Improvement.

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Have you ever woken up and thought to yourself: "Let's see… going to work out is probably the worst idea I've ever had. Can't I just go back to bed?" For most people, this eternal to-gym-or-not-to-gym dilemma becomes even more tumultuous when one realizes that it's actually starting to pay off (we, on the other hand, don't have much of a choice). 

For our most recent PT assessment, the results speak for themselves. I improved in every category, my most proud accomplishment being shaving a minute off my time in the mile-and-a-half run. I won't bore you with numbers, but suffice it to say that I'm quite pleased with my performance.

Some of my friends outside of DCFD have said that they're jealous about the fact that my day includes a mandatory workout. I must say, sometimes it's nice to think about how on most mornings, I'm exhausted before some of them even roll out of bed. It sure gets the metabolism going, though… and it allows me to sneak in some pizza and beer on the weekends without fear of consequence.

Speaking of food, the long-standing tradition within any fire department is one of a culinarily extravagant lifestyle, devoid of regular workouts. As one firefighter said to me at the very beginning: "Buy three sizes of pants. One for now, one for when you get skinny in the Academy, and one for when you go to your company and start packin' it on." 

If you think about it, there's a reason why some firefighters get fairly… rotund. Firehouse meals are big, meat-and-potatoes kind of meals, and there's always plenty for seconds and thirds. Combine that with a bit of downtime, sitting at the watch desk, and a fair bit of inactivity on your three days off, and you can start planning for your Oliver Hardy look-alike contests. Methinks it would be best to keep up the activity level after we graduate, both at work and at home. 

Besides, you'll always remember some of the crazy shit they taught you to make every muscle hurt. Some of it is even kind of… fun?

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Yes, these four-way group pushups are as painful as they look.

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Alex Capece

Washington, D.C. Firefighter and Paramedic

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