Produced in partnership with G-Shock.
When designing the GBDH1000, G-SHOCK had one goal in mind: Create a performance-ready watch that’s tough enough to handle workouts in the most brutal conditions. And that makes it ideally suited for firefighter Mike Calderwood, Chief of the Carlsbad Fire Department in southern California. From battling wildfires in steep mountain terrain to rescuing people from burning buildings, he and his team place their bodies on the line with every 911 call. Each day brings a new challenge, and in order to respond to those challenges, these frontline first responders need high-intensity training—and fitness tracking that’s up to the task.
“It’s a physically demanding job,” Calderwood tells Men’s Journal. “You need to make sure your body is ready to handle that.”
The Carlsbad Fire Department takes fitness seriously, and Calderwood recently put the GBDH1000 through its paces while on the job—a unique test for this ruggedly built training watch. From the firehouse to the gym, Calderwood showed us what it means to get into firefighting shape.
First of all, it’s not just about bulking up, he explains. Instead, it centers on building muscle memory so you can do your job correctly in extreme conditions. Firefighters need to be able to handle heavy equipment, like ladders and hoses, while wearing cumbersome protective gear and navigating high-stress scenarios: A smoke-filled building or a scorched, unstable slope.
“As a firefighter,” says Calderwood, “you’re relying on that muscle memory to perform your skills at the very top level.”
So how do you develop that muscle memory? Rigorous, highly focused training. Last year, Calderwood partnered with NAKOA, a local physical therapy company, to develop a functional fitness regimen that’s tailor-made for firefighting. By analyzing the various movements firefighters have to perform—carrying an injured person down a flight of stairs, for example—they developed exercises to help Calderwood and his team prepare for the demands of their job.
A typical workout might include stretching, cardio training, and movements like pushing a weighted sled to simulate carrying a hose or a kettlebell press that mimics pulling a ladder off a truck. With every gym session, the goal is to increase the firefighters’ flexibility, endurance, and strength.
“All those different workouts become a direct correlation to something that you do on the job,” Calderwood says.
That’s exactly the kind of no-nonsense fitness the GBDH1000 was built for. With its long roster of activity tracking features and rugged construction, it offers unparalleled insight into your workouts—even when they take you into extreme environments. The watch comes packed with five sensors, including standalone GPS, a three-axis accelerometer, and an optical heart rate monitor. That last feature is particularly important for someone like Calderwood, who tracks his heart rate to help gauge his endurance and effort.
“I measure all of that,” he says. “It’s really good to see your progress.”
The GPS and accelerometer work together to deliver precise tracking when running workouts bring you outside, while the heart rate monitor is suited for all kinds of training. When engaged during a workout, it allows the watch to display your current and target heart rates and calculate V02 max, a key benchmark for cardiorespiratory fitness. And with its Bluetooth connectivity, the GBDH1000 can show notifications, emails, and calls, so you’ll always be in the loop.
The GBDH1000 really shines when combined with G-SHOCK’s Move app, and together they put a wealth of fitness data at your fingertips. The app’s widget-style layout is easy to customize to your preferences, and it draws on the watch’s powerful sensors to generate detailed performance analytics, like heart rate zones and calories burned. For runners, color-coded maps show exactly where you kicked up the intensity (and where you slacked off—these sensors don’t lie).
Based on that data, the Move app can show progress over time, create personalized fitness plans, and even calculate whether you need to rest or push harder to reach your goals. It’s like having a personal trainer right on your wrist.
Of course, even the smartest activity trackers are useless if they can’t survive the rigors of daily wear. That’s especially true for firefighters, who take wear and tear to a whole new level. For Calderwood, anything he brings with him on the job has to be exceedingly durable.
“It needs to be rough and tough and able to withstand the most severe environments,” he says.
That’s familiar territory for G-SHOCK, which has a long history of making adventure-ready timepieces. The GBDH1000 is no exception. It’s shock-resistant and water-resistant up to 200 meters, and the case is uniquely shaped to protect the glass of the watch face from impacts. And with its resin-coated metal bezel and enlarged, non-slip buttons, it’s easy to operate whether you’re powering through a final sprint or training in firefighter turnout gear.
The GBDH1000 makes a great companion for any athlete, but even more so for the frontline like Calderwood. For him, fitness is a job requirement—a lesson he learned the hard way. Before starting the functional fitness program in his department, he struggled with a knee injury and chronic back pain.
“It hurt to get out of bed in the morning,” he says. “I realized in talking with my wife and looking at my children that I got a long time to live, and I want to be healthy.”
So he started working with a trainer, and a few months later, he began to see noticeable results.
“I felt 10 years younger.”
Calderwood also realized he wasn’t alone: Many firefighters deal with injuries and chronic health issues as a result of their work. Targeted training offered a way to help the men and women in his department better prepare their bodies for the job. From that insight, his functional fitness program was born. A year later, the benefits go beyond reduced injuries and increased performance.
“It’s another way to build that camaraderie,” he says. “That can help drive the desire to be the best firefighter you can be.”
Although firefighter training is highly specific, the GBDH1000 reflects the grit and tenacity it takes to achieve your goals, whatever they may be. Plus, it’s built to help you every step of the way.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your watch and get after it.
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