Fit Tips From Carnival Vista’s Fittest Crew Members

I sailed on the Carnival Vista a few weeks ago for the first time and was blown away by how beautiful the ship is. I also loved the overall atmosphere and environment (not to mention the food!). There are so many people that work hard to make the experience memorable. Two of such people are Cruise Director Matt Mitcham and Executive Chef Shiva.

It’s a little surprising to see how fit and healthy these two guys are. When you think of a Cruise Director and a Chef on board a cruise ship… the words fit and healthy probably don’t come to mind. After-all, they have access to unlimited “cheat meals” including chocolate buffets and the popular on board Guy’s Burger Joint.

These 2 guys are great at what they do. Matt is a comedian, entertainment director, party planner (for 5k people!) and your cruise BFF all rolled into one. Chef Shiva is in charge of creating all of the fabulous meals in the ship’s dining rooms and managing the entire dining staff. But, there is one thing they have in common – they work very hard behind the scenes to keep themselves in shape! I was running on the treadmill one day in the ship’s gym and thought a guy a few treadmills down looked familiar to me. Come to find out it was Chef Shiva who I met when I sailed on Carnival Breeze. I didn’t recognize him since he was not wearing his white chef’s uniform and he was darting up a 12% incline hill. Matt is also no stranger to the gym. He makes fitness a priority on board and regularly works out with his girlfriend who also works on the ship as an entertainer. Both of these guys are in great shape and it shows.

I decided to ask them a few questions about their fitness routine and how they stay so fit. I figured it might inspire some cruisers (including me) because if these guys can LIVE on the ship and can avoid gaining 500 lbs, then we can stay fit (or get fit) 7 days! They have access to the same exact food and workout equipment that we do…so no excuses!

Q&A With Cruise Director Matt Mitcham:

Matt Mitcham On Board Carnival Vista

Have you always been this fit?

I started working out in my Mid 20’s. It wasn’t until I started working with dancers with 6-packs (lol)… I had to keep my self in shape so I could keep up with them. Its hard going to the beach when all your friends have bodies like Ken from Barbie. I started with mainly cardio in the early stages and the progressed to weights once I knew what it was I was actually doing

How do you resist the urge to eat at Guy’s Burger Joint every day?

Hahaha – I have a strategic walkway when entering the lido deck, either that or I close my eyes but the smell still gets me. I have my fair share of burgers throughout the contract!

What is your favorite healthy meal on board? 

My go-to meal is the Serenity deck salad. Lots of good greens with a great protein side. Thats what I try to eat.. it’s hard to by pass all the treats!

A few times I’ve been on the treadmill or doing my HIIT workout at the  gym – and the boat got pretty rocky! Any tips for working out when things get rough on board?

I’d avoid the running machine (treadmill) and maybe focus on cross trainers or skipping rope. Either that or a few shots of vodka and you’ll be running straight anyway 🙂 only drunk people walk straight on a cruise!

What’s your current favorite workout style (HIIT, Tabata, running, etc)?

I really enjoy HIIT. Its something that I’ve been focusing on this year.

Matt Mitcham Working Hard In The Gym

I know you are a busy guy – so how much time do you devote to your workouts each day?

I limit myself to 1 hour a day. It’s a good challenge for me to get my weights (45mins) and 15 mins of cardio in. This way I don’t procrastinate during my workouts…I’m in and out!

Do you have friends on board you workout with, or do you prefer to workout solo?

I actually do most of my workouts with my Girlfriend Chloe here on board (She’s one of the dancers). She is very active and encourages me to do things that are out of my comfort zone like Yoga. They say a couple that train together stays together and we’re big believers of that.

Matt and Chloe From Vista

Where is the strangest or coolest place you’ve done a workout on board? 

After a 6-month contract I tend to take 2-3 months off and go traveling. This is when workout bands come into play. I’ve had the pleasure of working out on some of the most pristine beaches in Asia.

What advice would you give cruisers who want to stay fit during their cruise?

The gym is open 6am-10pm. There is plenty of time to work out however I would just focus on not binge eating junk food and allow your body to relax for a week.

Have any funny workout stories?

I was working out in the guest gym and in walks Ronnie Coleman (former Mr. Olympia) who is the most daunting person to workout next to!

People watching is the best in the gym, I’ve ran next to people that will take a margarita into the gym while working out! I guess it is their vacation!

Q&A With Executive Chef Shiva:

Me With Chef Shiva on Vista

How long have you been with Carnival? 

I joined Carnival in 2001, it’s been 18 years.

Have you always wanted to be a chef? Tell me a little about your background. 

It was my Dad’s choice to put me in Culinary School, My Mom and Granny are great home cooks and I’ve grown up with their cooking inspirations. I was hungry to learn more and wanted to be better in this profession. I have spent the last 23 years in many professional kitchens and always had the luxury of working with expert chefs, modern equipment and global ingredients. I’m just saying, I guess, that I got very lucky.

Have you always been fit and like to exercise?

I like to be healthy and active while working in the kitchen!

What is your favorite healthy meal on board? 

Everything I taste 🙂

When do you think is the best time to workout on the ship?

With my work schedule I would say 3 pm to 4 pm.

I know you like the treadmill – can you tell me a little about your treadmill workout (how long do you workout, what speeds, inclines. etc)? 

I do one hour at 4mph and an incline of 12.

I know you are a busy guy – so how much time do you devote to your workouts each day?

One hour a day, 5 days a week.

It’s so tempting to eat all of the delicious food you make! How do you not weigh 500 pounds?

Eat responsibly 🙂

Photo Credits: Arturo Olmos, Matt Mitcham

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