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Meet the LIT Team

MARINE CORPS VET LEVELS UP THE MOTIVATION AT LIT

Nov 10, 2021

Marine Corps Veteran Carlos Ochoa

LIT’s newest trainer is Marine Corps veteran Carlos Ochoa. A recruiter, radio operator, and Marine Martial Arts Instructor who served multiple tours for humanitarian assistance in Bangladesh, Haiti, and beyond, Ochoa has also served as a personal trainer with famed military veteran fitness program, Fit Ops.

Carlos tells us about his path to fitness in the veteran community and why LIT is uniquely positioned to support those who have served and continue to serve our nation.

Our Co-CEO and Co-Founders, Justin and Taylor Norris, always say the three pillars for LIT instructors are motivation, inspiration, and education. A big part of the mission at LIT is getting people to understand why they’re doing what they are doing — and why it will serve their health and well-being in the long run, not just in the interim.

What are your thoughts on that and on the importance of engaging Boltcult community members in that way? 

In order to be a trainer nowadays, you have to be able to educate and motivate people. A lot of people I work with say, “Why am I doing this?” And you have to be able to explain the long-term value in what you’re asking them to do. You have to explain what about it is sustainable and how it can help them prevent injury — and as Justin always says, “build your body, not break it.” Historically fitness has been associated with that idea of ‘no pain, no gain,’ but that’s not responsible. That’s not motivational or inspirational. It’s punitive. So for me, going that educational route is the best way you can incentivize people and offer them the safest way to reach their goals. In my opinion, if you say, “Just do it and you’ll feel a difference,” it’s not good enough. 

What’s the difference you see with a person when you let them in on that process, as opposed to essentially saying, “Just trust me”?

I think the biggest thing is, when you let them in on that process, and you can tie it to the goals that they set forth and how it’s going to help them, it just makes them more invested. When you tell someone that we’re doing it because I know you have lower back pains, this is going to be easier on your lower back and it’s gonna help build some strength there, they tend to feel more of a connection with what they’re doing. And then they’re much more attentive to the movements instead of just going through it and, you know, they focus more on what they’re doing then looking around. In my experience, that’s the biggest thing. 

Why is LIT and specifically a low impact methodology good for people who come from a military background?

In my experience, in the military, you meet up in the morning, and then you guys go run, and then the rest is kind of on your own. Which then becomes weightlifting and a lot of high-impact, unguided work. But the thing with that is, you get a lot of injuries, and a lot of people don’t necessarily have the experience in the gym to just go and do that without education and information.

They want to stay in shape for their job, but the techniques aren’t always right and they end up hurting their lower back or their knees and doing themselves a disservice in the process. Also you have a lot of wear and tear from going on hikes with your equipment — and just the daily activities in the military.

I think LIT is a great thing for either veterans or active duty because it gives them another way to build strength and cardiovascular endurance, and do all these things with a lot less impact on their bodies. Yeah. So you can still develop the strength that you need in your upper body to pass the fitness tests, things like that without having to, you know, go bench press 225 pounds and possibly risk a shoulder injury if your technique’s a little off, or if you don’t have a spotter. So it’s huge.

When I got out of the military, I ran in the morning and then lifted weights later on. But this is all-in-one, and doesn’t come with the risk of injury those have — which is great. You can do cardio with the rowing machine. You can do the bands. And you don’t have to necessarily plan for as much time throughout the day. And like I said, the biggest thing is that it allows you to remain injury-free. 

Exactly. At LIT, all of the programming is rooted in injury prevention. Why is that so valuable to people, but especially members of the military community?

 For sure. Who cares if you’re in the best shape of your life if you’re consistently sidelined for injuries, right? It’s important to stay in shape. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter how good of shape you’re in if you’re injured a lot. It’s more important to be able to do what you have to do — it’s more important to stay in the game.

 What do you love about what you do?

Being a trainer has changed my life in many ways. It has given me a sense of purpose. It has given me an opportunity to provide hope to people. I love seeing the people I work with achieve their goals. Being able to help someone accomplish something they never thought they would be able to or change their life so they have the energy to play with their kids without being completely worn out is something I love to do.

I am excited to get the opportunity to be able to do this on a much bigger platform with LIT. My journey started with that one choice. It all started with a leap of faith by applying to FitOps, a program no one had ever heard of at the time and that felt too good to be true. It ended up being one of the best decisions of my life — especially because it’s led me here to LIT.

How do you feel about being the first military veteran hired as a LIT Trainer?

I am extremely humbled about being the first veteran hired as a LIT trainer. This is just such a great opportunity to change the way people are looking at fitness! The chance to be at the front of that is awesome — and then you add the opportunity to help fellow veterans, active duty military, and first responders in a way that hasn’t been done before, and it’s a complete game changer. These are the people that are out there to serve us as a community and the chance to serve them back and help them do their job injury-free is something that really excites me.