COUNTLESS PEOPLE have joined the military for various reasons: to get an education, to learn discipline, to become a part of something greater than themselves. And, while these are noble pursuits, the greatest pursuit is to become selfless and serve. The Max Muscle customers featured in these pages gave themselves selflessly to their country because they chose to. Some were wounded in battle, others had to retire to take on more important roles in life and others continue with strength and honor in athletic pursuits. We at Max Sports & Fitness thank all troops, past, present and future for their selfless service to this country.

U.S. Army, 6 years Special Forces Sniper; 2 years Texas National Guard

Tim Kennedy has seen a lot of action. Not just in the Army where he fought in Iraq and Afghanistan and was awarded the Bronze Star, but now as a fighter in Mixed Martial Arts.

Are you involved in any charities for or do you work with soldiers/veterans? I work with the Green Beret Foundation, U.S. Army Ranger Association and Soldier’s Angles. I put their logos on my fight shorts and banner, and do speaking events for all of them.

What was the most valuable lesson you learned from serving in the Army? I learned discipline. I learned how to put other people’s need ahead of my own. I learned what sacrifice really meant and I understood that I had never sacrificed anything before.

Advice for troops serving in Afghanistan and Iraq? I wrote some blogs about just that thing. The key is to make do with what you have, be creative, bring lots of supplements and get crazy during your down time.

What brought you to Max Muscle? I was looking for products that have the scientific research to support their line and the consistency to ensure I would always know what I was putting in my body. Being a professional athlete that is tested for steroids on a regular basis, I had to be 100 percent sure of the product I was taking.

How has Max Muscle helped you in your life and with your fitness goals? Since I started using Max Muscle products, I have seen my strength and speed increase. I have moved up the rankings to be a top 20 MMA fighter in the world, and should be top 10 by the end of the year.

What supplements do you take? I use EXT, Full Blown Extreme and Xtinguisher for my pre-workout mix, and I use XTR as my post workout drink. I also use Max ARM and Gourmet Gainer protein.

How did you get involved in MMA? My dad put my brother and I into a few different martial arts to compensate for my mom’s influence. He had to travel a lot for work when we were kids, and he would come home to find his boys in a cooking class or an art class. He would say, “My boys aren’t doing that crap,” and stuck us in shooting lessons or boxing lessons. Ten years later, I had done just about everything out there, so MMA was a natural progression.

U.S. Marine Corps, 3.5 years

1288031209-KrisKris Freeman became a Marine with the intent to make it into Recon, the hardest specialty in the hardest branch of the Armed Services, he said. He was deployed to fight in Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq in March 2006. On June 6, 2006, his Humvee was struck with an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Two out of four people in the Humvee survived. Kris sustained multiple complex fractures on his right side where he was slammed against the door. He broke his tibia, fibula, femur (in three places) and ulna, shattered his elbow and suffered a mild Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). “The TBI has been the worst and has left me with very mild impairments in short-term memory and auditory processing,” he said. For his injuries, Kris was awarded the Purple Heart and was medically released to be sent home to recover. It wasn’t an easy road and he is still recovering in some ways, but he is determined to keep going. Today, he is a coach/personal trainer at Crossfit Maximus in Lexington.

What was the biggest lesson you learned from serving in the Marines? Perseverance: through training, through combat, through injury, through recovery, through assimilation back into civilian society. Above everything else, is perseverance. You have to want it more than anything else and exhaust every effort to get it.

What brought you to Max Muscle? Dennis and Michele Frank (Max Muscle Franchisees in Lexington) both work out at the facility I train at. I was very intrigued when I walked in and saw how they were educating customers about their health. They care a lot about the success of the customers, not just trying to sell them a bunch of useless stuff.

How has Max Muscle helped you with your fitness goals? The quality of the products is outstanding. There are so many companies where you don’t get what you pay for. Post-workout recovery is super important in Crossfit and weight lifting, but sometimes it’s hard to choke down a meal of whole foods 15-30 minutes after a workout. A blend of Triple Whey protein isolate and Glyco-Charge waxy maize gives me an excellent blend of carbs and protein to stimulate muscle growth.

What is your favorite quote? “Stronger people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general,” by Mark Rippetoe (strength coach). That pretty much summarizes my training philosophy.

U.S. Marine Corps, 1977-1993

David Vazquez says he was challenged by his track coach to become a “real” man by joining the Armed Forces when it1288031209-David seemed he was heading down the wrong road. “I took his challenge and joined the toughest branch to make my point,” says David. “I made mine by graduating No. 1 out of 65 people and he made his point by keeping me out of trouble.” After 16 years of service, David had to leave the Marines to enlist in a new tour of duty: fatherhood.

What was the biggest lesson you learned from serving in the Marines? Loyalty, discipline, honor and pride in anything and everything you do. I have served with the best and refuse to dishonor them and their service and loyalty to me by not striving to be the best in EVERYTHING I do.

What was your greatest challenge and how did you overcome it? In 1992 after I returned from Iraq, I found out that I was to become a father and knew that the mother was not suited to raise my son. I faced allowing my mom and brother to raise my son for the next 4½ years (which is all I had to retire with 20 years service) or resigning my commission to meet my responsibilities head on. The Corps taught me to never back away, never run and never hide. So, I didn’t. I resigned my commission, took custody of my son and learned how to be mommy, daddy, sister, brother, doctor and nurse in a very short period of time. Lost my retirement, but gained a son.

Are you involved in any charities for or do you work with veterans? I am involved with and a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion. Why? Because sometimes only another “Brother” can understand where you’ve been and how to get where you want to go.

How has Max Muscle helped you in your life and with your fitness goals? The supplement line is incredible. Between (Max Muscle Ft. Lauderdale franchisee) Stace Houk’s advice, my knowledge of my body and the quality of the supplements I look better at 51 than I did at 21.

U.S. Marine Corps, 10.5 years

1288031209-LeslieTiptonLeslie Tipton wanted to serve her country, so she followed her father’s and her grandfathers’ footsteps and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. She thrived on the discipline of the Marines and before retiring, ranked as a Major. She recently competed in Max Muscle’s MaxForm 2010 contest and experienced great results. Today, she is a an Associate pastor of Administration and Outreach at Church of the Holy Spirit Song in Manore.

What was the biggest lesson you learned from serving in the Marines? Teamwork means everything. If one person is not working toward the mission of the team, they are working against it. In other words, it took every one of us going in the same direction to accomplish our missions.

What was your greatest challenge and how did you overcome it? My greatest challenge was being a woman officer in the Corps. Whether we want to admit it or not, there is still a lot of sexism in the U.S. Military, so many women have to endure a barrage of attitudes, insults, put downs, and just general harassment. I overcame it by realizing that it wasn’t about me, it was about someone else’s attitude.

How has Max Muscle helped you in your life and with your fitness goals? Max Muscle has been a life saver for me. Going through the MaxFormation contest was not only a satisfying experience, it was also fun. Stace Houk (Max Muscle franchisee) is so easy to work with. He’s a motivator, a life coach and a friend. He knows just the right balance with each person to help them achieve their goals. I’m still working on my fitness goals. I’m beginning to train for a triathlon in 2011, so I will need to ramp up my training again in order to get into better shape. I have no doubt that Stace and Max Muscle will help to get me there.

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