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Harpers Ferry’s Search for ‘Biggest Loser’ Ends
SOUTH CHINA SEA – The Sailors and embarked Marines aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) competed in the finals of a “Biggest Loser” contest promoted by Ship’s Recreation Committee, Morale Welfare and Recreation, March 22.

The contest, adapted from the TV reality series “The Biggest Loser,” a show where people are rewarded for losing weight and body fat, started Jan. 23, which coincided with the start of the spring deployment.

“Our goal is to promote a culture of fitness and focus on healthy weight loss along with boosting morale,” said Chief Navy Career Counselor Latonya Luter, command fitness leader.

“We started with 41 participants and ended with 12 throughout the 9 week competition, and the participants pretty much stayed motivated. Even those who dropped-out for various reasons remained supportive until end,” said Luter.

Weigh-ins and body composition assessments were held every two weeks to monitor progress for each individual. Luter said contestants were weighed and measured as often as they desired, but only updated bi-weekly weigh-ins counted towards the contest.

Marine Pfc. Travis Martin, assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, lost 24 lbs and Culinary Specialist 3rd Class David Rivera lost 19 lbs and 9 percent body fat. Both of them won first prize, and were awarded a round trip ticket and 5 star hotel accommodations in Hawaii.

“I was 201 lbs., a little bit over weight, and my Chief suggested that I participate in the contest, and that was what pushed me to join the competition,” said Rivera. “I stayed on a diet of fruits, vegetables, protein once a day and with very little starches, and I kept my Chief’s advice to go on a 70 percent diet and 30 percent exercise as my concept.”

“Running helped me a lot, and proper diet,” said Martin on his strategies in wining the competition. “I stayed away from sodas and caffeine, and I just drank water instead.”

The second prize was a tie breaker for three individuals and was determined on the final day by a bike-off with the most calories burned in 30 minutes. Marine Pfc. Jose Cantu, who burned 374 calories, emerged as the winner with a prize of a round trip ticket to Singapore and 5 star hotel accommodations.

The third prize was a two man tie breaker between Ens. Joshua Priebe and Lt. Neil Wharton, which was also decided by a bike-off with most calories burned. Priebe came out the winner, taking home a Wii Fit Gaming System and an iPOD Running System.

Altogether, all the ship’s participants lost a total of 229 pounds and 108 percent body fat, making for a leaner and stronger Navy and Marine Corps Team.

Harpers Ferry, with embarked 31st MEU, is part of the forward-deployed Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and is conducting Spring Patrol in the Western Pacific Ocean.
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