Saturday, December 29, 2012

Around This Time Each Year...

Well, actually, it starts before the season is over; “Where’s the 2013 Schedule?”

Were it just so simple. This is the hardest, most complex thing that we have to do. Here are the constraints: time, money and the D.O.T. 

Commercial drivers are prohibited from working more than 10 hours in a day. Log books must be current. And big fines result for going over your daily limit. So, we can’t book events that exceed the number of available, or necessary driving dates from the last event. 

Then, there is the cost of putting on an event. Regrettably, we are not a federal agency; a state agency; a municipal agency or any other form of not-for-profit. If we can’t cover our costs through our revenues, this show will come to a screeching halt. So, local hosts raise about 25% of the cost of the show. That takes time. Contracts; down payments. Progress payments- all this paperwork has to be in order. 

Very, very few of our events have the resources sitting around where they can simply send in their payment-in-full. So, it takes time to organize the tour- avoiding impossible distances between events and accommodating all the people who have a special date. Or not. 

The schedule is not a secret. We have found the Internet to be the best possible vehicle for keeping our thousands of loyal competitors, friends and family informed of what we know. And when we know it, we post it. Virtually the very moment that we know it. 

So, please keep checking. We’re pretty sure that around the middle of January we’ll have something to tell you. And, oh yeah. World Challenge XXII will be held in Las Vegas, Tuesday, October 22, through Sunday October 27, thereby avoiding any conflict with Halloween. You heard it here first. Well, maybe not.  

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Abandon Physical Training in Recruit Academy

Heresy! You Say?

Think about it; why do we have P.T. in Basic Training? Why is it management’s responsibility to rehabilitate you for the job you‘re seeking? Where’s the personal responsibility? Where’s the lifetime commitment? 

Think about the hours! In a six-month academy, that’s over 100 hours of training time that could be used more productively on an assemblage of courses focused on personal survival.

Too often, recruits are of the belief that they’ll suddenly get the fitness religion once they’re in a controlled environment. Regrettably, not long after graduation they revert to their former slovenly selves.

I much rather hire the guy who’s demonstrated his self discipline by showing up ready- exceeding by a wide margin the minimal standards on entry.

A number of years ago, we tested applicants for the fire and police academies in a large metropolitan department. We looked at improvements from entry to graduation and one year later.

Not surprising, major improvements were made, mostly in the women, by the time of graduation. But one year later, a majority of the employees were in worse shape than when they were hired.

If we’re going to allow people to regress to their former selves, why waste the time? Why not bet on the person who has already demonstrated that they “get it”: fitness, as a personal responsibility.

Right now, I’m working with a large federal law enforcement organization. In speaking with incumbent officers they were telling me that they wouldn’t workout because “What happens if I get hurt?”

Can you imagine this logic: “I rather stay sedentary and assume those risk factors for heart disease than assume the (very minor) risk for a musculoskeletal injury.”

Think of physical fitness as an I.Q. test; if you’re not doing it, you’re too stupid to work here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

In Their Own Words...

I’m in the process of writing a fitness training manual for Palm Beach County’s Fire-Rescue Department. It occurred to me that what might make this book different is punctuating the sometime boring content with inspirational stories of people such as you who became motivated to the point where they changed their entire life by taking personal responsibility for their own health and fitness.

Compare and contrast that attitude with what I witnessed last week in another public safety organization that I’m consulting with. In this case, a number of police officers said that they would not workout because, “What if I get hurt?” Astounding. So, let me see if I get don’t feel its safe to workout, so it’s better that you do nothing as a protection against what? Being sedentary? We have a very serious educational “cliff” here. And the problem is not limited to public safety.

Check out this recent story in the Washington Post. The numbers of unfit soldiers is staggering.

Hanging around the athletes in the Challenge can warp your perception of reality. You start to think that all firefighters look like you guys. And course, this is why the Challenge is so important for the public perception value. You are the tide that lifts all boats. Perception becomes reality when millions of civilians are exposed to the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge.

So, I’m calling for motivational stories, first person or narratives about someone in your department who saw light and decided that they were going to change because they did not want to be on that long, slow slide to diseases of lifestyle. Don’t worry about grammar and syntax. We can fix it. And we can obscure your identity with a pseudonym. But we can’t fake inspiration and that’s what I’m looking for- something to motivate the guy who wants to change. Send me an email- sooner than later.