Jason Santiago is the owner of FitRev Training, a high-quality workout and training facility located in Hendersonville. Throughout his life, he has overcome a lot of adversity that has helped shape him into becoming one of the most highly-motivated fitness entrepreneurs in the area. Originally born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Jason moved to Hendersonville after retiring from the Army after 16 years of service. Using the skills he learned, Jason has spent the last couple of years bettering others in their health and fitness journeys.
Mentally, how did you come out of the Army and how has this affected your day to day life in a negative way?
When I first left the Army, I struggled with my identity. I lost a sense of who I was because the Army is all I knew for the better part of my young adult life. I went from being a true combat hero to a regular civilian, so it affected me negatively. As many veterans can relate, I struggled to adjust to life after the military.
How has this affected your life in a positive way? The Army made me the man I am today.
My work ethic, my values, and determination come from my experiences in the military. I am extremely grateful I was able to learn from so many different types of leadership styles. Some great, some horrible, but I learned from both types. It ultimately made me the leader I am today.
What is one of the best memories you had while serving in the Army?
Many of the best and most honorable memories I have from the Army (even though they can be sad memories) was piloting “Heroes” (American Military Personnel Killed in Action) off the battlefield and being the first step of their journey back home to their families.
What’s the hardest part about settling into normal life after retiring from the Army?
I touched on this a little earlier, but the toughest part is trying to make sense and reasoning on why things are done the way they are and why people do some of the things the way they do. It’s just different.
I was taught in the beginning of my career to take pride in the work you do and always think of others before yourself. I do not see a lot of that since I retired. I am getting adjusted to it and it’s all becoming clearer to me now though.
How has the K9s For Warriors program impacted your life?
K9s For Warriors saved my life. There were and still are some dark days in my life, and I knew I needed help without using medication. Going into combat three times while flying MEDEVAC missions, you don’t come back as the same person that went in. When I found out about the program and was accepted, I knew it would be a great step towards a brighter future. In addition, having Bristol (my dog) as my “battle buddy” helps me with the everyday struggles I encounter. The K9s For Warriors team is my new family now and I’ll always be thankful for what they have done for Bristol and me.
Why did you choose to get into the fitness industry after the Army?
I am fortunate to know what my purpose is in life and it’s to serve people. I did this while I was in the military and I needed another platform to continue to serve people once I retired. I have always had a profound interest in fitness and health.
When I was transitioning from the Army to civilian life, my heart led me back to the fitness industry, and I decided after I obtained my Masters in Business Administration that it was time for me to continue to do something I love based off passion, not the financial gain. This is when I decided to take a chance and start training people and to help change their lives.
What is one of the proudest moments you’ve had while being an owner and trainer at FitRev Training?
One of my proudest moments at FitRev was Christmas of 2019. Coach Carolin documented our gym’s progress from 2018 to 2019 and she put together a book for me for as a gift. I was so overwhelmed with emotion when I saw how much thought and effort had gone into the gift as well as how far the company had come in only a short period of time. It was an extremely proud moment for all the hard work and the feeling of slow and steady progression was very relieving.
What is one thing people may not know about Jason Santiago?
I’m passionate about making a positive impact on people’s lives. It’s where I get my drive and determination from. I love the of feeling watching people change their lives for the better.
How would you like FitRev Training to be seen from an outside perspective?
I want FitRev to be seen as a well-diversified training facility where we all come from our own walks of life. The most important thing is taking care of yourself and staying active and we want to show you how to do that here. I want everyone to feel welcome and at home.