ForeverMissed
Charla Tolbert McMillian was born June 1, 1964 in Columbia, South Carolina and was the first of two children born to the late Rev. Charles L. McMillian and Fredrina Tolbert.  In her formative years, Charla excelled at the violin and piano, and she later played guitar and composed original music.

She attended Heathwood Hall Episcopal School from kindergarten through twelfth grades. At Heathwood, she performed in school theatre and speech and debate. She also won four consecutive first prize awards in statewide Spanish language declamation contests. She was the first female student at Heathwood to run on the Boys Cross-Country Team. During her junior year at Heathwood, Charla was selected for and attended the South Carolina Governor’s School for academic achievement.

After graduating from Heathwood 1981, Charla attended Dartmouth College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English.  She earned the Gurdin prize for best directing in theatre and was inducted into the Green Key Society and Fire & Skoal.  She was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and graduated from Dartmouth in 1985.

Following a summer in Paris, France, Charla decided she wanted a challenge that would be both highly cerebral and physical. To meet the challenge, she joined the U.S. Marine Corps’ Officer Candidate School in Quantico, VA in 1986. She regarded the U.S. Marines Corps as possessing “a legacy of the highest standards … and an established reputation as the best in the world.” While stationed at the Intelligence Analysis Unit for the First Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, CA, Charla served as a specialist in Russian Intelligence and advanced to the rank of Captain in 1989. In 1989, Charla received an Honorable Discharge from the US Marine Corps.

She then enrolled in law school at Boston University where she earned a Juris Doctor Degree in 1993 and was selected to give the student address at graduation.  After law school, she worked for the law firm of Edwards & Angell in Boston and later served as staff associate and development officer for the New England Legal Foundation. She then became Contracts Manager for the Division of Medical Assistance at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services.
 
In 1997, Charla created and became owner and principal of FitBoot, a first-of-its-kind military-style fitness business designed to enable clients to get in superior physical shape and completely transform their lives. She trained hundreds of clients in Boston and in the Bay Area of California for more than a decade.  The pioneering FitBoot program was featured in national media including The Chronicle, Fox News, Boston Herald, and emphasized teamwork, mental focus, nutrition, and physical performance.  Charla was a certified National Strength and Conditioning Specialist and her personal motto was mens sana in corpore sano—a sound mind in a sound body.  She was also a Kenpo Karate competitor in the under black belt category in northeast regional tournaments. Her work as a trainer inspired her to become an author of two books. Her first book “Boot Camp Abs: Get Rock-Hard Abs with Former Marine Captain Charla McMillian” was published by Fair Winds Press in 2005. Her second book “Power Up for Fitness: Exercise for Playing Stronger and Running Longer (Let's Move),” written with Jonathan Weinress, was published by Red Chair Press in 2018.

In 2010 Charla was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. The disease affected her eyesight and limited her mobility. As a result, she decided to retire from FitBoot in 2012.

Throughout her life, Charla loved to sing, play, and compose music. Her guitar was always within reach. In 2013, she composed an original collection of contemplative songs. She then went on to record a solo album of these songs in which she performed on guitar, keyboard, and vocals. The album was entitled “Life Stories,” which Ten12 Entertainment in Los Angeles produced and released in 2014. She left a collection of over 300 original compositions and musical recordings.

Charla is survived by her brother Charles Tolbert of New Jersey; Aunts: Carolyn Joan Tolbert Smith of Charleston, SC, Dr. Betty Jean Tolbert Jones, (Dr. Donald W. Jones) of Washington, DC, Sara Jo Latten of Los Angeles, CA, Beverly Ann Davis of Columbia, SC; Cousins: Tracey Tolbert Jones of Greenbelt, MD, Warry Smith of Chareston SC, Tarry Smith, Lyndon Smith of Miami, FL, Ave Marie Cessini Maura Raquel Macondi Tolbert Smith of Charleston, SC, Keith Tolbert of Atlanta, GA, Frantz Latten of Los Angeles, CA, Karen Brooks of Augusta, GA, Sandy Brooks of Augusta, GA, and many close and loving family members and friends.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in her name to The National Multiple Sclerosis Society: https://www.nationalmssociety.org/Donate

**Charla was laid to rest in South Carolina on December 14, 2020.  Details of any memorial services in San Francisco and Boston will be arranged at a later date.  Please check back here for further updates.  If you'd like to reach out personally to Charla's brother, his address is:
Charles Tolbert, Esq. 
115 Franklin Tpk., No. 259
Mahwah, NJ 07430

Posted by Keith Alford on January 23, 2021
Charla Tolbert McMillian was an original. She was authentic and genuine. I knew Charla from the early years (practically, her entire life). We were next door neighbors in childhood. As I write this tribute, over a month after Charla's graveside service in Columbia, SC, it is still hard to believe that her earthly presence is gone. Her years on this side were meaningful and yes, through it all, she made a positive difference. To Charla-- I wish for you peaceful rest. I will remain "Tony" to you, your longtime neighbor and friend. 
Posted by Shenora McMillian on December 14, 2020
GOD IS SEEN AS A CARING SHEPHERD AND A DEPENDABLE GUIDE. WE MUST FOLLOW GOD AND OBEY HIS COMMANDS.HE IS OUR ONLY HOPE FOR ETERNAL LIFE AND SECURITY.  THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD,I SHALL NOT WANT .HE MAKES ME LIE DOWN IN GREEN PASTURES ; HE LEADS BESIDE QUIET WATERS . HE RESTORES MY SOUL; HE GUIDES ME IN THE PATH OF RIGHTEOUSNESS FOR HIM NAME’s SAKE. EVEN THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH , I FEAR NO EVIL FOR YOU ARE WITH ME ,YOUR ROD AND YOUR STAFF THEY COMFORT ME .YOU PREPARE A TABLE BEFORE ME IN THE PRESENCE OF MY ENEMIES; YOU HAVE ANOINTED MY HEAD HEAD WITH OIL; MY CUP OVERFLOWS.SURELY GOODNESS AND LOVINGKINDNESS WILL FOLLOW ME ALL THE DAYS OF MY LIFE; AND I WILL DWELL IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD FOREVER AMEN , KEEP FAMILY IN PRAYER  CHARLA , WILL TRULY BE MISSED ,BUT GOD LOVED HER SO MUCH
Posted by Doris Buxton on December 13, 2020
STRENGTH TO GO ON

Help me, Lord, see past the end of the tunnel of my trial.
  Help me see that joy will be restored in a little while.
Help me, Lord , when I find myself going through dark days to lift my hands to
  heaven and still give You the praise.
Help me, Lord, keep holding on and not lose myself control, but cover me with
  meekness and keep devotion whole.
For when I'm standing straight up and things are going good. I oft' forget to
  keep You first the way I should. 
The world is watching what I do and how I handle stress; they're waiting to see
  if, perhaps, I'll love you any less.
Through trials my faith is strengthened, my love in You complete. I'll soon
  emerge a victor rescued from deaths of defeat.

Psalm 71:16

From: The Buxton family and all of Lorick Avenue
Posted by Leanne Agurkis on December 11, 2020
Rest in peace, Charla. Your hard-charging spirit will not be forgotten.
Posted by Pierre Gangloff on December 9, 2020
I met Charla, like so many others, at a time in my life when I needed to be turned around. And Charla was exactly the right person to do it. Charla, you removed words and phrases from my vocabulary. "I can't" became unacceptable. If you thought we should be able to do it, you made us do it. Your training was more than just training, it was a switch in our mental processes. When I moved away from Boston, you were the #1 thing I would miss the most. You created things, you made things happen, you made people meet. You even gave us new names to go along with our improved lives (SwampThing, Guinness, Chef, Carousel, Fire, Four, Trouble, etc.). I didn't even know all the other things you did in your life which I just learned about in this memorial. It's so sad that a person like you who worked so hard, who gave so much, who changed so many people, and who probably could've changed a whole lot more had her life cut short so early in your 50s. What a waste... Charla, you are a terrific person. And with all the other things I just learned about you, I wish I knew before. The one thing I'm thankful for is that I looked back in my FB Messenger history and I managed to tell you all these things and managed to thank you before it was too late to send my thanks. Thanks for everything Charla, you will always be an inspiration and your training lives with me every single day. Thank you! Ohh yah!
Posted by KT Genovese on December 9, 2020
I can never thank Charla enough for helping me completely transform my life. Condolences to her family and those who knew her best. May she rest in well earned peace. Oorah Ma’am! Love, Bandcamp and Mr. Bandcamp, N and E
Posted by Robert Belinky on December 8, 2020
You will not believe this but I am clearing out some paperwork tonight and I stumble across a workout Charla made and sent via email on 27 June 2002. The workout was designed for me to pass my APFT test to get into officer candidate school. So I decided to google her name and here we are. To this day I have yet to meet someone who was a better writer than she was. If you stop to think about it Charla started a massive industry that flourishes today- exercise boot camps. For the record, and I will say this now that she is no longer with us, Charla was a gigantic pain in the ass. And for reasons I can't explain I loved being around her. Rest in peace Ma'am and drive on. Hoorah
Posted by Denise Poley on December 7, 2020
I had the pleasure of working with Charla in Boston. We bonded as fellow southerns in the cold north. I too fell ‘victim’ to 2 rounds of the 6 weeks of boot camp!! Despite not graduating after to the 6am class after two rounds, Charla’s voice still fills my head to this day whenever I am exercising! Such a fine person and she will be missed. Sending my thoughts to her family and friends as they heal this sad loss. RIP Charla!
Posted by Bella Banbury on December 6, 2020
Thank you so much Charla for inspiring me to focus on my athletic journey. After having kids I felt I was missing something important in my life. I joined your Fitboot program and found the discipline and consistency that I am still calling on some 12 years later to motivate me each day to train (or rest), and to take care of my body. You were a force to behold. I am so sad that your illness caught up with you. I enjoyed your friendship and support. Rest in peace.
Posted by Anne Burley on December 6, 2020
Charles, family, and friends of Charla,

Charla was such a delight to know in high school - smart, witty, creative, and full of energy! Lunch was never a dull moment. Although I have not seen her in many years, she will always be remembered fondly.
May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Sincerely,
Anne Burley
HHES "80
Posted by Marsha Prospere on December 6, 2020
My condolences to the McMillian family on the loss of an amazing woman, Charla.

Charles, may Charla be a guiding angel for you and your family. May her laugh, smile, and song soothe you during these hard times.
Posted by Paul Riley on December 4, 2020
My condolences to the McMillian family. Charla helped me achieve many firsts and find new passions. I “suffered” through her classes with many people I still consider friends today. Every time I drive by “The Field” I remember some of the best experiences of my adult life; watching the sunrise over the Charles, “first tracks” in the new snow over the footbridge, gathering with friends in the early hours to encourage each other in our own personal quests of fitness and new-found self confidence. Thank you Charla.
4
Posted by Elizabeth Yekhtikian on December 4, 2020
I am very sorry to hear this news. I have many funny memories of Charla in the early days of working at Blanc and Otus and knew she was a kind and warm person with an incredible wit the first time I met her. She was also an incredible cook. May you rest in the sweetest peace Charla.
Posted by Carole Wilkins on December 4, 2020
I extend my sympathies to Charles and family on the loss of a truly amazing woman. Although I did not meet Carla, I admired her journey led by her personal strength and drive. Charles, You have been a loving brother of unwavering support. Celebrate Carla’s life and your love through tears. Peace
Posted by KATIE HOGAN on December 4, 2020
I met Charla in 2002 when I started her FitBoot Class in Boston. She gifted me a love for exercise that I still have today! Because of her I became a runner and later met my husband at a 5K. I often hear her voice yelling at me while out for a run and she will continue to inspire me. She lived life to the fullest and I'm so sorry to see it cut short. RIP Charla and Thank you! xo
Posted by Andrew Groh on December 4, 2020
Fitboot was truly life changing. I ended up running many half marathons, and before Fitboot I had never even run a 5k. It is hard to explain how much that changed my life. She created an amazing program.
Posted by Rhonda Schladerbach on December 3, 2020
Charles and Family,
My sincerest thoughts and prayers are with you! Cherish and celebrate the fond memories of your sister! While I never had the chance to meet her, I know she held a special place in your heart! 
Hugs, 
Rhonda
Posted by Claudette Parham on December 3, 2020
Not surprised that the brilliant child I knew many years ago blossomed into quite an incredible woman. This life ended WAY too fast, but what a blessing to have been part of it. Peace and blessings to you, Charles, as you make your way through this difficult time.
Posted by John Provenzano on December 2, 2020
Intellect, passion, and a sense of humor - that’s a great combo - we are forever grateful for you and your Generous spirit.
I loved getting you (slightly) riled up because being lectured by you in such a calm, even tone and cadence (while doing pull ups) with the sun rising in the background, well, was just a beautiful thing. And as intense as you would be, you could never conceal your compassion.
May your friends and family be comforted and celebrate you with equal grace and intensity as you lived this life.
Rest in Power my friend. I love you very much.
Posted by Robyn LaRosa on December 2, 2020
Grateful to have such fond, funny and extremely physical memories of Charla and the evening FitBoot crew. Charla, Peace to your soul. xoxoTrouble
Posted by MARK WALSH on December 2, 2020
I had the good fortunate of being part of Charla's Fitboot class for several years in Boston. She was an incredible leader and a truly good and kind person. God bless you, my friend. May you rest in eternal peace.
Posted by Evan Marquit on December 2, 2020
I miss you and your focused-but-irreverent spirit, Charla! What a loss. We are all so fortunate to have been touched by you in your journey.
Posted by Melissa Finnigan on December 2, 2020
Charla was such an amazing person!! I loved her Boot Camp on the Charles so much, ok love is a strong word, she kicked our butts. She will forever be a part of my memories in Boston. Sending love to all of her friends and family, she was a force to be reckoned with!
Love,
Special K
Posted by Tina Karas on December 2, 2020
Way back when the 6 pm boot camp crew with Charla - she pushed us hard but made us believe we could do more than we thought we could. One day we went to watch the Boston marathon and joked next year we’d be running it...well that was just the beginning for Dennis and I! RIP Charla - Guinness, Swamp Thing, Finney, Trouble, Ruggieri, Carousel and many more.
Posted by Steve Davidson on December 2, 2020
I fondly remember many mornings on the Charles with you, Sharon, Four and others. Countless pushups, sit-ups, pull-ups and long runs... all for the betterment of our bodies and minds. Charla - you made me a better man and changed me forever to be fit and strong. Thank you. May you rest in peace. 
Posted by Mary Bruccoli on December 2, 2020
Wishing you peace and safe travels my friend.
Posted by Abby Dougherty on December 2, 2020
I was so sad to hear this news. It seems like yesterday when I first met Charla. It was 2002 and Sharon & I were on a mission to get more fit and I agreed to join her for a six-week boot camp called FitBoot. I mean, I couldn't say no to my boss. :) We were both feeling quite nauseous when arriving on the grassy area along the Esplanade. And there was Charla - partially hidden behind her aviators, camo pants cinched tight. But she wouldn't remain a stranger for long.

As the story goes, Sharon & I were writing about our daily FitBoot experiences in a blog called the Military Diaries (long before blogs were even a thing!) - sharing highlights from our daily escapades. Unbeknownst to us, Charla was reading the blog throughout the six weeks, finding great entertainment in our portrayal of our FitBoot mishaps. Fast forward to the end of class, Charla switched from fearless leader to friend and Sharon & I were smitten - one of us more than the other. :) 

I last saw Charla in 2013 for lunch in San Francisco. She was not the same physically due to MS, but her quick wit and charming smile were unchanged. When I think of her, I still see a shadow in a red shirt doing pullups with ease along the Charles River. Small but incredibly fierce and mighty. RIP.
Posted by Patience Oshikoya on December 2, 2020
Charles, I am so so sorry. I understand the pain you must be going through right now and my prayer for you is that God will give you the strength to bear this loss with fortitude. May your sister's beautiful soul Rest in perfect Peace.
Posted by Sofie Niaré on December 2, 2020
Charles, mon ami
Prenant part à ta douleur je partage ta peine en ce moment de deuil.
Je te présente mes sincères condoléances à toi et toute ta famille.
Charla, mon amie
J’ai eu l’immense honneur de t’entendre à la guitare à Paris ; mémorable. Merci.
Que ton âme repose en paix.
Amour

Posted by Terri Bynoe on December 1, 2020
Charles, I am so sorry to hear of Charla’s passing. A beauty inside and out. Praying love, peace and comfort for you and your entire family. ❤️
Posted by William Smyth on December 1, 2020
You were one of the great lights at Heathwood Hall. Thank you for your kindness, your genuineness, and your strong work ethic.
Posted by Denise Beckwith on December 2, 2020
It was a privilege to meet you Charla.

Your contribution and legacy will be remembered through your many life achievements.
Posted by Belinda Mason on December 2, 2020
My favourite memory is opening time with you and Sharon sharing a snowy Christmas with our sons Dieter and Liam. Very special time for us all. My second favourite memory is watching Charla do chin ups - incredible.

Thank you for your service Former Marine Captain Charla McMillian

xxx
Posted by Matt Emerson on December 1, 2020
Charla,
I remember at one point during your wedding reception in Boston that I told you what an amazing a** you had (I'd never seen you in an evening gown). You played coy, but I said 'have you looked in a mirror?' :)

My fav memory is the day after the wedding. Sharon had to entertain her Aussie friends with a visit to Target. We went around the circle ... I said I'm going to play pool and drink beer ... three others joined in, including you ... Sharon was crestfallen when you said 'I'm going with them!'

You were one tough cookie. I remember taking your boot camp course ... at one point, you made us run speed laps. After four rounds, I was dry heaving and told you 'if you make me run again, I'm going to cry'. Only then did you relent. Damn you for the deck presses :)
Love,
Matt

Posted by Derek Aube on December 1, 2020
RIP my friend you were an inspiration to all of us blessed to have your friendship

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Keith Alford on January 23, 2021
Charla Tolbert McMillian was an original. She was authentic and genuine. I knew Charla from the early years (practically, her entire life). We were next door neighbors in childhood. As I write this tribute, over a month after Charla's graveside service in Columbia, SC, it is still hard to believe that her earthly presence is gone. Her years on this side were meaningful and yes, through it all, she made a positive difference. To Charla-- I wish for you peaceful rest. I will remain "Tony" to you, your longtime neighbor and friend. 
Posted by Shenora McMillian on December 14, 2020
GOD IS SEEN AS A CARING SHEPHERD AND A DEPENDABLE GUIDE. WE MUST FOLLOW GOD AND OBEY HIS COMMANDS.HE IS OUR ONLY HOPE FOR ETERNAL LIFE AND SECURITY.  THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD,I SHALL NOT WANT .HE MAKES ME LIE DOWN IN GREEN PASTURES ; HE LEADS BESIDE QUIET WATERS . HE RESTORES MY SOUL; HE GUIDES ME IN THE PATH OF RIGHTEOUSNESS FOR HIM NAME’s SAKE. EVEN THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH , I FEAR NO EVIL FOR YOU ARE WITH ME ,YOUR ROD AND YOUR STAFF THEY COMFORT ME .YOU PREPARE A TABLE BEFORE ME IN THE PRESENCE OF MY ENEMIES; YOU HAVE ANOINTED MY HEAD HEAD WITH OIL; MY CUP OVERFLOWS.SURELY GOODNESS AND LOVINGKINDNESS WILL FOLLOW ME ALL THE DAYS OF MY LIFE; AND I WILL DWELL IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD FOREVER AMEN , KEEP FAMILY IN PRAYER  CHARLA , WILL TRULY BE MISSED ,BUT GOD LOVED HER SO MUCH
Posted by Doris Buxton on December 13, 2020
STRENGTH TO GO ON

Help me, Lord, see past the end of the tunnel of my trial.
  Help me see that joy will be restored in a little while.
Help me, Lord , when I find myself going through dark days to lift my hands to
  heaven and still give You the praise.
Help me, Lord, keep holding on and not lose myself control, but cover me with
  meekness and keep devotion whole.
For when I'm standing straight up and things are going good. I oft' forget to
  keep You first the way I should. 
The world is watching what I do and how I handle stress; they're waiting to see
  if, perhaps, I'll love you any less.
Through trials my faith is strengthened, my love in You complete. I'll soon
  emerge a victor rescued from deaths of defeat.

Psalm 71:16

From: The Buxton family and all of Lorick Avenue
her Life

Charla creates FitBoot - Basic Training for Professionals

In 1997, Charla created FitBoot, an authentic, military-style boot camp fitness training. She helped hundreds of couch potatoes, housewives, executives, competitive athletes, students, law enforcement and military candidates nation-wide to eat better, train smarter, and realize their physique and performance potential. 

As a National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), she brought the credentials of one of only a handful of nationally accredited certifying organizations for fitness professionals to her work as a personal trainer and owner of FitBoot.  Her work transforming the lives of people in Boston and the San Francisco Bay Area was featured in local and national print and broadcast media.

Charla's First Book - Boot Camp Abs

Charla was able to share her passion for fitness with a wider audience when her first book, Boot Camp Abs was published.  All the photos in the book featured Charla and Paul "Four" Riley, a client and friend in Boston. 

Charla visits Australia

In 2003, Charla traveled to Australia where she visited Sydney, Adelaide and Surfer's Paradise.  She fell in love with the wine and absolutely loved holding a koala, although she wasn't too keen on emus!  She climbed Sydney Harbor Bridge, saw a Baz Luhrman play at Sydney Opera House, ate an Australian meat pie, and discovered the delights of sticky date pudding.
Recent stories

Remarks at Charla's Funeral by Dr. Shirley, Headmaster of Healthwood Hall

Shared by Sharon Barclay on December 14, 2020
My name is Marshall James.

Dr. J. Robert Shirley served as Headmaster of Heathwood Hall Episcopal School from 1977-2000. Charles asked him to deliver the eulogy today, but unfortunately he was not able to be here.  Instead, Dr. Shirley asked me to deliver his remarks.

==========

A proper goodbye to Charla Tolbert McMillian is a difficult thing for me to think and speak.  Fare forward is better than goodbye to this woman who influenced so many lives and gave so much health, well-being and joy to the world.  

I met Charla in the late 70’s and worked with her at Heathwood Hall Episcopal School from 1978 until she graduated in 1981. She and I went to a conference at the Kanuga Conference Center in 1981 to discuss the integration of African American Students into the world of independent schools. It was a great time for our school, and Charla’s participation in the conference was a matter of pride for Heathwood. She was an outstanding and well-spoken part of the meeting.

We had a great relationship during her years as a student as she led the student body as a class officer and in so many ways on the athletic fields, the debate team, and in the classroom. She always had a smile on her face and was seemingly on top of the world.

Charla was the first graduate of Heathwood Hall to be admitted to an Ivy League school when she attended Dartmouth in the fall of 1981.

After graduation, she joined the Officer Candidate Corps of the U.S. Marine Corps and was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant.

I had followed the same course many years earlier, and it was appropriate for me to send her my second lieutenant bars when she graduated at Quantico.

Charla served the United States and the U.S. Marine Corps well, earning the rank of Captain.

I too was a Captain when I finished my tour with the Marines, so I am giving her brother a Marine Officers Dress emblem, and a Captain’s Bar. [GIVE GIFT]

The gift is heartfelt for this beautiful young woman, beautiful in every way --- simper fi and “oorah” to Charla in our temporary goodbye.

The world was better off for your being here. Charla Tolbert McMillian ---you were a friend, scholar, leader, athlete, entrepreneur, musician, and Marine.

We love you always.



Funeral Service Program

Shared by Sharon Barclay on December 14, 2020
Charla was laid to rest on December 14, 2020.  The program for her service can be downloaded here.

My Story, by Charla McMillian - In her own words

Shared by Sharon Barclay on December 1, 2020
**This story was written by Charla in 2010**

Since 1997 I have been teaching couch potatoes, housewives, executives, competitive athletes, students, law enforcement and military candidates nation-wide to eat better, train smarter, and realize their physique and performance potential. As a National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), I bring the credentials of one of only a handful of nationally accredited certifying organizations for fitness professionals to my work as a personal trainer and owner of FitBoot- Basic Training for Professionals, the best authentic boot camp fitness training anywhere.

But the story began much earlier.

In high school, I competed on the boys’ varsity cross-country team.  Though I’ve never developed any particular passion for distance running, my beloved South Carolina prep school was too small at the time to field either a girls’ track team or a girls’ cross-country, so I ran on the boys’ cross country team.  During that time, I also developed a love for improving my strength with resistance training in the gym and worked my power with interval sprints before and after cross-country practice.

Then I went to college where I did not join a sports team but enjoyed new academic pursuits, an active social life, and the misguided belief that I could keep eating whatever I wanted and occasionally play some recreational games.  And I put on the “Freshman 25”!Without structured team practice and my mom’s balanced meals, I rapidly spiraled downward.

So I got back to the gym.  I began to read whatever I could get my hands on about fitness training and physique improvement.  I hit the track as I had in high school.  I stopped going back for seconds and thirds, late night pizza, and cider and doughnuts at Dartmouth’s bountiful dining halls.  And I regained my athletic physique.

Soon my young friends were seeking my advice on training routines and techniques.  And we all looked and felt a great deal better.

After graduating college, I spent three fantastic months clarifying my thoughts, singing for my supper in the streets of Paris, and brainstorming career ideas.  I came to the conclusion that I wanted to work in a field where both physical prowess and mental acuity were daily requirements. When I returned to the States, I called the local U.S. Marine Corps recruiter and announced that I wanted to be an officer.  Research at my college’s career services center had shown me that the Corps offered my ideal balance: a job that demanded both brains and brawn, a legacy of the highest standards in both presentation and performance, and an established reputation as the best in the world at all that they do.

I was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on December 9, 1996.The next year, after completing training at The Basic School, Quantico, Virginia, I shipped out to my duty station at the Intelligence Analysis Unit for the First Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, CA for the proudest two-and-a-half years of my young life.  I wore the uniform of the World’s Finest.  I dutifully studied and learned and briefed the Division, Base, and subordinate unit Commanders on tactical threat levels, military capabilities, and likely response to proposed military actions.  I also supplemented my duties as military leader and mentor for my troops with time spent as their fitness trainer as well.

Every Marine unit’s professional performance reflects on the guidance and capabilities of its leaders.  Military intelligence units often experience a reputation as having more brain but less brawn than their more field-ready counterparts. For a Marine, that’s not a good thing.  So I set out to ensure that the Marines in the Intelligence Unit performed as well on the athletic field as they did in the briefing rooms.

I taught the men and women in my unit how to build flexibility, strength, and endurance along with good research, writing, and presentation skills.  And I insisted on proper exercise technique along with proper rest, recovery and good nutrition. I was proud of the results: consistently high fitness marks for my Marines and top physical fitness test honors for myself. I even scored perfectly on events then reserved for men, performing 80 sit-ups in two minutes and 20 pull-ups.

I left active duty in 1990 to get my Juris Doctor at Boston University School of Law.  While I studied, I stayed physically active as the weekend supervisor at a local gym.  All the while, I entertained the idea of starting a military-style exercise program for civilians.  Over the next seven years, I constantly heard the same reaction from new fiends and acquaintances as they learned of my service background: “Wow, Marine Corps! I wish I could get in that kind of shape!” So in 1997, I created a way for civilians to get Marine-quality results – and FitBoot was born.

I earned my law degree because I found the study of law, like intelligence analysis, interesting and useful. I find my work as a fitness trainer, like the time I spent in a Marine Corps uniform, rewarding as a job that requires “mens sana in corpore sano”, a sound mind in a sound body.

I have earned my NSCA certification and have personally trained hundreds of civilians by balancing common military basic training drills and command-voice discipline with professional accepted strength and conditioning guidelines. And it works. So let’s get you on the program!