Friday 21 March 2014 by Alison Wishart. No comments
Opinion, views and commentary, Personal Stories, gym workouts, Al Minhad, protein supplements, personal training

Day 9 - Beefcake

The military is full of gym junkies. PT (personal training) is an integral part of their daily routine. Not having to buy groceries, cook food, wash dishes, clean the house, mow the lawn, or do the laundry or any other domestic duties means you have plenty of spare time. And the commute to the gym is a three minute walk at most. I used to scoff at the blokes' desire to be buff until I tried to get up off the ground quickly after a "hit the deck" drill wearing my body armour and couldn't. You need to be fit and strong to run with up to 50kg of kit.

There are two air-conditioned gyms at AMAB open 24/7. Most people use the one which has been nicknamed "Fernwood", because it provides pink towels to wipe up the sweat. I've been going there to pump baby weights (a toddler would be heavier than the barbells I can lift) and conquer the stair master. However, because "chicks can't see cardio", some males prefer the "big boy gym" near the airfield (a five minute walk). It's little wonder we can't see cardio, when we are surrounded by such huge chests.

Protein supplements are popular. The ones available in the UAE can contain substances that are banned in Australia and show up in drug tests. We've been warned that we will be sent home in disgrace if tested positive. I think I'll stick to "angry birds" (see previous post).

Twelve months ago I went to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) with the Australian War Memorial. I was working on an oral history-photographic project. The core part of the project was interviewing and photographing 19 currently serving members of the ADF - from the army, navy and airforce - before, during and after their deployment in 2013 to the MEAO.  In another 12 months time, you should be able to see the results of this work in an exhibition which will travel around Australia.

These blog posts were written while I was in the MEAO but were not uploaded to the AWM website at that time.

I am planning to upload one blog post each day, exactly 12 months on from the actual day I was on deployment. We left Canberra on 12 March 2013.