Written by Hannah Mladenovich
Brotherhood and sisterhood within the military community brings a sense of togetherness, family, and having each other’s backs for life. Often, military members will refer to one another as brothers or sisters due to their closeness and unshakeable bond. This is no different for friends, coworkers, and brothers Wayne and Steven; however, their dynamic is slightly more personal.
Steven and Wayne met at their first enlisted duty station located at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. They started their journey together as coworkers, assigned to work together on a team, and shortly thereafter became close friends. Their friendship started in 2009, and in 2013, when Wayne came back to the United States after a deployment, Steven began his relationship with Wayne’s wife’s sister, thus starting their journey as brothers.
Getting to Know Wayne and Steve:
Wayne has been in the Air Force for nearly 15 years and has worked in Security Forces his entire career. He earned a commission and is now a First Lieutenant and serves as the officer in charge of the Readiness Training Center in Ramstein, Germany.
Steven joined the Air Force back in 2008 with a passion to follow in his father’s footsteps who also served in the military. He has been serving for nearly 14 years and works as a Flight Sergeant (Chief) and leads a team of 30-40 individuals depending on the day. These service members work as Security Forces which serves as the base defense and law enforcement within the military. Steven oversees these individuals as well as the operations behind it to ensure effectiveness within the overall department.
For Wayne and Steve, abnormalcy is normalcy. Steve currently resides in England, and Wayne in Germany. As friends, now family members, they only get to see each other about once or twice a year if they are lucky. Recently, the two families were able to come together and get an essence of normalcy when Steven and his family came to visit Wayne and his family in Germany. Having the ability to workout together, golf, hangout, and take the kids to sightsee as a whole family is that sense of union and togetherness that both families miss out on. Wayne mentions, “in a normal setting we would be down the road from one another, or the kids would be able to get together on Saturdays to hangout, but that’s not our reality.” What is special about their connection is that as soon as everyone comes together again, it feels as though there was no time apart. Both families are able to pick up right where they left off. As Wayne puts it, “it’s one of the coolest and saddest parts about being in the military, it’s great that we can pick up where we left off even after many months, but it’s sad that we have to.”
Wayne and Steven are the closest in proximity to each other now than they have been in years. Steven mentions how he and his family have been in England for about three years now and due to travel expenses, were unable to fly home to the United States to see their family and friends. Luckily, Wayne was assigned to Germany, thus making the distance between them closer and more manageable, even if family time is few and far between.
Creating a Mission out of Shared Passion:
For Wayne and Steven, fitness is the foundation and the core of what they do professionally. However, that foundation soon developed into a genuine passion for fitness. That passion then led to furthering their fitness education and helping others through becoming personal trainers. They pursued training opportunities in Nutrition, Exercise Science, and Master Training classes to expand their knowledge and began training individuals shortly thereafter.
Wayne mentions how he loves when people tell him that they can’t do a pull-up, or they want to eventually bench press 300 pounds because seeing them achieve that goal, as Wayne says, “that little moment right there, when they achieve it, it’s easily one of the greatest feelings in the world for me.” For Wayne and Steven it’s all about being a small part of that journey. “We can only provide a person with the tools; the application is always on the individual and how much work they want to put in, but witnessing that accomplishment and being able to be a part of that journey to success is a huge fulfillment for us” says Wayne.
This passion and genuine willingness to help others is what ultimately led to the creation of it Fitness and Performance. Wayne and Steven created it Fitness as a way to help people overcome their mental and physical blockages. Through physical challenges and overcoming the self-doubt mindset that often comes with weight loss, muscle growth, or overall body performance–Steven and Wayne work directly with individuals to ensure that whatever an individual’s personal goals are when it comes to physical and mental performance, they will achieve.
The key component to it Fitness and Performance is the performance element of it. The passion for also further developing athletes. However, the word athlete carries a different meaning than what we are used to here in the United States. “My kids currently play football (soccer) here in Germany,” says Wayne, “and in Europe they don’t call it practice, they call it training. I absolutely love that.” Wayne goes on to say, “In European culture, regardless of if you are swinging a golf club recreationally or playing competitive soccer, you’re an athlete. If you are in an over 40-year old basketball league and your goal is to make MVP–let’s go! Let’s go get that MVP award!” Regardless of your starting point, your end goal, and the factors getting in the way between the two–Wayne and Steven have curated it Fitness and Performance to assist.
“Regardless of what stage in life people are at, whether they are kids in highschool or they’re adults looking back on what they could have done or could have achieved as ‘athletes’–I want to show people what they are actually capable of and that is my passion as a personal trainer.” –Steven
How Military Lessons Developed into a Core Mindset:
The military offers many life lessons; however, for Wayne, the ability to handle adversity was by far the most valuable. Through navigating many deployments, various job stressors, and given little to no notice on life-changing moves and decisions–being able to conquer those obstacles are a challenge. Wayne goes on to say, “there have been many times throughout my 15-year career where things did not go according to plan, and that’s okay. You deal with it, and you move on. It’s the ability to take a bad situation and overcome it and try to find the silver lining of it all.”
“The ability to look back on your experiences, mostly the bad ones, and realize how you overcame those challenges really molded me into the person I am today.” –Wayne
For Steven, the ability to adapt has played a key role in his life. As Steven says, “one of the funniest things about Security Forces, we can sleep anywhere. We get put into so many random scenarios where we are stuck in a tower or outside in the pouring rain, and if we need a nap, we need to adapt.” Steven also focuses on the importance of positivity and remaining optimistic regardless of the situation he is faced with.
“There’s a lot of hard things that we go through, a lot of hard times. You can’t sit and dwell on the negative stuff all of the time. Just stay positive, adapt, and overcome.” –Steve
The Future for Wayne and Steven and it Fitness:
Despite the inconsistent schedules and distance, Wayne and Steven have big plans for it Fitness. Once the two retire from active-duty service, they plan to open a gym facility in the United States to further that 1-on-1 connection with others. “Right now, when we train people, it’s typically from a distance,” says Wayne, “for the longest time I would have people send me videos of their gym and what they had available and then design workout plans for them based on the equipment they had.” This has been a successful venture for it Fitness and one that makes their organization unique given that not a lot of trainers, apps, or programs offer that kind of personalization especially remotely.
As successful as this method has been, Wayne and Steven want that personal connection with their trainees through offering a brick and mortar gym. “There is a sense of intimacy that comes with helping people achieve their goals in person that differs from achieving them from a distance, and we eventually want to be able to provide that.” says Wayne.
To follow Wayne and Steven on their journey as they continue to serve and protect as well as help others grow and transform via it Fitness and Performance, follow them on Instagram @myitfitness.
Here at ZYN, we would like to personally thank Wayne and Steven for taking the time to speak with us about their mission and journey. We kindly thank both of them for their service as well as other past and present service members who work to serve and protect the United States of America.