In this episode, episode number five of the 911 Shift Ready podcast. I’m about to go through the five mistakes that first responders make staying strong for 911 shifts. Now some of these answers may surprise you because some of the things that I’m gonna talk about are things that you are doing every day or things that you’ve been told you should be doing to stay strong on shift.
And what I will say will be a little bit counterintuitive but I’ve learned a lot of these things through mistakes that I have made myself. And to help you understand that a little bit further. My background is as of now 28 years as a personal trainer, nutrition coach. I’ve worked with high level athletes. I’ve worked with CEOs, executives really high level executives that push themselves all of the time. I’ve worked now with first responders since 2018 in actually more of the burnout fashion. In really preparing them to become tactical athletes that can be resilient in their job that aren’t worrying about burnout.
But throughout my career, I had two huge burn crashes and I struggled to work out throughout that and I had to try to figure out why my body wasn’t doing what I was asking of it. Why I couldn’t push through workouts? Why workouts weren’t helping me get more energy and feel better? And a lot of my learnings came out of being in the health and wellness field for the past 28 years and experiencing a lot of the opposite, I guess results that I was supposed to get from exercising and eating healthy. So we’re definitely going to dive in this today, but before we do get into that as well, I wanted to talk to you a little bit about mistakes and this is a big one for me, cause I well, we all grew up quite often in our traditional schooling system that is built on doing the right things, getting the right answers, not making mistakes and tests. And then when we are working in government facilities that are institutionalized as well, they’re run very much similar where there’s not a lot of room for error, especially for you gal, where you also have the public eye watching you every single day.
And they don’t often give you the same freedoms or how do you say it? They don’t give you the same leeway that they would actually give themselves in the same situation. When you are quite often able to handle yourselves and handle these situations way better than they would have been able to in those situations, they still judge you so much.
So you’re kind of conditioned that making mistakes is a bad thing. And following protocols is always the way to be going. But what we do find is those that are very, very successful are the ones that really stop and take a look at what is working, what isn’t working and why is something working and why is something not working and diving into that.
So as we’re going through these mistakes today, I would really like you to think about them as far as yourself. Think of if these have been things that you’ve been continually trying but pushing through and it’s not been helping you to stay strong on 911 shifts when, when it’s, what you’ve been told is what you should be doing. Hope that all made sense to you. Anyways, let’s dive into these mistakes.
So the first mistake is working out the exact same way that you did before you started the job. So when you were civilian, you weren’t really adjusting to the demands of the job and what the shifts do to your body. And quite often, we just continue doing the same thing we are told exercise is great for you. Exercise helps to relieve your stress and in the majority of situations, it definitely does. But there are times in your, in our life where exercise can actually do more harm for you than good or doing the wrong type of exercise at the wrong time. So it’s one that may be good for you, but not that the timing is correct.
So let’s think of this, like an athlete because you guys are tactical athletes. There’s no way that you could do your job if you were not a tactical athlete. There’s no way. So we’re going to look at this from the lens of a professional athlete. When you take a professional athlete, they have a off season and then they have their playing season. And they train differently what they’re supposed to train differently in their off season as they do during their season. Also there’s different training based on when their games are. So football you have once a week for football, basketball is multiple times a week, baseball multiple times a week, car racing formula one, NASCAR is usually once a week.
So depending on the race schedules, a game schedule, what you are doing, and what’s being asked of them, determines what they do on game day and the days leading up to game day or race day and what they do post recovery. It is very different for each individual sport. And again, it will be different for you all as well.
Fire, EMS police, you are all in corrections. I mean, the things that you guys do. There’s different demands on you guys. There’s different technically there’s different game days that you need to be peaking. There’s different scenarios, different situations for each of you and there’s different playoff schedules. So your shift schedules are different and understand when you should have your rest days when you should be doing your hard workouts is very different. Based on which sport the athlete is playing on.
Now, the thing that we get into another snag with you guys is that you don’t know your game schedule. You may know your shift schedule, but you. Don’t know when you might be called in on a day off. You don’t know when on your shift, is it going to be the very beginning of your shift, mid shift, end of the shift where that hot priority call comes from, where one of those calls that is going to take multiple hours. And this is also the difference between fire, EMS and police is that fire. You may be fighting a fire for hours, hours, and hours and hours. If it is a multi alarm fire, you could be there for quite a long time.
Whereas for police and I mean, when I’m saying you’re fighting, it you’re actually like fighting the fire. So you’re actually in the game, so to speak. Whereas when you are a police, quite often the high trauma situations are quick. Things happen fast when you need to peak, when you need to be on it is fast. And then there’s a whole trail of paperwork, of you know, it could be interrogations depending on really what it was that you were doing.
We could get into some of the specialty units as well, where you’re doing like warrants, arrests controlled buys, and that can be more of an endurance race with the odd high level competition in there. So when you’re going for the warrants and everything, that’s, you’re still in the game, it’s almost like you’re in the warmup but then when you’re actually serving the warrants, that is depending on how many have to do, there’s so many situations, as I’m saying, like, I could go through numerous ones. Right?
So for EMS as well, like it depends like so many factors. Has there been a natural disaster and you’re needed for hours and hours at a time? Or was it one accident and you get on the scene and you get them to the hospital and then you’re either handing them off or you’re sitting in the hospital for hours. So there’s so many different situations that we have to consider. Whereas with a pro athlete, they have more predictability. They know their schedule. They know about how long it’s gonna be. I mean, baseball sometimes you end up with double headers and stuff if a game gets canceled from weather, but that’s far and few between, and they still are a little more predictable.
So when we’re looking at you, we have to consider so many more factors. It’s not just even a regular one day a week schedule, or, you know, like hockey, baseball, looking at their schedule. We, they know when all their games are. You don’t know when these games are, you don’t know when that hot priority call is going to happen and we need to be ready for it.
And when we’re thinking of this as well from the tactical athlete point of view, Tom Brady has been in his career and peaked in his career for so long. And it’s not because he’s pushing his body all the time that’s because he also has a balance between his recovery, when he is doing his high intensity workouts in order to stay strong when he is doing his tactical training, in order to know, you know, all the plays and working with the team and when he is doing all the mental stuff as well, there’s so many different factors that he’s looking at for a game.
We can also look at Gary Roberts from Toronto. Gary Roberts was a Toronto, Maple Leafs hockey player. And I just knew of him because some of my friends actually worked at one of his gyms that he had here in Toronto. And it was a very it was a high performance training gym. And Gary Robert’s history was that for quite a while in his career, he worked off of his natural athletic ability. He’d never really watched what he ate. He never watched his nutrition. He never he would just hit the gym when he needed to hit the gym, go hard and he was being plagued with so many injuries that he had to stop and take that step back and start looking at his training. Start looking at when he should be training. What type of training off season on season? That it was phenomenal. His training center was absolutely amazing to go into and the way that they did train people it still was a lot of civilians.
This is our high end executives that I was working with. And when you’re training them as well, they would be looking at them from like their whole year, their whole season when they’ off season. Like when they needed to rest and recover and when they needed to be training.
So when we come and we look at you guys, everything that I mentioned already really needs to be taken into factor is we don’t know how much sleep you’re going to have going into each and every day. There’s your equipment too. Police is 25 to 40 pounds of equipment, depending on where you’re at and what unit you’re. Fire can be a hundred pounds of equipment. EMS really depends on the situation. Depends on who your client is and how you need to be lifting them. Where, what situations they’re in. So the amount of physical exertion that you are requiring throughout your day, just from your equipment, uniform or for EMS, the patients that you’re dealing with can vary as well as to the physical needs of your body.
The length of your shift I mean, a 12 hour shift does not mean a 12 hour shift. I am the wife of an officer, and I know that I’m often expecting those plan B’s. I’m often expecting, okay, you know, sorry, running late, you know, you get on a call. You can’t just leave in the middle of a call. So you don’t necessarily know how long your shift’s gonna be. When OTs gonna be in there. The call volume that happened on your call. Were you able to eat or not eat? What were you able to eat? Were you able to get to your food that you brought? If you brought food, were you not and had to just grab and go, whatever was closest? Are you working nights or days? How was your sleep the last time that you slept? Was it eight hours? Was it four? Was it four because that’s all that you had or was it four because that’s all that you can sleep? How stressed is your body? There’s so many factors that we need to take into account with you that are throwing all of these curve balls at us left, right and center that it’s not something where when you’re working out, you can really do a structured program.
You need to really understand what your body needs and when. When can you do that high intensity workout where maybe you could be going for some personal bests? When do you need to be doing more of a recovery workout? What does your body need on each specific day based on what just happened on shift, what your sleep was like, what’s going on in your life?
All of these things need to be taken into account. So the biggest mistake for mistake number one is really working out more like a civilian. It’s working out like you did before you started a job and not adapting to all of the nuances, demands and things that are thrown at you each and every day on the job. And what I’ve learned is if you don’t come into your training with the mindset of that tactical athlete, where rest, recovery and what happens in your workout, determines if you will have what it takes for the day, the day to day, and then still be able to peak when the moment requires of you, then you will be overtraining your body and you’ll be causing repetitive injuries and you’re going to be sinking into burnout, which leads us into mistake number two.
Relying on coffee, energy drinks to not only make it through your workout, but also to get through your shift. Now we covered this in depth in the last episode in episode number four. So definitely go back to that, to really dive into coffee and energy drinks and to really understand what coffee is doing for you. But a couple of things to really dive into is if coffee is supposed to increase your energy, then wouldn’t all of you have tons of energy all the time? Wouldn’t you just be, you know, having no troubles making it through your shift, would it not just be easy? Would you have tons of time for your family? If it gave you the right energy, you’d be able to still be like as active and your body would heal. Wouldn’t it be doing all of those things? If it was the best energy source for you, and it was actually giving you energy.
And because number one was diving into workouts as well. Another question to ask is, do you need and I mean need a pre-workout drink before a workout in order to get through the workout? Or could you actually work out without a pre energy drink? Because if you really need it then that is telling your body that your body is absolutely exhausted. And that’s where we dive back into mistake number one in asking yourself, the question is, if I need the pre-workout drink, now pre-workouts can help you with your workout. But if you actually need it to get through your workout, if you need it to push and have as good of a workout as you usually have then the question to ask yourself is, should I be doing this workout right now? Or should I be doing something else to help my body repair heal and recover so that I am strong on shift in order to stay safe.
So with caffeine, a couple of things that I’ve learned through working with first responders is there really is a definite difference between enjoying coffee and needing it where coffee controls you. We were talking about Tom Brady. Tom Brady enjoys the odd coffee but he doesn’t use that coffee to get through his games. So if you’re using that coffee to get through your shifts, you might wanna start looking at that and thinking, “Well, shit. What else is Tom Brady doing that I’m not so that he doesn’t need that coffee and to be able to have the career that he has and be able to really, you know, peak during your job during your career.”
And the thing to really take note, a big thing to learn from this one is that when you are really needing coffee, then that is a signal from your body that it’s not recovering. And it’s time to dive in under the hood and figure out why is your body not recovering so that you need that coffee.
All right. So mistake number one is working out like you did before you started the job, like a civilian and is one of the mistakes that is not keeping you 911 shift ready. And the other one is relying on coffee or energy drinks to not make it through your workout but to also get through your shift. Which leads us into mistake number three.
And now this mistake here, some of you may instantly think that I’m full of crap. You may instantly get your backup and be like, “What the heck is she talking about?” Because I swear by this and this really works well for me but I would encourage you to hear me out on this one. I have been working with first responders for a while I know my shit. So this is something where I didn’t believe it actually for the first year in 2018. I actually was on board with this one and through more research coming in and diving into more of it, we started making some changes with the responders that we were working with and did notice an absolute difference on them being more able to make it through their shifts on being stronger, having a clearer head.
And that is thinking that intermittent fasting is great for 911 shift workers. And I know for some of you this might be hard to hear because intermittent fasting is it is all the rage. And when you start intermittent fasting, when you are like doing keto and you’ve really lowered, you’ve lowered a lot of crap. So when you start doing intermittent fasting, you’re taking out sugars, you’re taking out tons of carbs. You’re pretty much taking out really unhealthy foods. So, of course you feel better. You’re taking out the crap, so you really do feel better, but you’re also taking out some of the things that your body needs.
When diving back into the mistake number one, when we’re talking about exercise. You are carrying all of that gear all day. You’re rushing to calls, and even if a call is cleared, your body already got amped up. Like it does for a high intensity workout that the amount of calories that you require because of the the stressors and the stress that’s placed on your body in your shift is a lot. And studies are showing, so here’s the thing is we have most studies that have been done on intermittent fasting first have been done on males. They’ve been done on males, not on females. They’re starting to get some on females. So it’s been done on males and it’s been done on males with a civilian lifestyle.
So there isn’t, I I’m diving in working on getting into more for first responders, but I haven’t really seen a lot for first responders, but what I have seen is still even for civilians that are in burnout. So civilians that are you know, struggling with their sleep. They’re not getting good quality sleeps. They’re exhausted all of the time. They have a short fuse. They’re possible gut issues, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, all of these things, brain fog, memory issues, weight around their middle that they can’t lose. So they’ve been doing studies on intermittent fasting with civilians for males. And in burnout.
Burnout, they are finding is intermittent fasting, keto is not good. It actually perpetuates and puts people further into burnout. Studies down on males is showing that it can be good. Now, we don’t have enough long term studies to find out. The studies that have been done on females have shown that when you are in intermittent fasting in keto and you’re in that ketosis when you are going without calories for quite a long, long time. That it starts to change some of the hormones as well. And that starts really messing a lot up in our metabolism.
There is a doctor that I follow, Dr. Stacy Sims. She does all studies on females, female athletes. And she has this slogan that women are not small men. Depends on what stage we are of our cycle. If we’re perimenopause, menopause depends on all the different ways of eating that are better for us, along with what works with exercise and all of the different hormones. And any females on keto, intermittent fasting needs some sort of modifications. So anybody needs some modifications on that for females and because we can’t go as strict as males. I do know of many couples that have gone on keto together and the guy loses weight and the women does not lose as much or once they’ve stopped keto, because keto is really hard to stick with.
Intermittent fasting is very tough to stick with without being on your schedules. And they have found that then the women ends up gaining a lot more weight back after. And the guy doesn’t gain back as much. And a lot of that is starting to do with some of the hormones that were disrupted for metabolism, the way your body’s breaking down things, the way your body’s storing fat. All kinds of things start getting mixed up.
So taking note that any certain way of eating will always be different for males versus female. We also need to take note of your shifts. So on any shift schedule, if you are intermittent fasting and then say a call happens, and what if a hot priority call happens. And like for fire, you guys now are fighting a fire for five hours and you were supposed to have eaten one hour in between that. That means you’re going way past your fasting and your body starts actually breaking down and becoming catabolic at that point in time. So there’s a lot of things to look into that.
Also, another thing is if we’re looking at those studies as well on keto for males have mainly been done on people that have a regular schedule. So people that are sleeping at night and awake in the day. And when you’re awake at night, there are two hormones leptin and ghrelin that deal with your hunger and satiation. So some of you may have discovered that on night shift, you’re hungry and you never feel full. That is leptin and ghrelin that are supposed to be doing their thing, working realigning themselves while you’re sleeping at night. They don’t do as well when you’re sleeping in the day to realign themselves. So lectin and growlin do get messed up with shift work.
And there’s studies going in as well, that leptin, ghrelin, you got your glucose regulations and all these things that do deal with food on shift work already get out of balance. So it’s better to work on balancing those out and understanding how to work with those on any shift schedule then to go strictly with intermittent fasting or keto that isn’t taking all of that into account.
All right. That was a lot. Sorry, I have a habit of diving into all of the science of things. That’s where I geek out. That’s where I’ve put all of this together in order to be able to teach you guys. So let me know at all if you guys want me to tone down the science a little bit. So the learnings with all of this as well is since working with you guys since 2018, intermittent fasting, just isn’t sustainable.
We’ve had the odd responder that has kept it up for quite a few years, but eventually something happens on shift, special assignments, something starts going on or their body just starts coning out and we have to get them off of it. So just from my experience with it so far, and without enough research coming out, that’s been specific for males and for females on shift work schedules that are actually first responders comes out. I cannot advocate for intermittent fast.
And that leads us to mistake number four. So mistake number one is exercising still like a civilian and not adapting at all to everything, all the demands of your 911 shift. Mistake number two is relying on coffee, energy drinks to not only make it through your shift but also to help you get through your workouts. And mistake, number three that we just went through is thinking that intermittent fasting is really great for 911 shift workers.
So mistake number four is where we think that being tired is all that the body needs in order to sleep on any shift schedule. I mean, I’ve been guilty for this. We all know this, that we will think, “Oh, okay. If I’m tired enough, I’ll just be able to fall asleep.” But if we think about this from the terms of kids, what happens to a kid when they’re overtired? That’s sometimes the worst parent’s worst nightmare on trying to get their kids to sleep when your kids have gone past that point of no return.
So we tend to think, okay, I’m just gonna push. I’m just gonna push. I’m just gonna make myself as tired as I can. Or I hear from many guys too, on their days off or working into nights that the day before they go into nights, they stay up as late as they can trying to, or like all night trying to adjust or they’ll get off of nights and stay up during the day so that they can sleep at night. Not ever fully understanding how your circadian rhythms work.
And so that just puts you then when your head hits the pillow, you’re like that kid that is on their second wind and can’t go to sleep. Doesn’t wanna go to sleep no matter what their parents do, no matter what songs they sing, how dark it is, how many stories they read to them, how many massages they give them that kid’s not going to sleep. And that’s the same thing that happens to you guys. So with circadian rhythms, normally our body starts preparing for sleep as the sun starts going down and it prepares to wake up when the sun wakes up. But when your shifts, when you’re all over the place, when you’re working 24 hours and you have calls day and night, your body starts not knowing when to sleep when to wake up either.
So on top of just being so tired, that you think you’ll be able to fall asleep? Like an overtired child that is used to well, should be used to falling asleep after the sun goes down, we’re also throwing all of these shift work in it. Which is messing up your circadian rhythms even more. So your body has no idea which end is up. It doesn’t know when to send out sleep hormones when to send out wake hormones. It has no frigging clue.
So that’s where it’s really important that we start getting your body to understand there’s ways to there’s some supplements you may have heard of magnesium. Magnesium, not a citrate, that loosens your bowels. A magnesium bisglycinate or theanate is great for signaling your brain. The frontal lobe of your brain is where your energy, stress hormone, your cortisol likes to sit. And if there’s a lot floating on in there and you’re trying to fall asleep, you’ll get 50 million thoughts going on in your head. It could be stressful things but it could seriously be thinking about putting gas in your car.
So very simple things going on. And so magnesium bisglycinate or a magnesium theanate are really great for when they go into your body. They signal to that cortisol that, Hey, it’s time to slow down. It’s time to slow down that cortisol and let’s release that which then sends a signal for your sleep hormones to start kicking in.
Now, for any of you that may try this right now, it may work for you and it may not depending on what else is going on. It depends on how different your circadian rhythms and your other hormones are out of whack and out of sync with each other. There’s other layers to this as well. So absolutely go ahead and try this, make sure it’s a good quality brand. So not your GNC or your Popeye’s or your supplement shop ones or your vitamin shop. Just make sure it’s from a really good quality health food store and not Costco or Walmart either. So make sure you get a magnesium bisglycinate, magnesium theanate and have that before you go to sleep, so it doesn’t matter the shift.
So these are things that we start teaching you in our 911 Elite Performance Program there’s a whole, we have a whole list of them because there’s different ones to help you. That’s one of them that helps to start send that signal to your brain. We have other ones that help when you’re waking up to tell your body, “Hey, your energy hormone needs to be kicked in now.” So you’re not needing the coffee.
So there’s different supplements, there’s also different tools and techniques that we start teaching you so that you eventually can sleep when you need to sleep. And you actually get into a regenerative sleep where your body heals repairs, your memory heals. So you don’t have those short term memory losses, where your spouse is asking you to do something.
You walk out of the room and you’re like, crap, what the heck did they ask me? All of these things start repairing and realigning the injuries, all of that stuff to keep you strong on shift and at home. And those start kicking in once we put all of these tools together, so that magnesium bisglycinate is just one of the tools to start getting your circadian rhythms to understand what shift are you on. Are you on first, second or third today? Are you on days or nights? Are you on a 24? Just to really get your body to understand when it needs to sleep. And then we give you tools to help when to wake and when your toolbox starts increasing of these cues, tools to support your circadian rhythms then you’re able to get into those good sleeps when you need to sleep. Instead of being so frigging and exhausted and just hoping that you will fall asleep when your head hits the pillow.
So one thing to an analogy I like to use as well for the difference of shift work is it’s like jet lag. So except instead of being on a plane, going somewhere, you’re on shift, but those shifts are all over the place days, nights, and they’re like hopping into different time zones. So going onto day shift and then hopping into a night is going like traveling to a different country. And you have to adjust to each of those time zones. Now, hopefully, like quite often, we’re on a vacation, we’re there for a week, two weeks that our body can adjust. And then it sucks when we come back and have to adjust again.
But you guys are doing this continually, especially those of you that are on a four on four off with two days, two night shifts. You are in one country for two days and you’re in another country for two nights. And then you’re in another country for your days off and your body gets so confused. So making sure that you do have those tools that will help you know when to sleep, when to wake up and to support your body through all of that jet leg of shifts.
All right. And that leads us into mistake. Number five. So mistake number five is using alcohol to de-stress or as a sleep aid. Now, the thing is just like coffee, alcohol is a huge part of the social life of first responders. I was speaking at a conference once. It was a very trying to figure out how to word this without giving anything away. It was a very specialized conference. A lot of high level ups, a lot of high tactical training units were there. And as I was speaking, I was given some feedback or suggestions before I spoke that I should not talk about alcohol and tell them not to drink alcohol. And this was earlier on in my career of working with you guys.
And I will say I was a little intimidated because of how high up these people were and what their positions were but I’ve learned throughout that first off whatever ranking you are, you are still human beings and I’m not intimidated anymore. And I’ve learned that like, every time that I do go speak at conferences, there’s so much drinking and I do also know that when there’s a lot of traveling for units and tactical units, where you are being billed in hotels and for special operations there’s a lot of drinking that goes on. You may do 12, 15 hour shifts, and then you still meet up for drinks before you go and sleep. And when you’re working 12, 15 hours, you don’t have even enough time to get a good quality sleep. So there’s definitely a time and a place for alcohol but there’s a couple things to note about alcohol that may help you in understanding when and where to be using alcohol.
So alcohol itself is a sedative. It’s not a sleep aid. So the difference is a sedative knocks you out, so you seem like you are sleeping. A sleep aid helps to get all of the hormones that need to start kicking in. So your body can heal and repair as you are sleeping. It, it gets all of those kicked in. So that’s a sleep aid. So there’s a big difference between a sedative and a sleep, a sleep aid.
Your alcohol actually decreases melatonin. Melatonin is your big sleep hormone. It decreases it and it stops your body from being able to heal and repair. It stops your memory from being able to take in and remember things that happened on shift, which is where sometimes remembering details and reports and stuff when you’re not getting into that good quality sleep, when melatonin’s not kicking in, starts affecting that brain fog and your memory.
Also with alcohol, it decreases your testosterone, your sex hormone. So when you first start drinking alcohol, it does decrease your inhibitions. So it makes you feel like you’re good at sex, but over time, the testosterone starts decreasing sex hormones decrease. And the thing is, is that shift work already and stress already starts affecting testosterone and sex hormones and stuff, which we will dive into in another podcast. There’s a lot we’re gonna be diving into in this podcast.
So the thing is, is understanding when and where to be drinking. And one of the things too is you’ll notice the difference between somebody who is thinking of themselves as a tactical athlete and somebody else who is just thinking, “Hey yeah, I’m in a hotel for the night and this is great. I’m out with the guys.” There’s a big difference to how they perform, where their mental, how they train. That is the difference between a professional athlete that is playing in the playoff games and getting MVP and the athlete that is on the bench that may not even make the team the next year.
So it kind of goes into where do you want to be? Do you wanna be like that resilient tactical athlete? That is making sure that when you are drinking it’s during a time that is not going to affect your performance and your ability to recover and your ability to really stay strong on the job. Or are you going to be that responder that is not really vying for that position. That is just relying on luck to stay there and possibly putting yourself, your own safety as well as the safety of others at jeopardy. So one thing that is super helpful with drinking is the whoop band. So if you’re watching on YouTube, I have a whoop band.
It looks just it looks like a watch, although it has no face on it. A whoop band was designed for professional athletes and it tracks a strain score, which I love and the strain score. Is phenomenal to watch when you drink. So there have been a lot of studies done because whoop is designed for athletes of athletic teams who would have their main games on Saturday. Go out drinking on Saturday night, you go into you have red, yellow, and green.
Green is where your optimal, your body’s recovered. After a game when they would drink, it would take them until Wednesday to recover, which means that they couldn’t start doing hard, tough workouts really pushing their body wasn’t able to remember things from workouts that they were doing before that. And they were at more risk for injury up until Wednesday. So, if you have some sort of a tracker you can track as well, what does the drinking do to your sleep? What does the drinking do to your strain score?
If you have your blood pressure, your HRV, all of these different stats are really great to check when you’re drinking and you can find out how it affects you. And then you can start deciding when is the best time for you to be drinking? And absolutely enjoying it. And when is the best time to, for you to be in the game to really be focusing as that resilient tactical.
So learning from this mistake here is that in order to really be that resilient tactical athlete, knowing when to drink in order to peak during your shifts is paramount to getting that restorative sleep and not burning out. And by not burning out, I’m talking about well, keeping your testosterone levels more even, being able to stay calm especially at home with your kids, having energy when you wake up, not being annoyed by everything at work, being able to think about things, not having brain fog, being able to work out, not getting as many injuries. All of those things are combined in that.
So as you can see from this, this is not a one stop fix in order to be ready for 911 shifts. It’s not just about, “Hey, let’s go hit the gym hard and let’s eat healthy.” There’s really a lot of layers to this and it’s always amazing watching first responders when they do go into our 911 Elite Performance Program, discover that there’s so many tools beyond exercise and nutrition that are able to get them back to being those resilient tactical athletes. And get them out of being that rundown responder.
So to recap, the mistakes that we just talked about, number one is working out like you did before you started the job, like a civilian and not adjusting to the demands of the job and what, and understanding what the shifts do to your body can result in you not being 911 shift. Relying on coffee or energy drinks to not only make it through your workout, but also to get you through your shift. Number three is thinking that intermittent fasting is great for shift workers especially for females, the males there’s still. I still can’t advocate for it for males in order to really, to really be that top athlete, you can be doing intermittent fasting and still be on a professional team, but you probably won’t make it as one of the, A players. There’s still, it’s gonna hold you back a little bit.
Number four is thinking that being tired is all your body needs to sleep on any shifts schedule. We definitely have to account for all of your circadian rhythms and everything that’s going on in your body. And number five is using alcohol to de-stress or as a sleep aid. It is actually a sedative, not a sleep aid and it will push you further into burnout.
So not a one stop fix and where we start really does depend on what symptoms you’re experiencing. So tired and wired, can’t sleep snoring. Are you waking absolutely exhausted, repeated injuries taking you out of workouts or no motivation or drive to workout anymore at all? Do you have that short fuse? Easily frustrated, short fuse especially at home with the kids or spouse, that’s often where it starts. It can then get to where you can’t control your short fuse at work as well. Anxiety or hypervigilance where you just can’t turn it off. You’re always on, even at home when you’re trying to relax, you can not turn it off and more so really it depends on where we start. Depends on what symptoms you are experiencing.
We have broken it down into simple steps that work into your crazy shifts in our 911 Elite Performance Program. And we’ve made it simple, not overwhelming. Most of these tools you can just do on shift. I mean, my husband, when he was working for the truck rally 37 days, straight, average 18 hours a day, he was able to pull out so many tools because they’re really simple and easy. Some of them, you don’t need anything. You just actually have your body in order to be able to do a lot of them. So it’s really important for you to understand that we have made, there is a way to do this. While you’re working ridiculous hours in order to get yourself out and get that energy back.
So hopefully you guys understand what it does take now in order to be 911 shift ready. If you like this episode, please give us rating. Five stars would be nice and a review. This podcast is new and the more that we get, the faster that we get them, our podcast will start ranking higher and more and more first responders will be able to see it.
So we would appreciate your help in that for us, giving you all of this content and information in exchange. And I will see you in the next episode.