I was reading in a bodyguard training manual recently and noted that physical fitness was not mentioned at all in the text. However, the manual contained a picture of the author, which made it clear that he had no interest in physical fitness. Or maybe the author just took it as a given that anyone wanting to become a bodyguard would be fit. Let me be clear; an unfit bodyguard is a liability, not only to himself but also to other members of his team, and, of course, to his principal. It can be difficult to find the required amount of time needed to maintain your fitness when working long hours, especially in a stressful environment, with a demanding shift pattern.
Note that I said difficult; it is not impossible. No one is so busy that their day cannot include a half-hour maintenance fitness session. Prime ministers and presidents find time for it, and so should you. A fit protection officer will have more self-confidence and this confidence will ooze for others to see. He/she will look the part, and will instill confidence in others. What message does an unfit, overweight bodyguard convey? It screams words and phrases like, lack of self-discipline, unprofessional, slob and incapable. Who would trust their security to an ill-disciplined, overweight, unprofessional, incapable slob?
A fit Close Protection Officer will be much more able to deal with stressful situations than will his unfit counterpart. The effects of adrenalin on the unfit are catastrophic; they will be drained of energy very quickly, and just when a quick decision needs to be made, fatigue will hinder choosing the right course of action. Bodyguards need to be fit.
It can sometimes be hard to find the time to exercise when you are on the road with the Principal, living out of a suitcase, moving from hotel to hotel. That said, with a little planning you can keep up with your fitness regime. Many hotels these days have a gym; some of these are large, airy affairs with a steam room and plenty of equipment, while others consist of a smelly basement room, an old StairMaster and a couple of dumbbells. In between these two extremes there are plenty of hotels that are more than sufficient for what we need.
If there is no gym then we can make use of the road or the stairs for some aerobic exercise and use our own body weight for some resistance and strength work, such as push-ups and sit-ups. You need only minimal equipment to keep your fitness ticking over and, additionally, it will only take up a small amount of space in your suitcase. So if you are heading some place where there is no gym, think about taking a basic bit of kit with you to stay on top of your fitness. Always remember to take some running shoes and suitable running kit. A stability (Swiss) ball is perfect to carry out core exercises and you can also use it as a bench and seat for upper body exercises. It is compact when deflated and the few minutes that it takes to inflate can be effective as a short cardiovascular workout! A skipping rope and an exercise mat are easily fitted into a suitcase, as is a chin-up bar, so you have no excuse!