Carter Davis originally founded Lift For The 22 as a social media movement to bring veterans together online to support one another and organize group workouts in local gyms. This was before WORKOUT ANYTIME franchisee Rock Hascall learned about Davis and wanted to get involved in helping the cause.
As a veteran returning from active duty in 2013, Davis suffered from depression and identity loss as he separated from his military life and returned back as a civilian. Not wanting to become another statistic for veteran suicide, he took comfort in his local gym, quickly seeing the benefits of exercise and the community of its members.
Inspired to then start Lift For The 22, Davis believes fitness plays a role in a veteran’s transition back into civilian life in three keys ways.
“Our goal with the Lift for the 22 program is threefold: to re-engage veterans with their local community, to provide a familiar environment to the military where they can set goals, achieve them and improve their self-esteem, and provide physiological benefits through fitness that combat stress and anxiety.”
Before long, WORKOUT ANYTIME franchisee Rick Hascall saw what Davis was doing online and knew he could help with his newly opened fitness center. Hascall offered Davis 22 memberships to give to veterans in the community in order to help do his part. Once WORKOUT ANYTIME corporate learned of Hascall’s involvement, the brand felt strongly about the importance of giving 22 memberships to veterans in every single gym across the country with the franchise.
“When I talk to veterans on the phone and provide them with a gym membership, I tell them to get into the gym every day and pick up one more pound than they could pick up the day before. Then, I encourage them to pick up one extra pound in their real life outside of the gym like give back to your community or rebuild relationships. Now the gym gives them the confidence to do what they couldn’t do before,” said Davis.
The partnership began in 2015 when WORKOUT ANYTIME had 85 facilities across the nation. Currently with 130 open fitness centers, the brand is able to provide close to 3,000 memberships for veterans, a growing number as the franchise system continues to expand.
“This year has been a great year for our veterans and they’ve seen a lot of growth. The veterans in our program are seeing a difference. Even though they don’t often want to be public because of their pride or fear, we are seeing the impact we’re having in the individuals that have memberships,” said Davis.
The success of WORKOUT ANYTIME’s partnership with Lift For The 22 is also heavily supported by the involvement of local franchisees and their interest in the cause. As a veteran franchisee himself, Chris Gately could quickly see the value in such a program.
“At WORKOUT ANYTIME Panama City Beach, we fully endorse the Lift For the 22 cause. I know veterans personally that have committed suicide and I know firsthand the challenges of transitioning out of the military back into civilian,” said Gately. “Fitness, brotherhood and just getting out of the house has played a major role in my mental and physical wellbeing as I encountered these challenges. And that’s exactly what Lift For The 22 can do for its members.”
Investing in the WORKOUT ANYTIME concept already provides owners with the chance to get to know their members better and be involved with the community due to a much smaller environment than other fitness concepts. The partnership with Lift For The 22 helps extend that community involvement with local veterans, and everyone in the franchise system is eager to bring it to their own town. And it is certainly something WORKOUT ANYTIME franchise owners can take pride in.
“When you own a WORKOUT ANYTIME gym, you invest in your local community of veterans,” said Davis.
In honor of Memorial Day this year, WORKOUT ANYTIME and Lift for the 22 have partnered once again, this time to raise additional funds for veterans on social media.
“It’s incredibly important to recognize the veterans who have served our country on Memorial Day and throughout the year,” said Mark de Gorter, chief operating officer at WORKOUT ANYTIME. “This May, we are layering a fundraising component on top of our efforts with a national social media campaign as well as bringing together our franchise system to raise funds locally. Every dollar that is raised will go toward providing more memberships to veterans in need.”