Landis firefighters tackle fitness program

Landis firefighter Rusty Hawks prepares to perform a circuit of squats with a barbell. The fire department recently started a fitness program at the main station to help build core strength.
Landis firefighter Rusty Hawks prepares to perform a circuit of squats with a barbell. The fire department recently started a fitness program at the main station to help build core strength.

LANDIS — Most mornings, Art Delaney has breakfast then heads to the Landis fire station for a workout.

Delaney, who is the division fire chief, is one of half a dozen firefighters with the department who participate in a required fitness program. The program is in its third week. A local fitness instructor, who did not want to be named, volunteers to train with the firefighters Monday through Thursday for about an hour. The firefighters cross train using weights, kettlebells and resistance exercises such as pushups and sit-ups.

Delaney admits the last time he worked out with this much intensity he was in the military. But he wakes up every day looking forward to it.

“My goal is to finish the program each day,” he said.

The firefighters go through six to seven repetitions with 10-15 sets of maneuvers and afterward they run sprints through the parking lot. All of the exercises take place at the main fire station on South Main Street. Each firefighter has set his own goals and some are training for a 5K later in the year. However, the goal as a group is to reach 50 reps and a mile to 2-mile run.

Delaney and firefighter Rusty Hawks work out every day while some work out two days a week.

Hawks said his goal is to lose weight and get into shape “so when we got to a scene I don’t have to worry about being winded.”

He’s beginning to feel the difference in the last two weeks.

“If I keep it up, then I can’t expect anything but results,” Hawks said.

He also likes the teamwork and camaraderie among his fellow firefighters. Even if one firefighter has finished his circuit, they all stick around to encourage the others.

Firefighters Jon Wilhoit and Danny Eller are training for the 5K breast cancer survivor/support walk in the fall. The two men say they hope to be able to run the entire race.

Firefighters have an annual physical, but a regular fitness program was something Fire Chief Reed Linn wanted to offer. The program is also open to other departments including police and public works.

Linn said it’s designed to “get our guys in physical condition and help them mentally, physically and hopefully help reduce in-house injuries like back sprain and twisted knees,” he said.

On Wednesday, Delaney’s wife Donna, who is a Cabarrus County paramedic, joined in the class for the first time. “What I like is everyone goes at their own pace. You’re not pushed to keep up with everybody,” she said.

She likes that her husband is motivated to work out each day.

The majority of the firefighters have also changed their eating habits, opting to eat “clean.” The men have begun to remove greasy foods from their diet and replace it with lots of fish, chicken and vegetables.

Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253. Twitter: Facebook:

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