There are certain professions that automatically generate respect from others – the U.S. Navy is one of them. One of those titles for Americans is "Navy." That's why USMC veteran Taylor Spadaccino got emotional when she became one of the few and proud.
“I remember crying. I had a puddle at my feet and I was trying to hold myself together, right? I just got a bloody marine right now, ”the Philly native said proudly. “In the meantime I look down and see that there are puddles in front of everyone. It was so emotional. It was very emotional. "
Her grandfather and his brothers were all involved in World War II, but Spadaccino had their own reason for engaging in service to their country.
“To be honest, I had no direction in my life. I didn't think school was right for me. I didn't think I'd be really good at school. I needed some discipline back then. I needed direction to be honest, "she said.
Taylor Spadaccino: Certified Hero
Courtesy Taylor Spadaccino / @ taylor_spadaccino
Spadaccino served in the Marines for four years, working up to a rank of E4 / Corporal. During her tour, she received numerous honors, including the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Sharpshooter Rifle Badge. The recognition she values most is the certificate of appreciation that she was awarded during her deployment to the Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan. It played a key role in rebuilding an Afghan camp after it suffered what was then the worst attack by the Taliban.
“That was a very cool moment,” she says. “My grandmother has the actual certificate hanging in her living room. She cried when I gave it to her. This is maybe the coolest thing I've had so far. It's super cool to have that as a woman too, I have to say. It's incredible."
She is grateful for the honors and awards, but she admits that her merits are much deeper than medals.
"The greatest things that I have been taught or given have been discipline and respect, not just for myself but for others as well."
Spadaccino's future in fitness
Courtesy of Muscle Development
Grown up in all sports, Spadaccino tried softball, lacrosse, gymnastics and even golf until she quickly developed a passion for soccer, which she played through her sophomore year of high school. Sport has sparked her other personal passion today: fitness. She discovered that she loved to hit weights and take care of her body while she was on duty. It's been a big part of her life ever since.
“There is nothing to do but smoke cigarettes, so I decided to do something. I've done PT regularly before, of course, but I've never been to the gym. I did it because I had to, ”she admitted. “My job was at the computer, doing nerd or calculator work. Whenever I've ever had free time, I'd go to sites like Muscle & Fitness or whatever it was looking for bikini competitor workouts and I was like, 'Whoa, I want to look like them.' "
After she started exercising, she decided to take part in competitions because the thought of having a purpose excited her. When her match fire was lit, she went all-in. It took some time to find the right division for her.
“I started in a bikini and I know for myself that I like to train harder. I want to get bigger; I want more from hardcore training. So I decided to go to Figure. "
At the time, the move was the right one as she earned her IFBB Pro League card at the 2016 NPC Junior Nationals. Her last Pro Contest was Europa Orlando in 2017, where she finished 12th. She hasn't been on stage since, but she hasn't ruled out the possibility that she will perform again in the future. Maybe she'll even take on a new challenge in a new department.
“If I compete again, I would like to try wellness. We'll see, but. Never say Never."
While their competitive future is uncertain, helping others is safe. She continues to inspire and motivate her 750,000 followers on Instagram and is happy to answer questions from anyone looking to improve their health and fitness.
“The best thing is when a woman gets in touch and asks for advice, even when it comes to something like quads. I get a lot of questions about legs, diet, cardio routines, even things like implant sizes. It sounds ridiculous, but when I can do something to help someone, it feels great, ”said Spadaccino. “It's nice to know that I can provide not only motivation but also experience. It just feels good to share. When I approached these people I looked up to and they got in touch with me, it was so cool, so it's great to be a light to others now. "
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