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NEWS | Jan. 18, 2012

Shaping up Joint Base Charleston

By Petty Officer 1st Class Jennifer Hudson Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Each year millions of people throughout America make New Year's resolutions. More often than not, those resolutions are targeted towards maintaining a healthier lifestyle by eating healthier, exercising more or shedding a few extra pounds.

As part of January's national observance month - Shape up U.S. - Airmen and Sailors alike are hitting the gym to kick-start those resolutions and get in shape at Joint Base Charleston.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael Barbaro knows the benefits of a consistent exercise routine. Barbaro is a Machinist's Mate assigned to the Naval Support Activity at JB Charleston - Weapons Station and works out four to five times a week.

"Working out has improved my self-esteem and confidence. It makes me feel better all around and really gives me a sense of accomplishment," Barbaro said. "I was already in a routine of working out so my resolution was to start implementing a healthier diet. Just because I work out doesn't necessarily mean I am healthy, I have to eat healthy too.

"I think it is important to start healthy habits now so that when I get older I will have already developed those habits and they will have become natural and part of my daily routine."

While eating healthier and working out seems to go hand-in-hand to achieving personal goals, having a support system, whether it is a spouse or friend, can help push and motivate a person to stick with it.

"My wife has been my biggest supporter. She works out with me and is eating healthier foods. I think she is in better shape than me," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Nicus Griffin, a Master-at-Arms assigned to the 628th Security Forces Squadron at JB Charleston-Weapons Station.

"My resolution is to drop down to five percent body fat," said Griffin. "Right now I'm at 13, but I am pushing hard to reach my goal by doing a lot of cardio and some weights, but mainly just trying to eat right.

"Eating healthy seems like an easy thing to do, but it has actually been pretty hard," Griffin continued. "I've had to keep switching my foods because it gets boring. People tend to look for the easy way out and with the convenience of fast food restaurants it's easy to find excuses not to prepare healthy meals. But, if you want to lose weight and be healthy, you have to cut out the excuses and take time to make those meals. No one can snap their fingers and make you healthy and fit - you have to do it for yourself."

Airman 1st Class Michael Long said that his New Year's resolution, like many others, was to get his body ready for the beach, implementing basketball and other fun cardio activities into his workout routine. Long is assigned to the 628 SFS at JB Charleston - Weapons Station.

"I think it is really important to add a lot of cardio activities into a daily workout. Whether it is basketball or running, it is still a form of cardio that will help you reach your goal," Long said. "Endurance is essential for me to do my job. If I am struggling to catch my breath while chasing down a suspect then I can't effectively do my job and that is not acceptable."

According to Lt. Cmdr. Vincent Johnson, Naval Health Clinic Charleston's department head for Military Medicine, staying fit and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is all about readiness and staying within the standards.

"Almost everyone comes up with the resolution to get in shape and eat healthier; unfortunately a lot of times people give up and go back to what they know - fast foods and such," said Johnson. "If you are serious about making your life healthier you have to understand it is a lifestyle change. This is not something you do just every-once-in-a-while, this is for the rest of your life.

"Working out contributes to the bigger picture; the overall emotional, physical and mental health of a person. It may seem hard to start and even harder to keep going, but in the end it will result in a better all around life that makes you feel better about yourself and builds up confidence."