American Ninja Warrior to Air Force Warrior

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Janelle Patiño
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
From working desk duties at a fitness center in Virginia, to becoming a personal trainer and competing in NBC's American Ninja Warrior reality TV show, Airman 1st Class Kristina Kovch, 92nd Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician, now leads a physical training program to help her fellow Airmen stay fit and improve or pass their physical fitness test.

Kovch worked at Verve Health and Fitness in Arlington, Va., for six and a half years with clients coming from Maryland and Washington, DC. While working, she was also training in parkour [obstacle course-like training] at Urban Evolution until a previous ANW competitor, Justin Kydd, approached her and asked if she wanted to try out for the show.

"He told me the show has always been looking for females to join, but there were a lot of obstacles women couldn't do or weren't able to do," Kovch recalled. "That particular statement was enough motivation for me to prove them wrong. The self-doubt in women's abilities was my driving force to work and train harder."

Kovch sent the ANW show a submission video and was accepted in April 2013. She then flew to Miami, where the show was filmed, for an interview in May and competed the very next day. The Virginia native made it through four out of six obstacles.

"I wanted to win! I'm pretty hard on myself and I get very determined," she said. "I wanted to do well and succeed where others had failed."

After a year of working and training, Kovch decided to follow her father's footsteps and joined the military.

"I've always wanted to join the military ever since I was a little kid, especially with my dad being in the United States Navy," she said. "One of the big reasons why I wanted to join was because of the mindset of women not being able to do the same things men can."

Kovch arrived at Fairchild in June 2015. With her background as a former personal trainer, one of the first questions she asked her leadership was about their physical fitness program.

"Once I got settled, I got involved with the Physical Training Leader program," Kovch said. "I was able to take the course and become certified. I am finally able to get back into what I enjoy doing."

Her goal didn't stop there. Kovch talked with her leadership to figure out a way to help everybody in their squadron when it comes to physical training. With the experience and knowledge she has, Kovch implemented a program for individuals who need assistance when it comes to PT tests. The group meets three times a week to work on exercises that will improve sit ups, push-ups and running.

"In general, some people just aren't a fan of running and working out, but I love it. It's my passion," she shared. "I've learned when you're in a group setting, people tend to want to continue to push themselves and keep going."

With Kovch's desire to help other people, Tech. Sgt. Jesse Myers, 92nd MDOS physical therapy flight chief, only has positive things to say about her.

"She can go home after work if she wanted to, but she chooses to stay and help other people," he said. "For being new to the Air Force and still working on her upgrade training, stepping up like this speaks volumes."