TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – “You can push yourself beyond anything you’ve ever done before,” said the young captain, his eyes bright with excitement as he discusses the challenge facing him only days away.
Capt. Christopher Williston, a 21st Airlift Squadron C-17 Globemaster III pilot, will compete in the Alpha Warrior Western Regional Competition June 21 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. He will be the only Airman competing from Travis AFB and he said he plans to make Team Travis proud.
“My goal is to complete the course faster than everyone else,” he said. “I’m there to win. Completing the course in anything more than three minutes would be a disappointment.”
The Alpha Warrior program specializes in creating obstacle courses for the military, which test agility, functionality and resilience, according to the program’s website. The program features numerous competitions at the base and regional level requiring participants to complete a variety of challenges including segmented bars and an inverted ladder climb.
The top three male and female performers from one of 20 regional competitions will advance to the super regional competitions, which will be held at five locations in July. The final competition is set for Sept. 12 at the Alpha Warrior Proving Grounds, Retama Park, Selma, Texas.
To qualify for the western regional, Williston had to be one of the top three males at a base level competition. He took the top spot at Vance AFB, Oklahoma, during the base’s competition in May with a time of 2 minutes and 51 seconds. He said he is focused on performing well at Hill AFB.
“To prepare for the competition I’ve been working out six days a week and sometimes doing two work outs a day,” said Williston, a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “I focus on upper body strength training three days a week, lower body strength training three days a week and I work in core and high-intensity interval training as well.”
Before each workout, the captain said he runs two miles at an approximate seven-minute per mile pace to get his heartrate elevated and body warmed up.
“From there I typically exercise on the Jacob’s Ladder machine for about four minutes and immediately go into my circuit,” he said.
The Alpha Warrior competition requires participants to complete five reps of each exercise along with a variety of obstacles. To prepare his body to perform at its best, Williston said he performs 10 reps of each exercise including burpees, medicine ball pushups and box jumps.
“I double those numbers for my workouts to ensure, when the time comes, that I can perform my best,” he said. “If I stress my body to that point, than when it comes time for the competition, I’ll likely fly through it.”
Williston is no stranger to fitness events having competed in numerous 5K races, a half triathlon and a marathon in South Dakota.
“I just love competing at a level where you know people are putting their heart and soul into it and it’s something most people wouldn’t do because it’s so challenging,” he said. “Someone else is pushing themselves to the max, so I think, why can’t I do that? In the end, it all comes down to putting in the work.”
Williston said his fitness training and positive mindset also make him a better Air Force officer.
“My training keeps me in shape for the Air Force mission while I do something positive and hopefully, provides a good example of the well-rounded officer the Air Force wants,” he said.
Williston said, one thing that has helped him be successful is goal-setting, something he stressed, can be beneficial for all Airmen.
“Most people would be surprised how powerful goal-setting can be and just how far you can go by setting small goals,” he said. “The only way to be successful with anything is to put in the work and by establishing a goal and working toward that goal, you are now accountable to that goal and are likely more motivated to complete it.”
The captain has shared his fitness knowledge with junior Airmen to help them prepare for their annual fitness test and achieve their goal of a faster run time.
“While I was at Vance, eight Airmen told me they were nervous about their upcoming fitness tests because of their run times,” Williston said. “I worked with them for five weeks and put them through sprint work five days a week. Each of those Airmen reduced their run times by a minute or more and they all passed.”
The captain hopes for similar success at Hill in three days.
“I’ve been pushing myself harder than ever,” he said. “I’m looking forward to running the course, putting myself to the test and qualifying for super regionals. I know I can work even harder and get stronger and faster than I am now.”
The western regional competition will be available to watch via live stream on the 75th Air Base Wing’s Facebook page June 21 at 12 p.m. mountain time. For more information about the competition, visit http://www.myairforcelife.com/Fitness/Alpha-warrior.aspx.