In today's U. S. Navy, fitness and nutrition get high priority. Sailors must be mission-ready at all times, and that means working hard to stay lean and strong. The Navy provides state-of-the-art support through Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling Series, or NOFFS. NOFFS approaches nutrition and weight management with a five-pronged strategy: Eat clean, eat often, hydrate, recover, and mindset. The Navy supports sailors who fail to meet body composition standards through its ShipShape program.
NOFFS encourages sailors to "eat clean" by choosing foods that provide all of the macronutrients -- fats, carbohydrates and proteins -- in their most natural, least-processed forms. Emphasis is placed on the nutrient density of foods, measuring the amount of nutrients against the total caloric value. Sailors are encouraged to eat a plentiful variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and eating lean, unprocessed meats with "the less legs the better" approach. The Navy favors healthy fats from seeds, nuts, nut butters, avocados, olive and flax seed oils and fish.
Sailors are encouraged to eat breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up to jump-start their metabolism. Eating small meals containing all three macronutrients every three hours helps you maintain constant blood glucose levels, stimulates your metabolism and provides a steady flow of energy throughout the day. Frequent, small meals keep sailors from getting overly hungry, so they don't binge on poor food choices at regular meal times.
As little as a 2 percent loss in body weight due to dehydration can impair mental and physical performance, according to navyfitness.org. Your body is made up of 60 percent to 65 percent water, which is essential for cellular function, muscle contraction, brain function, temperature control, joint lubrication and shock absorption. Sailors should drink a minimum of three liters of non-caloric beverages like water or green tea daily.
After exercise, your muscles are depleted of nutrients. NOFFS encourages you to replenish lost nutrients by consuming a combination of carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes of your training session. Re-nourishing your body will help your muscles recover more quickly, decrease the time necessary between workouts and help prevent injury. NOFFS takes a conservative stand on vitamins and performance enhancing supplements, encouraging sailors to seek professional advice before using them. Eight hours of sleep and "power naps" when necessary are important for optimal recovery.
The Navy does not advocate dieting for weight management, but places emphasis on lifestyle changes leading to habits that include sound nutrition choices. The 80/20 rule encourages sailors to eat what they know is healthy at least 80 percent of the time, and to allow themselves to indulge in less-healthy personal food preferences 20 percent of the time.
ShipShape is an education-based behavior modification program for sailors who fail to meet baseline requirements for body composition. The program emphasizes physical activity, stress management, basic nutrition and positive lifestyle changes. Sailors meet once weekly in a group setting.