Essential Components of a Balanced Fitness Program


In order to implement a balanced fitness program, it’s important to include all of the essential components of fitness. When developing a fitness program, its good practice to incorporate the
F.I.T. Prescription = Frequency, Intensity, and Time. Utilizing the F.I.T. Prescription allows you to exercise safely while achieving steady improvements. In his book, “Fitness and Work Capacity, 2nd Edition,” Dr. Brian Sharkey has developed an Aerobics Fitness Index (page 9) that provides a good calculation for determining your level of aerobic fitness which is based on your level of physical activity.

In order to make this more usable, we have developed three separate modules to address the needs of, Pre-Season, Fire Season, and Post Season fitness. It's important to understand that each module has different objectives and fitness components based on the needs of each time of year. Just like any sport, the specific needs will be different according to the aspects and demands of each season and each crew.

The module templates were developed to provide a baseline and weekly workout that any crew or person can take directly off the shelf and use. It also provides flexibility to give anyone the opportunity to augment the program to best fit their specific individual or crew needs as long as the essential components are followed in order to ensure muscle balance and injury mitigation.

  • Pre-Season Module: (8 weeks total) This module provides six weeks for 'ramping up' for fire season and two weeks for the transition to the Fire Season module for a total of eight weeks.
    • Objectives: Provides training opportunities in order to transition from a post-season maintenance program to the Fire Season module. Initial concentration on building muscle strength with a moderate aerobic component to later transition to muscle endurance and increased aerobic component as appropriate for preparation for the Work Capacity Test. Flexibility and mental fitness continue to be major components.
  • Fire Season Module: (16 - 24+ weeks dependant on the fire season) This module provides continuing training during the fire season to sustain the fitness levels sustained during the Pre-Season module. Fitness levels should be optimal at this point in order to maximize job performance, provide fatigue countermeasures, injury prevention, and mitigation.
    • Objectives: The focus is on continued aerobic training to utilize aerobic and anaerobic capacity, maintain muscle strength and endurance, and emphasize continued flexibility and core stability. Due to the nature of fire season, it's important to consider improvision methods to ensure maintenance of current fitness levels.
  • Post Season Module: (2 weeks rest with minimal activity, 18 weeks + baseline fitness = 20+ weeks total) Initially provides a transition from the fire season to allow time for rest and recuperation, and injury rehabilitation as needed. After the initial 2-week rest/recovery phase, the program is designed to provide a transition to develop and maintain a baseline fitness level in preparation for the Pre-Season module and optimum fitness.
    • Objectives: The Post Season module is developed to encourage flexibility and cross-training along with a diversity of activities that are fun and enjoyable. Initial concentration will be on identifying any injuries sustained during the fire season that may need mitigation and/or rehabilitation. It allows two weeks without training in order to allow the body time to relax, physically and mentally. Once implemented, the primary focus will be on adhering to low impact aerobic activities, muscle balance, and good flexibility.

Interactive Components


button What is Fitness
button Getting Started
button Essential Components
button Aerobic Fitness
button Muscle Strength
button Core Training
button Flexibility
button Common Injuries
button Mental Fitness/ Preparation
button Firefighter Nutrition
button Wildland Fitness Assessment Battery
button Home Grown Fitness
button Q & A
button Resources
button Appendices
button BLM Fire and Aviation Fitness Challenge
button FireFit Task Group