Workout program helps heroin addicts kick the habit

A special partnership between the Janesville Police Department and Anytime Fitness is helping heroin addicts trade in their bad habits for a better one – working out.

Kyle Pucek, a former heroin addict, helped create the program along with Janesville police officer Chad Woodman, who is the DROP officer for the department.

“Going to the gym, burn some endorphins,” Woodman said. “It’s a positive environment to be in, and that’s what a lot of it comes down to is a positive environment. They’re not going to the typical bad places that they used to go to, hanging out with those types of people, hanging out with other users. They’re now going to an environment that endorses positive change.”

Pucek said working out was a big factor in his recovery. He’s been sober for three years.

“The biggest problem that I had in my addiction was free time, and free time leaves you with time to think, leaves you time to call old friends and just get into trouble,” Pucek said. “So working out is a good way to get rid of anxiety and angst as well.”

The participants are given 90 days of free membership at Anytime Fitness, but the program can go longer if the participant needs it. They work one-on-one with personal trainers.

“My biggest role is mainly just to get them in here and get them into a routine,” Steven Knox, member experience manager at the Anytime Fitness on Milton Avenue in Janesville, said. “I really want to have this be an outlet for them and make that ultimate change.”

The police department said four people are in the program, and one person has completed the 90 days and is still going to the gym.

“Everyone has their own weird addictions, and I think fitness can be something that everybody can find their own addiction in,” Knox said.

The program is currently available in all the Anytime Fitness gyms in Rock County. The hope is to see it spread to other police departments and gyms.

“Hopefully, it’ll be a great template that they can see is beneficial to helping turn around the lives of people,” Pucek said.

Woodman said anyone who struggles with heroin addiction is invited to try the program.