The medical care field is no stranger to seeing the effects an unhealthy lifestyle can have. People check into hospitals and clinics every day complaining about symptoms that range from joint pain, to edema, to respiratory issues. These people rely on the experience and knowledge of the medical doctors and nurses to diagnose and treat whatever problems they are having.
But what happens when the doctors, nurses, and advanced life support personnel are the ones that are having these issues? Have you ever seen an individual in one of these professions that was overweight, perhaps even obese? Although I believe this industry has a lower incidence of weight issues, as compared to what you would encounter in your typical office setting, there are certainly some that could use an improvement.
It’s hard to take advice and treatment recommendations from someone that is apparently suffering from the same conditions. It makes what they’re saying seem a little less believable, even though you know they have the experience and education to back it up. This is why it is important for medical professional to walk the walk and talk the talk. You need to become the walking, talking pinnacle of what it means to be healthy.
As we’ve seen in previous weeks, each job profession has its own challenges when it comes to staying in shape. The medical industry is no different. You’re working long hours, you’re constantly on your feet throughout the day, and you’re bogged down with going from patient to patient. At the end of the day the last thing on your mind is trying to muster the energy to get in a workout. So what are you to do? Let’s take a look at how you can overcome the biggest challenges facing your profession.
#1 – Explore Your Benefits
Many health care employers are beginning to develop corporate partnerships with leaders in the fitness industry. Employers understand the importance of being in shape and as such are starting to offer greater health-related benefits to their employees. Your job is to figure out exactly what those benefits are. It might be free or discounted memberships at a local gym, free seminars from fitness professionals, access to state-of-the-art body composition machines, or connections to personal trainers and registered dieticians.
Along those same lines, you have different needs from the general public. Your schedule and the free time available are probably much more constrained. That means you need a workout that doesn’t take up a whole lot of time. Since you’re on your feet all day it probably means you need to start with a posture/movement assessment to address any muscular imbalances that might exist. Finally, since you have a unique schedule you need to find a facility whose hours align with your off-duty hours.
#2 – Creating Time
Craving out some time to work out will probably be your biggest challenge. Again, the last thing you want to do after a long shift is try to exert maximal effort in a workout. So how can you overcome this? By working out before your shift even starts. I am seeing a lot of professionals that don’t have a lot of spare time converting their garages into gyms. The process is a lot easier and more cost-efficient than you might think.
For less than $1,000 you can turn your garage into a home gym that will support a whole host of workouts. You don’t need huge, expensive pieces of machinery for this. Stick with the basics and you’ll be just fine. Some of the most common pieces of equipment to add include a squat rack (some come with a pullup bar), a barbell with weighted plates, a kettlebell, a wooden box (dimensions 24”x20”x16”), and a slam ball. What I’ve described for you is exactly what I have in my own home gym.
If creating a home gym is out of the picture, then your best bet is to look for a local gym that has 24-hour access. Most won’t be manned 24/7, but instead will issue you a key fob that allow you to get in. Whether you end up working out at home or at a gym, the most important thing to remember is to stick with it. There will be days when you absolutely won’t have time to get to your workout. Accept it for what it is and move on. Just don’t let that one day turn into 2 days, or a week, or a month of inactivity.
Jon Griffith specializes in optimizing performance for firefighters, police, EMS, and military personnel. He provides 28-day challenges, online personal training, and corporate partnerships that are designed to meet the unique needs of our emergency responders. Jon is a personal trainer, strength & conditioning specialist, full-time firefighter, and former U.S. Army infantryman.
Join the movement to ensure all emergency responders are physically and mentally prepared to face the challenges in their day brings by following Max Fortitude Fitness on Facebook.