“Now that’s a downright sprint right there; that’s amazing!” a master of ceremonies yells into the microphone as Capt. Jamie Navarro, 60th Surgical Group Command Squadron charge nurse, carries 165 pounds in each hand at the U.S. Strongman Nationals competition, June 5, in Minneapolis.
Navarro, a 36-year-old Phoenix native, has been competing in strongman competitions since 2017. The Marine Corps veteran served as a truck driver, deployed for 13 months in 2006 and separated after eight years of service. She then went to school to become a nurse and to get back in shape. She used CrossFit and around this time, she was tinkering with the idea of commissioning in the Air Force to serve again.
“I was first introduced to strongman (competitions) in a CrossFit gym,” she said. “I remember seeing people push trucks and flip tires thinking, ‘Oh, I’m not strong enough to do that.’ I went out there and pushed the truck … my legs felt like Bambi legs after, but I did it.”
Since then, Navarro has competed in many strongman competitions, even winning two. She won Arizona Strongest in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic and California Strongest earlier this year. However, her goal was to compete in an international event, and to do so, Navarro would need to place in a nationals show — she did on June 5, placing second.
“To actually place at a national show … it’s what I’ve been working for,” she said. “A lot of times when you compete, you look at your mistakes and you look at what you could have done better, but in this one, this was my best — I’m really proud of myself. I’m walking away with my head held high saying, ‘I did good.’”
Navarro credits her children and gym family for keeping her motivation and drive high.
“Family to me is the backbone of my motivation,” she explained. “The blood, sweat and tears that I’ve shed for my sport is to be a role model for my kids … to show them what it means to be dedicated to something.”
Navarro explained that on days where she didn’t want to show up or wanted to slack off, that’s where her gym family played the biggest role.
“My gym family will always be there to give me that extra push to get through my workouts when it’s tough, hold me accountable and remind me of what my goals are,” she said. “This is love and support at its finest.”
Preparing for competition is more than daily workouts. To be competition ready, Navarro needed a strict workout and diet to which she credits her trainer and nutritionist for helping her prepare. They would give her specific workouts and a diet to follow for weeks, leading up to nationals.
The U.S. Strongman Nationals consists of competitors of the same weight class competing in multiple categories — Navarro competed in the 132-pound weight class.
The competition consisted of five events: a log-axle press medley where competitors had to press a 140-pound log and 150-pound axle over their heads repetitively for 60 seconds; a 345-pound deadlift, repeated as many times for 60 seconds; a timed farmers carry holding 165 pounds in each hand for a total distance of 100 yards; a timed sandbag carry medley where competitors carry a 165-pound keg for 50 yards, sprint back and return with a 150-pound sandbag; a timed atlas stone series where competitors pick up and carry a 150-pound, 175-pound and 205-pound stones over a tall bar.
Navarro is competing in the U.S. Strongman Pro Women’s Worlds V, Oct. 9, 2021, in Williston, North Dakota.
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Story by Nicholas Pilch, 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs