About Mark McCluskey

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My name is Mark McCluskey and I am a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, P90X Certified Trainer, and Beach Body Coach.

I’m currently at 38,000 feet somewhere over the Pacific on my way from San Francisco to spend a day in Hong Kong and then three days in Paris. They say it’s not a job if you love what you do. Well, as a pilot, it’s hard to complain.

I was born in Quantico, VA, the son of a Marine Pilot. By the time I was 8-years-old, the Marine Corps had been fully incorporated into my life; it was in my blood.  Living in base housing, going to the squadron with my Dad to see where he worked, sitting in the helicopter he flew and playing with the flight controls – it was any boy’s dream. Ironically, while in 3rd grade, we took an aptitude test and my results stated my ideal career was a pilot. That was the last I thought about it until enrolling in the Marine Biology program in college.

After realizing that science wasn’t exactly my specialty, I decided to take the path that seemed to have been set out for me since childhood.

That journey of self-discovery was what made me who I am today. Through it all, one facet seemed to stand out – fitness. Watching my dad play handball on base, going jogging with him before it was a trend, running to tell my mom about the forest I caught on fire (yes, that really happened), all coalesced to instill in me a desire to be active, inquisitive, and fit. I wanted to do the big things – the hard stuff like running marathons, doing the Ironman Triathlon, becoming a Marine Officer and AV-8B Harrier fighter pilot.

AV8B

My goal was to continually push my physical and mental boundaries in order to prevent stagnation. (ironman pic)

Unfortunately, my body had other plans for me. In 2008 I was scheduled to have disc fusion surgery on C-4, 5, 6, and 7. I was given a facet injection into my neck, which would help me cope with the pain until the operation.

Coincidentally, I had seen the P90X infomercial for a couple of years. I ordered it with skepticism with a ‘why not?’ attitude. I mean there was a 90-day money back guarantee and I’d probably be returning it anyway. You see, I’ve been exercising since I was 14 – weight training, running, karate, and I thought I knew what was best.

Fast forward to today. The program worked. I cancelled the surgery and began another round of P90X.  Between P90X & P90X2 I’ve completed 17 full 90-day cycles of the program and I’m in the best shape of my life. These results created a desire to take it to the next level to become a certified P90X trainer.  Naturally, I took the next step and became a NASM Certified Personal Trainer.  At 53-years-old, I’m the same weight and measurements that I was in high school, just with more wrinkles and gray hair.

Before & After post

After finishing Officer Training School in Quantico, Virginia, I was assigned my first duty station at NAS Pensacola, Florida. For the next two years it was a whirlwind of aviation. From a T-34 turboprop, to the T-2 Buckeye twin-engine jet, then the TA-4J Skyhawk, and finally the AV-8B Harrier. I couldn’t have asked for more.

When my time in the Marine Corps came to an end, I knew there was no other career path I could be happy with. I mean, it’s hard to beat low-level bombing, catapulting off the deck of an aircraft carrier going from 0 – 140 mph in two seconds, formation flying, and shooting 6,000 rounds-per-minute out of a six-barrel GAU-12 Gatling gun.

master_cl1587So, I decided to go into commercial aviation.

I thought it would be easy. I was great with people, a good pilot, healthy. Who wouldn’t want me? Yeah, I was a little arrogant. Well, after American and Delta turned me down, a friend suggested I apply to FedEx. After grumbling about not wanting to fly boxes around, I gave it a shot. 23-years later, I’m still there

Looking back on the neck issue, I will never take my health for granted.  My dad’s favorite saying is, “Choose to make time for our health and wellness now, so we’re not forced to make time for our illness later.”

Each day we have the choice to work to be better or be idle. My focus is to use the sum of my experiences – as a leader of Marines, a father, a husband, child of God, and my nearly 40-years of experience in fitness – to help others achieve their goals in health and nutrition.

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