Sergeant Tony's Blog

SNAKES ON A PLANE! — Sgt. Tony Ludlow blog post, 5/7/2014. USMC Fitness Boot Camp Memphis

Wednesday, May. 7th 2014 3:53 PM

The snake crawled along on his (or her) belly, as snakes are oft to do, in the space between the right side of my body and the sleeping bag we both shared. He was making his way up toward my head. Just a few minutes earlier I’d gotten into my sleeping bag, which had been thrown out of the tent and onto the ground a few hours earlier by my angry tent-mate.

I’m going to change the subject. Stories about snakes aren’t popular. Ever since Adam and Eve had that disastrous conversation with one, we’ve not fared well with the reptiles. And most of you have probably already heard me tell this story anyway. Suffice it to say, the snake bit me and I died.

New story …

In late summer/early fall 1987, just a few months before I moved to Japan, I tried out for the Minnesota Vikings. I’ve been a Vikings fan since I was 7 years old when my second grade teacher used flowers to represent girls on a progress chart on the bulletin board and an NFL football helmet of our choice to track the boys. One by one she asked about the girl’s favorite flower and the boy’s favorite football team. At the time, I didn’t have a favorite team, but I thought the Vikings had the coolest helmets, what with those horns and all. So, after I chose the Vikings, a team from some faraway place called Minnesota — which may as well have been Mars for a boy from Fort Smith, Arkansas. And I’ve been a dedicated Vikings fan ever since!

In 1987, the NFL players association called for a strike and walked out. Team owners, determined to field a team and have a season, scoured the country for coaches and players willing to cross the “picket line” and form teams. So when the Vikings came to Memphis and held open tryouts at Rhodes College, I interpreted it as a sign from on high and said, “why the hell not!” So at 7am the Monday morning of tryouts, I showed up with other “has-beens and never-wases.” It was wild!

I stood in a mob with the widest weirdest assortment of “athletes” I’d ever been mingled with! There were guys who’d played D1 college ball 10 years earlier, but never got signed to an NFL team, guys who’d only played D3 ball and never gave up the dream, guys who’d played high school ball or junior high ball or little league ball or no ball at all. I’d played football from the time I was 7 years old up until economic circumstances required me to get a job in high school to help out with the family finances and give up football.

I probably wouldn’t have even shown up for tryouts had it been any other team than the Vikings. If it had been, say, the Cowboys, I’d have stayed home!

Some of the guys who were there that Monday morning, myself included, were wearing cleats we’d bought just a week or so before and that were hardly broken in. Some guys were wearing running shoes and some even wore basketball shoes! Guys wore their college practice shirts and other guys who’d spent more time in the frat house than the field house, showed up wearing Izod polo shirts with popped collars! Some guys were so fat that their bellies hung down below their college era shirts and other guys looked like they’d never done a pushup in their entire lives.

I’d run 4 triathlons that summer and was in pretty decent shape, but I hadn’t been lifting weights like a football player and I was far from being “buff.” But by comparison to the other guys in the herd, I thought I wasn’t in too much trouble.

Tryouts consisted of what you’d expect: agility drills, 40 yard dashes, skills tests, and an assortment of other tests and challenges meant to discover NFL players in the rough. We were told that position coaches would be dismissing guys on the hour starting at 8am. At noon, just before breaking for lunch, they would make another cut, if you made it that morning, you would come back after lunch. The same routine would be followed in the afternoon: cuts on the hour and final cuts at the end of the day. Tuesday would go the same way: cuts on the hour, final cuts before lunch, and the afternoon the same thing. Wednesday would go the same as Monday and Tuesday. If you made it to the final cut on Wednesday, you “might” be offered an invitation to go to Minnesota to continue the tryout process.

Turns out that the Vikings — and every other NFL team — were holding the same three day tryouts in several other major cities in an effort to find enough good players to field a team in time for the season to begin. Those who survived the local tryouts would go to Minneapolis to compete against other laymen who’d also been asked to go to Minnesota.

I didn’t see my Vikings dream die until the end of tryouts on Tuesday. “Thank you for coming out.” I would never be a Viking. Even though I was a little slow for the position I was trying out for, I was also too short for it! But I got to keep my official Vikings practice shorts though, and I wore them until they were threadbare and the material was coming loose from the waistband. I think I held on to them for 10 years!

In hindsight, I’m really really glad that I didn’t make the team. Those “replacement players” teams were horrible! It was the worst year in NFL football history! Many years later I became friends with a guy who actually made the San Francisco 49ers “scab” team that year as a place kicker. He told me that it was terrible. They were booed in every stadium they played in, including Candlestick Park, the 49ers home field! He only admitted that he played that one year AFTER I mentioned that I’d tried out and didn’t make it! Finally, he could brag to someone and it would mean something! All of the scab players were dismissed at the end of that awful season when the “real” players returned to their teams.

When I was a high school coach, I told my players that someone somewhere sometime would tell them that their playing days were over. Maybe it would come in the form of not getting a college scholarship or when their “walk on” dreams ended with no position for them. Or maybe it would happen at the end of their college playing days when there was no professional team interested in them. I told the guys to pursue their dreams, but have a reality plan too. I’m not ashamed of not making the Vikings, but I’d be bummed if I’d never even tried!

The saddest people are those with no dreams, no aspirations, nothing on a bucket list.

Don’t let those people who’ve quit dreaming talk you out of yours! Dream on … dream on … dream until your dreams come true!

Or until someone sends you home with a pair of practice shorts!

– M. Tony Ludlow, USMC Fitness Boot Camp Memphis

— 30 —




by Staff Sergeant Ashley Holloway, Registered Dietitian, LDN

(A Registered Dietitian has a BS in Food Science, followed by a one year internship through an accredited university, and then with the recommendation of the internship program’s supervisor, a national examination is required. After that, an RD must have continuing education units annually in order to remain active and registered. An RD is an expert, not a hobbyist or a “food enthusiast.”)

Healthy Muscle, Healthy You!

Muscle mass is vital for life.

Unfortunately, the amount of muscle mass you have declines with age. Your peak muscle mass is around age 30. By age 40, you can lose up to 8% of your muscle every ten years. Around 70 years of age, this loss can accelerate to a muscle mass loss of 15% every ten years!

The reason we all lose muscle as we age is due to decreases in protein synthesis, the process in which cells build proteins. The more muscle mass you lose, the worse it is.

Losing muscle leads to an increased risk of falls and fractures, a weakened immune system, decreased quality of life and a loss of independence. The good news is, you can do something about it!

To slow the loss of age related muscle loss, it is important to eat a source of protein at each meal such as eggs, lean meat, beans, milk, or yogurt. The other critical thing you need to do is to do weight bearing exercises on a regular basis (a minimum of 3 times a week) such as those done at USMC Fitness Boot Camp. Strength training exercises and nutrition play a key roll in building and maintaining muscle.

Heaving healthy muscles equals a healthier you!


You can help me!

Many of you who are licensed and/or certified in your professions also have to get CEUs (continuing education units) per year to remain licensed and certified. It’s the same with me.

I’m currently working on additional fitness education in the area of behavior and motivation, also known as transtheoretical model of behavioral change or TTM for short.

Here’s how you can help. If you were not exercising at all prior to joining USMC Fitness Boot Camp, would you send me a private message? I’d like to ask you a couple of questions.

Helping me out will indicate that you’re a really good person and worthy of an excellent life!

Thank you!


MAKE A $&(#&@^#!*% FACE!!!!



What you get out of the workouts is determined by you.

How much do you work? How much effort you put into trying to do all of the repetitions with proper form and how much weight you’re using will determine what you get out of each workout.


It’s time for you to go up in weights … that’s what I’m thinking!







Members of the Sub-7 Club are Boot Campers who’ve run the mile in under 7 minutes under my observation and timing.

These are the current members of the Sub Seven Club:

Corporal Lee Chase,
Corporal Chris McLelland,
Staff Sergeant Patrick Moore,
Staff Sergeant Rob Johnston,
Staff Sergeant Andrew Stolnicki,
Gunnery Sergeant Bart Thomas,
Staff Sergeant Dory Sellers,
Gunnery Sergeant Henry Kenworthy,
Master Sergeant John Winford,
First Sergeant Matt Green,
And Sergeant Major Andrew Forsdick.



Your rank insignia t-shirts look AWESOME on you! (Don’t forget to wear yours EVERY WEDNESDAY AND/OR THURSDAY, T-SHIRT DAY!

Every Wednesday is our Official BOOT CAMP T-SHIRT DAY! You can wear your rank insignia shirt anytime you‘d like, of course, but always every Wednesday!

The Rank Structure of the Quarterdeck:

Under 6 months is a Private
Six months to 1 year is a Private First Class.

Over 1 year is a Lance Corporal
– Pam Torres – meritoriously promoted 12/2012
– Teresa Reed 2/2012*
– Natalie Mannon 5/2012
– Emma Crystal 5/2012
– Megan Collins 6/2012
– Maria Wyatt 6/2012
– Beth Stengel 2/2012
– Chris Kelley 6/2102
– Susye Clark 7/2012
– Victoria Tigrett 8/2012
– Crystal Bloodworth 8/2012
– Lora Gubanov 8/2012
– Shelia Johnson 8/2012
– Orli Weisser-Pike 9/2012
– Morgan Johnson 10/2012
– ShaWanda Upshaw 10/2012
– Chuck Miller 11/2012
– Diane Gorney 12/2012
– Lexie Johnston 12/201?
– Ashley Summers 2/2014
– Ben Summers 2/2013
– Sam Lee 2/2013
– Louise Biedenharn 2/2013
– Jay Biedenharn 2/2013
– Ragan Washburn 2/2013
– Mary Holland Doan 4/2013
– Kay Barkoh 4/2013
– Melissa Campbell 4/2013

Over 2 years is a Corporal
– Jeremy Harris 1/2009*
– Courtney Phillips 2/2011
– JD Dombroski 4/2011
– Becky Lawler 5/2010*
– Carrie Schule 5/2011
– Bevan Lee 5/2011
– Mary Bauer 6/2011
– Lee Chase 7/2011
– Tait Keller 8/2011
– Heath Anderson 9/2011
– Lindsey Stanfill 9/2011
– Tara Ingram 11/2011
– Rachel Phillips 2/2012
– Jean Maskas 2/2012
– Keith Renard 4/2012
– Alan Compton 4/2012
– Steve Havard 5/2012

Over 3 years is a Sergeant
– Emily Melonas 6/2010
– Keith Renard 6/2009*
– Ashley McClure 7/2010
– Falana Scott 7/2010
– Jenni Harris 8/2010
– Anne Marie Wyatt 8/2010
– Tim Romanow 8/2010
– Paul Bauer 11/2010

– Robin Scott 3/2011
– Chris McLelland 3/2011
– Randal Rhea 4/2011
– Cindy King 4/2011
– Sherri Thompson 4/2011
– Melissa Thompson 5/2011
– Michelle Moss 5/2011

Over 4 years is a Staff Sergeant
– Jonathan Phillips 10/2008*
– Scott Plunkett 10/2008
– Shena Clemons 10/2008
– Teresa Faulk 6/2009
– Sarah Vickers 8/2009
– Robert Hunt 8/2009
– Cameron Mosley 11/2009
– Karen Massey 11/2009
– Cecelia DeLacy 2/2010
– Malinda Miller 3/2010

– Jay Mednikow 3/2010
– Ashley Holloway 4/2010
– Beth Mills 5/2010

Over 5 years is a Gunnery Sergeant
– Rob Johnston 4/2008
– Alan Schaeffer 4/2008
– Buddy Daves 5/2008
– Mike Ryan 5/2006*
– Dory Sellers 6/2006*
– Albo Carruthers 8/2008
– Anne Kenworthy 8/2008
– Patrick Moore 9/2008
– Jessie Flanders 1/2009
– Andrew Stolnicki 1/2009
– Ben Killerlain 1/2009
– Paul Tronsor 3/2009

Over 6 years is a Master Sergeant
– Jeff Lee 1/2006*
– Anne Mead 2/2005*
– Leslie Garey 6/2007
– Beth Rehrig 7/2007
– Matt Prince 8/2007

– Frank Jemison 10/2007
– Patty Dougherty 3/2008
– Oscar Adams 3/2008

Over 7 years is a First Sergeant
– Megan Warr 8/2006
– Rob Norcross 8/2006
– Kay Ryan 10/2006
– Michelle Dunn 3/2007
– George Rose 5/2007
– Henry Kenworthy 5/2007

Over 8 years is a Sergeant Major
– Louis Glazer 3/2005
– Mike Barta 6/2005*
– Anne Emmerth 6/2005*
– Gary Thompson 10/2005
– Scot Bearup 10/2005
– Kay Shelton 1/2006
– Leesa Jensen 5/2006

Over 9 years is a Warrant Officer 1
– Andrew Forsdick 9/2004
– Melissa Moore 2/2005
– Matt Green 5/2005

Over 10 years is a Chief Warrant Officer 2
– Buddy Flinn 7/2003
– Amy Singer 9/2003
– David Townsend 1/2004
– Hank Brown 3/2004

Over 11 years is a Chief Warrant Officer 3
– Pat McGhee 1/2003
– John Whittemore 1/2003
– Peter Pettit 5/2003

Battalion Executive Officer
Major Richard Bourland, 9/2003

* broken time



We should be!


You should totally do that!



If you set up an automatic payment at your bank (Boot Camp mailing address is 4888 Southern, Memphis 38117) you can subtract $10 off your fee! That’s right, instead of $75, you can pay $65!

(This is not an automatic bank draft that I set up with a voided check. This an automatic payment that you yourself set up.)



0530 Monday through Friday
(First and second Tuesday of the month are M-16 Workouts at CUMC. Third and fourth Tuesdays are Mt. Fuji Workouts at the U of M)

0645 M-F Inside the blue gym until April.

5:45 PM: Monday through Thursday, 5:30 on Friday.



First of all, find me on Facebook and make me your friend. (Also, be sure to “like” USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP on Facebook.)

Here’s how the discount works!

It’s simple: make a Facebook status update and get a discount!

For every status update that you make that references:
“USMC Fitness Boot Camp,”
“Sgt. Tony’s Boot Camp,”
“Tony’s Boot Camp,”
or something similar, (there are fake boot camps out there) you can take $2.50 off your next reenlistment fee for each update!

You can take up to $20 off for any given month!

Your status update has to be a specific reference to USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP or to me specifically by name.


You can do the same thing by “checking in” at USMC Fitness Boot Camp either by using Facebook “places,” Foursquare, or any of the other “check in” apps that show up on your Facebook News Feed.

So log on and start getting your discounts now!


Q. How can I get up in the morning on a consistent basis?
A. Contrary to what many think, I am NOT a morning person. I have to be “dynamited” out of the bed! Here are some tips to help you get going in the morning:
1. Use two alarm clocks. I have a snooze alarm that starts going off several minutes before I intend to get up. Then I have a “Last Call” alarm clock that is located across the room. This alarm clock is set to go off when I MUST get up.
2. Once the last call alarm goes off, the bed becomes OFF LIMITS! Get moving!
3. Get out of bed, turn off the alarm clock, and start turning on lights all through the house. Turn the TV on!

4. Lay out your clothes the night before. Don’t go wandering around the house in the morning trying to find your left shoe and your favorite shorts. So, have things ready the night before.


What would you do if money was not an issue, fear was not a factor, and failure was not an option?

To your optimum health and fitness!



Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow

USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding
Mailing address: 4888 Southern Ave., Memphis, TN 38117
Cell Phone: 901-644-0145

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