The Iron Maiden

SAN ANGELO, Texas --
“The iron never lies to you. The iron will always kick you the real deal. The iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go, but two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.” – Henry Rollins, IRON, Details Magazine, Jan. 1993.

Now 26 years old, 10 years ago Airman 1st Class Sarah M. Bracy, 315th Training Squadron student, went through a lifestyle change.

Bracy grew up obese, and along with her sister, stood a strong chance of potentially developing type-2 diabetes, a condition already suffered by their mother. Faced with this grim prognosis, she and her family decided to fight back against their declining health, a battle Bracy is still fighting today.

“We did a complete 180 with our lifestyle and started exercising,” said Bracy. “Then, fast forward to when I started lifting, I was a jr. in college, and I heard about crossfit and gave it a try. I just showed up at the gym and I never looked back.”

Bracy quickly fell in love with weightlifting, making it a central part to her lifestyle. She found the practice a great source of stress relief and fulfillment in the art of goal setting.

“At the time in my life I was really stressed out,” said Bracy. “I didn’t want to be in college. I didn’t know what I wanted to do in college, I didn’t know what I wanted to do post-college and my dad was diagnosed with cancer. For me, it was like an outlet for stress.”

Through weightlifting, Bracy says she found an unflinchingly real ethos of self-progression and determinism. One that levels expectations and perspectives, one that transcends whatever she feels in the moment, one that grounding and keeps her rooted.

“The barbell doesn’t care what kind of day you’ve had,” said Bracy. “It doesn’t care if you’ve had a good day, you’ve had a bad day, what put you into that barbell, how you move that barbell, is all dependent on you and that’s what I love about it. It’s an individual sport; you get what you put in.”

Weightlifting requires dedication, perseverance and patience. Watching your lifts increase is a slowly rewarding process; one in which Bracy finds a lesson of patience.

“Weightlifting is not an instant gratification sport, sometimes I’m lucky to get a one pound or even two pound increase but it’s still an increase,” said Bracy.
Carrying over what she’s learned from lifting, Bracy feels it makes her a more capable Airman.

“Every day you are stronger,” said Bracy. “In the Air Force you’re not instantly given chief master sergeant. or colonel. That’s something that you have to work towards every day. You have to have stability in your life. You have to be able to stay focused. You have to be confident in yourself. You have to have perseverance. If you don’t keep doing it, you’re never going to gain anything from it.”

Pushing through new ceilings and breaking out of complacency is a cornerstone of self-improvement and weightlifting exemplifies that. The feedback in weightlifting is objective. You lift the weight you can lift. There’s no shortcuts to it, no tricks, it is what it is.

With it’s no-nonsense ethic, Bracy gains nothing but positives, propelling her to live a healthier lifestyle of challenge and self-motivation, which carries over to her being a better Airman, in effect making a better Air Force.