MC alum makes a name for himself as a military fitness trainer
by Evelyn Linkous
“There is only 1 way. The Hathaway,” proclaims the home screen of DeJuan Hathaway’s website. Hathaway graduated from Maryville College in 2005 with a degree in physical education. And despite the multiple challenges he faced along the way, he has built a successful career as a fitness trainer. Hathaway has now been working as a military strength and conditioning trainer for around five years. He has worked with the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps as well as the United States Special Operational Forces. In August of 2014, Hathaway authored his first book entitled Special Forces Fitness Training.
On March 27, Hathaway returned to Maryville College to share his story, and the Cooper Athletic Center’s Orange Room was filled with students eager to hear about his success.
Hathaway began with some words of encouragement for those in attendance.
“No matter what opposition you encounter, continue to press forward,” Hathaway said.
While telling his story, Hathaway acknowledged that his accomplishments did not come without their challenges. Graduating from Maryville College was not entirely smooth sailing for Hathaway. He struggled with school, admitting that he failed anatomy twice and was placed on academic probation. As a student athlete, he faced additional trials outside of the classroom. After a successful time as an MC football player, Hathaway was met with disappointment when a fellow team member beat him out of his starting position.
However, he maintained his drive to succeed despite the obstacles he faced.
“It would have been very easy for DeJuan to give up because he wasn’t doing well in school and football was not going the way he wanted, but he didn’t,” said Danny Pierce, Hathaway’s former advisor and mentor at Maryville College.
Hathaway was always interested in strength and conditioning training, so he sought practical experience while still in college. He volunteered with the University of Tennessee’s strength and conditioning program in his free time and spent a summer as an intern with the University of Nebraska’s strength and conditioning program.
After graduation, Hathaway’s hard work and previous experience paid off. He was offered a full scholarship to the University of Hawaii – Manoa’s as graduate assistant for their strength and conditioning program. Hathaway knew he would need to act fast if he wanted to seize the opportunity. His decision was made within weeks of receiving the offer. With $75 dollars to his name, Hathaway said goodbye to his familiar home and departed to for Hawaii.
“It’s not always going to be comfortable,” Hathaway said about his decision to move.
His decision to embrace change paid off, and his time spent in Hawaii became a point pivotal in his career. While there, he discovered a talent for martial arts. He quickly adopted the fight name “DTrain” and went on to become a successful martial artist. Today, he remains undefeated.
During his time in graduate school, he also discovered a passion for military fitness after visiting a training facility. At the time, military training careers were relatively new. However, Hathaway welcomed the idea of becoming an innovator in an up and coming field. In 2009, he graduated as a Master’s degree in kinesiology from the University of Hawaii and went on to pursue a career as a strength and conditioning specialist.
Inevitably, Hathaway faced unexpected obstacles during his time in Hawaii; however, he maintained motivation both spiritually and emotionally through his faith and weekly conversations with his mom. To this day these are still the factors that motivate him, and despite his mother’s passing Hathaway says that the life lessons she taught remain with him.
Hathaway’s motivational words make clear his intense determination. According to him, impatience must be conquered before one can achieve success.
“Patience is one of the hardest things to overcome. We are impatient people, but it is important to remain patient through failure,” Hathaway said.
In addition to his career with the military, Hathaway has recently published a book. The idea for the book, Special Forces Fitness Training, came while training a group of soldiers for special force selection. Hathaway created around 300 exercises utilizing military equipment for periods when soldiers were unable to make it into the weight room.
Hathaway has also had the opportunity to return as a speaker to several places close to his heart including his hometown of Murfreesboro, TN and Maryville College.
“It is really good to come back and share my story to college students who are in the same position I was in,” Hathaway said. “It feels great to tell them the struggles they are going through are the same ones I’ve gone through but that there is light and hope at the end of the tunnel.”
Currently, Hathaway is working on a new book and is considering incorporating a DVD as well. He continues to be an inspiration to many as he furthers his career as a fitness instructor.