The Crew Who Stays Fit Together...

26 October 2011 By Rubi McGrory

Chef Zoe hated feeling like a veal calf, penned up in the galley all day. “One day, I started doing reps with a frozen lamb roast, lifting it from behind my back over my head. I thought ‘Hey, this is a great way to keep fit on the job.’ And tried to make myself remember to do it every day”

Luckily for Zoe, the boat that pulled into the next slip over had crewmembers who were P90x devotees.  Before long, Zoe and most of her crew were converts. They work out together several times a week and collectively have become more fit.

“I can’t believe how awesome I feel and how much more energy I have. Look,” she says “I have muscle definition in my arms, not bread loaves.”

P90X is a 12-DVD home exercise system ($299). It is based on a 13-week cycle with six one-hour workouts per week, using basic equipment like kettleballs, dumbbells and resistance bands. The workouts vary from cardio to strength to stretching and include yoga and martial arts.

Mate Pat, who considers himself a runner, embraced P90x when Zoe and the crew next door introduced him to it.  “I prefer running, the alone time and the mental space, but that isn’t always an option in yachting, between the logistics of getting ashore and the boat’s schedule. I do like the extra help of motivation from my fellow crewmembers.”

Stew Chantal loves the variation. “My job can get pretty monotonous; I really like the change-up between workouts, one day arms, another day abs. I also like how it has given us, as a crew, something to do and talk about other than gossip and partying.”

The three agree that keeping up with the regimen is easier without guests on board, but manage to find time to do modified sequences before starting their workday. Chantal shakes her head “After 10 days or so of 5 a.m. starts, my motivation dwindles a bit and I start prioritizing sleep over fitness.”

P90X comes with dietary recommendations, something the three also agree they don’t follow. “I don’t want to be emaciated, I want definition,” admits Zoe. “Also, between making meals for the guests and special diets for them, and meals for the crew I am not making special meals for me and no one else has asked.”

Chantal adds that some of her crewmembers invested in big tubs of protein powder for the recommended shakes and after three days decided they didn’t like it. She dusts around the tubs once a week now.

Crossfit is another fitness regimen, which pulls in training methods from a variety of different athletic disciplines. Focusing on areas like strength, endurance and flexibility it incorporates powerlifting, weightlifting, dumbbells, gymnastic rings and kettleballs. Each day is a different workout, posted by either a local affiliate gym or the national organization.

Mate Lane confesses to having a cult-like zeal for CrossFit. “Outside the boat it became my life. I loved the competition. I loved the challenge. I was ripped. Some nights I would peek on the website to see if I could find out the next day’s workout.”

Every day Lane would hit the local CrossFit affiliate with one or two of his crewmembers. Deckhand Rick joins in, “I was hooked from the beginning, I’m not self motivated, so being part of a group made it possible.”

It was perfect system for a while until the boat sold and the job changed. Under the new boss, the boat didn’t sit at the dock year round with occasional weekend forays away from the gym, but constantly moved from port to port. “We tried, we really did,” Lane shakes his head. Without the support of the gym, the weight benches and the hard-core community their passion dissolved.

So what do the two men do for exercise now?

Rick answers, “We floundered around for a little while, kind of making up our own modified system. That was a bust. Two weeks ago we convinced the new stewardess to start P90X with us.”