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24 Hour Fitness has made a concentrated effort to integrate U.S. military veterans into the fitness industry, from a massive Les Mills workout on an aircraft carrier to the ongoing Boots24 Initiative.
These programs aimed at engaging U.S. military veterans have been spearheaded by Chris Roussos, who was named CEO of 24 Hour Fitness in 2017.
“I joined 24 Hour Fitness about 15 months ago, but I started as a member in 1997,” said Roussos. “So I’ve been around as a consumer of the brand since that time, and it’s been amazing. It was a dream come true for me when I got the call to come be CEO of 24 Hour Fitness.”
Having served in the Army for 11 years, Roussos understands the importance of putting a cohesive unit into action. He’s spent the majority of his first 15 months as CEO getting to know the teams at over 400 clubs nationwide.
“I’ve been visiting our clubs, and spending time with our leadership team and front-line staff,” said Roussos. “When I’m in the clubs, I’m very active with our members, getting their perspective on what they enjoy about the club and what their experience has been.”
In his evaluation of the clubs and the member experience, Roussos is always finding new ways to stay relevant. “I live in the real world, so I ask what we need to do to improve and evolve to remain relevant in providing good member experiences,” he said.
Since a key initiative for Roussos has been engaging military veterans, he’s shown an enthusiasm for keeping “civilian fitness” relevant with the military. Furthering this effort, 24 Hour Fitness partnered with Les Mills to host a BodyCombat workout on the USS Midway in San Diego on Saturday, June 30.
“We were able to host a Les Mills workout on the USS Midway out in San Diego, and we did the BODYCOMBAT workout,” said Roussos. “It’s cool when you think about having BodyCombat on the Midway — a very historic aircraft carrier — so close to the Fourth of July, our Boots24 program and commitment to serving veterans.”
The event, hosted the same weekend as the IDEA World Convention, drew a large crowd at 7:30 in the morning of around 900 people.
The BodyCombat workout was a huge success, drawing a massive crowd and bringing more attention to Boots24: 24 Hour Fitness’ primary initiative serving military veterans.
“Boots24 is where we, in a specifically targeted fashion, go out and work to recruit amazing men and women who have served in the U.S. military and are now looking for a civilian career opportunity,” said Roussos.
For Roussos, giving military veterans career opportunities after their service strikes a personal chord. And in his time with the company, hiring veterans has paid off well for 24 Hour Fitness.
“We want to provide a great environment for veterans to work,” said Roussos. “When you hire a former military member, you get a professional who has a lot of experience, given the environments they’ve had to operate in.”
BodyCombat on the USS Midway and the Boots24 initiative won’t be the only ways Roussos and 24 Hour Fitness work tirelessly to engage the men and women who have served our country.
But don’t be surprised if BodyCombat classes are hosted on a few more aircraft carriers. “We’re talking with Les Mills about doing more events on this scale in other cities on a more routine basis,” said Roussos. “This is the first time we’ve done an event this huge.”
Check out some photos from the USS Midway workout and from 24 Hour Fitness: