SrA Jamaar Meadows, 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron cyber transport systems technician, works out on a stationary bike at the Pebble Gym at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 2, 2012. Through dieting and exercise, he has lost 55 pounds in three months while deployed to BAF. Now that he has lost the weight, he wants to inspire others do the same. “If I can do it, anyone can,” said Meadows. (U.S. Air Force photo/SSgt Jeff Nevison)
SrA Aaron Oliver, 22nd Special Tactics Squadron radio support technician, picks up a medicine ball at the Pebble Gym at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 2, 2012. During his deployment to BAF, Oliver has lost 47 pounds by eating correctly and alternating his exercises. Oliver gave credit to his leadership for inspiring him to lose weight. (U.S. Air Force photo/SSgt Jeff Nevison)
by TSgt Shawn David McCowan
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
8/6/2012 - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, AFGHANISTAN -- Personal wellness and fitness is a hot topic in the military. A military fitness-related article can be found seen in a publication somewhere in the world every day. Some servicemembers already had a personal fitness plan, while others may have used evolving "fit-to-fight" military programs to inspire healthy changes to their daily routines.
Two Airmen at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, saw their deployments as an opportunity to begin a fitness regimen that would improve their health. "Improve" quickly became an understatement when, just three months later, they lost more than a 100 pounds combined.
SrA Aaron Oliver provides ground radio support for the 22nd Expeditionary Special Tactics Squadron. He said has struggled with weight for some time, but avoided many workout plans because of the long and complicated sessions. Forty-seven pounds later, the Simi Valley, CA, native says while his health-focused unit and his chief helped get him started, he was self-motivated to make a change.
"Everybody in the squadron is fitness-minded, so that was a big help. My chief showed me a good way to work out. He broke up a workout into smaller intervals. That way it doesn't feel like the workout is going on forever," said Oliver.
Oliver said people reluctant to start a routine, like he was, should start a workout program at a comfortable level and duration, which helped him avoid getting burned out.
Oliver is happy with his results, and hopes his family is impressed when he gets home.
CMSgt Sean Gleffe, 22nd ESTS chief enlisted manager, was thrilled with Oliver's determination and success.
"I'm extremely impressed with SrA Oliver's motivation, dedication and results. He achieved what most people talk about doing, or only see on reality shows. The mark of his progress was a teammate's reaction after seeing him for the first time in four months...priceless. He's not only an example for his peers, but for all of us. It just goes to show that if you want it bad enough, remain strict with your training and diet, it can work," said Gleffe.
SrA Jamaar Meadows, a Cyber Transport technician with the 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron, was also not a fan of workouts. But, like Oliver, his chief gave him just enough of a push to get him running.
"My chief has a run on Wednesday mornings called the 'mystery run.' It's a mystery because you don't know if it's going to be two mile, three miles, or maybe even five miles. I hate running. I didn't want to get up, but I kept telling myself, 'It's 5 a.m., I have to run with the chief,'" said Meadows.
Meadows said he then added a workout after work, and began watching his diet. His common-sounding workout plan brought uncommon results, with Meadows dropping 55 pounds.
Although he didn't want to get started, said he now has a lot more energy, can remain more active, and hopes to be able to use that energy to do more volunteer work. He also says it will help his military career and expanding family.
"Now I enjoy taking care of myself. And I don't have to worry if I have a Physical Training test coming up. I know I'll blow it out of the water, and I can concentrate on the mission. It's second nature to want to be a healthy person now. That will be important when my wife and I have a baby."
Meadows' said diet played a big part of his weight loss, and warns people about watching what they eat.
"I's say cardio is an important place to start a workout, but dieting is huge. It's not going to help if you go run two or three miles, and then go eat junk food."
CMSgt Greg Fournier, chief enlisted manager of the 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron, got Meadows started.
"Not only is he working diligently to improve his health and fitness, he is doing great things at work. And his wife is due with their first child in November, so this is a big step for them," said Fournier.
Both Airmen say they can't wait until their families see their accomplishments. Oliver said he has a large family who will be very proud of him. Meadows said he looks forward to seeing the look on his wife's face when she sees how much weight he lost.
The Airmen will be put to the ultimate test when they get home, just in time for holiday dinners.