Love of bodybuilding pushes Reserve Space Airman to reach new heights

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Stephen J. Collier
  • 310th Space Wing Public Affairs
Physical fitness. For Airmen, it's a subject discussed around the workplace, water coolers, and wingtips of aircraft across the globe, sometimes with excitement, and for others, grunts. But for Air Force Reserve Senior Airman Victoria Jenks, it's a constant moving target, forcing her to push herself more and more.

That's what it's like to adopt bodybuilding as a sport of choice.

Jenks, an exercise evaluator with the 310th Operations Group, embraces change. So it's no surprise the senior airman, who began her AF Reserve career in 2010, was inspired to change her body.

"My husband has always been really into lifting. When we first met, he let me know that if I wanted to see him, he would be in the gym a lot. So, I started training a little bit. Then I started to grow a love for it."

With her interest growing, Jenks continued to train hard up until September 2012 when she decided she wanted to compete. That's when she and her husband began saving money to fund professional training. With finances set, she joined a local team in Colorado Springs, Colo., where her coach puts together a strict diet plan, workout regimes and other preparations for upcoming shows. After a grueling, 16-weeks of training and diet, the hard work would pay off. During the GNC Southern Colorado and Armed Forces Bodybuilding Championship, she took top honors in both the novice and open, figure categories.

Jenks then went on to take first place overall in the competition.

The win only pushed her harder. Soon after, she entered the August 2013 NPC Armburst Pro Gym Warrior Classic in Loveland, Colo. After more preparation, and adding a bit more muscle, she came in a second overall - putting her in arm's reach of a national title.

With bodybuilding, Jenks said it's the way she feels when sculpting her body that keeps her wanting to push for more.

"It's the feeling it gives you when you're healthy and in shape; you just feel better about yourself," she said. "When I started setting goals for my body leading up to competition, I started to see how my body reacted. Then it became 'how can I transform my body next'? Some people are afraid of change, but I like to see those improvements and know that if I put a certain amount of hours in the gym and eat a certain way how my body will become. I really have developed a passion for it because of how it makes me feel over all."

That bodybuilding doesn't come by itself. Jenks' diet revolves around a 16-week, steady intake of light carbs, being strictly Ezekiel bread or sweet potatoes. Her meals also consist of no more than six ounces of protein, generally in the form of chicken, lean ground turkey break, white fish or tuna. Each meal also consists of vegetables, but only greens, which include broccoli, brussel sprouts, asparagus or salad.

Her passion in pursuit of excellence doesn't stop in the gym or at shows. As an Airman, Col. Traci Kueker-Murphy, 310th OG commander, said Jenks' personal aspirations "demonstrate her dedication, determination and her commitment to high standards."

We fought to get her," Kueker-Murphy explained. "When she came over to the OG, she was also being 'recruited'" by several other organizations, not to mention her previous unit didn't want to let her go. She has been a great addition.

The colonel also noted that Jenks brings those same qualities to her role in the 310th.

"She sets the example for her fellow Airmen across the OG. She is consistently a high performer and one of those Airmen everyone wants in their organization. We are very fortunate to have her on our team."

There are sometimes misnomers about bodybuilding, Jenks said, that she wanted others to know are generally false.

"There's this cliché out there about people bodybuilding and the way it makes you look," she said. "Some people have the 'meathead' mentality about bodybuilders. This is definitely a sport that takes a lot to do, both mentally and physically."

And for those who want to get into bodybuilding? Jenks pointed out it doesn't matter if you are short, small, have muscle or not - anybody can do it.

"You don't necessarily need the physical strength right away, but mentally, you have to prepared to compromise a lot of things. You have to know that a lot of your time is going to be spent on your own. It's very individualized, and you can make or break it for yourself. It's very difficult, but it doesn't have to be. You just have to have the drive and determination to do it. It will change you as a person for the better."

(Editor's note: This feature highlights Senior Airman Victoria Jenks as part of the Fall 2013 "Built Schriever Tough" campaign. See more about the campaign and other Team Schriever members at