Late into 2022, I sent over a message to the folks behind 100 Firehall Workouts, a mindset development tool and workout planner to help firefighters build bigger bricks – as we like to say around here. Arnold and Russell, the team of authors behind the interactive guide and workbook, have set about building a tool-set that can be dropped into any crew. Further than that, the messaging included beyond the workouts is right in line with our ideas around operational readiness.
This is not a hobby.
If there’s one phrase that permeates our branding, it’s this.
The very first thing that hung me up about this workbook was the writing placed between the workouts.
I’m reminded of a recent Jocko Podcast episode, they were pulling apart a USMC manual and, on reading the introduction, came into a good point. The type of ‘mindset development’ text found in 100 Firehall Workouts (on anywhere in the SIXFEET community, for that matter) can be read with the tone that suggests it’s been layered on a little too thick. However, this type of lanuage, as in the picture above, is exactly the type of messaging our people need to be offered.
It’s the premise behind the ‘heroic ideal‘ we’ve been writing about. It’s the type of words that should impact you.
Or, dare I suggest that, if these types of ideas do not impact you – you need to retune your aim.
A while back, I became a Peer Fitness Trainer through the IAFF. I’m hoping that lends at least a thumbnail’s worth of credibility when I remark on the quality of the workouts contained in 100 Firehall Workouts. I see a variety of Strength, Conditioning and Power-focused modules. All of it is approachable. All of it is centered on non-specialized equipment. Your fire hall probably has everything you need.
Your basement gym could definitely have everything needed.
On every workout page, there’s a QR code that sends your device out to a webpage hosting the same information alongside an instructional video for performing the movements safely. That’s a great reference – but in the hard copy, they’ve set aside a page for writing down results and making notes. You might know this from somewhere you’ve heard it, but know, conclusively, that writing down progress is a major thing to do. In fact, there’s lots of data to suggest that writing down elements of what you’re working toward, struggling with or encountering is a net positive for building healthy mental habits.
The workouts also include options for on and off-duty. Career firefighters need to keep call volume in mind when working out on shift. The authors suggest a maximum output of 90% effort when hitting a workout in the firehall.
Toward the rear of the book, there’s a handful of ideas for cool-downs. If you’re anything like me, this is a welcome addition to a workout book. I’m pretty good at the more intense side of the spectrum but, like some people in this gig, lack the discipline to stretch, rest and relax.
The final note in this book is worthy of a full-type quote here. This basically encapsulates the tone of 100 Firehall Workouts;
Make a plan of attack – not just for the shift, but for the month and for the year. Make a plan for yourself, for your crew and for your team.
Set goals and smash them. Set new goals. Never stop getting better than the shift before.
Nothing is ever done. There are always changes that we can make.
Perfection is not an end state but a continuous pursuit that can never be achieved. That’s your goal.100 Firehall Workouts
Who is 100 Firehall Workouts written for?
100 Firehall Workouts is available on Amazon – link here. In all, it’s gonna cost a little less than 35 bucks to get dropped off at your front door. I do believe there’s value in this workbook – and for more than just the seasoned lifter.
Of course, the words and phrases punched out to structured workouts in 100 Firehall Workouts are going to make sense to people who have been around fitness for a while. However, the QR code attached to each workout offers a video to reinforce or help learn the movements listed. Ultimately, I think this workbook fits best with people looking to shake up an existing fitness regimen or get back in the game. Because these workouts offer a new glimpse at some bigger movements, the work itself seems tuned more to people who know how to make those movements safely to begin with.
The prose components are short. More like meditations and are welcome additions to the lexicon of mindset advice for firefighters. Where I think this type of content would fit well is as a ‘focus’ piece. Something to be considered directly before a workout.
100 Firehall Workouts is a worthy contribution to the heritage of our service. It’s a physical workbook that can be easily adopted by any team. One step further than that, it could very well be the nudge your station’s boulder needs to start moving forward.
Hard work is hard by design. It can translate in different ways.
But, like Arnold and Russell remind us on Page 54, this is not a game.
We’re hosting a giveaway for the copy of 100 Firehall Workouts we were given to review on our IG – Link here.