Training like your life depends on it — and it might

By J.D.

I’ve been a public servant in one form or another nearly all of my adult life. For 30 years, I either answered emergency medical calls as an EMT-Paramedic or answering my the calls of my country and state as a member of the Army National Guard.

As you might imagine, both of these professions were, and remain, very physically demanding. And I’ll admit that early on, when I first started as a very young EMT, I wondered if I would last in the profession that I long sought to become a part of, simply because I didn’t think my body would hold up.

Back then, ambulance stretchers were “two-man cots” — that is, it took both crew persons to load and unload it. There were no “one-man stretchers” yet, so loading and unloading cots several times during a 12- or 24-hour shift really took a toll on my back. It was an awkward lift anyway to put a stretcher into an ambulance; it was even more difficult for me because I am not very tall and back then, I only weighed about 145 lb.

Within a year, I would wake up in the mornings after shifts and my back would be so sore pain would shoot up and down my spine and into my lower legs. The pain was so sharp it would literally drive me to my knees, and it would take several moments of careful stretching of my back to be able to stand again.

Well, I knew I wouldn’t last long in my chosen profession if I didn’t do something to compensate for my lack of height and physicality, let’s just say. So I started lifting weights. Within six months I found that my added weight (I bulked up to 175) and physical ability made the job a lot easier, which is to say, a lot less damaging to my body.

I never looked back. Eventually, I would join the military — twice! — and fitness became a lifestyle for me, not just out of preference but out of necessity.

You see, I came to view my physical fitness not as a choice but as a job requirement — whether it be working the streets as a medic or serving my country. That’s because it dawned on me one day, like someone flipped a switch, that when you are called for assistance — by a frantic family in the middle of the night or your country — you have to be ready to do the job that you’re being asked to do, that, by putting on the uniform, you say you are able to do.

I saw early on that without adding a fitness regimen to my life, not only would I eventually fail at my job…I would fail others.

And that, to me, was completely unacceptable.

Over the years, I served with a great many good people — in EMS and in the military — whose only ‘flaw,’ to me, was the inability to make the connection between fitness, the ability to do the job, and the expectations of those who call on you for help in their hour of desperate need.

Survival Legion was founded, in large part, to instill that sense of duty, if you will, in those who serve others and serve our country: You can’t afford not to succeed when you’re called upon. Failure isn’t an option. And if your lack of physical conditioning is a contributor to your failure, then it’s up to you to do something about it.

And we’re here to help you with that journey. We’re here to flip your switch.

Strength. Honor. Commitment.