August 2019--Charles Huard

1.Tell us about yourself, your family, your occupation, hobbies/interests.  

For myself I'm 41 years old, I’m happily married, and have a twin brother, and an older sister.   My family moved to Saint Mary's back in the early 80's, and we've lived here off and on since then.  I pursue sales as a career, writing as a hobby, and CrossFit as a challenge.  I am also an avid reader and like to travel.

2. When do you start CrossFitting? Why did you start? Why do you continue now?

I started in August of 2017.  And to answer the second question, CrossFit saved my life.  I am not kidding when I say this, but I'll say it again, CrossFit saved my life.  When I signed on for On Ramp, I was overweight and was struggling with high blood pressure and hypertension, a prime candidate for a heart-attack or stroke.  My physician (who also happened to be running CrossFit Benedictus at the time) recommended that if I wanted to get off the blood pressure medication to do this esoteric thing called “cross-fit.”   By chance an opening appeared for their summer On Ramp, and I signed up.  

Why do I continue now?  CrossFit fosters a healthy competitive spirit, and my On Ramp class has the distinction of having a very low attrition rate.  That competitive spirit has helped.  In September of last year at a Coach's suggestion, I signed up for unlimited classes, because my inner cheapskate will want me to get my money's worth.  As a result I strive to go 5 days a week.  I continue to do CrossFit because I see gains every week, and there is a sense of accomplishment.  Also, it keeps me off the blood pressure medication, which is a plus!

3. Do you remember your first WOD? What were your thoughts after your first WOD?  

I don't recall what the name of the WOD was, but it involved Box Jumps and Wall Balls.  When I took a look at the white board I was thinking to myself 'There's no way I'm going to be able to do this!'  After the WOD as I lay dying I thought to myself 'What have I gotten myself into?'  But when I got home I felt a sense of accomplishment.  That sense of accomplishment is what kept me coming back.

4. What do you enjoy most about CrossFit?

The camaraderie.  During On-Ramp I re-connected with old friends and made some new friends along the way.  I also enjoy the sense of accomplishment after surviving a particularly spicy WOD.

5. What is your proudest CrossFit moment?

It actually happened a couple of weeks ago when I successfully completed a 3K WOD without stopping.  When I started CrossFit I struggled (and, depending on the day, still struggle) with even doing a 400m run as part of a WOD, so completing a 3K run felt like an accomplishment.

6. What is your favorite movement or lift? What is your least favorite?

My favorite lift has to be the Deadlift, whether in a WOD or in a Strength session.  There's just something awesome about using mechanics to lift more than your body weight.   My least movement has to be Box-Jump Burpees, for obvious reasons.

7. Have you had one or two challenging CrossFit goals that you've achieved recently? What are your current goals and how close are you to reaching them?  

As previously stated I was able to complete a 3K run as part of a WOD.  I also participated in the Murph Hero WOD last Memorial Day.  My current goals are to be able to do T2B and Strict Pull-Ups.  With the help of my fellow CrossFitters I’ve been practicing negatives on the strict pull-ups, and attempting T2B in WOBs instead of just Hanging Knee Raises.  Although I’m not there yet, my goal is to be able to do them by the end of the year.

8. What makes CrossFit different from other fitness programs that you might have tried in the past?  

I had worked out in the gym while working in Manhattan at my old job, and even dabbled in some personal training.  The thing with a gym membership is, unless you're willing to spend the $400+ per month for a personal trainer, eventually you get tired of doing the same thing over and over again, and your body acclimatizes itself to the repetitive workouts.  And eventually you stop going to the gym.  CrossFit is a group workout with the feel of having a personal trainer as your Coach.  Also, the WODs are different each day, so your body is constantly challenged.

9. What impact has CrossFit Benedictus had on your life, in and out of the gym?

I can now buy slim-fit instead of Big & Tall!  All joking aside, CrossFit Benedictus has had a positive impact on my life.   In the gym I've made new friends and reconnected with old friends, I've suffered alongside recent On Ramp grads and seasoned CF veterans.   Outside it gave me a new purpose in life, a sense of accomplishment as well as a new confidence that I did not have before.  

10. Tell us about your nutrition and how it has changed, if any, since starting CrossFit?

Definitely changed for the better.  Although I do still have cheat days (and, in the case of holidays, cheat multi-days) there has been more of a focus on what I eat and more importantly what I don’t eat.  If 'm going to put myself through all the pain of doing CrossFit 5 days a week, I'm not going to nullify it by drinking a 12-pack of beer and eating junk food.  It's a bit like buying a Maserati and putting low-grade gasoline in it.

11. If you could write a WOD for the classes to do, what would it look like?

10 Deadlifts
8 Power Cleans
6 Push-Jerks

AMRAP, probably a 8' cap.    Or Death by Box-Jump Burpees and call it Return of the Clown.

12. What advice do you have for others about the importance of the dedication of taking care of yourself, of investing in yourself?

I'd quote my personal physician on this one: 'You can't afford to be cheap.'  I knew someone who recently had to shell out $5,000 to replace the motor in their vehicle because they thought that oil changes were too expensive.  

This also applies to things outside of monetary value.  Our bodies are no different from cars, just as we have to perform maintenance on our cars to keep them running, we have to maintain our bodies to prevent health problems down the road.  And, keeping with the car analogy, it is especially true as we get older.  

13. What advice would you give to someone new to CrossFit or who is thinking about giving it a try?

CrossFit is not easy, so if you’re looking for easy, go to Planet Fitness.  What makes CrossFit awesome is that because it's not easy, when you graduate from OnRamp and you successfully complete your first WOD you know that there are those who failed where you didn’t.  Also, don't go into it thinking it's some kind of 'weekend warrior thing.'  CrossFit is something you either have to commit all the way in, or don't go at all.  And what I mean by that it doesn’t matter if you go 3 days a week or 5 days a week.  Even if you go just once a week, if you commit that you will go 52 times a year no matter what, then you’re committed.  

I've seen many people who've dropped out, and they all have the same excuses: 'Don't have the time,' 'Don't have the money,” etc.  The thing is CrossFit is a commitment not only to the Box, but to yourself.  Early on, you’re gung-ho and ready to go, but as time goes by there will be times when you’ll want to take time off, or un-sign from a class, or outright quit.  So, I’ll give this last bit of advice if you’re thinking of giving up.  Keep coming back, until you want to come back.
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