Melton LFF Rod’s free fitness classes

This week is Men’s Health Week, a countrywide event aimed at educating, promoting and raising awareness of all things to do with the health and wellbeing of men of all ages. Rod Merrett is a member maintaining his own fitness and supporting other members to do the same.

Following 20 years in the army as a physical training instructor and a five years running his own fitness business, Leading Firefighter Rod Merrett has run free fitness classes at Melton Fire Station on and off for the past two years.

An email invitation was sent out to all members, career and volunteer, and numbers started strong with an average 20 people a class. That turned into about eight regulars with members of district headquarters also invited to attend.

“I run them during the last hour of my shift - from 5 to 6pm when I’m on day shift and 6.15 to 7pm when I’m on night shift,” says Rod. “We have a gym but we tend to get outside, either in the backyard barbecue area or in the motor room if it’s wet.

“Some volunteers work for organisations that donated the materials for chin-up and dip bars, and I’ll bring along some kettle bells and extra weights from home.

“The basic format is group fitness with weights, cardio, boxing and core conditioning. We also get equipment out to work on firefighter-specific activities like using a sledgehammer or putting weights on a ceiling hook. Perhaps the toughest session was doing hose drags.”

“We tend to get more women than men but the guys on shift turn up and one or two of those on the change of shift.

“We have great relationships between career and vols at Melton and this has helped get us together even more.”

After a period of leave and upgrading his professional qualifications, Rod’s classes are due to start again in the next few months with the full support of Operations Officer Jayson Hirt.

In the meantime, it seems that some members have been inspired to regularly take their fitness routines into the great outdoors.

“Some guys have done adventure races and get together with each other and their families for bushwalks in the You Yangs,” says Rod. 

Author: Leith Hillard