The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

December 5, 2012

Gym supports former employee in Kuwait

By Ian Faulkner, Staff Writer

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 — Gold’s Gym in Albemarle has a way of dealing with the too-full stomach and lethargy caused by Thanksgiving over eating.

Called Black Friday Boot Camp the event took place the morning after the preeminent American feast and got Gold’s Gym participants’ blood pumping and metabolism burning.

Comprised of a mixture of cardio and resistance routines, participants had a number of stations to work through: box jumps, squat scotch (hop-scotch with squats on each step), the plank walk, overhead kettle bell hold, lunge walk, wood chop, the bungee run and the rope shake.

“We market it as a way to take off unwanted pounds after the holidays,” said Ben Newport, operations manager at Gold’s Gym.

“We don’t have as many people today as we hoped, but it’s more of a workout with less people. They’re having fun and getting a good work out, regardless if there’s 10 or 30 of them.”

There were team exercises, as well as individual ones. Amongst them were the dead weight pass and tug of war.

“There is usually a boot camp after Labor Day, July 4th, Memorial Day and on Black Friday,” said Newport.

While participants moved through the exercises, sweating and breathing hard, a Gold’s Gym staff member took photographs and video of the scene.

“We’re signing a card and sending pictures and video messages to Kasey,” Newport said.

Kasey Franklin is a Gold’s Gym employee who is currently deployed overseas in Kuwait with the Army National Guard.

“Kasey worked here for about a year before she was deployed. She worked in our Kid’s Club, but she would always participate with us; she loved the boot camps. We’re sort of doing it in her honor,” Newport said.

The staff at Gold’s Gym began a program back in August entitled Purple Promises for Kasey. They take a box and fill it with items that Kasey needs or wants (Skittles, Oreos, hand sanitizer, mouthwash, etc.). Next they decorate each box before they mail it to Kasey in Kuwait. So far they’ve been able to send two full boxes and will be sending another for Christmas.

“Kasey has been there since June. She’s not here for Thanksgiving, but we’re still thinking about her,” said Kristen Helms, the event leader for Black Friday Boot Camp.

Franklin will be overseas until June 2013, and it’s Gold’s Gym plan to send her a box of goodies and supplies each month until she returns.

“We want people to enjoy their workouts, but we also want them to know that Gold’s Gym is more than just a place to lift weights. It’s a community environment,” Newport said.