Imagine waking up in a different port every morning and working in a gym that has constantly changing views from its windows.
Does it sound too good to be true?
Seven years ago I was working as a personal trainer, and loving the opportunities it was affording me to work with so many different and interesting people, and to help them achieve their various fitness goals.
The flexibility of the work and the sociable nature of it really suited me and I wasn’t really considering making a move from my current position.
While flicking through a fitness magazine one day, however, I noticed an advertisement for personal training positions aboard a cruise ship.
I’d never considered such an avenue before, but the idea seized me.
The possibilities flooded my mind
I realised that working as a trainer on board a cruise ship could allow me to travel the world, meet and work with lots of interesting people, and learn new skills while indulging my passion for health and fitness. Perfect Right?
Making the dream a reality
Initially the idea seemed like a dream, and I knew that I had to be proactive in order to make it become a reality.
Within a few short weeks I had wound things down at my job, had an
interview with the cruise ship company, Steiner, sat a medical check in Australia, booked flights, packed and headed off to the Steiner Training Academy in the UK – my adventure had begun.
I spent three days at the academy, getting a good grounding in what the position and overall experience would involve – and the more I learn't, the more I wanted to get on board! literally.
To the USA
Immediately following this training, Steiner flew me to Miami where I underwent another medical, and from there I was taken to board my first ship in Philadelphia.
This cruise ship was to be my floating home and workplace for the next nine months.
When you become a cruise ship personal trainer, the first contract is always for a duration of nine months, though you can be transferred to another ship at any
time if Steiner require.
My first day aboard the ship was one of the most memorable of my career, filled with trepidation and excitement as I walked up the gangway.
Sailing out of Philadelphia that first time was an awesome experience, surpassed only by that of sailing into any new port.
In fact, entering and leaving the different ports throughout the journey is one of the great highlights of being on ship – spirits are high and everyone has so much fun up on top deck celebrating the sail-away parties. The buzz and the adrenalin rush can become very addictive.
NOT ALL SMOOTH SAILING
But life isn’t all one big party when you’re cruising the world’s oceans.
Conditions at sea can be trying, with the weather playing an important role
in the activities and overall atmosphere onboard.
While cruising to Bermuda, our ship encountered three hurricanes, all of them causing more than a little consternation. However terrifying the storms were though, and however choppy the sea, as team members on the cruise liner we had to smile at passengers, show up to sessions, teach classes and attend to the gym even if we were feeling green around the gills and couldn’t stand up straight.
Although the working conditions could be challenging, and sometimes unpredictable, being a personal trainer on an ocean liner taught me a great
The real benefits for my life
I learnt discipline, responsibility, respect and how to work as part of a
team – a very close-knit team whose members could always rely on one
another – when you’re at sea, trust and willingness to help your colleagues with
whatever they may need is essential.
If you don’t appreciate the meaning of it before you sail, you will also develop
an understanding of what sheer hard work is, as you work upwards of 60
hours per week. Don't let that put you off.
Yes it’s a work hard, play hard lifestyle where you learn to live for the day and make the most of every opportunity that presents itself.
The cruise company also provided exceptional sales training that saw us
build a retention rate of over 90 per cent.
We had daily, weekly and team targets to hit and if we made them
we were rewarded with time off .
This is what we all wanted of course, more time to spend in exotic and exciting
IS CRUISE SHIP FITNESS FOR YOU?
I was fortunate to work with a great team of 22 people who knew how to
work hard and have fun.
It was not unusual for our weekly team meetings to involve cruising around the Carribean on a catamaran or going to a show in New York.
If you are considering pursuing a fitness career at sea, you should ask yourself the following questions first;
• Do you like being around other people?
• Can you work as part of a team?
• Can you work long hours of over 60 hours per week?
• Can you share a cabin with others?
• Do you respect other people’s backgrounds and beliefs?
• Can you take orders from officers and authorities?
• Are you punctual?
• Do you have an excellent work ethic?
• Can you work in adverse conditions?
• Can you happily assist passengers with their non-fitness related queries?
• Could you stand living and working in a size-limited area like a ship and
possibly being restricted to certain decks?
If you answered yes to these questions then you might just be up for a "Dream Job"
My time as a fi tness professional on the high seas really showed me how to
live life, have fun and make the most of every opportunity that came my way.
I have travelled the world and seen some awesome places and I still sometimes
think about heading out and doing it all again.
Meeting and working with so many wonderful and knowledgeable
people in such an interesting and diverse environment is a horizon broadening
experience that provides countless skills to help grow your fitness career.
Something to think about =)
By : Bianca Parkyn
Bianca has worked in many areas of fitness during her 14 year career in the industry, and currently specialises inexercise rehabilitation and weight loss. A mentor and lifestyle coach, Bianca has previously been named SA Personal
Trainer of the Year and is an active member of the Australian Personal Trainers Round Table.