May 2020--Jennifer Rutledge

1.Tell us about yourself, your family, your occupation, hobbies/interests.
I’m a southern girl at heart. I was born in Alabama and raised in Georgia. I’ve been married to John-Paul (whom I’ve known since 3rd grade) for 18 years. We have moved around quite a lot, but settled in St. Marys in 2009 to put our kids into the Academy. We have 9 kids ranging from 4 yrs. to 17 yrs. old --Fun Fact: Our first born are twins!
My interests are mainly spending time with my family, photography and CrossFit. I have a B.A. in Graphic Design, so photography keeps me artistically fulfilled. John-Paul and some of my kids enjoy photography too, so that ends up being a win-win situation--I can take photos AND be with my family.

2. When did you start CrossFitting? Why did you start? Why do you continue now?
I started January of 2019 with a group of 8 other wonderful ladies. I started because the exercising I was doing wasn’t really helping. I didn’t really exercise once I started having children; the only “exercise” I would get was pushing a stroller. I was feeling the effects of inactivity, so I decided to start an exercise class (not CrossFit) in an effort to improve my health. I did this for over a year with little to no improvement; I needed something different that would kick me in the rear.--Insert CrossFit.
I continue now because I truly enjoy it, I feel so much better and I can tell my health has improved. CrossFit really does work!!

3. Do you remember your first WOD? What were your thoughts after your first WOD?
I can remember the first WOD post OnRamp was Sunset Strip. Embarrassingly, I can remember it because it brought back to mind a part of a cheesy song from the ‘80’s. It kept replaying in my head every time it was time for squats. I remember going to the Red Eye class on an empty stomach which I had been doing for my non-CrossFit exercise class. The WOD was exhausting!! I flopped on my floor afterwards seeing stars and thinking how out of shape I was. I learned not to go to class on an empty stomach again.

4. What do you enjoy most about CrossFit?
I enjoy that the workouts are all planned out for me, changed on a daily basis and that it uses different elements of fitness in order to give a well rounded workout. I also really enjoy the atmosphere at our Box—i. e. the prayer at the start, offering our intentions/sacrifices during the workouts and the encouragement from each of the athletes.

5. What is your proudest CrossFit moment?
I would probably pick being able to complete the mile run without stopping on my first timed run and improving my time on my second run. It had been a really long time since I had run a complete mile without stopping.

6. What is your favorite movement or lift? What is your least favorite?
I love anything with handstands or any gymnastic movement, for that matter. I also enjoy Overhead Squats and Back squats. I wasn’t sure if I would like bar work when I first started, but I’ve come to find it really rewarding. My least favorite movement would have to be Thrusters. They rain on my happy place and make me want to lose my lunch. Wall balls are there too, but those are getting a little better.

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?
I’m working on a Pull Up. Just one. One measly Pull Up. I’m still pretty far from one, but I’m really hoping to do my first pull up EVER. (You’re never too old to get your first pull up, right?)
I have more recently been able to perform a slow negative instead of just falling from the bar. That is a definite improvement from when I started!
I currently am trying to stick with coming three times a week and use each WOD as a chance for me to challenge myself and push myself past my comfort zone.
I would really like to string together more than two or three double unders in a row. I have come to realize that the Double Under Monkey is a real thing and that it’s stuck on my back. sigh. Does anyone want the Double Under Monkey??

8. What makes CrossFit different from other fitness programs that you might have tried in the past?
After high school sports and PE classes, I didn’t participate in any fitness programs, so I can’t really compare “adult fitness” programs. Getting into CrossFit brings back some of the excitement of being a part of a team sport. Each WOD makes me want to individually give it my all, but then I’m also a part of a team with people there to cheer me on and encourage me.

9. What impact has CrossFit Benedictus had on your life, in and out of the gym?
It’s definitely made me sore on a regular basis! Kidding, not kidding.
My older sons are now starting to see that they can’t mess with mom due to my increased muscle mass. Totally kidding!
CrossFit has helped with keeping a balance in my life. It’s brought an increase in my energy and stamina. I find the workouts (slightly) easier and I have an easier time with my physical duties at home. It has also given me better focus to help me plan and prioritize my spiritual and physical duties.

10. Tell us about your nutrition and how it has changed, if any, since starting CrossFit?
I am more conscious of the amount of vegetables and protein and carbs I am consuming and I also try to limit sugar. I don’t do the best job at it, but it has improved since starting.

11. If you could write a WOD for the classes to do, what would it look like?A Well Oiled Machine (Team WOD)
2 Rounds
(Partner A and B do one after the other)
50 Alternating (A then B) Dumbbell Push Press
50 Alternating Overhead Dumbbell Lunges
60 Alternating Ab Mat Sit Ups
400-500M Run (Each)

12. What advice do you have for others about the importance of the dedication of taking care of yourself, of investing in yourself?
Everyone deep down knows that they should take care of themselves. It's just a little easier said than done sometimes. I think there is a balance that we should strive for between taking care of our duties and taking care of ourselves. Exercise, especially CrossFit, is a great tool to help us in our duties for our vocation. It all feeds on itself; if we take care of our souls then we'll want to take care of our bodies and vice versa.

13. What advice would you give to someone new to CrossFit or who is thinking about giving it a try?
For someone just starting I would say don’t put too much pressure on yourself or worry about how in shape or out of shape you are. It isn’t about being at the top of the leaderboard or being at the bottom. Just go in and do your best, whatever it is for that day. Be happy with the effort that you put in and have fun doing it.
For someone considering it-- just give a try. You never know until you jump in and do it and who knows, you just might like it!

14. Open Forum:
Firstly, thank you Doc and Cindy for starting all of this and dedicating your time and resources to it for so long. Thank you Andy and Joe for all of your continued and untiring efforts. (Also, for Mindy and Bridget-for all that you both are quietly sacrificing.) Thank you all for putting so much into making the Box what it is. It has been really great to be a part of this.
Thank you to all of the wonderful people here at CrossFit for the constant encouragement and healthy camaraderie.
Last, but certainly not least a big thank you to my best chum in the world, John-Paul. I’m truly grateful to have you as my stalwart companion. There are so many things you offer up and give of yourself on a regular basis. Thanks for enduring the crazy kids and chaos (mostly, T, Th, Fr class nights!) GK Chesterton says that “The most extraordinary thing in the world is an ordinary man and an ordinary woman and their ordinary children”. Thank you for making our ordinary extraordinary!
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