Sixty-five-year-old Major Tommy Taylor wakes up at 5:30 a.m. every morning and completes a rigorous workout to start his day.
“I learned a workout in the FBI Academy called the ‘Magnificent 7’ that I do. It is an intense core and cardio workout where your muscles never get to relax. It is both mental and physical,” said Taylor.
Taylor is a commander with the Bureau of Corrections at the Monroe County Sherriff’s Office and has been in Key West since 1990 when he was stationed at Boca Chica as a member of the U.S. Navy Security Force. He has been doing 5:30 a.m. fitness classes since 1991. More than 1,000 people have tried “Tommy’s Boot Camp” over the years.
“The classes started with military and police officers and grew to anybody in the public that was interested in fitness and bettering their life. I do it to give back,” said Taylor.
Fitness came about in his life at a young age. When he was five he remembers running on the field and staying active. In the early ‘70s, Taylor was an active member of the military and also playing for a semi-pro football team — Charleston Sports — on the weekends.
During his free fitness sessions he gives motivational encouragement. One of his students Elisa Levy, a conflict resolution specialist, uses some of his teachings in her practice.
“I learned more from Tommy than I have from the heads of UN agencies, from my graduate school program at Columbia, from CEOs around the world and from leaders in government I have worked with. He teaches and practices the art of attitude,” said Levy. “Every morning he starts his class by saying ‘It’s a great day to be alive. It’s a great day in Paradise!’ That simple power of suggestion has his entire class motivated before we even do one jumping jack.”
Classes are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5:30 a.m. at the skating rink by Shanna Key and are for anybody at any fitness level. Taylor’s website is tommysbootcamp.com.