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EMS Fitness and Wellness: Lifestyle Nutrition


In EMS, to some extent, we live our jobs. By default we become the Medic or Firefighter persona and we live it and breathe it 24 hours a day. People expect us to be that way and are always curious about the last shift or if we were on that big wreck that made the evening news. Since I began writing this column, I have received countless inquiries on programs and exercises to get in shape. Every article has alluded to making fitness and health a lifestyle choice but it seems that this concept may have been misunderstood.

Those that are fit, feel good and have lower stress and injury rates are that way because they live it. They do not eat well only when it is convenient, they eat well all the time and go out of their way to do it. These people make excuses to exercise and do not find excuses to skip it. This person is self educated and informed on basic nutrition, food label fallacies and food additives. Portion control is constant and small frequent meals are the norm.

What if you changed how you think, what if everything becomes an exercise? Yard work, cleaning the station and walking stairs can all become excuses to exercise. Here are some interesting facts.

  • Standing versus sitting while talking on the phone could result in a 7 lb. weight loss in a year.
  • Spending 1 hour a day cooking dinner could result in a 10 lb. weight loss in a year.
  • People who fidget a lot will burn 1/3 more calories than those who do not fidget.
So, it seems that the take home message is "move." If we can change how we think about exercise, then it is harder to find excuses to not be fit.

There are some other easy things you can do to make your fitness lifestyle easier. The following are all habits of healthy minded people.

  • Do not sit through the commercials when watching TV.
  • Set a timer or reminder to get up and move each hour for a few minutes.
  • Walk, if possible, instead of driving.
  • Make family activities/dating etc. activities that require movement, i.e. hiking, bike riding, sports.
  • Cook only enough for one portion, or just enough extra to bring for your next shift.
  • Buy only one kind of snack food, and try to make it a whole food.
  • Eat slower to allow for satiety to kick in (hard to do in EMS!)
  • Stay away from super sizing and visual eating.
  • When eating out always divide your portion in half and take it with you.
  • Eat only foods that contain at least some whole foods and fiber.
  • Keep a food journal and activity log.

One thing that I always council my clients on to easily drop a few pounds and substantially add to their overall health, is avoiding the five white evils:

1. White Bread-choose whole wheat or multigrain.
2. White Pasta-choose whole wheat, vegetable based.
3. White Rice-choose brown or long grain.
4. Dairy-milk and dairy products are the simplest form of sugar and if not burned off are easily converted to fat. But, the calcium is important, so control your portions.
5. SUGAR-avoid it and you will loose weight. Educate yourself on the alternate names for sugars. (high fructose, glucose, fructose, mannose, lactose etc.)

I hope that some of these simple tips and ideas will aid you in becoming more fit minded. Remember, we have a unique opportunity to be fit, well and feel good. Empower yourself daily and reap the benefits.

Exercise of the Month

Spine Program

Resistance: Body Wt.
Sets: 2-3 each
Repetitions: N/A
Tempo: N/A (Eccentric, Isometric, Concentric)
Hold Time: 5-? sec.


  • Position yourself on your side. The foot and elbow. (frontal plane)
  • Maintain a ridged body alignment with proper head position)


  • Brace your abdominals, and maintain spinal alignment.
  • Raise your torso up off the floor, hold and repeat. Continue on the opposite side.


  • Keep the glute muscles engaged throughout the exercise.


  • Perform with hip abduction.


Bryan Fass holds a Bachelor's degree in sports medicine, is a Certified/Licensed Athletic Trainer, Nationally Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and works part time as a Nationally Registered Paramedic in Charlotte N.C. Bryan is also a highly skilled soft tissue and Myofascial Release therapist, and has over 10 years of experience in clinical and fitness settings with specialties in spine and postural re-education. He works for Precision Fitness, an advanced personal fitness, corrective exercise, post-rehabilitation, and sports performance facility with locations in Cornelius and Mooresville, North Carolina. It can be found online at Contact Bryan Fass at

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