Matt Hesse serves to assist veterans get match and serve a higher function

vember is National Military Fitness and Wellness Month. The goal for this month is to raise awareness of the importance of health and fitness for active members of the US Armed Forces, veterans who have served, and their families. One group that is very active in supporting soldiers and veterans is Matt Hesse and his organization FitOps Foundation. According to FIT Ops' website, their mission is to "empower veterans to discover new purpose through the power of fitness and community."

As the founder of FitOps and founder and CEO of the University of Health and Performance, Matt Hesse has seen firsthand the differences these organizations make

Hesse had a few family members from previous generations who served their country, but his own call to join the US Army came to him for a different reason. He was looking for a way to leave a rough upbringing behind.

"Many young men and women are called into service to feel safe," said Hesse. "I think a lot of kids can't serve themselves, and when they have difficulties or trauma, they have empathy that others don't feel the way they felt."

Despite the tough years as a child, Hesse sees the positives in what helped him to thrive as an adult.

"It made me want to help others who don't feel the way I do. There is a real gift in that, too, because it calls young people to help others. It can be hard on the child, but it creates a servant and leader in that person's heart.”

Matt Hesse served in the Army for six years before moving on to the next phase of his life. During this time, he encountered leaders who served as positive examples to follow.

"I think the military has played a crucial role in helping me become the man I am and in teaching me the value of having values."

Courtesy of FitOps

After retiring from the military, he found another way to fulfill his purpose - through fitness. A wrestler in middle and high school, he used fitness to improve in school and escape the troubles of his childhood. He still trains regularly today because it has become part of his foundation. After Matt Hesse left the military, he went to school with his GI bill and started working for a grocery store. He also began writing programs and providing nutritional supplements to athletes in school. He developed such a passion for nutrition that he eventually became a shop owner himself. He prioritized hiring veterans so he could help them find new ways to make a difference.

“There is an opportunity to serve when you come out of uniform. I think once you do that and have it in your heart it will never go away. That purpose and meaning in life is your rth Star, and finding that is the most important step in the transition.”

Matt Hesse suggested that there may be a reason veterans don't take the time to explore who you are and what you're passionate about after transitioning into the next phase of life. His passion for fitness and wellness combined with his intention to help other veterans was the beginning of Hesse's next chapter in his career and life, which led to the founding of FitOps and eventually the founding of the University of Health and Performance, which Hesse co-founded development began in 2017, he sold his sports nutrition company. It started as a 30-day camp in Texas but grew into something much bigger.

"FItOps has been the culmination of my desire to end suffering in our population and I truly believe that we need to stop feeling sorry for the veteran population and start empowering it."

The combination of FitOps and the university is different from other non-profit organizations that work solely to raise funds. You want to help these veterans lay a foundation for long-term success. Fitness is an important part of her job, but it's about more than just that. The ultimate goal is to put people in positions where they can thrive and make a positive difference. This purpose, in Hesse's view, is lacking in many veterans and may be a reason so many veterans fight after their military careers have ended.

"The goal is to bring what I've learned and the awareness I've gained through the power of physical fitness to veterans of emotional and mental health in a professional manner."

The role of the university is to help veterans and active duty members become coaches and serve through the power of coaching. The University of Health and Performance was recognized in the state of Arkansas in 2020, and Hesse invested 500 acres of land to create the first campus for active military and veterans to learn fitness and wellness as a career. Graduates can pursue careers as coaches or possibly work in grocery stores if they decide to focus on entrepreneurial goals. FitOps serves as a research and scholarship program for the university.

Matt Hesse isn't the only person joining this mission. He found an ally in legendary WWE Superstar and actor John Cena. Cena is known for his support of children and the Make-A-WIsh Foundation, but the former The Marine star is also passionate about helping those who helped protect freedom.

"He's a serious guy and everything he touches has to be authentic," he shared. “He was a supporter with both resources and time. He has mentored vets and continues to speak to vets he has met on campus.”

What started as a small way to help veterans grew into a movement that has helped many people across the country. Matt Hesee remains as committed to this mission as he was to serving our nation when he was in the Army. Beyond what he does now, he has also developed a book called The Purpose Blueprint that can help those stepping out of ministry find that new purpose. Ultimately, he hopes his efforts go beyond measurable metrics of success like money or fame. Its mission is to change the vision of veterans.

"I believe it's important that we reshape the way civilians see veterans and the way veterans see themselves. That is my mission.”

For more information on FItOps, visit www.fitops.org. To learn more about the University of Health and Performance, visit www.university-hp.com. Also follow Matt Hesse @matt_hesse, @fitops and @university_hp on Instagram.

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