Everyday EMS Athlete Profile: Jason Arney-O'Neil

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EMS professionals are challenged to balance work, family, and other obligations while also staying or striving for mental and physical fitness. The Everyday EMS Athlete is a regular column to recognize and learn from other EMS professionals that are setting and meeting fitness goals. This edition was contributed by Paramedic/Firefighter and founder of www.EMSFIT.com Jason Arney-O’Neil.

Q: What is your EMS job?

Paramedic/Firefighter for Woodbury Public Safety in Woodbury, MN.  Other duties include: EMS educator, fitness
coordinator, photographer, videographer, and graphic designer.

Q: What are your athletic pursuits and goals?

My goal is to be walking when I’m in my 90’s.  Along the way I will say yes to every challenge that arrives at my doorstep (or my inbox).
Finishing swim leg of a tri

Q: Do you have race, lifestyle changes, or other accomplishments you are particularly proud of? If yes, please share and describe.

I started my career in EMS six years ago, before this I never had such an appreciation for life.  I’m so greatful for the lessons learned from the people I meet at my job.  I’ve heard alot of stories filled with regret in people lives to know that you need to live everyday to the fullest.  I want to try everything, even if I fail, I want to try.
Some races that I’ve done: Trinona (biggest little race in the midwest 3 years in a row), Twin Cities Marathon, Frozen Otter Ultra (64 mile race in WI during February), GrizzlyMan Adventure race (Missoula, MO), Go Commando, Warrior Dash, and other misc 5k fun runs.
Triona Finisher

Q: Can you share a few tips to help other EMS professionals to set and accomplish fitness goals?

I like lists, so here’s a quick list:
  • Make bets.  Here’s a good daily/weekly bet you can make with your partner(s): Wear a pedometer, and whoever has the most steps after your set period of time wins a prize (maybe lunch).
  • Advertise your goals.  People will ask you how your progress is going, you’ll avoid telling them you quit your goal.
  • Bring your friends.  It’s alot easier to stick to a goal if someone else shares the same goal.
  • Find fitness at work.  Stay on your feet as much as possible, and carry something in your hands so it looks like you’re going somewhere important.
  • Eat Healthy.  Motivation needs energy, eating healthy should be second nature and will give you lots of energy.  Not already eating healthy? try a paleo diet (eat like your cave-dwelling ancestors).
  • Take a break.  Get your sleep, and don’t sweat the small stuff.  Your fitness goals depend on your rest
    Fun run

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Q: Is there an organization that supports your training and racing efforts?

None at this time.  But I am looking for sponsors.

Log cleans

Q: How can readers connect with you or learn more about what you are doing?

I set up a ‘FIT for duty’ program at my department,  http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/FIT-for-duty/196714327080867
I also make videos to help motivate people to workout, they’re like Rocky montage videos for EMS.  View those videos at YouTube.com/Arney44.
Finally, I’m also starting an everyman’s workout called Man-FIT (human-fitness). Those videos will also be posted on my YouTube channel.

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