ICYMI: Last week, we announced our new and exciting partnership with the Movemeant Foundation—a non-profit organization that strives to educate and empower young women through the use of physical fitness to build confidence, self-worth, and self-love. How amazing, right?
And just like us, the Movemeant Foundation is rooted in the belief that everybody is meant to move, and that the key to living a healthy and happy life—physically, emotionally, and mentally—is physical movement. But we wanted to know more, so we spoke with Stacy Anderson, President of Anytime Fitness, and Jenny Gaither, Founder of the Movemeant Foundation, to learn more about the partnership and what it means to both of them. Here’s what they had to say!
Q: Jenny, in your own words, what is the essence of the Movemeant Foundation?
A: The Movemeant Foundation uses movement and community to help women discover their strength, grow in their self-worth, and thrive in their confidence. We believe that movement is the vehicle for which we can access the most powerful version of ourselves, and that our community has the ability to show us what we can do with that power.
Q: What called you [Jenny] to the Movemeant Foundation mission?
A: It was when I received my first pair of ballet shoes that I learned the importance of being active, and its contribution to making the world a better place. But as I got older, I spent more time comparing my image, path, and timing to other women. For 15 years, I struggled with an eating disorder, body image issues, and depression—a secret that no one knew. And it wasn’t until I choose to accept who I was unconditionally—even if no one else did—that my attachment to my image, perfectionism, and validation was shattered. I decided to not hide in my shame, but to speak out about myself and other women who struggled with self-confidence and body image issues just like me. That’s the moment when I realized I was limitless, and so I thought: if I’m limitless, so is everyone else, and that’s the message I was born to share with the world.
Q: What about you, Stacy? Have you always had a passion for fitness and wellness?
A: Fitness has always been an important part of my life. I grew up in an active home that spent a lot of time outdoors and on the water, so fitness was never something that we had to think about or make time for, it was just how we lived. But when I began having kids in my early thirties, things changed. It was the first time in my life that I had to consciously work at making time for fitness, my health, and self-care—and I think a lot of people can relate to that right now. We’re in the midst of a time where the health and wellness of our communities is more important than it’s ever been or ever needed to be, and lately that’s what has been inspiring me each day.
Q: Is that what inspired you [Stacy] to partner with the Movemeant Foundation?
A: This year has been tough. Our communities have already given up so much: their freedom, their personal lives, their families—and all for the health of others. So we’re working to make sure that they don’t also have to give up their love of fitness and ability to move as well. It’s times like these that lending a hand and giving back to those communities is so important. So when we saw that the mission of the Movemeant Foundation was almost exactly aligned with ours—raising the self-esteem and confidence of women and girls through physical fitness—we just knew it was the perfect match. The Movemeant Foundation has done an amazing job of serving as a catalyst to empower a new generation of healthy, strong, and self-assured young women, and we couldn’t be more proud to partner with them and help expand their efforts and transform the lives of the next generation of women.
Q: For you, Jenny, what makes Anytime Fitness such an impactful partner for the Movemeant Foundation?
A: One of the biggest challenges that stands in the way of women owning their wellness is approachability and accessibility to the tools they need to be active—and Anytime Fitness is helping change that through their inclusive, supportive, and welcoming spaces for all bodies to be brave and develop a positive sense-of-self through fitness. With their support, we will be able to continue to grant our Meant to Move athletic scholarships to under-resourced communities around the world so that girls can continue to use movement as an outlet to feel empowered.
Q: Stacy, what is the biggest challenge you see that prevents women from owning their fitness and wellness? How will the Movemeant Foundation help Anytime Fitness break down these barriers?
A: As much as traditional gender roles have evolved through the years, women are still bombarded with messages of inadequacy and images of unrealistic perfectionism each and every day. From a young age, women are taught to focus on what they are not, instead of celebrating all of the incredible things that they are. The Movemeant Foundation does a wonderful job at educating, mentoring, and providing the tools that young women need to develop strong, healthy, and happy bodies. So together, we will work to make a difference in these young girls lives and achieve our mission of raising the self-esteem of the world, one person at a time.
Q: Jenny, we’ll end with a tough question: What has been the most rewarding outcome from the Movemeant Foundation in your opinion?
A: We do what we do at the Movemeant Foundation because we love people, and we love empowering them. We have never forgotten the smiles and dedication from our annual outdoor charity event, We Dare to Bare. Our hearts grow ten sizes every time we read testimonials and letters from the parents of the girls who’ve received our Meant to Move athletic scholarships, or those who have graduated from our Generation Confident middle school program. We are so proud of our Wellness for All grants that have amplified the voices of the BIPOC female business owners in the fitness industry, and we’ve also been able to offer our COVID-19 Relief grant to hundreds of other fitness business owners that have been tragically impacted by COVID-19. So as of this far, we’ve been able to make a substantial impact around the world, not only because we believe in our mission, but because other people do, too.