Stars and Spokes
Meet Tim: The Expedition Physical Trainer
Tim here. I am part of the wider team working alongside Pascal and Dan as they prepare to cycle across the USA, my role is the Expedition Physical Trainer – I’m a serving Royal Navy Physical Training Instructor, or 'PTI' as we normally get called. The guys asked me to introduce myself as part of the ‘Meet the Expedition Team’ series being run throughout the month of February, find out about me and my role below!
I joined the Royal Navy in 2005 and quickly found a passion for sport, competing for the Service in cross-country, athletics, cycling and triathlon, with successful results. In 2013, I transferred to the Physical Training (PT) branch and immediately found where I belonged. Continuing to compete for the Royal Navy, I also began coaching sports and became a member of some of the numerous sporting organisations we have in the military.
My Physical Training career has seen me instructing officer recruits at Dartmouth (the Royal Navy equivalent to Sandhurst), training enlisted personnel at HMS Raleigh in Plymouth, as well as keeping Royal Navy personnel in shape on frontline tours all around the world – personnel need to be physically fit at all times, both in training and when deployed. I subsequently furthered my PT knowledge by completing a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science, before starting my current post in MoD Main Building, London.
While working in MoD Main Building I was introduced to Expedition Leader Pascal, who revealed his enormous challenge of cycling across America. Excited to be involved and to share my PT knowledge, I now work alongside Pascal and Dan, my role is to help them prepare physically for this expedition. There are several key aspects to preparing for such a long cycle, 5000 km is a long way to go on a bike!
For this epic challenge, I will work on 3 key components of their fitness:
- Building their endurance base. Plenty of hours in the saddle required, unavoidable!
- Increasing their Lactate Threshold (LT). Regular shorter, sharper sessions, including some on the Watt Bike (or the 'indoor instrument of torture', as I know they refer to it as!)
- Improving their leg and core strength. Important to never neglect Strength and Conditioning (S&C), vital for building bike efficiency and to avoid injury.
These components have to be balanced, so that all areas receive a suitable amount of focus to improve but also allowing time to recover from each session. And, not forgetting that the guys still have their day jobs to complete every day…!
Fortunately, specialists from the military’s centre of excellence for expedition training (the Institute of Naval Medicine, or INM as it’s known) are assisting with regular fitness testing and advice. Getting accurate results from these testing days will enable me to adjust the training plan accordingly, to make it as personal and effective as possible. I will be constantly refining the plan over the next 6 months, to ensure Pascal and Dan fly out to San Diego in peak physical condition.
Hopefully that provides an interesting glimpse into the training side, feel free to post any comments or questions below, I’d be happy to expand on any of the points I’ve made here.