4 Tips For Staying Fit & Focused During The Firefighter Promotional Exam Process

Once your firefighter promotional journey begins, and you begin to work on your firefighter promotional exam prep you will have less time to devote to physical fitness. It is important to still prioritize your exercise on this journey because it is as important as passing your written exam. 

How to Stay Fit With Limited Time 

  1. Maximize Your Workouts

One of the main ways you can stay fit with less time to exercise is to make the absolute most of each workout. This may mean switching your usual workout routine to one that increases the intensity of your workout while decreasing the amount of time spent working out. Some ways to do so are through:

  • HIIT workouts: high intensity interval training, meaning, “short bursts of intense work that typically last between 15 seconds and 4 minutes.” With a short recovery period in between sets. HIIT gives you a successful full body workout in less time, which is just what the busy firefighter needs.

  • Tabata: “a style of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that involves 20 seconds of exercise at your maximum effort, followed by 10 seconds of rest, for a certain number of rounds.” You repeat this cycle eight times making it four minutes. You can do however many sets you can fit in with your time constraints. Giving you a good challenging workout in a short amount of time.

  • Circuit Training: “a workout that involves rotating through various exercises targeting different parts of the body.” There is generally no rest period with circuit exercises maximizing the exercise within whatever your time constraint may be. It is also very flexible so you can do whatever fits your body and time period best.

All of these workouts allow you to get as much exercise done as you can in the shortest span of time possible. They also allow you to get creative with your workout as you can change the exercises to whatever suits your specific bodily needs and preferences. 

  1. Make Exercise A Part of Daily Activities

Another way to keep exercising when your schedule is becoming jammed packed with firefighter promotional exam tasks is to make exercise a part of your everyday activities. There are so many things we do everyday that can be turned into exercise. Instead of driving to work, run, walk or bike instead. Planning to go on a date with your spouse? Make it a hike. Bringing in the groceries? load up your arms and build those gains. If your kids want to play, play a game of basketball, soccer, go swimming, or play tag instead of video games. Take your dog for an extra long walk or switch from walking to running. Park farther away than you normally would when going into stores to get those extra steps in. Watching TV, do it on a treadmill or stationary bike. Sure, most of these things won’t give you the same as the HIIT training mentioned above, but moving your body is better than not and these small changes can make a big difference. 

  1. Make Use of Down Time

A great way to sneak in some exercise daily is to make use of those short breaks you have in your day. We all have a random few minutes here and there that we can sneak in some squats or push ups. Exercising doesn’t need to be fancy. A great way to do this is to try intermittent workouts, which are small workouts performed multiple times a day. For example, three ten minute workouts spread out throughout the day versus one thirty minute workout. This way you are able to exercise within your busy schedule even if it’s just a few minutes here and there. You can make them even smaller and do five of them six times a day. Make use of your time. When you are waiting for your friend at the coffee shop do some squats. Instead of scrolling on the phone, start doing some lunges. Everyone has a few extra minutes they can spare each day to keep their body in the physical shape it needs to be in. 

  1. Prioritize

Ultimately making the time to work out when your schedule is jammed packed is simply a matter of prioritizing it. Being physically fit is a necessity for a firefighter, a job requirement if you will, so you may have to stop doing something else to make time to exercise. This may include missing social activities or staying up thirty more minutes in the evenings or waking up earlier to workout. Physical health is so important it's just a matter of making it a priority. Not only will exercise help you in your firefighting job, it will keep your body healthy and give major long term benefits to your life. 

The Takeaway

Don’t let, “I don’t have time,” stop you from keeping up with your physical fitness while on your promotional exam journey. Make the most of every second of your day. You don’t need fancy equipment to exercise, you just need your body and some creativity. Make use of your down time so your body is prepared for promotion, not just your brain, because that physical fitness test is also a part of promotion and should be treated as just as important as the written exam.