Resolve to Stay Fit: 4 Steps Firefighters Can Take to Stay Healthy During the Pandemic & Beyond

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our world as first responders. We respond differently to calls, our PPE has changed drastically and our stress levels have increased. Now, more than ever, we need to focus on our own health and fitness so we can better service our communities.

Staying fit, especially during a pandemic is not an easy task. But there are some actions you can take to ensure you stay fit and healthy during these unsettling times.

Watch this video to learn four steps firefighters and EMTs can use to prioritize health and fitness and make lasting, positive change during the coronavirus epidemic.


Here’s a quick review:

Step 1 – Create Your New “Healthy” Normal

COVID-19 has disrupted our daily schedules and the way we normally operate, not just on calls but in our homes as well. In the past you worked out at your gym and ate meals according to your work and school schedule. Now, that schedule is disrupted and changed. Now, you may not have access to a gym. Now, you have to home school your kids. Now, the kitchen and fridge are very accessible.

This disruption can and possibly has led to unhealthy habits and missed workouts. Create a new healthy schedule and normal for yourself. If you normally worked out at 3 pm in the gym, find a program you can do at home instead. If you normally packed and prepared meals the night before, go back to doing that. If you find yourself in the fridge all the time, create a structured eating schedule and stay out of the kitchen when you are bored.

Step 2 – Set a New Fitness Goal

Weddings, reunions, fun runs and adventure events have been delayed and postponed and with that so has your fitness goal. If you were training for a special event that is no longer viable, find a new goal to motivate you. If you have not been consistent with workouts, set a goal to work out 12 times in the next month. If your uniform is fitting a little tighter, set a goal to get into that smaller size. COVID-19 can cancel events and meetings, but it does not have to squash your motivation. Create a goal that motivates you and go for it!

Step 3 – Stay Positive

Optimism is contagious; unfortunately so is pessimism. So, make a conscious choice to stay positive—do not focus on what you can’t do, focus on what you still can do. This positive thought process will spill into every aspect of your life, especially fitness. There is no such thing as a bad workout. There will be times that you do not want to work out, but think about how much better your feel, think and act after a workout—even a “bad” one.

Step 4- Position Yourself for Success

It’s common for us to sabotage our fitness progress with temptations. Since we are at home and probably under more stress than usual, we tend to have tempting foods and projects that can sidetrack our focus. If you are getting sidetracked with sweets, do not have them around the house. If your workouts are getting sidetracked by house projects, make sure to do workouts early in the day before you get started. If you normally had a gym buddy to keep you on track, find a way to hold each other accountable virtually. Now is the perfect time to cook more healthy foods, do yoga, exercise with the family and create healthy habits.

It’s critical for firefighters to keep up with their fitness and nutrition during this crisis. Stay positive, stay healthy, stay fit and we will get through this!

Questions or feedback? Contact me at #GETFRF

Aaron Zamzow

AARON ZAMZOW is a firefighter/training officer for Madison (Wisconsin) Fire Department with 20 years of experience as a fitness trainer and host of the Better Every Shift podcast. He holds a bachelor’s degree in health and wellness as well as a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certification. He is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist, an NASM certified personal trainer and an ACE-certified peer fitness trainer. Zamzow is the founder and owner of and develops programs aimed at getting fire rescue athletes fit for duty. He authored the book "Ladder 2 Workout: A Comprehensive Firefighter Workout Program that will get you 'Fit for Duty' in 28 days." Connect with Zamzow on Twitter at @GetFRFit, on Facebook at Fire Rescue Fitness or at

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