PHOTOS BY ROB DANIELS PHOTOGRAPHY
Ewa Hlebowicz is a Career Firefighter/Paramedic at the Barnard Fire District in Rochester, NY. She has been in the public safety profession for over 15 years and has her Bachelors in Public Safety Administration, AS in Fire Protection Technology, Paramedicine and Business Administration. Ewa was one of the first female firefighters in Monroe County and the first female hired by the Barnard Fire District in 2008.
Her interest in emergency services came during her time as an Explorer at the Barnard Fire District, earning volunteer hours and learning about Para-medicine from the counties only Advanced Life Support Firefighter Agency. Her interest encouraged her to stay in Rochester, NY and become a volunteer firefighter at 18 years of age while attending MCC and Robert Wesleyan for Emergency Medicine, Business Administration and Pubic Safety Administration. With the Monroe County Firefighter Civil Service Exam being offered, she insisted in challenging the exam and yielded a score high enough to interview for a full time paid position with the very fire department she was volunteering for. In May 2008, Ewa was hired as the first female firefighter by the Barnard Fire District and will soon be approaching her 10 year anniversary.
Her passion of physical fitness was a direct result the challenges and hardships she faced as a 5’6”, 120 lb female wearing 90+ lbs of structural firefighting gear and various tools depending on the nature of the emergency. The success of her team weighed more on her shoulders than the self-contained breathing apparatus she would wear into fires. “You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have” and Ewa would not entertain the idea of weakness being an option. Ewa devoted her time off from work to the gym not just pushing herself to get stronger physically but also learning the science behind strength training, nutrition and functional fitness. This was the beginning of Ewa’s next career.
After competing in bikini contests, powerlifting meets and crossfit competitions, she pursued more formal education at the Cooper Institute in Dallas, Texas. This is where Ewa completed course work specializing in fitness and health of Firefighters and Law Enforcement.
Ewa is now co-owner of Glickfit Strength Training and Nutrition with her husband Kyle Glickman. The two of them have worked with over 600 clients (including athletes, firefighters, bodybuilders, bikini competitors and the general public) to provide effective, appropriate, customized nutrition and training programs with their client’s health, wellness and results in mind. Ewa and Kyle take a comprehensive approach to fitness by first focusing on lifestyle habits, stress management, disease prevention and effective nutritional protocols before implementing a strength training program. The Glickfit Training Method is unlike any in Rochester and focused on achieving health and wellness while still obtaining optimal body composition changes.
Ewa founded the first Women-Only strength training group class in Rochester, NY. To relieve the anxiety and apprehension many women face walking into a gym. Ewa has cultivated a supportive atmosphere for women to train in a non-intimidating environment where they are be educated and encouraged to use free weights and learn essential movement patterns.
Lastly, Ewa is co-director and a founder of 555 Firefighter Fitness, a 501(c)3, who’s mission is to reduce Line of Duty Deaths ( LODD) by promoting functional fitness, providing free daily workouts and donating fitness equipment to firehouses across the country. Historically, over 50% of firefighter fatalities can be attributed to cardiac related events. One simple way to lower this number is to have firefighter participate in some type of regular physical activity. Therefore, workouts are provided, for free, that are geared toward the rigors of the firefighting profession, but can be done by anyone. When easy to follow information is provided, the likelihood that more firefighters will participate increases dramatically. Ewa now travels the country as the 555 Fitness Grant Coordinator, presenting winning departments with fitness equipment made possible through donations and the sale of 555 Fitness Retail to support their mission.
Ewa is the definition of multipotentalite, a person with diverse interests across numerous domains and no “one true calling”. With her entrepreneurial side, philanthropic side, adrenaline seeking side and a hatred for the routine / mundane, Ewa was destined to seek employment outside of a traditional work place. She was able to integrate passion, a unique skill set and desire to help others to become a true “Jack(ie)” of all trades, and master of some.