555 Fitness: Fighting with fire

Piparo is the director of 555 Fitness in New Jersey. His goal is to increase awareness and hopefully reduce the number of firefighter deaths from cardiac-related illnesses.

He said that many firefighters don’t exercise as much because they don’t have the right equipment in their firehouses. He explained that a fire department must choose between purchasing a SCBA pack and a hose, or exercise equipment.

Piparo joined Fitness after complaining to the charity’s Facebook page. Piparo could not do all the Fitness workouts that were available to firefighters at the time because his firehouse did not have the equipment. Piparo was then brought in by the 555 Fitness team to develop bodyweight workouts. This eventually evolved into the grant program at 555 Fitness. The organization gives $2,500 worth of functional fitness equipment to fire departments across the country several times per year.

555 Fitness is unique in that most people involved have their CrossFit Level 1 certificates and are connected to CrossFit in some way. Piparo is seeing an increase in interest from CrossFit Boxes to make Fitness their charity for events or competitions.

CrossFit Aspire members recently took part in a fundraiser for 555 Fitness. Members did as many double-unders during April as they could. The sponsor of the member would donate one dollar for every double-under that a member does during April — with a maximum of 3,000 double-unders. This helped raise money for 555 fitness. Alycia Alves, owner of Cherry Hill’s Box, New Jersey said that it was great to encourage members to learn a skill they need to practice.

Initially, a member suggested that 555 Fitness to Alves partner with her. She found that members were a good fit for mission. Alves said that it was pleasant to explain [555 Fitness] to our members. She said, “Look, this organization provides CrossFit equipment for firefighters who need to keep in shape.’ It had more of a connection with what [our members were doing].”

CrossFit Aspire holds challenges and events that benefit charities several times per year. This is because it benefits the community. The event with 555 Fitness was no exception. Alves stated that while it is easy to want to make a lot of money at a gym, it’s much more satisfying to see everyone contribute a small amount and help another organization.

Piparo stated that Box owners can help 555 Fitness by simply raising awareness. He said that every-day Box owners can get involved with their members, including their emergency service providers, through hosting an honor WOD and raising awareness about the work we do. It’s a great way to give back, and it also provides a great connection for fitness.