Over the next several weeks I will be posting Q and A about the speakers at our first annual symposium. This week we are going to hear from Annette Zapp, Lieutenant at the Lisle-Woodridge Fire Protection District.
Tell our readers a little bit about your own journey.
My journey has been a series of 90 degree turns that have led me from research to full-time fitness coaching to full-time firefighting to blending all of those careers together! I earned an MA in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of South Dakota School of Medicine in the mid-90s. I dabbled a bit in full-time research until I turned to a career in strength and conditioning.
After nearly a decade of fitness and wellness I transitioned to firefighting for the stability. I was still training general population and athletes for a few years when I realized that I have a niche right at my fingertips. And that niche is in need of high quality information and coaching. I formed FireSQFitness a few years ago and my coaching business is focused almost entirely on firefighters and fire departments. I’m certified by the NSCA as a strength and conditioning coach (CSCS) and Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator (TSAC-F). Additionally, I hold the Precision Nutrition Level 1 and CISSN credentials. I serve at the rank of Lieutenant at the Lisle-Woodridge Fire Protection District in Lisle, Illinois.
Give us a short summary about the topic you will be presenting at the symposium.
My symposium sessions will be on Nutrition and Firefighter Mental Health. I’ll spend some time delving into the science (don’t be scared, we’ll take it slow!) and then I’ll give some practical information that firefighters can begin working on little by little. Habit based coaching is my forte and that works SO MUCH BETTER than willpower. Willpower is an exhaustible resource and when it’s gone, it’s gone. Habit modification rules!
Should someone attend your session, what is one take-away (they will learn) that can be implemented immediately?
Change ONE thing at a time. Pick the low hanging fruit–something that is easy (seemingly TOO easy) and master that one habit before layering on another habit. Statistically, if you are 100% committed to change and you attempt only one behavioral change, you have about an 85% chance of success. Try two habits at once and your chances plummet to around 35%. Three habits? A dismal 17%. People fail because they attempt to change everything at once. And they quit because they get derailed and then think “well, I can’t be perfect, so I won’t even try!” A mediocre plan executed with relentless precision will always work better than a perfect plan executed haphazardly!