Matt Hesse is the Chairman and Founder of the FitOps Foundation, helping veterans find purpose and community through fitness. Matt transitioned from the Army in July of 2000 and began a career in the fitness and nutrition industry, ultimately launching his own brand in 2008 manufacturing and marketing health and wellness products. He launched FitOps almost four years ago to give veterans a physical mission and career skills to enable entrepreneurial success, as well as to offer themselves in service to others as a coach and trainer.

We discuss how Matt’s program addresses the biggest risk to veterans in transition, their loss of purpose. For those still, “thawing out,” from time in a combat zone, FitOps helps identify and short-circuit self-sabotage behaviors common among returning service members, deliberately seeking mental and emotional breakthroughs during the early weeks of the program. Matt’s team works to replicate the camaraderie inherent in the military, creating a supportive environment that rebuilds participants once they’ve broken down those barriers in the first weeks.

His program takes a holisitic approach to beginning a fitness career, not just certifying trainers. The curriculum addresses common failure points for people starting out in the industry and offers elements of business management as a part of the training. This mentorship doesn’t end when veterans leave camp, but rather continues on into their careers in the industry with a network of fellow alumni and successful fitness professionals. With the new facility they’re building in Arkansas, Matt hopes to continue expanding their mission and scaling the team to offer the program to more veterans each year.