Airman dreams of becoming Mr. Olympia

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jake Carter
  • 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
The solid sound of metal on metal clashes, causing a loud ring; sweat rolls down foreheads and groans from those exerting all they have to complete a seemingly simple task -- weightlifting -- can be heard throughout the gym. Senior Airman Vincent Costante, 99th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels laboratory technician, is among those that call the gym their second home, but he lifts with a different purpose than most of the other gym patrons.

Costante is preparing for his first bodybuilding competition. A competition he hopes one day will lead him to his ultimate goal of becoming Mr. Olympia, the title awarded to the winner of the most prestigious annual men's bodybuilding contest. The title and honor of Mr. Olympia has been held by the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno, but Costante knows he is just in the beginning of a long process.

"Bodybuilding came on by accident," Costante said. "I was working out one day and I saw this really big dude and I asked him about it. So I started looking into bodybuilding and (decided) I want to do that."

Costante has been assigned to the 99th LRS for over five years, and received the push to compete when a fellow Airman saw his potential.

"I never really had the drive to work out, and just recently I got the drive to get into shape, build muscle and lose fat," Costante said. "My goal was to get into a bodybuilding competition. I just never stepped up and did it until Staff Sgt. (Travis) Mitchell came in."

Mitchell, 99th LRS NCO in charge of fuels preventive maintenance, has guided Costante along his bodybuilding journey as his trainer and coach.

"I've pretty much have been managing his diet, workout plans, poses and rest periods because he likes to go to the gym excessively," Mitchell said. "So as his coach, I'm going to show him how it's really done and how much effort he has to give to reach the big stage."

Before Costante set out to be a bodybuilder, he was in the worst shape of his life.

"Before I came into the military, I was in the worst shape I could be in," Costante said. "I was 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighed over 230 pounds. Then I got the notion of coming into the military, and I started working out a little bit. I got a little bit taller, thinned out and I was happy."

Since Mitchell took over as Costante's coach, he can see the major progress made by his trainee.

"He had a high body-fat percentage," Mitchell said. "But now he's cut it down and his vascularity is coming out way more. He's sculpting; he's more cut, leaner, faster and a lot stronger."

Costante, who plans on competing in the lightweight to light heavyweight division, stays away from a traditional workout and adds variety into his routine plan.

"I do whatever really works for me. I don't follow a set plan of repetitions," Costante said. "If I need to do something, I'm going to do it. Whenever it comes to working out, it doesn't matter how many I do, it's how it feels after I'm done."

Because the Warrior Fitness Center on Nellis Air Force Base offers a variety of programs, Costante has helped his training by taking advantage of what the gym has to offer.

"It's your job to be fit in the military. You can't be in the military and be out of shape," Costante said. "The Health and Wellness Center helped me out with the body composition tests. The Warrior Fitness Center is a great place to work out, but there are a lot of great options through the HAWC."

Despite the amount of work Costante has put into his bodybuilding goals, Mitchell said the young Airman still pays close attention to the small details while on the job.

"It is very evident that Airman Costante works harder at work than in the gym. Upon arriving to the base, Costante was the guy that I shadowed until I took over the shift completely," Mitchell said. "If I had to describe his work ethic, I would say he's a meticulous kind of worker. He likes to perfect the task at hand so that he doesn't have to do it twice or correct any mistakes later. He's the 'one shot, one kill' type of person."

Also since becoming his trainer, Mitchell said Costante's positive vibes gained in the gym are showing in the work center.

"One thing I've noticed he's always happy," Mitchell said. "If you look good, you feel good, and if you feel good, your work is going to show. He always has a positive attitude and it shows in his work."

Constante sees the gym as a place where he can feel happy and where he can also relieve the day's stress.

"The gym is a free therapist," Costante said. "If I'm mad about something I can go to the gym and work it off and come back 20 times happier than I was 30 minutes ago."

Costante will be competing in his first body building competition July 4th, and has set very reachable goals for his first competition leading to bigger aspirations down the road.

"One of my short-term goals is to place in the top five in my first competition," Costante said. "And from there, I want to be an International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness professional, and then one day, I want to be Mr. Olympia."