A Culture Of Fitness Challenge

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy M. Black

Physical fitness is not something Sailors at Naval Special Warfare’s Mission Support Center take lightly. It is something they’re concerned with 365 days of the year. For them it is a culture shared by others in the NSW community.

MSC’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation team, led by Aerographer’s Mate 1st Class Robin Day created a 10-week challenge to enhance the competitive spirit of the command.

150327-N-AV746-107 CORONADO, Calif. (March 14, 2015) Senior Chief Intelligence Specialist Ryan McClelland, assigned to Naval Special Warfare Mission Support Center, runs during an 8-mile fun run around Coronado Island. MSC hosts a command fun run once a month as part of their Culture of Fitness Challenge (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy M. Black/Released)
150327-N-AV746-107 CORONADO, Calif. (March 14, 2015) Senior Chief Intelligence Specialist Ryan McClelland, assigned to Naval Special Warfare Mission Support Center, runs during an 8-mile fun run around Coronado Island. MSC hosts a command fun run once a month as part of their Culture of Fitness Challenge (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy M. Black/Released)

“I wanted to incentivize fitness while improving command morale,” said Day. “If the majority of the command is participating, it will draw focus away from negative stigmas and helps to fuel healthy competition.”

The challenge consists of earning as many points as possible in the 10-week period leading up to the physical readiness test.

“The winner gets bragging rights and maybe eligible to win prizes,” said Day. “The most obvious incentives are to get fit, encourage team building, and improve morale.”

New to the command, Intelligence Specialist Seaman Darrius Holden, a participant and intelligence analyst at MSC, enjoys the competitive nature of the challenge.

“Everybody is working together,” said Holden. “Even though we are all competing against each other we are still pushing each other to do more. If Petty Officer Santiago over here runs 10 miles, then I am going to try to run 12 miles. I don’t have to do it by myself; he can come with me and teach me some breathing techniques to actually go the full distance. It is not a solo event, we have a partner, and you’re working with somebody else, pushing somebody else.”

With the motivation from his partner, Holden hopes to be a better runner at the end of the 10-week challenge.

“My personal goal is to work on my run,” Holden said. “I really want to get my mile and a half down to the sub eight, right now I am in the nine-minute mile and a half, and with the amount of running we do it really helps me get my stamina up.”

MSC is a support command providing intelligence to operators around the world.

“Being part of the NSW community, we have to stay fit because we are a shore command and our sea duty mostly consists of going to a NSW Team or another support activity,” said Holden.

Sailors participating in the MSC Culture of Fitness Challenge fill out a form to keep track of their points and progress in the competition.
Sailors participating in the MSC Culture of Fitness Challenge fill out a form to keep track of their points and progress in the competition.

The MSC MWR team’s physical fitness challenge may end before the PFA, but MSC will maintain a culture of fitness long after.

“There are some things we will do on a continuous basis during this summer as we gear up for the next PFA cycle,” said Lt. Cdr. Dave Clark. “I think these 10 weeks are a really good amount of time leading up to the PFA in May. Every weekday we offer something as a command, so that will continue into the summer and the fall. This program has been an inspiration to many of our Sailors to push themselves beyond their normal limits in the spirit of friendly competition and camaraderie.”

Holden has been participating in the physical fitness challenge four to five weeks now and says he has improved his run.

“I can definitely say that my stamina and my ability to run longer distances have improved,” said Holden. “I am looking forward to the PFA to actually see if I can reach my goal.”

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