By Ryan Provencher, Executive Fitness Advisor for CRACKYL Magazine
For many of us, the beginning of a new year is a great time to set new health and fitness goals. You may want to build on accomplishments from the previous year, or maybe you have experienced setbacks or challenges that you want to overcome in the year that lies ahead.
Either way, adherence to a specific nutrition and exercise plan will be important to your success, and consistency will be the foundation for your progress. Obviously, this is easier said than done in the crazy world we are living in these days. The demands placed on us at work and at home are at an all time high.
The Firefighter Peak Performance “Compliance Scoring System” was developed as a guide for daily decisions relating to nutrition and exercise based on your personal goals. This simple tool will help you to be mindful of your eating and exercise habits each day with an intentional approach that will have a big impact on your success over time.
You will begin each day with six nutrition points. Proper nutrition is essential to obtaining your optimal level of firefighter fitness. What you eat will have a direct impact on how you feel, how you look, and how you perform. If you are fully compliant with your exercise program, but you are not paying attention to what you eat, you will not reach your full potential. We have found that firefighters respond well to the “Paleo Template” for eating, but it is important that you follow a plan that is right for you.
When tracking your daily compliance for nutrition, subtract one point any time you consume:
- Foods or beverages containing sugar
- Processed foods
- Food or beverages containing gluten (Optional depending on specific goals)
- Alcoholic beverages
- Any other food or beverage that does not align with your nutrition plan
If you are fully compliant with your nutrition plan, your score for the day would be six. If you deviate from the plan with one meal or beverage, your score would be five. If you deviate from the plan with two meals or beverages, your score would be four and so on.
You will begin each day with four exercise points. A well-designed firefighter fitness program will include mobility work, strength training, metabolic conditioning, and active recovery. It is important that you have a plan to help you meet your specific goals in each of these areas. If you are having trouble finding a comprehensive firefighter fitness program, consider reaching out to a qualified Peer Fitness Trainer or Coach. Once you have a periodized training plan in place, there will be no question about the workout you will complete each day.
When tracking your daily compliance for exercise, subtract points as follows:
- Subtract four points for missing the workout
- Subtract two points for completing part of the workout
- Subtract two points for exceeding prescribed training intensity
You are encouraged to modify your workout plan to provide for more recovery as needed. If you have a rough shift at work, or increased stress at home, consider reducing the intensity of your exercise and do a more restorative routine for which you will still get full points.
If you are fully compliant with your exercise plan, your score for the day would be four. If you complete a partial workout, or creep into high intensity on a moderate or low intensity day, your score would be two. If you skip the workout entirely, your score would be zero.
Combine your nutrition score and your exercise score each day to determine your Daily Compliance Score. Calculate the average of your daily scores each week to determine your Weekly Compliance Score. The goal for each week is a score of eight or above, or 80% or above compliance with your nutrition and exercise plan.
This intentional approach to tracking your daily decisions will provide the structure that you need to stay on track, but also allows for flexibility to deviate from your plan without impeding your progress. Look at each week ahead of time and see if you can identify days or events that may pose a challenge to your compliance. Adjust your plan as needed to make sure that you hit your goals on average for the week.
The Compliance Challenge
Challenge yourself to track your compliance as outlined above for six weeks. Consider taking before and after photos, recording body composition metrics such as body weight, body fat percentage, fat weight, and lean body weight. Track progress in your workouts by keeping a journal of your daily performance.
If you want to expand the scope of this challenge beyond your personal goals, see if you can enlist your crew, your shift, or your department in some friendly competition for compliance. Firefighters are certainly a competitive bunch, and this is a fun way to “gamify” participation in nutrition and exercise programs without relying solely on performance metrics. We’ve seen departments embrace this idea as firefighters are quick to point out “minus one!” when the tray of cookies is delivered to the fire station.
Stick to your plan for compliance over the next six weeks and I’m confident that you will see amazing results!
Ryan is the Training Division Chief, Health/Safety Officer, and Wellness/Fitness Coordinator in his department, founder of Firefighter Peak Performance, and Executive Fitness Advisor for CRACKYL Magazine. He has a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science with a minor in Nutrition from Washington State University. He has worked as a Volunteer Firefighter, Firefighter/EMT, Firefighter/Paramedic, and Company Officer before promoting to his current position. Ryan is grateful to combine his love for firefighting and physical fitness over his career of nearly 30 years. You can get in touch with Ryan by email [email protected].
Contests & Promotions