PIONEERS IN TOTAL FITNESS
Who is Freedom Fitness America?
This video above will tell the story of the leadership and history of Freedom Fitness America & why we got started along with different ways that you can help donate, engage with, and support our Non-Profit Organization.
Keep scrolling for an in depth read of our story!
Long March to Total Fitness...
The founder of Freedom Fitness America, Chris Reardon, an active duty United States Marine leader with over 13 years of active duty service always had a passion for fitness and development.
He has seen first hand the difficulty military leaders have with resolving the life struggles of their people, that are inherent to military service and humanity in general. Chris saw the emphasis for service members to be given the best training possible to succeed on the battlefield, but not in their own life.
When it comes to readiness in other areas of importance outside of combat, the military services do their best to provide annual training and other classes to help with achieving "total fitness". The problem is that they use quick computer-based training or lectures, which are often a "check in the box" experience, and they don't do a great job of accomplishing the true goal of ensuring military personnel are backed with resources and tools to deal with what they will inevitably encounter mentally and spiritually so that they may return to their families "whole".
Service members in the Military who struggle are usually just sent to counselors and chaplains for assistance who will not likely relate to them -- as compared to the unit leaders they follow on a daily basis.
We knew that a more dynamic and yet standardized model that incorporates fitness in all areas of life, that could be also be implemented in day to day life at the small unit level was needed but was not yet available for Military Service Members.
In 2015, Chris's passions intersected as he served in various military faith-based nonprofits while station in San Diego, and this was Critical for F.F.A.
Chris participated in various events that aimed towards this common goal over the course of 2015-2017. However, the cost of these events in terms of time, manpower, and money were high and not sustainable when compared to the turnout.
More innovation was still needed.
Chris was encouraged by friends and family to push forward with the idea of wrapping functional fitness (ie. obstacle course events, shooting, ect) with life skills instruction, and an optional but relevant Christian instruction first to the military and THEN later on to the civilian community.
The title of the non-profit came after distinctly feeling inspired by the words, "Freedom Fitness" in June of 2016, while at a Christian retreat for military members and their families. Despite some major adversaries to this idea, Chris was convinced he would rise up and one day lead a new non-profit model that would one day impact his brothers and sisters in arms as well as his nation.
In April of 2017, while on duty in San Diego at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar he felt inspired to put together an obstacle course event on East Miramar for his fellow unit members. This course would tied in what his friends had talked about as the concept of FFA.
At first, he wasn't sure what it would look like exactly in detail but he decided to just go for it.
He partnered with his unit chaplain and command leadership to put together a team obstacle course event in the Miramar training area that involved 1.4 miles of trail running in camouflage utilities, group functional fitness activities, shooting at moving targets, and resiliency training. It ended with a motivational speaker who was a former infantry Marine who served in combat in Vietnam. The speaker was very experienced in presenting before military audiences and was highly regarded and sought after in the military community especially of the Marine Corps.
He spoke on difficult life issues Marines faced regarding marriage, operational stress, substance abuse, and working together as a team in difficult situations. Marines were then given the opportunity to participate in either supplemental resiliency training from a secular perspective by civilian and military counselors or be part of a voluntary session under the chaplain's Command Religious Program.
During the chaplain's optional program, the initial speaker shared how his Christian faith changed his life in coping with his post-traumatic stress, anger, and family conflict he experienced post-Vietnam. While only about 55 Marines participated in this evolution, the cost was minimal because it was run as a unit training evolution which was supported by military resources. Chris realized he could train other military leaders to host similar events and training. This type of event was further refined in multiple small groups and outdoor adventure events with the Marine Reserves which gave birth to Freedom Fitness America. Now, we stand as an organization dedicated to facilitating physical, mental, and spiritual readiness in the lives of military professionals so that they can face the violence of combat and tackle the obstacles of everyday life.