passion for training and health
Training and good food makes life at sea more fun. That is what cook-steward Richard Fritz claims, and he has managed to inspire many colleagues to start exercising during his 30 years at sea. In May he was given the Swedish Mercantile Marine Foundation’s sports prize for his health initiatives on board.
The fact that Baltic Bright’s crew has come second in the Training League for three years in a row is no coincidence. The ship’s cook, Richard Fritz, does what he can to enthuse other crewmembers to start exercising.
”I can always encourage them by saying ”If you come along and work out, I will fix something really good for dinner”. Or I can say to the chief, ”You know, that motorman down there has started walking an hour a day. How about joining in with her?” Training should not just be hard work, it should be fun too,” says Richard.
To get as many people as possible to start, you need different training options, says Richard. Baltic Bright has a gym with an exercise bike, a treadmill, cross trainers and free weights – as well as a ping-pong table. At the bottom of the ship there is also an empty cargo space that can be used for long walks when it is not possible to go ashore.
”There is a mix of people on board, and it doesn’t suit all of them to work out in a gym, so we’ve arranged some different things to choose between,” says Richard.
He has always been active and over the years, his training has become more regular.
”In the past I only exercised when I was at sea, but it was difficult because I had to start from scratch every time I came on board. Now I swim every morning except at weekends, when I am free. In the beginning I thought it was boring, but these days I’m almost addicted. It is a social thing, too, and I have got to know the pensioners who go there. Look, the seaman is back home they say when they see me, and we chat a little.”
The fact that Richard chose to be a ships cook was not by chance. His father was a ship broker in Norrköping and Richard used to go with him when he visited the ships.
”While Dad sat and talked with the captain, I was in the galley and got soft drinks and sweets from the cook.”
LCHF on board
During the three decades that Richard has prepared food on Charterfrakts ships, eating habits have changed. He often chooses leaner ingredients and more people on board have started to ask for special diets.
”They might turn up and talk about LCHF, for example. They are often influenced by their wives at home, and I think it’s fun when they have a wish-list. But you have to adapt the food to the work, too. At times there is very physically demanding work on board, and then you need to compensate that by the food.”
Semi-finished products are taboo
But no matter what he cooks, he makes everything from scratch with good raw materials and a lot of greens. There are no semi-finished products tolerated, either for him or his relief.
”I mince the meat, do a lot of slow cooking and bake all the bread. Then we know that there will be good food without any additives.” Charterfrakt has been very good in this area, and has always let me arrange the menus and order what I want.
New ships are now waiting for Richard. After Charterfrakt gave notice to all its crew members at the end of last year, Richard chose to apply for a job with Donsötank, where he will start in June. Since then the redundancies on Baltic Bright have been postponed until the end of the year, and Richard has ensured that the crew will continue to exercise on board.
”I have handed over responsibility to the chief. Then I will have to see how the training and food goes on my next ship. Donsötank has Swedish-flagged vessels, but half of the staff are Filipinos, so things will be a little different, for sure.”