NORFOLK, VA -- The Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center (MARMC) personnel, voluntarily challenged themselves over the past several months to improve their overall physical readiness test (PRT) performance by way of a new fitness program they named The Biggest Winners.

“No doubt the program works … altogether you [all] lost 361 pounds,” announced Chief Electrician’s Mate Michael Burns, one of MARMC’s command fitness coordinators, as he spoke to the 36 winners at the close of the program’s first session, May 5.

The first session of MARMC’s fitness program ran from Feb. 5 to May 5, with the weekly weigh-ins and monthly mock PRTs to assess progress.

“We took from existing fitness programs, made ours more intense, more frequent and for longer durations of time, and we cannot keep the people from coming.” Burns said.

As the program progressed, the participant’s excitement increased.

“We were able to keep motivation high because everyone has been excited about the fact that their clothes have felt looser,” stated Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Orlando G. Thomas, one of the MARMC’s assistant command fitness leaders, who lost 3.5 inches off his waist and went from 15.5 percent body fat to 8 percent.

Besides physical appearance, other results such as improved PRT performance showed.

“I took minutes off my PRT -- almost four minutes total,” said Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class William R. Standiford, who lost 27 pounds and 2.5 inches.

At the start of the program session, a workout schedule of events was given to participants with more than 40 different workouts staggered throughout the day. While classes were voluntary to attend, each participant was required to do at least one session per day – many did more.

“[It] has involved a Monday through Friday schedule with at least one workout every day. The day starts with a swim at 5 a.m. and ends with the stationary bike at 2 p.m. A wide variety of workouts such as kick boxing, boot camp and cardio follow in between,” Burns said.

The wide variety of workouts spread throughout the day seemed a key to success for the program.

“I loved it,” said Hull Maintenance Technician 1st Class (SW/AW) Arianna Green. “The five times a week along with exposure to so many workouts is what made the difference. I was doing three times a week with just push-ups, sit-ups and run, but it was not working.” One goal of the three-month program was to instill permanent life changes amongst the participants. Interior Communications Electrician 2nd Class Nicholas Shively said it has for him.

“The program gave me the tools that I needed to achieve my goals,” said Shively. “The leadership was outstanding, with the mental support to form a foundation for physical success.”