Editor’s note: This piece was originally published by Stephanie Beougher with the U.S. Army News Service on January 2, 2020
COLUMBUS, Ohio — What do you do when you’re overweight and it is preventing you from pursuing your passion to join the military? If you’re Matt Logsdon, you hit the gym two hours a day, six days a week for a year.
When the 25-year-old from Ashtabula County in northeast Ohio started his journey to join the Ohio Army National Guard in October 2018, he weighed 345 pounds and had 52% body fat. Twelve months later, Logsdon’s transformation was nothing short of amazing — he’d lost 145 pounds and had improved his body fat by more than 30%.
“The hardest part of my weight loss journey had to be sacrificing time with family and friends – not going out to eat with them or just hanging out in general. I wake up at 3 a.m., six days a week, go to the gym and still work a full-time job. Puts me in bed around 8 p.m. every night,” Logsdon said.
Along with a rigorous workout schedule, he also starting eating healthier – which meant no sugar or fast food. Logsdon admits there have been times he’s had to resist the temptation to fall back into bad habits. He’s found motivation to keep on track through the support he received from his mother, sister and co-workers – and his desire to serve his country.
“Two of my uncles are Vietnam veterans and I wanted to follow in their footsteps,” he said. “I am looking forward to being a part of a bigger purpose.”
In his civilian career, Logsdon is a truck driver. As he starts his military career, he’ll be a motor transport operator at the rank of specialist in the 1484th Transportation Company in North Canton, Ohio. Sgt. 1st Class Mark Hutton, Logsdon’s Ohio Army National Guard recruiter, helped him enlist under the Civilian Acquired Skills Program, which gives accelerated promotions for new Soldiers who have specialized skills relevant to a military occupational specialty.
“Matt is one of those enlistments that reminds recruiters why we do this job. He is a great guy and an inspiration for many,” Hutton said.
Logsdon hopes to take advantage of the college tuition assistance opportunities that come along with serving in the Ohio National Guard and to go back to school.
When asked what advice he had for someone thinking about joining the military but who may not be physically fit to meet the requirements, he suggests setting small goals first to reach the end goal, and, “join a gym, and surround yourself with like-minded, goal-oriented people who are going to push you to achieve your dreams.”
Logsdon is living his dream by making his health a priority in order to become a Citizen-Soldier in the Ohio Army National Guard.
Feature photo courtesy of the U.S. Army News Service