A new class at the PC MARC, ‘Fit to Recover,’ is aimed to help those battling addiction

Park City’s Municipal Athletic and Recreation Center will remain open, but group classes like "Fit to Recover," pictured, have been suspended.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

Recovery from addiction is a tough battle for anybody, especially when they’re doing it alone.

But thanks to Ian Acker and Park City’s Municipal Athletic and Recreation Center, that doesn’t have to be the case. Added a few weeks ago to the MARC’s class schedule was a class titled “Fit to Recover,” created by Acker in Salt Lake City and picked up by the MARC.

With the help of Parkite Martha Macomber, board chair of Fit to Recover, Acker was able to get in touch with the MARC.

“We’ve been looking at expansion for a long time, a bigger place where we can help more people, and we were able to get into contact with the MARC and it took off from there,” Acker said. “Park City has had a big push for equal opportunity for all types of people, and what we do fit into the mission of the MARC so it was a very natural connection. We’re lucky to be able to partner with them and have the class take off successfully.”

The class, which is free and meets every Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the MARC, is for all levels of people either battling addiction or just looking to help out. The exercises range from kettlebell workouts, circuit training, to strength and conditioning training.

For Acker, 34, the class isn’t solely about fitness or nutrition, although they are big staples of the program. It’s primarily about building a connection between members that can lead to future friendships and support outside of the class that can be of help to those fighting the fight.

“What we try to accomplish goes far beyond the class, which all begins with seeing someone more than once,” Acker said. “It leads to food after class, then phone numbers being exchanged followed by hanging out outside of the class. … The relationship forms organically. It’s a massive support system with a community that helps people going through similar things and giving them a space to talk about it and work through it.”

Acker, who is recovering from addiction, first came up with the concept of “Fit to Recover” in 2015 when he was out of treatment and going through an in-patient program. He needed a place to go that was outside of treatment, and catapulted that idea into a place in the Sugar House neighborhood in Salt Lake City where people going through something similar can come and get a workout in.

“It started with just two people coming, and then became eight, and then 40 and finally 100 people started showing up for the classes,” Acker said. “It got cold outside so we needed a space, which came in the form of a personal gift, and officially got started. Ever since then, we’ve been running with fire, trying to help and have as many people as possible participate.”

But Acker is quick to point out that the class isn’t just for people battling addiction, he strongly encourages anybody to come out and get involved in the workouts. “Normies” as he calls them, are more than welcome as long as they’ve been sober for the past 24 hours, the only major rule that is unbreakable.

Acker says that it’s important for normies to be a part of the classes as well so those in recovery aren’t isolated with just one another, allowing for a better chance at a successful addition back into society.

“When you find out that the normies have their own issues, as someone in recovery you begin to realize that everyone is struggling with something,” Acker said. “It allows us to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, gives us something to look forward to each week. … Somewhere we can be ourselves free of judgment.”

Acker admits that the class at the MARC, while helpful, is just the tip of the iceberg of what he hopes could be a permanent residence in Park City. He hopes that the class is so successful, which it’s looking like it is, eventually grows out of the MARC to become something bigger.

“We’ve had at least 30 people in there every week, including members of our community down in Salt Lake City, to help show how big and special this is,” Acker said. “The end goal is to have a brick and mortar place in Park City. … A place where people can feel safe, meet new people and together do something to get through the tough times.”

Until then, Acker is very thankful for the MARC for its opening its doors to the Fit to Recover community. This has allowed Acker and his community to expand its reach and help out all of those who are still fighting the good fight.

“Our mission is to provide a safe space for people in recovery to connect through others, and we can do that even better with the help of Park City,” Acker said.

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