Weight wielding weasel
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Barbells crash against the floor only to be picked right back up by their dedicated users, while heavy breathing echoes throughout Potter Fitness Center. Men and women of Misawa rotate through weights and treadmills like clockwork looking to better themselves.
Staff Sgt. Sheena Raya Amaya, a 35th Aerospace Medicine Squadron aerospace medical technician, was one of these Airmen just trying to be the best she could on a daily basis until her friend suggested she sign up for the base's body building competition.
“I was going through a series of things in my life and I found the weight lifting room.” she said. “I enjoyed it so much…I got addicted.”
Once she decided to compete in the Misawa 2015 Northern Japan Bodybuilding Competition, she quickly discovered the challenges of eating properly, training to the point of fatigue and staying focused on her goals.
“You’re constantly hungry, you’re drained…it’s frustrating but you have to stay focused to reach your goals.”
Her hard work paid off. She won the 2015 Misawa NJBC. Then, in 2016, Amaya competed in the Yokota Air Base Central Japan Bodybuilding and Figure Competition and became the first Misawa Airman to take gold in the figure competition in 16 years. To top things off, she scored an international victory at the National Physique Committee Japan, hosted in Tokyo, making her the first U.S. service member to ever win this competition.
A fitness beast at the gym, Amaya is humble despite all her accomplishments. She knows the importance of fitness in the Air Force and setting a good example for her Airmen.
“[My lifestyle] motivates my Airmen to get up, get into that gym and live that healthy lifestyle,” said Amaya. “Because you only have one body, you might as well take care of it.”
She added having good cardiovascular endurance helps her perform duties as a medical technician. In her career field, there are times when she has to quickly carry injured personnel to receive vital care.
“Remember why you started your fitness journey in the first place.” said Amaya. “It takes time…slow progress is still progress, so don’t give up.”