How Veterans Can Get Free Fitness Career Training

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Sgt. 1st Class Marcus Wallace; 504th Military Intelligence Brigade; Fort Hood Texas; explains his work out routine to Spc. Wes Schroeder (left) and Spc. Hanna Baker. (U.S. Army/Melissa N. Lessard)
Sgt. 1st Class Marcus Wallace; 504th Military Intelligence Brigade; Fort Hood Texas; explains his work out routine to Spc. Wes Schroeder (left) and Spc. Hanna Baker. (U.S. Army/Melissa N. Lessard)

Finding the perfect post-military career can be the most daunting part of transitioning out of the service back into the civilian world. Moving into a field about which many veterans are already passionate -- fitness -- could be one easy solution.

But like many career paths, just loving the subject probably isn't enough to make you qualified to have a job in the field. Fitness professionals often hold certifications or have specialized education, and the programs that offer them don't always mesh well with the free education funding available through the Defense Department or the Department of Veterans Affairs.

That's where organizations like the FitOps Foundation comes in. Created by an Army veteran, FitOps is a nonprofit aimed at helping veterans transition into a career in the fitness world.

Plenty of programs focus on certifications, which critics say creates a huge gap in trainers' ability to safely help their clients. That's one of the reasons FitOps focuses heavily on qualifications, it says on its website. The program includes an applicant interview process, some pre-course work and a several weeks-long, in-person component before graduation.

WWE superstar and fitness legend John Cena is partnering with FitOps to match donations to the organization up to $1 million through Veterans Day 2019, an effort he announced on the Ellen Show.

Putting a veteran through the program costs the organization about $3,000, officials there said.

"The donations we raise will make an enormous difference. With it, we will be able to reach more veterans -- offering training, education, counseling, support and mentorship," Cena said on the show.

Veterans can visit the FitOps website to apply for the program or learn more.

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