THE STORY OF
MAKE A VET SWEAT
Make A Vet Sweat is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has made its mission to serve Texas veterans with combat-related disabilities and their spouses by covering the cost of group fitness gym memberships for three months to promote a holistic coping alternative to help beat PTSD.
To introduce a positive influence on the lives of veterans who struggle with PTSD, as well as their families helping them at home, by providing a healthy physical activity outlet in which they can use to relieve stress and become healthy.
The gym memberships our organization offers focus on group-based exercise, that emphasizes the team-based environment veterans enjoy and healthy living that will beat PTSD.
Justin “Boflex” Bohannon, Founder and President of Make A Vet Sweat, spent ten years in the Army, serving two tours in Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division. Just like many other service members, Justin found himself severely affected by PTSD after he separated from the military. However, Justin found comfort through his love of weightlifting and passion for living a healthy lifestyle. After battling his issues with PTSD, it has become a personal goal of his to help others by sharing what worked for him and in August of 2015, he formed MAVS, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit which is based locally in Austin, Texas.
MEET THE TEAM
Lean and agile are the best words to describe the MAVS team. The members of our team come from all walks of life and with their diverse backgrounds they have the ability to serve a variety of roles within the organization. Some are Veterans who after serving their country with honor have decided to serve their fellow brothers and sisters. While others are selfless Civilians who are grateful for the sacrifices made by generations of servicemen and women.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is PTSD?
As designated under the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Center for PTSD defines Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a mental health problem some people develop after experiencing or witnessing an event that they perceive to be unsafe or life-threatening, such as combat or physical violence, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault.
What are the symptoms?
Those with PTSD may continuously battle a myriad of its symptoms, such as:
- Feelings of hopelessness, shame, or despair.
- Depression or anxiety.
- Drinking or drug problems.
- Physical symptoms or chronic pain.
- Employment problems.
- Relationship symptoms, including divorce.
How does exercise help?
Exercise and many other types of physical activity produce endorphins – chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers – and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, scientists have found that the result of regular participation in the exercise includes: Decrease in overall levels of tension. Elevate and stabilize mood. Improve sleep. Improve self-esteem.
For more information on veteran group exercise research visit: Osher Center for Integrative Medicine
Why group fitness?
One cannot underestimate the value of comradery. The military has the distinct ability to add meaning to brotherhood and sisterhood, not in words, but in actions. The gym memberships our organization provides emphasizes on group-based fitness, similar to the bond created through military service.
Why only help Texas?
Currently, through the generosity and majority of donations coming from the Texas communities, we are just funding gym memberships for Texas veterans and spouses. However, we hope as the network and knowledge of our organization continues to grow, that we can expand our reach in the region and eventually the nation.
Why veteran spouses?
According to the National Center for PTSD, PTSD can affect how couples get along with each other. It can also change the mental health of partners. MAVS honors the spouses who held down the home fronts for our heroes by funding their gym membership costs as well.
So get started and apply for a MAVS Gym Membership!
**Texas Veterans and Spouses ONLY