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‘Biggest Loser’ Fever Hits Navy

BREMERTON, WA and USS RONALD REAGAN, AT SEA -- The mania surrounding the popular reality weight loss television show, "The Biggest Loser,” has taken hold of Navy Fitness, inspiring many sailors to lose weight.

More than 100 Naval Base (NB) Kitsap sailors and Department of Defense (DoD) employees visited Concourse West Fitness Center in early February for the first meeting about The Biggest Loser Two competition. Participants will attend mandatory stress management classes for motivation, coaching lessons and nutrition classes, which include tips on meal planning, building a healthy kitchen and making the best of commissary shopping trips. Participants are also encouraged to keep track of their progress on a provided fitness and nutrition journal. Besides having template pages to track progress, the journal also includes fitness and nutrition tips, a body fat percentage chart and a body mass index chart.

The physical requirements consist of five cardio workouts a week. Of the five, two must be a group exercise session. Before enrolling in the program, each athlete must fill out a physical assessment sheet. Those under 18 must also complete a sports physical or have approval from a doctor.

Sailors assigned to USS Ronald Reagan and Carrier Air Wing 14 also kicked off the carrier strike group’s second Biggest Loser competition in early February with dozens of men and women lined up to be weighed and measured in the ship’s medical department.

This year’s contest challenges sailors to lose weight while the ship is underway on the current surge deployment. Last year, sailors participated in the first Biggest Loser competition during Ronald Reagan’s maiden combat deployment.

“Our Biggest Loser contest is a way to motivate people to eat healthier and lose weight,” says Lt. Kimberly Musa, Ronald Reagan’s physical therapist and health promotions officer, who organized the contest. “I hear everybody everywhere talking about how they want to lose weight, and this is a way to give them some incentive. Last year, they did this during the last few months of the maiden deployment and it was really successful, so we decided to bring it back.”

Those who lose the most weight during Ronald Reagan’s surge deployment could earn prizes up to $1,000. Competitors were weighed, and waist circumference measurements were added to the competition.

“That measurement was added this year because now more studies link cardio-respiratory disease with fat around the abdominal muscles,” says Musa. “So, we have their waist circumference measured to calculate their body mass index, which is basically your height to weight ratio, and use that to calculate their target weight.”

The contest has been well received by sailors aboard Ronald Reagan and participants have been eager to sign up for the program. The ship departed San Diego on Jan. 27 on a surge deployment to support operations in the Western Pacific.

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