Retirement Was Just The Beginning: A New Career In Fitness
Master Sergeant (ret) Patricia Baisden is a true hero, both for her service to the country and her dedication to helping combat the youth obesity epidemic. Using experiences from her long military career as well as her ISSA education and personal trainer certification, Baisden is taking steps to help young people care about health and fitness.
Baisden does her outreach work through her company Baisden’s Healthzone LLC, a nutritional supplement provider. She is hoping to create a non-profit that would be devoted to helping children and teens get fit and lose weight. Along with five other certified personal trainers working with her, Baisden is already making a real difference in the lives of young people. We talked to her about her experiences, her fitness education, and her hopes for the future.
Tell us about Your Military Career.
I am currently retired from the U.S. Army where I reached the position of Master Sergeant. I served in the military for over 30 years. My last tour of duty was in Afghanistan where I was injured. I now live with some disabilities because of those injuries, but thanks to my military training and years of service I don’t let these hold me back.
What Inspired You to Work Toward Reducing Obesity in Young People?
It all started when I was stationed in Georgia in 2010 to help support FEMA efforts in Haiti after the earthquake. While staying at a local hotel, I picked up a morning newspaper and saw that the lead story was about Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” fitness initiative. The article said it was an initiative she created to help combat the obesity epidemic in children.
My first thought was disbelief. I didn’t think there was an epidemic or any kind of crisis. As I worked that day I had the story in the back of my mind, and I began to notice that many of the young people I saw there were overweight or even obese. I started to count and realized I had come into contact with at least 45 children that day who were at unhealthy weights. Later that night I looked up the statistics, and I was truly shocked to see how big the problem was.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Personal Trainer?
As I was finishing up my service in the army and was approaching retirement, I had to figure out what to do next. My experience in Georgia and realization that there was a childhood obesity epidemic inspired me to act. It just made sense for the next step to be a fitness education. With training and certification, as well as my military experience, I figured I would have the expertise to be able to help people get healthy.
Why Did You Choose ISSA?
When I decided to get certified I was still on active duty, so I needed a distance learning program that would accommodate my schedule. The self-paced classes that ISSA offers were perfect for me. I was able to study at night, work during the day, and still spend time with family during downtime. I had such a great experience that I recommended the ISSA to my son who is now also a personal trainer and a friend of his who needed to refresh his training.
What Services Do You Offer in the Fitness Industry?
My business, Baisden’s Healthzone LLC, is a fitness and nutrition business. We sell nutritional supplements, but our real passion is fitness. We are growing and now have five personal trainers offering fitness classes and personal training. I am hoping to turn this company into a non-profit to get grants that will help us better serve young people who are battling obesity. Our main goal is to reduce childhood obesity and help young people get fit and healthy.
The ISSA has been distinguished as a Top 10 Military Friendly School, a responsibility we hold in highest regard. But it isn’t just an award that we earn, it’s a service that we are privileged to provide to our country’s heroes. Bob Rollins is a 27-year Veteran of the US Army. You could call him Sergeant Major, but as a student in one of his classes, “Professor” will suffice.
The recipe for success for this ISSA Certified Trainer includes a dash of innovation and a healthy helping of passion. His box truck turned mobile gym and smoothie bar is a genius mashup, bringing fitness, nutrition, and mindset to a park near you.
Rose Biscardi became an ISSA-certified trainer 10 years ago, with a concentration in helping people 55 and older stay active and fit. “Nobody can believe that I’m going to be 84 in September,” Biscardi said. “They say they want to do what I do.” And her admirers are not relegated to senior status. Her grandson recently told her, “I hope I got your genes.”