Health and Wellness

Everyday EMS Athlete: Alex “Sandy” MacQuarrie

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 Alex “Sandy” MacQuarrie.

Training for the Toughest Firefighter Competition

What is your EMS job?

I am a lecturer in the Paramedic Program at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, Australia.  Transplanted Canadian who has been an EMS provider, manager and educator for over twenty years.  Currently starting a research project on Paramedic fitness and how it affects job performance.

Paramedic lecturers at Charles Sturt University (Sandy far right) just before the annual Edgell Jog

What are your athletic pursuits and goals?

Toughest Firefighter Awards Ceremony (Sandy 2nd from right)

Initially pretty unhealthy (weight, conditioning, etc.) so began exercising in 1998.  Focus on resistance training and interval training to keep me in shape.  For sport, squash is my game and now at the Masters (old guy) level here in Australia.  Dialing in nutrition (or at least being aware of bad food choices) helped along the way.  At 50, want to compete and stay healthy and age successfully.

Do you have an accomplishment you are particularly proud of?

Two accomplishments stand out:

Successful open heart surgery in 2009 for a mitral valve prolapse. Returned to life quickly by being in good shape. Joined a support group called Cardiac Athletes ( who support one another returning to sport after heart issues…pass this one along!

Secondly, helped start a Paramedic fitness/skills competition called “Paramedic First On Scene” in Canada and enjoyed watching it take shape (pun intended). (

Paramedic First On Scene Competition in Canada
  • Make small and realizable goals.
  • Stay off the couch when not working.
  • Watch your nutrition!
  • Know that your fitness may save your life…or your patient’s.


By Greg

Elearning designer, writer, podcaster, blogger, presenter and paramedic. To relax I run and bike as far and as fast as I can. Also like to read a lot and fast.