Hi, my name is Jon Chacon, owner of Chacon Performance Training.
If you’ve made it to this point you must be curious about why I do what I do. Please grab a coffee or a steak depending on what time you open this and enjoy my story.
-Grew up in the foothills of northern Colorado
-Team sports year round were a normal part of youth life, especially soccer, basketball, and baseball
-Every day was either riding my bike or skateboard or getting in trouble with other kids around the neighborhood
-Played competitive baseball from 6th through 8th grade with a select traveling team until I lost interest in the game
-Wrestled in eighth grade and played football freshman year of high school; was always the little guy at 5’7”-9” and 135-150lbs through junior high and freshman year of high school; I remember getting my clock cleaned during a special teams practice; this one kid who was a wrestler hit me so hard during a full sprint that my feet actually left the ground and I did a complete back flip in the air only to land face down in the grass with the wind knocked out of me; it hurt, but it fueled the fire within
-Was determined to gain some mass following freshman football and started hitting the high school weight room every night after school for 2-3 hours; activity bus would take me from junior high building everyday and my Mom would pick me up from the high school; I was eating as much food as possible and was force-feeding myself protein shakes back when they didn’t taste very good; was truly inspired by the bigger, faster, and stronger varsity football players tearing it up in the gym; ultimately I made my way up to about 175-180lbs.
-Got my butt handed to me at my first high school wrestling practice even though I thought I was in “good shape”; just another motivator
-Ended up running track as a not-so-good sprinter during freshman year and then decided not to go out for football sophomore year, and instead got into hip-hop and breakdancing 3-4 times a week at a local studio after I was blown away by going to a battle in a local gym; also trained in boxing 2-3 times a week under a national champion Golden Gloves boxer named Paris; continued boxing all the way through high school
-Was recruited to play club rugby in the cold harsh winter snow during February in Colorado of my 10th grade year; played it and loved it so I decided to play through my senior year of high school; was the team captain and MVP for 2 years in a row; played flanker and fly half; just loved hitting people and laying them out
-Also, continued boxing even through rugby seasons
-Commercial fished in the summers following 8th through 11th grade; this is where I learned about “man strength”; I was depressed for the first couple of weeks my first summer because I didn’t have dumbbells or barbells to lift or pullup bars or benches, and I couldn’t stick to my diet; that all changed as I realized that even without all of these things I was becoming a shredded, massive beast; my hands were calloused and swollen, my forearms were jacked from all of the heavy net and rope pulling I was doing, may entire back and hips were pumped from all of the constant loading, carrying, and unloading of heavy nets, fish, and boating equipment; don’t forget that some of these salmon weighed a whopping 90-100lbs. and they would not go down without a fight;
I remember to this day my older brother seeing a 95lb king salmon swimming next to (not in) our beach net as we could see its dorsal fin above the water in an area about 2ft deep – my brother crept up on the fish and jumped on top of it and bear hugged the crap out of it and threw it onto the sandy beach; it was well worth it as this sucker was like a 250 dollar bill staring back at us floating in the water; aside from gaining massive amounts of strength and size while eating with abandon I also learned a lot about overcoming fear and fatigue; there were days where we were literally going back out onto the water every 2-3 hours even well into the night and usually for 3-4 days straight, sleep was only when you could get it and your wake-up call was your older brother beating mercilessly on your trailer door; I really found out more about my guts when I looked out onto the water and there were swells of 6-12ft (mind you our boat was an open aluminum skiff that was maybe 3ft deep and 7ft wide and 20ft in length) and Coast Guard helicopters were flying overhead already in search of lost boats and people – of course my brother calmly tells me to put on a life jacket and that there was no arguing it, I nervously obliged; I thought some days on the water were going to be my last days on this Earth and those were the days when I truly learned more about myself and started to look at things differently in life.
During my last year of high school I met a Marine Corps recruiter and decided I wanted to enter the military following high school; my folks were not on board, but I convinced them that I could do it through a ROTC scholarship where the Marine Corps would pay for my college education and then I would serve in the Marines as an Officer for 4 years to fulfill my obligation; I received the scholarship and entered the ROTC program at the University of Washington
The very first day of ROTC was brutal as I was labeled as “fat” according to the Marine Corps standards and a very high and tight Marine Staff Sergeant (I thought 187lbs at 5’9” was fine, but I was wrong apparently);
I soon found myself PTing with active duty Marines 5 days a week, sometimes hitting runs up to 8 miles and doing 20 SETS of pushups and pull-ups and dips after every run; it was here that I started to develop my work capacity and a drive to stay in shape and to make physical training a part of my lifestyle; of, and I didn’t want to be called fat ever again
-Throughout my time in college I was your typical gym meathead, mostly doing bodybuilding routines that I found on the internet; I also lead a pentathlon physical skills team whose competition involved performing max pull-ups, pushups, and situps all with a 3-minute time limit, then swimming 800-meters, then running 4.5 miles with a fully load M-16 rifle, and finally shooting the rifle and pistol for accuracy; training for this competition was fierce and my team took the win two years in a row; it was at this time that I was also introduced to Crossfit and started incorporating this style of training in not only my team workouts, but also my personal training and results were coming fast; throughout college and active duty I was able to achieve a perfect score of 300 on every physical fitness test I took meaning a performed 20 pullups, 100 crunches, and ran 3 miles in under 18 minutes.
-I also trained in Kung-Fu, jiu-jitsu, kick boxing, and grappling throughout my college years as well, though never competed formally
-Following junior year of college I went through and graduated from Marine Corps Officer Candidate School (OCS), which was basically a kick in the nuts and essentially a boot camp for officers where the physical challenges were just the beginning, as everything we did revolved around demonstrating leadership and decision-making; the attrition rate was staggering as my class graduated with almost one-third the numbers less than what we started with.
-Once I graduated and was commissioned as an officer in the Marine Corps I started training almost exclusively with Crossfit with an emphasis on Olympic Weightlifting and made some decent gains; I also started consuming foods based on the Paleo diet; this combo of training and eating helped me put on mass and shed extra bodyfat, and at this point I was easily maintaining 170-175lb bodyweight
-Unfortunately, I started falling in and out of an overtrained state as I was so consumed with training and eating right; eventually I got back on track and slowly started moving into other creative ways of training such as bending steel, tearing phonebooks and playing cards, and lifting stones, sandbags, and kettlebells; I was inspired by individuals such as Adam Glass, Zach Even-Esh, James (Smitty) Smith and Jedd Johnson, and many others; it was here that I found a new love for grip and acknowledged the importance of grip in everything we do
-Throughout my 4.5 short years as an officer in the Marine Corps in the occupation of Military Police I had the opportunity to train my platoons and different sections of Marines that I was given charge over; I started developing the know-how and ability and passion to train others, not only building them up physically, but also mentally, teaching them to dig deep and perform even under adverse conditions;
I also volunteered as a strength and conditioning coach for the local high school football and volleyball teams and gained more experience as a coach and as a teacher; I have dealt with numerous Marines and high school athletes that struggled with their weight, but are now on track with their diet and love to PT; I was able to open their eyes to a whole new world of eating and training and this put them on the right path
-toward the end of my active duty time in the Marine Corps I suffered a deafening blow to my body as a severe infection to my left leg ultimately resulted in a painful auto-immune disease diagnosed as reactive arthritis; picture a 25 year old physically fit male who can no longer get out of bed easily, who takes on average 15 minutes just to put his uniform on in the morning, walks with a limp all day, has to get pumped up to walk up or down stairs (and always has to use the rail, has difficulty standing up from a seated position; my feet were in a constant state of pain from plantar fasciitis (look it up or ask someone who has had it, not fun), my ankles and knees were both constantly swollen, stiff, and ridden with pain; after undergoing heavy medication with chemotherapy, corticosteroids, immune-suppressants, and anti-inflammatories for months I have finally reached a state of mobility and freedom of movement with little pain; unfortunately, I will have the disease the rest of my life, but I have God and his grace to thank for healing me and getting me to where I am today;
-My vision is aimed at training our youth, both athletes and even those struggling with obesity or physical disabilities like mine; as well as with adults who are tired of the status quo. Hopefully, those I train can relate to me and me to them. I believe in setting our kids up for success in their future and preparing them not only physically, but by developing leadership, integrity, communication, and strong minds that will not give up.