Woodall Training is special because we have the luxury of training in a fire station. Yes, that is a luxury in my book. We’re not a health club with lots of amenities, correct. We train smart, we train hard , we sweat, we swear, and we get stronger. No frills. We have the added luxury of training alongside our volunteer firefighters. It’s nice to personally get to know the people who voluntarily get up at 2 AM to douse flames, check a fire alarm, do CPR, and even get a cat out of a tree. It’s even nicer to see them train with us. They are part of our community on many levels, and it’s comforting to know they are fit. On the flipside, they get to meet the public in a non-emergent situation and long-standing friendships have developed and flourished. If you’ve ever had the need for MIFD to respond to your business or residence, then you know how committed they are to getting there quickly and helping you before, during, and after your call. It’s personal, and I hope that Woodall Training has helped make things a little more manageable and less stressful for YOU since you know who and what MIFD is all about.
Our highlight this month is Middleton Firefighter Kevin Wood. He pours his heart and humor into every class, and for FIVE YEARS, he’s emailed me if he knows he’s missing class that night. He may not be serious (see photos above), but he’s serious about his fitness. He asks for accountability and wants fitness in his life–not just for him, but for us as a community. Thank you, Woody, for making time for your fitness and for getting the cats out of the trees.
Tell us about your journey with Woodall Training.
I started 5 years ago with back-to-back 6-week “Boot Camps” Kari did for us. It was a combination of nutrition accountability, TRX classes, and on-your-own “tweener” workouts. It really whipped me into shape.
What motivates you to stay active?
First, the desire to keep myself prepared to respond to the rigorous requirements of the fire service. Sure, we all know that workouts can be hard… which makes it even harder to stick with a routine. However, I realized that whether I’m having a good or bad day or even whether I’m having a great or tough workout, that after a workout I always feel the best I’ve felt all day, that’s the sort of reward that becomes addictive. And that carries over into everything I do and it’s all the motivation I need.
You have a love-hate relationship with a certain piece of equipment…tell us about this.
TRX “Toes In” can bring me to my knees… literally and figuratively. Crushing a set of “toes-in” reps can put a smile on your face that will stay with you the rest of the week. Also, I’m sure you wouldn’t think it when looking at me, but I’m not a big rope jumper. I could only do 5-6 in a row when we started, but now I can do 40-50 in a row without ending up on my face–most of the time.
Does your experience in the engineering field help you in the classes?
I often find myself pondering the forces at play for the various exercises. In general, I feel this helps me maintain good balance through the movement (ie: Pike-ups or Pendulum Swings). My inner “evaluation” of these forces sometimes appears to be me drag’n butt! Which is promptly followed by a “let’s go people” from the instructor. Yup, I know she really meant me… but it’s usually the kick in the shorts I need to get back on task.
What is it like to train alongside the public?
I find it especially rewarding because sometimes you’re “chasing” and sometimes you “leading.” Either way, that environment pushes and pulls more out of you than you’ll ever get working out on your own. And at the end of the workout, almost as if you’ve gone into battle together, there are “way-to-go’s” and “high-fives” all around, regardless of what brings you there or where you may be in your personal fitness journey.
Describe the effectiveness of group strength and conditioning training with your fellow firefighters.
As fire fighters we have tremendous physical requirements… and as volunteers it’s imperative we all take the initiative to maintain a fitness level that allows us to competently complete the required tasks and not become a liability to our team members. By participating in the group-based workouts, we are simultaneously pushing and preparing our bodies for these requirements while building camaraderie with the firefighters who participate.
What aspects (or exercises) in particular speak to you as a firefighter?
The strength and balance that are achieved from the diversified training circuits (TRX, RIP, BOSU, SandBells etc…) provide overall confidence in movement on the fire ground, which is often unpredictable. All elements of the classes test your endurance, but additional “fire fighter” challenges (Towers, Dummy Drags, Hose Lifts & Battling Ropes) add tangible elements for anyone who has ever been on Fire Attack or Search & Rescue for a fire department.
Tell us one thing about being a firefighter that the public might not know.
Riding on the BIG RED trucks, and running into burning buildings, is even cooler than you’d imagine. Also, being a part of the fire service means that you come face to face with difficult and intense situations from time to time. But, like the more intense workouts with Woodall Training, once it’s over, you are always surprised with what you are truly capable of…
Do you listen in class… as simply as possible, explain why hip hinging is essential for your job as a firefighter. Give an example of what you do in class and what you do on the fire ground.
Hip hinging is extremely beneficial for ensuring proper form and strength when lifting. We try to remember to lift with our legs on the fire ground. There are times when obstacles or the situation may prevent us from being able to fully squat, so it is imperative to protect our backs through a lifting motion. In class, we perform a variety of hip hinges which provide muscle memory and core conditioning to help ensure competent and safe execution of those movements.
What does being a firefighter mean to you?
Like many kids… I always dreamed of being a fire fighter. Next to my family, being a member of the MIFD family is the next greatest honor of my life. I am thankful to Woodall Training as it has helped keep my fitness at a level where I can continue to fulfill this personal dream and serve the community.