STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y. --
Finding a fitness routine to stay motivated throughout the year can be a struggle for some Airmen. Running programs, group workout classes and regular visits to the gym are just a few ways Airmen find ways to stay engaged. A few Airmen with the 109th Airlift Wing have taken it a step further with a fitness and nutrition routine where discipline is imperative.
Siblings Staff Sgts. Perry and Meya Rayner along with Tech. Sgt. Kat Gregory have all found a common fitness routine through bodybuilding. Throughout each of their journeys they’ve relied on each other to help stay motivated in obtaining the best results possible for bodybuilding competitions.
When Perry, who works in the 109th Services Flight, first started lifting weights in 2013, he started to notice a difference which was the motivation he needed to keep pushing.
“I started doing research and learning more about nutrition and training,” he said. “With those years of gaining experience and knowledge, I applied it to myself and really learned what types of food are good for me.”
In 2016, he took his hard work to the stage and competed in his first competition, placing in the Top 3 in men’s physique. During this time, he also became a certified online personal trainer.
Meya, who is assigned to the 109th AW’s command support staff, was at her brother’s competition to help cheer him on and began following his journey.
“I didn’t know anything about bodybuilding, but I was always interested to see what level I could get my body to,” she said. She decided it was something she’d like to try out and turned to her brother for nutrition advice.
“People started to reach out to me for meal plans and training plans,” Perry said. “My sister was the first girl I helped out with nutrition, really applying everything I had learned.”
Meya competed in March and placed second in the World National Bodybuilding Federation’s bikini category.
Meanwhile, Gregory, assigned to the 109th Civil Engineer Squadron, had already competed in her first two competitions in 2015, but she didn’t connect with the Rayners until preparing for her latest competition in April. When she found out about Perry’s qualifications and experience, she reached out to him for help.
“I applied the same protocols for Kat that I used for my sister,” Perry said.
Gregory had learned a lot about her body from her previous competitions and knew that by committing to another competition it would help get her into a fitness routine.
“When I commit, I commit,” she said. “I spent two years trying to get back in the gym and could not find a routine to save my life. I knew committing to a competition would get me back on track.”
Both Perry and Gregory competed in April in the National Physique Committee’s New York Capitol Championships. Gregory placed second and third in her competitions, and Perry placed in the Top 5 in his.
“It was so helpful to have Sergeant Rayner with me at the show to help me out,” Gregory said.
All agree that their journeys have not only inspired others to get into a fitness routine, but that their inspiration has also motivated them to keep going.
“Other people see your work and reach out to you,” Meya said. “People look up to you as being motivation for them, but when people reach out to us, it motivates us. You don’t realize that there’s people watching and paying attention. It helps us to help others reach their goals.”
“With our dedication and discipline, I think people will find their way to reach out to us whether they want to compete or take their fitness to a higher level,” Perry said. “That communication is always open.”