Welcome to Grit Nation.
On this episode I have the pleasure of speaking with Dan Kerrigan the author of Functional Firefighter Fitness.
Though written for firefighters this book is packed full of solid advice to help you maximize your output on the job no matter what your trade is.
We’ll open our conversation by discussing what it means to be “fit for duty” as we investigate the similarities construction industry professionals share with other craft that rely not only on their cognitive abilities to get the job done but their physicality too.
Next Dan will explain how Physical Fitness, Rest and Recovery, Hydration and Nutrition make up the Four Pillars of his program, and why it is so important to master each one to achieve optimal health and peak performance.
Later we unpack the BIG 8 and understand why spending hours in the gym isn’t necessary to achieve the muscular endurance, cardio conditioning and flexibility that keep your body healthy and strong.
And we’ll end our conversation by giving you the resources needed to make proper lifestyle decisions now that will allow you to maximize output, minimize injuries, and set you up for success into your later years.
The Show Notes
Firefighter Functional Fitness
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If you just picture your bias like a high performing sports car, right, if you happen to own a Ferrari, and you put diesel fuel in that Ferrari, what's going to happen? It's not going to perform at the level you would expect it to perform at right? Our bodies or our vehicles, right? That's what they are. So what we put in, that's what's going to keep us going and what's going to keep us healthy.Joe Cadwell:
Welcome to Grit Nation. I'm Joe Cadwell, the host of the show, and in this episode, I have the pleasure of speaking with Dan Kerrigan, the author of Functional Firefighter Fitness. Written for firefighters. This book is packed full of solid advice to help you maximize your output on the job. No matter what you trade, it will open our conversation by discussing what it means to be fit for duty. As we investigate the similarities construction industry professionals share with other crap that rely not only on their cognitive abilities to get the job done their physicality to next Dan will explain how physical fitness, rest and recovery hydration and nutrition make up the four pillars of his program, and why it's so important to master each one to achieve optimal health and peak performance. Later, we unpack the big eight and understand why spending hours in the gym isn't necessary to achieve the muscular endurance, cardio conditioning and flexibility that keep your body healthy and strong. And well under conversation by giving you the resources needed to make proper lifestyle decisions now that will allow you to maximize output, minimize injuries and set you up for success into your later years. After this episode, be sure to visit the show notes where you can find more information to help you dive deeper into the subject. And now on to the show. Dan Kerrigan, welcome to Grit Nation.Dan Kerrigan:
Thanks, man. Appreciate you having me.Joe Cadwell:
Yeah, thank you so much, Dan, for taking your time to be on the show today to talk to my listeners about fitness, and the importance of having fitness in order to do the job. Dan, I understand you wrote a book a few years ago called firefighter functional fitness. What got you interested in writing that book?Dan Kerrigan:
Well, it's a long story, but I'll try to kind of condense it down into a Reader's Digest version. Several years ago, I got deeply involved on a number of levels with firefighter health and wellness, just because I was doing some research at the time at the National Fire Academy for a project I was working on, concurrently. A department that I was with, I kind of identified a problem there within the department in that area. So I wanted to help I wanted to try to make improvements there based on what we learned. And then thirdly, quite honestly, for me was just a realization that as I got older, and I was performing out on the fire ground, my my recovery time, the stamina and all those things that you know, your your 40 something year old body can't keep up with your 20 something year old brain anymore. And I came to the realization that I was I was pretty much not invincible, like we all think we are, we were younger. So there were several things that got got me personally involved with it. At the same time, I had met Jim Moss, my partner and co author, we were both out, they're kind of putting those messages out to the fire service about this sort of thing and trying to encourage people to take better care of themselves. I reached out to him one day suggests that we might write an article or something like that on functional fitness, and which we ended up doing and it got to be incredibly popular. Fire Service circles, if you will, it really, really went off the charts in terms of its readership and all that and it kind of got us got us more involved in that. So there's really not anything out there in the fire service. That's, that's there to help people to help to help the individual firefighter do a better job of taking care of themselves and to we had so much material, like jokingly said one day, we could write a book. And next thing, you know, we wrote a book, and that's really, that's how it started. And it kind of was a fluid thing. And we didn't set out to do that right away, which is probably a good thing because you know, we didn't have a chance to talk ourselves out of it or anything like that. So here we are today. It's in 50 plus countries around the world and I think it's hit number one bestseller in its category on Amazon three separate times since it's been published and we're very blessed and humbled the people Did they find it useful? And it's helping people that really makes makes us feel good every day?Joe Cadwell:
Yeah, heck yeah. It's in again, when I was researching occupational fitness for the show, I couldn't find anything that dealt with construction. So a lot of people right now are listening to the show going, Well, why are you talking with a firefighter about, you know, functional fitness or firefighting, but there's so many direct correlations between the physicality that is needed to work in your occupation, and the majority of my listeners working in the building trades. And we'll get into some of those crossovers here in a bit. But the difficulty was finding something that was practical, and not just based on building, you know, muscle mass and looking looking good and ripped coming out of the gym. But actually having muscle endurance, having good cardiovascular fitness, having flexibility, and basically conditioning yourself to be able to do the work that is called for, and not just in the short term, but in the long term, making sure that you stay physically fit for the duration of your career as a professional Carpenter, or iron worker, or electrician or plumber, or labor, you know, and that is the heart and soul of why I've asked you on the show, and I'm so happy that you, you have taken your time. So I've got to ask the question, Dan, why isn't I work hard? I'm going to hear a lot of people saying right now listening, I work hard, why isn't my hard work enough to keep me physically fit? Why do I need to push a little bit beyond that and consider conditioning myself.Dan Kerrigan:
So we need to make sure that we are taking care of our bodies so that our bodies can perform at their best when we're asking them to do the most. And I want to make it clear, and I'm sure we'll talk about the pillars, but we are not two people that just talk about going to the gym working out, right? It's a very, it's a small part of a bigger picture. It's a comprehensive approach, right? So there's a lot more to it. It's what we eat, it's how we live our life, it's arrests or recovery or sleep habits, how well we hydrate ourselves, all of those things come into play. And they can easily be easily be applied to pretty much life in general, right. And certainly what you do what I do, maybe there's a little bit more of an impact, because it's a physical job. And then the other part of it is just the longevity. And you mentioned that right? We're not just trying to help firefighters become higher performers, when they're on the job. We're not, we're not just trying to reduce the risk of injury, which is something that I think we can agree on is is really important in the trades as well as as firefighting and public safety. And there's a big part of it there. We're trying to, we're trying to get you through a career, where you enjoy it. And then when you retire, that you can also enjoy your retirement. And in the fire service. We know many, many people that that have a 2025 30 year career, and then within a couple years of retirement, they pass away for one reason or another and who wants to do that, right? Who don't you want to like, you know, get all that all that money you put into your pension benefit, right? Sure, right. I mean, you earned it, you deserve it. And the only way you're going to ensure a really, you know, help yourself to achieve that longevity is if you take care of yourself now, you know, I mean, we can't predict everything, certainly. But I think that logic would tell you that that those of us that do take care of ourselves physically, and and otherwise are going to have a better opportunity to enjoy a longer retirement as well. That's and it sounded to me like you and I are kind of in the same general age range. So you know, hey, that, that that's becoming more and more important to me, you're every year that goes by?Joe Cadwell:
Yeah, for sure. Extending that quality of life. And again, it all starts with building a foundation of awareness of investing in yourself in a physical fitness standpoint, and also adopting healthy lifestyles. And so if we built a solid foundation, now we talk about the four pillars, Dan, and that that you know, getting into your book, you have four pillars there the first one first pillar is the physical fitness side of it. The second one is the recovery and rest. Hydration is your third pillar, we'll get into that one that's interesting to me, and then the nutrition and lifestyle choices. So let's go back to the to the first pillar of physical fitness. And when we think about fitness, again, it's not just about having that ripped BOD, but actually having muscles that can do the work required and having a cardio vascular endurance to help you do the work. So how do you how do you gain that?Dan Kerrigan:
First, I just want to reiterate your point and make it known to everybody they may listen Is that what we're is what we're not about, right what what Jim and I are not about is the Beachbody, the shredded abs and those sorts of physique type goals that that individuals may have. No, we're not saying that you shouldn't have those personal goals, but our approach is strictly performance based, it's being the best you can be in every area of physical performance from talking about physical fitness. So, so really, it's all about function, right? It's about what do you do? And what can make you better at what you do in your own life, right. So if you think about a gymnast, or a football player, or a hockey player or a soccer player, they all train physically for the occupation, essentially, that's what it is for, not for the occupation that they're involved in. And they do certain things, certain ways to be better at what they do. Right? Well, why shouldn't we? Right, that was our point, right from the beginning is that we ought to be training to be better firefighters. And in order to do that we need to incorporate or replicate those movements and things that we do out there on the fire ground. And that's really what bate what the basis of functional fitness is, if you if you can answer three questions, is it safe? Is it effective? And is it functional? You can answer yes to those three questions, then you're probably on the right track already. Right. But what our goal is to get you in a position where you're replicating the kinds of movements and patterns that you do on the fire ground, and do that in the gym. And that's really, that's really what it is.Joe Cadwell:
And not to get in specific exercises per se. But in under the pillar of physical fitness, you talk about the pushing, exercises, the pulling exercises, the lifting exercises, the carrying exercises, and the dragging type exercises in this area, I assume are what a lot of firefighters do and it sounds like what a lot of our carpenters and building trades professionals are also required to do out in the field. So how would you how would you gain those type of strength? Say you only have two days a week you can you can devote towards your physicality? How would you gain those?Dan Kerrigan:
You mentioned, basically what you mentioned is the five functional strength training components of the Big Eight, right? Prior to that we would talk about core strengths, cardiovascular capacity and flexibility as being the sort of foundational components, right? I think you would agree with me that in the trades, your core, you need to have a strong core, right? We're not just talking about shredded abs, we're talking about front sides and back of your torso in your in your back. Right. So that's, that's the basis for all of it from the strength standpoint. How do we we associate push pull, lift, carry and drag? Because as you said, that's what we do out on the fire ground. So how does one accomplish that mission on you set a two day a week type of a schedule? Well, if I were trying to design a program for you that you were only able to work out two days a week, I probably would focus on what we call HIIT training, high intensity interval training, because what you can do then is you can combine the cardiovascular capacity training that we need for endurance with what what's really, really important to us muscular endurance training. So you can do physical strength exercises in a high intensity format that kind of kills two birds with one stone, if you will, right. So we incorporate things like push ups, pull ups, squats, mountain climbers, any anything like that, that's going to engage in either, you know, pushing movements, upper body strength movements, lower body pushes, and pulling movements, engaging your core dragging, polling, doing things like that, that benefit us out there in the real world. And that's how I would do it. If you only gave me two days a week, I probably would assign to pretty based on your overall conditioning, I probably would give you two pretty stout, high intensity interval training workouts, if you would, that we're going to incorporate all that all that stuffJoe Cadwell:
for you. And that's a good point that you just brought up there your base level of conditioning, obviously getting in any sort of physical fitness program, you want to make sure that you start off sensibly that you don't create injury, but also, you know, understanding that someone who is 20 something years old versus someone who's 40 something years old, that their level of high intensity is going to vary greatly. I imagine so you have to sort of cater it to your own where you are in life.Dan Kerrigan:
Well, so yeah, and we have metrics for that, actually. I mean, part of it is knowing your own level of fitness and conditioning and you like in our book, for example, we have a pretty basic self assessment that you can do. You can just go through a series of movements and exercises and kind of rate yourself where you following those categories to get yourself a baseline if you will, to start from from a more clinical standpoint, a 40 year old person, their theoretical maximum heart rate is going to be less than a 22 year old person. And you can easily calculate that, and you'll know it for a year over a year, you know, you take 220 minus your age, and that's your, that's your theoretical maximum heart rate. So we know what that is. And then we take a percentage of that based on our fitness goals for the session that we are engaging in. So for doing high intensity interval training, our target heart rate is 85% of our theoretical maximum heart rate. If we're doing endurance based training, you know, like, longer, you know, swimming or running on the treadmill at a jog, you know, those kinds of more endurance based training sessions, then you're at 70%. So, so some of it is knowing your own level of conditioning, which you know, we can help you with. And then the other part of it is just now where do I need to be, so that I know that I'm actually benefiting from all the work that I'm doing. And that's where the theoretical maximum heart rate comes in.Joe Cadwell:
And it sounds like earlier, you were talking about a lot of bodyweight type exercises, and probably the only piece of equipment you would need is a heart rate monitor of some sort to be able to monitor those thresholds,Dan Kerrigan:
I could give you a way to tell if you're a bear without even anywhere horrible to be honest with there's something called a TOC test. The rule of thumb is that if you are engaged in that kind of activity, and you can speak a full sentence, but it's it's under Labor, it's hard to get it at Imagine if you're jogging on a treadmill, and somebody comes up and wants to start talking to you. Right? And you're you're trying to answer their question, and you're kind of getting a sentence out, but you're like, not able to do it, you're in that 70% range, right? If you want to hit the high intensity range, you shouldn't be able to speak more than one or two words at a time without having to take a breath. It's that simple. JustJoe Cadwell:
Just get out, leave me alone.Dan Kerrigan:
Yeah, get out, that's kind of your busy, right? You know that that's kind of a an organic type of a test, just if you don't have a wearable, you don't have anything like that, you can go by that as well,Joe Cadwell:
that makes a lot of sense. And that hit training, it sounds like you know, hit kind of works in three different realms, the immediate are sort of the explosive training, and then that would quickly go into anaerobic training. And then more relaxed would be in the, the aerobic spectrum, or part of the spectrum. Yeah, youDan Kerrigan:
you don't, you've done some research. Um, so yeah, so and they those three stages on the, on the fitness continuum, if you will, are important to us as as firefighters, you know, especially because we need to be good at all those levels. But if somebody were asked me and I get asked this a lot, where where would your main focus be? For us, our main focus is in that anaerobic state and that middle state, right, because that's where we're, that's where our limitations are going to rear their ugly heads, if you will, right. You know, we need to be explosive and powerful for very short bursts. But most of our most of our continuous work happens in that anaerobic state where we're, we're continuing to push at a moderate to high level, but we still need that staying power as well. So that's where you're gonna find where you start cramping up or losing your grip strength. And, you know, those kinds of feelings that I'm sure that we've all had, that you're you're near and near the limits of your endurance. That's what we're trying to concentrate mostJoe Cadwell:
great. And earlier, I said two days a week, ideally, Dan, what would you say would be the best, you know, program for someone wanting to maintain fitness outside of work, and not necessarily turning into a gym rack, but just wanting to be active? What would you say? How many days a week would would be ideal?Dan Kerrigan:
I you know, it's it's a good question. I'm gonna skate around that a little bit and say that, that it's an individual thing, one of the most important things that, that you have to do as a person is you have to be realistic in your commitment to your fitness. And so if you tell yourself, I'm going to work out six days a week, and you know, damn well that you can't, you can't do that, given your life and your family and all the obligations that you have, then you're probably going to fail. Right? So I would rather say, I would rather you tell me that you're going to commit to three days a week or four days a week and actually stick to it. So I would say at a bare minimum, three or four days a week is really what's required and really what once we decide how many days a week you can commit to it. Then we can structure a program around that so that you're still getting the most bang for your buck. Jim and I are fitness minimalist. We do not want or promote or expect anybody to and you know, I say you know, 28 hours a day, 19 days a week in the gym, right? That's not really a lot of fun. You want to live your life to let's go We're more targeted on being efficient. Getting in there getting done what you need to get done for that session and then going about on about your day, half hour, 40 minutes I can, I can make you feel very much like you had one heck of a workout and 20 to 30 minutes I can, I can put you through a 20 minute hit session and you'll theoretically be crawling out of gym, you know, I mean, not that we want you to be doing that. But you don't need to be in there for an hour, hour and a half every day.Joe Cadwell:
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into doing what you like is a key component. That's that's probably the other part of it, don't commit to something that you can't, you can't meet timewise. But also, if you're the type of person that likes a variety and your exercise regimen, you know, that kind of thing, then then you do what you like, and you find the ways to utilize those exercises and movements to improve yourself. They mean the variety, most people like variety, I'm actually kind of a creature of habit. So there's certain things that I just I like to do, and I can just do them on a regular rotation. And I don't need to have all that different variety. But that's, that's just me, it doesn't matter. You know, what matters is how you like to do it. And are you doing the different things to keep yourself interested, the book has pages and pages of exercises and movements that that you can interchange and your workout regimen just got, you know, 345 and six day a week workout sample regimens. There's all kinds of options there just to get you thinking. And then then realize too, that for every exercise your movement, there are progressions and regressions to those as well. So depending on your level of fitness, you either we're going to take a step back and go a little easier, or you can do some things to challenge yourself, if you're looking for more of a challenge as you become more fit. So there's layers, right? Yeah.Joe Cadwell:
And before we move on to the next pillar, we had talked about, you know, strengthening our bodies, strengthening our cardiovascular system, but the one of the parts of the Big Eight, flexibility, how important is flexibility and why?Dan Kerrigan:
Well, probably one of the most underrated and most important aspects of our fitness, right for a number of reasons. I mean, I and I think any of your employers would argue that, you know, the more that people are injured and out of work and hurt, that the more it costs them in terms of overtime shift replacements, insurance premiums, all of those things, the cost of injuries is tremendous. And, and flexibility is one of the easiest ways to reduce that risk, right. In the fire service. You know, almost you know, I would say 44% I believe was the last figure we had 44% of us in the fire service at some point in our career will will suffer some kind of significant musculoskeletal injury right, the flexibility aspect is key for us specifically, I mean, we work in restrictive gear and we have to contort our bodies into different patterns and movements and just unnatural places where we have to work and balance ourselves and things like that. All of that lends itself to increased flexibility as as a you know a bonus and I'm sure that you would probably agree in the construction industry. You're probably not always just standing there on a flat surface. We're working right in front of you with evenly distributed weight rightJoe Cadwell:
for shot. And I've seen plenty of people go through the the pretense of a morning stretch and flex most guys companies nowadays in the building trades will have their have their employees do a morning stretch and flex. And it's a lot of people just, I don't wanna say going through the motions of going through the motions. But that's really what it is. And they're not getting the full benefit of that time to warm their bodies up. And like you say, if you, if you rely on your body to get the work done, if your body is a tool that provides you the ability to provide for yourself and your family, you should treat that tool with respect. And by getting warmed up in the morning. It sounds like a logical thing to do.Dan Kerrigan:
Absolutely, it's a great benefit, we're trying very hard to eliminate the stigma associated with yoga. And all that I mean, we don't certainly speak of, it's not about the spirituality and all that stuff. It's about the fact that basic functional yoga, at least like a once a week, maybe 20 minutes session will do wonders for not only your flexibility, but also your must also your muscular endurance as well. And you can do that in the comfort of your own home, you can just click on YouTube, in a private setting, follow along with somebody on YouTube and do some basic movement patterns that are that will benefit you greatly.Joe Cadwell:
So now we've we learned about stressing our muscles getting flexible, getting strong. The important part of fitness that a lot of people don't quite comprehend, is that recovery period and the importance of recovery and rest in overall fitness. And what can you tell us about that down?Dan Kerrigan:
Well, there's two, two main components of Russian recovery. And that would be the active side and the passive side, right. So one aspect is to make sure that we're when we are working out training in the gym or doing what we're doing that we're giving our bodies time to recover from the essentially the damage that we're doing to our bodies to our muscles when we do workout, right. So for example, some active rest would mean allowing, if I did an upper body push and pull workout on Monday that I wouldn't want to really focus on those major muscle groups again, until probably Thursday, right, so we want to give like 48 hours of rest to the major muscle groups that we've that we've worked out. So that's an example of that. But we also need to consider that our bodies in general have to have time to recover, and that we shouldn't be in the gym seven days a week, and that it is important to have rest days as well. And just to not be doing the strenuous workouts that you know, that we're doing in the gym. And there's nothing wrong with doing some, you know, going for a brisk walk on a rest day or doing some basic flexibility stuff just to stay limber or whatever like that. But we also have to cover bodies time to recover, allow our muscles to repair and recover. The other side of it is the passive side. And that's just plain old middle fashion sleep. Sleep deprivation in the fire service is terror is a terrible problem. As you might imagine, it's pretty hard to predict an emergency. So when you're working that kind of a shift, right? So we really tried to focus on limiting distractions and stimulus, especially when you're off. So when you're at home, when you're not at work, that you have to do everything you can to try to get yourself at least seven or eight hours of uninterrupted sleep at night, just and that will do wonders for you both mentally and physically. And part of the way we do that is to eliminate the distractions eliminate the cell phones, the computers, the the noise, if you will, that we all are attached to right up until you know we go to bed at night and kind of put that aside you know, give an hour 45 minutes before we go to bed and allow our bodies and minds to settle and and you know other things like sleeping in a dark room a cool space, not a hot space. Those kinds of things are all important in terms of helping us get good restful sleep.Joe Cadwell:
There's been a lot of studies a lot of scientific papers written recently on the importance of that the sleep and the the REM sleep. And you know, just overall optimal performance during your waking hours is dependent upon getting some good restful sleep. Maybe we'll we'll get back into that a little bit with our lifestyle choices when we get to pillar number four. But yeah, it makes sense. You know, you tear your muscles down, you got to give them time to build back up. So taking not every day in the gym or staggering your workout routine, so that you're not just hitting that just working on those those biceps and that those big pack muscles every day because they're not going to grow if you don't allow them time to build so that makes a lot of sense. So hydration, I noticed is one of the four pillars there and hydration Yeah. huge proponent of drinking water all my life. I've just love to drink water, but I realized that so many people I've heard I don't like the taste of water. I don't like water. You know, I don't feel thirsty. Why is hydration so important?Dan Kerrigan:
Well, hydration is important for each and every one of us regardless of Have what we do for a living, but for firefighters, public safety workers, people like yourself that do that strenuous where you're telling me about the diving and all that stuff. Like, there are so many impacts on your physical on your body systems, because of what you're doing that we are less able to, to absorb, if you will, right, like so. I use that comparison a lot like a typical like an office worker or an accountant or somebody like that, that may be at some level of dehydration, well, that person because they're not doing exerting themselves physically, for the most part is better able to withstand the effects of that dehydration. And we are right, we don't ever know as firefighters, you don't ever know when you're going to have to go out and do that kind of work to begin with. So we have to proactively hydrate because once you're behind the eight ball, and you're already dehydrated, it doesn't. You can't just drink a couple bottle bottles of water and make it all better. Right? So to answer the question, more specifically, the hydration or lack thereof affects all of your bodies. So any of those risks that I that I already mentioned, like, you know, the cardiovascular risks, and that those are are heightened because of our level of dehydration, right? When you add heat stress to that, which I'm pretty sure that construction industry works out and in the hot home for sure. You know, right. So when you add heat stress to the dehydration, it further exacerbates those negative effects on your body systems, your your there's so many things that happen inside your body, not to get all physiological with everybody. But there's so many things that happen with your your circulatory system and your other systems that are operating your body basically and keeping you moving. When you're under exertion. If you don't properly hydrate, you're asking your body to perform at its highest level when it can't, right like when when it needs everything to be clicking. All cylinders be clicking, you know flawlessly or seamlessly. You're putting yourself at a greater risk. So it's going to increase your time to exhaustion is going to increase your your risk of suffering some other kind of medical issue and it's all tied together really not to mention it the cancer fighting effects of it to which a lot of people don't realize that at the at the cellular level. There's a purging effect that hydration happens in your body that purges the toxins and stuff like that, that you absorb out of your body. So it's there's so many benefits to it. Yeah,Joe Cadwell:
I started about a year ago, kickstarting my morning, every morning when I wake up to 16 ounce glasses of filtered water right off before I do anything else. Those Those go and you can do Yeah, and I heard it kind of back flushes your system. If you were considering it like a pool filtration system, you'd actually back flushing the system getting things moved, moved along. Water. Awesome. What's your thoughts down on the monsters, the rock stars, the five hour energies, the the Gatorade and those types of things in hydration? They're ubiquitous in the construction and the building trades? Everyone's walking around with a rock star a monster in hand? Is that a form of hydration that you feel is a helpful choice?Dan Kerrigan:
Well, can you tell me what's in a Can a monster?Joe Cadwell:
A lot of stuff? A lot of it's difficult to pronounce?Dan Kerrigan:
Yeah, so. So I'm not here to bash any anything or anybody. But in terms of properly hydrating yourself, it's all about water. and to a lesser extent, but you did mention like Gatorade, for example. And electrolyte replacement, right? So your body does need that energy replacement from time to time when you exert yourself. I've had doctors tell me that for every, say, for every bottle of Gatorade that you drink, though, that you should drink two to three bottles of water to offset some of that effect. Right? So too much of anything is no good for you. Right? But in terms of the energy drinks and all that I I can't speak to them. I don't I don't know that there's any health benefit to them. There's nothing wrong with a moderate level of caffeine. We don't discourage people to drink a, you know, a cup of coffee or have a certain, you know, level of caffeine on a daily basis as long as you're not putting, you know, 17 teaspoons of sugar in it. But but from those, there's other things you mentioned. If it's a supplement, if it's anything like that, that's not regulated, then you really they can claim whatever they want to claim because they're not regulated, right. So, you know, if he there's more than four or five ingredients on anything that you're putting in your body, you're probably moving into a direction where there's been some processing some adding some supplementing of that took for whatever reason to make it taste better to whatever it is.Joe Cadwell:
Sure, and for legality purposes, I definitely don't want us to be bashing on the monstersDan Kerrigan:
I'm going to just say, say in general that I don't know any enough about any of those those types of drinks to know one way or the other, what if any health benefit they would have for you. And just leave it at that.Joe Cadwell:
That sounds good. And that'll set us up for that. For the fourth and final pillar, the nutrition and lifestyle pillar, and nutrition Food is fuel in my opinion. And a lot of people agree with that, that concept that what we put into our bodies is basically what we're going to be getting out in return. So nutrition starts, and we don't want to get into dietary advice or anything like that. But a basic concept in my understanding is to try to eat as much unprocessed foods as possible stick with whole foods and and really shop the peripheries of a supermarket, when you are going to make dinner for your cruise on at the firehouse or, you know, you're on your way to work, you have something in your lunchbox that you didn't pick up at an AMPM or a 711. At 615 in the morning, and and so what is your understanding of proper nutrition and how it can help with functional fitness on the job? Sure,Dan Kerrigan:
well, part of part of the already mentioned, if you just picture your body is a high performance sports car, right? If you had, if you happen to own a Ferrari, and you put diesel fuel in that Ferrari, what's going to happen to it right? It's not going to perform at the level you would expect it to perform at, right. So our bodies are our vehicles, right? That's what they are. So what we put in, that's, that's what's going to keep us going and what's going to keep us healthy, right. So it's all about, like you said, Food is fuel. So it's the right foods in the right amounts from the right sources, there's no diet involved. We need all of it, we need carbs, we need protein, we need fiber, we need fats, right? It's just about getting them from the right sources, so that we're getting the most benefit from them. And certainly, we want to avoid the process stuff, anything that's in a box or a bag or anything like that, is good to kind of keep to a minimum right. And I'm not suggesting that anybody deprive themselves of anything good in their life, or, you know, something that they enjoy, but it's about moderation is really what it is, you mentioned, the supermarkets. And really, really why we say that is because if you really think about the layout of a typical supermarket, where you're going to find most of your healthier foods is going to be out out there on the perimeter of the supermarket, they put all that other stuff right in the middle right in front of you, right, the boxes, the bags, the chips, all that kind of stuff, they put it on the end caps, it's right there in your face, to try to get you to buy it because it's convenient. So So yeah, I mean, you have to take the approach that and we talk a lot about in our classes about, you know, different ways of losing weight and things like that, if that's what you need to do. Just we're not nutritionist, we would just suggest that, you know, whether it's 21 Day fixes, or this or that, whatever they are all those things that you hear about out there, yet, they're short term, they are short term, Texas, not many people can sustain those kinds of approaches to nutrition for the long term. So the best way to approach it is just if you're putting the right foods in the right amounts in your body, that's going to give you the best bang for your buck, if you will,Joe Cadwell:
and listening to your body and making you know how you feel after you have certain meals, obviously, and just really conceptualizing the nutrition that you take in as a lifestyle choice. Again, not a diet not a fad, or it's not a diet. Yeah, you know, I'm investing long term and my health and well being as we said earlier, you know, as you progress through the, through your career, you'll begin to realize that the you don't tend to recover rebound as quickly when you get into your 40s and 50s as you did when you're 20 or 30. So you could get away with a lot of things in an earlier age. But if you're truly looking at a long term investment in a career as a firefighter, as a professional craftsperson, you have to dig in, treat your body with respect and treat it like a tool that is going to provide for you for the long run. We could have you back on the show. I hope someday, Dan to talk about, you know, some of the vices alcohol, smoking, showing those types of things. I think we'll leave that for another conversation. But in a nutshell, yeah, in a nutshell. You know, some of the adverse consequences of those vices could be as we talked about setting you up not to enjoy a high quality of life after you retire. And hopefully a lot of people listening now are in their earlier stages of their career and they're listening going well, maybe these decisions, maybe it is time for me to stop smoking. Really follow through on that. Knowing that, you know, I'm investing in myself and my pension in my family and I want to see the retirement age. I don't want to die. Two years after I retire at age, age 50 Something from cancer, so of course not.Dan Kerrigan:
Yeah, right. Yeah, it's it all is all tied. together everything when it comes to health and wellness, everything is all connected. You know the fitness, the physical fitness Federation, and you know, it's connected to your mental health as well. It's connected to reduce cancer risk, it's all it's all connected so just generally doing the quote unquote right thing you know, living that like I said that lifestyle moderation is gonna pay off. do wonders for you in the long term,Joe Cadwell:
Dan Kerrigan, this has been a fantastic conversation, where can people go to find out more about you and your book? Sure.Dan Kerrigan:
So the easiest way to find out about our book is to go to firefighter functional fitness.com. That's our website, you can read a little bit about it, see some sample chapters on there, read some of the endorsements. Keep in mind that it's I realized it's called firefighter functional fitness. But I've had so many people tell me, it just applies to everybody, no matter what just it really, it's helpful to anybody. So I encourage people to go there. We also have a YouTube channel. If you just go on YouTube and type in search for firefighter functional fitness, you'll have free access to probably close to 400 exercises, movements, videos, all that kind of stuff to help you along if you're not sure about how to do a certain exercise and whatever is probably in there. And honestly, anybody is welcome to reach out to Jim or I anytime by just emailing us at firefighter functional firstname.lastname@example.org. We we answer every single email message, whatever it is, we we really truly just strive to want to help people that seek us out for advice or help or whatever, and we don't ignore anybody.Joe Cadwell:
I guess this has been Dan Kerrigan, author of functional firefighter fitness. Get more information about how you can take care of your most valuable asset yourself. Be sure to visit the show notes for this episode, or visit our website at www grit nation. podcast.com That's grit nation podcast.com Till next time, this is Joe Cadwell reminding you to work safe, work smart and stay union strong