Worth the weight

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ashley N. Steffen
  • 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

With her brow furrowed and teeth gritting as every muscle in her body tenses up, the dissonant sounds of metallic ringing, determined grunting, and echoed overhead music, constructs this 25-year-old bodybuilder’s place of serenity.

Staff Sgt. Macy Benjamin finds her escape from everyday life within her workouts. Starting with a scarce amount of fitness knowledge, she began transforming herself from an average Airman to a fitness guru.

“I got into fitness pretty seriously about two years ago after I failed my physical training test,” Benjamin said. “I decided I was done being mediocre.”

The contract administrator from the 355th Contracting Squadron began looking for a positive avenue in her life to destress and develop herself by focusing on her weakest areas and improving what was lacking.

“[The gym is] a good place to escape,” Benjamin said. “I put my headphones on, do what I have to do, then go on about my day. I feel like previously in my life, I was kind of dealing with things the wrong way.”

As time passed, Benjamin learned to break through barriers while becoming adept in the art of lifting.

“Over the past couple years she has set and achieved some impressive goals,” said Tech. Sgt. Matthew Wester, Benjamin’s coworker and occasional gym partner. “But she remains very humble about her accomplishments.”

Like many other bodybuilders, the development of Benjamin’s humility stemmed from her early, more inexperienced days of weightlifting.

“When I first started working out, I felt kind of stupid,” Benjamin said. “I didn’t know what I was doing, there’s a bunch of buff guys who look like they know what they’re doing and I was just throwing weights around.”

As her muscles strengthened, so did her confidence. Benjamin was able to see herself growing in more ways than one.

 “Working out is a part of her everyday life now,” said Staff Sgt. Christina Rinato, one of Benjamin’s gym partners. “It's not a burden or a task, but rather something she uses for a stress reliever.”

According to Benjamin, there is nothing like the high she receives from the release of endorphins after a workout. For her, it’s a necessity to have this experience before she starts her day.

 “I’m naturally a very reserved person,” Benjamin said. “Working out has helped me get out of my comfort zone and become part of a small gym family.”

 Every fitness center has its own little community of regulars, who aid in the growth and development of new gym goers.

 “The fitness community will come up and tell you how great of a job you’re doing, and it’s boosted my confidence,” Benjamin said.

 She is now able to talk to people more comfortably, has more self-confidence and inspires others.

 “I always admire her and constantly go to her for advice on gym routines and nutrition,” Rinato said.

After failing a physical training test a few years ago, Benjamin is now the physical training leader within her squadron and also trains on her own six days a week.

“I started from humble beginnings and honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing,” Benjamin said. “I’m really happy and I hope by telling people [my story] I can help inspire them to realize that you can start from the bottom and get to where I am today.”