I wanted to be a firefighter ever since I was a little kid, there was a firefighter who lived in my neighborhood who I have always looked up to. I saw how his lifestyle was, how he helped his community and that he always had lots of family time, so I was really interested at a very young age. As I grew up I asked for his guidance and pursued firefighting full time.
For us, we work 24-hour shifts, so we are here for a quarter of our adult life and you get to know everyone here and they eventually become your second family which makes the hall your second home. At any moment we can get calls about structural fires, medical calls, rescues to natural disasters. I’ve been with the Fire Department for 12 years now currently station at the busiest engine in the whole city.
To be a firefighter physical fitness is something that is key, so I got into Cross Fit which keeps me active as well as coaching it and teaching others. After a while, I branched off into Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting, I then competed nationally and broke a world record for back squat (240Kilos/528lbs).
"I branched off into Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting, I then competed nationally and broke a world record for back squat"
After that, I was looking for more than just adding another weight to the bar and something that I could do for the rest of my life and continually learn, that's where Jiu-Jitsu found me. It’s an extremely humbling sport where you could be the strongest guy in the room and then get choked out by a guy who’s 50lbs lighter than you. It’s all technique and a lot of hard work, and I love that you are constantly learning. I always find I’m pushing myself to gain more experience and to keep pushing myself in this field. I try my best to get on the mats 3-4 times a week and to spar with other people to learn their techniques. It certainly replaces my itch for weightlifting as it's not simply adding another kilo to the bar. It is a forever pursuit.
"It’s an extremely humbling sport where you could be the strongest guy in the room and then get choked out by a guy who’s 50lbs lighter than you"
So after working a 24 hour shift, I’m always looking forward to getting back home and spending time with the wife and kids. The kids love coming by the hall and seeing the rig and I make a point if I’m driving by in the neighbourhood I'll honk the horn and turn on the lights. My wife certainly always worries about the line of work I do but she understands and supports me. Having 3 kids (Noah 4 and a half and he’d be sure to tell you that, Mia 3, and Issac 7 months old) at home is certainly hard to juggle but we make it work as we are fortunate enough to both do shift work. This certainly gives us more of an opportunity to spend time with them especially with them being so young, I make sure to cherish all those little moments.
I try my best to balance it all and if I see something slipping I need to reassess and make sure my priorities are straight and that my main two; family and work are always taken care of. So I might not always make it to Jiu-Jitsu or to CrossFit but I make sure I’m there to spend time with my family at home and at the hall.
"I try my best to balance it all and if I see something slipping I need to reassess and make sure my priorities are straight and that my main two; family and work are always taken care of"
After all that I gotta treat myself to a cheat day, Pizza is my #1 go to and sometimes having a few of the kid's cupcakes! But when I want to just lounge around, I usually get up early before the family get in my Tuxy and do some yoga and read for about an hour. Once the kids are up I get breakfast made for the whole gang and hang out with them by sitting on the couch and watching Disney movies with the kids.
We are fortunate enough that my wife and I work shift work so we are always juggling schedules but it means we can spend more time with our kids. They usually tag along to the gym or Jiu-Jitsu and then we make sure to go to the pool or the park and have some fun with them there. It is fun to see them mimic me as I work out, my oldest joins me on workouts sometimes, I guess they like following dad, maybe one day they'll grow up to be firefighters too!