Real world fitness, applying your fitness to real world jobs

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Some jobs in the world demand an exceptional amount of fitness and self-determination to succeed in. Being able to be on the ball and bring it on the day is not an option, it is an essential part of your fitness regime. This could mean walking into a burning building to save someone’s life, swimming into an ocean to prevent someone from drowning or breaking through windows to assist those in need. What these all have in common is that they do not come without a ridiculous amount of work and preparation.

Joshua Wilson – Lifeguard:

‘This is my 15th summer working the beaches of Los Angeles County. I started photography in high school and never wavered.” When asked about his training and how he became qualified to do the job he does, Joshua replied with: “Swimming, surfing, and rock climbing.” Joshua was asked to describe his job and how physically fit he has to stay on a daily basis, he replied with: “When mother ocean decides to send swells to the coast of Southern California, the grim reaper comes along with her wanting to make soup out of people. In a 8-10 hour shift one ocean lifeguard can make up to a dozen rescues or more, which means a lot of running and swimming in and out of the water. Distance to victim can range up to 50-100 yards off the coast, which requires swimming out to them and pulling them back to shore through heavy surf.Tell us a little about your exercise/training regimen:Surfing, sand running, climbing, aquatic centre pool training a few time a week (3,000 yards every hour), and ocean swimming”

Christopher Brewster – Professional Stuntman

“I’m a professional stuntman and have been doing it since 2003. My job is to stunt perform and stunt double in tv, film, commercials and everything in between.” Why would someone become so attached to a career that is seen to be so dangerous and can end people’s live when carried out incorrectly? “I grew up doing martial arts and from there I kind of fell into doing stunt work. I traveled the world circuit and began competing in martial arts for about 15 years. I won 13 world titles and really got to experience the martial arts competition world. That opened the door for martial arts performance where I started doing shows for sporting events. It combined martial arts techniques with acrobatics and gymnastics. It all opened a lot of doors into the stunt world. Once I realised what the stunt world was all about that’s when I realised I was meant to do it.”

What are the physical demands that stuntmen and women face? “Every job has completely different physical demands. I have to do a lot of running. For McGyver I was responsible to chase an airplane on foot. And then there are other days when I have to pick up a human body and carry them for some distance. Literally every stunt job has different physical demands. In fight scenes you not only have to control your body but another human body as well. And when you need to lift an actor and swing them around before dropping them on their head, you need to control their body weight fully so you can perform a move that looks real without putting anyone in danger.” How does one train to be at their peak physical fitness for a stunt role? “For me the most direct physical application in the stunt world is that your body takes a lot of abuse. We look at muscles as body armour, and the more you can condition your muscles and the stronger you can make your body, the more punishment it can take. So I look at strength training as literally building my armour.”

What’s the ideal diet for someone perusing this kind of career? “Since I burn a lot of calories, it’s hard for me to maintain size with all the calories and energy I exert performing stunts up to 15 hours a day. So in order to maintain my size and strength, I aim for about 6000 calories a day. I have a large breakfast that is usually compromised of eggs and oatmeal. Then I have 2 lunches and two dinners and between all the meals, I make sure to drink a protein shake. I usually have 2 or 3 shakes a day that’s comprised of almond milk, bananas, all kinds of fruit, kale, spinach and of course a big scoop of Isopure protein.”

Cristina Zenato  – Shark Diver

What would get someone interested in the profession of shark diving? “I always wanted to be an underwater scuba ranger, a guardian of the reef and the environment and all the animals in it. The real opportunity I had to become a professional was when I decided to travel to take my first scuba course. I was hooked. I went back home (at the time Italy) and quit everything, job, boyfriend, car, apartment to come back (to the Bahamas) where I made diving my life and this country my home. From then it was easier to keep diving and to grow professionally and become involved with so many different aspects of it. I never once looked back and never left.”

“The job is physical because I have to deal with being outdoors and under the elements, so it can be extremely hot or, believe it or not, even in the Bahamas, rather cold. It is physical because I am out on boats, rough seas, I carry heavy gear and when cave diving it’s a lot of effort to simply reach the entrance of the cave. Furthermore I am submerged for several times per day and that can cause dehydration and hypothermia.  When working with sharks I wear a heavy protective suit and I have to move around in it above and below the water, against waves, currents and other elements, not to mention sharks themselves can require some good physical and mental stamina.”

“It provides with good strength to deal with the demands of carrying gear, managing personal body in the hard environments, walking, swimming, balancing on the boat,  it is very dynamic and active. Being fit allows you to be more agile and strong enough to deal with unforeseen circumstances, assist of those in your care without becoming tired or short of breath. I also feel that being fit is a good prevention method against injuries. Strong muscles can withstand better different types of traumas and recover faster.”

“My job trains me, it is so physical it keeps me always in good shape, yet I still add my training consists of three primary elements: running, swimming and yoga. Other sports and activities are not on a specific schedule. I use running as my cardio in the morning; it’s my charging moment and the way I focus prior of my day. I alternate running with long walks with my three dogs. Swimming is specific to my job, I always want to feel comfortable in the water and by swimming I exercise and develop those necessary muscles. It also helps with being comfortable with water in the nose, in the eyes, in the throat and to understand fatigue brought on by in water activities.

Yoga is my disconnecting at the end of my day, the healer on the tough days and the strengthener on the others. My teacher has taken me through two Indian disciplines and I alternate them as needed to achieve those two purposes. When people ask me if I lift weights I answer no, but it’s not really a correct answer. I may not lift weights at the gym, but I lift weights all day long: the gear I use every day, many times per day, in many situations, walking, hiking, climbing ladders, hiking with it to reach the diving spot, back and forth. The other weight I lift one is my own body weight. Through yoga I have numerous postures that require the full body weight over shoulders, wrists, arms, biceps/triceps and legs. Balancing and flowing through these poses is as efficient as lifting weights.”

Avi Farber – Firefighter

“I am part of a crew of twenty that travels around the country to wildfire incidents. Our shifts are sixteen hours long and we work fourteen days in a row, sometimes more. A fourteen day stretch is known as a ‘roll’ and after each roll we get two mandatory days of rest. Our fire season stretches from April to October. We work in high stress environments, breath smoke, and carry weight on our backs all summer. It’s not uncommon to work in temperatures above 100 degrees F, or through the night. We construct containment lines by clearing away a swath of forest canopy and ground fuels like pine needles and brush. We then utilise fire to fight wildfires through operations called burnouts or back burns. A burnout is where we set a fire within a containment line ahead of the main fire. The intention being that when the main fire gets there, the fuels (trees, shrubs, grass) have already burned and the fire will not spread. ”

“The job will force you into good shape. Beyond that, fitness is a matter of safety in wildland fire. Weather conditions and fire behavior can change quickly and we are continually exposed to rough environments. If we get sudden wind shifts or unexpected increases in fire behaviors it can be necessary to move to a safer spot quickly. Trying to outrun a fire is a bad place to be, and you’re a lot less likely to do so effectively if you’re out of shape. Likewise, your body has a harder time coping with the heat and exertion when you’re not in your best shape.”

“In the off season I like to ski in the backcountry, that is, hike up mountains and ski down them. The workout I get is similar to the demands of the job, hiking in steep terrain with weight. I don’t work with weights much. I think it could be helpful, but it’s more convenient for me to access the mountain range behind my house than the gym. I do a lot of bodyweight exercises like pushups, pull-ups, and planks. During the season we hike, run, and do bodyweight exercises as a crew. We are given two hours a day to PT which is a big perk to the job.”

 

 

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