BURLINGTON, Vt. - At 3 o’clock in the morning, most people are still hiding under the covers waiting to hit the snooze button. Instead of following the norm, Senior Airman Lindsey Bond can be found pounding the pavement on her daily run.
Fitness is essential for any military service member, both to better perform their duties and simply to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Bond, a full-time sheet metal mechanic with the Vermont Air National Guard (VTANG), recently took the goal of physical fitness a step further.
Originally joining the VTANG in 2009, Bond was focused primarily on using the educational benefits of enlistment to further her military career. Bond married her husband in 2011 and found her lifestyle beginning to stagnate.
During an overseas deployment in 2013, Bond felt the impact of the different environment. Working in weather that was frequently over 100 degrees and needing to walk a mile from her tent to reach the dining facility, Bond began to lose weight simply due to the increased amount of work in her daily life.
During the deployment, she began to feel the benefits of the healthier lifestyle and encouraged other members of her office to begin running with her.
Upon returning to Vermont, Bond kept up with her new routine.
Feeling better the more she worked and encouraged by her husband, a trained weight lifter, Bond added weight lifting to her workouts.
She then decided to set her fitness goals even higher and began training for bodybuilding competitions.
Working an intensive workout regimen into her schedule has not been easy, she said, but she has had the support of both her husband, who is dedicated to his own workout and fitness plan, and her personal trainer, a professional competitor as well. She also has support from the other members of her office.
“Initially,” Bond said, “there was some gentle teasing when I began dieting. When you don’t take the donuts or cupcakes that someone brings in, eventually people ask why. Now they make jokes about how I’m the fittest member of the office.”
As part of her workout, Bond has a strict diet: every portion of protein, carbohydrates, sodium, and other nutrients are planned and measured to ensure she has the energy needed to support her body.
For the past year Bond has woken up at 3 o’clock in the morning to go running. She then packs her daily meals, needing to have a snack ready every two hours as part of her diet, and goes to work at the VTANG. After work she goes to the gym where she works with her trainer on her weight lifting program for the next hour or more. Coming home she has dinner, prepares her meals for the next day and is in bed by 7 p.m.
Once her new routine began showing results, the jokes about dieting or competing gave way to questions. People began to come to Bond for advice on how they can work on getting fit, or how they might set up their own diet plan. Many of them curious or even motivated by the success she has shown.
“Bond’s progress was amazing,” said Staff Sgt. Rebecca Solomita, an equal opportunity (EO) specialist with the VTANG. “I saw how much she had done and it was a wake-up call. It motivated me to start taking steps myself and while I don’t plan to go as far, she is helping me become that much healthier.”
Bond does not focus on power-lifting, something she says many people assume when she mentions bodybuilding. Rather, in her own words, she works more on what is referred to as "body sculpting," the goal of which being to focus on showcasing a specific figure.
“I do sometimes get odd looks when I mention it,” said Bond. “Especially when I tell people that I compete in bikini competitions.”
Bond recently finished her first competitive season where she attended three competitions. She took home three first place trophies and placed highly in other events.
Going forward Bond plans to continue to compete and after earning her personal trainer license she hopes to one day open her own gym. Within the VTANG, Bond has accepted the position of the base EO officer. One of her military career goals was always to get a commission and she intends to use the role of EO to support the positive environment of the base.
“I want to make sure I can do everything I can to support of the VTANG and the positive environment we have here,” said Bond. “My goal is to ensure that everyone in the Guard family has the support they need in their careers, and their lives.”