Fit for sea

This article has photo gallery Published on CPL Mark Doran (author and photographer)

Location(s): Middle East Region (MER)

Topic(s): Operation MANITOU, HMAS Melbourne (F05), Physical Training (PT)

Royal Australian Navy sailor Leading Seaman Physical Trainer Callan McDonald (right) leads fitness training aboard HMAS Melbourne in the Arabian Sea. HMAS Melbourne is patrolling in the Middle East Region as part of Operation MANITOU.  (photo: CPL Mark Doran)
Royal Australian Navy sailor Leading Seaman Physical Trainer Callan McDonald (right) leads fitness training aboard HMAS Melbourne in the Arabian Sea. HMAS Melbourne is patrolling in the Middle East Region as part of Operation MANITOU.

It’s a flurry of action for a fitness fanatic on a warship patrolling the Arabian Gulf.

Leading Seaman Physical Trainer Callan McDonald is passionate about promoting health and fitness for the crew aboard HMAS Melbourne, a vital role to keep everyone ready to fight and win at sea.

His main goal on his first deployment as a physical trainer is to ensure the ship’s company deployed as part of Operation MANITOU are fit for their sea duties and able to respond to any incident.

Operation MANITOU is Australia's contribution to the Combined Maritime Forces in the Middle East region.

The combined force undertakes patrols in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf to intercept the trafficking of drugs that help fund international terrorism.

Royal Australian Navy sailor Leading Seaman Physical Trainer Callan McDonald.

Royal Australian Navy sailor Leading Seaman Physical Trainer Callan McDonald.


Originally from Hobart, Leading Seaman McDonald began his naval career in 2003 and said he spent his first seven years in Navy as a boatswains mate.

“"When I decided to be a physical trainer in 2011 I needed to totally reorganise my life and made fitness my priority,”" he said.

“"The best part of being a physical trainer in Melbourne is being able to help people with their fitness goals.

“"I enjoy watching the crew achieve those goals, transform their bodies and change their lifestyle for the better.

“"I try to keep them motivated and focused on their training while working together as a team.”"

Leading Seaman McDonald has other important duties in Melbourne which include keeping watch on the bridge as a quartermaster and being in charge of the forward repair team.

“"My other responsibilities include looking after the ship’s café and maintaining the gym equipment,”" he said.

“"One of my favourite activities is organising sporting events in foreign ports against local teams.

"“I also facilitate adventure training activities or day tours for the ship’s different departments."

Royal Australian Navy sailor Leading Seaman Physical Trainer Callan McDonald (right) leads fitness training aboard HMAS Melbourne in the Arabian Sea. HMAS Melbourne is patrolling in the Middle East Region as part of Operation MANITOU.

Royal Australian Navy sailor Leading Seaman Physical Trainer Callan McDonald (right) leads fitness training aboard HMAS Melbourne in the Arabian Sea. HMAS Melbourne is patrolling in the Middle East Region as part of Operation MANITOU.


In his latest fitness project, Leading Seaman McDonald has organised a competition called the ‘Biggest Shredder’ for Melbourne crew members who want to lose weight.

Leading Seaman McDonald said close to 25 sailors entered the event and the initial weigh-in was on 16 September.

“"There will be prizes supplied by the welfare committee for the male and female sailors who lose the most weight by individual percentage,"” he said.

“"The contestants are required to attend at least two training sessions with me each week and submit a log of their training and diet.

“"My goal is to motivate people to be fit and confident with their bodies and their friends and families will be able to see the results of their hard work by the end of the tour.”"

Leading Seaman McDonald said he was proud to be deployed and be on a team targeting the illegal drug trade, however he thoughts are never far from home.

"“I am missing my wife, Rachael,”" he said.

“"We recently celebrated our second wedding anniversary.

“"We communicate with Skype, telephone and by social media whenever we can, but I am looking forward to returning home next year.”"