Fit to fight

Published on LEUT Steve Cropper (author), ABIS Leo Baumgartner (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Kuttabul, NSW

Topic(s): HMAS Kuttabul, Physical Training (PT), Fit to Fight

Leading Seaman Physical Training Instructor Benjamin Spring, left, supervises Leading Seaman Physical Training Instructor Lara Pilton, conducting a workout on new exercise equipment in the gymnasium at HMAS Kuttabul, Sydney. (photo: ABIS Leo Baumgartner)
Leading Seaman Physical Training Instructor Benjamin Spring, left, supervises Leading Seaman Physical Training Instructor Lara Pilton, conducting a workout on new exercise equipment in the gymnasium at HMAS Kuttabul, Sydney.

New functional training equipment has been installed at the Fleet Base East Gymnasium as part of a much-needed $400-thousand dollar upgrade.

The new gear includes inertia-driven treadmills that adjust to the pace of the runner and a new set of Life Fitness machines.

The old equipment has been repurposed for use at the Diver Annex at Pittwater and the Navy/Army facility at Marangaroo west of Sydney.

Fleet Sport and Recreation Manager Lieutenant Ian Rushton said the upgrade has made a big difference in the gym’s overall equipment standard. 

“As the busiest gym in the Navy, servicing more than four thousand personnel around the clock, this new equipment helps us better provide essential fitness services.

“In addition the equipment promotes time efficient training due to equipment layout and the ease of operation,” Lieutenant Rushton said.

The upgrade also included a refurbishment of one squash court to a functional training hub with three dual lifting platforms which has increased the gymnasium’s capacity to provide core strength training.

Chief Petty Officer Physical Training Instructor Roger Roy said four-and-a-half thousand personnel were in the gym for at least two fitness sessions per week and the facility had sometimes struggled to keep pace with demand.

“We have watch-keepers coming in at all hours of the day and night, prehab and rehab therapists, Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes, Pilates classes, and circuit training sessions - the lot!

“Fortunately, this new equipment makes it easier for members to self-manage their workouts,” Chief Petty Officer Roy said.

Leading Seaman Physical Training Instructor Ben Spring said group exercise was pretty basic just three or four years ago, but was much more varied and sophisticated today, involving  more targeted exercise for strengthening and conditioning.

He said that the military needed to be close to the fitness level of professional athletes to deliver peak performance.

“You can be the best shot in the world but it won’t help if you don’t have the stamina.

“As the sign on the wall says: ‘you must be fighting fit to be fit to fight’,” Leading Seaman Spring said.