By Conner Freeland, O2X On-Site Human Performance Specialist
O2X facilitated its first Fitness Challenge within the DC FEMS beginning in the month of May and saw exceptional results! The goal was to encourage firefighters to take an active role in creating positive change in their lives. This member-requested initiative spanned to each battalion and included both firefighters and civilians within the department. For eight weeks, participants pushed themselves to exercise weekly, eat more nutritious meals, and build consistent healthy habits. This weekly routine emphasizing both physical training and nutrition components highlighted the value of a well-rounded approach to fitness. The progress members made toward their goals resulted in physical and mental changes that ultimately will benefit them in all aspects of their lives.
Signed up today for #DCsBravest and @o2xhp Firefighter Transformation Challenge. I will start my challenge on May 6th in honor of Lt Kevin McRae. Award categories for uniformed and civilian employees by age groups! pic.twitter.com/jS59QHSPn0
— DC Fire & EMS Chief (@FD_Observer) May 3, 2021
Each week, the participants competed by finishing a minimum of two O2X SWEAT workouts and preparing a meal from the O2X EAT recipes. The variety of meal submissions stemmed from healthy sides to family barbecues, all the way to shift dinners. More than 200 meals were prepared using the recipes, and we received incredibly positive feedback on how good they were. Shrimp tacos seemed to be a hit, as many reached out saying it was their family’s favorite. These and flank steak, pecan chicken salad, egg muffins, and fresh fruit smoothies were among the most common selections.
The more than 400 O2X SWEAT workouts submitted were a variety of strength training, HIIT circuits, cycling, and running programs. Three to four different firefighters noted how effective just the PREPARE and RECOVERY sessions were with increasing their mobility and said most of the workouts were great. Overall, there were 331 total pounds lost with a 9% average change in body composition for all participants. Additionally, these members lost 3% body fat on average over the course of 8 weeks!
One of the most significant changes in body composition came from Lt. JR Muyleart who went from 17.3% body fat (BF) to 11.8% BF.
“I would highly recommend doing a challenge like this again…anything that gets people thinking about their health and wellness is great. The positive reinforcement was beneficial and any reward that gets people involved is good. My favorite part of the challenge was incorporating new workouts to my regiment.”
— DC Fire & EMS Chief (@FD_Observer) May 6, 2021
A winner from the women’s division, EMS Supervisor, Sharon Moulton, said the program really put her on a track to be more consistent.
“I really liked the challenge! I think we all are a little competitive, and when your buddy is doing it, it also makes you want too. Overall health isn’t just losing weight, there’s a lot more involved. Increasing my water intake and watching what I ate helped greatly, and I really noticed a difference on how I felt. This program has taught me there is a starting point for everybody…I’m looking forward to the next challenge.”
One of the biggest accomplishments from the challenge was incorporating many of the phenomenal civilian employees that the department supports. Javon Jones, a mechanic at the apparatus shop, won his division by taking a big interest in a cycling program on the app.
“I really liked it. I’ve lost about 20 lbs. since the start and more importantly I feel better and am moving better. I also liked how everything was planned out, I didn’t have to think about what to do each day. With the meals, the portion sizes were great. It was just enough that I would be full, but not over-do it. It was cool to compete with the firefighters we support daily.”
Finishing up second week of #DCsBravest fitness challenge with @o2xhp. I have been sore, but feel stronger. No weight loss, will have to add better eating this week.. Stick with it team! pic.twitter.com/1VcWYDLmvc
— DC Fire & EMS Chief (@FD_Observer) May 20, 2021
O2X plans on hosting another fitness challenge this fall and will be looking forward to even more participation and added prizes.