Fitness tips from Mississauga firefighters

‘I don’t have time.’

‘Everybody will judge me.’

‘I’m healthy enough.’

‘I don’t know what to do.’

These are examples of some of the barriers to physical activity,  but as some of Mississauga’s fine Firefighters will tell you - working out is fun, easy, and good for you!

Demian Allik, Kevin Frizzle and Steven Giancola are three buff superheroes who work 24 hourshifts. They are firefighters who, despite having taxing and time consuming jobs, have commitments off duty as well. If they can find time to exercise, anybody can!

Working up the motivation to get to working out can be the most difficult part. There are a couple of different ways to psych yourself up before going to the gym. The simplest way might be to tie the knot right away, in a pair of sneakers.

“The biggest thing to get motivated, the hardest part about working out (mentally), is just getting changed. Get into your shorts and your running shoes because once you’re there and you've got your gear on, you’re good,” said Allik.

Giancola says it is a beautifully slippery slope to feeling good, and more importantly (less importantly), looking good. “I try to find time by working out first thing in the morning. We finish work here at 7 AM. I get home, I get the kids to school and then hammer out a quick workout to get the blood flowing. I feel like once you get into that routine then you want to work out and then you'll see, it becomes addictive.”

“Everybody has time for something in the day besides work so you might have to prioritize it over something else,” said Allik, emphasizing that exercise doesn’t only take place in a gym.  Exercise can be anything from walking the dog to playing a sport. 

What gets lost in the stereotypes of working out are the health benefits. Big muscles, heavy weights and grunting are the ‘Pumping Iron’ version of gyms, the movie scripts, but they are not the reality. Everybody at the gym is looking to get healthier. Everybody can be more healthy. Whether that means improving their endurance, strength, balance or flexibility, there shouldn’t be a ‘good enough’  in terms of health. 

On the flip side, humans are naturally competitive, so it’s easy to look at the person to the right and make some comparisons. The gym is not meant to be something to be intimidated of, although it can be intimidating. 

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“For most gyms, people that are in there just doing something, that’s great,” said Frizzle; “If you’re strong, weak, overweight, underweight, it doesn’t matter. Honestly people tend not to care [about that]. The fact that you’re there doing something to better yourself, that’s all that peoplecare about, like ‘hey, thumbs up, right on!’”

After battling the demons of time and motivation, the battle becomes the workout itself. Now Google has a lot of answers, but your physical fitness is not among them. What the internet is useful for is giving ideas of new exercises or modifications. Search engines and video hosting websites are not paid professionals that are dedicated to your health. “If you’ve never worked out before, never done any sort of exercise, have no idea where to start and are completely intimidated - go to the gym and sign up for a few personal training sessions,” said Allik. “This person will get youat least going.”

Allik, Frizzle and Giancola experience all barriersbut one, an individual’s attitude. Exercising doesn’t require a monumental life change, but it does require a small amount of motivation and dedication. Maybe these brave firefighters can take a break from putting out flames and ignite a passion for healthy living!