Gratitude may feel like a small thing, but it can play a huge role in helping us maintain our mental and social health.
While so much of the emphasis of personal growth is on putting yourself first and getting things done (after all, a Free Athlete’s journey is an ongoing path of self-improvement and self-actualization), we should not forget to stop ourselves sometimes and be thankful for what we have accomplished.
Likewise, we can’t do everything on our own; there are many others in our lives who help us and support us through their actions and words, and feeling and showing gratitude towards them brings us closer to those people.
In this brief interview, we’re highlighting the experiences of Corey and Zach, two military veterans in the Community. As Marines in the United States Armed Forces, their shared experience in the U.S. Marine Corps introduced them to the ethos and essential values of the Marines, which influenced their approach to training and life in ways they still look to today.
We’ve asked them to reflect a little bit on the gratitude they feel as veterans and members of the Freeletics Community.
Read on to discover what Corey and Zach have found in their own life journeys as they share a bit about what they’re grateful for. Training, family, and the support of their fellow Free Athletes are high on the list.
A bit about our interviewees:
Corey is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, a devoted father, and a Freeletics Ambassador. After being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, he began his journey to find himself and what matters in his life. And he discovered Freeletics. Since then, Corey has been connecting and competing with Free Athletes around the world, inspiring himself and others to become the best versions of themselves.
Zach is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Purple Heart recipient, and Free Athlete. A proud father, he is teaching his three children about the importance of physical, mental and emotional fitness for everyday success. Zach believes in focusing well-being in order to be the best version of yourself and to lead, and help others lead, a successful life.
Q & A with Corey and Zach:
When you think about your physical training (with or without Freeletics), what are you grateful for, and why do you feel grateful for those things?
Corey: When I think about physical training I am always thinking about bettering myself. I used to think that getting bigger was the way, but my body is not built to be big. My body is built to be strong.
Today, when I venture into my physical training of either Freeletics or yoga I am grateful for many things. I am grateful that I can physically do it, that my body and limbs are still capable of accomplishing the task. I am grateful that my mind is strong enough to not give in when I am tired, sore, or even depressed.
Most importantly, I am grateful to my family. My wife and children support me in my journeys of Freeletics and yoga, and they join me. Lastly, I am also grateful for the community within Freeletics. They challenge you, they look for you, they encourage you, they are family that we had not met in person.
Zach: I’m grateful for the ability to be able to train and condition myself for tasks at hand. Being unable to walk for 2 years really opened my eyes to how important the smaller things in life equate to the big picture. I’m grateful for the ability to raise my 3 children around fitness and to ingrain it into a normal day for them so without it, it won’t be a complete day.
Think about your experiences with the Freeletics Community. Could you tell us about a few moments when someone in the community has thanked you? Have you also been able to express your gratitude to individual Free Athletes and/or to the Community as a whole?
Corey: The Freeletics Community is phenomenal. I am grateful for each and every Free Athlete that attacks the day to become their best version. I reach out to many and give words of encouragement or to ask questions on their journey.
I usually express my gratitude to the whole community, but my wife Valerie is the one I am most grateful for. She continues to push me, support me, and is my biggest fan. I had been contacted by many Free Athletes who had thanked me for my story, my journey in life. They tell me it has spoken to them and gave them the strength to push further.
Zach: So far, Corey has given me very kind words about being an inspiration. It means a lot while trying to prove to myself, my children and Corey to give the best effort I can. Regardless of that, I sincerely give thanks to Corey for believing in me and my ability to succeed with Freeletics. His progress keeps me motivated, and the fear of letting him down guarantees my success. From his meticulous leadership leading our platoon into combat, to the guidance from workout to workout, I’m destined for success, thanks to him.
You’ve taken on a lot of challenges and strengthened your mind and attitudes along with your body--from these personal experiences, what tips would you give to people on how to build a more grateful, positive mindset?
Corey: I am honored to be able to put my words together for the Free Athlete community. I am no better than any other Athlete that made Freeletics a lifestyle. When I was a Marine there were two phrases I lived by: the first was “I don't mind so it doesn't matter.” This means a lot to me because our minds could be our greatest support or our worst nightmare. Physical pain will end, but when we can really get within our minds we really will never feel the pain.
The second phrase is “what does not kill us makes us stronger”. This does not just mean physically, this is that mental mindset that we use to grow and become better. So, the tips I will offer are to push yourself to be better, learn your limits.
Once you know your limits you can adjust to accomplish your task. Meditate! Take the time to steady the mind. When we settle the mind we can actually think through our problems, and most importantly see ourselves accomplishing the unthinkable. You all are phenomenal, be the best version of yourself and continue to challenge others along with accepting challenges.
Zach: I have a bit more of a direct “Marine Corps” attitude, which may be too forward for some. But my number one is “STOP MAKING EXCUSES”. We all do it and I’m as guilty as the next person. When it comes down to it, nothing in life is guaranteed except the decisions you make on a daily basis. There IS enough time in the day if you have the discipline to wake up 30 minutes earlier, or cut 30 minutes out of your show, or hell.... even during your show! You don’t need fancy gyms. You don’t need money. You don’t need anything except a will to succeed, discipline and the refusal to quit.