Gavin Young said he was never athletic as a kid. Now he’s a CrossFit trainer for Human Strength, a free weekly workout class for people in recovery.
Human Strength is a program in several gyms throughout the country. The program is an offshoot of Phoenix MultiSport, a chain of gyms out west that specifically service people in recovery. Both Human Strength and Phoenix MultiSport serve as supplements to traditional recovery methods like 12-step programs. The workout programs are meant to offer not only a place to go and a positive activity to engage in, but also a community of people with similar life experiences.
Melody Schofield coaches the Human Strength class on Saturdays at 3 p.m. with Young at Fearless Athletics in South Philly. Schofield was always interested in athletics — she said even during her active addiction she was always pushing herself harder athletically. Thirty days into her recovery, she found CrossFit.
Although Young and Schofield said there is a possibility that people in recovery could become addicted to exercise, the primary focus of the group is safety. Young said he is learning to balance his training and his recovery. He often found himself training way more often than he would suggest for an of his trainees, and he sometimes has to keep himself in check, he added. He makes sure he never prioritizes training over his recovery, he said, and he never skips a 12-step meeting to train.
Young and Schofield both agreed that one of the best parts of the program is fostering a sense of community. Young said he often sees people from his 12-step program at the gym and vice versa. Both groups provide different types of support, they added.
“It’s such a huge part of my recovery,” Schofield said.