555 News/Events / FIREFIGHTERS
Two weeks ago I was given a great honor. John Carpenter, the founder of the Firefighter Throwdown not only handed me a microphone, on the field , at Lucus Oil Stadium to address the athletes about to throwdown on day 2. He also told me that I would be introducing our National Anthem. Now to some, whatever, you get to say , please rise and remove your hats as we honor our country, but to me, getting to say those words, in that venue, before my peers was a bucket list item I didn’t know existed and for that, I am eternally grateful.
This was the third Firefighter Throwdown 555 Fitness had the pleasure of being a part of. It’s great to watch my own organization pick up speed and grow, but its even better to being doing it on the exact same pace as our friends at the Throwdown are. Each Firefighter Throwdown just keeps growing and growing and growing. Which says a lot about the current movement that is gaining ground in the fire service.
Watching so many friends compete in an amazing team competition , which took place over 2 days and had both men and women doing the exact same work was just awesome. I’m so proud to call each and every competitor a brother or sister, its unreal. I wish I could have ran our and high five all of them after each event. I think I got to meet and greet all 75 of them, please know that if I didn’t, I’m really sorry that I missed you and thats clearly a no rep on my part , please don’t tell the head judge.
Getting to see all of the photos posted online, really drove home the fact that we are changing people lives with this event and 555 Fitness. See, I’m all about cheering on the athletes accomplishment and totally grooving on the pain faces I see. But, 555 is all about the greater good, so I’m looking at the faces in the crowd behind you. Each event has grown in popularity at each show we have attended.
If you look at the pictures of the athletes lifting, look at the folks in the background, cheering them on, mostly complete strangers. Speaking of strangers, countless athletes created their teams through social media, most never met in person until 15 minutes before the comp started. But that didn’t matter, because they all shared a common goal, a common bond and knew the true meaning of the world “brother”. Thats whats so great about an event like the throwdown. Even though everyone is competing to win, against each other, they are also cheering each other on. At times, after winning a heat, the team that won doesn’t even take a break, they just start cheering the rest of the teams on.
So somehow, this functional fitness world parallels the fire service. As firefighters we constantly say, we are always there for each other. We always have each others back, no matter what happens in the firehouse, when you are on a job, its all business. So why do we allow so many of our brothers and sisters to lie to themselves. Why do we accept that it’s ok to be unfit for duty. After a few days with so many great athletes, supporting each other and getting supported by the FDIC crowd, the tide is changing.
3 Years Strong Today
Today marks the official 555 Social Media Anniversary, the Facebook page was created exactly 3 years ago today. In that time we have grown to be on 7 different online platforms, have started an apparel brand , been featured in multiple media publications, created countless amounts of free programing, traveled the country, and donated over 20k in functional fitness equipment to fire departments who want to help created change. Not bad for a few hose draggers , right?
Here's some full disclosure you guys may or may not know. I didn't start 555, nor was it my idea. I started as a fan of the Facebook page and started up what one might call an online bromance with the Captain who created it. After a few months he asked if I would help him take this thing to a whole new level. That's why it's all so surreal to me, I was brought on board to do exactly what it is I am doing everyday. No one ever would have thought we would be here in 3 years. I believe its because of all of you , our fans that we are changing people's lives each and everyday.
I can distinctly remember the conversation with Mrs. Pip, the night we decided I should join the 555 Fitness Team (by team I mean, Larry). We spoke about this new opportunity in depth, and how maybe this was a chance to really affect a positive change on the world. What we didn’t know that night, was where this road would lead us. However, I would not be here, we would not be here, if I didn’t have her unconditional love, her support and her ability to keep me in check. For that I am eternally grateful. Tracey , Finn and Dex are my why, they are my reason for existing and my reason for pushing so hard to make all our lives better.
As much as we are a fitness page, and fitness is a very important part of our lives, I have realized, we are a more of a motivational page. All of our messages, all of our posts, all that we do, we do to motivate people to start moving. To start making fitness a priority in their lives. We constantly meet people who thank us for what we do, they attest their change to us. In reality, its all the hard work they have put in, we just give them the push to change, the community to change with and the support from firefighters worldwide.
We are no where near the end. But one year the cardiac related LODD number is going to change. It will first be below 50%, then 45%, then 40% and we will never have proof that we had any part of its reduction. However, there will be a very distinguished list of people taking the credit and what will we do, just keep on keeping on. Motivating our brothers and sisters to be better than yesterday. Because fitness is a lifestyle, one that you need to live each and everyday. Thank you all for the last 3 years of support, love and friendship. I cannot wait to see what this year and the future holds.
How many of you left FDIC 2016 Humbled, like I did? I know its weird right, FDIC is the largest gathering of firefighter in the country. People go there for thousands of reasons, wanna buy a new ladder, go to FDIC, wanna be trained by the top instructors in the game, go to FDIC, wanna see hundreds of bag Pipers get down, go to FDIC. And all of those reasons are great, but me, I was there to try and meet and greet as many of you as I physically could. I feel like I succeeded in that mission, because all I can think about is how humbled I feel.
Hearing your fitness journey stories really drives me to continue the awesome work we are doing with 555 Fitness. Hearing how many firefighters are getting together in groups and working out together before, during or after their shift is unreal. Meeting husbands and wives who tell me because their firefighter is getting fit, they are as well. Hearing from so many people that what we are doing is changing the fire service for the GOOD is resounding in my head. It leaves me humbled.
I would really be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to thank my team. Those men and women are my family, their belief in our mission parallels mine. Seeing my team’s passion in person only makes me want to put in more work then I do. Their service makes me feel humbled.
John Carpenter and the Firefighter Throwdown see the future of the fire service. In just a few short years, the event went from a side room at a conference to the field at Lucus Oil Stadium. pretty much speaks for itself. The athletes who competed are amongst the best in the world, not because they are are the strongest or the fastest or the healthiest , its because they believe in leaving it all out there. Putting out 110%. They don’t know how many people they inspire being out there. Watching them cheer each other on and work together left me humbled.
Then I have this long and growing list of our supporters , partners and sponsors. The people from the fire industry and fitness industry who believe in our mission. These are people who aren’t just cutting checks , they are showing up , they want to be a part of this change because they want to take that LODD number and lower it. They want fit firefighters coming to their aid. Their support and generosity leaves me humbled.
So who cares about me, right. Why do you care that I’m rolling back from FDIC feeling humbled. Because maybe thats what the fire service needs when it comes to health and wellness. A good dose of humble pie (in our case humble donut). Topics like fitness, cancer and suicide are not easy to speak about. I’m actually embarrassed when I say that the leading killer of firefighters is cardiac related disease. It’s really easy to strap on some gear and say I’m the best firefighter around , but it’s really hard to look in the mirror and say, am I in the best physical and mental shape I can be in, to do this job. BTW, that answer is always going to be NO. Because we can always be better then yesterday. But if you’re not doing a dam thing about it, each and everyday , for you, for your family, for your brother and sister firefighters, well…..
Every year, firefighters across the country die or are taken out of work due to preventable medical conditions. Many of these conditions could have been identified in annual medical screenings and exams and treated before resulting in loss of life or injury time-off.
A Cardiac Stress Test may be a part of your fire department's routine physical exam or something your Primary Care Physician may suggest based on the nature of your work - but does just the thought of getting a "Treadmill" Stress Test give you chest pain you didn't have before?
Steve Vrieze (Volunteer Firefighter/EMT/Master Degree in Exercise Science) takes us into the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Cardiac Stress Testing to show us their facility and explains to us how this exam is administered and what to expect.