Nutrition A Simple Approach

No doubt you too work in a station where all the guys buy only organic, cook only organic/vegetarian and you do some sort of homogenous daily training routine that focuses on the widest span of physical and emotional training and fitness.

This is exactly what I too have experienced the past 11 years while serving my time with the KCFD.  Uniformity and complete dedication to the cleanest living you’ve seen North of Branson, MO.

The above is hardly true and this particular post, like all of my others, is for the working firefighter who has to deal with the complexities, realities and demands of the community in which they serve but also the guys/gals they work with.  I am by no means claiming I am any of the above…. but I do know some guys/gals that are.

Okay side note – going forward I will here unto refer to all human beings as girls/gals so that no one is offended and it is understood that this particular blogger could care less about what sex you might be currently identifying yourself with but what you can contribute to the job.  I’m not going to “backslash” any further.  

First off, I have never once seen an entire crew and station that actually ate right and trained purposefully for the long haul (over 6 months) and held firm to it.

The problem isn’t that we don’t have plenty of guys who want to change the behaviors and the inner and immediate culture around them.  If we get real about it for a second than we can skip all the fluff and get after not just a meaningful solution but one that is also scalable and sustainable.

If I offended you it’s probably because you are doing it wrong or because you are doing it right but you don’t have the humility to go out and teach others AND support them to do the same.  As an athlete, you either get real about the clock, the pace, the load or the score or you quit and get out of the game.

I digress….

The problem is that for most guys a some point between roughly 4 weeks and 4 hours they start wanting to claw back a bit of what they had given away and return to their old behaviors.  So I am going to start this off super simple and straight forward, make it real easy for you.

Nutrition for the average FF.  Your week is probably 7 days long with roughly something like 24 hours in each of those days.  So try this…..

Take a piece of paper from the printer in your station or steal one from another of the shifts…..

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Then write down those 7 days and further divide each of those days into 3 different sections.  Say… I don’t know…. breakfast, lunch and dinner or morning, afternoon and night.  As in 21 different slots.

Use 3 different types of writing utensils.  Black to mark your chart and number it.  Blue for success and Red for non-successes aka – failures.

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Set a goal.  Be smart about this though because you’ve only got 21 opportunities to make it happen.  This is on you, a goal should be something that is difficult to attain, too easy and it you set the bar too low.  Too difficult and you set yourself up for failure.

– To be deemed “successful” everything you ate during a set block was healthy, nutritious, fresh and wholesome.  If you made it through that entire block putting nothing in your body other than this you color it in with Blue.  If you busted out and ate half the aforementioned ice-cream cake than you but a red “slash” through it.

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Let’s say your goal was to have no more than 7 RED marks all week, did you do it?  If not, and you were close, shoot to do it the next.  If you nailed it.  Be smart and be disciplined and hold off on doubling down.  Go for a repeat and if you do nail it than improve upon this by small baby steps.  It is tough to eat a healthy diet for one week, it is incredibly difficult to do so over the course of a long time.

I know for some this is going to be a huge adjustment and this is all very new to you, if so, than flip the script and aim to for 7 BLUE blocks.  That means that this coming week you are going to once a day have one period of each day where you don’t put any crap in your body for one of those blocks.  Don’t worry about marking the slots with RED, just aim to get 7 BLUE blocks.

Some of you are probably saying right now “Are you kidding me?!?!” this is way to simple, way to straight forward and way too easy.

Really?

Was the fire service not built on being pretty much the most straight forward and simple organization in the history of the world.  We put wet stuff on red stuff.

No doubt, Facebook and many books are full of dumb shits that have completely over complicated it and got some pretty handsome promotions and even book deals out of it.  The guys who are most admired though on my job aren’t having any part of that and they certainly aren’t debating size up photos on Facebook, usually because they are busy doing work any while you were talking the fire out they were ass deep in it.

I will also concede that most of those guys, not all of them, have zero interest in my little dietary experiment and ideas.

Want to be more that guy than the other guy?

Keep it simple, keep it straight forward.

Still too Easy?

Alright, go BLUE all week then.  No real rules other than during each of those blocks make absolute certain that every single thing you consumed was healthy, nutritious, fresh and wholesome.

Here are the definitions –

Healthy (adj) – in good health

Wholesome (adj) – conducive to or suggestive of good health and physical well-being.

Nutritious (adj) – nourishing; efficient as food.

Fresh (adj) – recently created or experienced and not faded or impaired.

I am not asking you to find a registered dietician, not asking you to go Paleo, Vegeterrian or Vegan.  You can keep all your skin color, teeth and have none of the gut fat (sorry cave people but you know it’s true).  This won’t work for everyone, no one single brand or approach to health does.  It is another opportunity and example.  Take what you want and leave the rest.

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