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.
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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.
By adhering to these nutrition principles, participants will experience an increase in physical and mental performance. And for sailors who fail to meet body composition standards, the Navy offers supports through its ShipShape Program.
1. Eat Clean
NOFFS encourages sailors to "eat clean" by choosing foods that provide all of the necessary macronutrients. This includes fats for energy, carbohydrates for fuel and protein to help build muscle. The goal is to consume these macros in their most natural form, most of the time. Participants are encouraged to eat a variety of colorful fresh fruits and vegetables, whole-grains and high-fiber carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts, seeds, fish, and flaxseed.
2. Eat Often
One of the Navy's nutrition rules to live by includes eating small meals throughout the day. This begins with eating breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up, followed by mini-meals every two to three hours. Consuming smaller meals helps to maintain blood glucose levels, minimizes overeating and increases energy.
Food is only part of the game plan when it comes to weight management. Staying hydrated is key to the performance of several vital functions such as regulating temperature, assisting with proper brain function and providing life and shape to every cell.
Plus, drinking water keeps you from becoming dehydrated, aids in digestion and keeps your metabolism running at peak performance. Since your body is made up of 60 to 65 percent water, you should aim to drink a minimum of three liters of non-caloric beverages like water 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.
But it's not just what you eat after exercise that increases your recovery rate. The amount of sleep you get each night also aids in this process. That's why it's important to get eight hours of sleep each night and consider power napping when you need it.
The Navy does not advocate dieting for weight management. Instead, they focus on lifestyle changes that help you make sound nutritional choices. Part of this mindset includes following the 80/20 rule.
Simply put, the 80/20 rule encourages you to make healthy choices 80 percent of the time. It also allows room for less-healthy options the other 20 percent of the day.
ShipShape is a weight management program that aims to educate active duty and reserve service members, beneficiaries, and government civilians, on lifestyle changes that encourage long-term weight loss.
Think of it as a hybrid program that focuses on mindset, nutrition, and physical activity. Participants complete two online sessions and six in-person group sessions before taking the final "Preparing for the Future" session. This will ensure that you have the tools you need to lose weight and keep it off for good.