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EMT launches fitness app with customized EMS workouts

Fit Responder’s mobile workout features a hands-on approach to motivate and tailor exercises to individual needs


Image Bryan Fass

‘Fitness’ is kind of like a four-letter word in EMS.

EMTs are no strangers to the physical challenges of lifting, pulling and pushing that are a part of the job. It’s no secret that regular exercise helps. But many times a fast-paced schedule means wolfing down some fast food before a call ─ never mind engaging in some pre-shift stretching.

Sound familiar?

Enter Bryan Fass, an EMS1 columnist and president/founder of Fit Responder, who recently launched a new fitness app designed specifically for EMTs and paramedics. The program is customizable, meaning workouts are based around schedules, and Fass uses a hands-on approach to offer training tailored to each individual or department.

Based on NAEMT recommended fitness guidelines for EMS, Fit Responder offers around 1,000 scientifically valid online fitness programs. While EMTs can choose from any of the workouts, more than 100 are EMS-specific, and Fass continually is adding to the list. From bodybuilding to sports conditioning, each exercise includes images, tips, video and audio-coaching. The web-based app is available on both iOS and Android devices.

“An EMT’s life is mobile and so is our program,” Fass said. “These exercises can be done on and off duty, with or without equipment.”

Completely customizable

In a recent daily email to the 60-or-so responders signed up so far, Fass included a quick, 10-minute energy-boosting workout featuring simple exercises such as step-ups, push-ups and squats designed to be performed in the back of the rig.

“I always try to put a little pearl into it when it goes out,” he said.

But the workouts users download from the email or the app are all different, depending on individual needs.

For instance, one Fit Responder member has a bad back, so the exercises she receives are customized with that in mind. By the same token, if an EMT is working three 12-hour shifts followed by two days off, the first part of the week would feature workouts around mobility, while the second part would focus on more intense strength training.

The program lets users log and print personal statistics such as body measurement and performance achievements like before and after photos, BMI, healthy weight and target heart rate. Every workout log can also be shared over Facebook and Twitter.

When an exercise is complete, Fass encourages responders to leave notes about how they felt. The Fit Responder team then sees the feedback on their account and can use the information to make changes to individual’s future workouts.

“There’s a lot of communication functionality built in,” Fass said.

There also is an ‘ask the trainer’ feature, where Fass and other trainers will answer questions from users.

“Fill out the form really quick, and we get it immediately,” he said.

Someone will respond within 24 hours, but of the half-dozen people so far who have used that service, Fass has gotten back to them in about 3 hours.

It’s the EMS-specific exercises and hands-on approach that sets this fitness app apart from others, Fass said.

“The app kind of keeps you honest,” he said.

Hes also is working to bring whole departments on board. For instance, he’s going to an EMS agency to personally train 10 staff members on core exercises. They’ll then receive administrative access and become responsible for sending workouts to department employees, managing the program with oversight from the Fit Responder team.

“We put tiers into it,” Fass said.

He works with two other trainers, and as users grow, so will his company.

“We’ve taken the step to get ready for that,” Fass said.

Fit Responder costs $14 per month, or $130 for a year subscription, which also includes a book by Fass on EMS nutrition.

Information about Fit Responder will be available at the NAEMT both at EMS World.