More than just a graded test

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt./ Mark Lazane
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
Like many Americans, I struggle at times with the motivation to exercise. Try as I might to stay focused, I often seem to find something else to do. 

Don't get me wrong: once I am actually exercising, it feels great. 

It's getting to that point that is difficult to me. 

Perhaps fate was at work when I was given the opportunity to interview some Hurlburt Field personnel who do not struggle with motivation as mightily as I do. 

The majority of the individuals that I spoke with were fresh from the Supernatural Bodybuilding and Fitness competition, held at Niceville High School June 13, where several Hurlburt Field personnel, simply put, rocked the competition. 

One individual had just recently returned from the national military powerlifting championships, in Killeen, Texas, where he was named the "Outstanding Lifter" for the lightweight division. 

I was able to interview Airman 1st Class Ryan Baker, 1 SOLRS, Staff Sgt. Bobby Harrison, 505th Training Squadron, Tech. Sgt. Larient Jones, 1 SOCES, Mrs. Brenda Shropshire and Mrs. Lisa Pizzo, both military spouses. 

I came away extremely impressed with the attitudes and determination of the contestants. The thing that stood out to me the most was how much the competitors have all embraced the theory of fitness. 

Long ago, they accepted the notion that being fit doesn't simply mean passing the physical fitness test once a year. They have internalized the idea of fitness to a point that it is simply a part of what they do on a daily basis. 

"I've had ice cream and peanut butter cups from time to time, but you can't live that way," said Brenda Shropshire, though many people, including myself, would love to test the theory to prove her wrong. 

Mrs. Shropshire should know how to diet, however, as she can officially be called the reigning women's bodybuilding champion of the Emerald Coast Classic event. 

Unfortunately, she cannot defend her title at the same event next year. She is banned from competing at amateur events now that she has won and received her professional card. 

I am sure she considers it a small price to pay, however, as she attempts to compete for money and prizes not available to her at the local amateur events.
Mrs. Shropshire's dieting taboos are difficult for even some of the competitors to follow. 

"Junk food is my vice," says Tech. Sgt. Larient Jones, 1 SOCES, a phrase with which many people can sympathize. "I love junk food." 

However, where most people stop being like him is probably at the point where Sergeant Jones talks about placing third place in the military division at the event, his first competition. 

The athletes I interviewed recently should receive accolades not because they are up-and-coming champions, or because each and every one of them could squash our heads in their python-sized biceps should they so desire. 

They should be commended because they are applying concepts preached long and hard to all Air Force personnel, and achieving great results. And they are doing it the right way. 

"It's all natural," says John Proctor, Aderholt Fitness Center fitness director."It doesn't have to be all these other things like when you see Hulk Hogan and those guys. They competitors simply work hard and they get great results." 

So, for those who struggle to find the motivation to push yourself out of bed, close the fridge, or reverse-squat yourself off the couch, I present to you the Hurlburt bodybuilding and fitness (and powerlifting) champions. I am sure they would not mind if they were your motivation. 

May they inspire you to achieve greater fitness goals in your own life. I know they have inspired me.