New Men in the New Year: VMI Employees Work Together to Get into Shape

Doug Crabb has inspired co-worker, Jacob Hall, to also get in shape.

Doug Crabb and Jacob Hall working out at the CPTF. –VMI Photo by Kelly Nye

LEXINGTON, Va. Jan. 27, 2024 — When Doug Crabb started working in the Department of Facilities Management at Virginia Military Institute last June, he not only started a new career path, but he also began a renovation into becoming a new man.

Crabb formerly worked the night shift for a distribution center in Stuarts Draft, and struggled with the challenges many face who work during the night. His circadian rhythm—the 24-hour internal clock that regulates cycles of alertness and sleepiness by responding to light changes—got out of sync, and prevented him from sleeping thoroughly, eating well, and exercising adequately. As a result, he gained a considerable amount, and weighed 376 pounds when he began at VMI. 

Crabb is a family man and father of three boys, ages 8, 10 and 12, who all participate in wrestling and football. Crabb helps coach their teams. “I strongly encourage my sons to stay in shape and work hard to be good athletes, but they started to push back. They would ask me, ‘why should we work out when you don’t?’ And they were right,” he shared. It was his boys’ admonishment that motivated Crabb to want to lose weight and get back into shape. 

His new co-workers at VMI introduced him to the athletic facilities available to employees, Cocke Hall and the Corps Physical Training Facility (CPTF). “I get up early and get to Cocke Hall around 5:50 a.m. and work out on the step mill, the elliptical, the treadmill, and the weights for 90 minutes before going to work. Jim Gibson, a VMI wrestling coach, has kids who are good friends with my kids. He knows my goals, and is very encouraging and holds me accountable with my training. He arranges racquet ball and basketball games to get me moving and active in fun ways,” said Crabb. As if a morning workout were not enough, Crabb goes to the CPTF during his lunch break and walks/jogs around the track.

Cmdr. Charles H. Barber III, director of professional training facilities at VMI, witnesses Crabb’s daily workouts. “In this time of New Year’s resolutions, most of which are quickly broken, Doug has dedicated himself to a successful fitness regime. It is satisfying to note Doug’s personal success – 100% on him,” said Barber. 

In addition to working out, Crabb has made changes to his diet by cutting back on processed sugar and eating smaller portions. Since June, he has lost over 80 pounds. His goal is to lose 80 more. 

Doug Crab, who works in facilities management, works to lose weightCrabb has inspired co-worker, Jacob Hall, to also get in shape. Hall had been wanting to lose weight for years, but lacked motivation. “Last summer my doctor had suggested I lose 20 pounds, and gave me a year to do it,” said Hall. Around that same time, Hall started a second job that was more physically demanding. “Last July I went with Doug to Cocke Hall to work out, and while I was there, I weighed myself and realized I had already lost the 20 pounds – in just a month and a half!” That weight loss was the incentive he needed. Hall has lost 40 pounds since July and his goal is to lose another 40. Each morning, he works out at the CPTF, and again with Crabb at lunch. 

Crabb’s upbeat outlook and drive has not gone unnoticed in his department. Eric Schwartz ’95, deputy director of facilities management, stated, “Despite only being with us a few short months, Doug has brought many ideas and positive influences to our department.  This is just one example of what he has brought to the team.”

Similar to VMI’s motto of, “No ordinary college,” Crabb and Hall share a mantra to maintain their determination, “Because easy doesn’t change you.” 

Marianne Hause
Communications & Marketing


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