good coach will provide a technique regression if fatigue prevents the athlete from maintaining good form.
  • A good coach will optimize recovery during the training session and between training sessions.
  • A good coach does not “cheer” for their athlete during training, but uses subtle cues to guide the athlete through the training session.
  • A good coach does not “drive” the athlete into pain and injury, but protects them as they train near maximum heart rate.


The philosophy here is that more work, more often will not optimize athletic performance.  Good coaching and proper recovery from high intensity training will optimize athletic performance while preventing injury.

firefighter workout | firefighter fitness

The candidates focused on exercise technique and 5 different training protocols for the remainder of the course as they assumed the role of “athlete” and “coach” for each protocol.  Each individual is evaluated on their ability to perform each exercise at moderate to high intensity with proper technique and their ability to use coaching ques to optimize athletic performance while protecting the athlete from injury.

At the end of day two, the candidates performed the “TACFIT Qualifier” post-test.  The post-test utilizes the same exercises and training protocol as the pre-test.  The sum of low scores for each exercise and the average heart rate for the training session is posted on the grease board next to the pre-test scores.  The results were quite interesting:

  •  14 candidates completed the pre-test and the post-test
  • The average number of repetitions for the group increased by 5
  • The average heart rate for the group decreased by 6 beats per minute


How is it possible that the candidates actually performed better with less effort after two full days of physical training?


The answer to that question is simple:


The candidates were forced to utilize proper technique, no matter how fatigued they were for each and every exercise.  They became much more efficient with their movement and they were not “leaking” power.


The candidates were encouraged to coordinate breathing with movement.  Breathing became effortless as movement drove the breath.

Cognitive Function

The candidates were required to “be present” during each training session as they counted and recorded their own repetitions and heart rate.  This requires laser like focus when performing near maximum heart rate.

When the candidates performed their post-test, they were not told to make these adjustments.  They naturally incorporated these skills into their movement after 2 full days of training.

This was a grueling two days both physically and mentally for each candidate.  This certification is not earned by just showing up.  The candidates must meet the physical requirements and demonstrate skill as a coach to become certified as a TACFIT Field Instructor.


Check out the video:


We are currently developing a TACFIT Fire Fighter Instructor Certification for 2014.  Stay tuned!