FEP and Shipshape…the Kinder and Gentler Fat Boy Program

Well friends according to the Navy I am officially fat.  I think I mentioned this fact a couple of weeks ago.  So being criminally short and stocky and a bit heavier than I normally am I have been enrolled in the Fitness Enhancement Program or FEP which includes both physical fitness and diet and nutritional awareness.  Until I can get below my weight limit or body fat percentage I am sentenced to have my physical fitness monitored and signed off on by others, have weekly weigh-ins and go to a mandatory fitness and nutritional education program called ship shape.

Now, before anyone thinks that I am whining it is my fault that I am in this situation.  When anyone gains 25 pounds in under six months, mainly due to stopping at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and getting a dozen hot and fresh glazed on the way home from a ball game three or four times a week and devouring 3-6 of them washing them down with a beer.  You combine 1000 to 1500 calories at bedtime while working 60-75 hours a week and not doing any PT with PTSD and chronic insomnia and you, like me will get fat.  Such is not a recipe for success.  As a result I gained weight and could not take it off before the semi-annual weigh in.  The deceptive thing for me is that I have a barrel chest so the waist does not look as wide as someone my height with a wimpy little sunken chest.  I am kind of build like a pre-World War Two American Battleship.

This was the first time in 28 years in the military that I was officially on what back in the day was known as the “Fat Boy” program. I have always made weight and my scores on the Navy and the Marine Corps Physical Fitness tests have been very good, in fact damn good.  Until this fall I have consistently scored at the  Outstanding level for the Navy and Class One Marine PT.  After the debacle of the summer I was overweight and only scored an “Excellent Low” on my Navy PT test, which really wasn’t bad because I only did three workouts between April and November.  My “out of shape” is better than a lot of people who work their ass off to pass the PT test.  Just a couple of years ago I was running half-marathons. The fact that I blew it this time actually pisses me off and I don’t blame the Navy for it but myself.  I hate to lose and hate to fail anything.  It sucks like a Hoover.

Now I got myself into this mess and will get myself out of it before the next PT cycle.  However I have found that being on the program is somewhat like being a criminal.  Even though I did well on the PT test I have to make sure that my PT sessions are signed off on by certain people, like on a piece of paper that is turned in at the end of the week. In addition there is a weekly weigh-in and body fat measurement.  This week I both lost weight and body fat.  Good for me.  Not enough yet but by the time I am done with this Mickey Mouse program I am going to look like fricking Arnold.  My PT and diet and nutrition are back to what they were before Iraq.

Those on the program get to participate in other fun reindeer games.  First every month we get to do a mock PT test, complete with weigh-in and body fat measurement.  I did better than my last PT test and it was ironic that I did better than almost everyone and even finished second on the run portion of the test did 90 sit ups and was a bit low, only 42 push-ups when I normally do 70-80 of them.  Since I am a good 10-25 years older than most of the people on the program with me I think that is impressive.  However as a 49 and nearly 50 year old man I am treated like a child by the system.  I understand why this is the case because there are a good number of people who will try to skate by, but it isn’t any fun.  In  fact the fitness standards that I am held to now are actually higher than when I first entered the military as a 21 year old back in 1981.  This isn’t a game for old men but I am still in the game.

My diet is back on track, I am getting some really good and diverse PT including classes on bicycle spinning and body shaping led by a young woman who kicks ass, she drives hard and very demanding sessions and I like it.  I also am running again and feeling good with it.  My times and distance are not yet where I want them but they will get better, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.

As if all of this is not bad enough if you are over the body fat you go into a mandatory 8 week, tow hour a week program called “shipshape.”  Now when one looks at ships and me one knows that I will never be a destroyer.  I am shipshape, but more like the USS West Virginia following her post-Pearl Harbor rebuild.  I am short, squat, a bit heavy, not as fast as I used to be, but still powerful and able to kick the ass of anyone that I would have to.

The USS West Virginia BB-48…Like Me was “Shipshape”

So, that is my rant.  I will kick this in the ass, lose the weight, lose the body fat and have myself up to the Outstanding level again in the next few months and hopefully well before the next PT/Weigh-in cycle.  I am back in the groove on this and hopefully will be able to help encourage and inspire my fellow sailors who are on the program either due to weight, body fat, or physical fitness test failure.

Anyway….I need to crash for the night so I can try to catch the early spinning class.


Padre Steve+



Filed under Military

9 responses to “FEP and Shipshape…the Kinder and Gentler Fat Boy Program

  1. I’m not a guy, I’m not in the military, I haven’t had a doughnut in years, but I’ve learned another lesson….

    Sitting at the computer for four hours at night, munching away, and then going to bed, isn’t conducive to physical fitness, either. And it packs on the pounds.

    So – you’ve already encouraged a late middle-aged female to get with it. I wouldn’t mind ending up like a Hereschoff sloop – nice and sleek 😉

    • Mary Anne

      Do you know of a FEP program for Norfolk USN Reservists who have a full time civilian job?

      • padresteve

        Mary Anne, I am not sure. There is a Reserve Unit/Center at Little Creek that might be able to help. I don’t know what the Naval Station has to offer for FEP and the Naval Hospital is all pretty much done during the normal work day. I hope that you can find a helpful program. Peace and blessings, Steve+

  2. Miranda Collard

    Your post made me laugh…I recently have been enrolled in this program too…but I am a 27 year old female who just got into the Navy…I’ve never been able to run my 1.5 miles in Navy standards, so I was going to bike the PRT…but lucky for me, they only offered it for two days, and those two days happened to be when I was in the Bahamas on a cruise ship, no doubt eating large amounts of food at the buffet and drinking all the fruity drinks I could…so I got to run the PRT, and SURPRISE! I failed. In a way, I’m looking forward to being treated like the criminal that I am, do you have any advice or insight on this program? I can’t find anything that actually explains exactly what I’ll have to do.

    • padresteve

      I use the elliptical machine to help improve my run time. I set it to a level 14-16 and push very hard for at least a half hour. You would be amazed at how fast you can then do the 1.5 mile run. Much of the run is simply mind over matter. I try to set my sights on people ahead of me and work to pass them on the run. It makes it more of a competition even if they have no idea that I am competing with them. This also helps my time because I keep pushing to get ahead of each one. If you can build up to where you can do 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer and make the PRT run your own competition you can kill it.
      I hope that helps,
      Padre Steve+

  3. Danika Harrison

    If it makes you feel better I just got enrolled into FEP. 20 years old, 118 lbs and passed the PRT, but get to go to FEP for a lack of effort.

    I didn’t know they could even do that. But yeah I get to endure the torture of FEp for the next 6 months as well.

    • padresteve

      FEP is such fun…thankfully I am not on it now… I didn’t know that you could go on for lack of effort either. In standards and passed the PRT and still on FEP? Something isn’t right.
      Padre Steve+

  4. Lady M

    Oh – the joys of FEP!! I have been in the Navy for 34 years (Active & Reserves), am 57 years old and currently on Active Duty Conus IA. Have never failed PRT before – just failed BCA. After a certain age, the body composition changes, to say the least. Now I am put on FEP, but since my command doesn’t have the time to have their own FEP program, I have been handed off to another command’s FEP program. Am basically set up for failure as I am thrown in with the 20 and 30 somethings, and expected to keep up at their level. I have already had minor injuries, but my command is indifferent. I guess they just want us “Old Birds” out, LOL.

  5. Tony

    Look at The FEP program as a way to improve your health not only your PRT scores. I am not on the FEP program but I am the CFL for my command and look forward to assisting our personnel not only get in shape but improve their habits. Like Padre Steve said Kreme Donuts are good but do you know the amount of time it takes to burn those calories on a treadmill, bike, or just running. Yeppers, you guess it a lot. So understanding what you are putting in your body and the consequences that come down the line. After digesting a big Mac and large fries super sized of course probably need to follow up with exercise. One to two hours a day and you will see an improvement in weigh and health. The key is being consistent. If your command does not have a FEP program, you have to take the initiative to improve your own health and eating habits. A little junk food every now and then probably will not hurt you. It all about control, over eating makes controlling your weigh difficult if not impossible. Know your limits. Exercise needs to be in your daily routine. It will pay off on physical fitness and in the long run your health.
    Nuff Said..

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