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Glen Lake Firefighters Compete in Bear Fitness Challenge

The Glen Lake Fire Department is making it a priority for their team to be physically ready to handle any challenge that comes their way.

Four years ago, they teamed up with Dr. Mark McBride from Doctor Bear Total Body and Health Care to create the Bear Fitness Challenge.

With three goals in mind. Goal number one is to be physically fit. Goal number two has fast feet. Goal number three if you fall, be able to get back up.


“Approximately 50% of all firefighter fatalities are due to heart attack. So we want to make sure that the guys are in the best shape that they are when they’re called upon,” said Dr. Mark McBride from Doctor Bear Total Body and Health Care.

With all three goals in mind, the program was created.

The firefighters test two times a year. The first test is to see where they are.

“The ten tests we use are handgrip, bench, squat dumbbells, pull-ups, plank, sit-to-rise, 25lb dumbbell burpees, jump rope big rig and bike for 15 minutes,” said Dr. McBride.


The second time the firefighters test is to see if they improved.

“The station has improved over 86%. Each year they’ve improved as well, like 10%, 12% or 15% year after year,” explained Dr. McBride.

“It makes us much more effective at our jobs and fewer chances of injuries and downtime,” said Chief Bryan Ferguson of Glen Lake Fire Department.

Dr. McBride has created workouts specifically for firefighters to get their test scores up.


“The workouts are based on trying to get in the most effort they can get into a 15-minute to a 20-minute push,” explained Dr. McBride. “When called upon, an oxygen tank has about 15 to 20 minutes of air. So we want to ensure they’re in the best shape to push as hard as they can for 15 to 20 minutes and then come back out, switch tanks, and be ready to go again.”

The Glen Lake Fire Department completes the workouts several times a week for themselves and to better serve the community.

“We have mutual aid agreements and everything else, but being spaced apart in this county, it takes 10 minutes or so for our next neighboring agency to get here, so the first few minutes are critical. And it’s important to be in good shape to accomplish what we need to,” said Chief Ferguson.

Doctor Bear Total Body and Health Care also work with the Elmwood Fire Department in Traverse City.

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