By Miguel A. Juarez
For those thinking about life after active duty, I can say with confidence that personal training is an incredible way to use many of your skills for the benefit of yourself and others.
As United States Marines, we lead by example and guide others towards success. It is this mentality that helped me determine my career path after completing my active duty in the Marine Corps, and one that I hope inspires others and effectively leverages the skills instilled in me by the Corps.
About me: I completed four years of active duty, followed by four years inactive ready reserve. I was deployed to Iraq in 2003 with the 1st Marine Division and participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
As someone who was always into fitness and sports since I was young, I knew a career choice in the health and fitness industry would be a good fit for me. My parents always placed a large emphasis on staying healthy, and this became a core value as I became an adult. In fact, I ran my first marathon at age 17, shortly before I joined the Marine Corps.
When I completed my active duty and transitioned back into civilian life, I began to think about life after the military. What would I do as a career? How could my military experience translate into civilian life?
For individuals who thrive on being active and being of service, military life offers the opportunity to extend those passions. As a Marine, strenuous physical training is a part of daily life. As a Noncommissioned Officer (NCO), I was in charge of leading a large number of Marines. I learned countless principles in the Marine Corps, some of which include leadership, discipline, courage and commitment.
Becoming a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) was the most natural fit for me, and I knew I wanted to bring the skills I had developed through the Marine Corps to the everyday person who wanted to get into better shape. I started out by getting my CPT through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) because of its reputation and the potential to earn more annually.
Upon completion of my active duty and NASM CPT certification, I began working at a large corporate gym as a fitness counselor. I eventually moved up to management and took the time to learn a great deal about the industry. Later, I started my own personal training business. At first it was challenging to market and obtain new clients, but using my NASM trainer tool box, I was able to get into a profitable position quickly.
Today, I use the skills and discipline instilled in my by the Marine Corps, paired with my education from NASM, to operate my successful training center, Hard Charger Training Center, in Thousand Oaks, Calif. I run four boot camp classes per day and train one-on-one clients as well. From employee to employer, I am proud to say that the Marine Corps gave me my drive and dedication, and NASM gave me the tools needed to execute my dream. For me, it’s been an extension of my successful military career and a decision that I am grateful I made every day.