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Airman's lifestyle changes opened door to military service

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Richard Adams, a munitions crewmember with the 167th Airlift Wing, made significant lifestyle changes to lose 70 pounds in six months to be eligible for enlistment in the Air National Guard. His accomplishments exemplify the discipline and resiliency it takes to be an effective Airman.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Richard Adams, a munitions crewmember with the 167th Airlift Wing, made significant lifestyle changes to lose 70 pounds in six months to be eligible for enlistment in the Air National Guard. His accomplishments exemplify the discipline and resiliency it takes to be an effective Airman. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Edward Michon)

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. --

“Discipline” and “resilience” are terms that many members of the military are familiar with. They are ideals taught from day one of enlistment, engraved in the lifestyle associated with military service and carried throughout a service member’s career.

For one Airman at the 167th Airlift Wing, these principles would need to be implemented long before taking the oath of enlistment.

Airman 1st Class Richard Adams, a munitions crewmember at the 167th, weighed 275 pounds when he decided the military would be the right fit for him, despite knowing he would not be the right fit for the military.

“When I started to talk to the recruiters, they told me I had a long way to go to be within my weight limit,” said Adams.

Over the next several months, Adams would need to lose nearly a quarter of his body weight to pursue his desire to serve.

The weight would not hold him back.

“I started out by running, but I couldn’t make it over 100 yards without being miserable,” said Adams. “But then I got to a point where I was able to run three miles a day.”

Adams would then implement CrossFit and weight training in addition to a healthy diet in order to shed the extra pounds.

Within six months, an enormous weight would be lifted from his shoulders and the scale when Adams was able to enlist at 205 pounds.

“I learned that I’m a lot stronger than I ever thought I was,” said Adams. “If I can make it through this, I can make it through anything.”

Adams also accredits his weight loss journey to helping him become a better Airman and leader.

“I developed the self-discipline and resilience to get through anything,” said Adams. “I now have the confidence to be a leader.”

Through his story, Adams has developed a passion for fitness and hopes to inspire others looking to do the same.

“Don’t be afraid of hard work,” said Adams. “It sounds hard but it’s simple. Get your mindset right and hit the ground running. That’s the way I started.”