Q1 2023: Updates from On-site


Our science-backed human performance programs are delivered through in-person training, virtual resources, assessments, and analysis. The newest initiative in providing O2X’s world class training involves the integration of a Human Performance Specialist at the core of a department or unit, implementing programming designed to improve the mental, physical, and emotional health of its members.

Check out what some of our On-site Specialists have been up to below, and check out https://www.o2x.com/approach/ to learn more about this unique O2X service.

Massachusetts National Guard (MANG)—

Devon Smith, On-site Specialist with Massachusetts National Guard:

Throughout the first quarter of the calendar year, the MANG OSS team has been running at full speed. Our team presented on building resilience through the EAT SWEAT THRIVE methodology as a portion of a professional development course for combat medics/healthcare specialists. This has been an annual event for our team and is intended as a “put your own mask on first” approach to providing medical care. Our Warrior FIT team presented to Soldiers of the 182nd Infantry Regiment on available resources and pillars of H2F – which included physical and nutritional readiness.

Additionally, we continued our ongoing initiative with the Recruit Sustainment Program (RSP) by hosting human performance workshops for recruits. We had a big win early this year with expanding our outreach to all three RSP Co. locations over the quarter. During February, we held a morning seminar and PT session with the cadre from RSP Charlie Co., highlighting fueling for performance and injury risk management. Our team held a similar morning seminar for Soldiers of the MANG Medical Command (MEDCOM) covering physical, nutritional, and mental readiness with a walkthrough of our virtual resources on the Tactical Performance App. In early March, the team visited the 79th Troop Command Headquarters Detachment to cover best practices for physical readiness with a brief training session and a presentation/Q&A on performance nutrition. At the end of March and early April, we worked with our ANG 104th Fighter Wing to provide education on foundational nutrition and physical readiness from the flight or squadron perspective. This initiative was part of a senior enlisted development day wellness program track.

A new Army directive regarding the ACFT has opened the door for exemptions from body fat assessment if a Soldier reaches a certain performance standard for each of the ACFT events. This directive means that soldiers of various body types and anthropomorphics will be exempt from body fat assessments if they are able to demonstrate high levels of performance for each test event.

Washington D.C. Fire Department

Ryan Glaize and Conner Freeland, On-site Specialists with DC Fire & EMS:

This quarter, the DCFD OSS team assisted with hands-on workshops meant to enhance the member’s understanding on increasing their performance on and off the job.  14 of which were delivered by On-site Specialists Tiffany Batsakis and Steve Taylor, leading to more continued engagement with Department members.  Over 800 men and women have completed modules on injury prevention, mental performance, building resilience, yoga, and nutrition. One-third of these members also underwent O2X’s Readiness Assessment which gave them an opportunity to evaluate their current physical state through a battery of tests.  At the conclusion, these tests are compiled into a score and specific report that can be brought directly to the OSS team for a customized plan for progress.  The team received a number of these reports and saw an influx of new members through the facility doors.  Over 30 New programs, recipes, and 1-on-1 consultations resulted from these drop-ins.

Within Recruit Training, The ISP team was pleased to see RC-402 graduate in January 100% injury-free (3rd class to do so)!  This group, along with RC-403 and RC-404 have been training under the tutelage of OSS Ryan Glaize and OSS Conner Freeland to best prepare for Fire School.  These sessions, along with interactive nutrition lectures with OSS Tiffany Batsakis, have provided the best combination to date for proper training.  A rigorous training protocol designed to give physical standards to all recruits and cadets before graduating has been created by On-site Specialists Conner Freeland and Ryan Glaize.  This project, called ‘Operational Suitability’, is to ensure recruits/cadets are prepared for the physical demands of the job and can proficiently operate on a fireground.  The protocol includes a series of exercises and tests designed to measure a recruit’s strength, endurance, and overall fitness.  Data was collected from recruit classes and companies in operation to test the quality and validity of this protocol.  The team has pushed their report to the Training Academy cadre and looks forward to presenting their findings to the executive staff.

Lastly, across the department, 3 brand new weight rooms were built at Engine 10, Engine 15, and Engine 18.  This project equipped members with durable high-quality squat racks, dumbbells/kettlebells, rowers, cable systems, and other free weights.  Within a short few weeks, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and more members are utilizing these spaces to better themselves and, ultimately, the department

Arlington County Fire Department

Trevor Sheasley, On-site Specialist with Arlington County Fire Department:

Arlington County Fire Department (ACFD) has been hard at work recruiting and processing candidates for Recruit Class 82. With a tentative start date in May 2023, timelines were condensed, but the HR and recruiting team made strides with their processes to adapt to this challenge. Several times throughout the recruitment process, ACFD had requested their O2X On-Site Specialist, Trevor Sheasley, speak during the recruitment webinars about the expectations for the academy and its physical training (PT) program. This ended up being a great recruiting tool for the department because candidates could see the department had brought in additional external resources to support its members.

In preparation for Recruit Class 82, Trevor and Lieutenant Jamie Jill collaborated on a list of equipment needed to strengthen the PT program, which had been delivered in early January. This equipment totals nearly $20,000 and includes not only weights but alternative methods for conditioning with 3 Concept2 rowers and 2 Ski ERGs. Trevor noted the importance of these additions to the equipment:

“Every recruit comes to the academy at a different fitness level. Running, in particular, is an area of weakness for most Recruits regardless of background. Throughout a 30-week Recruit School we can expect several non-serious lower-body injuries that limit the Recruit’s ability to run or perform circuits. With the addition of the new equipment, we no longer have to restrict those recruits and potentially risk them deconditioning.”

In addition to preparing for the next recruit class, ACFD will attempt to perform their annual Duty Fit Assessment in Q2 2023. In 2022 the Peer Fitness Trainer (PFT) team and Trevor were able to capture over 300 total assessments equaling around 85% of the department with zero injuries. This data can be used collectively with the O2X Readiness Assessment and the annual physicals to provide a well-rounded picture for each Firefighter. As they progress through each stage of their career, this profile developed through these 3 evaluations should help identify and correct health or performance issues in advance. The original plan for Duty Fit’s implementation was over a 3-year period to gradually increase the required personal protective equipment (PPE). Last year there were 3 options for PPE, with the first level being boots, pants, gloves, and a helmet and the final level being full gear while breathing air. With recent events regarding the chemicals used in Firefighter PPE the department is still determining how they would like to proceed and whether or not PPE will be used during the assessment.  In 2023 the department is aiming for 85% or more of its personnel to be assessed.

Frederick County Fire Department

Kayla Schmit, On-site Specialist with Frederick Co. Fire Department:

In the month of January, Fire Engineering published an article on the progress Frederick County Fire and Rescue has made with the O2X Human Performance Program not only within the Academy training but also department-wide. This article caught the attention of DC News Now and generated an interview digging deeper into the details of the program.

January was also the start date for our two new recruit classes RC 33 and RC 34. They began their 28-week training academy that will conclude on Aug 11th. An additional recruit class, RC 35 began in April. Frederick County Fire & Rescue (FCFR) now has 3 classes of roughly 25 recruits in each class running simultaneously. Busy is an understatement. Recruit Training for all three classes continues to be progressive and challenging. O2X is focused on delivering a complete training program both in the PT sessions and in the classroom. Teaching and educating members on all pillars of health and performance is key to developing high-functioning first responders. The recruits have been exposed to physical training, education on nutrition, goal setting, mindset, mental conditioning, and the importance of recovery. 

Throughout the whole first quarter of 2023, the Training Academy gym has been constantly filled with career members training to improve their physical fitness. In addition to the increase in members training at the FCFR gym, there are also more members getting back into shift workouts in the firehouses. One driving force for this is the monthly workout challenges that are sent out by OSS Kayla, for members to complete either on their own or as a shift.  This has also led to more members reaching out for assistance in training programs and mobility programs from OSS Kayla.

Berkeley Public Safety

Gary Heron and Jacqueline Martinez, On-site Specialists

The first quarter of 2023 was a busy one for Berkeley Public Safety as there were big events with both the police and fire departments. January saw the launch of the inaugural EMS Academy for the fire department.  In an effort to improve staffing Berkeley Fire brought in single-function paramedics to help staff ambulances in the city, and O2X was able to integrate with these new recruits.  On-site Specialist Gary Heron coordinated with EMS Captain McCarthy and Captain Salomon to acquire new equipment to outfit a new fitness facility where the EMS Academy was being housed.  This was made possible with the support of the Berkeley Fire Fitness and Wellness Committee, providing funds and making for a highly functional training space.  Recruits performed PT with Gary throughout their 8-week academy to help establish a physical training habit and to learn about the O2X program in Berkeley and how it can assist them in performing their jobs and enhance their overall health.  Jacqueline Martinez, the on-site athletic trainer, also did extensive work with a number of EMS recruits and helped provide rehabilitation and treatment for existing injuries.

In other fire news, Fire Academy 112 wrapped up its nearly 6-month fire academy.  Again, Gary and Jacqueline were fully embedded with this group throughout, providing a comprehensive strength and conditioning program as well as regular injury assessment and treatment opportunities to the recruits.  Recruits have been regularly assessed across a myriad of physical qualities and have all made substantial progress in their strength, endurance, and power to help them perform the job as they enter into the field.  

Berkeley Police had a very busy quarter 1 that was kicked off in February with the first-ever O2X Transformation Challenge.  After an initial body composition assessment, participants were required to perform 2 O2X Workouts and cook 1 O2X recipe utilizing the O2X app for 6 weeks.  A final body composition assessment was then performed, and 4 winners were selected for both male and female under 40 and over 40.  Berkeley Police Association members won $500, while non-association members could win a fitness tracker and gift certificates to a local sporting goods store.  The goal of the challenge was to help participants explore more of the offerings of the O2X program as well as provide guidance with exercise and diet to show how 1% changes for even a small amount of time can add up to big improvements.

Berkeley Police also participated in O2X workshops this quarter.  Across 2 days in February and 2 days in March, members went through a curriculum on sleep with O2X specialist Dr. Kelly Bennion and learned about not only the importance of sleep but actionable strategies to help improve their sleep, especially under the rigors of shift work.  Participants were also taken through a yoga and iREST session with an O2X yoga instructor.  iREST is a valuable tool that members can use to help improve sleep as well as manage stress and anxiety, all of which police officers deal with on a daily basis.  The interaction was great from attendees, and feedback was even better and will provide great benefit for Berkeley Police Officers.