Changing Sober Lives in Florida One CrossFit Class at a Time
CrossFit is all about building community. There are many ways to do this, but the Temperance Training Foundation achieves success by focusing specifically on those pursuing sobriety in Florida.
Remind me: Formed by Anthony Fazio and Rob Thomas, the Temperance Training Foundation now has three locations in Florida – Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and Daytona Beach. The foundation operates out of three affiliates while providing 12 free classes a week to anyone within 24 hours of sobriety. The classes have about 20 people on average, but some have been as large as 50.
- Sponsors such as Born Primitive, Matrix Medical Communications LLC, Eleventh Element, and numerous others make it possible for Temperance Training to provide these classes. There are also members of the community that show support through donations.
Brandon Fleming, the head of the Daytona chapter: “I’m originally from South Florida, so when I was able to go down there and pop in and see the camaraderie and the community that they’ve created and giving people the opportunity to have an extension of their recovery and have healthy habits, I was like, ‘Dude, I need to do something like this.’ So I’ve been doing it up here for about what’s going on almost two years now.”
A perfect example of the changes made possible by the Temperance Training Foundation is Vinnie Durham. He struggled with his weight and was unhappy in his personal life. He received an invitation in May 2021 to attend a Temperance class at CrossFit Hypernova, which led to a major change in his life.
- “A mutual friend of Brandon [Fleming] and I was going all the time,” Durham said. “He was like, ‘Hey, you need to try it out.’ At that time, I was almost 270 pounds. I was really unhappy with where I was with myself physically.”
- “I went one Sunday morning and since then, I’ve been every Sunday since. Actually, two weeks after going to that first Temperance class, I signed up for the CrossFit gym where it’s held at.”
Taking the first step: When Durham made the decision to join his friend at the Temperance class, he did not simply show up and take part in the workout. He actually sat in the parking lot for several minutes and nearly drove away. He ultimately went into the building, where he received a very warm welcome from some familiar faces.
- “I walked in and the craziest thing is I knew 70 percent of the people in there from recovery,” Durham said. “Because I struggled with drug addiction in the past. I had just shy of five years clean.”
- “I was afraid to show up and do these things in front of people I knew. I thought they might judge me, but they all welcomed me with open arms, like ‘We’re so glad you’re here.’ As soon as crossing the threshold of the door, that anxiety had gone away for the most part, at least the social part of it.”
Keep it simple: Temperance Training’s classes are open to a wide variety of backgrounds, and there are some participants who don’t have a history in CrossFit. Instead of trying to teach complex movements like snatches or cleans, Fleming and the coaches focus on old-school movements.
- “We keep it super simple – like the basic OG CrossFit stuff – with kettlebells, wall balls, and bodyweight movements,” Fleming said. “Weekly, we’ll throw something in there too. Something that somebody who’s never done the more complex stuff [can do] We’ll just keep it light. It’s about movement, we’re not trying to kill anybody in there.”
- “And if they find something that they’re super interested in, we can do more personalized training with them, or they can join the gym.”
- “The biggest thing that they taught me is all of this is about just being willing to show up,” Durham added. “The biggest part of Temperance is it doesn’t matter what you can or can’t do. It’s just ‘come. Just come along. We’re here as a community.’”
Making major changes: The pursuit of health and sobriety are focuses of the Temperance Training Foundation. There are also numerous other benefits. For Durham, in particular, he was able to become a better employee, as well as a more involved father, after doing the Temperance classes and signing up for a membership at CrossFit Hypernova.
- “Really self-worth and being able to be the person that I’ve always aspired to be,” Durham said about his biggest achievement. “I’m able to be an active father to my six-year-old daughter. When she goes, ‘Hey, let’s go outside and play,’ I’m not like, ‘I’m too tired or I’m too lazy.’ Now I’m just like, ‘Yeah, let’s go.’ I can keep up with her.”
- “One of the biggest things is being able to wake up in the morning and do what I want to do. You know, there’s no real negativity in my head. Maybe sore, but that depression or low self-esteem is gone. It just left, and that is a pure result of me coming into Temperance one day, that first day.”
Bottom line: Durham is only one example of those that have been able to drastically change their lives while working with the Temperance Training Foundation. There are numerous others that have made positive changes in Florida. The improved health is one benefit, but the bigger achievement is that these participants can now be better significant others, parents, children, bosses, and employees after working with the foundation.