Ann's News

Marine Corps Needs To Look Within the Ranks For Fitness Inspiration and Motivation

The story in the Marine Corps Times Corps explores partnership with hard-core trainer has really gotten under my skin and I feel a compelling urge to express myself as to why.  First, let me say this isn’t anything against Pauline Nordin.  She after all, did not initiate this or anticipate where a mock poster generated by someone else would lead to – who should know better is the Marine Corps leadership.

The poster clearly struck a chord and made for good advertisement and motivation…so yes, an idea was born but once the idea was born someone should have thought…I wonder which female Marines within our ranks we can leverage to run with this?!?

Earning the title Marine is a privilege or at least that’s what it used to be…nowadays it seems everyone gets to play Marine and get kudos and props for it (Katie Perry comes to mind).

What does Pauline Nordin know about being a Marine…a FEMALE Marine at that?!?  What has she put up with?!?  Alright, I’ll keep it on the fitness level…has she ever put on a Kevlar and flak jacket dodging  mortar attacks to get to the gym after a 12 hour shift only to get back and take a water bottle shower? Has she run a PFT in a sandstorm? Has she had male Marines asking her to drop out of a run so they wouldn’t be embarrassed they couldn’t finish – only to refuse and pay the price later? Has she put up with the weight and uniform regulations for years and taken flack for it because she didn’t meet standards because she carried too many muscles?  As she suffered a pelvic stress fracture, busted ankles, bad knees etc from USMC training and kept up with her own tough gym regiment? 

Only female Marines know what it takes and what it’s like to be a Marine.  It would makes sense to leverage those who have been there and done that – those who exemplify health, fitness, hard-core physiques and who are Marines (active, reserve or veterans).

I started lifting weights at 16 in preparation to join the Marine Corps.  I never stopped hitting the gym throughout my 10 years on active duty. I was known wherever I was stationed for my dedication to the iron and I know there are other female Marines like me across the Corps right now. I struggled with my weight for a few years due to different circumstances and injuries…my last set of ADOS orders – the Company Commander wanted to put me on a weight control program although I had less than 30 days left on active duty. Once my injuries healed, I came back leaner and meaner than ever. When people see me in the gym and see my USMC tattoo or find out I was/am a Marine they automatically go “oh, that’ explains it”. They think I look the way I do because I’m a Marine. I don’t say anything. I don’t tell them it’s my own drive, passion for hardcore training and ability to stick to an extremely strict diet that is the reason I look the way I look – they want to believe female Marines look the way I do, and I let them – it’s good for the Corps.

I am a real person, a real Marine with true stories of having overcome challenges, hardship, injuries and obstacles to be where I am at the level of fitness that I am today.

Major, USMR, 34 years old, 1st Class PFT, 300 on my CFT – I can do more pull-ups than most male Marines and Pauline Nordin has nothing on me or my physique but I have years of being a female Marine on her.

I have failed to reach out to the younger female Marines out there and share my story – so I am going to change that.  I am also long overdue to start making training videos…will also start doing those so I can share the things I’ve learned over the years. This article has waked me up, that’s for sure!!

8 Comments on Marine Corps Needs To Look Within the Ranks For Fitness Inspiration and Motivation

  1. Debra Drummond // April 8, 2012 at 6:07 pm //

    Ann, I thought of you when I read the article and posted it to the WMA Facebook page and I couldn’t agree with you more!

  2. Yamilette Albertson (Sgt) // April 8, 2012 at 6:34 pm //

    Just wanted to write you a message to let you know that you do make a lot of sense in this. I have been in the Corps for only 6 years now and have gone through a lot of the same things. Especially when it comes to the males vs. females if there is such a thing. Since I’ve been in it has been an uphill battle, getting in and out of shape. Before I was in the Corps I was hitting the gym and pumping iron for at least 2 to 3 hours a day. Which I am grateful of that because it helped me get ready for boot camp. Shortly after I became a Marine I went thru a pregnancy and it set me back a lot. But since then I have devoted myself to staying fit not just because I am a Marine but because I promised myself never to let others (males in general, and those judgmental women Marines) effect me and how I want to be, that is in regards to being a woman Marine mom. I just completed 2 yrs or recruiting duty and am now a MEPS liaison. It gave me a great opportunity to reach out to those few women and help them make a difference in their lives like the Marines has for me, but the one thing I do preach is that yes the Marine Corps helped me better myself but the Marine Corps did not make me the woman I am today, and definitely is not the sole reason for why I am fit. I always tell them that you have to want it in yourself in order for you to achieve and from that you build and grow. I am and have always been a 1st class PFT and have a 296 CFT. I push myself to be the best at everything I do, and having the title Marine helps me push myself to extreme heights I never thought I could reach’s never let anything limit me. So since I did get off track I wanted to let you know your article has given me a little more inspiration. Everything you said is true and what I love most that you never let the “yea, it’s because she’s a Marine” thing get to you. I use it to my advantage actually. I love it that I am not the only Marine with the same mentality. Thank you for this, and thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope to be seeing you again and reading another article. Good luck in your future.

  3. Thank you for posting it, Debra! It’s what brought it to my attention and gave me a wake-up call. I’m going to work on doing a presentation at MFR and hopefully be able to take the show on the road to the other bases after that. Will definitely keep you posted!

  4. Hi Yamilette,

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment and sharing your story. I know a lot of other women have struggled after pregnancy and it sounds like your determination, discipline and strong will go you back on track. I’m happy to hear you are helping others and spreading the word about what it takes to be, stay and get back into shape. I definitely believe in telling it the way it is.

    I related to something else you said in your post…I started lifting weights before boot camp because I didn’t want any of the male Marines I encountered to think I couldn’t hang or that I wouldn’t put up a fight!! After I got commissioned and picked up my first platoon; it was even more critical to me for my Marines to know I could and would PT them into the ground. It’s such huge part of the Marine Corps culture. But it’s also important to be realistic about it.

    If you ever need someone to talk to or to reach out to some of the other female Marines – please don’t be a stranger!!

  5. Michelle Haynesworth // April 8, 2012 at 8:51 pm //

    I agree with you completely!! I too, started lifting weights before the Marine Corps but had a hard time with the height and weight standards. Talk about feeling great about yourself and still be told you are a “fat body”. I would lift and then so many months out before pft time I would stop and “train” for the pft. As well as deal with the on going injuries and recoveries. I’ve been out five years now (after 12 1/2 yrs) and I still get up at 0430 to start out my day with a workout and get in an extra one later in the day. People think I’m crazy for it and blame it on the Marine Corps but little do they know its just who I am!

  6. Thank you for sharing Michelle! Love hearing from everyone. It’s an honest conversation to keep having and expanding on. You definitely get up earlier than I do!! Keep up the great work and please do stay in touch.

  7. Mary Beth Schaffer // April 14, 2012 at 11:16 am //

    This is more than just a well-written article; it is succint, articulate, comprehensive, and inspiring. It also aludes to many things we women have had to suck up while in uniform. Ooorah
    Sgt (Scott), USMC 1978-1986

  8. Tony Buttacavoli // April 16, 2012 at 11:19 am //

    Semper FI, you make many valid points.

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