“If you can Beat that last bit out of them… They ain’t Fighters at all…”

The title of this post is so true to what I get the honor to talk about today.

There are a hundred different ways I could start out what I have to say. I’ve thought about them all and started to write and delete most of them more times than I can count. I’m very good at my job and I also supposedly have a talent for writing (though I do need an editor), so I figured this writeup would be easy but it has me somewhat at a lost for words. This is usually not the case for me, talking is a large part of my job and talking shit is another gift that comes naturally to me. When I write it out like that, I feel this post should already be half done but it hasn’t even started.

Maybe that’s half the problem with what I want to talk about today. I only get to write about it once, and life long goals achieved are hard to write about. But here I go…

I’m a Coach/Trainer by trade, I love my job. I got into almost 6 years ago when I was living at a Fire Station as a Resident Firefighter. At the time I had been on a course to become a firefighter most of my life. While I was there started to help out some of the other guys and one of the girls in getting ready for fitness tests and what not.

It started that simple, I slowly found something I cared about more and I’d change the path I was on. But I wouldn’t change paths right away it’d take some time. During that transitional period, I had my first Real “Help Me” training case. I wasn’t officially a Coach or Trainer or whatever it is you want to call it yet but someone was asking me for some real help in achieving a goal.

Her Name was Annie and she had been in the same class as me. She had received an offer through the Seattle Fire Department and was more then likely going to get hired. The Seattle Fire Departments Drill School is notoriously hard. And if you can’t cut it things are simple, you’re fired.

She needed to get ready for Drill School and asked me for it. I’m not gonna go in depth on how we got her ready because that not whats important to the story.

What is important is that out of the four women that started that drill school, Anne was the ONLY one to graduate. What’s even MORE important is what happened after she graduated.

She’d be the last female candidate to achieve that goal.

Now I feel like we have set the stage for our story. My work with Anne convinced me that I was good at what I did. I changed my goals and began a career as a trainer later transitioning into Crossfit and now into my more current role as a Strength and Conditioning Coach. I run a gym in West Seattle and this is where our story begins to tie together.

One day I walked into the gym and was told, “Hey some new girl joined, said she was a firefighter or wanted to be a firefighter or something like that. Said she knew you.”

I racked my brain when I heard it but couldn’t come up with who it could be. I had become somewhat known for training firefighter candidates and figured it was someone who knew of me and not someone who Knew me personally. But the next week when she came back in I looked at her sideways and I recognized her. Her name was Amina and I had met her through one of the guys in Annie’s SFD class, small world. Anyways she wasn’t looking to get any kind of special training she was already a career firefighter and just needed a gym to workout at.

Amina and I became pretty fast friends and even roommates for a while. One thing I knew about Amina was she wanted to be a firefighter, and she was. But she wasn’t with the Department she had made a promise to herself when she was young that she’d be with. She had told herself she was going to be a Seattle Firefighter. During the time Amina was at the gym we had two guys come and go who got hired with SFD. Then another Testing cycle came up with SFD and Amina told me she was going to take it.

I didn’t think to0 much about it at the time. But she kept moving further and further in the process. Until one day she sent me the text.

“I got Hired.”

What she’d ask me next caught me off guard.

“I need your help to get ready”

As I took in the whole Obi-Wan theme of the conversation, I respond the way I do to anyone looking to accomplish a goal.

“Gonna have to put in the work then.”

We both knew what we were undertaking. As I mentioned earlier in the post the last female candidate to complete Seattle Drill School was someone I trained. But that didn’t mean there weren’t other candidates in between Annie and Amina. No in fact it had been 5 years, 4 recruit classes and 11 other female candidates since a woman had finished Seattle’s Academy. Considering I was batting a thousand so far getting people though Drill School, I PROMISED Amina I’d have her ready.

We went to work.

Now Amina is no slouch, and this wasn’t her first rodeo. She was already a firefighter. Which also ment she would have to leave her career with one Department to take a shot at completing the SFD Drill School. She was gonna follow her dream and I couldn’t tell you how much I respected her for that. But  just cause you have a dream doesn’t mean it’s gonna happen. She was gonna have to earn it. Five Years and eleven other candidate had failed, the pressure was on.

It would have been easy to have her follow a program I was writing for one of her male counterparts that was also attending the Academy as well but I had a special Hell set up for Amina. You see as I said I made a promise, and I was gonna keep it.

I told her straight.

You’re Strong, but you’re not strong enough. We’re gonna get you Stronger and BIGGER. You know what happens when you tell most girls that your goal is to actually MAKE them BULKY, yeah they usually either A) Cry or B) Tell you to get fucked. She didnt do either she just nodded her head. I let her  know we were gonna build a suit of armour around her using squats, deadlifts, shrugs and a shit load of food.

I also told her, “I know I told you we don’t do curls, but guess what? Your gonna start doing curls, LOTS OF THEM.”

She loved it, lifting and eating how awesome was that? Well then the day came where it was time to start hardening her mind.

You’re Tough, but I need you tougher. I need you to forget that your legs are burning, that your backs sore. I need you to take that fucking inhaler of yours and crush it under your boot, cause you don’t need it anymore. I had trained Amina for a couple years, I knew what she could do and what she didn’t think she could do. My goal was to honestly make her cry once a week. I always told her I needed more, that she needed to show me more then she was giving. I did this even when inside I was prouder of her then anyone in the room.

I never let up on her. And you know what, she never cried, she never complained. She didn’t bitch when I’d send her a morning lift session only to check her phone later that day and see that I wanted her to row 7 1ks after dinner. It never ended. I’d find sandbags bigger then her and tell her I needed them off the ground and to her shoudler 10 times before she had to sprint around the block then smash a tire with a sledge hammer.

She never quit on me. I pushed her well passed her comfort zone, I tried to beat the fighter out of her but I never could.

She tackled her fears and she pushed passed level of exhaustion she didn’t know she had. She was ready and she walked into that Academy ready. Her whole time during Drill School she never complained to me. Never let the work load or the long days beat her down. She put her head down and marched. And when the day came that she was facing an obstacle in the way of her dream she texted me.

“I have to pass that fucking dummy test Saturday.”

If you think dragging a near 200 pound dummy up a stairwell in full gear doesn’t sound bad your dead fucking wrong. But thats not what I told her. I told her the same thing I told her while she was training for Academy.

“You have to. You dont have a choice. Grab that fucking dummy pull it into your body and fight through burning legs and arms and get that fucker up and out.”

When she texted me that Saturday that she had done just that I knew she was set, I knew she could do anything else they through at her.

Amina finished out the rest of the Seattle Fire Departments notorious Drill School. She is the only women in five years to do this. She earned it and tonight she is graduating.

I am so very Proud of you girl, you took a life long goal and made it a reality. It was not a easy path for you and you earned this. I’m glad I got to have a small part on this long road of yours. Congratulations, and enjoy your new career with the city of Seattle.

I have yet to have a male or female fail under my watch, still batting a thousand.

Posted by: Z

19 Responses to ““If you can Beat that last bit out of them… They ain’t Fighters at all…””

  1. joeyhazard Says:

    Respect. Congratulations, Amina!

  2. Amina, you’re amazing! So proud of you…Congrats girl!

  3. Awesome! Amina, you go girl!!! So proud of all you accomplished with a great coach to prepare you.

  4. Congratulations Amina! Impressive!!

  5. So proud of you! Congratulations!!!

    I know you were tough enough when you survived putting up with zach and I 😉

    But all joking aside, I’m really proud of you, you worked your ass off and are a true inspiration!!! Love you girl!

  6. I couldn’t be more proud of you, Amina, and our Seattle Fire Department. They clearly know how to pick the best!

    And Z – to some people you might be a “trainer”, but that sells you too short. You change peoples’ lives – always for the better, and often in ways they themselves didn’t believe possible. This is yet another amazing example!

  7. Buddhahead Steve Says:

    I remember over a year ago, when I first started at the gym, we were doing some horrendous farmers walk and Amina was headed back in carrying way more weight than I, when she passed, I said, “your the person I want to see if my grandkids house ever catches on fire….”

  8. Such an accomplishment Girl! You should be so proud of yourself!

  9. Very proud of you, Amina.
    Huge accomplishment, and well earned. Congratulations!

  10. Destiny Says:

    Amina!!! You’re an inspiration – I’m so, so proud of you! Congratulations – you’ve earned it!

  11. Wow wow wow WOW! Congratulations Amina! I didn’t doubt that you’d finish, but I also didn’t know the history of drill school and females. Well done!

  12. Congratulations Amina! Be proud of yourself!

  13. Michelle B Says:

    Stamina Amina you are an inspiration. Congratulations!

  14. So proud of you Amina! You really are StAmina. Cheers to you!

  15. Alison Jones Says:

    Hell yeah girl!!!! Congratulations…..you are amazing:)

  16. Amina you are inspiration. Way to go!

  17. Huge Congratulations, Amina! Booty-licious and kicking butt!

  18. Thank you everyone for all of the support!

    It felt amazing being able to make it through drill school but it was an even greater feeling walking into the gym today and seeing everyone’s smiling faces and of course having a good post squat soreness in my legs 🙂 You guys are the best!

  19. Raela McVey Says:

    Amina is a Freaking RockStar!!!

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