BAKERSFIELD, Calif. --
Setting a goal is simple, but being able to accomplish that goal can become a challenge. We become interrupted by life’s distractions, and instead of working toward accomplishing our goal, we replace it with excuses. Few are able to push through adversity by dedicating their time and effort in taking the next steps toward accomplishing that goal.
Weighing 242 pounds at the age of 17, Brian J. Rodriguez-Martinez knew he wanted to be a Marine, but he also knew that he was overweight and couldn’t join the Marine Corps unless he dropped the weight.
His interest in the Marine Corps peaked from two of his mentors; his sister who currently serves in the Marines, and his law enforcement teacher, Tony Mosley, from East Bakersfield High School, who was a former Marine. As much as he wanted to, Rodriguez-Martinez didn’t join the Marines right away. After graduating high school in 2016, he started working with his dad in the summer as a welder.
“I always said I wanted to join the Marines, but I wouldn’t really do anything about it,” said Rodriguez-Martinez. “I would go to work and come home, and I would tell myself that ‘I am tired, and don’t want to go to the gym today.’”
It wasn’t until January 2017 when Rodriguez-Martinez started to take action, and devoted his time to losing weight.
“I started going to the gym, and started to push myself every day,” he said. “I was barely at my weight standard when I first walked into the recruiting office. I walked in at 203 pounds, and that was my max weight to sign the contract. From there, I kept working out.”
Rodriguez-Martinez became a Future Marine with Recruiting Sub Station Bakersfield East where he was in the Delayed Entry Program for approximately two months, during which he had to get down to 186 pounds before shipping off to boot camp.
“I would workout with Mr. Mosley in the morning, and go into the recruiting office in the afternoon and workout,” he said. “It was a challenge having to wake up early, eat healthy and stay away from junk food, but I stuck with it, and continued to lose weight.”
He shipped to boot camp in the summer of 2017 at 186 pounds. His experience in boot camp was more mentally challenging than physically challenging because of the extra effort he put in to exercising prior to shipping off to boot camp.
“Physically I pushed myself hard enough before boot camp, so I was able to keep up with the (physical training sessions), and I never finished last,” said Rodriguez-Martinez. “Boot camp was mentally challenging for me because it was hard being away from home.”
Even under his max weight in boot camp, Rodriguez-Martinez continued pushed himself, and others. After lights out, he and other recruits would get together and work on crunches and pull-ups.
“I lost almost 20 pounds in boot camp, and I didn’t notice it until Family Day when my family saw me, and they said I got way skinner,” he said. “The next day was graduation, and my family was extremely proud to see me graduate as a Marine.”
From 242 to 167 pounds, Rodriguez-Martinez was barely recognizable to his family, friends, and recruiters. He had gone through the ultimate transformation.
“When I walked into the recruiting office the day after graduation, nobody recognized me,” he said. “After I told them who I was, they quickly remembered. It feels good to go back into the office as a Marine and seeing how far I’ve come.”
For more information about the Marine Corps, visit https://rmi.marines.com/request-information/rslax