HMCS Winnipeg’s Command Team: Leading the charge for physical fitness

HMCS Winnipeg - OP REASSURANCE / January 15, 2016

By Sub-Lieutenant Jamie Tobin

Physical fitness is a component of operational success that can be difficult to maintain while at sea on deployment, but on board HMCS Winnipeg, the Command Team leads by example with their healthy lifestyles.

“Canadian Armed Forces members are fortunate to have the support of Personnel Support Programs (PSP) and our personal trainer has been a great asset to the crew,” says Lieutenant-Commander Kevin Whiteside, the ship’s Executive Officer.

To keep fit, the Captain has equipped his cabin with a stationary bicycle trainer and a heavy bag set-up. “Being fit keeps us in control of our physical and mental well-being,” says Commander Pascal Belhumeur, the ship’s Commanding Officer.

The ship’s PSP staff, Sylvain Verrier, holds four fitness classes per day while at sea and provides the crew with daily workout programs and nutrition advice. LCdr Whiteside remains fit by faithfully attending the 6 a.m. class and frequenting the 4 p.m. class.

“I am proud to be a part of a Command Team that is so focused on fitness,” says Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Michel Vincelette, Winnipeg’s Coxswain. “The crew sees it and is inspired; we have the most actively fit crew that I have ever seen.”

With Mr. Verrier’s assistance, the Coxswain has been doing a cardio and weight intensive program that is tailored to help his golf game; his handicap, however, remains a mystery.

Not only does Mr. Verrier have an effect on life at sea, but also alongside by organizing multinational sporting events with our NATO allies and monthly five kilometre Fleet runs in port at which the ship’s company continues to clock some unfathomable times.

With only a few months left in the ship’s long deployment, the crew of HMCS Winnipeg continues to use physical fitness to maintain mission focus and like many initiatives in the Royal Canadian Navy, this initiative is driven by the ship’s leadership.