Denver police academy recruits face extreme physical challenges to ‘Earn the Badge’

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DENVER -- We can all relate to wanting to lose weight and get in shape. But what if your job and your life depended on it?

In our ongoing special series taking you behind the scenes of the Denver Police Academy, we give you an exclusive look at the fitness factor.

These recruits are going to be shaped into police officers in a matter of 6 months.

One of those trying to become a future officer, Alexis Aranda, has lost an incredible amount of weight, all inspired by his desire to become a cop.

“We actually did our first cross fit exercise introduction yesterday. Gosh I’m feeling it now,” Aranda said.

The recruits are tested at the beginning, middle and end of the academy.  At the end of the academy, they have to pass the army fitness test.

"This is by far the most intense workout I’ve ever done," said Recruit Eric Morales.  "I can only imagine on the streets what it would be like to chase a suspect or something like that.”

When we first met Recruit Brenton Sellers, he was overweight and struggling to even catch his breath. He said he underestimated the physical fitness part of the academy.

But that didn’t hold him back. He and his fellow recruits do CrossFit classes a few times a week.

They also run and they work out on their own. They know the hard work they put in here will not only help them get through the academy, but it’s going to help them when they’re on the job as well.

“Whether it’s tracking down criminals or standing on your feet all day. Fitness is key, just to make sure you're in shape,” Sellers said.

Four weeks into the academy we noticed a big difference, especially with Sellers. He lost 20 pounds in the first month. But he was far from done. Six weeks later, we almost didn’t recognize him.

With 23 weeks under his belt, Sellers said he has lost 62 pounds.

"Every time there’s a workout, I’m giving 100 percent, doing extra workouts, weekends and overnight, doing my own little workouts," Sellers said. "I stopped eating fast food and fried food. I eat baked fish, baked chicken, salads. I feel the best I've felt since college, so I feel really good. My daughter comes up and taps my stomach because it’s not sticking out like it used to. That makes me feel good.”

And he did it all while nursing a bad knee and never once wanting to give up.

Their strength is showing mentally and physically, and that will pay off when they hit the streets.

Three weeks left until graduation. We will continue to keep you posted on their progress.

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