I have a friend, we call him CHEEZE, well CHEEZE WHIZZLE to be exact. No, that’s not the name his mother gave him, just like my name isn’t really Pip. Cheeze is his firehouse nickname, and considering 555 Fitness is run like a firehouse kitchen table, we use nicknames. This blog post isn’t so much about how awesome Cheeze is, it’s about how awesome he wants to make everyone around him.

Cheeze is a Captain, with the San Diego Fire Department. He is a “former” athlete (his words) turned bad ass firefighter. However, like so many in our field, Cheeze succumbed to the firehouse lifestyle that many of us do. And by that, I don’t mean eat like crap and get fat. I mean, putting everyone else, before ourselves. That’s really what is happening in the fire service. Whether we are career or volunteer, we are still helpers. We are the type of people who are all about service. We get so caught up in the , I have to help out all the time, we forget about ourselves. We are not the priority, and some weight gets gained, and some grays pop out and before you know we aren’t the chiseled recruit that left the academy.

Now back to Cheeze. Not so long ago, Cheeze had some injuries that required surgery, which is not so uncommon in the fire service. After his return to work  he had is required annual physical. I’ve been told, upon returning to the station, he was not so happy with the way the doctor spoke to him.Regarding his elevated blood pressure and borderline diabetes. He felt as though the “smart guy” doctor had no idea of just how many fires he had been to, or the rescue training he had been through. That this guy wearing a white coat, couldn’t tell him what he could and couldn’t do successfully, hell he had been doing it just fine up til now. After the mandatory officer cool down time ( young guys, always let a boss cool down before intervening) a close friend and coworker made his move.

This firefighter (who shall remain nameless) pointed out to our hero Cheeze, that maybe this doctor had a point. Maybe he had let himself go a bit and with some basic diet modifications and increased exercise habits , Cheeze could not only get healthier for himself, but for those around him. Now, with  the same determination he put towards his daily fire duties, he started investing in himself. And as the weeks ticked on, the pounds started to drop, his energy level started to rise , his strength started to increase and overall, he was feeling better than he had before. As an added bonus, Cheeze’s firefighters rallied around him, and all of them started reeping the benefits of his and their overall change.

Cheeze is featured in this video during the Sandbag Mile on July 4th, SD Sandbag Mile2016. An event that occurred nationwide to raise money for 555 Fitness. All you needed was a sandbag and an American Flag. Cheeze is right the middle of the pack, smiling away. He organized this group of men and women to take on this challenge together. What can be better than that? I nice run, through the streets of Sand Diego with some weight on your shoulders and your best friends around you.

So the question is this, why is it so hard, for everyone to #belikecheeze??? Especially if you are a leader. Again, this all starts with small changes. Simple diet and exercise modifications to your daily routine today, will lead to a new routine. It’s not going to happen overnight, and it’s going to be rough going it alone. But as firefighters, we have a support system built right into our stations, so we don’t have to go it alone. We need to rally together for each other. We all need to #BELIKECHEEZE…..