Airman captures bodybuilding medals

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Tammie Moore
  • 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
For some people, simply saying they tried is enough. For a 4th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, however, perfection is the goal.

Hours of training and years of commitment paid off for Staff Sgt. Franklin Walton when he recently earned first place in a regional bodybuilding competition's overall and middle-weight categories.

"I was confident I put 100 percent in everything I could as far as preparation goes," said Sergeant Walton, who began competitive bodybuilding in 2007.

While stationed at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., Sergeant Walton met retired bodybuilder Charles Gloster, who convinced him to enroll in his first competition, where he earned two first place trophies.

"I decided to stick with it, since my life has always revolved around the gym," he said. "The gym is where I let everything out whether it is joy, pain or suffering. What better place to let emotions run wild and turn it into something positive."

Preparing for a bodybuilding competition requires more than performing heavy-lifting drills to put on mass, he said.

"As a bodybuilder, it is way more than going to the gym and lifting weights," he said. "You are no longer simply a weightlifter. So everything you do in the gym is to make your body as close to a sculpture or masterpiece as you can get for competition. During a competition period, my mentality totally changes, as well as my diet. I live, eat, sleep and dream bodybuilding. I distance myself from family and friends in order to focus on my goal. I have one objective and that is to win."

Despite being confident in his preparation for the recent competition, Sergeant Walton said hearing his name announced as a winner was overwhelming.

"When you're standing there and people you never meet cheer for you, it's undesirable," he said. "Then I had to come out for the junior overall (award). I honestly wanted to drop to my knees and give all thanks to God. The emotional joy that ran through me, I can't describe. The feeling was unbelievable."

Sergeant Walton encourages others who have an interest in the sport to seek a mentor or trainer.

"If it was easy, everyone would do it," he said. "Find someone who has experience, and see if it is something you want to put yourself through. When it comes to bodybuilding, everything is almost scientific. If you don't have the knowledge or maturity of the sport, the outcome probably won't be good. But if you have the heart, discipline and passion, eventually you will succeed."

Part of the scientific formula to successful bodybuilding is a proper diet.

"You can have all the muscle in the world, but if no one can see it, what is the point?" Sergeant Walton said. "I can't stress enough how important diet is. A lot of people think that starving themselves is the best way, but I eat wholesome food about six to eight times a day, so I'm never really hungry."

Sergeant Walton, who has been in the Air Force for six years, has never scored below 90 percent on his Air Force physical training test.

"This sport benefits me when it comes to my PT test because I'm always in shape," he said. "Bodybuilding keeps me healthy, both mentally and physically. On any given moment, I can take my PT test."

After earning his two recent trophies, Sergeant Walton is preparing to take the next step in his bodybuilding career.

"I recently sat down analyzed my situation, talked with several mentors and friends, and made the commitment to be a lifetime bodybuilder and personal trainer," he said. "I'm sitting out the rest of this year to see if I can qualify for nationals and possibly compete in the Arnold Amateur division this spring."