Kadena NCO started from bottom, now at top

Base Info

Kadena NCO started from bottom, now at top

by: Airman 1st Class Justin Veazie | .
18th Wing Public Affairs | .
published: April 23, 2013

 KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- (Editor's note: This is the final article in a series of fitness challenge articles.)

The winner for the male division of the 2013 Extreme Fitness Challenge here started out on his couch playing video games and over eating.

Tech. Sgt. Leonard Johnson, 18th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron vehicle control officer, won the fitness challenge April 9, after four months of working out, taking educational courses and eating right.

Before the challenge, Johnson weighed 275 pounds and was not satisfied with his professional image.

One day while Johnson was driving, he heard on the radio about the 2013 Extreme Fitness Challenge and decided this was the start of his transformation. After entering the challenge, the sergeant set a goal for himself to lose 40 pounds by the end of the challenge.

After 16 years in the U.S. Air Force, Johnson quickly realized he had lost sight of being fit to fight, one of the Air Force's top priorities. According to Johnson, it was then he realized something had to give.

"It was tough," Johnson said. "There were times when I just wanted to give up, but when those doubts came in all I could picture was my family."

No matter how hard the challenge got for him, he never gave up, but he couldn't do it without the support from his family. Knowing his family was right behind him, picking him up when he fell, was the push he needed to excel.

"My biggest motivation was my wife," the vehicle control officer explained. "Just right here in my ear, telling me to keep going and to push through. I wouldn't have made it without her."

After four months, Johnson finished the challenge and was sporting a new look he could be proud of.

"I'm definitely proud of my body and all the work I put in to get it," Johnson added. "All this working out was extremely worth it and I'm glad I participated (in the challenge)."

At the end of the challenge, Johnson weighed in at 229 pounds, which meant he had not only met his goal, but exceeded it by six pounds. An hour later, he received an email from the 18th Force Support Squadron fitness challenge project coordinator congratulating him in being named the first-place winner of the male division.

"I feel dreams are out there for a reason; (always) follow them and work hard to achieve them," Johnson said.