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Burning off the fat: CKFR firefighters complete fitness challenge

When nine Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue firefighters peered at their reflections in the mirror 12 weeks ago, their images were a vast contrast to what they see today.

Officially completing the nationwide Bally Total Fitness 911 Fitness Challenge this week, the two teams — “Eye Candy” and “The Leftovers” — have discovered they’ve not only dropped the pounds and slimmed down, but have taken important steps in improving their health.

“It’s just a reinforcement that it doesn’t take a whole lot to live healthy,” said CKFR Capt. Frank Wilson, a member of “The Leftovers.” “A little went a long way.”

Joining him on “The Leftovers” were Charlie Bratcher, Marcus Oliver, Darren Foust and Joe Repar. Making up “Eye Candy” were Kevin Best, Tony Giove, Dennis Elliot and Owen Rhodes. The official results had not been tallied by press time, but between the two teams, Wilson says he’d be surprised if it wasn’t a tie.

The two team members, however, who undeniably saw the greatest changes were Bratcher, who lost 34 pounds, 6 inches off his waist and 5 percent body fat, and Foust who came in a close second with 25 pounds shed, 3 inches off his waist and a 3 percent decrease in body fat.

“Those are the two impressive ones,” Wilson said. “They’ve really changed their everyday lifestyle.”

More than just improving their health for the better, the challenge doubled as an example for the teams’ peers.

“Our department has seen the changes made,” Rhodes said. “It has opened a lot of eyes.”

Throughout the challenge, department staff increasingly joined the teams during their workouts, according to Wilson.

“It has begun to foster that seed and that seed has begun to grow,” he added. “It has been a positive thing ... I hope the department sees this as a learning tool.”

Not only did the program open the eyes of their peers, but while exercising at Silverdale Fitness, many of the team members were provided with a chance to interact with the public.

“People would see ‘This is my fire department, these are the guys who are going to be coming in if needed and will get the job done,’” Rhodes said.

Looking back on the experience, Wilson is confident in what he’s achieved during the last 12 weeks.

“I know that I’ve taken the steps to improve myself and my health and improve the safety of people I’m working with and they can have confidence in my ability and my health,” he said.

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