(KUTV) — A gym in Salt Lake isn't focused on building muscle, but building relationships.
"We want to meet people where they're at," said Ian Acker, founder of Fit to Recover.
Acker wants people who come and work out to find connection. He used working out in his own recovery, and originated Fit to Recover in Sugarhouse Park.
"When you find a group of people, you start to find a sense of community," he said.
Connection is important for people in recovery from addiction issues. Fit to Recover welcomes people with all fitness ability levels, and from all stages of sobriety.
"When I came here, I realized I don't have to be alone," said Justin Maynard, who has been coming to the gym for a couple months.
Maynard recently got out of rehab and started trying out Fit to Recover during his treatment.
"I feel like I've found my fit," he said.
He didn't always feel like he had a place to belong. He used alcohol to cope with his insecurities and would isolate himself from others.
Now, he calls his new workouts a breakthrough.
"I'm opening up. I'm trying to be transparent with everybody here, and just let them know what I'm about," said Maynard.
Exercise has proven benefits for most everyone, but it has been an added layer of help for people at Fit to Recover.
"It has a lot to do with moving the body, doing something for yourself," Acker said. "I think it gets the dopamine going."
The gym offers different types of classes throughout the week for people in recovery.
"I get to work out, which helps me clear my mind, helps me feel better in my body," said Rachel Erickson, who has been taking classes for more than two years.
She goes the gym when she needs some extra encouragement on her journey.
"If I'm not at my best, I have an entire community of people that are willing to pull me up."
She used to drink to escape life, but now chooses to show up and spend time with the people she considers her best friends.
"That has 100% made the difference this time in me being sober, staying sober," she said.
Fit to Recover doesn't promise sobriety, but offers a safe space to find a purpose.
"There's no agenda, except to give high fives, get a little bit stronger, and be better than we were yesterday," Acker said.
The program does more than work outs. You can learn about cooking and nutrition, and even take advantage of its music studio.
Fit to Recover does have a gym membership, but if you can't afford it, the gym offers scholarships and help. Or if you want to just try it out, the first class is free.
For more information, you can visit the Fit to Recover website or follow them on Instagram @fit_2recover.
You can find more addiction help on the Addicted Utah resources page.