The Morning Formation Podcast

Challenge of Fitness & Business After the Uniform with USS Battle Series CEO & Navy Vet Cliff Walker

May 04, 2022 KP Season 2 Episode 19
The Morning Formation Podcast
Challenge of Fitness & Business After the Uniform with USS Battle Series CEO & Navy Vet Cliff Walker
Show Notes Transcript

Warriors, Fall In!

Today, we're joined with the founder of a Veteran owned physical fitness challenge that brings the battleground of the course to some of America's heroic, mechanized and historic ships across the Nation. Cliff Walker is not just a Navy Gulf War Veteran, but also a retired firefighter, so fitness is the top priority for this highly motivated business owner.

His business is called "The USS Battle Series and is described as such on their website:

"USS BATTLE SERIES is a functional fitness competition that brings a new level of awareness in terms of health, fitness, and mental well-being for our United States Armed Forces, First Responders and those in our local communities that support our brave men and women.

These events will honor and pay respect to our American heroes. Held aboard retired United States Naval aircraft carriers and battleships homeported throughout the United States of America.

These United States Naval ships with the men and women aboard have bravely served our country with honor, pride and commitment around the world protecting our freedom and liberty allowing us to live our lives in the land of the free, home of the brave.

The USS BATTLE SERIES will travel full steam ahead into locations such as….. California, New York, Hawaii, Texas, and many more exciting homeports."

Join us on this interesting conversation with Cliff where he talks about USS Battle Series, his military service, and what it took for him to start this endeavor!

USS BATTLE SERIES IG:
https://www.instagram.com/uss_battle_series/

USS BATTLE SERIES Website:
https://ussbattleseries.com

KP:

This episode is powered by act now education, go to www dot ATT now education.com For free comprehensive educational resources and opportunities for active duty veterans, military spouses and children.

Cliff Walker:

Yeah, man, first of all, I'd say you know, remember smoothies fast, you don't gotta go out and be like anybody else, man, I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel. I'm just trying to give him my own shine, right, my own little, little sign to it, man. And just just keep on going around and, and as long as you're moving forward, man. However, you feel you know how much you got to put into at that given time, go ahead and do it. When you're ready to take a little bit more you go ahead and do that reach out to each other.

KP:

For years fall in, it's time for formation. So today, we got a very unique episode, we have our guest who is actually outside enjoying the beautiful Southern California weather, because he's very, very active in the fitness community. He's a Gulf War Navy veteran and recently retired as a Navy Federal firefighter and paramedic. He is currently the owner and operator of USS Battle Series, which is a fitness a, an American fitness competition. His name is Cliff Walker. And Cliff I want to thank you for joining us today.

Cliff Walker:

Thank you very much for having having me and very humbled and appreciate your time my brother,

KP:

listen, you're you're at a place right now where I would love to be which is at Newport Beach, and I see the palm trees behind you and the ocean and everything and I'm extremely jealous. So I'm sitting here in my office shed near right here in LA so let's just get things started, man because uh, you're a very interesting person. Can you tell us about your your service in the military? And what was it like when you transitioned out?

Cliff Walker:

Well, I I got in. I went in a little while while back and did did to do tours. With with with the Navy, I was shore duty first tour, stationed on the USS Bruton named after a Navy SEAL Medal of Honor recipient and very fortunate to be beyond that ship with the good good crew was the was a fast fabricut Anti submarine warfare type of ship. And so, you know, partook in protecting the Gulf War, when everything just kind of kicked off. And then after that, transitioned over to shore duty as a military police officer MP, and that took me over to Lackland, where I got trained up, learned, learned how to shoot gun and and then from there, did some time on the weapons weapons station or out of Westlock and then transitioned out into the federal fire department man.

KP:

Right Man, it's quite a quite a transition, a lot of folks who exit the military tend to typically go back into the government work, you went back into being a firefighter and I can completely understand that because there's a lot of camaraderie involved in being a first responder. And with that being said, what inspired you to actually start the USS Battle series? And can you talk to us a little bit about what it's about?

Cliff Walker:

Well, you know what, fitness has always been a big big part of my life man. So I've mentioned before I tell people fence fitnesses Is my mental medicine right? So you know, the VA is always trying to hook because that's up I'm also 100% Disabled Veteran and you know when when you know the answers right here man even go through all this shit we won't get into that but man it's it's it's right here behind me all around us. And so So fitness has always been a big key. So 2016 said this idea to have I was at this firefighter throw down CrossFit nature. Right. And you know, just it just kind of hit me that I want to have my own event on top. But it's a different different from anything else going on. I want to be able to pay respect to the the history of these these warships. Right. And the history they've seen, right the men and women, the battles they've they've worked up in man that are very much a part of who we are, why we are where we're at. And you know, the men and women's also so the military first responders so ticked off for first event on on the midway 2016 Man and it was a hit. But you know, the first couple of years it was just strictly military first responders. And, you know, our civilian partners there, they wanted to make a lot of family members and whatnot also. So now it's pretty much everybody, man, everybody. But first and foremost, the military first responders. We're honoring paying respect to.

KP:

Right. And, you know, I understand that you're giving back to the community. Can you talk about some of the nonprofits and some of the different organizations that you help out while doing the USS Battle series?

Cliff Walker:

Correct? Yes. So we've right now working with the CF challenge Athletes Foundation. And they have a an organization that deals with adaptive athletes, military and first responder members, and also gi go fund located so CF is located out of your Southern California, San Diego area. And then the GI go fund out of ice Coast out of Jersey, a couple of brothers over there man doing big things, good things for our veterans, they have these workshops, man so so check them out. Gi go fund man, you're entrepreneur just starting out now. I wish I would have known them about them before that beforehand. But you know, I could still still pick up some tips and, and some help. And so we're kind of helping helping them out as well to man. Pretty much. You know, we're this platform, I tell people so if you're a business out there, especially military owned and operated, veteran, operated, such as we are both military and first responder. You know, we we'd like to help you out, man. And just, you know, one one team one love one fight, man, everybody's kind of working together. For one one cause.

KP:

Yeah, right, exactly. And it's great that you started a fitness competition. Because this has been extremely popular in the last few years. But not only that, but one that's geared more towards our veteran community, because that's kind of the basis for all of us, when we go to basic training or boot camp. At the end of the day, the one thing that we all have in common is getting up early in the morning and doing pt. And I actually call the show the morning formation podcast, mainly because the morning formation was when I had my opportunity to stand in front of my own troops and give them information but also take accountability of them. And we all remember that first formation was PT formation. So talk about some of the different events that you've had so far, what has been sort of the the outcome of folks showing up to them? And where have you had them so far.

Cliff Walker:

So you know, what, you know, as you can imagine, you know, they've been a hitman and it's just a place where like minded individuals warriors, you know, could just kind of let it all out man and talk amongst each other, hopefully form as we've already done, you know, in our particular units, or whatever base that whatever our MOS is, and just just, you know, enjoy something together. And again, fournis, long, long, these long lifelight long friendships and everything. So they're, you know, really good place to to network, you know, and just enjoy, bring the family out again, they're all these battleships, these aircraft carriers, there's 12 of them throughout the US, and all great locations. Hawaii, New York, Texas. We're going to throw down on the Yorktown and Patriots Point Charleston, South Carolina. So man, all these communities, all these towns, very rich in military history is not just you know, they're on Navy ships. But now we always have all branches, the military out supporting these guys and them supporting us. And we've been on the Midway, we've been on the battleship Iowa. We've been on the Battleship Texas, Laporte there, I was in San Pedro, Los Angeles harbor Midways. San Diego, obviously, everybody knows that ship, right. And then now, the USS Yorktown and Charleston, South Carolina.

KP:

Yeah. And that's a it's quite quite a bit of, I guess, territory for you to work off of. There's 12 different of these 12 different ships across the United but imagine like how many other places you could actually do these events, whether it be you know, in Washington DC around the memorials and things like that. There's so many other so many other places to besides chips that you could expand this into and it'll be interesting to see where else you take this, but if someone is interested in joining the USS Battle Series, what can they expect? What type of events would you compare it to another different type of fitness? Like maybe Tough Mudder I Did the urban athalon for men's health about you know, seven years ago in Chicago? And you know, that was that was that was a real challenge. But it was beautiful because we ran through the city of Chicago and I got to I got to run past all the, the iconic sites, but if someone's gonna sign up for the USS Battle Series, what type of events do you guys typically do? Okay, so,

Cliff Walker:

you know, I guess you could consider us or are somewhat computers like, you know, CrossFit, but you know what? Military and first responders it's work. Tactical fitness, right. So tactical training, functional fitness, right, it has to the job requirements, you don't have to lift the heaviest, you don't have to be the fastest. You know, you just have to be well rounded. Right. So very, you know, pushing, pulling, hitting, swinging, lifting, dragging, that's what you're gonna see, man, you might have a SCBA self same breathing apparatus on your back, you might have a flak jacket on you might have a weighted vest. You might be carrying your your battle buddy, man. So what what, whatever, you know, every every event is different man will mix it up such as life, right? Every different man, every, every fire is different. So we try to try to keep it unique. But you know, somewhat job related. So we'll throw in throwing quite a few different twists.

KP:

Right? And so for the folks that do sign up for the USS Battle Series, is there a certain amount of your the revenue that goes towards a nonprofit?

Cliff Walker:

Right so as I stated, we work with that challenge athletes foundation fund, so we're working on trying to raise some money for these organizations, get the word out there let people do we're going to be soon to be including adaptive athlete element. Having talked to a couple of these you know, these warriors Man, these these athletes because that truly what they are man, they'll put a lot of us to shame and you know, we're just gonna give them another arena to do what they do so well and man and I think at that point, people's well rounded really include everybody, man. So these events, you know, we going to be having the procession soon, like the pros and the Joe's. So right now this this is, you know, nothing to be scared about, man, if you're, if you're into fitness, whether it be a weekend warrior, you're really getting at it, I guarantee you, you will get through this. But you'll remember it you know, this is a this is a tandem two person event, it's a team event, what you and I, others like us are used to is relying on the guy on either side to help you out and he's looking for you to help him out. So it's, it's a team event as it should be. You know,

KP:

when I first when I first saw you on Instagram, and I saw your product overall, I thought wow, this is really important because anytime I've gone through a dark patch in my life, I've always looked to fitness and it was one of the reasons why I got so heavily involved in Brazilian jujitsu for the last 11 years it was because at the time I was going through some some rough phases after the military and and you have two choices at that point, you can either go to the bar and you can get drunk and you know make that part of your your your lifestyle, or you can go to the gym and I decided I was very fortunate to have friends around me that kind of enticed me to jump into Brazilian jujitsu and that's why I found it really important for me to get you on the show today because a lot of folks out there need to understand that you do have those choices. And at the end of the day, it's all about who you surround yourself with and so if something like us has Battle Series if you're going through a rough spot you know align yourself with USS Battle Series because it will give you a goal if you have this event coming up you know it'll give you a goal that you can't you have to train stairs you have to run you have to lift you have to do all these things so that you can perform and that was the one thing for me when I would do my jujitsu competitions was it gave me a it gave me something to work for and so it gave me a reason to go to the gym you know because I had on this date I was gonna go to a competition and I needed to cut weight and I needed to train I needed to prepare and and you know that that right there keeps your mindset right and capturing

Cliff Walker:

that mental medicine right so that's that's I I didn't know that manage the role I was I don't know if today I'll be able to but later day I also as well partake in jujitsu as well to man so yeah, man on the mat dude.

KP:

Yeah, dude, I it's ever since the pandemic started. It's been slower obviously. But, you know, the guys at work that I work with and you know some other folks every now and then we still get on the mats and it's a It's very humbling. Because at the end of the day, you think that you're in shape, but you're not in matte shape. So it's like, yeah, it's a complete different cardio right there in itself. But, um,

Cliff Walker:

lessons from the mat.

KP:

Exactly, exactly. You know, I love it. It's very therapeutic for me. And, you know, just to add some Transition Career Transition value to this. Can you talk about? What advice would you have to any veteran out there, or any service members out there and military spouses out there? who are thinking about jumping into the business ownership realm, it can be very scary at times to think about not having that secure paycheck every other week. What advice would you have for someone out there who is also thinking about starting up a business who might be in the veteran or military community?

Cliff Walker:

Yeah, man, first of all, I'd say, you know, remember, smoothies, fast, you don't gotta go out and be like anybody else, man, I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel. I'm just trying to give him my own shine, right, my own little, little sign to it, man. And just just keep on going around. And, and as long as you're moving forward, man. However, you feel you know, how much you got to put into at that given time, go ahead and do it, when you're ready to take a little bit more, you go ahead and do that reach out. We to each other? Again, that's, that's, that's, that's what we know. It's what we do very well, man is is is support and, and help each other out right, in any which way we can. So if anybody wants to hit me up to use this panel series, go ahead, man, I'd be more than happy to help you out. You know, there's there's a lot of resources out there that you could look into and help you out. And again, but I think the key there, and I found just other veterans, man, just just reach out to him and find out what it is they did what they're doing. Because obviously, it's working, you know, so

KP:

yeah, that's great, great advice. I mean, reaching out to resources, that was something that I didn't do, when I transitioned out of the military, I thought that I had this in my hand, and I was able to do it myself. Turned out that I wish I had a few more eyeballs on my resume. And I wish I had reached out to some of my local resources as well. But when it comes to starting a business, it's the same deal. Even starting this podcast, I reached out to so many folks who helped me out when it came to finding my vision, finding my my overall purpose, and I didn't do it alone. And that's the one thing that I think that a lot of folks in our military community to understand. It's so easy to connect with folks, I was able to connect with you through Instagram. You know, and the folks that you find folks that you resonate with, find folks that you can connect with and don't, don't try to go at it on your own.

Cliff Walker:

No, I mean, this is this is an example. Exactly. You know, what, of what you and I what I just spoke of, and, and what's doing what you've done, what I'm doing what I've done, and still continue to do is connect with each other man. And we're strong force, man, we're strong force. I mean, liquid. A lot of us have done already. And yeah, man, we got some dark times and some tough, tough moments. But what do you do, man, you're you look towards your battle, buddy, man, and he's there for you. You're there for him. But you're never alone, dude. So understand that anybody out there listen, you are never alone, man. So in somebody always wants to hear you, no matter what you think. Whatever you feel somebody wants to hear even if like today, man, I got out and I got on a long paddle. And it was just me, myself and I and gave me a chance to think while I was getting this, you know, Rush anatomy, and then ended up with some band, low impact type workout. And now I get to spend time with with my brother here. And, and I Yeah, so just just know that man.

KP:

Yeah, no, totally. I even think that it's important for folks to get out and connect and meet folks in person who actually align with what your goals are. And for me, it's podcasting. It's doing things like this really reaching out and helping other folks out. Not necessarily doing the selfish things where I'm going out with the boys and all that other stuff. I spend my time doing things like this. Because I have a family and I have a job and all this other stuff. It's just you the choose between going out with the boys or doing podcasts and, and things like that. So I appreciate you spending your time doing what you're doing and building what you're building because it's going to help the greater veteran community. And with that being said, Cliff, what events do you have coming up next, in the next few months or so?

Cliff Walker:

Well, thank you, man. So much appreciate your time and allowing me IE, to share the battle series this is not just, you know, the ships is not you know move forward by itself right it takes a cruise. So the Battle Series is pulling into Los Angeles harbor San Pedro, on the battleship Iowa may 1 to start a Military Appreciation Month, where we're going to be hosting our first health and fitness Expo. So health and fitness Expo go to USS battle series.com Check that one out. It's free to the public, we're gonna have all branches there, we're gonna have fitness instructors, just just helping people we're gonna have a van near for Children's Hospital, right? blood donor van, so come out and give some blood for for kids. And then also, we have also a COVID van out there, man and just a lot, a lot of good knowledge, good people, city council out there. Then we're moving on June 11 and 12 to our throwdown on the Yorktown at Patriots Point. And that's going to be on the Yorktown. So Charleston, South Carolina. And that's it for now. And then we're looking at Navy, possibly an active duty, I've had a commanding officer reach out. And I've reached out to him. And we're kind of might have an active duty ship in the works. But if not maybe at the midway but who knows, man again, there's a lot of these historical ships, that that their story needs to be told. They're all museums. They're all nonprofits. And we're here to tell that story and help our fellow brothers and sisters out man.

KP:

That's outstanding. So you're going coast to coast man from LA to the east coast and run it and all these events out there. You know, if anyone wants to connect with you on social media, where can they find you? What platforms are you on?

Cliff Walker:

So Instagram, I believe that's where we met Facebook. Not another Twitter right now, man. But um, and then on our website, USS battle series.com, which was put together by a Jordan Smith, Jordan Smith is a Army Ranger. So I team up with a lot of veterans. And, you know, we seem to, you know, we obviously we work well together. So everybody on the team has some connection or family members that were in the military. And, you know, again, for the same cause others helping others. So, yeah, that's the Instagram, Facebook, the website, and feel free to reach out to us feel free to reach out to us at any time, and have you got something you want to share? We'll see what we can do to help you out. You know, we'll get there.

KP:

Yeah, man, I gotta say, I've had people sitting in their office before in front of their computer, and I've had terrible audio terrible internet. You're out there in Newport Beach, under the palm trees, and you have pretty damn good internet. And honestly, if you're watching this on YouTube, you can see where he's standing right now. It's, it's beautiful, absolutely beautiful. And this is interesting. I actually wanted you to do this. Because for what you do, this is specifically to your character. And I think it's perfect for this interview. So if anyone heard the background noise, a it's all natural. It's all its inherent. So before we, before we finish up the episode, Cliff, is there anything that you'd like to find out with or any advice or any suggestions that you'd like to throw out there to our military community?

Cliff Walker:

Ah, you know what, man, just stay moving forward. Keep doing what you're doing. And, you know, there again, like I said, I can't stress enough. There's a lot of us out there, man. And we're here to be reached, and help each other out. You know, just because you left the service doesn't mean everything stops, man, we're still paying it forward. And there's still a mission to be had man. And you know, just keep keep keep doing it, man and stay positive. And I guarantee you, things will work out man.

KP:

And for anyone out there listening, if you're looking to connect with Cliff, all the information that he just mentioned, will be in the show notes. So whether you're getting this on YouTube, or you're getting us on Spotify, Apple podcasts, one of the 19 different platforms that I'm on, you just scroll to the bottom there and you'll find all the contacts to connect with Cliff. We connected on Instagram. He's grown that platform quite a bit. But like he also mentioned to he's on Facebook and please check out his website. Cliff I want to thank you for joining us today. You make me really jealous just sitting here looking at your backdrop there.

Cliff Walker:

A I do this, I do this for you and for others man. So again, hit me up I read that people come out and said a guy Uh, Alex man, he's a firefighter crossfitter swimmer all that man he just came out last weekend. And I gave him some of that back you know that cliff Kelly Kelly clip experience man so hit me up, man. You never know if I'm free that weekend. I'll be more than happy to show you where it is where it is I play at

KP:

all right, brother. Sounds good. And for everyone else out there listening, please check out the website. Check out the morning information.com as well. But USS Battle series. It's they have several events going on there coast to coast and at the end of the day, align yourself with the right people. This is a great way to connect with folks. And so with that being said, Cliff, thank you for joining us on a morning formation. And for anyone out there listening. I want you to stay tuned, stay focused and stay motivated. Warriors fall out