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Free Gym For All Battling Drugs. How Former Addict Helps People Workout Their Way To Sobriety

May 28, 2013, Reno, Nevada. Krissy Mae Cagney wakes up in a hospital bed. The doctors tell the 24 y.o. girl she has symptoms typical of a middle-aged alcoholic and is at the edge of life.

Five years later Krissy is a personal instructor and nutrition counselor at her own gym with free membership for the recovering addicts.

Photo: krissymaecagney/Instagram

  “I have a purpose. A purpose to help other addicts and alcoholics realize that they too can have a healthy and fulfilling life,” Krissy says.

She opened Black Iron Gym in Sparks, Nevada, in April 2015. The gym offers various trainings – CrossFit, yoga, express trainings, fitness – to people struggling with addiction.

Her life is built on lifting others up

Krissy couples physical exercise with nutrition-counseling programs. But most importantly, the woman gives her words of encouragement and support to her customers.

Photo: Krissy Mae Cagney/Facebook

She says she has always wanted somebody to help her and never had that.

“She’s doing amazing things. Her life is built on lifting others up,” one of her clients says.

Why gym? Born in Hawaii in a family of top triathletes, Krissy has been
passionate about fitness since early age.

Photo: Black Iron Gym/Facebook

However, at one point in her life substance abuse had exceeded. Krissy tried cocaine and alcohol for the first time when she turned 14.

Read also: Michigan University Teacher Unites Students, Poetry And Prisoners To Reform The Latter With The Power Of Art

The addict had been ruining herself for 10 years. She moved as far as possible from parents to drink and use. The girl lied she got sober, sometimes lived on the streets, sometimes – in jails.

The only place she felt safe in was in a gym. It had an amazing power to pull her away from using. So when Krissy woke up in hospital, she realized it was enough and time to get sober had come.

She began in May 2013. Krissy completed a dietitian internship, started speaking at seminars and became a personal trainer. She helped one client lose 100 pounds and understood that the feeling of changing a person’s life is unlike any other.


With the help of donations, Cagney has already helped over 100 people stay sober in a friendly, accepting, no-judging environment of her gym. It is not only the owner who motivates to follow her example but also members themselves who help each other stay clean and strong.

Read also: Drug Addict For 20 Years, Louisiana Woman Pulled Up For Family And New Life

Krissy plans to expand the gym to a comprehensive treatment facility with an in-house therapist for clients in order to prove that addiction is an illness that can be healed.

Photo: krissymaecagney/Instagram

“They all want the same things… to be sober, to be accepted, and to be loved. My
staff and I give them all of those things, We truly make each other stronger,” Krissy concludes.

Source: People, Insideedition, WSLS

Featured image: Facebook

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