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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