Military service members have no illusions about their profession. Those who volunteer commit their lives to defending the Constitution and the rights of their fellow Americans. Against tremendous odds they prepare themselves to make the ultimate sacrifice by pushing their minds and bodies to the limit.
After picking up “The Green Berets” at a school book fair, 10 year old Chris Hoguet “made it in his mind” he would serve in the United States Armed forces.
Little did he know then of the punishment his body would endure as he made his way through the Army’s Special Forces before retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2014.
“Jumping out of airplane moving 120 knots has an impact on your back,” Hoguet said. “There is a cumulative effect.”
Upon earning his degree in telecommunications from Penn State, Hoguet graduated from Ranger School before volunteering for Special Forces with 400 other candidates. During the selection process, he sprained his ankle and broke his foot and could barely stand on selection day when he and 40 others were selected from the approximately 120 candidates that completed the final event.
“I went from the showers to the medical station,” he stated.
His career took him to the Special Forces Combat Diver Qualification Course in Key West – a school he would command some six years later as a Major. With assignments across the US and Puerto Rico, attachment to the SEALs, and deployments to Afghanistan, Korea, Bolivia, Colombia and Iraq kept Hoguet from slowing down.
“I was not the smartest person in the world while doing things physically. There was extensive overuse,” he says. “It’s not the type of career where you stop doing things – you keep pushing.”
His hips and back were wrecked upon retirement. The discs in his back were herniated, bulging and compressed.
“The doctors told me to stop and I didn’t want to stop,” Hoguet added. “I wanted to keep doing what I was doing and I didn’t want to take meds.”
The pain eventually led him to an acupuncturist, who recommended a fitness method called Pilates, named for the founder of the discipline that uses controlled movements to increase flexibility and strength without subjecting the joints to extreme force.
By his third class, Hoguet felt his lower back “open up.”
“Instead of feeling tight and painful my body doesn’t hurt,” he said. “I now have more range of motion, particularly my joints and spine.”
Today, Hoguet’s flat-top remains – and so does his affinity to push his body through advanced training. Earlier this year he completed 1,000 hours to become a certified Pilates instructor and spends about 5 to 7 hours a day at the Pilates in Paradise Studio in Tavernier.
He admits Pilates has changed his life in more ways than one. He can carry his infirmed, 55 pound, husky-mix up and down the stairs of his Upper Keys home and is reconnecting with his military background by offering five free sessions for any military vet, injured or not, who are suffering from pain or who just want to increase their mobility.
“While Pilates can help as it did for me, if I had known this earlier in life I may not be so beat up,” Hoguet said. “Pilates can help make many aspects of life, exercise, athletics, etc….better.”
He can be reached at 305-453-0801 or by emailing [email protected].