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Fitness Challenge brings life change to one Lackland employee

  • Published
  • By Tony Perez
  • 37th Training Wing Public Affairs Office
Being physically fit generally means a longer and better quality of life. However, sometimes it means pursuing a new life plan.

Matt Malenic, a staff member at Chaparral Fitness Center, recently completed the staff-wide fitness challenge. He finished with an increase in his overall health and fitness, the highest of anyone competing in the challenge.

"I basically joined the program to show my support in fitness," Mr. Malenic said. "I thought I would see a little bit of improvement from this program, but not the drastic improvement that I saw."

While participating in the challenge, Mr. Malenic was also enrolled in a course called Fitness Fundamentals. The course proved a useful tool in reaching his fitness goals.

"I had to cut eating out down to about once or twice a week and definitely had to give up drinking sodas," Mr. Malenic said.

The 20-year-old was so motivated by his results that he decided to enlist in the Air Force. He is currently working with a recruiter and will officially enlist the second week of February.

"Matt wasn't really into the physical culture, but through this contest and another course that (he took), he got turned on to the Air Force way of life," said Fitness & Sports Director Steve Reichert.

Mr. Malenic previously attended Northwest Vista College, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in history, and will continue to pursue his degree as a member of the Air Force.

"One of the biggest reasons why I hadn't enlisted yet was because I didn't think I was physically ready for (basic military training), but after I saw my results, I feel a lot more confident and I feel ready to take on the physical challenge," Mr. Malenic said. "The program also gave me more insight into how the Air Force works, (technical) school, the people that you will hang out with and work with." 

The future Airman has strong ties to the Air Force as his father, Chief Master Sgt. Matt Malenic, is stationed at Yokota Air Base, Japan.

Mr. Malenic still has fitness goals he would like to meet before enlisting.

"I still have a lot of room for improvement," he said. "I'd like to increase my upper-body strength, but the main thing I'd like to increase is my cardio respiratory endurance. I'd like to get that up for boot camp because there is a lot of running and walking. I figure once I get that under control, it will be a breeze."

Mr. Malenic believes that anyone can achieve health and fitness goals that they set up for themselves.

"The main thing is no more late night runs to (the local fast food restaurant); I just grab an apple instead," Mr. Malenic said. "You don't have to change every aspect of your life. You just have to learn when to say 'No, I really don't need that.'"