On Saturday, October 20, 2018 personal trainers from the Army Wellness Center (AWC) at Aberdeen Proving Ground’s Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic presented a mandatory workshop to Maryland Defense Force (MDDF) personnel called “Increasing Your Metabolism.” The MDDF is in the process of implementing the Army Wellness Center’s Weight Management and Healthy Lifestyles program and invited the AWC staff as part of the initiative’s roll-out.
Brig. Gen. (MDDF) Lorenza Cooper, the commanding general of the MDDF shared, “I asked our chief of staff to organize this event and future events on a quarterly basis. Our society as whole has a weight problem and MDDF is no different, but we’re going to tackle this issue head on." The workshop at Camp Fretterd Military Reservation covered several health topics but focused on the opportunity to utilize metabolism to manage weight and increase overall health.
Personal trainers Lowrell Bellard and Meagan Loughnane gave the presentation for the AWC. Ms. Bellard informed the MDDF personnel that the “prevalence of obesity is increasing in the U.S.,” due to the availability of fast food, limited healthy food access in some areas, high sugar intake and lack of physical activity. “Furthermore, we underestimate how much we eat and overestimate how much activity (exercise) we get,” she continued. “The average American walks three to four thousand steps a day but we should be walking ten thousand steps daily. Our bodies are designed for an earlier era when we were more active (hunting, fishing, farming) and ate less,” she added.
Ms. Loughnane shared, “Our Resting Metabolic Rate is the rate at which our body burns energy at rest and it accounts for 70% of calorie/energy expenditure each day. Only 20% of our energy expenditure is due to our lifestyle and just 10% is based upon our level of exercise,” she explained. After explaining the limitations of Body Mass Index (BMI) and the difference between BMI and Body Composition, or Body Fat Percentage, a reliable way to measure changes to the health of your body, Ms. Bellard and Ms. Loughnane provided MDDF personnel with a strategy that anyone can use to help increase their metabolism. The components of the strategy include eating breakfast, eating several times a day, limiting portion size, limiting trans fats, getting sufficient sleep and exercise. The strategy also includes building muscle and leveraging technology.
“There are several apps that allow you to track your calories and the food you are eating. Others allow you to store recipes for healthy meals or monitor your walking steps,” mentioned Ms. Bellard. “It’s also very important to use SMART goals. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Bound. Remember, the AWC is here to help,” she shared.
Brig. Gen. (MDDF) Lorenza Cooper, the commanding general of the MDDF concluded, “This is really about readiness for the MDDF. Our motto is ‘Ready When Called’ and we need to ensure that we are healthy, physically fit and prepared to perform our mission when needed. Being fit and healthy is good for each of us individually and it is also mission critical.”
The Maryland Defense Force (MDDF) is the State’s uniformed volunteer militia unit providing professional and technical assistance to the Maryland Military Department. Established in 1917, the MDDF consists of nearly 250 personnel who perform legal, engineering, finance, medical, chaplain, field support and ceremonial services for the State of Maryland. For more information: mddf.maryland.gov.