Story by Karen Carstens, Health.mil
Chad Jones felt like an alien explorer as he climbed into an egg-shaped BOD POD at Fort George G. Meade’s new Army Wellness Center in Maryland.
His primary goal in doing so, however, was not to prepare for a sci-fi convention, but to get fit.
Jones, Fort Meade’s public affairs director, came up with the idea of showcasing his own odyssey to a slimmer self via a video blog in a bid to motivate his colleagues to take advantage of the fitness facilities and health experts available on base. He launched his video blog, called the Healthy Chad Initiative, in October.
Entering the BOD POD, which measures body mass, was a first step on his personal path to fitness.
“I was hitting middle age,” said Jones, 39, who served in the Army until 2005, including two tours of duty in Kuwait, but did not exercise regularly thereafter.
“I let myself go,” he said, adding that “a lot of people have a similar experience when they get out of the military.”
Jones was inspired by the Sept. 16 opening of an Army Wellness Center on Fort Meade to produce his video blog series.
Although Fort Meade is an Army base, service members from several branches of the military are stationed there. “A vast majority of these services are available to everybody,” said Jones.
Fort Meade has the third-largest workforce – some 50,000 people – of any Army installation.
“It’s a huge population that we’re trying to reach out to,” said Jones.
The first blog episode shows him getting a fitness evaluation via various tests at the Wellness Center. They revealed that he weighed 239 pounds and had a body mass index of 35.4.
“I want to be able to run a 5K without stopping. I want to get to 200 pounds and to get my BMI under 30,” said Jones, who is 5-foot-9-inches.
“I’ll be going from really fat to less fat. That’s the first goal,” said Jones.
For another video blog segment, Jones walked around Burba Lake located at the heart of the base.
“I forgot my gym clothes, but I still wanted to do something healthy. If you’re here, and you’ve got an extra 15 or 20 minutes, this is something you can do to feel better,” he said.
Jones has also talked to experts available to him on site about stress management. He’s focused on nutrition by eating more fruits and vegetables, and drinking more water.
Jones said he looks forward to others getting in on the act, including a military spouse who will dole out her own health-related advice in future episodes.
At the same time, he has plenty of ideas in the pipeline. He will definitely, for instance, be signing up for an upcoming “Dump Your Plump” annual weight loss contest on Fort Meade.
“I’m very worried about it from a personal standpoint, but pretty excited about it from a production standpoint,” said Jones.
“There will be certain points where I’m going to fail … But I’m looking forward to being able to overcome it, because people like to see people who struggle to reach a goal.”
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