A Warrior’s Path to Fitness
Story by Cpl Sabrina Candiaflores on 05/22/2019
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. (May 20, 2019) For Sgt. Angelica Mendoza, the Receiving Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma’s Distribution Management Office (DMO), fitness isn’t just about herself, it’s about helping others.
Mendoza, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin native, discovered her interest in health and fitness as a young Marine when she began doing CrossFit with her NCO.
Eventually, Mendoza decided to further her knowledge of fitness by becoming a High Intensity Tactical Training (HITT) level 1 and 2 instructor.
“I became a HITT instructor because I wanted to better myself and the Marines around me,” explained Mendoza. “I wanted to influence them in a positive way through fitness.”
But for Mendoza, becoming a HITT instructor was just a stepping stone to becoming a coach and personal trainer in the civilian world.
“I liked the whole coaching aspect of being a HITT instructor so I wanted to be a coach outside of uniform too,” said Mendoza. “It’s a more comfortable environment because I can take off my rank and my uniform and it’s like Hey, it’s just you and me.'”
Mendoza strongly believes that people should feel comfortable when working out, and not be pressured or judged. Therefore, Mendoza tries to implement a calm environment while coaching.
“I’ve had that uncomfortable feeling before, and I remember how much it affected my workout,” said Mendoza.
In March 2019, Mendoza was presented the opportunity to become a coach at a local functional fitness center after completing her International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) Personal Trainer course and earning her certificate.
Mendoza enjoys coaching at the fitness center because they share her values when it comes to health and fitness. They don’t care about the number on the scale, and are more interested in the transformation. Mendoza also loves this fitness center because they offer various classes to accommodate everyone, even children and young adults.
“I enjoy seeing the kids and teenagers get into fitness at such an early age because it keeps them out of the Yuma heat and away from any crime or violence going on,” said Mendoza.
Mendoza also enjoys seeing her clients get better and healthier, and finds satisfaction in being the person that helps them reach and surpass their goals. Just as much as Mendoza loves being a CrossFit level 1 trainer, the fitness center also enjoys having her.
“Angelica has a very pleasant demeanor and she brings that great energy to each of her classes,” stated Shawn Williams, the president of the local fitness center. “The training she received from the Marine Corps’ HITT program helps the members learn major lifting and cardio skills.”
Mendoza feels that coaching in the Yuma community helps bring a positive light to the Marine Corps, the air station, and the Marines stationed there.
“It helps the community see a different side of the Marine Corps and shows how we love to not only serve, but to give back as much as we can,” said Mendoza. “It also shows them that we are more than just Marines.”
Mendoza’s End of Active Service (EAS) date is August 3, 2019. She will move back to her hometown in Wisconsin and continue her coaching and fitness journey through personal training while attending school. In a few years, Mendoza hopes to open up a gym of her own.