How did you end up doing this unique firefighter sport?
My colleague and friend Thomas Ziaja (nickname OPA) started this special sport before me and talked me into trying it. I was hooked right from the start and it became a great passion of mine!!
What are your five top training tips for competitions?
1. Set regular fixed times for the training during your week as it is only effective if you do it regularly.
2. The training has to include various elements: strength-endurance-technique- strength/endurance.
3. Technique training must be very competition orientated - try to reconstruct the competition elements.
4. Do the strength/endurance training in intervals. The most effective method here is the Tabata interval (8x 20 secs. training / 10 secs. break). There is an app to download for this.
5. Train your mental strength. This will lead to decisive “BIG POINTS” in the competition!!
Which competition was the biggest challenge for you?
The TFA (Toughest Firefighter Alive) competition was and still is the biggest challenge in the firefighter sport. It’s also called the “iron man” of the firefighting competitions.
How do you prepare for competitions?
My training tips are also my principles for my preparation! I do five training units a week and during preparation I also boost this with two units a day.
Important: push your training already in the winter! In the final weeks before the competition, only do “light” training and practice the procedures. The muscles should have a chance to fully recover.
What equipment do you have in the competitions / what are the three most important utensils?
You start the competition – and this is what makes it so special – wearing full work clothing including breathing apparatus and partly also with mask on. This means that you have to anticipate carrying an additional ca. 25 kg. It is, therefore, very important to have functional equipment. All parts of the personal protective equipment need to be in top condition. Particularly the gloves as they “transfer” my strength into the challenges in the competitions!
What was the toughest competition for you personally?
My toughest competition was the Toughest Firefighter Alive (TFA) 2010 at the World Championships in South Korea. For us Europeans the climate was extreme at 40 °C and 90 % humidity. This was however only one of the extremes! The competition was also particularly “tough” as in the last of the four stages (the 4th stage is always very tough), we had to run up 35 storeys instead of the usual 15-20!! And, as I already said, always with breathing equipment!! But my agony “paid off” at these World Championship as I became the World Champion for the first time and was named the “toughest firefighter in the world”.
What tips do you have for firefighter sport enthusiasts?
Find out about the “SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT FIREFIGHTER SPORT” and just give it a go. You will get to know a totally new side of your body! 😉
This will motivate you to train regularly which will also help you in “normal” everyday firefighting work. You can find out more information on the slightly different firefighting sport on: http://tfa-cross.com
Seit wann gibt es TfaXcross und wie erfolgreich ist der Feuerwehrsport bis jetzt?
Das TfaXcross habe ich vor ca. 1,5 Jahren ins Leben gerufen. Es bildet eine bestimmte Trainingsform die zum einen ein funktionelles Ganzkörpertraining darstellt und zum anderen ein spezielles Grundlagentraining für die Wettkämpfe ist. Dieses Workout habe ich aus der Erfahrung meiner langen Wettkampfzeit kreiert. Daher im Workout auch die starke Anlehnung an die Feuerwehr bzw. unserem Sport. Außerdem soll TfaXcross als Synonym für die vielen verschiedenen Feuerwehrwettkämpfe (Toughest Firefighter Alive, Firefighter Combat Challenge, Europas Challenge, Firefighter Stairrun etc.) die es mittlerweile gibt, stehen. Quasi als Oberbegriff.
What are your goals for the future?
My goals … Certainly to take part in these competitions for many more years to come and be right up there in the front. During the years (I’ve been doing this for 17 years now), I have become a sort of “rock”, perhaps even a role model, in these competitions. I would like to pass on my expertise and experience in all areas – whether in organisation, realisation, training units and, of course, the competition itself – to newcomers so that this special sport can continuously “grow” and always attract more firefighters.