Touted as the toughest two minutes in sports, the Firefighter Combat Challenge competition is a grueling athletic course that tests firefighter strength, power and endurance.
We caught up with members of Team Lakeland Fire, who are in the process of training for the Firefighter Combat World Challenge XXIV, being held in Alabama, October 19th-24th. We asked them to walk us through a day-in-the-life of a combat challenge competitor, giving us a candid look at the discipline and preparation that goes into each training day.
You’ll notice that their training, nutrition and even the way in which they segment their days are quite different. Everyone creates efficiencies in their daily tasks and it demonstrates that incorporating training into work / life balance is possible.
A Day in the Life Of Sean
As a single father of two active boys, Sean focuses the majority of his attention at home on spending quality time with his family and ensuring his boys are up to date on their homework, well fed and ready for their extra curricular activities. Here is a glimpse into the off-duty daily life of Sean: his training, his food intake and his ordinary super dad duties.
My Firefighter Combat Challenge Routine:
6am – 7am: Get up and get the kids ready for school. Pack their lunches, make breakfast and then drop the boys off at school. As we get ready for school, I’ll often have a protein shake or protein bar.
8am – 9am: Breakfast – scrambled eggs.
9am – 10am: First workout. Typically weights. At this point of the competition season, I focus on lighter weight with higher repetitions. My body stopped responding to high intensity interval training, so I adjusted my training to focus on maintenance, speed and technique. I am not worried about training in full Stealth gear with full weight. Instead, I am trying to refine small aspects of my course technique and build speed.
10am – 1pm: Dad duty: grocery shopping, cleaning the house, running errands.
1pm – 2pm: Lunch - Focus on lean and light. Typically baked fish or grilled chicken.
3pm – 4pm: Pick up the kids from school. Come home, make a snack and let the boys relax after school. During this time, I try to get in my second workout, which usually consists of a stair workout or course work.
4pm - 5pm: I always like to help the boys with their homework before dinner.
6:30pm: Make dinner for the boys. We love to grill together - chicken, pork, steak, hamburgers – we typically grill all year long. When it gets a little colder, we like to make big meals together in the oven, like meatloaf.
Water Intake: 1-2 gallons of water per day.
Sleep Routine: I have really found that my performance on the course depends on my sleep patterns. Years on the ambulance, taking care of my kids and in the military have taught me what my optimum sleep pattern looks like. I find that if I sleep between 5-7 hours, my performance is exactly where I want it to be. If I sleep more than 7 hours or less than 5 hours, I can really see a difference in my energy levels and performance.
Day In the Life Of Ryan:
When he’s not working at the fire station, you can find Ryan fixing up cars and dirt bikes or hitting the water and slopes on his skis. In his second full season training for the Firefighter Combat Challenge, Ryan has found the right mix of training, gear, preparation and nutrition to help him excel in the competition.
My Firefighter Combat Challenge Routine:
Wake up and eat breakfast: I typically eat brown rice, chicken or lean meat, almond butter or a peanut butter sandwich. During the course of my day, I usually eat every hour or two hours, when I start to feel hungry.
Morning snack: Scoop of protein powder, oatmeal.
Workout / Training: I usually do strength training in the morning for 30 minutes to 1 hour, followed by combat challenge specific training for another 30 minutes to 1 hour. I’ll often gear up and go on air as I train to make the course work more challenging. Rest day is low pace rowing or a nice, easy jog.
Snack: After my workouts, I typically have some bananas, to get a boost of natural sugars. Otherwise, I try to limit sugar in my diet.
Lunch: After I complete my training, I have a big meal consisting of good quality carbs and lean meat, like chicken breasts or lean hamburgers.
Dinner: I try to eat a lot of oats, brown rice and complex carbohydrates. I try to stay away from refined sugars and carbs. I find I eat a lot of avocado, to get in some good fat. I often mix avocado in with rice and chicken.
Late night snack: Almond butter sandwich and 1-2 cups of greek yogurt.
Water Intake: 1-2 gallons of water each day.
Sleep Routine: I have found that the amount of sleep I get prior to a competition directly affects my time on the course and my performance. If I sleep poorly or do not get adequate sleep, it adds seconds to my course time. I usually get between 5-6 hours of sleep, but if I am able toget 8 hours, I find my performance improves.
Interested in more information on optimizing your training and performance to get firefighter fit? Get the Firefighter Elite Performance Guide!
We’ve teamed up with real firefighters to create the ultimate guide for firefighter performance, which includes: top turnout gear performance info; training tips for building cardio, strength and endurance; a sample weekly training schedule from a firefighter combat challenge competitor; nutrition tips and firehouse recipes, and a firefighter case study. Download your free guide by clicking the link below.
Lakeland Stealth™ Turnout Gear is the ultimate in fire protection technology and is worn in competition by Team Lakeland Fire. Advanced ergonomics combined with cutting edge materials give superior protection with maximum freedom of movement. Learn more about Lakeland Stealth and #GearUp with Lakeland.