Louisa Roger lifting

Still going…

By Louisa Roger

I last posted a blog on 8 November which was five weeks into my fitness programme and I was well on my way towards my goal of becoming firefighter fit and passing the test at the same time as all the other applicants in February. Did I do it? In a word, no, but I am not giving up…

Life threw a slight spanner in the works and I contracted a horrible chest infection that lasted from mid-November to the end of December. I then continued to have some respiratory problems and so had a series of tests to cancel out any serious stuff during the beginning of January. In all honesty, this was a time when I was intermittently freaking out while waiting for the results! 

Thankfully, all is good on that front, plus the worry has the added benefit of putting any small insignificant problems right back into perspective. Types of insignificant worries being ‘how am I going to find the time to bake for the school cake sale’ or ‘am I going to let down anybody at work by not fulfilling this fitness goal on time!’.

Although I had been training a little throughout January, I only felt able to really start to go for it once I was sure that there was nothing serious going on. I have essentially been diagnosed with wheezy bronchitis/asthma ever since but I reckon it’s going to be short term as I am getting stronger and faster each week.

Manuel has rightly so been busy with the applicants (can’t wait to meet the new recruits by the way) and so my big bro Mark felt sorry for me and introduced me to his gym Gloucester Road Fitness Gym. 


This Gym is proper old school and attracts men and women who train really hard, hence the slogan on the wall ‘If you aren’t begging for a rest then you aren’t training your best!’ 

Training around some competitive bodybuilders has been inspirational, plus they can help me get the weights back on the shelves when my arms seem to have stopped working. The staff and facilities are great and it’s just around the corner!

I am going about three times a week (the four times a week that I was trying to achieve before the chest infection just wasn’t achievable with family and work) and I loosely follow the fitness plan that Manual gave me on the days when my bro isn’t about. 

On the days that we manage to meet up at the gym my bro slates me, he sets up a series of circuits, makes me practice deadlifts with some huge weights and sometimes gets me to do a handstand, just for fun!

I am feeling much stronger now, and although the running element has been hindered slightly I reckon I am close to my goal. Check out where I am now:




Baseline October 2018


Ladder lift test

Barbell lift of 30-35kg, full overhead extension

I could lift 15kg

I can lift 27.5kg

Ladder Pull

A lat-pull down of 60kg

I could do 40kg comfortably and 50kg at a push

I can pull 60kg – tick!

Ladder extension

A lat-pull down of 28kg repetition of 23 times

I can pull 30kg about 12 times before getting tired

Haven’t tested recently but I reckon I could do that

Cooper test

According to my weight, I need to run 1.5 miles (2.4km) in 12 mins

I can currently run it in 14mins

Haven’t tested this one, am getting faster but want to pick up my times more before testing

Next month or so I will pick up the running, breathing situation is improving month on month and with a little help of my asthma inhaler, my breathing is almost back to normal. 

I didn’t reach my planned target of February and had I been training for the real thing I wouldn’t have passed the fitness standard, many men and women don’t but the ones that are really worth their weight in firefighter gold are the ones that brush themselves off and wait for the next application opportunity. 

The majority of the firefighters in the service went through the application process two or three times. They learnt from the feedback from various elements of the process and went again.  

On a personal note I have enjoyed the opportunity to test myself and try and get Firefighter fit and now feel better about working towards my goal without a looming deadline. If you are considering becoming a firefighter at any time in the future start working towards that fitness standard now so you can maintain it for the future.

Will keep working and will post with some more updates soon...