No losers in HMCS Vancouver – weighty goals reached

PO1 Robert Franklin receives his cash prize  for weighing in at first place for the “Biggest Loser” competition. A fitness challenge where members pushed themselves to lose weight and get fit while at sea.

PO1 Robert Franklin receives his cash prize for weighing in at first place for the “Biggest Loser” competition. A fitness challenge where members pushed themselves to lose weight and get fit while at sea.

LS Sergej Krivenko, HMCS Vancouver ~

Health, wellness and physical fitness are aspirations sometimes difficult to achieve and maintain during a deployment.  

In order to break free from this typical rut, several initiatives were launched on board HMCS Vancouver, including the embarkation of a Personal Support Programs (PSP) fitness instructor and establishing a routine of fitness windows in the flex, which were treated as sacrosanct “Maslowian” needs.

In the same way a flex planner would not dare alter the meal routine on board, Vancouver’s fitness routines were treated no differently.

With the playing field leveled and the conditions for success set, man’s, and woman’s, competitive nature took hold and folks began to wonder – who would be the biggest loser?  

As Vancouver departed Esquimalt Feb. 1 for SouthPloy, the participants of the ship’s “Biggest Loser” health and wellness challenge lined up outside sickbay for the official weigh-in. 

The event, organized by PO2 Charles Leblond, had competitors paying a $20 entry fee and weigh-in during each port visit.

The winner would be declared based on the greatest percentage of body weight lost over the course of 60 days.

The method was simple – diet and exercise.

Assisting us with our goals, Matt Kingstone, the ship’s embarked PSP fitness instructor, took time to coach competitors about healthy eating practices.

Each week he put out new tips and challenges to assist Vancouver’s Biggest Losers in achieving their goals.

Thrice daily, collective fitness classes were conducted on the flight deck.

Each period was one hour in duration and addressed a specific aspect of fitness, ranging from stretching to strength and conditioning.

In addition to these workouts, Kingstone was there to provide the encouragement needed to keep us progressing.

In total, 48 of the ship’s crew participated in the Biggest Loser competition; each of them strong-willed and motivated to lose weight and improve their overall health and fitness.

In total, $960 was raised of which $480 will go directly to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, while the remaining $480 was divided amongst the top three participants as a cash prize.

The $220 first place award went to PO1 Robert Franklin who lost 15.56% of his body weight.

In second place, having lost 15.49% of his body weight, was LS Benjamin Cizmar.

The award for second place was $160.

Finally, third place went to MS David Van Egmond who lost 14% of his body weight and received a prize of $100.

It was a close competition with many honourable mentions including the Coxswain, CPO1 Pierre Picard who lost 21lbs; Outside Machinery I/C, PO2 Josh Reardon who lost 20 lbs; MSE Dept Regulating Petty Officer, PO1 Lee Bickerstaffe who lost 18 lbs; and Jr Pay Clerk, Cpl Nancy Rheaume who lost 17 lbs.

In addition to diet and exercise as huge components of success in losing weight, dedication and commitment was equally important.  Some participants exercised as many as three times per day and maintained a very strict diet to efficiently burn fat.  

“The Biggest Loser” challenge brought Vancouver together, physically. After two months of hard work and support from the crew, the sailors were able to raise funds for charity, promote physical fitness and healthy active lifestyles, and improve their health and wellness.

Given the great success of this initiative, Vancouver intends to pose the challenge once again when the ship departs for RIMPAC 2016 and WESTPLOY.

Who will be Vancouver’s next Biggest Loser? Stay tuned.

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