The central tenet of the IAFF’s Peer Fitness Trainer (PFT) program is that every firefighter, regardless of age, experience, fitness or job status, needs the capacity to meet the demands of their life. To accomplish this goal requires an appreciation for screening, assessment and exercise program design – PFTs who change lives have the knowledge and skills to personalize recommendations, minimize injuries and maximize life!
Keys to Success
- Identify the WHY: Know what motivates and inspires your clients to be physically active – health and safety, performance, quality of life. This information will help to build rapport and personalize recommendations.
- Screen Mobility: Joint mobility can certainly impact the way firefighters move; however, so too will fitness, perception of risk, prior experience, motivation, etc. Screen to identify what is not a problem.
- Assess Movement Awareness: Having the ability and awareness to move freely across a range of general patterns is important. Assess movement while imposing a low demand to distinguish between fitness and awareness.
- Assess Movement Behaviors: Firefighters adapt their movement behaviors in response to task, environmental and personal constraints. Challenge clients with a range of fitness-oriented demands to assess their habits.
- Personalize Recommendations: Training should be structured to improve or maintain clients’ capacity – their motivation, awareness, and abilities – to meet the demands of their lives. Make your clients’ exercise matter!