Fitness competition promotes healthy living Published Jan. 19, 2016 By Senior Airman Shane M. Phipps 30th Space Wing Public Affairs VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- With the stressors commonly associated with military service weighing on Airmen and their families, remaining physically fit is an important component to maintaining essential resiliency. Through this mentality, Vandenberg will kick-off the annual Pair 2 Win competition, here, Jan. 25. Participants will compete in groups of two and attempt to lose body fat while improving their overall health in 12 weeks. "The program is 12 weeks and people can register by attending the kick-off party on Wednesday, Jan. 20, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Medical Group auditorium," said Dale Collins, 30th Medical Operations Squadron health promotion program manager. "If they cannot attend on that date, the contest officially begins on Monday, Jan. 25, they can email me and I will send them all of the participation information." Participants will receive guidance from the health promotions office about their nutrition and fitness goals while facing various obstacles aimed at inspiring new ways to be active. "This is not just a weight loss competition, it's about teaching you what changes you need to make to live a healthier life and showing you how you can reach those goals," said Melinda Reed, 30th MDOS nutrition program manager. "You do not earn points for losing weight or body fat. You are rewarded for correct and consistent health habits. Since everyone's goals are specific, we focus on teaching you the proper changes to your eating habits, and exercise, to enable you to reach and maintain those goals. We also have you partner with someone for the competition, to give you greater accountability, more social support, and someone other than us -- helping you to stick with it and not give up." In addition to prizes being awarded to the top three teams with the most significant progress shown, the program is an opportunity for entire families to work together toward a common goal. "When both the active duty member and their spouse can be on the same page with healthy eating and nutrition, we find that the whole family is fitter, more active and less prone to injury or illness," said Collins. "The physical pillar is a main part of resilience and it plays a major role in the ability to overcome adversity." As well as preserving the wellbeing of the individual, the program serves an important strategic purpose which improves overall mission success. "It's really a lifestyle modification program that focuses on improving health via changes to nutrition and exercise habits," said Reed. "This improves mission success because a healthier population can accomplish the mission better with less downtime from injuries and illnesses." Program coordinators look to improve upon the success of previous years and encourage anyone interested to participate. "We have been running a program like this for the last four years," said Collins. "We work hard to improve upon the previous years' program and have found a system that has generated great results for the participants. Last year, we had 40 participants complete the full 12 week competition. Those 40 lost a total of 329 pounds of fat and gained 91 pounds of muscle in that time. At the three month follow-up, the majority were still continuing to lose fat and make additional improvements to their health." For more information, or to register for the competition, attend the kick-off party on Wednesday, Jan. 20, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Medical Group auditorium - or contact Dale Collins at 805-606-2221.