FORT CARSON, Colo. – Family member Isabelle Proner-Michelin follows a lift during the Strong Soldier competition on Oct. 15, 2022, at Garcia Physical Fitness Center. (Photo by Walt Johnson)

By Walt Johnson

mountaineer staff
FORT CARSON, Colo. – Jessica Yates, right, passes through an elevator as fellow contestants Kyle Dunn, left;  his wife Isabelle Proner-Michelin, second from left;  and a spectator watches.  (Photo by Walt Johnson)

FORT CARSON, Colo. – Jessica Yates, right, passes through an elevator as fellow contestants Kyle Dunn, left; his wife Isabelle Proner-Michelin, second from left; and a spectator watches. (Photo by Walt Johnson)

FORT CARSON, Colo. — Soldiers and family members gathered at Garcia Fitness Center on Oct. 15, 2022, as the annual Strong Soldier competition took place with enthusiastic competitors showing how dedicated they are to fitness and strength training.

The Strong Soldier event is one of the most popular strength and conditioning events held each year, and it measures each person’s individual strength and willpower. The aim of the competition each year, according to officials of the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, is to test the strength, physical fitness and mental toughness of individuals and, again , it did not disappoint.

The competition tested upper and lower body strength that pushed competitors beyond their comfort zone. After a particularly grueling event, one competitor after another had to rest from exhaustion and pull themselves together after the event had drained all their remaining energy.

One of the competitors in this year’s event, Nicholas Galvan, didn’t know he would be in the competition when he woke up in the morning, but ended up finishing first in his weight class. Galvan came to the facility to cheer on other competitors, but ended up competing in the sport he’s loved for four years since he started bodybuilding.

FORT CARSON, Colo. – Kyle Dunn prepares to push some weights as his wife Isabelle Proner-Michelin films his efforts during the Strong Man competition on Oct. 15, 2022 at Garcia Physical Fitness Center.  (Photo by Walt Johnson)

FORT CARSON, Colo. – Kyle Dunn prepares to push some weights as his wife Isabelle Proner-Michelin films his efforts during the Strong Man competition on Oct. 15, 2022 at Garcia Physical Fitness Center. (Photo by Walt Johnson)

“I used to work out at this gym (Garcia) and my thoughts were to come and help in any way I can. I train with weights every day; I try to train my group main muscle at least twice a week, so I was ready to compete today,” said Galvan. “When I got here, I decided to enter the event.

The competition was also an opportunity for previous entrants to catch up, even though they were competing for the same prize in the women’s lightweight division. Jessica Yates, who would go on to win the division, and Isabelle Proner-Michelin, who finished just behind Yates, were talking

and encouraging each other. Each of them had a story about personal trainers in their past that led them to the October 15, 2022 event, and why they had no problem helping each other be the best they could be.

Yates started bodybuilding about six years ago and had a personal trainer three years ago when she became interested in competitive powerlifting. When she realized that Strongman competitions matched her powerlifting background, she was more than eager to start competing in Strong Soldier type events. She said she doesn’t see it as competition with Proner-Michelin because of the way it approaches events like this.

“When you compete in a Strongman competition, it’s more about competing against yourself than against others. You really want to see what your body can do and what you can meet or exceed when it comes to your record one thing that weightlifting taught me is that it will teach you a lot of life lessons and failure is a part of life and if you don’t win the event it’s not so What I tell myself every time I do a facelift is, “Keep your mind straight, focus and get rid of any negative thoughts that might get me down and don’t let me give the best of myself,” Yates said.

FORT CARSON, Colo. – Jessica Yates, left, discusses strategy with fellow competitors Kyle Dunn, center, and wife Isabelle Proner-Michelin, right, before a Strong Man competition event on Oct. 15, 2022, at Garcia Physical Fitness Center.  (Photo by Walt Johnson)

FORT CARSON, Colo. – Jessica Yates, left, discusses strategy with fellow competitors Kyle Dunn, center, and wife Isabelle Proner-Michelin, right, before a Strong Man competition event on Oct. 15, 2022, at Garcia Physical Fitness Center. (Photo by Walt Johnson)

Proner-Michelin hired a personal trainer for her then newlywed husband Kyle Dunn, who competed in the heavyweight division, about 10 months ago. She wanted to support her interest in powerlifting and the personal trainer had techniques that would help her. Shortly after, she joined in the practice session and that led them to participate in this event when they were recently transferred to Fort Carson.

“My wife found me a personal trainer and shortly after that she started training and started participating in the sessions. Eventually we started to consider competing in Strongman competitions. About a month after we started training I tore my biceps deadlifting and it took me out for three to six months We continued to train but I had to train in other areas besides deadlift of dirt and that’s when I realized how much I would enjoy Strongman competition. A lot of things you do in training are done in Strongman competitions, so I thought it It was great that we started doing it. It’s completely different from weightlifting, powerlifting and bodybuilding, which makes Strongman training totally unique. So you need someone to teach you to do the Strongman disciplines like removing a buc he off the floor without tearing a bicep or hurting your back,” Dunn said.

Dunn may have liked the idea of ​​the Strongman, but Proner-Michelin wasn’t sold on first sight. She said her husband would talk about the strong man. But Proner-Michelin was also an avid weightlifter, Dunn says pound for pound she could hold her own lift with him, so the idea of ​​competing had a certain appeal for her. Competing wasn’t the only thing the couple took out of competition last weekend.

“It’s our first anniversary weekend, and it was great that we could compete together and spend time doing something we love together. Plus, it’s great to meet people with the same goals in competitions like this,” said Proner-Michelin.