News: NCO takes high road to fitness
Story by Sgt. Cody Quinn
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Sgt. Navil Carrion is on a journey, a journey to take charge of her life and become the Soldier she wants to be, and a noncommissioned officer “fit” to lead.
Eight months ago, Carrion needed to lose weight to maintain her Army career, and now she weighs in at 105 pounds of solid muscle.
“The first four months were the worst four months of my life when I started my diet,” said Carrion, a Houston native and the chemical, biological, radiation and nuclear NCO with Headquarters Support Company, Headquarter and Headquarter Battalion, I Corps, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
Carrion is a lean woman who stands five feet tall and radiates an intense energy. When she described being placed on the Army’s weight control program, her voice slowed and her eyes lowered.
“It was awful,” she said.
Carrion was initially flagged (being placed on the AWCP, which restricts promotion and other opportunities in the Army) weighing 138 pounds. She was able to get off the program, but, after four months, found herself back in weighing 152 pounds.
“That was between the 12-month range,” she said. “If I had been taped (a method of determining a person’s body mass index) any time between, that would have been the end of my military career.”
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle wasn’t a priority for Carrion before she became flagged.
“I didn’t really take the time to work out on my own,” she said. “I went out to [fast food restaurants] during lunch, and sometimes I would go to breakfast and not even care. I didn’t work out as hard as I do now.”
Unhealthy eating helped ease the stress that comes with the
“It definitely takes a lot to say ‘no’ to food,” she said. After being placed in the AWCP a second time, Carrion decided she had enough.
She hired a fitness coach who asked for her picture with her weight and height, and what her fitness goals were. The trainer created a meal plan and exercise regiment based on the information.
“She lost 40 pounds,” said Staff Sgt. Marsha Boydston, Carrion’s workout partner and the supply NCO for HSC, HHB, I Corps.
Carrion was able to watch the pounds melt away by sticking to a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Proper dieting is 80 percent of weight loss, said Krishelle Currier, a fitness specialist who teaches small group fitness training at McVeigh Sports & Fitness Center, JBLM.
Exercise also helps to create mental, as well as physical, strength.
“Working out and maintaining a healthy lifestyle relieves stress,” said Currier.
There have been other benefits other than a noticeable physical change, said Carrion.
“I feel better,” she said. “I always have energy, I’m never tired and I’m always aware.”
Carrion and Boydston perform high intensity/low time training, as well as cardio and weight training at a gym during their lunch. They also rotate between running up and down stairs and distance running.
“There’re times when I’m really exhausted, but we find our own motivation and get through it,” said Carrion.
Carrion works out two and a half hours a day, six days a week, in order to maintain the physical gains she’s made. Carrion’s commitment has impressed her workout partner.
“It’s been hard,” said Boydston. “Having a strict diet and being dedicated to six days in the gym takes a lot of effort.”
The effort to maintain a healthy lifestyle has been made easier by working together.
“Working out together keeps you more motivated on days you don’t want to work out,” said Boydston.
“Working on your own is difficult. There’s power in numbers,” said Currier.
Group physical training allows members to hold each other accountable and help each other to attain goals, she said.
Carrion has used her experience to help her soldiers stay mentally and physically tough.
“You need to be able to make sure your soldiers are physically fit,” she said. “If you can’t perform, you can’t expect your soldiers to perform.”
“A fit NCO is an example to soldiers, shows them what dedication does and what can be done with achievable goals,” said Boydston.
Carrion’s road to physical fitness was long and difficult, but the Army gave her the mental tools to succeed.
“If I wasn’t in the military I wouldn’t have done it,” she said.
Change doesn’t happen all at once, and the last step will never come if the first step isn’t taken.
“We’re on this journey together. Some people are just a little further down the road than others,” said Currier.
Carrion’s first step came when she decided she wasn’t satisfied with being overweight, and, though her last step of reaching her ideal strength may be a ways down the road, she’s confident she’ll reach her goals.
“If you’re unhappy with yourself, change,” she said. “The accomplishment of performance outweighs the minute of satisfaction from one cookie.”