Soldier takes fitness to new heights
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT JACKSON, S.C. (March 26, 2015) -- From being a semi-professional basketball player to being a Soldier -- Staff Sgt. Marcus Wallace has dedicated more than 18 years of his life to fitness and healthy living.

Wallace is a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist who lives on Fort Jackson with his family, but is stationed at Shaw Air Force Base with U.S. Army Central.

"After playing basketball in high school and college I went on to play semi-pro basketball in Argentina for one year," Wallace said. "I decided to join the Army because my dad was also in the military. He did 24 years in the Air Force. I chose to join the Army because I am more of a physical person and I also wanted to play on the all-Army basketball team, so I joined the Army and played all-Army basketball for four years."

He said his love for fitness came about after an injury to his back.

"Many trainers told me that I needed to strengthen my core to reduce back pains and injuries while playing for the all-Army basketball team," Wallace said.

Wallace said during his last years of playing basketball he was plagued with a lot of injuries.

"The injury to my back from playing basketball required rehabilitation and weight training to re-strengthen my muscles, which brought on my love for fitness," Wallace said. "I started seeing results and I continued training. ... As I began to get more serious, I could be in the gym working out and have fitness trainers come up to me and encourage me to compete in a few competitions."

Wallace said he participated in his first fitness competition in 2008 and won third place overall with only four weeks of preparation.

"From there I just had a drive. I got my personal trainer license and I began helping Soldiers in my unit lose weight to pass the PT test," Wallace said. "Mostly what I do is bring what I have learned and combine that with military training. I have helped raise our company PT average by at least 20 to 50 points. Last year, when I got to my unit the overall company PT score was 223 and then, after being there six months, it has gone up to 260 as a company."

Wallace said his training concepts fall right in line with the Army's Performance Triad model.

"My fitness plans follow what I call the four quarters of fitness," Wallace said. "The first thing (Soldiers) need is nutrition, which is the most important thing, weight training, cardiovascular (training) and sleep. Most people do not realize that you have to have the right amount of rest."

Wallace's ambition to help Soldiers achieve their physical training goals has given him an opportunity to achieve his own goals.

"I am in the running to become the Men's Health magazine Next Top Trainer. If I win, I will be able to have my own workout video produced by Men's Health, so this is kind of big for me," he said.

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