Heroes at Work: How this Army veteran who served in Iraq became a fitness trainer

Jodi Rund has always been interested in education, fitness and nutrition -- but it’s her military experience that gave her and her husband the right foundation to run their own business.

“The military really does give us an advantage,” Rund told FOX Business. “It does give you a set of skills that you can easily apply to a business.”

Rund, 40, and her husband Thad live in West Palm Beach, Fla., and own three Fit Body Boot Camp franchises in the state.

Jodi Rund (pictured) is a military veteran who owns three Fit Body Boot Camp franchises in Florida. (Courtesy of Jodi Rund and Fit Body Boot Camp)

Rund (pictured) served in the Army National Guard from 2001 to 2006 and spent 15 months in Iraq as a machine gunner and a Combat Lifesaver. (Courtesy of Jodi Rund)


They moved to Florida from Costa Rica, where they had lived since Rund finished her service in the Army National Guard, which lasted from 2001 to 2006.

Rund spent 15 months in Iraq as a machine gunner and a Combat Lifesaver and over the course of her service, her unit suffered 39 casualties -- including Rund’s best friend.

“She was a bridesmaid in our wedding,” Rund said. “She had a six-year-old daughter, so there was lots to deal with, lots of tragedy and hardship.”

During her time in Iraq, Rund's unit suffered 39 casualties -- including her best friend. Rund is pictured. (Courtesy of Jodi Rund)

However, it was also during that time that got Rund started thinking about what a good education can do.

“I just realized that these people, it wasn’t that they were evil, it was that they lacked a lot of education,” she said. “So when I got back, I ended up pursuing my Master’s in global studies and education. And that’s kind of what spurred my husband and I to get out of the country.”


She said that she and Thad had visited Costa Rica and fell in love with it, so Rund got a job teaching at a local high school and working as a fitness coach at the Four Seasons Resort in the area.

Rund and her husband eventually founded another school -- where Rund started a girls’ basketball team -- as well as a church, where she used her degree in theology from Chicago University to help teenagers.

After she retired from the military, Rund (back left) and her husband Thad moved to Costa Rica. Rund taught at a school there and eventually started a girls' basketball team (pictured).  (Courtesy of Jodi Rund)

“We did a lot of counseling, a lot of helping. Which in retrospect, helped me, just being able to help somebody else,” Rund said. “It was, I think, an easier transition for me. But I wasn’t in the United States. I was in Costa Rica, which was kind of an adventure.”

“I think me escaping the United States really helped,” she added. “I didn’t get to hear about all of the political drama and what’s going on in the United States. I got to focus more on a different country, different culture, different humanity out there that we could really dive into.”


However, she and Thad had to move back in 2015. They still have their house in Costa Rica, but now they’re living in West Palm Beach as well.

Rund and her husband moved to West Palm Beach, Fla., in 2015 and opened their first Fit Body Boot Camp in Palm Beach, Fla., in May 2016.  (Courtesy of Jodi Rund and Fit Body Boot Camp)

“I’m still a teacher. That’s one of my passions,” Rund (pictured) told FOX Business. “I love doing seminars. We really teach the clients from the ground up.” (Courtesy of Jodi Rund and Fit Body Boot Camp)

Within their first year there, Rund heard about Bedros Keuilian’s Fit Body Boot Camp franchise and decided to jump in.

“Thad and I weren’t strangers to risk and companies and starting our own businesses, so we just said, let’s do it,” Rund said. “We looked into it and we ended up buying into this franchise and opening our first location in 2016 in May.”

Rund (pictured) said that even though she's not in the military anymore, she still uses her experiences in the way she leads her staff. “We want them to take ownership of every decision they make and let them know that it’s okay to fail as long as yo (Courtesy of Jodi Rund and Fit Body Boot Camp)

Now they have studios in Palm Beach, Fla., North Palm Beach, Fla., and Delray Beach, Fla., where Rund said she still uses her military experience to help her run the business, particularly to create a kind of “brotherhood” among her staff.


“We structure our businesses kind of in a similar military fashion where we do want [employees] to own our mission, to understand our vision and where we’re going and [we] really explain the whys of everything that we do,” Rund said.

“We want them to take ownership of every decision they make and let them know that it’s okay to fail as long as you tried and course-corrected,” she added. “Having them take a lot of ownership and buy-in has really helped create a team/family aspect.”