Orca-fit, new wave of training

CPO2 Dave Morse doesn’t mess around when it comes to fitness.



LCdr Sam Patchell (white) and OS Colin Puff work together in a strength training exercise.

Photo by Shelley Lipke, Lookout

About a month ago, he noticed that scores for his sailors on the EXPRES test weren’t as good as they could be. 

It can be hard to keep fit when the workspace is the small Orca platform. 

“The mere size of the Orca doesn’t afford them the opportunity, like a frigate with treadmills and flight decks, to run on,” he says. 

His answer: Orca-fit, a weekly PT class that pushes fitness goals to the max.

Developed by the unit’s two basic fitness trainer assistants, this class sees all members working in partners with teamwork, morale and fitness in mind.

“I think because it’s a circuit training program it forces the sailors to work within their limitations, and because they are around their peers it forces them to push themselves,” says CPO2 Morse. “I think the sailors are extremely happy to be doing this, and it has given them an opportunity to meet some of their workmates in a different forum than normal. I’ve seen an improvement in morale with the implementation of this program.”

Fitness trainer PO2 Matt Goodwin is a former boot camp instructor and brought his knowledge forth to help create the classes with co-trainer LS Derrick Welsh.

The Orca-fit class is held in the Naden Gym every Wednesday morning.

“We have created a series of classes for strength training, muscular endurance training, and cardiovascular training that are geared to the EXPRES test,” said PO2 Goodwin. 

Regina was doing a unit PT and their EXPRES test exemptions have gone through the roof. They are at 60 per cent exemption rate and we are trying to get to that standard where we are physically fit and passing the EXPRES test without any issues,” he said.

PO2 Goodwin wants to show his fellow sailor just what can be achieved without much equipment. 

“They can still maintain their fitness without having a space or equipment, just using body weight and resistance. When I explain to the class what we are doing they think it’s easy, but by the end they are exhausted.”

The class involves a lot of partner work using body resistance to strengthen.

“It’s about getting the team excited about what they are doing. When they see the Lieutenant Commander pushing himself as hard as he can it drives the Ordinary Seaman to push himself. One of our engineers said this was the hardest he ever worked himself,” said PO2 Goodwin.

The reaction has been well received.  

Senior engineer PO2 Jack Sleeman said, “You push yourself further because of the interaction of a team. I have lost 65 pounds since November, but with the addition of this unit PT my weight loss has accelerated. I am taking the stairs with a much better spring in my step. Working with a team you can’t slack off, and as a leader you have to set the example,” he said. 


Shelley Lipke
Staff Writer


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