Reps for Recovery: Krissy Mae Cagney’s Inspiring Mission to Help Others

Lifting, for many, is an art, an outlet, an escape, and therapy.

If you don’t know Krissy Mae Cagney’s story, then buckle up because you’re in for an emotional 6-minutes. In a recent film created by GoFundMe Studios, Black Iron Gym owner Cagney shared her story and her mission to help others.

Through her Reps for Recovery program, she helps recovering substance abuse addicts get their lives back on track by providing them with a free gym membership, as long as they stay sober. Check out the mini film below, and I can’t promise you won’t cry.

To follow up on the video, we asked Cagney when her “ah ha” moment came for Reps for Recovery and she told us,

“I knew when I was living in NYC that I wanted to create a program to help addicts either get or stay sober. I hit one year sober in May of 2014 while living there, and at that point in time, I felt like I could do anything. Because I knew lifting was largely responsible for hitting one year, I conceptualized the idea around then. It had no name, and the idea was incomplete, but it was then that I knew I wanted to make a difference.”

“I tried to open a gym in NYC soon after in order to start the program that had no name, but life had alternate plans for me and I ended up with a small, private rooftop gym that was not equipped for the program. I knew I had to move home to Reno to face my sobriety, open a gym, and start the program. I began to save in 2014 with the money I was making from Doughnuts & Deadlifts. Once I had $250k saved, I opened the gym pretty much right away.”

It’s been far from easy for Black Iron Gym to get up and running and Cagney told us her biggest lesson and struggle so far have been one in the same,

“The greatest struggle also happens to be the biggest lesson I have learned… funny how things come full circle like that (laughs). I started and built two very successful, and established businesses on my own, so to start a business and have it make no money, not even enough to operate, was a huge hit to my ego.”

“My ego got in the way of being able to ask for help. Something in me thought I could fund this program myself, so I was hesitant to take to crowd funding, as I was more concerned with trying to formulate a business model to get funding for the program over asking people for help. Reps for Recovery has taught me that it does in fact take a village, and in order to get a village, you have to set your ego aside and ask for funding and help. We are so much stronger in numbers and stronger together. My biggest struggle has definitely been overcoming my fear of failure.”

Cagney has made both immediate and long-term goals for the program, and hopes to one day open multiple locations to help others.

“The immediate goal (that has been a long term goal for a year now) is to be able to afford to hire an in house counselor/therapist. We are currently relying on volunteer work here and there, but he have no steady help, as it is not in budget and we need more funding to make this a reality. If we could offer counseling in house, we could potentially get viewed as a legitimate treatment facility, which could mean state funding and helping even more at risk people who are new to sobriety.”

“The current long term goal, is to get the funding to open several other locations around the country. Reno is filled to the brim with substance abusers, but it is still a small town. The dream would be to open locations in Southern California or New York City, as there are heavily concentrated amounts of recovering addicts and alcoholics in those areas.”

If you’d have interest in supporting Cagney’s cause and Reps for Recovery, then check out this link

Feature image from @krissymaecagney Instagram page, photo taken by @chrismstanton

Jake Boly

Jake Boly

Jake holds a Master's in Sports Science and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Jake serves as the Fitness and Training Editor at BarBend.

He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has spoken at state conferences on the topics of writing in the fitness industry and building a brand.

As of right now, Jake has published over 1,200 articles related to strength athletes and sports. Articles about powerlifting concepts, advanced strength & conditioning methods, and topics that sit atop a strong science foundation are Jake's bread-and-butter.

On top of his personal writing, Jake edits and plans content for 15 writers and strength coaches who come from every strength sport.

Prior to BarBend, Jake worked for two years as a strength and conditioning coach for hockey and lacrosse players, and a personal trainer the three years before that, and most recently he was the content writer at The Vitamin Shoppe's corporate office.

Jake competes in powerlifting in the 181 lb weight class, and considers himself a professional knee rehabber after tearing his quad squatting in 2017. On the side of writing full time, Jake works as a part-time strength coach and works with clients through his personal business Concrete Athletics in New York City.

Leave a Comment


Latest News

Featured Video


Follow Us