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Squadron's 'Biggest Loser' competition is on

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Game on.

Twenty-one 5th Manpower Requirements Squadron members and spouses are participating in the unit's Booster Club "Biggest Loser" weight-loss and body composition contest.

Between Aug. 15 and Nov. 15, the participants are challenging themselves to reach new goals in the weight loss and/or body fat percentage change competition. Winners receive bragging rights and a percentage of the buy-in.

"Even though our competition is judged by weight loss and body composition, the overall emphasis is for improvements in health," said Lt. Col. Tracy Hunter, 5th MRS commander and contest participant. "Nutritional tips are shared and healthy eating alternatives are identified for squadron events."

Military and civilian employee contestants weigh-in every two weeks and spouses at the beginning of the contest and at the end. If contestants also choose to participate in the body composition portion, they will have their body metrics measured at the Health and Wellness Center's BodPod machine.

The BodPod is a 6-foot high and 4-foot deep machine that displaces air from the sealed pod to calculate an individual's lean muscle mass, body fat percentage and weight. The test takes roughly 15 minutes, which includes calibrating the machine to an individual and taking out the estimated weight in bones, so that the machine only recognizes the soft tissue -- muscle and body fat. A person only needs to sit in the actual machine for 90 seconds.

To sit in the machine, appropriate clothing is required. For women, it is a Lycra sports bra and spandex shorts or a one-piece bathing suit. Men should wear spandex shorts. Both genders also wear a swim cap.

"It's just a way for us to think outside the box and be fit," said Staff Sgt. Autumn Hartpence, 5th MRS manpower analyst, Booster Club president and participant. "I'm all gung-ho for winning."

But, she isn't the only one pumped for the competition.

5th MRS Manpower Apprentice Tech. Sgt. Marshea Miles and his wife, Tech. Sgt. Karla Chapman of the 552nd Air Control Wing Staff Personnel Office, signed up to lose more body fat, tone up and support each other.

"My personal goal is to get down to around 14 percent body fat. It's going to be fun and exciting to see if I can do that," said Sergeant Miles. "I need to lose about 7 percent more."

Sergeant Chapman said so far the challenge has been making time to exercise. With a full-time job and family demanding her time, she's had to be creative. And she is.
"To overcome, I am finding ways to include my family in workouts. We now have scheduled family days that include anything that is physical like biking at the park," Sergeant Chapman said.

Staff Sgt. Meghan "Solo" Solosabal, 5th MRS manpower analyst, said this contest not only helps with physical fitness, but is boosting her self-confidence.

"I have joined Weight Watchers to assist me in losing weight and to keep it off long-term," she said. "I'm feeling better about myself in my own skin and shopping for new uniforms and clothes."