SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFNS) -- (This feature is part of the "Through Airmen's Eyes" series. These stories focus on individual Airmen, highlighting their Air Force story.)
Co-workers occasionally find common interests between them. For two Airmen at Scott Air Force Base that turned into powerlifting competitions.
Master Sgt. David Martin, a 375th Communications Group quality assurance inspector, and Staff Sgt. Kimberly Francois, the Air Mobility Command radio systems manager, started working in the same office and are now working out together daily at the gym.
They both have powerlifted before but started to take it seriously in June, thanks to some powerlifting mentors. As they got stronger, they were encouraged by their mentors and others to compete in local bodybuilding competitions.
For Francois, getting over stage fright was a goal of hers.
"My biggest accomplishment is doing something outside of my comfort zone," she said. "I like that I'm getting more confidence and doing something in front of people that I enjoy."
In November, they both competed in their first meet. Originally they were only planning to compete in that one competition. However, they decided to work even harder and competed again in March.
They went to Orlando, Florida, for a weekend to compete in the 24th annual USA Powerlifting Military Championships.
For their efforts, Martin won six medals and a trophy while Francois won two medals and two trophies. They also set a combined total of 17 new military and state records.
Setting records and winning trophies are just a bonus to what the duo really feels is meaningful to powerlifting.
Martin said his proudest accomplishment in powerlifting is getting his daughter involved.
"I want her to be strong, capable and empowered," he said. "I think getting her started lifting is a good way to do it."
Not only does powerlifting help with personal and family concerns, their work has also improved. Even during lunch hours, they meet at the gym and work out together.
"It gives me something to look forward to in the morning," Martin said. "I do my workout, get back from lunch, and I feel less stressed. I have a better interaction with customers, and it puts me in a better mood."
From all of the benefits that they are seeing from powerlifting, they both plan to continue to work out and have new goals.
"As long as you show and you don't miss workouts, you will see progress," Martin said. "The hardest part of any workout is just showing up."