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Motivating our troops at sea: Joshua Hockett and his 7 week training program

USS Essex




The USS ESSEX is a United States Navy Wasp-class amphibious assault ship built at what is now Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and commissioned on 17 October 1992 while moored at North Island NAS beside USS Kitty Hawk. It’s the fifth ship named for Essex County, Massachusetts.

Currently, there are 2,700 service members embarked on the USS ESSEX:

They’ve been at sea since May 10th, 2015, and will return mid December, just in time for the holidays. They’ve hit Hong Kong, Bahrain (twice), and Dubai during this deployment while conducting operations for presidential support, foreign affairs defenses, and land-based amphibious training maneuvers.  It’s as intense as it sounds.


The final leg of any mission can prove to be a test of patience and endurance for those aboard, and having a motivational program in place can help keep crew members positive and on-track. The Slim-Size-Strong in 7 training program was created by Joshua B. Hockett, and supported by Gaspari Nutrition to do just this.


Hockett – a USA Powerlifting competitor since 2009, earned his pro card in men’s physique in 2013.  In June 2012 Hochett took his position as an afloat fitness/nutrition director with the US Navy as a full time DoD civilian aboard the USS Ronald Reagan. In March 2015 he transferred over to the USS Essex at Naval Base San Diego in preparation for his current 9 month deployment.

Aboard the Essex, Hockett trains several Sailors and Marines pursuing competitive fitness objectives such as powerlifting, bodybuilding, physique, figure and bikini competitions.



What was his inspiration for starting the Slim–Size-Strong in 7 training program? In his words;

“The purpose in this program beyond just meeting monthly minimums in large-scale command-wide fitness programs and was to leverage the final 7week stretch within in period without any port calls or distractions to the schedule of the ships crew. Furthermore [Hockett] hoped to take advantage of the nearing return to port and the crew’s excitement to getting home to family and friends after 8 months away. Among the many other fitness programs and classes offered underway prior to this program, this one would capitalize and extend off those and even recruit new faces not yet partaken. This was one last big push for crew members to make health and fitness changes for the benefit of their careers, futures and upcoming missions, as well as for their own individual goals. As the Navy saying goes,‘Always Ready!’”


About the PROGRAM:

The 7 Week Training Program aboard the USS ESSEX is divided into three categories: SLIM; individuals trying to cut fat, SIZE; those working to put on mass, and STRONG. They all compete each week for progress awards: there are 6 grand prize winners each week with an additional male and female awarded an “overall transformation” prize during the final week of December 15th.

Gaspari Nutrition values the service of the men and women of all armed forces and understands the need to support efforts to maintain physical and mental strength during deployment. The supplement company is proud to support Joshua Hockett and the Sailors and Marines aboard the USS ESSEX by providing incentives and prizes to help boost motivation & morale. Each participant will receive give-aways, and Gaspari will be awarding top participants with even more goodies and swag. The finalist will be given the opportunity to train with Rich and the other Gaspari athletes in San Diego this January 2016. A once in a lifetime opportunity to learn tips and techniques from the pros.

To the Sailors and Marines participating on the Fitness challenge Gaspari wishes you good luck, and to all those aboard the USS Essex, we wish for you a safe return home.



Week Reports from Joshua Hockett:


Week 1

All participants checked in after 1 week down. Sunday every week is the check in week with either Hockett or 1 of 4 fixed ACFL support members (assistant command fitness leader) to perform the measurements within each division’s criteria.

80% of participants saw progress in some form.

 Tug O War



Week 2

70% of participants were able to check in for progress markers. Of that 70% who did check in, 60% showed progress in the size and slim division while 75% of those in strength group did. This week was an in port period at Dubai so many missed workouts being off ship doing tours and excursions as they should.


Week 3

Being the first full week back following a port call we saw upticks in check ins with 85% checking in for measurements. 72% in strength group saw improvements, 55% in slim group saw improvements and 65% of size group saw improvements. We are finding now that it’s hard for many to make check in times every Sunday with work schedules 24/7. Keeping consistent with our testers on the same people each week is also key to making sure measures are as repeatable as possible.


Week 4

65% of all people in 3 groups were able to check in this past weekend. 80% of those who did saw improvements. Most results were seen in the SLIM group this week. With the challenge over half over and our next port call getting very close people are excited to punch through to the end in tip top shape Now!


Week 5

We're on limited hours till noon so can't access gmail yet. However that email said that week 5 was a pass week as many were unable to attend due to MCI inspections all day for most the ship. After 2 misses the person is ineligible for the grand prize even if they hit the marks so I don't want to force a missed weigh in date on almost all the people with 3 weeks left. We just continued on as normal right through this past weekend.


Week 6

Overall turn out good! 80% of all people in all 3 groups checked in this week. Better yet 75% of them saw results of some kind. The largest improvements were in the slim group with all participants having lost 2lbs or more this week and 1" or more off waistline! BZ to that! Size group had 60% of them see 3 of 5 measures in tape go up as well as weight. Only 4 people had body fat % go up out of all participants. The strength group had 52% of people log 2 of their 3 major powerlifts go up in max PR. With 1 week to go its home stretch now for these sailors and marines to see who will take the top 6 spots for the best improvements overall!


* The Department of the Navy does not endorse any company, sponsor or their products or services.