Like a lot of former soldiers, Randy Lloyd came home from war with injuries. Some were physical—back pain from a year-long tour in Iraq as part of an Army Reserves unit out of Ogden, UT. The more serious wounds, though, were mental and emotional.
When Lloyd’s service ended in 2010, doctors prescribed opioids for his pain. But while attending college, he started taking more medication to deal with the pressures of school and a case of post-traumatic stress disorder. Soon, Lloyd was addicted to prescription drugs. Then, heroin. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon trajectory for former soldiers: According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, more than two out of 10 veterans who suffer from PTSD also experience substance abuse disorder.
“You never grow up thinking you’re going to be an intravenous drug user,” Lloyd says. “But when you’re constantly trying to comfort yourself, you start to justify everything.”
After dropping out of college, Lloyd hit rock bottom in 2012 when he had to be revived by paramedics in a grocery store parking lot after overdosing on a combination of heroin and cocaine. After that, Lloyd checked into a nine-week Veterans Affairs rehab center. He got clean, moved to Las Vegas, and became a GNC store manager. Then, last year, while working at the Olympia Expo, he heard about FitOps Foundation—an all-expenses-paid training and certification program for veterans who want to become elite personal trainers, powered by the Performix brand. Lloyd was accepted into its inaugural class, and the experience was a life-changing event. “When I got accepted, I came home and I started crying,” Lloyd says. “I knew I was on the right path.”
But FitOps didn’t just help Lloyd improve other people’s physiques; it also positively impacted his own. Entering the program at a soft 225lbs, the 5’6″ Lloyd cut down to a ripped 176lbs to compete in last spring’s NPC Southeast Texas Championships bodybuilding show. He took second in his class, and has plans to step back onstage this spring. Ultimately, Lloyd’s goal is to become an IFBB pro like his FitOps mentor, Marine Xavisus Gayden. “This past year has been one of the most amazing years of my life,” Lloyd says. “And it’s due to FitOps.”