Keeping fit on a superyacht is difficult for most crew. Today we spoke with Gaby Welch, Chief Stewardess on M/Y Deniki. Gaby and her partner Chris (CJ) have been working on superyachts for almost a decade. They have grown a passion for keeping fit on board and understand the difficulties yacht crew face when they are trying to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

How and when did you start in the yachting industry?

One of my closest friends from university joined the yachting industry. After we graduated, I went on to work for an advertising agency in Cape Town, South Africa. She spent two years calling me, telling me all about her amazing experiences and encouraging me to give yachting a try. I finally caved in 2013 and haven’t looked back since.

Have you always been passionate about keeping fit?

I have always loved sports and being active. Growing up I was into dancing, running, and playing hockey. I kept fit through university, but I really fell in love with health and wellness about a year into my superyacht career.

What made you fall in love with keeping fit onboard? Was it a “yachtie-unhealthy” phase?

The industry can be a lot of drinking, partying and not much sleep, which of course is fun, but I wanted a bit more of a balance.

I guess what kicked it off initially was my desire to run in every place we visited. I found this such a great way to explore a new location in a short amount of time. As I found myself getting fitter, I decided to start incorporating workouts into my week. This grew into a passion and so I started learning about all thing’s health and wellness.

Fast forward a few years and I am a qualified personal trainer and nutrition advisor. I have trained charter guests, the owner, and his family as well as run plenty of bootcamps for the crew on board.

Yacht Crew Bootcamp with HULA Wellness

Can you tell us about Hula Wellness and what you are doing to help keep crew in shape?

HULA Wellness is a company myself and my husband Chris (CJ) started earlier this year. We have faced many challenges living and working full time on board a yacht.  Things like limited space, not a great deal of time and very little equipment for us to use are all obstacles we have overcome with our fitness regime.

We wanted to bring out fitness and lifestyle products that would complement these challenges. The first product we launched was a set of 3 premium quality resistance bands which are very compact and a great addition to any workout on board. We also launched male and female hoodies and canvas tote bags. Most recently we have launched The Crew Fit Training Guide a fitness eBook aimed at yacht crew.

Tell about you knew eBook, Crew Fit Training Guide.

Crew Fit Training Guide is an 8-week program specifically tailored to the needs of yacht crew. First and foremost, it considers the restrictions that all yacht crew live with, allowing you to train in small spaces, with little time and minimal equipment.

We have been working on yachts for almost a decade now and over this time we have experienced the difficulty of staying healthy and fit onboard. We work busy long days, move a lot, and don’t have a huge amount of space for equipment to train with.

Over the years we have developed a program for ourselves that really works, we wanted to share this with our crew, so we started to run bootcamps based on the program. We have seen how well it can work and the fantastic results it produces. We decided to create the eBook so that everyone else could enjoy the benefits we have. The eBook can be purchased via the HULA Website

HULA Wellness Crew Fit Training Guide

What is your greatest achievement with HULA Wellness so far?

I think the biggest achievement was launching the business (although very small) while working a full-time job on board. It meant a lot of 5am wakes up, working during any breaks and after hours. I didn’t realise all the time and effort it takes to design a logo, source products, build and develop a website. the list goes on

Where do you see HULA Wellness going in the next 5 years?

More Products! CJ and I hope to have a lot more products available for purchase. We would like all our products to make living a balanced life on board easier for yacht crew. We would like to be regularly running Health and Wellness Retreats at our place in Algarve, Portugal. There is also a very exciting new product launching for yacht crew later this year! So, keep your eyes peeled for this!

What is your most important fitness message to yacht crew?

Balance, balance, balance! No extreme is sustainable. Focus on 7 hours of good quality sleep, eat your fruit and veg but enjoy your cookies and chips in moderation too, move your body in a way you enjoy and that makes you feel good.

Can you tell us 3 of your habits that have had a positive impact on you?

  • Getting between 7 and 9 hours of sleep. I know this isn’t always possible onboard, but nothing quite beats a good night sleep and forming a good habit like this really will change your life.
  • I move my body every day! Whether it’s just a walk, a run, or a workout, moving makes you feel good.
  • Wake up early! Honestly, there is nothing quite like having a bit of ‘you time’ before work. It puts me into a positive mindset, and I always feel more productive during the day.

To read more articles about health and wellbeing on onboard click here.

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