Every work area has at least one. One person who brings their lunch to work neatly packed into plastic containers. The same person changes into their fitness apparel at work before they leave for the gym. You may ask yourself “How does someone achieve that level of dedication toward being physically fit?” It starts with just one step toward a realistic goal, which transforms into a staircase to success.
The United States Military Endurance Sports organization provides the guidance to that first step toward anyone’s fitness goals, including beginners.
“We have invited athletes to [participate] and it has grown and grown from beginner, to developing, to elite and now it’s more of a wellness program to get people interested in endurance sports and give them the tools to get started,” said U.S. Air Force retired Lt. Col. Bill Jacobus, USMES general manager.
USMES is a non-profit organization setup for supporting recreational and competitive endurance athletic activities for current and Veteran members of the United States Armed Forces. Activities include cycling, running and swimming.
Air Force 2nd Lt. Samantha Morrison, USMES elite triathlete and public affairs officer at Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C., is no stranger to competition and maintaining a high level of physical fitness. Morrison placed first among females ages 18-24 in the Ironman World Championships held in Kona, Hawaii in October 2013.
Morrison loves to encourage Airmen to make small changes in their daily lives that lead to bigger ones.
“When I see Airmen at my base, most know that I do triathlons and they say ‘You’re crazy!’ but they all ask me how they can get in shape,” Morrison said. “I have not had one person talk to me about the Ironman competition and them not say ‘Hey, can you help me get started on eating healthy and working out?’ I just tell them I hope they realize that you have your work day and there is time to do it, whether it’s morning or night. Just take the next five days, wake up an hour earlier to workout and tell me how good you feel afterward.”
The USMES organization can also help sling-shot developing athletes to a higher level of competition.
With help from big-name sponsors like Boeing, Snapple and Scott, USMES members have access to resources that would otherwise be difficult to obtain as an individual.
“We began to develop relationships with industries like bike sponsors, wheel sponsors and all those sorts of things,” Jacobus said. “Individual athletes would not have the resources required to go out and make those kinds of contacts and to establish those kinds of relationships.”
Other than equipment, USMES offers knowledge and experience to help set up newcomers for success.
“I’ve been coaching these athletes and they bring their expertise from the highest level of the United States,” Jacobus said. “We take all that coaching and infrastructure and all those resources and make them fully available to our absolute newest beginner members.”
For more information about USMES, visit www.usmes.org.