PSKC CrossFit, PushPress Work Together for Pregnant Women and Mothers in Addiction Recovery

January 3, 2024 by
Photo Credit: Brandon Smith
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Watching a client get their first pull-up never gets old for the gym owner, but that wasn’t enough for Dale King, owner of PSKC CrossFit in Portsmouth, OH.

King, whose work within this CrossFit community has been highlighted and is very well respected, wanted his gym to be even more involved in healthcare, so he partnered with The Counseling Center, a local drug and alcohol addiction recovery treatment center in Portsmouth, in 2018. 

  • In case you haven’t seen Small Town Strong, the documentary featuring King, his box, and their efforts in Portsmouth, be sure to check it out!

The details: Today, King offers 20 CrossFit classes a week to people in drug and alcohol recovery programs at The Counseling Center. Now, he regularly witnesses people not only getting their first pull-up or PR their back squat, but he also sees them landing their first job, purchasing their first car or home, and getting custody of their kids back.

  • “And they all credit the impact that CrossFit has had on their recovery,” King, a gym owner since 2010, tells Morning Chalk Up. “It has been a hugely successful program in the last five years.”

In the last five years, King has worked with thousands of people in recovery, a handful of whom have gone on to become Level 1 coaches. 

Currently, King has five coaches with L-1s who came through the Counseling Center and have found their way back to “coaching clients who were just like themselves,” he says.

King’s desire to help those who need CrossFit most doesn’t end there. He also runs a program out of a local prison and has taken part in a car seat drive in the last four years for the Stepping Stone Outpatient Program, a program within the Counseling Center for pregnant women and mothers looking to live a substance-free lifestyle. 

Worth Noting: This year, the gym management company PushPress also got involved with King, donating 20 car seats to the cause. The donation was a no-brainer for PushPress founder Dan Uyemura, who is a recovering addict himself.

  • “[King’s] mission not only hit home for me — it taps into the things I want to give back to,” Uyemura says. “The types of fitness studios we support are community-based, and we’re part of the community, so we want to support.”

One big thing: Finding the time and energy to run charitable programs or events on top of regular gym-owning duties can be daunting for the small gym owner. 

However, being charitable and profitable don’t need to be mutually exclusive, King explains. In his case, the Counseling Center funds King’s CrossFit program, so it has become another revenue source for his coaches and his gym.

  • “If gyms really want to think of themselves as [part of the greater] healthcare system, then there are organizations out there who have healthcare dollars to spend, and it’s up to the owner to establish that connection,” he says. 

The big picture: If you’re a gym owner, King recommends finding a worthy cause you’re passionate about and then looking into how you can capitalize on the need. 

  • “Every neighborhood is different and every owner is different, and they might be passionate toward a different cause [than us] […] An owner might be a veteran, so he might want to reach out to a veterans group […] or to people who are incarcerated in prison,” King says.

He adds: “There are all kinds of things the world needs, and once you establish yourself [as a gym], it’s a great platform to have more impact.”

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