NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Aircraft carriers are considered the strong arm of the Navy's afloat forces, but two officers from USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) have taken a strong arm (and body) a bit further. Both placed in the 14th annual Military All-Natural Body Building Championships held Oct. 11 at Norfolk Naval Station Shipyard.
Lt. Cmdr. Marion Jacobs, ship's training officer, competed in the Women's Open-Tall category, as well as the Couples category with her husband, William Jacobs, and Chief Warrant Officer Robert Sears, deck department officer, competed in the Men's Open-Short category.
"This is one of the largest events we've had to date," said Jackie Stiffler, event coordinator. "We had to extend the stage to make room for all the different contestants.
According to Stiffler, many more spectators came out to see the 48 competitors compete in 14 different categories than in previous years. "So many people came to watch that we are looking into finding a larger facility to hold the competition in next year," she said.
This was Jacob's inaugural competition. "I began working out two years ago. My husband really encouraged me and designed workout programs that fit my schedule. It's appropriate that he and I are competing together," Jacobs said.
Sears started working out in 1994, with his first competition in 1998. Accustomed to the stress of competition, he said that regardless of placement, everyone there is a winner.
"People don't realize how brave it is just to go up on stage a be judged. Everyone here, taking care of their bodies and having fun - that's why I love doing this," Sears said. "My competition is not between me and everyone else up there. It's between me and where I was last year. To see improvement is all I ask for when I compete."
The desire to see improvement is a good reason to begin bodybuilding, but Sears and Jacobs agree you have to have more than that to be successful.
"It takes dedication," Sears said. "You are going to have to change everything about your lifestyle. Working out is important, but you also have to change your diet, and the decisions you make about what you want to do with your body. To get maximum results you have to have maximum desire."
"To be committed to changing your body, you have to be committed in your mind," Jacobs said. Without the absolute discipline to do this, you aren't going to see results."
The results were obvious for both contenders at the competition. Sears took fourth place in his category. Jacobs took fifth place in the Woman's Open. She and her husband took first place in the Couples competition.
"I came in not expecting to win anything," Jacobs said. "This isn't a competition as much as a reward for all my hard work."
For related news, visit the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn76.