Fire Fighting Fit

The fittest firewoman alive is transforming her colleagues into elite athletes. When she's done with them, she's coming after you.

Apr 1, 2003
Outside Magazine

"Fitness is part of our sacred oath": Juliet Draper at the World Gym in Colorado Springs

I designed this 21-day fitness routine to enhance and maintain my fitness as a professional firefighter, since I have to be prepared to endure intense physical work for extended periods of time and in extreme environments. Accordingly, this workout addresses muscular endurance, muscular strength, cardiovascular conditioning, and something I call "work capacity"—that is, your ability to stay coherent and get the job done no matter what the situation. I've placed an emphasis on the strength areas most commonly needed in emergency situations: legs, back, gluteus (that'd be your butt), hamstrings, shoulders, grip, heart, and lungs.

So what does a workout geared toward saving lives have to do with outdoor fitness? Check this out: Cyclists will notice improved hill-climbing ability and acceleration, rock climbers will come away with a stronger grip and more upper-body strength, and backpackers will improve their ability to carry loads over dynamic terrain. But perhaps more importantly, this workout program will push you. If you've wondered about your athletic and mental toughness before, you're guaranteed to find its limits and push past them if you follow the program honestly. Its intensity trains you to continue even when fatigued, and when you finish it, you'll be master of both your mind and body. Once I was able to complete the workout in its entirety, many activities that once seemed "impossible" suddenly became "manageable."

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