Strength beyond service: Oregon Guardsman wins Washington State bodybuilding competition


PORTLAND, Ore.–Around a year and a half ago, Senior Airman Michaela Thompson, a 142nd Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter, was training for a marathon and then decided to switch gears and get into weight training. She found a powerlifting gym and a coach and after a little while of training, her coach recommended she compete because of her enthusiasm and natural skill.

As an individual inclined towards diving headfirst into challenges, Thompson embraced the opportunity. She started training in December and in April, dedicated herself to preparing for competition. On September 2nd, she made her debut in a show, marking approximately 20 weeks of intense preparation. Competing in the bikini class at the Washington State Olympic Naturals in Seattle, Thompson emerged victorious, clinching first place.

Thompson’s coach was shocked when she won, but both he, her gym community, and her fellow guard members were excited and thought highly of her accomplishment.

“I didn’t expect to win,” said Thompson. “It was supposed to just be like a feeler show. And then because of that win, I got an invite to a show in the UK this year. And then I’m chasing my pro card for the bikini and figure division this year. So I’m excited.”

Thompson found the allure of weightlifting after giving birth to her first child. She was looking for a way to better prioritize herself in a way that was healthy so she started getting into lifting.

“I liked that there is this really big mental challenge behind lifting, especially with bodybuilding training in particular,” said Thompson. “You train till failure every time. It was surprising to recognize when I thought I was at failure versus what true failure was.”

In pushing herself to the point of absolute failure, she realized she could get 5, 6, 7 more reps than what her mind was telling her. This increased her self-confidence and trust in herself, allowing her to push just as hard and with the same vigor in other aspects of her life.

When prepping for a competition, Thompson looks at it as more of a mental endeavor than a physical one. When she was preparing for her first competition last September, she ended up going on a two-week temporary duty assignment or TDY with her firefighting team to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. During this trip, Thompson had to maintain her strict diet which included figuring out how to meal prep at the fire station and abstaining from alcohol.

Thompson wears two hats in the guard. Working both as Commander Support Staff (CSS) for the 142nd Maintenance Group as well as a firefighter for the 142nd Civil Engineer Squadron.

“What I want to do and what I love to do is being a firefighter,” said Thompson. “Another one of the things I’m good at is working with people. CSS allows me to have a customer service side working with people as well. I’m really good on the administrative side so I can help solve problems as they come.”

Thompson’s father, an Aerospace Ground Equipment (AGE) supervisor serving in the 142nd Maintenance Squadron, showcased just how hard bodybuilding can be through his own dedication to physical fitness.

“My dad was a bodybuilder back in the day,” said Thompson. “So he has understood the sacrifices that are needed and how hard it is mentally. You get really tired towards the end, but you still have to hit every single target.”

Starting in mid-April, Thompson will begin prepping again for her next competition in July. This competition will be in Vancouver, Washington. After that, she will be competing in the United Kingdom in October. Depending on how both of these competitions go for Thompson, she is hoping to get an invite to the World’s Competition in Boston.

Date Taken: 04.24.2024
Date Posted: 04.24.2024 10:42
Story ID: 469371

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