NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- As the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) reaches the midway point of Captain’s Cup, an annual sports competition composed of several challenges encouraging team-building within departments and the command, the architect of these events can be seen evaluating his work at every opportunity, ensuring the smooth operation of the events.
This architect is Ryan Roberts, the command’s new Afloat Fitness Specialist, commonly called the Fit Boss.
“I actually applied [for this job] two years ago, and I got the position two years ago, but I ended up turning down the position to go work for the Marines,” said Roberts. “Because I would be stationed at a base, I wouldn’t have to worry about deployment, and my wife and I were expecting our first child, so it was a hard choice. I always kept in touch with [human resources] for this position though, and January of this year they asked if I was still interested, and I said yes. So I got a second chance, and I took it.”
Roberts, originally from Greensboro, North Carolina, worked with the Marine Corps first at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina, and again at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina and Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in South Carolina.
After getting used to the Marine Corps way, Roberts has been quickly adjusting to operating with the Sailors aboard George Washington.
“This is my first [Navy command], and I love it,” said Roberts. “It’s a challenge, to say the least. It’s not like anything I’ve ever done before.”
As Fit Boss, Roberts is in charge of almost all fitness equipment and activities associated with George Washington.
“The simplest way I can explain it is: I view it as I’m a fitness director,” said Roberts. “So I’m in charge of all of the fitness aspects; that could be personal training, group classes, weekly fitness schedules, all the [command fitness leaders], command [physical training], and the Captain’s Cup.”
Part of his job also includes working in conjunction with George Washington’s Afloat Recreation Specialist, known as the Fun Boss, for events.
“We get along great,” said Roberts. “Fun Boss is really, really good. He’s plugged in really, really well, and he’s been kind of showing me the ropes. I’m very fortunate to have him for sure.”
Together, the two hope to improve morale for everyone aboard George Washington.
“My overall goal is to try to improve the quality of life for all the Sailors,” said Roberts. “I’m on the more physical side of things, but I believe in a well-balanced program. It doesn’t necessarily have to be all physical. It can be spiritual, intellectual, mental; any type of stress relief I want to educate and bring to the table, anything to help improve overall morale. I’m more strength-conditioned minded, but now being in this position, I’m trying to think outside that box.”
Roberts plans on doing more training with command fitness leaders to make sure everyone is provided high-quality approaches to fitness, and is open to any suggestions about the fitness programs.
“[I’m] listening to what the ship wants,” said Roberts. “I’m trying to facilitate whatever you guys need.”
During Captain’s Cup and throughout the year, Sailors are encouraged to stop by and say hi to George Washington’s new Fit Boss.
“I’m here to serve those who serve,” said Roberts, “I might stumble, make mistakes, but just know that I’m always here to try to do the best possible job I can do. This is the closest I’ll get to serving my country because I have cerebral palsy. To me, this is a gift. Come by and see me if you have any questions. I’m always here [in Huntington Hall] for the most part, in room 262. Feel free to email or call me as well.”
Welcome aboard Fit Boss Ryan Roberts!
For more news from USS George Washington (CVN 73), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn73/.