For crew, the largest challenge when working out is consistency. It’s easy to work out during crossings, but mid-season is a different story altogether. That’s where Salt Lick Fitness can help with their careful planning, adjusting for time and environment, and working around work schedules.
Physical Trainers Christie Surveson and Thomas Jones on board a 100-plus-meter motor yacht understand the struggle of that balance and are helping guide crew on how to maintain a healthy, balanced life on board and understand the importance of mental and physical health.
Formed out of their passion for health and fitness, the duo helped fellow crewmembers with their fitness journeys before they started Salt Lick. Despite some hesitations as neither cared much for social media, Salt Lick Fitness (SLF) officially launched at the end of 2021, thanks to help from their talented crewmates.
Salt Lick offers both vessel-specific group programs and an individual customized program with online 24/7 coaching to ensure clients reach their goals. Access to demonstration videos along with the SLF leaderboard and community comes with both programs. Available for nine or 12 weeks, the vessel-specific program includes three tailored workouts per week for an unlimited number of crew that works wherever they are, whether it’s in a shipyard or even in their cabin.
Through the app, one-on-one clients can access their workouts, track their progress, and be able to communicate with Surveson and Jones as coaches. They create a customized four-week program that factors in a crewmember’s goals, time restraints, physical space, and equipment access. They’re able to monitor progress by seeing which workouts have been completed and help crew stay on track and motivated.
“We almost didn’t create Salt Lick, but we were pushed (hard) by a much-loved crewmate of ours, Dean. Dean tragically died in 2021; he was our biggest supporter and always pushed us to do that little bit more to promote Salt Lick,” she shares. “He is the reason we keep going even when things get tough, we carry on doing it to honor our mate.”
As a former Royal Marines Commando, Jones joined yachting in 2018 as it allowed him a good mix of maritime adventures and security-based work. Naturally, he had to keep physically fit as a member of the onboard security team, so he volunteered to take his personal training courses and became one of the two onboard physical trainers. Surveson came from a professional performing background aboard cruise ships and a family sailing culture growing up, so yachting felt appropriate, joining the industry in 2019. Being a green stewardess, she immediately took advantage of the yacht’s training budget, completed her courses, and became the other onboard PT alongside Jones.
“We understand high pressure charter environments where you only have an hour to yourself, and in that time, you need to do some personal banking, call the family, have lunch, and squeeze 25 mins of training in,” Surveson says. “We also understand that yachties tend to put up a front to the rest of their crew; if they need to ask for third-party advice or they just fancy a chat, we do that too. It’s important to know you have contacts that know what you are going through outside of your boat bubble.”
Since joining the industry, they noticed how socially far apart yacht crew tend to be. “Crew being crew, we have this idea that we need to stay in our own boat bubble, and the boat moored up next to us are a bunch of strangers! We are literally the same people doing the same jobs having the same issues,” Surveson says. “We want to change that, and the most productive way we could find to do it was to take away the booze, take away the Chanel bags and the Balenciaga t-shirts, get crew into activewear, and get them all hot and sweaty.”
During dockside workouts, crew from different ranks, departments, and even boats join in and form bonds that are unparalleled. “For instance, the chief officer could be paired up with the greenest deckie or stew, and they create this bond over hard graft, sit-ups, and a kettlebell,” she says. “It’s bizarre, but it’s tried and tested. It works.”
They want to continue building bonds and broaden their community so yachties have contacts they can reach out to for support. “We want turn up in an epic location like Barcelona, put an epic workout on for ALL crew, and then have a social side to things afterwards," Surveson says. "Like our motto says, we want to keep on ‘improving crew sanity.’”
Follow them on Instagram @saltlick_fitness.