Synopses & Reviews
Chapter OneThe Early Days
Working out had always been a way of life for me, so when I began training specifically for the physical aptitude and endurance segment of the New York City firefighters' entrance exam, I didn't have to make that big of an adjustment in my regimen. I set up most of the test events in my parents' backyard and began preparing for the grueling test with the enthusiasm and discipline of an Olympic athlete. My preparation included an obstacle course with an eight-foot wall, a one-mile run, and a 150-pound dummy that had to be carried up a flight of stairs, among other events. I spent many hours preparing for that big day, and it paid off. It was something I really wanted, and I was (and still am) willing to work for it. Thirty thousand people took that test, and fewer than four thousand were actually hired.
What separated the top 10 percent from everyone else were the desire, discipline, and knowledge to get into the kind of shape demanded of a New York City firefighter. If you want to get into shape you face a similar (albeit less grueling) challenge. The desire and discipline must come from you. You've got to reach way down inside yourself and decide what is important in your life right now. Start by asking yourself: "Are a few hours a week worth having a stronger, healthier, leaner body, ?" If you're really serious about looking and feeling better, the answer will be a loud and Clear, "Yes!"
The Benefits of Exercise
If you can devote four hours a week, you can give yourself the body you've always dreamed of having. Although you might not need the strength and stamina of a firefighter in everyday life, the methods described in this book can still be applied to you. The benefits will be quite the same, and I'll touch on some of those benefits now.
Increased Strength, Endurance, and Lean Muscle Mass
For the firefighter, the benefits here are obvious. Carrying heavy equipment to the scene of a fire or up many flights of stairs while clad in suffocating, insulated clothing and then being required to perform at full capacity puts tremendous demands of strength and endurance on the human body. For the average individual, life's everyday tasks get easier. Packages begin to feel lighter, and there is suddenly a spring in your step. Your clothes begin to fit differently, and people ask what you've been doing to look so good. Fat melts away, and missing the elevator and taking the stairs doesn't seem like such a big deal any more. Once you get used to this new stronger you, you'll never want to go back.
Worth a mention here is the factthat a strong, lean body is also more efficiently able to cool itself down and warm itself up, making you less susceptible to the ravages of extreme heat or cold. This is absolutely crucial for the working firefighter but also is very important to all Americans, because extremes of temperatures are not uncommon in this country. The trend toward global warming can only worsen this in the years ahead, placing a lot of added stress on the body, especially as we age.
Increased Flexibility, Range of Motion, Balance, and Coordination
Flexibility training combined with strength and endurance work also increases athletic performance and circulation, delivering more vital nutrients to the cells of the body. Balance, posture, and body awareness are all enhanced.
Reduced Cholesterol, Triglycerides, Blood Pressure, Body Fat, and Risk of Disease
The leading cause of line-of-duty death for firefighters across the country is heart attack. While tragic bums and other serious injuries have taken the lives of many brave firefighters, cardiovascular incidents account for almost half ofall job-related fatalities. According to an article in the July 1999 issue of Fire Engineering Magazine, of the 91 on-duty firefighter deaths across the country in 1998, 39 were the result of heart attacks. We perform our job under the most arduous conditions, enduring high heat and oxygen-deficient environments. Compound this with an intense level of mental stress, and you can see the importance of keeping the cardiovascular system in tip-top shape.
Heart disease is also the leading cause of death for the general public, and what most of us don't realize is that we all endure and react to extreme...
The demands of being a firefighter can be quite high. Firefighters are called upon to perform at peak capacity under the most arduous conditions. Being physically fit can mean the difference between life and death for them or the victims they race to save. New York City fire captain and personal trainer Michael Stefano has come to the rescue with The Firefighter's Workout Book
, the thirty-minute-a-day, train-for-life program that's worked for New York City firefighters and will work for you.
The Firefighter's Workout Book covers all aspects of health and fitness, including strength, cardiovascular, and flexibility training. Captain Michael Stefano shows how spending long hours at the gym is unnecessary or even counterproductive. Step-by-step instruction, interspersed with motivational stories based on Stefano's experience as a firefighter, will leave you burning for more.
The workout routines can be tailored to fit individual needs. The illustrated exercise guide features photos of New York City firefighters. You will learn how to stay motivated, set reasonable, attainable goals, and chart your own progress to ensure results. A simple, easy-to-follow nutrition plan is also offered.
The firefighter's workout is a real-life approach to a very common problem: staying in good physical condition with a minimal amount of time and available equipment. With the tools and knowledge provided by The Firefighter's Workout Book, you'll be able to rise above these obstacles to get in the best condition of your life.
About the Author
Michael Stefano, a captain in the New York City Fire Department as well as a certified personal trainer, has been working with New York City firefighters in the field of exercise and fitness for the past eighteen years. His successful training programs have helped New York's bravest to rise above the challenges and extreme physical demands of firefighting. Using the same principles that worked for firefighters, Michael Stefano has also developed safe and effective exercise routines for the general population. As captain, he is directly responsible for the safety and efficiency of his unit and has been recognized by the department four times for acts of heroism. He lives on Long Island, New York.