USS Bonhomme Richard Sailors ‘Crews into Shape’ 
Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Betsy Knapper 
USS BONHOMME RICHARD At Sea – Sailors aboard the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) are participating in the ‘Crews into Shape’ fitness and nutrition challenge.

The challenge, sponsored by the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center, takes place during the month of March intended to get Sailors to eat more fruits and vegetables, and make exercise a routine.

March is designated as Navy Nutrition Month, in conjunction with National Nutrition Month, as improved nutrition and regular physical fitness are key elements to resiliency and Navy readiness.

“One of the reason’s I’ve decided to participate in this program is because I want to lose weight, but I don’t want to go on a crazy crash diet and work out hard for a month and be back where I was when we get back into port,” said Senior Chief Operations Specialist Joseph Kidd. “I want something more life changing than a diet. Right now, we are cutting back on sweets, carbs and sugars – At first it was really hard, but now it’s easy… really easy.”

As a team, or “crew,” participants assess their nutrition and exercise habits with the goal of improving both.

Each crew may have up to 10 members with a designed crew leader and a unique team name. Points are awarded for the amount of exercise completed and amount of fruits and vegetables consumed.

There are 23 Sailors making up four teams, taking the opportunity to change their lifestyle through ‘Crews into Shape.’

“As our team leader, I make sure everyone is tracking what they do and eat each day putting the points into a team tracker,” said Senior Chief Electronics Technician Dennis Whelan, team leader for Something Intimidating. “The team concept is motivation in itself, we don’t want to see the team fail or let our teammates down.”

At the end of the challenge, the team with the most points will be given a certificate.

“I decided to participate in the ‘Crews into Shape’ program because it’s important to not only stay physically fit yourself, but to set a good example to other Sailors and Marines,” said Lt. Mandy Potter, Bonhomme Richard’s general medical officer.

The end goal of the ‘Crews into Shape’ program is for Sailors to capitalize on the momentum and turn exercise, nutrition and fluid intake habits into a new routine.

“We have already seen changes in our bodies through the diet change and completing the workouts at night,” said Whelan. “Another thing I’ve noticed is that is has inspired others to try the team workout concept. Being a part of something like that is awesome.”
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