Frisco CrossFit gym to offer ‘Fit to Recover’ sober living classes
FRISCO — A local CrossFit gym is hoping to provide a new outlet for community members struggling with mental health and substance use disorders.
CrossFit Low Oxygen in Frisco will soon be offering classes catered to individuals who are looking for a healthy way to recover, and providing a community of support both inside and outside the gym.
“It’s a place where people can come and experience something that will help them,” said Jared Dennis, who owns the gym with his wife, Taneil. “I think often for people who have had drug or alcohol issues in life, that never really goes away. Sometimes you just have to replace it with something more positive.”
Jared and Taneil said they were looking for a way to contribute new opportunities for community members when they came across a program called Fit to Recover out of Salt Lake City, which has operated since 2015 under the same philosophy of supporting sobriety through exercise and camaraderie.
Jared and Taneil will head out to Utah next month to train with Fit to Recover, and will begin offering classes locally shortly after.
“Our goal is to have specific classes to help people transition into a lifestyle change,” Taneil said. “A lot of people around here look to CrossFit to supplement their training to become stronger skiers or mountain bikers, but people in our sober living lifestyle classes may not necessarily be there to lift our heaviest weights that day. It’s more about getting through the hour class, getting the heart rate up, and doing something you’re proud of. To feel safe, and also to feel included and supported.”
Classes will be open to individuals of all skill levels, and workouts can be catered to each person based on their abilities. The gym expects that classes will be available sometime in the second half of October.
Jared said the workouts may serve as a metaphor for what some individuals with a history of addiction face in their daily lives, and that making it through a tough session can build confidence in overcoming that adversity.
“I myself have struggled with alcohol,” Jared said. “I lost everything in a day. But Taneil and I always came to the gym. That was our constant. We knew that was helpful and we wanted to share that with people. …
“You get to say ‘I suffered through that workout, and I wanted to quit but I didn’t. That makes me stronger when I go through things in life that are hard. That’s what life is, full of ups and downs. So it’s about letting people come into an environment knowing that me and Taneil have both faced a lot of adversity in life. We’re not afraid to share it because it could help somebody.”
Taneil said that her desire to create the new resource also stemmed from familial experiences.
“I come from a family that has a lot of addiction,” she said. “It was a huge part of my childhood. … I realized early on through sports that I could replace that temptation with exercise. I feel that could be helpful to a lot of people.”
The new program comes in part thanks to Building Hope Summit County, a local organization dedication to improving mental health care, which provided a “mini” grant for the initiative. The grant funded not only the training, but will also help to support community members to make sure that the classes are affordable for everyone.
Building Hope Executive Director Jennifer McAtamney said that with heightened mental health concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, being able to provide a diversity of options for individuals facing substance use issues is vital, whether that means more traditional Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, support groups offered by local therapists, or fitness opportunities.
“Some of the things that really help people with mental health or substance use challenges are the day-to-day, less formal, less clinical supports,” McAtamney said. “Being able to build more programs like this is really the answer to allowing people to live and be healthy in their community at the end of the day. Every new support we can create is a victory in creating a strong community.”
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