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As well as organizing the Goodfit Battles, a monthly fitness competition in north Toronto, Alex Savva donates equipment and prizes. (MOE DOIRON/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)
As well as organizing the Goodfit Battles, a monthly fitness competition in north Toronto, Alex Savva donates equipment and prizes. (MOE DOIRON/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

GIVING BACK

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The Gift: Creating the Goodfit Battles

The Reason: To develop fitness programs for young people in high-risk neighbourhoods

When Alex Savva was growing up in a tough part of Toronto known as Flemingdon Park, he found refuge in a fitness program at a local community centre.

“There was a lot of crime, violence and drug use,” Mr. Savva, 35, recalled from his office in Toronto. “I found fitness gave me something to focus on.”

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Mr. Savva eventually took up bodybuilding and now runs Pharmafreak Technologies Inc., a line of nutrition supplements, as well as CircuitFit, a personal training studio.

A few months ago, he partnered with Doorsteps Neighbourhood Services, a non-profit organization in Toronto that offers a variety of programs for young people in at-risk neighbourhoods.

Together they developed the Goodfit Battles, a monthly fitness competition in north Toronto that includes events such as tire flips, boxing, chin-ups and kettlebell swings, as well as live bands, speakers and DJs.

Now in its third month, the free competition has become a popular community event with roughly 100 participants of all ages and a lively audience. As well as organizing the battles, Mr. Savva donates equipment and prizes.

“To see a whole community come out, to see them all come together, it’s amazing,” said Mr. Savva, who is hosting this month’s event on June 8.

“I wish I had something like this when I was growing up.”

pwaldie@globeandmail.com

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