I'm sure that most people in the today's fire service would agree; it's vital for a firefighter maintain an adequate level of fitness throughout his or her career. Simply passing a one-time entrance exam is not enough.
When getting ready for a CPAT or other entry-level test, there's usually plenty of willpower and drive available to keep you training hard. But, the months and years pass and we all know how motivation has a way of gradually fading over time.
But punishing yourself with guilt and anger when you temporarily fall off the fitness wagon is a sure-fire way to sabotage any exercise or weight loss program. So is attempting to do too much too soon. Gradual changes that spark a positive reaction, a reward if you will, can create effortless and long lasting adjustments to your daily routine that will produce dramatic results. No guilt, no punishment, no berating yourself for a missed workout or having a little desert.
More simply put, with a routine that incorporates some form of positive reinforcement, you can train yourself to workout more efficiently and with less resistance while making it easier to stick to a healthy diet. If approached correctly, the speed at which you'll progress will astonish.
You'll also need to know what, for your level of fitness and current goals, constitutes a perfect workout. Don't just dive in blindly, save hours and hours of wasted effort by zeroing in on exactly what you need do to get in shape. When approached correctly, you'll be surprised how little time it takes. For a great workout, click here (www.firefightersworkout.com).
You must get past one small obstacle. The naturally occurring positive reinforcement (a fit and healthy body) that's associated with exercise has a built in delay before the reinforcing event actually occurs. It may take some weeks or months to see real physical changes, and by that time you might have already lost some of your motivation to keep going. The fitness industry banks on the fact that most people will pay for a yearly membership, but due to lack of motivation never get past the first month or two.
If the reward arrived immediately everyone would stick with the program and wind up incredibly fit. You do a set and BAM, you're body snaps into super shape. Skip a meal, and PRESTO, your butt shrinks three inches. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. The positive reinforcement or reward that does occur is delayed, and some form of substitute reward needs to be artificially inserted in one of three ways.
The concept is simple. With every set, or at various intervals during a cardio workout, praise yourself for a job well done. But before any real praise can occur, you need to develop a mindset that permits effective positive reinforcement through self-praise.
When you enter the gym or jump on the treadmill leave all negativity about your exercise program behind. No matter what shape you're in, you'll be better off after you complete this session; one step closer to the body you want. Sit quietly for a minute or two, take a few long, deep breaths and think about what you'll be doing over the next twenty or thirty minutes. See yourself successfully going through the motions of your workout with perfect form and attention to detail, thereby pulling the most from each move.
Develop one or two key praise words that you'll use when your set or segment of a cardio workout is completed. Immediately at the point, say the selected word either softly or to yourself. A simple atta-boy or good-girl, works nicely. You could also use great set, yes, or any other word or phrase that appeals to you. Just be sure to say it with genuine enthusiasm or it will have little effect.
Many diet and exercise programs already have scheduled rewards built right in. For example, a diet plan that allows you to eat whatever you want one day each week (nothing more than a weekly reward) falls into this category. This also applies to the desert you allow yourself after a particularly grueling workout.