Navy act on healthy lifestyle

Published on LEUT Will Singer (author), ABIS Richard Cordell (photographer)

Ships company do some stretching on the flight deck of HMAS Perth before a PT session led by the ship's Physical Training Instructor, Petty Officer Alex Leahy.  (photo: ABIS Richard Cordell)
Ships company do some stretching on the flight deck of HMAS Perth before a PT session led by the ship's Physical Training Instructor, Petty Officer Alex Leahy.

When HMAS Perth was conducting a lengthy period at sea, the ship’s company approached the fitness and medical team onboard to support their personal health goals.

Petty Officer Physical Training Instructor Steven Adams developed a specialised training program based on the reality television show The Biggest Loser while Petty Officer Medic Gavin Cowie, provided nutritional advice in addition to recovery tips for the 'losers'.

The team-building and nutrition activities helped to develop their physical resilience critical to achieve Navy’s mission to fight and win at sea while deployed for extended periods.

The program involved Navy members participating in a contest to lose the most weight.

Petty Officer Adams said that the 27 participants were weighed two days before the deployment and weighed again the morning they arrived in a port. 

“The members were placed into three teams with each team weighing a similar total initial weight,” Petty Officer Adams said.

“To achieve the maximum participation and motivation, we held challenges at a number of the ports. This included team running events and fitness based competitions.

“The medical staff included a Doctor who was very supportive with individuals providing additional guidance on health and nutrition. 

“Weightier members received extra physical training.

“In order to create an esprit de corps, participants were told of their individual weight loss only to members within their own team while the total weight lost by a team was shared without divulging each individual’s weight,” Petty Officer Adams said.

The combined total starting weight was 2616kg and the total combined weight loss after 12 weeks was recorded at 6.3kg per person - the 'Biggest Loser' lost 16.7kg. 

The program was continued by personnel after deployment as part of ongoing phyical and mental resilience development.