Fit to fight

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alex Lowe
  • 439th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Senior Airman Christyan Villejoint, an administration personnelist at the 42nd Aerial Port Squadron, didn’t start his body building career as the two-time gold medalist he’s become today. It was the result of the community around him combined with the lessons he’s learned through being an Airman that propelled him to glory.

Villejoint started working out to lose the weight he had gained after no longer competing in wrestling. He got a job at Club Metro, a nearby gym, where he met Dana Maleton, his manager and a bodybuilder. Noticing his interest, she introduced him to the Powerhouse Gym and the world of bodybuilding as a whole.

Entering Powerhouse for the first time was a different world of working out. His previous gym, like most, was a place where people strived to get into shape. However, this was closer to art than fitness. The control and purpose they put into every muscle, every movement was on another level, he said.

“I had no idea, by the age of 22, what it really meant to put the work in,” said Villejoint. “I was just shocked to see how well they moved the weight around. They were like well-oiled machines -- just focused on their task.”

On his own, Villejoint trained in order to bridge the gap between himself and those around him. He would work his muscles to the limit, then recover that section of his body while he focused on another, building bigger and stronger muscles only to repeat the process week after week, he said. 

Feeling ready for his first competition, he completed the process by ‘cutting’. Now that he built the muscle underneath, he would begin to work away excess fat by slashing his calorie count and increasing cardio. This put him into the shape he would keep for competition.

However, when he placed much lower in the standings than he expected, it took the wind from his sails. The loss left him with a feeling of defeat and he lost the energy he once had. While a part of him still had an intrinsic motivation to be a bodybuilder, there was a piece missing, so he decided to walk away.

Three years later, Villejoint joined the Air Force Reserve, seeking more purpose than just his construction job and looking for a new path. For two months, Villejoint trained to be an Airman at Basic Military Training, gaining structure and a new sense of teamwork from his fellow trainees. After graduating, he went on to fortify his work ethic throughout his Technical Training.

Graduating BMT and Technical School gave him a sense of accomplishment, and with his civilian life back in the forefront as a reservist, he sought to utilize the new tools he gained.

“I felt so driven -- like I had so much momentum,” said Villejoint. “I’ve always put in the back of my head that I want to compete again, but I want to do it right this time.”

Villejoint went back to the Powerhouse Gym, committing himself to this goal, he signed up for a full year of coaching. The combination of his drive learned in the Air Force and his coach, Dan Hawtin, provided a new focus to his body building that he was eager to test.

In June of 2021, Villejoint competed in his first competition since his hiatus, placing second in the Atlantic States Championships. The near-total victory left him feeling hungry for more, and more empowered to give his all.

With the help of his coach and support of his girlfriend, Zoe Finkelstein, he turned his training up another notch. After putting on more muscle and more weight, they felt ready to prepare for another competition. The only thing left was to cut down to size before signing up.

Despite tracking every calorie that was a part of his diet, his body wasn’t reacting the way they hoped. Unable to properly cut down, they pushed back one competition after another waiting for the right time.

In November of 2021, the National Physique Committee held the Armed Forces Nationals and Battle Royale competition. The event had two categories; one for military members only and a broader category open to everyone. It was for this competition that Villejoint’s body finally got in the competitive shape they were waiting for, so they signed up for both categories.

As they waited for the competition, Villejoint put on his uniform for his monthly Unit Training Assembly feeling burnt out from both bodybuilding and working construction, he said. Noticing this, his supervisor, Tech. Sgt. Torres Moulier, gave him some time to recuperate on one condition: Win that Competition!

“She had a sister that competed before and she has seen first-hand how hard it is,” said Villejoint.

As he walked into the Armed Forces competition, he saw his competitors. Everyone was looking the best they could. In the lighted mirrors of the backstage, if they weren’t looking at their poses they were sizing up their competitors.

Instead of following suit, Villejoint calmly waited in the corner still wearing his baggy clothing. When Hawtin went to make sure he was okay, Villejoint simply stated, we’re gonna win this show.

“Everything just came full circle,” said Villejoint, on winning both competitions while representing the Armed Forces. “This was the one I was gonna win for sure, because it just brought both worlds together. -- As cheesy as it sounds, it literally felt like graduating BMT all over again.”