Airman takes 'Fit to Fight' to new heights

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Parker Gyokeres
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
In today's Air Force, being "Fit to Fight" describes a fitness mentality that prepares us for the rigors of a battle. 

For Senior Airman Steven Cherry, 822nd Security Forces Squadron, "Fit to Fight" is a personal obsession that has taken him to new heights. 

"I began lifting at (security forces) technical training in October 2003," said Airman Cherry. "It was only after I got to Moody and met my coach, Charles Gloster, a year-and-a-half ago, that I got serious about bodybuilding." 

'Serious' is a bit of an understatement. Airman Cherry spends an average of four-to-five hours a day, seven days a week at the gym, working out and training. 

He entered into his first competition at the Georgia Supernatural Bodybuilding and Fitness Championship April 7 in Marietta, Ga. 

Airman Cherry won first place in the novice lightweight class and then first place in the entire field of novice champions from all weight classes. Then he went up against all champions in his height range and took second place overall. 

"It was an exciting and unbelievable experience to win the competition," he said. "I still can't believe I did so well; hard work truly does pay off." 

Airman Cherry is quick to point out that while he was up on stage by himself, he wasn't alone. 

"The lights were bright and the crowd was loud," said Airman Cherry. "I could only hear my trainer's voice above all the noise, telling me what to do, hyping me up and coaching me." 

Also motivating him to this point was his workout partner, Ashley Pearce. 

"She would talk me into getting through the mental and physical stress of training for a bodybuilding show," he said. "One day she gave me a drinking straw and told me to suck it up. I thought about this straw every time things got hard and I felt like quitting." 

Leading and guiding both of them was their mentor and coach, Mr. Gloster. 

"It's only a very small percentage of the population that will ever get up on stage to do one of these competitions," said the trainer. "Steven was used to a totally different kind of workout before he met me and decided to do the show. I taught him how to lift properly and once he conditioned his body to handle the stress from doing such a workout, he turned out to be one of the hardest workers I have trained yet." 

For Airman Cherry, the respect was mutual. 

"Charles is an awesome trainer," he said. "He taught me how to lift weights, diet, and pose. None of this would have been possible without his guidance and support. He put everything into getting Ashley and I ready for the competition. He's the most dedicated person I've ever met." 

Mr. Gloster used that dedication to show Airman Cherry how to achieve his goals, because in the end it was just going to be one person alone on the stage. 

"I always remind him that there is someone out there doing that same show and who is working in a gym just like he is," said Mr. Gloster. "The one who trains the hardest is the person who wins. 

"The words outstanding, spectacular and dedicated simply cannot describe what he accomplished," he said. "It was pure excellence."