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Firefighters stay fit through mandatory exercise
fire fighter fitness pic
Turlock Fire Capt. Troy Gonzales works on his lunges, while Engineer Mike Mungaray works with a kettle bell. The fire department is making a concerted effort to improve fitness and are taking to the outdoors for some exercise. - photo by SABRA STAFFORD / The Journal

That a fire fighter needs to remain physically fit is a given. Every shift work is going to include some physical element and now the Turlock Fire Department is trying to add some fun into it.

All city departments have been embracing a health and wellness program and for the fire department that includes more offsite workouts. Recently, the crews have been spotted at city parks playing tennis, soccer and running circuits — all in the name of fitness.

“We are out there for a purpose,” said Turlock Fire Capt. Troy Gonzales. “We have to be in top shape for when that bells starts ringing at 2 a.m.”

Each shift includes some mandatory workout time and each of the four fire stations in Turlock are equipped with weights and exercise equipment. But by getting outdoors, the crews are more able to mix up cardio and strength training, Gonzales said.

“It’s also a little more fun and not so monotonous,” Gonzales said.

The outdoor exercise also has the added benefit of putting Turlock’s parks and facilities to use at off peak hours, which lessens the chance of vandalism, and helps shine a spotlight on the importance of exercise.

“We’ve had people and kids join in our workouts and that’s great,” Gonzales said. “We want to be a role model for fitness.”