Episode 115- Firefighter & Inventor Sarah Apgar

At Why? The Podcast, we are all about teamwork. And we don’t mean it in that generic way people do when they hang “Teamwork Makes the Dream Work” posters in the break room at the office or when they shout, “There’s no ‘I’ in team!” at Tyler’s dad during Little League practice because he won’t stop bragging about his kid and how he’s supposedly carrying the team. Just because your precious Tyler struck out two eight-year-old kids in a row doesn’t mean the Yankees are already scouting him, Ted! Whew. Where were we? Right — teamwork.  

We are firm believers in how teams can lift individuals up to give them a sense of purpose and make them better. This holds true whether it’s a team of doctors and nurses performing a full-on Kids in the Hall sketch to keep Heidi distracted while drawing her blood, or our very own team of two that brings you quality interviews with fascinating people every week. (Our team also includes the people that we list at the end of every episode, but we’re not counting them here. They do nothing for us.)

Our guest for this week’s episode took her beliefs about teamwork and invented a kick-ass product. Sarah Apgar, an Army veteran and volunteer firefighter, created FitFighter, which is a strength and conditioning system. We’re not just talking about a few weights and a pamphlet on how to use them, however. Sarah’s invention is creative and unique enough that she got a deal for her company on Shark Tank. So she’s not messing around.

Sarah explained to us how missing the camaraderie and teamwork of the Army got her into volunteer firefighting. From there, she noticed that there was a gap waiting to be filled in training for firefighters. Recognizing that everyone comes from different backgrounds, fitness levels, and abilities, she developed this readiness training based on using something called Steelhoses. If you think that sounds like fire hose training, you’d be absolutely right. And if you think such a thing wouldn’t be portable and would only be for elite athletes, you’d be wrong. Just ask Luke — Sarah inspired him enough to think about putting down his Mega Stuf Oreos and try participating in FitFighter. Though it’s possible the cookies have so much extra crème that lifting them constitutes an arm workout. (If the good people at Mondelez International would give us a call, this is something we’d like to explore on a future episode. For the sake of health and physical fitness, of course.)

We learned about what inspired Sarah to create this product, and what inspires her to continue adapting and improving. She also shared about how FitFighter is a community, with live classes online to keep people encouraged. And while we had a lot of questions for her about firefighting, Sarah emphasized that keeping your body strong and ready is something that translates into all facets of life, whether you’re doing a recue carry out of a burning building or taking care of your toddlers. Besides, who doesn’t want say they do the same workout as people training for the FDNY?

Sarah also gave us insight into life as a volunteer firefighter, including a reminder that a visit to a firehouse is a great idea. (During this pandemic, even a drive by your local fire station with a wave as they’re out washing the fire trucks is welcome.) And to those who think firefighting is for men only, Sarah shared that while only 4% of firefighters are women, they are just as capable as men to do the job. So if any our female listeners have ever considered firefighting, Sarah has words of encouragement for you!

To learn more about Sarah’s inspiring story — and to get seriously motivated — check her out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And to find out all about the FitFighter program, including getting a visual on the Steelhose and an idea of what the workouts entail, check out their website. Now if you’ll excuse us, we have Steelhoses to throw around outside. And those Oreos won’t eat themselves…


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