Being the new guy, or “rookie”, is both an amazing and scary time in one’s firefighting career. Whether it’s as a volunteer or a career firefighter, a Police Officer, EMT or Military member. You’re walking into a world you may know very little about, with men and women who have grown to a family, and like doing things their way. You may not always be welcome with open arms and smiling faces. You need to earn your keep. And that’s okay.
The up-side of being the new guy, is you have a huge possibility to bring an influence with you to the more seasoned guys. I’m not saying tell them how they force a door is wrong and they should do it another way. That will not turn out so well. But since you’re the new guy, the senior guys will be listening to everything you say, because it gives them a chance to critique anything they may find unsettling or “wrong”. That right there gives you a perfect time every time you are engaged in conversation about activities, hobbies, who you are, what you are, and more, to bring in physical fitness and how important it is for the job. It plants that seed in their mind that YOU are the one to go to when they have questions or need advice. YOU are the one who can help the senior guy loose the weight for his daughters wedding, their anniversary. You are the one they should talk to if they want to lower their risk of heart disease, or an injury on a fire scene.
I’m not saying to walk in on your first day, or even your first year, and talk like the men and women you now work with are fat, lazy, and out of shape. That won’t make you any friends and will isolate you faster than a dry pine tree is ignited by a match. We’ve all heard actions speak louder than words. And you can only talk about fitness so much before you start sounding like a jackass. So when the conversation(s) don’t work their way around to fitness, SHOW THEM the benefits of fitness.
If your group isn’t the most fit, start slowly asking if anyone want’s to workout. If nobody else speaks up when the mighty “What should we do for training today?” question arises, mention a task-oriented workout. If the gym has a radio, play that baby loud. The biggest tip; workout close to dinner time. This raises the question “Hey where’s (insert name here)? They need to get their plate.” They go looking, and find you in the gym putting in the work, slinging iron, sweating, and making yourself better.
These and several other subliminal message-type actions will not only plant the seed for the necessity of physical fitness, but also fertilize it and help it grow. Bring up a certain obstacle course race, 5k, or benefit stair climb that your shift, group, or department could participate in. Before you know it, one, or maybe all, of your group will be putting in the work with you. And YOU, as the new guy, can be the one who helped lower injuries, heart disease, and helped your brothers and sisters meet their physical goals.
Want more information on starting a fitness program at your department? Contact Thin Line Fitness today!