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 Firefighter/Medical First Responder and Polar Ambassador Brian Manners.
Q: What is your EMS job?
I am a 18 year firefighter in Trenton, N.J. At Engine Co.6. We currently run first responder engines. Mainly we just get vitals and put the patient on oxygen. Thank God for the real EMS ( EMT’s and Paramedics) guys and girls. You guys are the best! And I do mean that, thank you for being at the fires to help us out and arriving to take over care of a patient.
Q: What are your athletic pursuits and goals?
Right now the athletic goal I have is to compete healthy and without injury. I had a run in with a car last June where I separated my clavicle with a type 3-4 separation. I have won a few races and placed in a few races in the 40-44 age groups locally and would like to do that on a more national level. One number has been eluding me for one reason or another and that is a sub 20 minute 5k. Seems every time I am close I get I injured. I have done it in training but never on a officially measured 5k course.
Q: Do you have race, lifestyle changes, or other accomplishments you are particularly proud of?
I am thankful of being recognized by Polar watches and becoming a Ambassador for them.
Being recognized along with the rest of my crew by my Fire Department and City for a save we all made together at a fully involved house fire.
Biggest lifestyle change was to quit smoking ( Funny enough I smoked only at the firehouse) and getting into a regular workout routine.
I am proud of most my races because I always give it my best shot ( mostly blow up on the run segment because of it), but I am pretty proud of a 2nd. place Age group finish and 8th. overall at a race 2 1/2 months or so after separating my shoulder.
There was also a race right before my accident where I came in 1st In my age group a week after suffering from hypnotremia at the Eagleman half Ironman in Maryland that I am amazed at how well I did.
Eagleman I am not so proud of, with what I know medically it was not to smart of me to finish that race. I am lucky that I did not have to be taken away in a stretcher.
Q: Can you share a few tips to help other EMS and fire professionals to set and accomplish fitness goals?
Tell as many of your co-workers you can about the races you signed up for. Sort of like getting a pulse, you don’t want to tell your coworker you can’t get one. Likewise when your coworker asks you about the race you don’t want to tell him you chickened out. No shame into shaming yourself into doing it. Could just be my firefighter mentality though :0).
Speaking of pulse’s…. heart rate training is a great way to train and can help keep you on track towards your goals. Polar has many different model of watches, some can even tell you when to train harder or when to take it easy. But even with the entry level Polar heart rate monitor you can do that by watching what heart rate zones you are in.
Q: How did you become a Polar brand ambassador?
I was lucky enough to meet a Polar rep and have him and his coworkers believe in me. I was made a Polar ambassador. Through that ambassadorship I have met a network of great people with the same and also different goals, but for all the right reasons. Personal health and promotion of a healthy lifestyle.
I am also a member of Team Firefighter. We have members throughout the U.S.A and in a few different countries. With the same goal of promoting healthy lifestyle for the first responder. We all want to go home at the end of the day.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share?
I would like to give a shout out to Dave and his son Ryan and their organization, Ryan’s Quest, that I am proud to help and and train/race with. A better bunch of guys you will never meet.
I was also lucky to meet Scot Moser of “Further up the Road” coaching that helps save me from myself everyday and gives me guidance.
Connect with me on Facebook. Meanwhile, stay safe out there and watch out for each other so we all make it home at the end of our shifts!
Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.
Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for EMS1.com, JEMS.com, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, EMSWorld.com and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.