Ironman Triathlon training is a tough: period. Doing so while stationed on a US Naval Submarine is off the charts tough. I was inspired by a US Naval Officer who did just that. He went on to compete and complete the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii several years ago. If that does not erase all excuses, what does?
Endurance training, like that done for an Ironman triathlon is a challenge for military members for generations, and continues to this day. Regardless of the branch of service, members of the United States Military must keep physically and mentally fit. Although most American soldiers stationed at bases throughout the world have well equipped gyms at their disposal, sailors and Marines of the United States Military stationed aboard ship may not have that same luxury, especially those stationed aboard smaller ships and submarines. With space, time, and exercise equipment at a premium, sailors must be creative to keep motivation high and workouts effective.
Aboard the USS KEARSARGE, the contingent consists of men and women with the United States Navy, as well as tough United States Marines. A large ship, the Kearsarge offers many opportunities to use parts of the ship itself for exercise. According to an article about the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit stationed aboard the ship, written for a United States Marine Corps web site, dancing aboard ship is all the rage. Friday night is dance night where service members use salsa, merinque, and bachata routines to keep exercise fun and fresh, while learning something new.
Two issues often found aboard ship is time and equipment, both in short supply. Military.com suggests using supersets to tackle both issues. Stew Smith, a former Navy Seal and fitness author recommends ten cycles of each superset, taking approximately two minutes per cycle. One catch to the routing; there is no rest period between exercises. One superset consists of push-ups and crunch exercises. The other superset consists of abdominal and legs exercises. Consider alternating between the two supersets daily, keeping it fresh. The author also suggests bringing a metal pole for pull-ups and a pair of dumbbells aboard ship.
Marines and Sailors have improvised and come up with ingenious ways to keep in shape. On large transport ships, service members have used vehicle ramps, running up and down them for a great cardiovascular workout. Service members use the steep stairs as makeshift stair climbers. The push-up, sit-up, lunge, jumping jack, jump rope, and plank can all be performed in small space. Yoga is popular and is recognized as a way to prevent injuries. Shadow boxing, or sparring with fellow service members is an excellent cardiovascular activity. Strength bands are inexpensive, and offer strength and toning workouts in a limited space.
Gregg S. Seltzer is a certified USAT, USAC, USATF, ASCA, and Master Swim coach with www.triabilitycoaching.com based in Southern California. He may be reached for coaching or comment at 800-884-2194.