Friday, 11 October 2013

Jun Shen : Tour Of Duty Is No Hindrance To Training

Some of you may not know that we have a serving Second Lieutenant in the team. Chan Jun Shen serves in the Royal Malaysian Navy and currently on a Tour of Duty at Jervis Bay for the Sydney Internatioal Fleet Review. At 24, he has sailed 7-seas and not many can claim to have done that. This is his update, and the challenges of staying fit on-board a floating vessel known as KD Jebat, A Lekiu-class Frigate with guided missiles. He is preparing for Penang Brigde International Marathon while sailing. We salute you.
Photo from Jun Shen's Album. Sydney Harbour Bridge in the backgroun
Sydney International Fleet Review Diary
My decision to pursue my training on board KD JEBAT was a tough call for me. It is hard to describe the pride of every men serving on board the best ship in Malaysia, all of us just strive so hard to keep up with the Commanding Officer’s demand.  I did my Midshipmen training here before I was commissioned, the routine was so hectic that my training hours plunged down, and so does my fitness. I will be missing so many races during the voyage with JEBAT to Sydney International Fleet Review, but I guess it is worth the experience. If a footballer’s biggest dream is to participate in World Cup, a sailor’s dream will be representing the nation for International Fleet Review. To date, I have earned myself the Crossing Equator’s certificate, endured the rough weather and raging sea before I can call myself a 7 seas sailor at the age of 24. Although nowadays we don’t really practice the privileges given to the 7 seas sailors, but it is a lifetime achievement to be told to the younger generation in times to come.

Basically, Royal Malaysian Navy patrols and defends the Exclusive Economic Zone of Malaysia. To ensure our readiness, everyone has to play their part in achieving the mission of a warship which is TO FLOAT, TO MOVE, and TO FIGHT. Generally all the crews are segregated into 3 main branches which are the Seamen who manoeuvres and man the combat system, the Engineers who ensures the ship’s propulsion and weaponry is functional, and the Supplies who takes care of the stores and galley. I being a young engineer serving under the marine engineering department am very lucky to have a Head of Department who is an avid cyclist.

Every evening, all the crews who are not on duty will do their evening sports on the helicopter deck, or play ping pong inside the helicopter hangar. We also have a treadmill and cross trainer, if the sea condition permits, most likely both machines will be occupied. Keeping fit on board the ship is a tough challenge. There’re so many uncertainties that can cancel your plan, the only option I have is to maximize my time on the cross trainer or treadmill every time I get to use it. When JEBAT sails in Malaysia’s territorial water, I can only do 5km on a treadmill. The hangar becomes like an oven, 5 minutes of not doing anything can make me sweat.
In The Oven
Now that my ship is in Australia, the chilly weather helps a lot in making me last longer. I’ll put on my Kraftfit compression shorts and 2ndSkin shirt with Skechers GoMeb, then start my work out session. I’ll try to maintain in the targeted HeartRate with the help of Garmin 910xt, but this is all subjected to the people queuing for the treadmill. If the queue gets long, I will increase the resistance and finish off the workout within 20 minutes. Everyone is given a very limited personal space, and I do not have the luxury of bringing my racing bike with a trainer to be carried aboard. I have Hammer Endurolytes and Perpetuem Solid with me, 2 most compact forms of supplements to save my space. I would have brought the Hammer Gels and Recoverite if I have more space. When the ship alongside Darwin, all ship crews went jogging along the Esplanade till Aquascene which hits total distance of 8km, we did the morning run for 3 days before departed for Cairns. That week alone, we hit 24km excluding our walking mileage in Darwin.

The sea was unforgiving along our way to Jervis Bay, many crews including the army doctor got seasick. The grumbling sound of our 1 tonne AC14 anchor when it gets hit by waves indicates how powerful the waves were. No one can escape from it, not even the ship’s captain. At that time, my cross trainer workout was more like balancing myself instead of overcoming the resistance=p Sailors has no biological clock, we can turn nocturnal when we have to, and we can adapt to any time zone, insomnia is never in our dictionary. Currently we have changed 3 different time zones, nobody complaints about it. After all, we don’t see the sun when we work inside the ship, who cares if it is day or night. 
Every opportunity for firm ground are used for speedwork
When I feel dizzy working out in rough sea condition, I will just play a few movies to keep me distracted from the annoying motion sickness. Either I do an hour of cross trainer with resistance 15 or treadmill at speed 12-14. Enjoying the awesome sunset is what I normally do while cooling myself down, sometimes it gets more exciting seeing dolphins jump out right next to our ship. After the sun sets, I do not have much time to linger around; I will have to rush to the bathroom before they shut the water supply. Hell yeah, the water supply need to be controlled to lengthen our ship’s endurance, freshwater supply for the galley is primary, shower was never the priority. Sometimes before I rinse my body, the water supply gets cut off =p hahaha. One thing for sure, I will definitely shower. I keep bottles of freshwater in my luggage just in case of “emergency”. So please don’t have the impression that sailors don’t shower=p
On board the ship watching sunset after working out
I have to wear base layers to keep me warm, just so you know my body has only 4% of fat, I cannot stand even 20 degrees. I have brought all of the compression wears to be worn underneath my uniform! Thanks to Kraftfit for providing me the compression wear, and also to keep me warm=p Furthermore, I get to change my clothes quicker without have to worry exposing too much of skins when the ship conducts simulations for firefighting, flooding, chemical attack and so on=p
We, in the team are envious that the GoMeb went to Aussie
My International Fleet Review is just half way through; I hope I can maintain the discipline of working out despite all the challenges of keeping fit at sea. By the time I come back to home port Lumut, I have only 5 days left before Penang Bridge International Marathon. Haha. Let see how it goes. I have no high expectation; I just wanna finish the race with the best timing I can possibly hit, no more than 4 hours though.
Men in Uniform. KD Jebat represented

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