Not about to take any chances on simply hoping to be best in class and get to go to space, I started to plan out how I was going to ensure I had a fighting chance, and it started with fitness. Having a basic understanding of the type of fitness that was required from conversations I had with serving fighter pilots as well as Red Bull air racer, Matt Hall, I created my own version of pain and named it 7-7. This involved a series of field sprints, push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups, burpees, hanging ab crunches, and lunges, whilst repeating all of that seven times with the aim of getting the whole 7-7 done in a better time than last. This would build my cardio strength as well as ability to hold tension under the strain of increasing gravitational loading. I also got involved in mixed martial arts training up to three hours 2-3 times per week with a great bunch of people. This helped me to increase my levels of endurance whilst at the same time pitting myself against very competitive and extremely fit people. Exhaustion sometimes slapped me in the face during and after these sessions in the form of seeing my lunch for the second time in a day!
Whilst not overly nervous, I maintained a healthy respect for what was to come during selection and for the people who would want to go to space just as much as I would. As it turned out I got to meet one of the other candidates, Aaron, prior to attending selection. We were both required to be interviewed on an Australian morning television program and so met up in Sydney the night before the interview and went out to dinner. Aaron struck me as an incredibly good bloke, someone who was as shocked as I was when it came to making the final cut. He was also smart, fit, and wanted to go to space as much as I did. It was the first time I truly understood that my training was not for nothing; it’s good to get little reminders of why you’re doing something.