MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. -- He never really had a huge interest in fitness when he was younger, sure he participated in track and wrestling in high school, but his outlook changed when he joined the Marine Corps.
When he first arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Cpl. Jonathan Soriano, Supply Repairable Control Branch noncommissioned officer in charge with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron (MALS) 11, knew he had to keep in shape.
Soon enough Soriano, a Cleveland native, was reading articles and books on fitness to help himself improve – he had discovered his passion in life was fitness.
Soriano wanted to help people get fit through nutrition and exercise and knew he would need an education to do so.
Soriano shared his dream with Sgt. Nikita Derooy, Shipping Branch NCOIC with MALS-11, when they were both privates first class. She was skeptical at first.
“I remember when he was about to go to Japan and he kept talking about when he leaves the Marine Corps he wanted to pursue a career in nutrition,” said Derooy. “He was going to school at the time, but I didn’t believe him because sometimes Marines talk a big game and don’t follow through with their personal plans. When he came back he was still working toward his goal.”
To help him toward his goal and as another outlet for his passion, Soriano’s friends told him about the High Intensity Tactical Training Center on base. Once he tried it, he was hooked.
“I wanted something new,” said Soriano. “Over the course of a couple months, I kept going and got to know the instructors over there. It was great.”
He decided to take the level-one HITT instructor certification course in June 2014. He often seeks advice from other instructors about school and fitness.
As he learns, he shares his knowledge and passion freely with fellow Marines, whether leading physical training sessions or answering any questions they might have about their personal goals.
“He keeps it really positive and if he knows proper techniques for an exercise, he shares it and provides positive reinforcement for them when they perform it correctly,” said Derooy. “He genuinely loves what he’s doing. He’s dedicated and committed to his path. Once he puts his mind to something and says he’s going to do it, he does it. He’s going to do great things.”
Soriano attended classes at Miramar College for courses like introduction exercise physiology, an introductory course to the study of acute and metabolic responses of the human body to exercise, nutrition and program assessment. He plans to go on to San Diego State University to continue his education in Kinesiology. Kinesiology is the study of movement in the human body and is considered a broader study.
His ultimate goal is to open his own chain of gyms where he can reach a greater number of people.
“With this business, I could affect the lives of thousands of people,” said Soriano. “I’ve inspired my little brother to start lifting and working out. He calls me all the time asking me things like, ‘what is creatine?’ or ‘what is this?’ It’s fun. It’s nice to see my little brother take an interest in what I love.”
Even with instructing and going to school, Soriano stays involved in his work and colleagues.
“We’re pretty [close]; I’ve known him for about a year now,” said Cpl. James Richards, a supply clerk with MALS-11 and a Chicago native. “Anything I’ve ever needed to know or learn, be it about work or fitness, I know I can rely on him having the answer or guiding me to who does. We both workout together at the HITT Center and ever since I wanted to start boxing again, I’ve been going to him with nutrition questions. Nine times out of 10, I know he’s the guy who has the answers I need and will give them to me straight.”
Although he’s taking a break from his studies until January as he transitions out of the Marine Corps, Soriano still actively immerses himself in knowledge by reading books and articles about fitness and nutrition.
Soriano plans to take his studies by storm in preparation for owning his own gyms and changing lives, but for now, he is taking it one step at a time.