You are about to complete or have recently graduated the academy. Congratulations. But, are you going to change your lifestyle now? I certainly hope not. While attending the academy, most officers follow a plan to fit their academics and physical training into their schedules. Your skills now are still green but sharp. Don't quit!

For some of you, this is the best shape you have ever been in. Stay sharp. Keep training hard. The big fight looms out there, and you'll be glad you stayed in fighting shape—mentally and physically—when the day arrives.

Physical Training Needs

Now that you are in the streets, a regular fitness program is more necessary than ever. You must wear your uniform, your equipment belt with all its assorted items, and you'd better be wearing your vest. When you add all of this up, you probably have 30 extra pounds to lump around. That additional weight requires much more strength to just function normally, let alone go into action mode.

When you were running in the academy in sweats and running shoes it was rather easy. Now with boots and all the battle gear, it just got harder. Your ability to respond to physical confrontation will be greatly affected by this gear. Continue your aerobic and strength training. Train like your life depends on it, for it does!

Got Gym or Game? 

I am not talking about going to the gym every day, but physical activity should keep you at a level of fitness and readiness. Some of your departments have gyms. If yours does, make use of it. It's free. Some agencies may have agreements with the local gym.Take advantage of this arrangement. If none of these applies to you, improvise and find something convenient for you. Face it, if getting to the gym is not convenient for you, odds are you won't go!

Don't forget the classic fitness walk either. Some days you just need to burn off a little stress and a long, brisk walk can do it. Sports are also good alternatives for those who need a stress reliever. I have known many officers who include sports in their physical fitness regimen: martial arts, running 10Ks, bicycling, swimming, and so forth.

Riding in a golf cart drinking adult beverages does not count! You have got to sweat and earn it.

Have you got it? 

Work out, stay strong, and be prepared…you either have it in you or you are going to be a casualty out there.  The perpetrators are getting younger, quicker, and stronger. While they have all day to rest and play games, to goof off and plan their next gig, what are you doing now? If you're eating fast food, lying around, and getting away from your positive habits, you soon will be carrying another few pounds of you to the fight. You wanna win, don't you?

At my stage in life, with more than 30 years in this business, some look at me and wonder, Why would I get up and head to the YMCA at 0445 hours every morning? I still lift weights, do some bag work, and I hate the cardio machines more than you ever could. But I know that it lowers my stress, keeps me away from my doctors, and will worry the young perps…for they know this old man still has a warrior's edge.

If you've got it now, keep the edge sharp and win the fight. If you are losing your edge, I'll see you in the gym….Set the alarm early!

Train Smart and train hard. It's your life; take care of it.

Author

William Harvey
William Harvey

William Harvey

William "Bill" Harvey is currently serving as chief of police in south central Pennsylvania. He retired from the Savannah (Ga.) Police Department where he worked assignments in training, patrol, and CID. Harvey has more than 25 years of experience working with recruits, rookies, and FTOs.

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William "Bill" Harvey is currently serving as chief of police in south central Pennsylvania. He retired from the Savannah (Ga.) Police Department where he worked assignments in training, patrol, and CID. Harvey has more than 25 years of experience working with recruits, rookies, and FTOs.

View Bio
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