Firefighter Fitness: Stop Waiting For The Spark

Jordan Ponder working out

Sponsored content from Paul Conway Fire

By Jordan Ponder

Overhaul is one of the most critical phases of firefighting. By looking and finding for hidden fire, you are ensuring that the fire is out entirely. With great tools like the Seek Reveal PRO Thermal Imaging Camera, overhaul has never been easier. It allows you to find hidden fire and that spark with its -40 to 626 degrees detection range and 300 Lumen LED. But, what about your fitness? Do you have that spark? Are you waiting for it or are you making it?

It has been a pleasure of mine to assist and train firefighters from across the country to create that spark in their passion for firefighter fitness. Whether it is communicating during workshops that focus on how to train Firefighter Function Movement, teaching at technical colleges on the fundamentals of firefighter fitness or simply engaging through, firefighters are getting to know the value of firefighter fitness. However, there are a few misconceptions that surround improving firefighter fitness and it involves waiting for that spark.

Firefighter fitness is an urgent issue. Firefighters are 1,450 percent more likely to get injured than non-firefighters and are at an elevated risk for medical ailments such as hypertension, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and many others. However, it continues to be an issue where individuals are just waiting for that “perfect moment.” This is the reason why I have created a FREE motivational video to assist you in the process of moving firefighter health.

If you continue to wait for that spark, you are delaying the opportunity to improve your life and the lives of those in your department. So what should you do? Begin the process!

•  Start researching! Gathering the facts is one of the best ways to begin the process. By gathering information you are keeping firefighter fitness in mind and are easily bridging the gap between where you are and where you are going. You can always find great information at with free blog updates that are centered on helping you and your fire department train health. Another great resource is the book Firefighter Functional Fitness, written by Jim Moss and Dan Kerrigan. This book provides a wonderful road map for how you can apply fundamental principles of fitness to help you and others improve their safety and performance on the fire ground.

Start talking! As you gain more information about firefighter fitness, its benefits and how to implement it, you need to make it a topic of conversation. This will engrain it in your mind as a necessity, while reinforcing the importance of it to your fellow firefighters. Be sure to reach out to trusted and respected individuals with questions about firefighter fitness. It has been a pleasure of mine to reply to all of your emails with questions ranging from “How do I reduce low back pain?,” to “How do I develop a buy-in within my department?” and “Where do I start?” Feel free to reach out to me at to have your questions answered.

•  Start acting! Research and talking are great, but real change comes from action. Applying what you’ve learned is where the change will come. That means eating healthier, being more active, staying properly hydrated and making sure you are efficiently recovered. This is the basis of the active lecture I have brought to departments entitled, “Health and Wellness for the Fire Service.” This active lecture has already been the training for multiple departments as a way to properly address the importance of activity, nutrition, hydration and recovery. There, you’ll also learn how to make practical steps to facilitate action! Simply email to me for details on how to get this interactive lecture scheduled for your department.

With the urgency of firefighter fitness, there is no time to wait for that spark. You need to begin the process! That means researching, talking and ultimately taking action so that you  can provide yourself and your fellow firefighters with the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. By taking action, you are making a difference in your life by improving your health. By taking action in your department, you are making a difference in the lives of those around you.


Jordan PonderJordan Ponder is a Captain of the Milwaukee Fire Department assigned to Engine 30. Additionally, he is the Lead Peer Fitness Trainer for the MFD where he has been training firefighter health for over 12 years. Holding NASM-CPT, ACE, PFT and multiple of modality certifications, he is also a professional bodybuilder with the WNBF. Jordan is also the Director of Firefighter Dynamic Performance Training which supplies free safety training equipment for fire departments for conducting workshops for their members. To contact Jordan Ponder, email

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