For the last 13 years, Dan Curtis has made a career out of facing down Colorado wildfires.
The Telluride-based firefighter has served as fire captain and EMT with the Telluride Fire Protection District. He’s also a member of the Telluride Wildland Team, a certified crew boss, and a “faller”—the technical term for a wilderness firefighter who takes down trees to manage wildfires before they get any worse.
“Our wildland fire team responds to local and national fires. We’ve traveled to Texas, Utah, Montana, and California,” he says. With all firefighting duties—treading through dense forest, hauling lumber, and responding to some of the 1,000 calls the departments receives per year—Curtis has to stay fit, but flexible.
Here are some of his workout tips that he uses stay sharp in the face of extreme heat, bitter cold, and everything in between.
In his spare time, Curtis volunteers for the Telluride Fire Department and Telluride EMS. He’s also a member of the local San Miguel search and rescue team. “In the winter, when I’m a supervisor with the Telluride Ski Patrol, and my workout definitely changes. We do a lot of hiking, so to train, I regularly hike uphill in ankle- to thigh-deep snow.”
Curtis still swears by P90X as a morning workout when he can’t make it to the gym. He recommends the Plyometrics, Ab-ripper, and yoga DVDs for home workouts. “I really got into exercising a few years back when I bought the P90X series with Tony Horton. He visited to Telluride in 2013 for Telluride’s annual Weekend of Wellness (WOW).”
“CrossFit is the same idea as P90X with muscle confusion. We never do the same exercises two days in a row I try to get to the Telluride CrossFit Gym at least four days a week. Many of the exercises came from the military.”
“As you may imagine, living in a ski resort town, there’s lots of mountain bike and road riding—a great way to stay in shape. There’s a road bike ride out of Durango, Colo., called the Iron Horse, in which you try to beat the train from Durango to Silverton. It’s uphill for 48 miles and then downhill for the last 2 miles in the Silverton. Your thighs will burn for the next few days. There’s also the Mountains-to-Desert ride from Telluride to Gateway, Colo.—it’s just over 100 miles.”
“I’m not a fanatic but I like to eat well and a great tip on eating well is get rid of all the junk food in your house and fill your refrigerator with healthy food. A plant-based diet is a great place to start.”
“I gave up milk years ago, and switched to unsweetened almond milk. I also drink my fair share of coconut water. I like to use these for the liquid when I make my morning smoothie after a good workout. I will start with the normal variety of fruits—bananas, apples, peaches—then I’ll add kale, a variety of seeds, flaxseed and chia seeds, bee pollen, and brewer’s yeast. Then, I’ll small scoop of Greek yogurt and top it off with frozen fruit & berry mix.”
“I told myself years ago I could drink as much coffee as I wanted as long as I didn’t put anything in it, like milk or sugar. I also enjoy cold-brewed coffee, black.”