On a quiet Saturday morning in Hobart recently there was no shortage of high intensity effort on HMAS Choules, as a local football team was put through their paces by a Navy physical trainer.
As part of its pre-season training program, senior members of the Hobart-based Lauderdale Australian Rules Football Club were welcomed onboard the landing ship to run through a training session with Leading Seaman Physical Training Instructor Natasha Wilson.
In a 45 minute session combining strength, aerobic conditioning and agility, Lauderdale players rapidly learnt that it takes a fair bit of work to be ‘fit to fight’.
Leading Seaman Wilson said she absolutely loves her job, which involves keeping the ship’s company of more than 150 people motivated and on track for health and fitness goals.
“I run two physical training sessions a day on Choules. Everyone gets involved when they can, including the Commanding Officer who is an ultra-marathon athlete,” she said.
“It’s a real culture of participation and teamwork that makes the sessions, which I have to admit are pretty gruelling, fun and rewarding for all.
“We have some exceptionally fit people on Choules and they truly are fit to fight and win!”
After the session there were some very tired footy players with a new found respect for the physicality of Navy life and the high level of professionalism and support provided by Leading Seaman Wilson.
Bryce Walsh, a mid-fielder with Lauderdale Football club said the team were unsure about what to expect onboard.
“Natasha really demanded a lot from us physically and mentally,” he said.
“She made us understand how teamwork is such an important part of training, both for us, and also for the Navy.
“The focus and grit of Navy Physical Training Instructors, such as Natasha, is remarkable and took the training session to a whole new level.”
Chief Petty Officer Communication and Information Systems Adam Beakley, a member of ship's company and whose father, Mr Tony Beakley, is an official of the Lauderdale Football Club, was also on hand to provide some guidance.
“You need to consistently challenge yourself; you never get the last minute, the last quarter or the last game back, so train hard to play hard; that's the Navy way,” he said.
Choules was undertaking her first visit to Hobart as flagship for the 2017 Royal Hobart Regatta, continuing a Royal Australian Navy tradition dating back to 1904.