A CrossFit family: It’s not just dad doing the heavy lifting

cover-inside-feature-photoPictured, in front, from left: Maya, 10, Duke, 2, Marlie, 12, Cameron, 6. In back: Corey and Allison.

Corey Dickerson is a husband, father of four, fitness coach, business owner, county detective, former professional basketball player, and once upon a time, a Harlem Globetrotter. We visited him, his wife Allison, and their four very active children, Marlie, 12, Maya, 10, Cameron, 6, and Duke, 2, at Corey’s gym in Harrisburg. The two boys were busy pushing barbells around the floor while the girls were happy to have a day off school. Between lifting sets, Corey shared his thoughts on family, health and fitness with us.

Central Penn Parent: A Harlem Globetrotter?! What was that like?

Corey Dickerson: I was a member of the tour for approximately a year and a half. It was a great experience. I got to travel the Midwest states and also Mexico. [The Globetrotters are] more of an entertainment show than basketball, so it’s not really my cup of tea. The biggest highlight of my basketball career was playing professionally in Ireland and Iceland.

CPP: How long have you been seriously focused on fitness?

Corey: It’s been my passion since I can remember. I was never the biggest or strongest athlete, so staying in shape and being the most conditioned on the court became an addiction because I knew it was my way to separate myself.

CPP: Tell us about your gym, Signal 5 CrossFit. What’s your role in it?

Corey: I’m a co-owner and coach. The success in Signal 5 as a training facility and community has led to results and accomplished goals for children and adults in Dauphin County. It has also served as the platform for Freedom Forged Athletics and ultimately our huge involvement in Stark International. [Editor’s note: Freedom Forged is a chain of CrossFit gyms owned by Corey and his partners. Stark International, owned by one of Corey’s partners, makes all-natural workout-enhancing and recovery products.]

CPP: How do you focus on healthy living within your family?

Corey: With the gym and sports being what we enjoy and such a huge part of our lives – our three oldest play soccer and basketball – the only part to really focus on is the nutritional side. Allison does a great job making delicious meals that are healthy, so it’s easy to please the kids. We also try hard to keep healthy snacks in the home, but also allow the kids to be kids at times. You don’t want them to feel like being healthy is a job. It should just be their way
of life.

CPP: Do you work out with your family here at the gym?

Corey: I try to take the kids in the gym with me on weekends so that they can work out with me when no one is here. My oldest, Marlie, loves doing Olympic movement weight lifting, and it becomes a bonding time. The rest really like climbing the ropes, pull ups on rings, and so on.

CPP: What are your favorite family activities?

Corey: Going to the beach, Nerf dart wars, coaching them in basketball, watching their sporting events, dinner time, and church.

CPP: What’s the biggest mistake you think moms and dads make about getting fit?

Corey: Just thinking they don’t have enough time because of the kids’ activities. You have to make time! It’s vital to your health and wellness and your child’s. Make an hour a day to commit to your health.

CPP: Have you ever binge-watched Netflix while eating a half gallon of ice cream straight out of the carton? Just curious.

Corey: No. But I have eaten whole sheet birthday cakes after heavy deadlift sessions while binge-watching “The First 48” episodes! When you deadlift, you want to build the legs. When you eat a whole birthday cake, it goes straight to the legs. I’ll pick up a sheet cake at the store and they’ll ask me, “Whose birthday it is?” I’ll say, “No one’s. This is just for me. For tonight.”

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