By Madison Alworth
The fitness chain Crunch wants more veterans to work out, and has initiated an educational marketing campaign to encourage them to do so at the company's gyms.
The "Crunch Cares: Strengthened by Heroes" campaign aims to create a fitness habit for returning veterans, said the company's CEO Keith Worts.
"We want to empower veterans to have a choice and come back and make that transition easier," Worts said in an interview this week with Cheddar.
The campaign was inspired in part by the experience of Jim Rowley, chairman of Crunch's board, who served for eight years in the Marine Corps.
In a video testimonial that's part of the Crunch Cares campaign, Rowley explains the struggles he faced re-entering civilian life.
"Fitness changed my life. Because when I came back, the stress that's associated, coming back, reentering, not knowing, if you can survive, if you can succeed," said Rowley. "Through working out, through improving your physical appearance, through gaining that confidence, it can change your life."
It's particular important for veterans to find a productive place where they can take care of themselves, said Rowley, and working out provides a healthier outlet than other escapes veterans sometimes use to ease their stress.
"If more people did that instead of turning to drugs and alcohol, we'd be in a better place," Rowley said. "We lose 22 service men and women every day. If they found a gym, maybe we could save them." Rowley was citing an often repeated figure that 22 veterans a day commit suicide; other studies say the number may be 20. Whatever the figure, it's a depressing problem Crunch has tried to address.
The fitness company also looks to hire veterans as trainers, regional directors, and general staff.
"We find that a lot of them have great values that they've learned in the military," said Worth. "And then they come and work for Crunch and we share in those values."
For the full interview, click here