By Caroline Farley
From the depths of addiction, Aaron Hoff turned his life around and developed a viable business model geared toward helping substance abusers to find purpose and strength to live more meaningful and healthier lives.
Hoff, 41, founded CrossFit Po‘ipu two years ago as a means of helping substance abusers redirect their energy into a healthy and positive lifestyle. The business has found its niche in creating a supportive and safe community for people to heal and build up each other.
“I basically just try to help people on a daily basis so that they don’t have to go through the hell I went through alone,” said Hoff, describing his intent to provide a safe, structured environment for people in recovery from addiction.
Born and raised on Kaua‘i, he describes his childhood riddled with early exposure to alcohol, drugs and other temptations.
Too immature to understand the long-term consequences of his risky behavior, Hoff soon found himself in over his head, unable to control his addictions. Bottomed-out in a 12-step rehabilitative program, he prayed for the strength to overcome his demons. For him, that strength would come through helping others.
Today, sober for nearly 18 years, Hoff serves as a living example of a man who changed his life for the better. And now he helps others to do the same.
“Now everybody knows me as the sober guy,” Hoff says. “People know this and come to me for help.”
He credits biblical verse John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,” as the impetus needed to redirect his energy toward helping his fellow man. This verse became his life’s mission.
“It’s like I was wearing glasses backwards my whole life,” Hoff said. “Then I finally put them on correctly and I could finally see.”
CrossFit Po‘ipu is a safe haven for people of all walks of life to come together with the purpose of exercise. Hoff also specifically seeks to attract children to CrossFit. Knowing all too well the potential hazards of growing up on Kaua‘i feeling awkward and alone, Hoff said he wants “to get to those kids before they start drifting off.”
Classes range in difficulty based on skill and general fitness level, offering beginning, intermediate and advanced classes. CrossFit Po‘ipu is accessible to all ages. Specific programs target keiki, teens and adults for the best experience for all.
Regardless of one’s current level of fitness or age, CrossFit Po‘ipu aims to improve your capacity in 10 domains, including cardio-respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy.
On Sept. 19, CrossFit Po‘ipu will host its second annual Ultimate Hawaiian Trail Run, with 100 percent of the profits going toward CrossFit scholarships for Kaua‘i’s youth.
Set on a 500-acre property on the foothills of Kahili Mountain Park, the event will feature a 5K, 10K and 10K Team Run. Everyone is invited to participate.
The Ultimate Hawaiian Trail Run has garnered interest both on- and off-island, and has increased to 1,000 entries this year from last year’s 300 participants. It has also been helped by many sponsors, including the Knudsen Trust, Reebok, Mammoth Bar, Rogue, Progenex, Lawa‘i Beach Resort, Assault Air Bike, Koloa Landing, Garden Island Motorcycle Club, Po‘ipu Beach Athletic Club and Kona Red.
Top CrossFit athletes from around the world plan to compete, including Rich Froning, Dan Bailey, Samantha Briggs, Lauren Fisher and others. Hoff refers to the pro athletes as “the Kelly Slaters of the CrossFit world,” alluding to 11-time surfing world champion.
Hoff co-owns CrossFit Po‘ipu along with Jamie Pacheco, a hard-core surfer and Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter. Both are certified CrossFit instructors, and run the business with the help of another five certified coaches.
CrossFit Po‘ipu is at 2827 Poipu Rd., Koloa. Visit www.crossfitpoipu.com or call (808) 652-5330 for more information or to donate to the race.