Lucas Swoboda is a firefighter for the City of Saint Paul. He oversees the fitness team for the fire department. He has worked for the city for 7 years.
Before becoming a firefighter, Luke was working in a law firm, studying to be a lawyer. His side job was as a gym trainer. Luke was encouraged to take both the Saint Paul and Minneapolis fire tests by a friend who was also a trainer. He eventually passed the test and got hired (though his friend didn’t!) Once Luke was working as a firefighter, he felt that “Everything sort of made sense.”
After being on the job for a few years, a peer fitness program was established. Luke was chosen with other fighter fighters who went through the ACE (American Council on Exercise) certification program. Luke became the lead trainer. A yearly, non-punitive physical assessment determines VO2 max, strength and endurance. The goals of the program are to ensure the firefighters are in shape, healthy, and work as a team.
He Is also the organizer of the stair climbing team, where teams climb high rises in competition. “Climbing season” is February – March. Towers include IDS (50 flights), Capella (52 flights), and US Bank (30 flights). The last two are climbed in full firefighting gear.
The best thing about Luke’s job is that it is real. He says, “I’m going into peoples’ lives, with their family and their loved ones, helping with what actually matters in life. I get to affect that in a very real way to make their lives better.” Luke adds “The physical part of the job is one of my favorite things about it. Getting to use my body in a healthy way has always been important, and now working out is part of my job.”