Health and Wellness

Recently I read yet another article on HIIT, high intensity interval training. The author touted HIIT as the latest greatest. It is hardly that. HIIT has been around for decades, but science does continue to support the benefits and results of this type of training.
Fire fighting is a physical job, with its most valuable resource being capable manpower. Most fire departments require a test of physical fitness prior to employment, and may offer varying degrees of wellness programming for active members.
Our department has just completed a training program with our recruits. The program lasted three months, and a significant component was a daily physical workout at 7 a.m., rain or shine. Although the day’s training can be rigorous, the morning routines included runs, circuits, an obstacle course, yoga and mobility.
Firefighters’ legs carry them everywhere and do an overwhelming amount of work on fire grounds. Anyone who has hauled larger-diameter hose any distance or climbed any number of stairs is familiar with the burn in the legs and lungs. Having good leg strength and fitness is a huge help to maintaining movement at work. Watch out for the many myths and misconceptions about leg workouts, which can get in the way of improving.Activating your support muscle groups is essential to a well-performed leg exercise. Always practise good form, which will eventually become a natural movement with far lower risk of injury. As with everything we do, our cores fire first. Fitness progress is difficult without a strong core as a foundation. If your back bothers you when you do leg movements it can mean poor core strength or poor positioning. While improving core strength is straightforward, improving form can be a little more difficult or frustrating. It is crucial you do not increase the weight you lift before you overcome the obstacle. Begin every exercise by maintaining a neutral spine (rounding your back increases the likelihood of injury) – this means activating your core and glutes, as well as tracking your knees properly during the entire movement. Some people start with excellent form, but lose control as they move through an exercise, especially when lifting something heavy. If you find yourself rounding your back at the bottom of a squat, lower the weight and/or limit the range of motion until you are able to perform the exercise properly. When it comes to knee angles, the biggest myth is that you should not go below 90 degrees. Knees are designed to go beyond 90 degrees, and studies show there can be far more stress on knees and hips at lower angles than at higher angles. Do you bend your knees more than 90 degrees on the fire ground? Yes. So doesn’t it make sense to work in a safe environment beyond 90 degrees to ensure better form and strength when you are in a riskier situation? The important thing to remember is to work within your capabilities and practice. If you have a pre-existing condition you must work around it safely, but try not to use it as an excuse not to improve. As always, speaking with your physician is a good start, just remember to say you are a firefighter, not a desk worker. You should be prepared for physical work with risk. First, warm up – three to five minutes of your choice, but get warm. Next, do three to five rounds with one-minute intervals for each movement. If you need to rest during any exercise, rest only long enough to get going again. It’s better to keep moving at a slower pace rather than to stop, but if you have to stop, don’t worry, just get right back in as soon as possible.  Run – 200 metres (approximately one minute). Adjust the distance accordingly. If you are not a runner substitute with cardio movement such as skipping, stair climbing (quickly), jumping jacks or running on the spot. Air squats – Keep feet shoulder width apart and aim to get the crease of your hip below your knees. Activate your glutes and keep your knees pushed to the outside. Keep your weight on your heels. Add a light weight or jump to increase intensity. If you jump, soft, cat-like landings only. Side speed skating – Start with your weight on your left leg, lunge hop in the opposite direction, landing on your right leg and bringing the original leg swinging in behind as far as is comfortable (left foot swings in behind right leg and out to right side). Continue side-to-side movement maintaining a low, stable position, which keeps legs activated during the whole exercise. Run – 200 metres. Alternate jumping lunges – Start with one leg in front of the other, knees bent and hands on hips. Jump in the air and switch legs, lowering back knee to just above the ground. Repeat. To increase intensity, raise arms over head and jump a little higher or more quickly. Step/jump-ups (box jumps) – Use hi-vol, stairs or a box. Step from the ground and fully extend hips at the top. Increase intensity by height, weight and speed. Try using one leg for 30 seconds and switching for the last 30 seconds. Run – 200 metres. Deadlift – A minute can be a long time, so use a fairly light weight. Water jugs and hoses work fine. Start with feet shoulder width apart, a neutral spine is imperative (no rounding) and shins as vertical as possible. Activate your glutes and keep knees pressed outward as you did with your squat. Stand and return to starting position. Glute bridge – Lay on your back with one leg bent and one straight. Squeeze your glutes and press your foot on the floor, forcing the body into a raised straight bridge. Return to the ground, but don’t relax fully. Repeat one side for 30 seconds and switch legs. Run 200 metres. Sherry Dean is a career firefighter/engineer with Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency. She has more than 20 years of experience in fitness and training.  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
All firefighters should be physically ready for duty. Most departments, career and volunteer, require recruits to pass a physical test. This column is directed at those who are preparing for recruitment, but the content also applies to firefighters who wish to remain prepared for the physical demands of their jobs.
Anyone who has spent any amount of time working out has experienced boredom or lack of motivation. Don’t worry, it’s not just you. The good news is that we benefit from variety. Your body is very smart and adapts by finding easier ways to complete routine tasks. Mixing things up is ultimately an advantage and should improve your results.
I can hardly believe I have been sharing recipes, tips and cooking stories from life in the firehouse for more than six years. My first column spoke to the camaraderie and huge benefits that a platoon can experience from time spent together in the kitchen.
We have all heard the adage: a family that cooks together, stays together. As a firehouse chef for 16 years, an avid cook at home and a lover of all things food, I couldn’t agree more with this motto.There is something about meal time that brings people together. At home, meals are opportunities for family members to catch up with each other during busy days, to sit and talk without distraction and to reconnect. My wife Andrea and I value every opportunity and make it a priority to sit and enjoy meal time with our children. We love to cook together and we love to eat our creations together. This simple philosophy has built a strong and very happy family, and the reward is evident in our family’s bond. The same philosophy holds true in our fire houses. In the fire service, we pride ourselves on teamwork and unity, whether it is at an emergency scene, community event or in and around our stations. Eating and cooking is part of our firefighter culture and I have seen the immense team-building benefits that result from a platoon cooking together. When all hands are involved in the preparation of a meal, members can easily bond and feel as though they are part of a team. As with a family at home, taking the time to cook, eat and reconnect over a good meal will do your platoon a world of good.To get the biggest rewards out of cooking together you need to get your family or platoon present and involved in the kitchen, whether it is in the prep, chopping or dicing, standing by a pot stirring or mixing, or even on clean-up duty. My most-requested recipes at the fire house and at home all have one common ingredient: they are dishes that are made together. At my fire house perhaps the most-requested meal is my jalapeño kettle chip fish tacos (see recipe). This is one of my favourite meals to make and eat as well. What makes these tacos so special is, of course, the super flavourful crispy-coated fish, but now, after years of making this dish, everyone on my platoon has a hand in making a component. One member makes the pico de gallo, one makes the avocado lime crema, another makes the slaw and Sriracha aioli while a few of us coat and cook the fish. With everyone in the kitchen, we talk, laugh, joke and create something special together, and every member appreciates the process and the final product. My platoon cooks and eats together at every opportunity and I know this, in part, contributes to our strong team bond. At home the same benefits apply. During busy weeknights, my family keeps things simple, yet still takes the time to cook and eat together. Our recipe for mushroom and burrata lasagnette is well worth the minimal effort required. As I prepare the lasagnette, my wife is by my side helping to chop and prep a simple salad. Our children share our passion for cooking and are learning as I did as a boy, watching and helping my family cook. Even the smallest kitchen tasks, such as cracking eggs, measuring flour, mixing and stirring, are exciting and fun for children. Weekends and breakfast are perfect opportunities to create something special with the kids. My recipe for cheesecake pancakes is just right for young chefs in the family to lend a hand and make something they will love to eat.I encourage everyone to embrace the philosophy of families that cook together, stay together, both in your homes and fire houses. Soon the philosophy becomes habit and a way of life.Patrick Mathieu is an acting captain at Waterloo Fire Rescue in Ontario. He was recently featured in Food Network’s Chopped Canada.  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   @StationHouseCCo Jalapeño kettle chip fish tacos Jalapeño kettle chip fish tacos Mushroom and burrata lasagnette Mushroom and burrata lasagnette Cheesecake pancakes with maple peppered bacon Cheesecake pancakes with maple peppered bacon   View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.cdnfirefighter.com/index.php?option=com_k2&Itemid=34&lang=en&layout=latest&view=latest#sigProGalleria2e99a9c6f3 Jalapeño kettle chip fish tacosIngredients 1 kg (2 lbs) fresh haddock fillets or any mild whitefish 1 cup flour, seasoned with Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and Old Bay seasoning 2 eggs beaten 2 bags jalapeño kettle chips, crushed Canola or peanut oil Corn tortillas Spicy avocado lime crema Pico de gallo Sriracha aioli  - (See recipes at www.cdnfirefighter.com / health and wellness / nutrition) 1/4 head of cabbage, finely shredded Instructions Heat the oil in a deep fryer or a large deep skillet to 350 F. Set up a breading station by having a bowl for each the seasoned flour, beaten eggs and crushed kettle chips. Dust the fish pieces lightly with seasoned flour. Then dip fish into beaten eggs, then toss in the crushed kettle chips pushing down on them to make them stick. Repeat the process with the remaining fish. When your oil is hot enough, fry fish for a couple of minutes per side or until crispy and golden brown. Drain on paper towel and season with salt and pepper. When ready to serve heat the corn tortillas as per package directions. Spread the avocado lime crema on a tortilla and place fried fish on top. Add shredded cabbage and garnish with pico de gallo and Sriracha aioli. Enjoy! Cheesecake pancakes with maple peppered baconIngredients 1 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced 2 tbsp strawberry jam 2 tbsp maple syrup 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1 1/4 cup buttermilk 1/4 cup vegetable oil + 1 tbsp for cooking 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda Pinch of kosher salt 2 cups chopped frozen cheesecake 1 tbsp butter Butter, confectioners’ sugar or whipped cream, for topping (optional) Maple peppered bacon (directions below) 1 large egg Instructions Mix the strawberries, jam and maple syrup in a small pot and simmer over low heat as you prepare the pancakes. Preheat the oven to 200 F. Pulse the flour, buttermilk, egg, vegetable oil, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheesecake pieces, keeping them whole. Melt the butter and the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, pour about 1/4 cup batter into the skillet for each pancake. Cook until bubbly, about four minutes, then flip and cook until the other side is golden brown. Transfer pancakes to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Serve topped with the strawberry sauce, and top with butter, confectioners sugar or whipped cream. Maple peppered bacon: Position wire racks on two rimmed baking sheets. Lay one pound bacon in a single layer on the racks and bake seven minutes at 375 F. Brushing bacon with maple syrup and continue baking until caramelized, about 25 minutes, flipping, brushing with syrup and seasoning with pepper every five minutes. Let cool. Enjoy with the pancakes! Mushroom and burrata lasagnetteIngredients 3 tbsp unsalted butter, divided 2 tbsp olive oil, divided, plus more for brushing 1½ pounds mixed mushrooms (such as chanterelle, crimini, and oyster), cut into bite-size pieces Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper 1 large shallot, finely chopped ⅓ cup dry white wine 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves 1 cup ricotta ¼ cup heavy cream 1 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped 6 fresh pasta sheets (about 7x5 inches) or 12 dried lasagna noodles 8 ounces burrata or fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4-inch thick 1 cup finely grated Parmesan 6 large fresh basil leaves Instructions Preheat oven to 425 F. Heat two tablespoons of the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally until browned and starting to crisp, about eight to 10 minutes. Add shallots, wine, thyme and remaining one tablespoon butter. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the skillet is dry, about five minutes. Scoop mushrooms into a bowl and set aside. Combine ricotta, cream and oregano in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Working in batches, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 30 seconds. (If using dried noodles, cook until al dente.) Transfer noodles to a large-rimmed baking sheet as you go, brushing with oil and overlapping as needed. Spread a thin layer of ricotta mixture in a small coquette or ramekin and top with a pasta sheet (if using dried, use two noodles side by side). Spread a large spoonful of ricotta mixture over pasta, scatter some mushrooms over, then add a piece of burrata. Top evenly with some Parmesan and one basil leaf. Repeat layering process (starting with noodles and ending with basil) a few more times; finish with the last of the Parmesan and a grind or two of pepper. Cover lasagnette with foil and bake until warmed through, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool at least five minutes before serving. Enjoy! Patrick Mathieu is an acting captain at Waterloo Fire Rescue in Ontario. He was recently featured in Food Network’s Chopped Canada.  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   @StationHouseCCo
We have all heard the adage: a family that cooks together, stays together. As a firehouse chef for 16 years, an avid cook at home and a lover of all things food, I couldn’t agree more with this motto. There is something about meal time that brings people together. At home, meals are opportunities for family members to catch up with each other during busy days, to sit and talk without distraction and to reconnect. My wife Andrea and I value every opportunity and make it a priority to sit and enjoy meal time with our children. We love to cook together and we love to eat our creations together. This simple philosophy has built a strong and very happy family, and the reward is evident in our family’s bond.The same philosophy holds true in our fire houses. In the fire service, we pride ourselves on teamwork and unity, whether it is at an emergency scene, community event or in and around our stations. Eating and cooking is part of our firefighter culture and I have seen the immense team-building benefits that result from a platoon cooking together. When all hands are involved in the preparation of a meal, members can easily bond and feel as though they are part of a team. As with a family at home, taking the time to cook, eat and reconnect over a good meal will do your platoon a world of good.To get the biggest rewards out of cooking together you need to get your family or platoon present and involved in the kitchen, whether it is in the prep, chopping or dicing, standing by a pot stirring or mixing, or even on clean-up duty. My most-requested recipes at the fire house and at home all have one common ingredient: they are dishes that are made together. At my fire house perhaps the most-requested meal is my jalapeño kettle chip fish tacos (see recipe). This is one of my favourite meals to make and eat as well. What makes these tacos so special is, of course, the super flavourful crispy-coated fish, but now, after years of making this dish, everyone on my platoon has a hand in making a component. One member makes the pico de gallo, one makes the avocado lime crema, another makes the slaw and Sriracha aioli while a few of us coat and cook the fish. With everyone in the kitchen, we talk, laugh, joke and create something special together, and every member appreciates the process and the final product.My platoon cooks and eats together at every opportunity on shift and I know this, in part, contributes to our strong team bond. At home the same benefits apply. During busy weeknights, my family keeps things simple, yet still takes the time to cook and eat together. Our recipe for mushroom and burrata lasagnette (see recipe) is well worth the minimal effort required. As I prepare the lasagnette, my wife is by my side helping to chop and prep a simple salad (see recipe). Our children share our passion for cooking and are learning as I did as a young boy, watching and helping my family cook. Even the smallest kitchen tasks, such as cracking eggs, measuring flour, mixing and stirring, are exciting and fun for children. Weekends and breakfast are perfect opportunities to create something special with the kids. Be patient, be prepared for a little more of a mess and guide them along the way and you will find kids make excellent sous chefs. My recipe for cheesecake pancakes is just right for the little chefs of the family to lend a hand and make something they will love to eat.I encourage everyone to embrace the philosophy of families that cook together, stay together, both in your homes and fire houses. Soon the philosophy becomes habit and a way of life. Building and strengthening relationships and growing a solid family and team has never been easier, or more delicious! Cheesecake pancakes with maple peppered bacon Cheesecake pancakes with maple peppered bacon Mushroom and burrata lasagnette with a fall harvest salad Mushroom and burrata lasagnette with a fall harvest salad   View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.cdnfirefighter.com/index.php?option=com_k2&Itemid=34&lang=en&layout=latest&view=latest#sigProGalleria2912eee1cb Jalapeño kettle chip fish tacos 1 kg (2 lbs) fresh haddock fillets or any mild whitefish 1 cup flour, seasoned with Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and Old Bay seasoning 2 eggs beaten 2 bags jalapeño kettle chips, crushed Canola or peanut oil Corn tortillas Spicy avocado lime crema (recipe follows) Pico de gallo (recipe follows) Sriracha aioli (recipe follows) 1/4 head of cabbage, finely shredded 1. Heat the oil in a deep fryer or a large deep skillet to 350 F.2. Set up a breading station by having a bowl for each the seasoned flour, beaten eggs and crushed kettle chips. Dust the fish pieces lightly with seasoned flour. Then dip fish into beaten eggs, then toss in the crushed kettle chips pushing down on them to make them stick. Repeat with process with the remaining fish. When your oil is hot enough, fry fish for a couple of minutes per side or until crispy and golden brown. Drain on paper towel and season with salt and pepper.3. When ready to serve heat the corn tortillas as per package directions. Spread the avocado lime crema on a tortilla and place fried fish on top. Add shredded cabbage and garnish with pico de gallo and Sriracha aioli. Enjoy!Spicy avocado lime crema 4 avocados, peeled, pitted and chopped 2 cups sour cream 1 lime and zest 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded, chopped A few drops of green Tabasco sauce A handful of cilantro, chopped Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper Using a food processor, mix all the ingredients together. Keep in the refrigerator.Pico de gallo 2 tomatoes, seeded, chopped 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped 1 jalapeño, seeded, chopped 1 garlic clove, minced 1 red onion, minced 1 lime, juiced A handful of cilantro, chopped 2 tablespoons olive oil Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper In a bowl mix together all the ingredients. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.Sriracha aioli 1 cup good-quality mayonnaise 3 tbsp Sriracha hot sauce 1 tbsp grated garlic Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste In a bowl mix together all the ingredients. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.Mushroom and burrata lasagnette 3 tbsp unsalted butter, divided 2 tbsp olive oil, divided, plus more for brushing 1½ pounds mixed mushrooms (such as chanterelle, crimini, and oyster), cut into bite-size pieces Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper 1 large shallot, finely chopped ⅓ cup dry white wine 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves 1 cup ricotta ¼ cup heavy cream 1 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped 6 fresh pasta sheets (about 7x5 inches) or 12 dried lasagna noodles 8 ounces burrata or fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4-inch thick 1 cup finely grated Parmesan 6 large fresh basil leaves 1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Heat two tablespoons of the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally until browned and starting to crisp, about eight to 10 minutes. Add shallots, wine, thyme and remaining one tablespoon butter. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the skillet is dry, about five minutes. Scoop mushrooms into a bowl and set aside.2. Combine ricotta, cream and oregano in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.3. Working in batches, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 30 seconds. (If using dried noodles, cook until al dente.) Transfer noodles to a large-rimmed baking sheet as you go, brushing with oil and overlapping as needed.4. Spread a thin layer of ricotta mixture in a small coquette or ramekin and top with a pasta sheet (if using dried, use two noodles side by side). Spread a large spoonful of ricotta mixture over pasta, scatter some mushrooms over, then add a piece of burrata. Top evenly with some Parmesan and one basil leaf.5. Repeat layering process (starting with noodles and ending with basil) a few more times; finish with the last of the Parmesan and a grind or two of pepper.6. Cover lasagnette with foil and bake until warmed through, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool at least five minutes before serving. Enjoy!Sweet and salty fall harvest saladFor the salad: 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced ½ cup chopped pecans 1 tbsp unsalted butter 2 tbsp brown sugar 1 bunch of kale or other dark leafy greens, washed, stems removed, and roughly chopped (about 8 cups) 1 cup blue cheese, cubed 1 large apple, cored and roughly chopped ½ cup dried cherries For the maple vinaigrette: 2 tbsp pure maple syrup 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp Dijon mustard 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar Pinch kosher salt 1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Spread the squash out on a large baking sheet and drizzle with two tablespoons of olive oil, then sprinkle with some salt, pepper and fresh rosemary. Roast for 35 minutes, toss the squash, and roast for another 15 to 20 minutes, tossing periodically until the squash is browned and softened.2. While the squash roasts, make the candied pecan clusters. Have a baking sheet with parchment paper ready and set aside. Heat the butter and brown sugar over medium heat in a medium non-stick pan until bubbling. Toss the pecans into the butter-sugar mixture until coated. Cook, stirring occasionally until the sugar turns a dark amber colour. Pour the pecans out onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheet and spread them out with a rubber spatula. Allow them to cool completely before breaking them up into clusters.3. Make the vinaigrette by whisking the maple syrup, 1/4 cup olive oil, mustard, vinegar and salt together in a medium bowl or shake it all together in a mason jar. Whisk in additional olive oil in small increments up to 1/3 cup total until you reach your desired dressing consistency.4. In a large bowl, toss the kale with the remaining one tablespoon of olive oil until the kale turns bright green and glossy, about two to three minutes.5. Top the kale with the squash, blue cheese, apples, cranberries, and pecan clusters. Drizzle the maple vinaigrette over the top of the salad before serving while the squash is still warm. Enjoy!Cheesecake pancakes with maple peppered bacon 1 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced 2 tbsp strawberry jam 2 tbsp maple syrup 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1 1/4 cup buttermilk 1 large egg 1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus 1 tbsp for cooking 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda Pinch of kosher salt 2 cups chopped frozen cheesecake 1 tbsp butter Butter, confectioners' sugar or whipped cream, for topping (optional) Maple peppered bacon (directions below) 1. Mix the strawberries, jam and maple syrup in a small pot and simmer over low heat as you prepare the pancakes. Preheat the oven to 200 F.2. Pulse the flour, buttermilk, egg, vegetable oil, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheesecake pieces, keeping them whole.3. Melt the butter and the oil in a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Working in batches, pour about 1/4 cup batter into the skillet for each pancake. Cook until bubbly on top, about four minutes, then flip and cook until the other side is golden brown, about two more minutes. Transfer the finished pancakes to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Serve the pancakes topped with the strawberry sauce, and top with butter, confectioners' sugar or whipped cream, if you wish.4. Maple peppered bacon: Position wire racks on two rimmed baking sheets. Lay one pound bacon in a single layer on the racks and bake seven minutes at 375 F. Brushing bacon with maple syrup and continue baking until caramelized, about 25 minutes, flipping, brushing with syrup and seasoning with pepper every five minutes. Let cool five minutes on the racks. Enjoy with the pancakes!Patrick Mathieu is an acting captain at Waterloo Fire Rescue in Ontario. He was recently featured in Food Network’s Chopped Canada. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it @StationHouseCCo
There are very few ingredients in the cooking world that have the versatility, mass appeal, and recipe variation as the incredible edible egg (thanks for that one, Canadian Egg Farmers!).
My wife and I celebrated our recent wedding with a two-week honeymoon adventure in Thailand. One of the main reasons we chose this beautiful country (which we would highly recommend to anyone!) and travelled halfway around the world was, of course, the food!
The sandwich has long been revered as a quick, comforting and portable meal, found everywhere from children’s lunch boxes to the menus of fine-dining restaurants.
Any quality fitness and wellness coach knows there is both an art and a science to guiding the wellness of others. The science is extensive and includes nutritional concepts or exercise physiology, but the art, that’s the human side.As important as the science is, the art entails possibly the most challenging elements of long-term wellness: adherence and compliance. Compliance is properly following the steps of a good wellness plan and adherence is sticking with it over time. These elements are absent either because the person is unaware he or she is making poor wellness choices, or, in most cases, the person knows what he or she should be doing, but is simply unable to see it through. In addition, those who are already fit may have an it-won’t-happen-to-me attitude about wellness deterioration. The reality is that life is an evolution with many hurdles and a decline can happen to many unsuspecting and well-intended firefighters. The difference between a lack of adherence and compliance for civilians and firefighters is the consequences. For firefighters, wellness affects performance and is truly life or death, impacting both their crews and their families.So how do firefighters improve or maintain adherence and compliance? First, we need to understand the depth of firefighter wellness, which is multifaceted and interwoven. Wellness includes fitness, nutrition, sleep, injury prevention, rest and recovery, stress management, flexibility, cardio and cancer prevention. Next, look at the aim and magnitude of personal effort, which is represented as motivation. There are both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators to wellness. Intrinsic motivators come from within the individual and for a firefighter can be health, family, performance for crew, performance for customers, life safety and professionalism. Setting an example by modelling for newer firefighters while inspiring others can also motivate. Extrinsic motivators generally come from outside the individual and can include praise or financial rewards, which may not always be as realistic in the public sector. My advice to any firefighter is to make wellness a career-long personal expectation and commitment while continually developing positive and successful habits. You would, of course, keep up your medical or extrication skills, so why not everyday fitness and wellness?There are many possible strategies when it comes to adherence. A wellness plan, especially for firefighters, needs to be meaningful as well as balanced. An unhealthy level of rigidity can prevent long-term success, and dwelling on small setbacks is never helpful. One strategy is creating extrinsic motivators in the form of rewards, which should not always be food. Social support can also increase adherence. Create a team of advocates by speaking with those in your life about the importance of wellness for firefighters and your strategies. Pre-planning can be as important in firefighter wellness as it is in fire fighting. Plan workouts in advance, prepare food and fit sleep into your schedule. Documenting and journaling have been shown to improve adherence and play an active role in systematic progression. Firefighters should use fire-hall downtime effectively by exercising or enacting other wellness concepts at the appropriate level, and balance their wellness during off time; remember that being active is not the same as exercising. Developing a personal ethos can be a constant reminder of individual values, which are your choices that guide your day-to-day actions and influence decisions. Follow and embrace wellness initiatives in your municipality, whether they are employer driven or self-directed. Buy-in was the action step in my first column of this series in the April issue of Canadian Firefighter, which involved understanding the importance of different facets of firefighter wellness and performing a personal inventory on each. The action step for this column is considering compliance strategies as well as goal setting. Set timeframes for both short- and long-term goals, and be sure to look at the different facets of wellness beyond just aesthetics or fitness. It is important, however, not to set too many goals at once. Goals need to be written down and verbalized to a few friends, colleagues or family members in order to improve their effectiveness. In selecting goals make sure you are focused on the specific scope of each element and determine a metric for success; consider your role as a firefighter and as an individual and be sure the goals are reasonable. The greatest firefighting strategies are only effective if executed properly at the task level. The same applies to firefighter wellness; a plan is needed but equally important is that it is effectively followed and maintained. The difference is that a fire may be out in minutes or hours while the passion for firefighter wellness should burn for a whole career.Sean Kingswell is an experienced professional firefighter, personal trainer, fitness coach and the creator of the FIRESAFECADETS program.   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   @firesafecadets
In early February I took the Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR) train-the-trainer course in Mississauga, Ont., and it changed me, challenged me, and at the same time gave me hope. My own experiences with mental-health issues were precisely what attracted me to the course, and I was glad to have been chosen as one of the first 40 fire-service members in Ontario to be accepted into the program.
A structure fire. Adrenaline-filled fire crews work the irons and power tools as their SCBAs supply much-needed air. Hand lamps provide a dim glow as the light reflects off the blinding, acrid smoke. Over deafening noises, radios attempt to keep crews in constant contact. A centrifugal pump whines as it pushes water through a hoseline and out the open nozzle. Diligent personnel and their important tools work in unison until their properly applied extinguishing agent attains the benchmark, “loss stopped.”  
Have you ever tested the amount of heavy metal you have in your body? Do you know which toxic elements are stored deep inside your tissues? These are very important questions all people should ask themselves, but it’s even more important that firefighters do so.
Did you know that cabbage is the new kale, and that broccoli is back in style? I wanted to kick off the new year with a fun discussion about vegetables. Many of you woke up on Jan. 2 and probably made a few weight-loss and diet resolutions. If we have this discussion on dieting a few weeks from now, I won’t be surprised to find a few of you have already moved on to sugar and muffins. I want to expand this discussion about food into an inspirational talk about the power of vegetables. Don’t think of this shift to vegetables as another weight-loss diet; rather, look at it as the right way to eat as the human species. I can already hear the moans and groans. If you’ve ever questioned the power of what we choose to put in our bodies daily, then you need to read on. I just might make a believer out of you.
I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I haven’t had to (and God willing, won’t ever have to) deal with a breast-cancer scare, or any other kind of cancer scare for that matter.

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New Brunswick Association of Fire Chiefs conference
Sat May 27, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
IFE Canada: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles seminar
Thu Jun 01, 2017 @ 1:00PM - 04:30PM
FireFit Championships presented by Scott Safety
Sat Jun 03, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
FireFit Championships presented by Scott Safety
Sat Jun 10, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
FireFit Championships presented by Scott Safety
Sat Jun 17, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM

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