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Fitness Advice from Cops and Firefighters

Fitness Advice from Cops and Firefighters

Steve Berman

May 13, 2010

What’s one thing we all have in common with police officers and firefighters? While most of us probably don’t risk our lives on a daily basis, wear a uniform, or drive a vehicle equipped with a siren, the need to stay physically fit is something we can all relate to.

Stew Smith, a former Navy SEAL and author of several fitness and self-defense books, has been giving outstanding fitness advice to the members of PoliceLink and FireLink. However, many of his exercise tips work for those of us who don’t chase perps or rescue people from burning buildings. Let’s take a look at some of Smith’s best tips.

Running After a Long Break

Overuse injuries, such as shin splints or plantar fasciitis, can derail a running program before it even starts. Smith has some great tips for those looking to avoid injury when starting to run for the first time (or starting up after a long layoff):

1. Warm up properly, then stretch
2. Never stretch cold
3. Replace your running shoes once ever 2-3 months
4. Don’t run in any shoes other than running shoes
5. Check out the running program in Smith’s article for an idea of how you should progress over an 8-week period

Want to Lose Weight?

Forget fad diets. According to Smith, there’s only one way to lose weight, and that’s to consume fewer calories than you burn. However, he advises that consuming too few calories will make your body go into “camel mode,” meaning your metabolism will shut down and you’ll store fat and water. Smith says never to limit your calories to less than 1,800 calories per day, because you’ll be missing out on key vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.

Cardio Exercise and Resistance Exercise: Which to Do First?

What should you do first, cardio or weight/resistance training? What Smith says might surprise you.

For fat metabolism, Smith advises to start with resistance training first to burn up the glycogen stores in your body (make sure to stay hydrated first). That will ensure you have enough energy for the strenuous activities of weight training and/or calisthenics. After about 20-30 minutes of resistance training, you should be ready to burn fat at a higher rate during your cardio workout providing you keep the heart rate in what he calls the “fat burning zone.”

Next Fitness Tip: How to Eat (Healthy) and Run →

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