A local non-profit is offering veterans a free class fit for heroes.
It’s a work out class, with a side of health education and a big sense of community. L.E.A.N.. 4 Vets is a safe place for veterans to get healthy with the support of those who know exactly what they’ve been through: their military brothers and sisters.
L.E.A.N.: Lifestyle, Exercise And Nutrition for Vets is a free gym open to all veterans. It’s a place to learn about nutrition and healthy habits, but it’s not your typical type of gym.
“I’m never going to be your trainer, I’m never going to be your coach, I’m your battle buddy,” said Ike Johnson, co-founder of L.E.A.N. 4 Vets. “You can call me anytime. On those nights when you can’t sleep, you’re having a bad day, let’s not go to the restaurant and drink, let’s go to gym and bust it out.”
It’s a safe place.
Johnson says the comradery of other veterans along with a little exercise is the best way to deal with the stress that veterans experience coming back into civilian life.
He knows it from personal experience, a few years ago, the marine vet felt like he was falling through the cracks.
“I was pushing maybe like 300 pounds, playing video games, taking 14 different pills, dipping here and there and I kind of just got tired of it, said Johnson.”
He found relief in exercise.
“That’s when I realized, I don’t need the pills, I don’t need to drink, I don’t need to dip, I don’t need any of that stuff,” said Johnson.
Along with Glenn Bland, Johnson decided they needed to bring this option to other veterans in the community.
Ten months later, a work out room filled with donated equipment, tucked into a storage unit on the north side of town on Meany Avenue now serves as an alternative to big box gyms.
“I definitely feel more comfortable,” said Shannon Pompa. “When I use to go to the gym I use to go late [at night]. I’d go to the gyms that were open all night so there wouldn’t be people there. I wouldn’t go by myself, so if my sister didn’t go, I didn’t go.”
Comfort and calmness all wrapped into a 45 minute early morning workout for veterans.
If you are a veteran interested in joining the work out class, call Ike Johnson at 473-9035.