ARPC member trains to win: Places twice in NPC competition, qualifies for nationals

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Rob Hazelett
  • Air Reserve Personnel Center Public Affairs
An Air Reserve Personnel Center traditional reservist took it upon herself to take fitness to a whole new level through weightlifting and dieting and became a force to be reckoned during the National Physique Committee Armbrust Pro Gym Warrior Classic Aug. 22, 2014, in Loveland, Colorado.

It was the first time Tech. Sgt. Pamela Torrez has competed in a bodybuilding competition and her hard work paid off as she took 3rd place in the Novice Figure Class C, and 4th place in the Open Figure Class D.

Both classes comprised participants over 5 feet 6 inches tall. The Novice Figure Class C, included seven competitors, while the Open Figure Class D featured 11 competitors.

The Lincoln, Nebraska, native who started her quest last December, said competing as a bodybuilder has been a very rewarding experience.

"It's absolutely amazing after all the blood, sweat, tears and dedication to finally get up on stage, and share with others my accomplishments," the nine-year Air Force veteran said.

And she's not done yet.

For her efforts, she qualified to attend an upcoming national bodybuilding competition in 2015.

"I spoke to my trainers," Torrez said. "We are going to focus on doing another NPC competition at the end of May next year. If that goes well, I will go to junior nationals in Chicago two weeks later."

Torrez said she had gotten up to four hours training each day for her competition, and developed her diet in two phases - bulking and lean down.

"Bulking is where you eat enough calories each day to grow your muscles, allowing for cheat meals," she said. "Lean down is where my calories are more limited. I had a strict diet each day. In this phase, my diet would change weekly depending on my progress. In the final week, known as peak week, the diet is adjusted one more time and my water consumption is limited to help define the muscles."

Since her training started, she said she's lost 20 pounds after her bulking cycle, gained a total of 5 pounds of muscle and gone from 23- to 16-percent body fat.

Yet what impresses her the most, is how she feels.

"I've always been what we call a 'skinny fat' person," she added. "I also used to run a lot, so my body was structured differently. I love having the muscle; it makes me feel like my body is structured like it was meant to be."

When she's not at the gymnasium training for bodybuilding competitions, Torrez works full time at ARPC as an education services technician.

"I run the tuition assistance program for chaplain candidates and Individual Mobilization Augmentees," she said. "I also counsel members on their educational benefits and update education levels and military training."

Torrez plans to make a career of the Air Force, and said she's always looking for new learning experiences.

"I am not quite sure where my road will take me, but I am sure it will be a great experience," she said.

Part of the experience along the way includes receiving words of encouragement from one of her colleagues.

"I'm so proud of Pam, but I'm really glad she can eat donuts again," said Tech. Sgt. Bridget Smith, NCO in charge of Readiness Management Group Detachment 29. "I made the mistake of going to some of her training sessions - it took me days before I could sit down again."

Torrez doesn't hesitate when she discusses what she would tell other Air Force members interested in taking up bodybuilding.

"It takes a lot of time, patience and dedication," she said. "You sacrifice time, family, friends and 'fun.' Nothing happens overnight; it's a continuous process, but it's definitely worth the effort."

Torrez draws motivation from her 6-year-old daughter, Hailey.

"She has been so incredibly terrific during this whole process. She's been very understanding of my time constraints, and is a constant reminder of why I work so hard."

Besides weight lifting and exercising, Torrez enjoys other hobbies to include biking, hiking and horseback riding.