1. #1
    Captain Mike

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    Default Fitness Advice from Mike Stefano, author FF's Workout Book, all q's answered

    Hi... This is Captain Mike Stefano, author of The Firefighter's Workout Book. I welcome all questions regarding fitness and the fire service, and I will personally respond to every one.

    I've recently retired from the FDNY and turned my attention towards physically preparing young men and women for the fire service. If you're interested (especially local FDNY candidates or those on the current list waiting to enter the fire academy) please email or visit my website for more information.

    I welcome any and all questions, and will respond in the order received.

    Stay Safe,
    Mike Stefano

    FireFightersWorkout.com
    Last edited by bravesst; 02-26-2005 at 09:01 AM.
    Michael Stefano
    Author of The Firefighter's Workout Book
    www.firefightersworkout.com

  2. #2
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    Default Cardio zone question

    I've started running in the last two months. Around the beginning of this month I started using a heart rate monitor (Before I had just been going by feel).

    I've noticed that when I run at the top end of my target heart rate zone (I'm 36, so I calculated my range at 110-165 bpm) I feel like I'm just mailing in a workout. I have been running comfortably at 175-190 bpm. This is just beyond the point that I can talk while running, but I'm hardly "sucking wind" either. I have no delayed muscle soreness after running.

    I'd say I'm generally in good health (I had a stress test as part of my fire department physical in January). How can I tell if I'm pushing too hard, if I need to rule out a medical condition, or if I'm just on the high side of the norm?
    ullrichk
    a.k.a.
    perfesser

    a ship in a harbor is safe. . . but that's not what ships are for

  3. #3
    Captain Mike

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    Lightbulb

    Cardio Zone Question

    According to Covert Bailey (in his book, Smart Exercise), at least one third of the population doesn't fit into the '220 minus age' formula to calculate maximum heart rate and your target heart rate zone (60% to 90% of max). Your choices are to find out what your maximum really is, which can be dangerous, or use another method to determine your 'zone'.

    Most professional trainers use a version of the Rating of Percieved Exertion (RPE) and/or Talk Test Method in combination with heart rate. In my book, I discuss the latter.

    You're training aerobically when you can speak about three syllables without requiring an inbreath but still can't carry on a full conversation. Try singing the first three words of the Star Spangled Banner (Oh, say can --- inhale). This test doesn't lie.

    RPE is a little more complicated but equally accurate. Each level of intensity is assigned a numerical value. The scale runs from 6 to 20 with 14 to 16 considered 'somewhat hard', which is smack right in the middle of your target heart rate zone (75% max heart rate). Less than 14 is sub-aerobic (less than 60%), and over 16 is on your way to maximal effort or greater than 90% of heart rate capacity.

    For more information on aerobic fitness, rating of perceived exertion, and other hard to find fitness info for firefighters and their families, please check out my website (www.firefightersworkout.com).

    I hope this helps,
    Captain Mike
    Last edited by bravesst; 02-27-2005 at 08:30 AM.
    Michael Stefano
    Author of The Firefighter's Workout Book
    www.firefightersworkout.com

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    Default Power vs. Endurance

    Capt. Stefano-
    While weight training, is it better to train for power or endurance on core exercises like bench, squat and deadlift for a general program? If one is better than the other should the supplemental exercises be done for the other (ex- if you bench for power should you do flies for endurance)? Also what is your opinion of interval training for cardio?

    Chris

  5. #5
    Captain Mike

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    Lightbulb

    Hi Chris,

    Great question! Whether weight-training for a CPAT or real job performance, it's generally better (and safer) to work more for endurance, utilizing PERFECT FORM on most sets. Developing explosive power can be a lot riskier, and needs to be approached only after a solid foundation of strength and flexibility have been achieved.

    Interval training, or wind sprints, more closely mimic the way firefighters actually operate on the fireground (short, intense bursts), but should be limited to once per week.

    I hope this answers your questions,
    Captain Mike
    http://www.firefightersworkout.com
    mytrainer@firefightersworkout.com
    Michael Stefano
    Author of The Firefighter's Workout Book
    www.firefightersworkout.com

  6. #6
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    Default

    Capt.Mike, I've been away from fh forums for a while. It's good to see you posting here.We see 100s' of posts on lights,whackers,etc but seem to avoid the area that kills the most of our people on a yearly basis.The fitness of our f/f has always been a concern to me. I started aprogram at our local high school to give our f/f access to gym and cardio equipment. It started out well, but as they say,"you can lead a horse to water...you know the rest.

  7. #7
    Captain Mike

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    Thumbs up

    You're 100% right! Most well-intentioned programs fall by the wayside after a few weeks or months. I found that by reducing exercise to its absolute basics, eliminating any unnecessary, or "trendy" type of stuff, is what saves time, gets results, and keeps 'em coming back.

    Thanks for your great feedback,
    Mike Stefano
    FireFightersWorkout.com
    Michael Stefano
    Author of The Firefighter's Workout Book
    www.firefightersworkout.com

  8. #8
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    Default

    How would you rate swimming as an excersize to prepare for a CPAT ?
    What kind of swimming excersizes would you recommend ?

  9. #9
    Captain Mike

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    Default

    Swimming can provide a great full body workout, as well challenge cardiovascular endurance training. However, I don't feel it's the BEST exercise to train for the average C-PAT. Weight bearing exercise, both cardio and resistance, will more closely mimic C-PAT conditions. But as an adjunct to an otherwise weight bearing program, swimming makes good sense.

    The rules of target heart rate zone still apply, but reduce heart requirements by 10 bpm while submerged in water.

    I hope that helps,
    Mike
    Michael Stefano
    Author of The Firefighter's Workout Book
    www.firefightersworkout.com

  10. #10
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    Default Circuit Training

    Captain Stefano,

    Would it be a good idea to include circuit trainining as a part of exercise program along with regular cardio and weight training?

    If the answer is yes, what would be a good frequency to incorporate into the program?

    I really appreciate your input!!

  11. #11
    Captain Mike

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    The concept of circuit trianing was originally a method of putting together various modes of aerobic exercise (IE: bike, treadmill, stepper, etc.). It's transformed today into more of a way to turn an otherwise resistance program into a combination resistance and cardio workout.

    With that said, I am a big fan of either type. Of course, everything is goal-dependent, so if your main goal was to put on as much muscle mass as possible, circuit training would not be the best option. Under most other circumstances, combining exercises with little rest between sets is not only a great fat burner and endurance builder, but a real time saver. Something most firefighters don't have much of.

    So I guess the answer is big YES (adding circuit training), as part of, or your total resistance program. As far as frequency of exercise, just remember that each muscle (or muscle group), needs to be retrained every 48 to 96 hours.

    I hope this helps you out,
    Captain Mike
    FireFightersWorkout.com
    Michael Stefano
    Author of The Firefighter's Workout Book
    www.firefightersworkout.com

  12. #12
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    Thank your very much for your reply, Captain Stefano.

    The reasoning behind the question is that, as firefighters, we are faced with using our strength under strenuous conditions. Therefore, I was wondering that circuit training could serve as one of the methods to build muscle endurance and strength for practical use as a firefighter.

    I could also see people using firefighter combat challenge or CPAT ciruct as pratical training method. What do you think?

    Also, I would appreciate it very much if you could give examples of training that would develop strength and endurance for firefighting conditions.

    Thank you very much for your input in advance.

  13. #13
    Captain Mike

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    Another great question KHayashi,

    Circuit training can, and should, serve as one of the ways firefighters prepare themselves for the built-in extremes of the job. It can be performed safely, yet intensly, in a controlled environment.

    Stringing together three or four classic upper body high rep (15 to 20) exercises such as push-ups, lat pull downs, dumbbell pullovers, with less than a minute rest between sets is a simple example of how to turn weight-training into a very firefighter task-specific workout. Varying grips and planes of motion can increase effectiveness as well.

    Training for a combat challenge, or CPAT-type training can be great, and obviously very job-specific. But remember -- exercise in and of itself can be inherently dangersous (although a lot less dangerous than being an out of shape firefighter).

    While embarking upon an aggressive program, such as one that would prepare you for a CPAT, you need to realize the increased risk of injury that comes with this type of added intensity and lack of total control. Exercise of this type needs to be built up to gradually.

    Thanks again for the great question!
    Stay Safe,
    Mike Stefano
    FireFightersWorkout.com
    Michael Stefano
    Author of The Firefighter's Workout Book
    www.firefightersworkout.com

  14. #14
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    Default

    Do you have any reccomendations for a program for weight loss? Maybe something that could be done daily or every other day that isn't too time consuming (like maybe 20 minutes or so). Just something for those of us who have a few extra pounds to shed.......
    The comments made by me are my opinions only. They DO NOT reflect the opinions of my employer(s). If you have an issue with something I may say, take it up with me, either by posting in the forums, emailing me through my profile, or PMing me through my profile.
    We are all adults so there is no need to act like a child........
    IACOJ

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