Here is an email from a soldier who is considering getting out of the military and going to college but as a part or full time job wants to get involved with fitness training. This is a little different from typical workout requests but recently, I have been receiving questions from veterans seeking to get into the fitness business.
Other Military.com trainers / writers help me out with this one and offer some suggestions from your experiences. Here is his question and my story of transition below:
“Stew, I have been following your workouts for years now and I am getting out of the military in a year to go back to college. I would like to add some income with personal or group training. Do you have any suggestions to get into the business and use some of my military skills in PT to use in the civilian world?”
First thanks for your service. You would be surprised but in the fitness world the military background is very valuable. Look around and you will see Fitness Boot camp classes and even obstacle course races that are really popular. Your experiences can help a large population and add some spending money to your wallet.
The transition out of the military is just as challenging as the transition INTO the military in my opinion. I was commissioned from the Naval Academy in 1991 and went to BUD/S. After BUD/S, I went on to spend a short time in the SEAL Teams (7.5 yrs total). I had a stronger desire pulling on me to write. I did not know what I wanted to write about but I knew I wanted to write for a living if I could.
So where do you go when you have no clue what you want to do? I woke up one Sunday morning and rushed to church. I typically go to church but rarely do I feel the urge that I cannot miss a particular sermon. Sure enough, I found guidance. The reading was from 1 Peter: “For each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” I took that as — I was given some gifts. I liked to write. I liked to workout. Were these my gifts? My strengths? I had a lot of experiences with athletic training and military special ops training — maybe I could share my experiences and create programs to help others serve. So I started looking into training certifications and writing my first book, The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness. There are many certifications to choose from. Some harder than others. I would recommend American Council on Exercise (ACE) for starters and maybe build on that in a few years after college and go for an American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) or National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) if you want to get more serious with your training certifications.
After some moderate success with the SEAL book, my publisher wanted to write more military, law enforcement related fitness books. I realized I needed to diversify my training skills and started training men and women who wanted to become anything in the military, law enforcement, or fire fighting communities. That meant focusing on beginner level / weight loss fitness to those Americans who were overweight but still wanted to serve. I started group training people for free who wanted to serve their country in any profession. I found my niche. I formed the Heroes of Tomorrow non-profit organization. See www.heroesoftomorrow.org. But this gave me access to training for specific goals. If I was going to write about training for a living, I needed to train people to pass fitness tests and follow on training programs.! These workouts still inspire me to develop new programs and continue to write daily.
I created an online personal training program for non-local clients that quickly grew to an international business training hundreds of people all over the world for various goals. More books and training specific ebooks followed like the Maximum Fitness — 52 Week Program for Cross-training, The Special Ops Workout, The SWAT Workout, and over 40 different ebooks. All were simply successful programs recorded for each group I trained personally or online.
The trick if you become a trainer, is to write down or even video ALL the workouts you ever do personally or with clients. One day, you will be sitting on a data base of workouts that helped someone achieve a personal goal such as military service, massive weight loss, or compete in a race. All of these are very marketable items that can become generic resources for people to buy or you can advertise with it and give it out for FREE. I wish you the best of luck and I hope you find something you enjoy.
I have now been writing workouts that prepare people for serving in the military, special operations, police, SWAT teams, and fire fighting units since 1998. Heroes of Tomorrow organization is growing each year with trainers now in over 40 cities volunteering to train local kids for serving our country and communities. For more information on our programs and training ideas see:
www.military.com — fitness section (associate fitness editor at Military.com)