Today Cellucor honors and celebrates Cpl. Nick Perales' tireless drive and limitless strength. After serving two tours for the United States Marine Corps and losing his leg in an IED explosion, against all odds, Cpl. Nick Perales became stronger and fitter than you could ever imagine.
Get to know how his strength and dedication to health and nutrition has led him on a mission to change America for the better. Because, at the end of the day, "ALL IT TAKES IS ALL YOU GOT."
"I've utilized nutrition and fitness to continue serving my country."
Can you tell us about yourself and your fitness journey?
My name's Nick Perales. I am the co-owner of The Transformation Project, which is a remote online nutrition company. I'm also the head manager, general manager of Cannon Strength and Performance in the Galleria in Houston, Texas. It all goes back to my journey going through rehabilitation.
Whenever I was first injured in the Marine Corps, I was bound to a wheelchair for almost a year of my life. While I was undergoing an extensive medical rehabilitation process, I became very addicted to alcohol. I was addicted to all the narcotics they had me on. I had a very poor diet. I was literally eating fast food and pizza in the hospital. I became very overweight. I wasn't really being active.
I was going to the Marine Corps Birthday and I had to put my dress blues on. I remember being in the bathroom and looking at myself in the mirror, trying to put on my blues coat and I couldn't get the collar to close. And I remember just a big sense of disappointment. It's a moment in life I'll never forget. It wasn't so much the fact that I was overweight and out of shape - it's because I felt like I let everyone down.
So, that became my passion - taking everyone that was in a similar situation as myself and helping them get through that struggle because it wasn't easy and it was a hard thing to navigate. It took a lot of discipline, being uncomfortable and unsatisfied with who I was. As I was helping the other guys get through the same struggle, while I was going through rehab, I realized that helping others get through the things I was going through was my purpose in life. Ever since then, I've never looked back. I've utilized nutrition and fitness to just continue serving my country beyond the call of duty. That was my next step in life, without a doubt. It's just a way for me to pour back and give to the community and make the world a little bit better.
What motivated you to join the Marines?
I had a very alpha personality. I always had to be the best at every single thing I did, no matter what. I didn't accept failure. I always wanted to be at the top. And that's ultimately what led me to the Marine Corps, was trying to be better than my older brother. He played baseball, I played baseball. He joined the Marines, I joined the Marines. I just always had to one up him. And that goes around, that goes for everything I did. When it comes to playing baseball, playing soccer, art class, I don't care if we were drawing, he was going to Art UIL, tests, everything, just everything I did I always had excelled in and I never wanted to accept anything less than what I knew I was truly capable of.
And that's basically just who I am. I live my life by a simple model. All it takes is all you got, that's it. It literally creates the clear-cut path that I walk every single day. It's something that's been with me my whole life. It's like, I don't waste time on things I don't like to do or things that I know I'm not good at because I know there's things that I'm way better at and that I truly care about, that I'm passionate about. I'm all in or nothing. It's that simple.
What's it like being a Marine?
The Marines, obviously they're the best in the world. They're the first to fight. They're known for their fighting force. They're the guys going in, kicking down doors, bringing the fight to the enemy. It's a scary thing. We protect the President and that's our whole duty, right? We are the President's own fighting force. You have to walk a little taller. You have to stand a little prouder when you're a Marine because there's very limited of you, right? It takes a different person, different breed to become, not just any Marine, but infantry men, right? Infantry Marine, someone that knows that, "Hey, I'm willing to lay down my life and sacrifice everything for the person to my left and right." And I think that just, that stands. That's just the aura that just floats with every single guy that's ever held or bares that title, right? It's just something. It's who you are.
Can you tell us about the accident that occurred while you were serving?
My team was assigned a mission one day to eliminate an unknown enemy that was placing improvised explosive devices in a road. My team stepped off after dark to set up a hide site to locate and eliminate this target. Basically, the next eight hours, we spent digging into the side of this little sandbar where we're going to lay in and we were going to take the shot of this guy that was putting bombs in the road, targeting coalition forces, the local populace, other Marines in the area that patrol in there. So basically we were going back and forth across this road. I was getting vegetation to veg up my ghillie suit so we could conceal our positions and it just started raining. And we were basically just finishing up for the night. We were just finishing up building our position and we're going to settle in.
It was about five o'clock in the morning. And I turned around, I looked at the guys that were with me, Blake and Zach. And I said, "All right, fellows, we're done, let's head back. Let's go sit in." Well, I turned around and I took a single step. The next thing I knew, I was being thrown through the air and into the ground pretty hard. A bright light just filled the dark sky and I remember just instantly realizing, "Man, I just stepped on a bomb." And I couldn't see shit.
What was the turning point for you?
I was a Marine, not just a Marine, I was a Marine Scout Sniper. Being overweight, I felt less of a man, less of a Marine and I felt sorry for myself and I thought I had every excuse in the world. In reality, I didn't have a single one. I thought because of my situation, that I couldn't be the person I was meant to become. I couldn't be the person who I was, just a hard charging, gun sling, gunfighter and I became depressed; drinking myself to sleep, taking pain pills to get through the day to get through life while I was still on active duty. I was still an active Marine and I wasn't being a Marine. I wasn't being the person I was supposed to embody. I just needed to wake up.
I was skipping my PT appointments, my OT appointments. I was secluding myself and staying in my apartment because I didn't want to leave. I didn't feel like a man. I was stuck in a wheelchair, right? I didn't even have a prosthetic at the time for some of it, so I didn't feel like I was capable of doing things on my own. I was having to rely on people to do basic things for me. And that's never been a part of me, my personality. It was hard to accept.
We had the Marine Corps Birthday and I wanted to go to the ball and have a good time and just be a Marine again. I was longing for that. I missed that so much. I was trying on my dress blues in the bathroom, and I'll just never forget this moment in life. We were staring at this bathroom mirror and I couldn't get my collar to close on my coat. And the sense of disappointment just drowned me instantly.
And that was my awakening. That was when I knew I needed to do something immediately. I needed to continue living my life, not just for myself, but for all of them, for everyone else that gave me that second chance. I was being ungrateful and just messing it up. Just wasting it.And that's when I decided something needs to happen and I'm an all in or nothing kind of guy, so that's what I did. I went all in. I went back to being what led me to become a Scout Sniper in the Marine Corps. Just being uncomfortable, being miserable, being willing to walk the point and do the things that no one else was willing to do.
Can you tell us about your supplement routine?
The things that work for me and my body are whole healthy foods and the proper amounts for me and my goal. I live my life by one motto, all it takes is all you got. Simple, yet so profound. It creates a clear-cut path I walk each and every day and I take that approach to everything, fitness, nutrition, life. Especially when it comes to my training.
I don't want to leave anything to chance or anything to hope. I want to control all the variables, control the things I have the capability of controlling. So I'd be ignorant to not use something like C4® preworkout to get through some of those heavier lifts to maximize my potential of being stronger.
And same thing when it comes to recovering, like creatine - it's like my go to. It's one of those things that I need every single night to ensure that I'm giving it my all, not just in the gym, but outside of the gym, to make sure that I'm doing the things that I'm capable of doing to be a better version of myself.
The C4® pre workout helps you get through the hard times and the good times. It's for those long sessions, when you need that extra boost of energy, or maybe you just got through a long day of work and the gym's not the place you want to be. You need that little extra motivation to push you over that hump.
Once you take it, there's no going back. You're going to start lifting some weights soon. Honestly, it really helps just give you that extra edge. To ensure that you're, you're leaving nothing on the table and you're giving your all, and you're just truly just dialed in and focused. It makes you stand nine feet tall and feel bulletproof. You feel that you could just conquer the world and it's something that it's like a magic unicorn.