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Retired 1st sgt.: Don't let yourself go after the military

Nov. 18, 2013 - 02:09PM   |  
Retired Marine Corps 1st Sgt. Tyrone Filer recently beat out a team of men in their 20s to place first in the physique portion of a Florida bodybuilding competition.
Retired Marine Corps 1st Sgt. Tyrone Filer recently beat out a team of men in their 20s to place first in the physique portion of a Florida bodybuilding competition. (Courtesy of Tyrone Filer)
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When 1st Sgt. Tyrone Filer retired from the Marine Corps five years ago, he didn’t let it lower his fitness standards — and he wishes other retirees wouldn’t either.

Filer, 46, served as company first sergeant with 6th Motor Transport Battalion in Orlando, Fla. He recently beat out a team of men in their 20s to place first in the physique portion of a Florida bodybuilding competition. He credits the Corps for giving him a base in good fitness but has ramped up his efforts to improve his physique during his retirement.

Now an administrative officer at the Marine Corps’ Blount Island Command in Jacksonville, Fla., Filer said he is motivating others aboard his base. But he wants to inspire Marines beyond just Jacksonville — especially those who are headed to retirement and thinking of slowing down.

“I look at a lot of retirees and think, ‘God, why did you let yourself go?’” Filer said. “Why wouldn’t you want to maintain that state of excellence, that exception that we strive for in the Marine Corps. That’s what makes us the few and the proud.”

Filer said he never considered competing in bodybuilding competitions until he attended one a few months ago.

With about three months to train, Filer said he got in touch with a personal trainer at Team Turbo — another former Marine — who put him on a 13-week diet and training plan. He adjusted his diet to include six small meals per day, high in lean proteins, vegetables and complex carbohydrates.

“I was eating cake, ice cream, soda — I needed to minimize all those calories,” he said. “As soon as I started feeding my body the right nutrients, it started responding in a positive way.”

He swapped junk food for chicken breasts, oatmeal, broccoli, fruit and sweet potatoes. One day each week, he treats himself to a “cheat meal.”

Filer kept his physical training regimen about the same once he left the Corps. He still PTs for about an hour each day, five days per week. That includes about 30 minutes on weight machines and a half-hour run. He also recently picked up CrossFit and he said he’s building new muscle.

At 5 feet, 6 inches and 150 pounds, Filer said people are sometimes surprised to see how muscular he is. After the bodybuilding competition, where he wore just a pair of board shorts, he said his coworkers and other Marines on base started asking for his secrets.

“Even the young Marines who used to work with me in the Marine Corps have called me and they say, ‘Oh my God, first sergeant, we knew you were always in shape, but how do you do it?’ ”

The key to remember is that no one has the same body, he said.

“Everybody is not going to have the same results,” he said. “My results aren’t their results. We’re all built and genetically different.”

Being surrounded by Marines at Blount Island helps to motivate the retired first sergeant. He said he runs with Marines regularly and takes advantage of the Civilian Health and Wellness Program by spending up to three hours of his work week on PT.

“I just want to be an inspiration,” he said. “I want people to see me and say, ‘He’s 46, and he’s still maintaining that Marine Corps foundation.’”

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