INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey --
The Incirlik Air Base Fitness Center has continued to see a steady rise in traffic; benches, machines and weights rarely get a break from use.
A portion of that increase is due to the announcement of an inaugural fitness competition taking place here September 24.
The competition is being put together by Tech. Sgt. Robert Niter, 39th Medical Support Squadron medical readiness member, Staff Sgt. Taurie McCurdy, 39th Medical Operations Squadron executive assistant and Staff Sgt. Bryce Dick, 39th MDOS community health NCO in-charge.
“We all feel excited about the event,” said Niter. “We have strong support from many and are thrilled to host the first-ever fitness championship at Incirlik.”
Niter was approached by McCurdy after learning of his background as a professional natural bodybuilder, athlete and competitor. The two exchanged their experiences in the profession and shortly after, they decided to share their competition dream with everyone.
“We thought about how awesome it would be to put on a big event at Incirlik as we shared the same passion,” said Niter. “I realized Taurie was a natural for the camera in speaking and presence. I have experience with marketing, photography, videography and promotions. With those skills among others, we were able to brainstorm, draw up a game plan and begin executing. Bryce later came on board and joined eagerly as he shares a similar fitness passion.”
Chief Master Sgt. Jason Steege, 39th Air Base Wing acting command chief, said he thinks it is a great idea to have an event like this. He went on to say it gives people stationed here a unique platform to promote a healthier lifestyle.
“Everyone has different motivations for getting fit and the more ways we as an organization can appeal to that personal motivation, the healthier our population will be,” said Steege. “In addition, this also gives individuals an opportunity to attend an event that they may not necessarily have been exposed to in the past. The secondary effect of having this event may be the spark it provides to those sitting in the audience watching their fellow Titans compete, it may give them the desire to make lifestyle changes in their own life.”
The inaugural competition will include multiple categories to compete in such as bodybuilding, physique, bikini and model championships. It will also be set with judges for grading competitors and awards for top contenders.
Niter said the competition will build character and inspire others to reach a higher level.
“The purpose of the competition includes several key factors: We can develop our confidence to do things that are hard or uncomfortable,” said Niter. “It teaches us resilience by learning to cope with things that don't go our way. It teaches us goal setting, integrity, discipline and to play by the rules. Competition gives us the opportunities to cope with feelings of pride and disappointment and to learn to process them in healthy ways.”
The competition coordinators said they wanted to hold the fitness competition for many reasons. One of the reasons being to bring something different to Incirlik that's fun, exciting and that can really boost morale.
“We wanted to enhance individuals' health, allow members to challenge themselves physically and mentally, and instill confidence in people,” said Niter. “Also, to raise the bar and allow people to set a new goal and incorporate healthy living habits to increase longevity. Lastly, we wanted competitors to feel that sense of pride and strength, not only physically but emotionally and mentally.”
Volunteers are also being scouted for the competition, to include assisting with set-up and tear-down, performing as a master of ceremonies or disc jockey and preparation. Other volunteer positions may arise for the event.
Since the initial announcement of the competition in May, individuals interested in participating have been filling the gym getting ready.
“Individuals have to prepare themselves mentally and physically,” said Niter. “Physically by putting in the work in the gym, making sure they are training, dieting and getting their body fat percentages to a certain level. Mentally by having the confidence to step on stage and have a few people who will help mentor and build up their confidence.”
To assist individuals in staying driven prior to the competition, the team has shared a website and posted multiple motivational and contest preparation videos. The website provides information on what's acceptable and unacceptable when competing. It also provides links to multiple tools to remaining healthy.
“I’m extremely proud of the Airmen who decided to take a risk and think outside the box on how to promote healthy living,” said Steege. “The unique aspect of what they proposed was making it a competition, which by its very nature has had their desired effect of getting more people to the gym and working out. These Airmen have done a wonderful job of leveraging social media to offer educational tips and classes aimed to help people be as prepared for the competition as possible. Combining the education piece with the competition portion is a great way to help people make sustainable lifestyle changes that will benefit the member for years.”