Fit to fight, the path an Air Force captain took to lead by example

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Two Marines stood awe-struck at their pull-up booth as the words "I'm in the Air Force, and I'm an officer," rolled off his tongue after being pronounced the winner of a pull-up contest with 35 pull-ups.

Capt. Michael Boswell, 509th Logistics Readiness Squadron and an amateur bodybuilder, came in fourth place out of 11 competitors in his novice division at the Natural Southern States Classic in Kansas City, Mo., April 19.

Captain Boswell wasn't always in competition shape though; he entered the Air Force at the age of 22 as a 5 feet 11 inches tall, 225 pound 2nd lieutenant.

Captain Boswell made a lifestyle change that would take him down a path that allowed him to drop more than 50 pounds and become more physically fit for himself, his family and the Air Force.

"Part of the reason why I chose to do bodybuilding was because I was an overweight officer and wanted to better myself to exhibit those characteristics synonymous with that of an officer," Captain Boswell said. "So I made a choice to do this and have stuck with it ever since."

Not wanting to be hypocritical gave him motivation for the lifestyle change.

"As an officer, it's difficult for me to counsel an Airman if I'm overweight," Captain Boswell said. "I just wanted to have that total package as much as possible; I definitely wanted to be an example and lead by example as cliché as that may sound."

Captain Boswell didn't do it all for himself or the Air Force though; his family played a big role in it.

"I wanted to be healthy for my children and my wife, Capt. Charlotte Boswell, Whiteman Legal Office, which was my primary driving force," he said. "I look at a lot of people, a lot of men these days, and they get older and gain a lot of weight and are not able to play and interact with their children.

"I don't want that; I want to be 40 years old, still bodybuilding and have a six pack and be able to run faster than my kids," he added.

Captain Boswell transformed from the epitome of the "chair force" to the personification of a fit to fight Air Force, dominating bodybuilding competitions including his most recent. 

"This competition was easier to prepare than my first," Captain Boswell, who has attended two competitions said. "I have been keeping in top physical shape for the past two years so I didn't have as much preparation as I have had in the past."

Although previously in good shape, he trained and dieted for four months before the competition.

"I created a fitness routine that consisted of natural supplementation and exercise and made it a lifestyle for four months," Captain Boswell said. "I am going to train even harder and longer for my next competition in St. Louis this fall."

In addition to his personal fitness, Captain Boswell helps his wingmen become and remain fit to fight.

"Captain Boswell is very intense on weight-training, and loves to be in the gym, Staff Sgt. Shelly Bowden, 509th Logistics Readiness Squadron said. "(You can find him at there) three or four times a day."

"Captain Boswell is awesome,"said 2nd Lt. Ross Agee, 509th Munitions Squadron said. "He helped me tremendously to lose 32 pounds in 15 weeks in preparation for a contest. I can't thank Captain Boswell enough for training me and helping me with my diet. I am in the best shape of my life and scored the highest I ever have on the PT Test."
Captain Boswell likes to challenge his Airmen to step up and set goals for ourselves, Sergeant Bowden said. He is always willing to help them meet the goals they set. There are times when they play sports, and he always brings a challenge to the court. His Airmen always step it up when Captain Boswell is around. The Airmen love to go head to head with him.

He has gone out of his way to help Airmen succeed in their physical fitness, Sergeant Bowden said. He is always excited when someone asks for help, and is always willing to help.

Captain Boswell is starting an intramural bodybuilding team and is currently looking for fitness competitors, male and female bodybuilders alike.

If you are interested in being on the bodybuilding team contact Captain Boswell at Michael.boswell@whiteman.af.mil.