Arlo Doyle: The Kilted Comeback Kid

National Academy of Sports Medicine
National Academy of Sports Medicine
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May is National Military Appreciation Month. We asked our NASM-CPTs who served in the armed forces to tell us their stories. Here’s one of them.

Arlo Doyle
The Kilted Comeback Kid

In April of 2001, Arlo Doyle joined the army. He needed a way to support his wife and newborn daughter, and the benefits the army offered were numerous. Before he knew it, he was attending training just outside of Washington, D.C.

Just a few months later, 9/11 happened.

Arlo was deployed in Iraq where he stayed for the next several years. During his fourth deployment as an automations sergeant, he reached the rank of Sergeant First Class.

Then during his last deployment in June of 2011, a 60-millimeter mortar bomb hit a building where Arlo happened to be working, striking approximately 10-15 feet away from him.

Miraculously, he survived the blast. But he received a shrapnel wound to his forehead, along with mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), leaving Arlo with post-concussion syndrome.

Arlo with a shrapnel wound after being frighteningly close to an explosion

Because of these injuries, and the resulting symptoms that manifested in Arlo, including severe migraine headaches, sleep apnea, and PTSD, he was medically retired from the Army.

In the weeks following his injuries, Arlo tried his best to get back into top physical shape, but he would become lightheaded and exhausted quickly. Occasionally he passed out.

The inability to stay active took a toll on him. He entered a state of despondency that was all but impossible to shake. “To be honest,” says Arlo, “I spent my time sitting around playing video games and drinking beer.”

He felt depressed. Irritable. Emotionally drained.

Nothing changed for three years.

Then, while visiting his physical therapist, she noticed that his resting heart rate was abnormally high. After a month of monitoring, his heart rate was averaging between 120-140 beats per minute. And that was just when he woke up in the morning.

She advised Arlo that he either needed to start running as a way to naturally lower his heart rate or she’d put him on medication - something he did not want.

So, with more than a decent amount of apprehension, he decided to try to get back into shape. His wife Rebecca even joined him in this new fitness journey.

“Once I was able to get over the mental block of not being able to exercise,” says Arlo, “it was amazing how quickly my strength was able to not only return, but increase.” There was a noticeable difference that consistent exercise made in his life, contributing to his ability to handle his TBI and PTSD.

Before he knew it, Arlo was accomplishing things he never thought possible, including running the Rome Marathon, as well as earning several Spartan Trifectas – intense races and marathons laden with punishing obstacles.

There was something else that made Arlo stand out from the crowd: he started competing and working out while wearing a kilt.

“The kilt is part tradition, part heritage,” explains Arlo. But that wasn’t the only reason. He also started wearing kilts “because of the freedom and comfort they provide.”

Arlo and kilt competing in a Spartan Race

All kilting aside, one thing was clear: Arlo experienced a total turnaround and a comeback in every sense of the word.

In June of 2018, Arlo chose to take his incredible recovery one step further. Says Arlo, he wanted to “inspire others to find the pure joy that comes with living a physically active lifestyle.” So he resolved to become a personal trainer.

After checking out several certification programs, he decided to go with NASM.

“I figured if I was going to do something like this, I might as well try to do the best one that was available.”

He liked the amount of support he’d receive, as well as the history and respect that came with the NASM brand.

Within a few months, he completed the NASM Certified Personal Trainer program. He also completed the Behavior Change Specialization with the hopes of helping others overcome their own mental roadblocks.

This past January, Arlo launched his own business: Kilted Fitness. Now he earns a living working with clients, programming individualized workout plans, and helping people meet their various fitness goals.

When Arlo’s not working out, competing, or training others, he enjoys spending time with his wife, three children, and houseful of animals.

We at NASM couldn’t be more thrilled for Arlo’s success, or more grateful for his service.

If you’re interested in NASM’s Certified Personal Trainer program, or a specialization such as Behavior Change Specialization, you can learn more on NASM.org or learn more about our Military discounts at here.

As to where to get a kilt, you’ll have to ask Arlo.

The Author

National Academy of Sports Medicine

National Academy of Sports Medicine

Since 1987 the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) has been the global leader in delivering evidence-based certifications and advanced specializations to health and fitness professionals. Our products and services are scientifically and clinically proven. They are revered and utilized by leading brands and programs around the world and have launched thousands of successful careers.


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