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Army Vet Achieves Dream of Owning Gym with Workout Anytime Franchise

Scotty Carlisle served in the Army and returned to civilian life with a list of goals. After achieving them all, he realized he wanted more, so he set a new goal for business ownership.

By Erica InmanStaff Writer
1:13PM 01/17/24

Scotty Carlisle may only be 38, but his list of life experiences is extensive, and now he can add franchisee with Workout Anytime, the gym franchise with 190 units, to the list. After entering the Army at 18 years old, and serving in combat zones for two-and-a-half years, he transitioned to civilian life with a career in cybersecurity. However, especially after experiencing Army fitness training, his end goal was always to own his own gym.

With a remote role in the tech space, he was able to travel widely over the past several years, living in Mexico, Costa Rica and Brazil, which are only three of the 27 countries he has visited. Carlisle has no shortage of motivation, having learned Spanish and Portuguese just out of a love for language and culture. He also spent over two years living in a van traveling the western half of the U.S. 

All the while, he has kept up with his passion for fitness and dreamt of owning his own gym. His love for fitness stems from his involvement in the Army; he made sure to maintain his fitness on the road with multiple gym memberships and frequent CrossFit workouts. 

Recently, Carlisle was laid off from his tech job, which only accelerated his dream of gym ownership as a Workout Anytime franchise owner. He looks forward to using his background to build a community with physical and mental health at its core.

1851 Franchise spoke with Carlisle about his journey into franchising and his plans for the future. 


1851 Franchise: Frame your personal story for us. What did you do before franchising, and how did you decide franchising made sense for you?

Carlisle: I was in the Army for a long time, reaching the rank of staff sergeant. When I got out, I transitioned into the technology industry. I've been a software product manager for about eight years, but I've always been into fitness, especially after I joined the Army, as you have no choice. You don't have to enjoy it, but you have to participate. Fortunately, I did enjoy it. My background from the military and specifically training with light infantry units and special forces has fed into that passion. I also did CrossFit for a long time. 

I've always wanted to own a gym, and I'm now in a position where I can achieve that dream. I just found out very recently that I am being laid off, so I am planning on accelerating my plans here with Workout Anytime.  

1851: What was your perception of franchising prior to becoming a franchisee, and what do you want people to know about franchising now that you are in it?

Carlisle: My perception was that it’s a good option for new entrepreneurs in general. If you're also trying to get into a business space or an industry that you don't have a lot of experience in, franchising almost allows you to buy that experience. You're paying for the franchise system, the brand recognition and all the problems that have already been solved. I initially thought the cost was pretty expensive. However, now that I am officially a franchisee, I have a much better understanding of what a franchise system provides.

Without franchising, it would take me years to open a single gym, because I would need to learn all the processes and systems. This is a shortcut because the franchise has figured out almost everything for you. 

1851: What made you pick this brand? What excites you most about this company?

Carlisle: Workout Anytime occupies a unique niche in the fitness entry. It's pretty powerfully positioned between what Anytime Fitness and Planet Fitness offer. I lived in a van and traveled the country for two and a half years full-time, and I've been to most of the Planet Fitness and Anytime Fitness franchises in the western half of the United States, so I understand the benefits in the limitations of those systems. I think that Workout Anytime is a really good compromise between the two.

1851: What do you hope to achieve with your business? What are your plans for growth? 

Carlisle: I am hoping my first location will be open by the end of the summer or early fall of 2024, and then I have two more locations opening after that. A lot can happen between now and three to five years from now, but I would say my personal goals are to lead a healthier lifestyle both physically and mentally, and I think being self employed is the key to that for me. I'm also seeking to build a sense of community with other people that have similar goals in terms of physical and mental health. 

Especially in the age of social media, there has been some disconnect in terms of social interaction that is fairly detrimental to individuals and societies as a whole. I believe that is contributing to the issues we are seeing in younger generations like depression, anxiety and obesity.

I want to try to instill a sense of duty among people that you have to be able to support and potentially protect your family, friends, community or even country if necessary, so if there is ever a situation that requires physical or mental resilience, you can rise to the occasion. 

I would love to build that sort of fitness community and instill that mindset in people. My background as a non-commissioned officer in the military has given me experience in counseling, coaching and mentorship, which has given me the tools I need to build this community.

1851: What is the one thing about your story you want us to know?

Carlisle: There is quite a list of crazy facts about me. I grew up as an orphan, living with friends and family and eventually ending up in foster care as a teenager. After all that, I lived in my car for months before I graduated high school and soon after, I joined the Army. I joined active duty Army at 18 years old and spent my 20th birthday in Iraq, and immediately following that I spent about two and a half years in combat zones.

When I left active duty, I moved to Colombia in South America and spent about nine months total down there taking intensive courses to learn Spanish, so I'm fluent now. Also in my travels in general, I've been to about 27 countries.

After my time in Colombia, I moved in with my uncle for about 10 weeks until I found my first civilian job and drove from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., for yet another huge relocation. I completed my degree in computer information systems and built a really good career, effectively quadrupling my income and level of responsibility over the course of about four years. I had a list of everything I wanted to accomplish after the military, so I worked towards those goals by buying a house and paying off a car, but I realized I wasn’t happy or fulfilled. That’s when I sold it all and lived in a van for two and a half years while working remotely all over the western half of the US. That remote job allowed me to travel all over the world, so I spent a month in Mexico and a month in Costa Rica, as well as three months in Brazil, where I learned Portuguese. Now, I’m looking forward to living in Miami because I will be able to practice both my Spanish and Portuguese.

1851: What advice do you have for other people thinking about becoming a franchise owner?

Carlisle: You need to understand what you're getting into. It doesn't always matter if you don't have a ton of business experience or relevant industry experience. You do have to pour yourself into your business to be successful, and you have to be passionate about the industry that you're in. If you feel half-hearted about it, that will be reflected in the company, your staff and everything you do with your business. 


Atlanta-based Workout Anytime is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week fitness concept with 190 units across the U.S. Founded by fitness veterans John Quattrocchi and Steve Strickland, the company was formed to provide members with first-class fitness facilities at the lowest cost possible while delivering a profitable and affordable business model to franchisees. Built on the founders’ motto of “think big, keep it simple and do it with integrity,” Workout Anytime is preparing for significant expansion into new territories across the U.S. and Central America by providing opportunities to business-minded entrepreneurs. Franchise opportunities are available, and more information can be found on

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.