Some of you will look at this image and know exactly how you felt the first time you saw these yellow footprints. Undoubtedly, it won’t require much brain power to put those of you back in that moment as if it were yesterday, even if it happened more than 20 years ago. While some of you will have no idea what they represent or their significance. But to me, they represent a pinnacle moment that altered the course of my life, permanently.
In 1997 just one month after graduating high school, there I was getting off of what I’ve always known to be an “airplane” (which will later be understood as “the freedom bus”) in San Diego, California and onto an actual bus headed straight to Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD), San Diego. That bus ride took what felt like 2 hours to get from the airport to my new home for the next 3 months, and the ironic part about that ride is the airport and the base are separated by 2 layers of chain-linked fence, topped with barbed wire. So they’re literally neighbors! Seriously, EVERY plane that takes off and lands at the San Diego airport gets a brief introduction of the hell we call Marine Corps bootcamp. And on the flipside, we (the recruits) got to watch every plane (aka “the freedom bus”) take everyone out of the hell we now know as Marine Corps bootcamp. Back to the bus that was lingering its way to my future was filled with heart-pounding anticipation, excitement, fear and uncertainty. When the bus arrived at the receiving area on base, we were greeted by an iconic figure; a tall, broad-shouldered Marine that stood in the aisle way of the bus, hands on his hips, elbows flared out to accentuate his power of authority, visible creases on his uniform that looked sharp enough to cut you if you ran your finger across them and the very symbolic “smokie” cover on his head that was tilted down just enough to shield his eyes from making any direct contact with any of us. The split-second that I had to soak this moment in allowed me to completely doubt my decision of being on that bus. That was quickly overshadowed by the roar of this human being that hit decibels I never thought possible. Yelling at us to get off of “his” bus and get on “his” yellow footprints. This moment clearly set the stage for what I was about to call my home, my life and my future for the next 3 months.
I share this with you because we have someone in the gym that is preparing himself for the very same life-changing impact. Austin Leos is a SICFIT Round Rock Ambassador who is scheduled to head out to Marine Corps bootcamp later this year and we are going to help prepare him for as much as possible for what he can expect from his bootcamp experience, both mentally and physically. SICFIT has coined this the “Jedi” program, preparing our future with the mental and physical strength to be SICcessful in these arenas. With Austin going to Marine Corps bootcamp, I have the insider perspective that will help cut the edge of the fear, anxiety, anticipation and uncertainty that I remember feeling.
Join us as we follow Austin’s journey that will prepare him for Marine Corps bootcamp. We will periodically check in with his progress and let you in on what we’re doing to best prepare him. Below is Austin’s personal introduction to SICFIT Nation and his opportunity to explain in his own words to what drives him to want to become a Marine.
Ladies & gentlemen, let us introduce Austin Leos:
“Hey guys, my name is Austin Leos and I am a SICFIT ambassador. The first time I stepped foot in the gym was during its opening week, and the workout was killer! After that session I knew I wanted to be a part of the movement known as SICFIT. I believed in the goals that Coach Mike described to me and I knew he was somebody I could trust to help me reach my personal goals, while I help him reach his however I could.
I have enlisted in the Marine Corps, and plan to leave for boot camp around September or October of this year. I chose to join the military because I want to do something with my life that impacts not only myself, but others as well. I believe that your goal in life should be to impact as many people’s lives in a positive way as you can; if you can make the people around you successful, then you too will be successful. As for why I chose the Marine Corps instead of one of the other branches: for me, it was simply because I wanted to be one of “The Few, The Proud.” I strive to be the best of the best and that’s what I believe a Marine is; not everybody is meant for this branch, which is what pushes me towards it even more, because I want to do things that others can’t. My family has a lot of history in the military. My Dad is a Marine, his Dad was in the Air Force, and so was his Dad before him. My grandpa on my Mom’s side was in the Army and so was his Dad. My Uncle is a retired Marine, his daughter just joined the Army, not to mention all the friends of my family that are in the military as well.
As for a little more about me, I am 20 years old and am originally from San Antonio, Texas. I have lived all around San Antonio, in Oklahoma for about a year, and I then moved to Round Rock in sixth grade and have been here ever since. I’ve also visited all of the places my Dad has been stationed around the U.S. I have six siblings, five sisters and a brother, and I’m the oldest. Since the moment I could walk/ run I’ve loved to play sports and be a part of a team. Since fifth grade, football has been my favorite sport to watch and play. After high school, I spent a year attending Texas Tech and realized that college wasn’t for me at the moment. I decided to move back home and work for about a year while I decide what I want to do with my life. At this point in time I became very interested in fitness and being healthy inside and out. In June 2015, I began working at Jack Allen’s Kitchen, a local restaurant in Round Rock, where I still work today. Here is where I got the pleasure of meeting Kaleigh and because of her I was able to become a member of the SicFit family. After meeting Mike, I knew that this was the only place I wanted to workout and train, day in and day out. They just know how to push you to your limits and I knew that they would never quit on me.
I plan to train at SICFIT until I leave for boot camp, which will help me prepare, and with Mike’s experience with the Marine Corps, I’ll get to know and understand what I am about to experience. I would like to get an intelligence job, and I plan to go back to college and become an officer. Once I’m an officer, I want to serve my time doing tours to wherever they need me, and after 10 or so years, I would like to become a reservist and start my life trying to get into radio: I’d love to become as popular as Bobby Bones in the morning! I’d also love to pursue a career with SICFIT, because fitness will always be a big part of my life, and who better to be with than the ones you started with from the beginning? I’d love to become a coach and help people reach their fitness goals just like Mike and Kaleigh have helped me, but for now I am about to take a big step in my life and I know it’s for the better. I can’t wait to see where the Marine Corps will take me, and no matter what I know I will always have people back home supporting me!
Well that’s all I have for now, I hope y’all enjoy keeping up with me as I prepare to leave for boot camp, and of course all support is welcomed. Let’s do this! Get Fit Or Die!”