Welcome boys and girls... Whooo! So much to do, so little time :o) This week has been a complete blur. Actually, it's been two weeks since the competition, right? Yep. I believe so.
Okay, before we get too deep in convo, I just wanted to say that it's VERY rare that God allows us to actually witness cool things that are brewing behind the scenes. For example, how often do YOU get to see something 'paid forward?' While assessing a client's body fat the other day, I was completely thrilled by..... Watching my coworker stroll out of spin class!!!!! What? Okay, maybe you didn't hear me.. This isn't an avid cyclist, or someone who even attended the class on a regular basis (well, EVER)... UNTIL, the Spin Class Promotion Party!!!!!!! (see previous blog). NOW HE'S KICKING *$% AND TAKING NAMES!!!!!! How cool is that?!?! I was compelled to take a pic (see above) because you're SUCH a non-believer!! Geesh!! ;o) Shout out to my fellow "O," Capt Collado!! GET IT INNN!!!!
Next, let's switch gears a bit and discuss the aftermath of the show. These are all of the things that only competitors know, and hopefully NO ONE will find out that I'm telling you...*raises index finger to puckered lips*
1. I am swollen like nobody's business! This is the FIRST day that my piglets don't look like little sausages = water retention :o(
2. Contrary to popular belief, I've been easing back into cardio and weight training. Yes, it's been quite a challenge, but we only have one body and it deserves a break. Remember, over-training is a cardinal sin that often results in injury and lack of growth.
3. Attempting to 'eat off the grid' lasted all of two days. Unlike past shows, I had no desire to pig out and eat a bunch of junk. Wait.. does that mean that these taste buds are evolving? Hmmm.. Instead, I was back on the ole' maintenance meal plan by day #3. It feels so good buying colorful groceries. Yummmmmy!
4. Competing has NEVER felt this awesome! Having an opportunity to sit and reflect upon the months of preparation leading into the contest was completely rewarding. Taking home the #1 trophy was simply icing on the cake.
School has concluded for a week or so, and it's time to transition back into the real world. I'm ready. Being home for that little blurb was long enough to provide a vivid reminder as to why I love America. 10 days and counting....
By the way, if you liked the bling, my suit or even the photographs, shoot an email and I will happily provide the merchant info.Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this journey with me.. Now, it's YOUR turn!!!
Until next time..
1st Place: Women's Open Bodybuilding
"2013 Fall Classic Natural"
Camp Humphreys, Korea
Meet my Osan Family!!!
18 Jun '13: 187lbs, 13.07% Body Fat 28 Sep '13: 156lbs, 5.9% Body Fat
THAT JUST HAPPENED! *Ricky Bobby Voice* Wowsa! Umm, Wow. I'm sitting here wondering exactly how I should word this blog. Actually, I should probably be asleep, considering the fact that I have to work tonight. Hmm.. I may ride this high for another day or so, then, it's back to the drawing board. Wait a minute, I'M TAKING TWO DAYS OFF.. NO CARDIO, NO WEIGHTS, NO MEAL PLAN. I know that two days doesn't seem like a lot of time, but trust me, it's a LIFETIME for me. Everything is so sweet, too greasy, overly salty or makes my tummy ache :o( Although that box (shared) of TBA chicken *thanks Chris & Alecia* was OFF THE HINGES last night!!!!!! Maybe it was the sauce, perhaps it was the company.. Either way, I know that yesterday was the 'good times.' You know, those days where you look back and say, 'Mannnn, THAT was an awesome time.' Luckily, I have enough awareness to realize that, and cherished EVERY moment.
Warning: The following excerpt details backstage activities at the competition. If you're susceptible to boredom, please STOP reading this blog now.
First and foremost, THE COMMUNITY CENTER WAS PACKED!!!!! Naturally, one would expect that at an Army base. I mean, c'mon.. Army folks don't play! Although.... the Men's Open winner WAS Air Force. I'm just sayin' I'mmmm just sayin' ;o) Regardless, the judges were spectacular, and no, I'm not just saying that because I won. Geesh! C'mon mannn. Although, holding those damn poses for 30 seconds seemed a bit excessive.. SMH (shaking my head). Really? Do you know how hard it is to maintain a relaxed pose for 30 seconds?!?!? My body was shakin' like a salt shaka' by the 20 second mark. Anyway, the DJ was awesome and the crowd was RIDICULOUS!!!!
I know that competitors always say, "Everyone was so friendly backstage," but don't believe them. No one EVER tells the truth about what happens behind those curtains. There's only one thing that everyone wants to see more than a fight... A CAT FIGHT. Let me tell you.. I don't know if it was the fact that we were all military or what, but there was SUCH a family atmosphere behind the scenes. Competitive, yes. Spiteful, no. I have NEVER participated, assisted or attended a show that embodied such a comradely spirit. I guess there was a certain level of respect amongst us, sorta like, "Yep, you deploy, too. Yep, you have a full time profession. Yep, you're away from family. Yep, I know it isn't easy. Yep, I know exactly what you're going through. Yep, we are one." Sharing the journey makes it SO much more rewarding...
Which leads me to the next highlight of the competition ---> MY OSAN FAMILY!!!!!!!!!! Oh my goodness!!!!!!!! Did you guys see the pics above? There are a few people missing like Swag & Hut, Mo, Lew, Kim and Em. They made signs!!!! They made signs!!!!! And if I heard Hardaway say, "I see you Slaise," ONE MORE TIME while onstage ;o) hahahahahahaha *AWESOME* I had so much support, which was COMPLETELY humbling. These are the people who had to deal with my crab apple, low carbohydrate mood swings. These are the people with whom I declined social gatherings for the past 4 months (in order to stick to the regimented workout/meal plan schedule). These are the people who were forced to smell my stinky fish. These are the people who awakened at 0500 to spin with me as I promoted to Captain. Through ALL of that, and hours and hours of hearing my complaints, they loved me enough to come out and cheer as I earned the trophy for 51st Medical Operations Squadron :o) Meeeeeeeed Grouuuuuuuup!!!!!!
I even have a special place in my heart for friends and family who watched my transformation; either as cardio buddies or good telephone/FaceTime friends. Yes, I often complete an hour of cardio on the elliptical while using FaceTime. *You can borrow that one*
Lastly, even though I hired a professional photog (Master of Hart Photography), please enjoy the backstage iPhone pics until there is an opportunity to post the stage photos later.
The Bottom Line: Each and every day, I knew that there were 24 hours that had to be utilized in the most productive manner. 12 hour work shift, 7 hours of sleep, 2 hours of cardio, 1 hour of weight training, 1 hour of meal prep. Do the math. My schedule didn't leave much time for ANYTHING 'other' than train, eat, sleep, work and repeat. For 4 long months I stuck to the plan, because win, lose or draw, my will to win will NEVER be questioned. Have you asked yourself, "What are my goals and what the heck am I doing to achieve them?" I don't care if you want to be a Master Chef or a Doctor! The bottom line is.. there are 24 hours that have to be utilized in the most productive manner. Don't wait for it to come to you - - Chase The Day!
Night Before "Show Time" Preparation
Day #2 Diet
What? Were you expecting something more elaborate?
Exciting Stuff, Huh? :o)
Motivation: "Being accomplished doesn't make you better than the rest of the world.
It makes you responsible for it."
Day #3 Pointers
The Basic Staple Supplements
Ascorbic Acid is well known for improving physical endurance, but let's take things a little deeper. Why is this gem so important to hardcore competitors?
Because Vitamin C is most often used for preventing (and treating) the common cold!
Think about it, during a time
when your immune system is most susceptible, an ounce (or two) of prevention...
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
Essential nutrients that improve exercise performance and reduce protein (muscle) breakdown.
If you ignore all of the supplements on this list,
DON'T OVERLOOK THE IMPORTANCE OF BCAAs!
BCAAs nephew, glutamine, is the most abundant free amino acid in the body.
What exactly does it do?
Enhance exercise performance, prevent muscle breakdown and boost immunity;
particularly during times of increased stress when the body naturally suppresses this protein.
Hydrolysed Whey Protein Isolate
Delivers amino acids to your muscles faster than all those 'other' types of proteins
(i.e., soy, casein, etc). HWPI is easily absorbed, and let's be honest, IT IS THE BEST TASTING WHEY ON THE MARKET!! Personally, I am a loyal Dymatize Nutrition fan because it tastes awesome, mixes in a regular cup like a Champ and is nutritionally superior to other brands..
Although, it IS a tad bit pricey.
DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT TAKING THESE SUPPLEMENTS PRIOR
TO CONSULTING YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
Day #4 Goals:
(1) Drink 2 gallons of water
(2) Consume *5 meals ON TIME
(3) Stay positive
(4) Be kind to my patients and coworkers
Low carbs are no excuse for being a witch
(5) Thank God and enjoy the journey!!!
Anaerobic Training (Legs, Day #1)
Aerobic Training: 75 minutes
Work: 12 hours
Aerobic Training: 75 minutes
Motivation: Everyone looks good from the front... Turn around and let me see those glutes!!
Day #5 Schedule:
Incline Chest Press
Incline Chest Flyes
Flat Bench Press
Flat Bench Flyes
Straight Bar Curls
Aerobic Training: 75 minutes
Work: 12 hours
Aerobic Training: 75 minutes
Motivation: Cardio... It's what separates the men from the boys.
It also separates the Vee From the Em and the Elle.
Note to self... ONLY FLY SPACE-A WHEN TIME IS NOT OF THE ESSENCE!!! But, seriously, when is time NOT a priority? Maybe retirement.
Annnnnnnnnnd cue the intro music *game show melody plays in the background* So, my good people (or "peeps" as my Mom would say), I'm back from a week long trip to the greatest state in the US --> O-H-I-O!!! It was EVERYTHING that I thought it would be :o) Well, a little TOO much, if you're asking (but you didn't ask, huh?). Thanks to Westwood Fitness Center, I was able to workout like a true meat head, and loved every bit of it, including the run down cardio equipment. I felt like an extra in a Rocky movie, well... kinda-sorta. Regardless, a renewed sense of... hmm... peacefulness has surfaced as a result; which is all that anyone could ever hope for, right?
That's right.. S-E-V-E-N days! Wait, before I continue.. Can we discuss the free meals that were provided during the SPACE-A flight?! Now, please don't misunderstand.. FREE is FREE, I get it. Also, a direct flight which would typically cost $700+ with a commercial airline was $29 with the SPACE-A crew. But, er, uh, you KNOW how I am about nutrition, you guys KNOW this. And, I'm always searching for better options, right? Well, I was really bothered by the lunches provided throughout the flight (see above). Naturally, my meals were packed and rhett-to-go, but that wasn't the case for hundreds of people traveling that morning.
Look, I'm not a siddity girl.. at all. With a ton of brothers and an Army background, how could I be anything other than down to Earth?! Regardless, living a healthy lifestyle means making the right nutritional choices. If those options aren't available, even the best of us (including me) fall victim to consuming j-u-n-k.
Maybe I need to do something about this.... *stops typing and ponders the possibilities* If you're going to be a bear, be a grizzly!!!!
Do you have any suggestions?
Alright folks, there are 7 days remaining until show time. The bling, tanner, bikini bite, make-up, yadda-yadda-yadda are in the building.
I AM PREPARED TO PRESENT THE BEST POSSIBLE PACKAGE ONSTAGE!!!
They say good things come in 3's right? Wait. Or is it bad things come in 3's. Can someone provide clarification about that, because, well, we are approaching 3 WEEKS OUT as of Sunday, 08 Sept!!! *Eeeek* My, my, my.. this past week has been an absolute marathon.
First, my colleagues (who are the most awesomest - yes, "most awesomest" group in the world --> be jealous) joined me for the Promotion Party Spin Challenge followed by an intimate ceremony, and it was unbelievably cool. Hands down, the best day of my tour, thus far. I opted to forgo the cake, ice cream and pizza in exchange for an hour long spin class. They showed up and showed out for my promotion!!
I heart my peeps!!!!
This period begins a semi-integration back into the States, and I am so nervous. Why? Maybe it's the idea of actually driving a vehicle, not having curfew, not wearing a uniform or being able to grocery shop after 7pm. Going home is always sticky because there are so many people to visit and not enough hours in the day. I mean, there are still two hours of cardio and one hour of weight training that must be accomplished daily. Not to mention an hour of food prep and at least seven hours of sleep. So, just counting training and food prep alone, that's twenty-eight hours weekly... more than a part-time job!!!!! I guess it's all for the love of the sport!!! Right?
Hmm.. So what lessons did I learn this week?
Sometimes, you have to step outside the box and shake things up a bit in order to get your point across. I had NO desire to host a traditional promotion ceremony and couldn't have asked for a better turnout. Don't ever force your will on others; rather, gently persuade them. THIS is always challenging for me, but.. I'm learning. You would be surprised by the overwhelming power of true camaraderie. Surrounding myself with people who were willing to sweat, moan and groan for an hour sealed a bond of friendship that I will never forget. The human spirit is such a wonderful entity. Self explanatory.
Can you tell I've been reading "Lincoln on Leadership," written by Donald Phillips. *smile
Awww, another rough week down! 5 more to go!! Well, technically, the week isn't over just yet, but.. you get the point.
I'm not one for chit-chatter *she considers the true irony of the previous statement considering the current blog entry* so I'll get straight to the point of this small blip on the radar of Madinah's world...
Friday @ 2300hrs (11pm): Roughly an hour into my cardio session, and about 40% into "Lean In," on my mini, I felt an excitement that is difficult to describe. Could it have been the low carbs? Perhaps. Was it a runner's high, or better yet, an elliptical high? Maybe. Regardless where it came from or what it was, I wanted to tap someone on the shoulder and share the feeling... At that VERY moment, I glanced around the cardio room and realized that there was no one there. Not a soldier, not an airman, not a meathead, not even a janitor. Don't believe me? See above pic.
People ask... "How do you do it?" or say things like "I wish I could get motivated to..." I've even been accused of having 3WP (white woman willpower), which is referencing the crazy motivated soccer moms who push strollers while walking 35mph with not an ounce of fat on 'em. Okay, I'll take that ;o) even though I'm sans stroller/mommyhood and, um, caramel.
*staying focused* The point that I'm attempting to share is... In order to accomplish extraordinary things, you must be willing to prepare yourself in an extraordinary fashion. No one wants to be average, but very few are willing to sacrifice to be above average. It isn't something that 'they' have; YOU have it, too! The only difference is, when the going gets tough, 'they' are willing to dig deep and push through... what do YOU do? Be honest.
Alright, I have a genogram to complete for my Health Assessment course, so it's time to wrap things up here. But, before departing, I would like to leave you with an excerpt that I found worthy of a red (indicative of the utmost importance) highlight earlier. Fortunately, those long, drawn out cardio sessions afford an opportunity to read roughly one book per week and I've fallen in love with my latest discovery, "Lean In: Women, Work, and The Will to Lead," written by Sheryl Sandberg.
Imagine that a career is like a marathon-a long, grueling, and ultimately rewarding endeavor. Now imagine a marathon where both men and women arrive at the starting line equally fit and trained. The gun goes off. The men and women run side by side. The male marathoners are routinely cheered on: "Lookin' strong! On your way!" But the female runner hears a different message. "You know you don't have to do this!" the crowd shouts. Or "Good start-but you probably won't want to finish." The farther the marathoners run, the louder the cries grow for the men: "Keep going! You've got this!" But the women hear more and more doubts about their efforts. External voices, and often their own internal voice, repeatedly question their decision to keep running. The voices can even grow hostile. As the women struggle to endure the rigors of the race, spectators shout, "Why are you running when your children need you at home?"
If a female marathoner can ignore the shouts of the crowd and get past the tough middle of the race, she will often hit her stride.
I'm willing to bet that you haven't even hit your stride yet.
Wow... Has it been THAT long ago since we last spoke? "A month of Sundays," as my Granny would say. Well, maybe.. Okay, seriously, my apologies *sly smile* I've gone underground, so to speak.. Hmm.. What would be the most efficient method of explanation? Well, between school (never ending), my career, AFIT clients, the occasional trip to Seoul and training (again.. never ending), there aren't enough hours in the day!! Not to mention, the complexities of maintaining a somewhat normal social life, which always seems to receive the least precedence.
Alright, enough whining... I'm blessed beyond measure and am surrounded by the most awesome people that a 'gal could ask for. So, why am I here? Umm.. guess. Seriously, take four seconds and just guess... *I'll wait --> looks around the room and wonders if someone is secretly putting extra water into the gallon that has to be empty by bedtime* Okay, times up! I'm here because.... Because... BECAUSSSSSSE ---> I step back onstage 28 Sept 2013 for the first time in what seems like F-O-R-E-V-E-R!!!! With deployments, relocating to a different country, and all the festivities that life affords us, I haven't gone 'through it' for over two years!!! *Eeeeeek* But, I know you've heard it before... YOU CAN'T KEEP A GOOD WOMAN DOWN. Well, more fitting.. YOU CAN'T KEEP A GREAT WOMAN DOWN!! I'm back *$%&# with a vengeance ;O)
What makes this one so different, you ask? Well, this is MY journey and for the first time in MY physique career, I am completely solo with diet & nutrition, in addition to weight training, cardio, routine and stage prep. What? I know.. I know.. that doesn't sound like much to you, but trust me, it's quite the experience!! At 34 years old, I am doing things MY way!! In fact, the show is a mere 6 days after the 'ole 35th birthday :o) Yesterday marked the '6 week out' time frame and I am ahead of schedule!! Let's just say that at 169lbs with 7% body fat, I'm going to make 35 look damn good!!! *covers mouth with right hand and smiles with big eyes* After all, what's the point if you can't have a little fun, right?
*Looks at the clock and realizes it's way past her bedtime*
Well, boys and girls.. As I prepare for an early morning hour plus cardio session, there is one thing that I want YOU to remember about this little blurb... Sometimes, every now and again, once in a blue moon --> YOU have to MAKE time to evaluate, redirect your focus and RELOAD. Take charge and lean in, baby... LEAN ALL THE WAY IN!!!!!!
And then there was a thunderous BOOM!! that sent a severe wave throughout my body..
The lights were off, “Don’t Stop Believin” (Journey) was playing on my pc, the day’s worries were drifting and sugar plums (sweetened with Splenda) danced in my head. Within a matter of seconds the entire building jolted and I was awakened from a peaceful sleep with a cold splash of reality. Oddly enough, my immediate thoughts weaved in and out of visions of a mortar attack to an earthquake and even a simple slamming of the housing unit door. Minutes later, sirens blared and SrA Parades was pounding on my door.. “There’s been an explosion! Real world MASCAL (mass causality) recall of all medical personnel,” he was sweating and I could hear his heart pounding through the peep hole. “Sure, sure.. I’m on my way,” it was more of a question. For the next three minutes, I dressed in complete darkness and couldn’t help but wonder if my building would be struck by a random mortar. Fear. It has a way of crippling your thoughts, your actions.
A long time ago my brother William told me a story about men and women who move towards danger while others flee; it was part of his training as a Police Officer. He said, “It goes against every natural response to move forward when you want to run for cover.”
For the past few weeks, our MASCAL teams were drilled on response time, expectations and duties. Led by Capt. Jones, week after week, we initiated exercise (simulated) emergencies, instituted medical care and tested the response plan. 5 days later, we were all called to put our training to the test. Coincidence? I don’t think so. My college coach (Laurie Pirtle) always stressed the importance of preparation; so much so that game days were a lot less demanding than practice!!
Upon arriving at the CASF, I stepped into my Nursing role, still confused, but focused on helping the wounded. The injured personnel received the best possible care, there was no chaos, everyone came together and performed their respective duties in unison; the entire process was a beautiful, intricate web of continuity. Without going into too much detail, a building less than 100 yards away from my housing unit was engulfed in flames as the result of a major electrical explosion. Luckily, there were no fatalities. Thanks to the raucous, the luxury of hot water and electrical power eluded us in 40 degree weather :o)
What does all this have to do with fitness? Why must EVERY story that I share have a fitness tie in?!? Let’s see.. the fundamental factors here… (1) The importance of purposeful preparation & training (2) The courage to move forward in times of uncertainty & fear (3) Team work is a beautiful thing (4) Committing while others seek cover (5) Service before self…
I’ll leave this one up to you…
Thank you for all the prayers, care packages, positive thoughts, support, late night conversations, words of encouragement, cookies, cards and gear.. I'M ON MY WAY HOME BABY :0)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
48. I want you to remember that number. In the time that it takes most people to drudge through an entire work week, then amateur bodybuilder Quincy Roberts didn’t think twice about driving hundreds of miles to train at the best facility not-so-near his home in North Carolina, “I would drive over an hour, train for 4 hours and then drive back. This was on top of working a regular job.” Yet, despite his enthusiasm and hard work (over 48 hours of commitment per week) Roberts failed to place in his first competition. Why? Obviously his placing wasn’t the result of a lack of effort. Rather, he insisted upon scrutinizing his competition diet with a fine tooth comb and within six months an impressive 4th place Mr. Carolina trophy was added to the notch on his symbolic weight belt…But more importantly, Robert’s competitive fire was ablaze!!
Quincy reminisces about his mentality in the earlier years, “I never started competing thinking that I would win a Pro Card, it was the last thing on my mind. I wanted to challenge myself and strive to be one of the top 5 on that stage. Today guys start their careers trying to go Pro, what ever happened to winning first?” His philosophy is a far cry from the ever-so-popular slew of competitors who expect to achieve Big Boy/Girl status within the first year or two onstage. In fact, it wasn’t until 1986 (two years after earning the coveted Mr. Universe title) that Roberts entered a NPC national competition as an amateur and flexed his way towards winning an IFBB Pro Card. Almost a decade in the making.. 7 years to be exact. Is there any wonder why he isn’t a fan of the instant gratification mindset that plagues the industry today? “You can’t improve a weak point in a year, bodybuilders have to present a complete, balanced picture. As a (NPC) national level Judge, I teach my clients the importance of the overall package. How do you think Shawn Ray was able to beat guys who outweighed him by as much as fifty pounds?”
With over twenty years’ experience as a competitor, NPC Promoter, Elite Fitness Center Owner/Operator and Personal Trainer to thousands of clients, his no nonsense demeanor is often mistaken for being harsh and/or callous. I beg to differ. As the Father of two beautiful daughters (Tiffany & Rachel) Roberts has a genuine sprit that is direct, honest and encouraging, “A lot of people are what I refer to as gym bodybuilders, they have one strong point that continues to get stronger and everyone around them is there to inflate their ego. It’s my job to show your potential, bring out the best in you.” Roger that! So, if you’re looking for a Coach who sings dollar praises for your nickel efforts, go back to the Wal-Mart ‘Feel Good’ aisle because the man means business, plain and simple.
Speaking of business, as of late, Roberts is energized about celebrating the 20th anniversary of the highly anticipated “Elite Muscle Classic” on Nov 05, 2011 (Greensboro NC). In fact, he has a special treat in store for both the audience and competitors alike… shhhh! My lips are sealed :0) Regardless, he believes that despite the buzz and excitement, “The Elite” is no walk in the park, “It isn’t an easy show by any means. People are looking to see how they stand against well-conditioned athletes. It gives them a target to strive for.” Hmmm, the epitome of modesty. As one of the last NPC National level qualifying contests of the season, the competition isn’t stiff, it’s more like rigor mortis… so bring your ‘A’ game!!
In true AFIT fashion, I would like to leave you with a few simple words of wisdom that Quincy shared with me..“I’ve never compared myself to anyone on that stage or inside the gym and I never cheat myself. Set immediate goals to achieve more and last longer in the sport, it’s all about your mentality.”
Please visit http://www.qrelite.com/ for Elite Muscle Classic information and much, much more!!
Quincy’s Credentials & Titles
* ISSA Certified Personal Trainer
* NPC National Judge
* NPC Competition Promoter for 20 years
* 1982 Mr. North Carolina
* 1983 Jr Mr. USA
* 1984-85 Mr. America (Runner-up)
* 1986 Mr. Universe
* 1988 National Champion (Earned IFBB PRO CARD )
* 1996 Masters Olympia (5th Place )
* 1997 Masters Olympia (4th Place )
* 1999 Masters Olympia (7th Place )
* 2006 Masters World Championships 50+ (Runner Up )
Did you know that the Air Force deploys physical fitness test failures? Shocking? Well, I must admit that my initial reaction was one of bewilderment and then, after mulling it over for a few minutes, I came to the conclusion that being deployed is easily one of the best opportunities for them. Why? Because EVERYONE whips into shape during these short tour all expenses paid vacations. Leave home station with a keg, return with a six pack. That’s how it works, honest Abe.
Nevertheless, I may have previously mentioned my quest for healthier options within our dining facility, because unlike other hostile deployment settings, we have the distinct options of special ‘waffle’ days, Mongolian grill nights, steak/lobster/crab leg entrees and even the ever flowing desert bar that haunts the entrance of the main dining facility (DFAC). I must admit that the pleasantries afforded to our Airmen are a blessing, but even a good thing can turn bad in the long run…
It wasn’t until the initiation of my competition diet that I became acutely aware of the lack of "healthy options" available within the DFAC. The cottage cheese was full-fat, fish was scarce and the only ‘sugar-free’ selections were found in the form of diet sodas. The short order grill was king of the jungle and even the ‘non fast food’ section presented a poor variety of lean protein options. C’mon mannnn.. 22grams of fat in one serving of chicken parm? Geesh! Now, don’t take this the wrong way; I know, I know, there are soldiers humping through the Iraq desert who would love to have that chicken parm.. I get it. But, uh, last time I checked, not a single solitary Airman in my squadron rucks through the desert or dodges mortar rounds. Correct me if I’m wrong..
Okay, so, you know me, the Queen of Change, voice of the (little) People. Aye, I can’t help it, I took an oath dammit. So, I set up a meeting with the DFAC NCOIC (guy in charge *for all you non-military folks) and boo-ya! More lean protein options were in the works. But, no, we couldn’t stop there, could we? If you’re gona be a bear, be a grizzly, right? Well, it wasn’t long before US Army Registered Dietitian Capt Karen R., the Desert Winds DFAC Advisory Committee and I created the very first AASAB “Healthy Options” menu for over 2,300 hungry Troops base wide!! We also implemented a monthly “Weight Management & Performance Nutrition Class” with an accompanying “Wellness Center Walk-In Clinic.”
As I present our Nutrition Initiative to the Base Commander (the full bird Colonel who runs the entire base *for all you non-military folks) in T-minus 1:45mins, I just wanted to share my excitement, enthusiasm and positive energy with you. It wasn’t more than a few weeks past that I was faced with a challenge and didn’t know where to start or how to begin. Maybe you feel like your back is against the wall, or you can’t seem to get the ball rolling in the right direction. It’s okay, because I’ve experienced those same emotions on many days during this deployment. But, I weathered the storm, refocused and stayed true to my philosophy while patiently waiting for a GREAT opportunity (which, ironically, I almost declined due to an already hectic schedule).
If there is one thing that I want you to take from my silly rant, it’s this..Always remember that it doesn’t take a fancy title or a King’s wealth to implement change. The movement begins with you!
With just a few weeks marking our return stateside, I can’t help but wonder where the time has gone.. My former collegiate Coach, Laurie Pirtle would constantly pose a particular question/challenge to our team, “What have you done to make this place better than you found it?” In hindsight, I wasn’t mature enough to fully comprehend the magnitude of her words, the call to action that she demanded. Honestly, the majority of us desired very little above and beyond winning basketball games, partying and becoming engrossed within the college experience. Legacy? Mark? Those were terms thrown around by old people during bedtime stories and camp fires, or worse, at the beginning of banquet speeches…or so we thought.
I honestly believe that life is about small choices that yield great consequences. Such consequences aren’t always immediately evident, but at some point or another will come knocking on your door patiently awaiting an answer. Today I opened the wooden door that secures our dorm room and outside lie a small box with a typed letter that asked “What have you done to leave The Rock better than you found it?” There were no headings or sender information, just one question..
So as I use the remainder of my time here to leave this place “better than I found it,” I challenge you to also make your mark on this world in a positive way. What does this have to do with fitness/health & wellness you ask? At AFIT, we believe that ultimate health cannot be achieved without nourishing our mental and emotional capacities, hence our holistic approach to training. When was the last time you saw a beautifully plump green apple with a rotten, warm infested core? It just doesn’t happen. We grow healthy (on the outside) when a flourishing, illuminating core lies within. Embodying the notion to improve this world is just one of many ways to strengthen your mental/emotional core and set your plan in motion to be the best person that YOU can be… and it all begins with one small choice.
Will you choose to leave this world better than you found it? Will you be the change that you would like to see in others? Do you believe that an emotionally fit core sets the stage for a healthier you? Then make the choice today and be well on your way…because I am!
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