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    321st Sustainment Brigade soldiers power through to set camp records

    321st Sustainment Brigade Soldiers power through to set camp records

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Lisa Rodriguez Presley | 321st Sustainment Brigade soldier Cpl. Victoria Hare of Coffeyville, Oklahoma...... read more read more

    CAMP TAJI, Iraq – Soldiers often adopt new hobbies or workout habits during deployment, and for two soldiers from the 321st Sustainment Brigade, a habit has turned into a record-setting obsession with power lifting.
    Even before you see them, you can hear the banter between Cpl. Victoria Hare, a 25-year-old native of Coffeyville, Oklahoma, and Staff Sgt. Roberto Manzo, 29, from Stewart, Florida, at the gym. Unlike other gym-goers who are simply grunting or breathing heavily on each repetition, this power lifting duo are trash talking one another, pushing themselves to lift a little more.
    “We talk a lot of trash to each other, but it serves a purpose,” said Manzo. “Telling her that she has to do it, that people are looking at her, adds pressure and makes her lift more weight, which ultimately makes her better.”
    The motivation seems to be working. Hare holds Camp Taji records for women’s power lifting with a 185 pound bench press and 355 pound deadlift. Manzo held the squat, bench press and deadlift records at Taji until the most recent competition on October, 27. He remains the squat record holder at 435 pounds and placed third overall in the competition.
    While setting a power lifting record at a competition can be an impressive feat, it’s a single event that reflects weeks, months, or even years of hard work to get to that point.
    “On average we work out and hour and a half to two hours per day, five days a week,” said Hare. “It’s a lot of time to invest, but it’s worth it to get where I want to be.”
    As they work on deadlifts at the gym anyone can see the visible strain from weight they’re lifting. Hare grabs a bar loaded with 315 pounds and carefully adjusts her body alignment to ensure she is lifting the weight correctly. Pulling upward on the bar, her stomach tightens and her face reddens as she stands upright before lowering the weigh back to the floor. Happy with the last rep, she accepts a high five from Manzo who watches her form closely during each exercise.
    “Form is everything when you’re doing this,” said Manzo. “You can really hurt yourself if you don’t have good form, and it can also affect how much weight you can lift.”
    As Manzo steps to the bar he adds another 175 pounds to it before beginning his deadlift. Hare checks the weightlifting belt around Manzo’s waist, ensuring it is tight enough to constrain his stomach muscles, which could otherwise tear from the strain of lifting nearly 500 pounds. To place your safety in the hands of a teammate requires trust, something that Hare and Manzo have developed over the course of the deployment.
    “We’ve been doing this long enough together that we know each other’s limits,” Manzo said. “I trust her as a spotter, and I know if I needed help she’d be right there.”
    The trust built in the gym carries over into their day-to-day work at the 321st as well.
    “There are things that she’s better at than I am, and vice versa, so we help each other at work,” said Manzo. “She’ll proofread some of my work and in turn, because I’m a senior NCO she comes to me for advice on how to improve professionally.
    We both have goals that we want to reach,” said Hare. “If there was one thing I could say I’ve learned from this, it would be that you’ve got to push yourself. Compete and build off of that because you might be better than you think.”



    Date Taken: 11.12.2018
    Date Posted: 11.13.2018 09:31
    Story ID: 299647
    Location: IQ

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