USS MAKIN ISLAND, At sea - To help kick off a healthy New Year, Sailors and Marines deployed aboard amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) began a "Biggest Loser" weight-loss and fitness competition, Jan. 8.
The competition, sponsored by the ship's Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) division, is based on the popular television reality series and challenges Sailors and Marines to lose weight and get in shape.
Kristen Venoy, Makin Island's MWR "fun boss," said more than two dozen participants are vying for the chance to be named the ship's "Biggest Loser."
"To me, it is not about the numbers," said Venoy. "As long as we are making a positive impact in those lives who want to participate, even if it was one person, then that is a success."
The program is scheduled to last for four months, with prizes being awarded for largest percentage of weight loss during the first month, at the halfway mark, and at the end of the competition.
Venoy said two grand prize winners will be named, one male and one female, and each will receive a new outfit including shoes upon return to San Diego following the current deployment.
During the competition, Biggest Loser participants must log their workouts and get weighed every Sunday for the official record. They are also encouraged to track caloric intake.
Venoy said the Biggest Loser is one of several newly developed fitness opportunities available to Makin Island Sailors and Marines through MWR. A series of new fitness classes taught by members of the crew has also been implemented. A nutrition class is also available.
"We are offering fitness classes and special gym hours to encourage workouts," said Venoy.
While the Biggest Loser competition and other MWR-sponsored activities are designed primarily for recreation, they also play an important role in helping maintain Navy and Marine Corps physical readiness standards while deployed.
"The Biggest Loser is a tool that can help individuals prepare for their next PFA [physical fitness assessment], to help them enhance their cardio or improve their body composition assessment," said Senior Chief Master-at-Arms Jacob Urrete, Makin Island's command fitness leader.
Makin Island is the first U.S. Navy ship to deploy using a hybrid-electric propulsion system. By using this unique propulsion system, the Navy expects over the course of the ship's lifecycle, to see fuel savings of more than $250 million, proving the Navy's commitment to energy awareness and conservation.
This initiative is one of many throughout the Navy and Marine Corps that will enable the Department of the Navy to achieve the secretary of the Navy's energy goals to improve our energy security and efficiency afloat and ashore, increase our energy independence and help lead the nation toward a clean energy economy.
Makin Island is the flagship of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.