Marine Wins Cruise-to-Lose Contest

4 Jan 2012 | Cpl. Dwight A. Henderson

A 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit Marine took first place in the USS Bataan’s Cruise-to-Lose, a weight loss competition to encourage and establish a healthier lifestyle during deployment, aboard USS Bataan, Dec. 30, 2011.  

Cpl. Charles D. Ott, a Baxter Springs, Kan., native, standing at 5 feet 10 inches tall, began the deployment struggling with weight standards at 211 pounds but is now a slim 162 pounds after competing in a ship wide, weight-loss competition.

Cruise-to-lose began in September and was a four-month, weight-loss competition with more than 175 participants.

“I came on the deployment wanting to lose a few pounds,” said Ott. “I’m competitive, so when I saw the Cruise-to-Lose advertisement I figured the competition would be a good motivating factor.”

Ott began training twice a day, which consisted mostly of running and other various cardiovascular exercises. Since starting the Cruise-to-Lose competition, he accumulated almost 400 miles running, Ott explained.

He also made a big change to his diet, which now consists of fruits, vegetables and small portions of meats. He changed his daily caloric intake from more than 2000 to 1800, the recommended amount for males to lose weight at a healthy pace.

“I am extremely motivated about Cpl. Ott's accomplishment,” said Master Sgt. James N. Emch, the headquarters commandant for 22nd MEU, and Maumee, Ohio, native.

Emch, a certified personal trainer, helped Ott with his weight loss goals by giving him advice on dieting and exercise. “I had no doubts he could do it. I watched his determination and discipline throughout the past months and knew he would do it.”

The participants were weighed weekly for a shot at the grand prize. Prizes were also awarded monthly and halfway through the competition.  Progress was monitored by calculating percentage of weight lost. In addition to being the overall winner, Ott lost the largest percentage for the months of October and December, and at the halfway mark.
Ott has lost more than nine inches off his waist and went from 26 to 10 percent body fat.

“I brought a pair of 34 inch jeans on the deployment that fit snug and my goal was to fit them comfortably,” said Ott. “Now I can fit my fist between myself and the waist band.”

Ott’s hard work and dedication was noticed by other Marines on ship, including the command.

“He doesn’t look like the same guy,” said Sgt. Maj. Carl L. Chapman, the sergeant major of 22nd MEU and Epping, N.H., native. “Any time a Marine sets a goal and accomplishes it, it says a lot about his character. You have to be proud of that.”

After finishing Cruise-to-Lose, Ott says he has gone down to running once a day and eats a little more to maintain his weight rather than continue to lose or regain the lost pounds.

“Because the competition was so long, it was a change of lifestyle,” said Ott. “Eating right and exercising have become second nature and part of my daily routine.”

The Marines and sailors of the 22nd MEU are currently deployed with Amphibious Squadron 6 aboard the USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group.

The 22nd MEU is a multi-mission, capable force, comprised of an Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Tilt Rotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); a Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; a Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; and its Command Element.

22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit