24/7 Gyms are just one of the ways to make a soldier’s life easier in war torn Afganistan.
“Each day the multiple gyms at Bagram Airfield are packed with troops determined to return home a tougher, stronger person,” according to Blackanthem.com.
25 year old Spc. John Sheck, a military intelligence analyst for Combined Joint task Force 82 hits the gym at least five time a week to relieve the considerable stress of his job.
Others lift to add size and strength to their already ripped physiques. Spc Prentice “MB” Martin-Bowen is a former armed-forces bodybuilding competitor keen to maintain and build so that he can get back into competition again on his return to Fort Carson, Colorado with the rest of his Company.
“I competed back in ’99. Now that I’m back in the Army I’m determined to get back on that stage again,” says MB. “My workouts have been two hours long and different days I work different body parts.”
Gyms like the Clamshell at Bagram are open 24 hours a day to meet the constantly changing schedules of the troops and civilians stationed there.
Meanwhile, at Camp Liberty, Iraq, Sgt Gordon Wesley of 1171st ASMA took the US Forces BB Championships Heavyweight Title, according to blackanthem.com
Wesley, a Michigan National Guardsman, is an employee of Foote Hospital in Jackson and student in Baker College of Jackson. He is in his seventh month of a year-long deployment to Iraq. His road to the title included the usual rigid dieting and training routines, in addition to the support of his superiors and workout partners.
It’s good to see that even for our boys in the Middle East, it’s not all work and no play. The event is in keeping with the Army’s way of life, and, like the gyms, comes under the jurisdiction of the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Department.
“Making sure Soldiers are able to complete 18-hour, and sometimes longer, missions while wearing up to 70 pounds of gear is essential to survival in Iraq.”
This culture of strength and fitness was behind the annual U.S. Forces-Iraq Bodybuilding Championships held on May 5. There were six events; women’s figure, women’s bodybuilders, men’s light weight, men’s middle weight, men’s light-heavy weight, and men’s heavy weight. There was also a professional bodybuilder membership card given to the top male contestant, 38 year old Sgt 1st Class Demetrial Houston, of Dallas, Texas, for the men’s light weight event. Houston is overjoyed to have earned his first professional natural bodybuilding membership card, which will be issued by the International Natural Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation.
“It’s a life style,” he said of bodybuilding. Houston competed and won his first competition 10 years ago in Seoul, Korea, and has been involved with natural bodybuilding ever since.
Being involved with the sport of bodybuilding also helps him train his Soldiers.
“It’s a good sport,” said Houston who is also a Tae Bo instructor. “Physical fitness is a major part in the Army’s obligation right now.”
Watch this space for the Baghdad Classic, set for September 22.