Two former NFL players and old college football teammates, reunited to take a stand against obesity in America. Starting with the Tallahassee community, Kevin Franklin, 34, former player for the Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions, and Gabe Northern, 34, former Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings player, opened their own fitness gym, Anytime Fitness.
Northern said Anytime Fitness is the only minority full service gym in town.
“We have to step up to the challenge and be the best.” Northern said. “We must go beyond the call of duty to get our names mentioned.”
Northern said one way they set themselves apart from other gyms is they embrace their members as a member of their family.
“Everyone who wants one gets a nick name gets one, any one who needs help gets just that,” Northern said.
Anytime Fitness, started in October 2007 as an idea to assist Northern in his career transition from the NFL.
“We were inspired to open a gym because we saw the need to help those in need, fight obesity.” Franklin said
Anytime Fitness is a 24-hour gym that caters to all audiences.
“We offer after school training for student athletes, dancercise class, circuit training, interval training, weight loss training, strength and conditioning, group and personal training,” said Northern.
But Northern and Franklin believe that it is a compilation of expertise and training that gives them niche over other fitness centers.
“Having expertise on how to train people pushed me and Gabe to want to get certified and own a gym,” Franklin said. “For a football player, what could be better than a climax of owning a gym and teaching others everything you have learned?”
Franklin said the newly elected president, Barack Obama, is not the only black leader in the black community.
“I want to really stress that we are black owned and hope to encourage people to support black businesses, especially with Obama in office,” Franklin said.
Colby Williams, 18, a freshman exercise science student at Tallahassee Community College from Orlando, is a regular at Anytime Fitness gym.
Williams said another student at TCC who works at the gym encouraged him to utilize the facility.
“I told him I wanted to train for football and he referred me to Mr. Kevin and Mr. Gabe,” said Williams, who attends the gym four-to-five times a week. “He told me they train students to get ready for college football.”
Others said they also enjoy the facility.
“I love it here,” said Jill Conney, 28, from Cincinnati, Ohio.
Conney said she goes to church next door to the gym and decided to become a member.
“I love most of the people that work here, they are really friendly and it is a very relaxed environment,” Conney said.
“We have fun, we get strong and try to get better everyday at Anytime Fitness,” Northern said.
He described the gym as being a very open atmosphere that is far from intimidating, like some gyms can be.
For more information about Anytime Fitness, visit www.anytimetallahasseefl.com. Franklin said customers could go to the Web site to sign up or come into the gym to set up an appointment. The facility is open 24-hours for members but staff hours are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 10 a.m-7 p.m. and Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Staff can be reached at 671-2225.