Dr. Michael Eby doesn’t talk like a doctor, he talks like a cop. He is irreverent, knowledgeable, and loves to talk abut guns and knives and bad guys, just like me. After we compared notes about off duty carry and which fixed-blade knife we each prefer, we finally got down to business.
Dr. Eby is a physician in Southern California and he’s also a part time police officer, so he understands the toll that shift work can take on the human body. He admits that most cops (and doctors too for that matter) tend to drink too much caffeine, eat too much junk food, get too little sleep, and get the wrong kind of exercise or none at all. Police officers also tend to supplement artificial nutrition, such as supplements, for actual food, often in the form of high fat, high carb “nutrition bars” or high sugar, high caffeine “energy drinks.
Dr. Eby strongly recommends the following to stay at your peak during your shift and beyond:
• Fast food is easy to get on patrol, and sometimes it’s our only option, so take the time to make food in advance and take it to work with you. Lots of fresh vegetables (go easy on the fruit, which can be high in sugar and spike your insulin levels) and lean proteins that can be easily stored and consumed.
• Keep a protein powder and a shaker of water handy to make yourself a quick protein drink when you’re getting hungry. This will offer you some quality nutrition and keep your blood sugar levels even.
• Avoid extreme weight gain in the name of “fitness.” If you have arms the size of the Arnold in “Terminator 2” you may look intimidating on the street, but it won’t do you much good if you can only run half a block or you’re so bulky you can’t get over a backyard fence without falling on your head. It might be cool to bench 425 lbs at the gym but realistically, you need to make peace with your true body type and train it and feed it so that you can perform at your peak. It’s better to stay lean and strong than huge and inflexible.
• Educate yourself about supplements. Avoid fat burners and steroid-like substances. A high quality whey protein in powder form is a good choice if you need to supplement your nutrition, and there are some great nutrition bars out there as well.
• STAY HYDRATED! Lack of hydration can lead to fatigue, kidney issues, and a whole host of problems, regardless of what climate you’re in. As Dr. Eby said, if you don’t need to urinate frequently, you’re not getting enough fluid. And drink water, not soda, not coffee, no energy drinks.
Dr. Eby is also a part of the International School of Tactical Medicine, and his dedication to this profession is inspiring. Watch for more of Dr. Michael Eby coming up on P1TV.