In 1996, Mario was a young Airman posting security at what seemed to be an obscure housing complex in Saudi Arabia. When the bomb exploded into Khobar Towers and the world took notice of the atrocity, Mario was embarking on a 25 year journey of getting knocked down, picking himself up, and refusing to quit on himself.
Mario was at the main gate searching cars for explosives with a fellow airman when they saw a bright flash of light appear from the midnight sky. Seconds later the deafening sound was as if a crack of lightning was upon them. Finally, the shockwave that rushed through the American compound came up on Mario and his fellow airman. The trauma of the scene unfolded and Mario knew lives were lost, 19 to be exact! While Mario escaped the scene with his physical health intact, unbeknownst to him at the time, his mental health was gravely wounded.
A Son’s Struggle is a Family’s Struggle
When Mario returned home to his family, those demons came calling and to a family with a rich heritage of military service, they could tell the Mario that returned was not the same one that left. Mario is the descendent of a long lineage of military servicemen and immigrants dedicated to pursuing the American dream. His grandfather was a participant in the WW2 era Bracero Program as a hard working agricultural laborer which allowed him to send money back home in order to legally immigrate Mario’s mother to the United States.
On his father’s side, he descended from a lineage of military veterans who, while hispanic in ethnicity, toiled the lands of Western America before it was a part of the United States. To protect the only land they have ever known, one generation of Mario’s family after the other enlisted to fight for America’s defense. By the time Mario was born, his uncle Mario had already made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam and is founder Mario’s own namesake as a result. Mario’s family wasn’t confused about what they were seeing as he descended into substance abuse, depression, and self-destructive behavior.
Knowing Thy True Self
Trauma comes in many forms and the human experience dictates that we will cope with it in as diverse a manner as is the human genome. Mario’s world took another when he came to acknowledge what he had already known for so long. Mario thrived within the dogma of 1990’s Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell military culture as a gay male. Once again, Mario was forced to stand back up from keeping himself down to stand up for who he knew he was made to be. Mario stood back up to regain another part of his whole self.
For two decades, Mario struggled with identity and addiction before he discovered his full true self. He met his soon to be husband who would continually offer more faith in Mario than Mario was willing to grant himself. The arrival of twins offered new purpose and in 2020, for the first time since that young man was knocked to the ground in 1996 Khobar Towers, Mario truly felt the joy of what it meant to stand back up for good. For his kids, for his family, for his country, Round-1fitness will stand. Round-1 fitness will stand with you.
Mario will be the first to tell you that his newfound family became the catalyst for his recovery, but that recovery had to take place inside of himself. He realized that he allowed shame, negative thoughts, and a past full of regret to become the loudest voice in his head. As such, he realized that he was creating his own worst scenario every day. The enemy was within and it was there that the battle must be fought.
Gratefulness began to replace bitterness, hope began to stand in place of dread, and mindful possibility became the order of the day. Soon, Mario’s newfound joy became contagious. Those around him began to beam with the same enthusiasm for life he was now exhibiting. Mario was no longer creating his worst scenario each morning. Rather, he was creating a joyful present worth embracing.
A Company of Destiny Born from the Ashes
Round-1 fitness is not a brand born out of naivety. To truly understand the ashes from which we all rise, we must experience them. Mario believes and lives that each one of us are more than the sum of the trauma we have experienced. We are more than the boldest dreams we can envision and all it requires of us on any given day is to stand back up.
Stand up for your physical health. Stand up for your mental health. Stand up for you and those you love. One day at a time, stand up. Do not leave this writing with an ounce of regret for the past. Proceed with hope and the genuine belief that a future without precedent awaits. Believe that you deserve that future and as long as you are willing to stand back up and fight for it, Round-1 fitness will be right here with you. You deserve all the good that is to come your way.