The better trained your body is to handle the physical requirements of being a wind technician, the easier and safer the conditions will be. It can be extremely helpful to you and your colleagues if you keep your body in peak condition not only physically, but also mentally. Wind Turbine Technicians troubleshoot technical and mechanical problems while using physical strength. They do this while high up in the air or confined in small spaces. Sometimes the job requires them to have to make quick decisions while keeping safety a priority. Technicians also have teammates who rely on each other for safety and back up. All this stress is mitigated if the body and mind are trained, practiced, and prepared for tough situations. You can read about practicality strategies athletes and soldiers use to train for mental stress in part two.
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has provided a career map for wind technicians. This is basically a brief description of the requirements and expectations of a wind technician. It vaguely describes the physical characteristics needed to perform job duties.
“Physical stamina. Wind technicians must be able to climb on ladder systems to height of turbine nacelle, often with tools and equipment. Some tower ladders may be 260 feet high or taller. Therefore, wind technicians should be able to work for long periods without tiring easily.
Physical strength. Wind technicians must lift and climb with heavy equipment and parts and tools. Some weigh in excess of 45 pounds.”
Many companies have protocols to help keep technicians safe. Some examples of this might be the tools, harness, and technician weight limitations. These examples even sometimes extend to the crew doing morning stretches before heading out to climb.
Here we will give you ideas on how to keep yourself healthy and prepared for your job as a wind technician. You don’t have to be perfect; just practice doing more of the healthy things and less of the unhealthy things. Keep it simple.
Staying healthy and learning what motivates you is the first step. It’s important to remember that your health plays a large role in you and your crew’s safety in this profession.
What Motivates you? –
Why do you work? What do you like to spend your paycheck on? Do you have a family to take care of? Are you competitive? Do you want to make sure you do your part to take care of your teammates?
Keep these questions and their answers in mind when you lack motivation.
Picture yourself climbing 260 up the ladder inside a tower-
How do you want to feel while you’re climbing? Strong? Energized? Lean? Capable? Confident? Able to assist your teammate who may need your help at any moment?
Focus on the feeling you want to have. Decide that you are already that way. And be that person.
Exercises for Physical Stamina –
Participate in any of these activities for 30-60 minutes a day. At least 2-3 times per week.
- stair climbing (or stair stepper)
- rock climbing
- or any other activity you enjoy that gets your heart consistently beating.
Exercises for Physical Strength-
- NOTE: the goal isn’t necessarily to bulk up. The heavier you are, the heavier the load you carry when you climb turbines.
- Grip and Forearms: pick 2-3 exercises to work 2-3 times per week or as you see fit.
- Strength Training For Climbers-work on strength 2-3 times per week
Fuel for Body and Mind –
- Water – drink it. Lots of it.
- Whole foods – meat, cheese, eggs, beans, brown rice, potatoes, quinoa, oats, apples, bananas, strawberries, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, olives, pecans, almonds. You get the idea.
- Only slightly processed foods with clean ingredients. Make sure the list of ingredients on the package is 5 or less if possible – yogurt, peanut butter, jam, oatmeal, jerky, etc.
- Pack your water and your lunch for work every day and prepare to make food quickly when you get home or have a crockpot going while you’re at work so you don’t have to get fast or processed foods.
- Remember, keep it simple. More of the good, less of the not-so-good. Practicing little by little over time will get you what you want.
In part two you can read about simple techniques professionals use to train their mind and body for better performance in mentally stressful situations.