1.Tell us about yourself, your family, your occupation, hobbies/interests.
I am 40 years old, grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta, graduated from Georgia Tech in 2001 with a degree in Chemical Engineering, promptly married my best (only) friend Jennifer, then began moving around the country to eventually land in St. Mary’s in 2009. I now work in supply chain and logistics in Topeka--it’s pretty darn exciting. I have 9 children who are wonderful to be around when they act like their mother. I have way too many hobbies for my own good, but they include: CrossFit, ice hockey, reading, hiking/climbing, biking, and photography. I also am on the city commission in St Mary’s currently, but I wouldn’t really call that an occupation...or a hobby....or an interest.
2. When did you start CrossFitting? Why did you start? Why do you continue now?
I started CrossFit in 2016. I was intrigued by the incessant reminiscing and play by play account of tough workouts I got every time I saw my brother. I also got a little nudge from my good friend Pat Hansen. I think he said something like, “you should look into it”, which I took to mean, “you’re pretty porky dude”. Maybe I read into that one a little too far. I continue now because I love the benefits it gives me, and the community at the box.
3. Do you remember your first WOD? What were your thoughts after your first WOD?
Not clearly. The memory is some vague mix of heavy breathing, and cold sweat. I think not remembering is a mercy of God, because it wasn’t pretty.
4. What do you enjoy most about CrossFit?
I am way too competitive for my own good. I love that CrossFit has found a way to use my competitiveness to make me work harder and do things I otherwise wouldn’t do. I also love how frequently it pushes me to the limit where there is truly nothing left. Few things are more satisfying to me than “emptying the tank” completely in a WOD.
5. What is your proudest CrossFit moment?
Without a doubt, my proudest moment was the first time I finished Murph. I’ve rarely done anything that got me to that point of physical exhaustion. I think I am most proud of that moment because it was where I first started to make progress on the psychological side of competition. I had no chance of a good score. I’m notorious for wanting to slack off if I don’t have a chance of winning, but in that workout something clicked and I got over the psychological hump. I barely finished it, and even though the last 60 reps took me forever I consider it one of my few real victories.
6. What is your favorite movement or lift? What is your least favorite?
I love squats--back squats, front squats, overhead squats...etc. I don’t like anything that starts with the words “double kettlebell”. I really don’t like running either.
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 made good progress on my 5K at the end of last summer. I’m getting more consistent at double unders. I’d like to do a ring muscle-up before I die. I’m not sure I’m on pace for that currently, but it’s still a goal.
8. What makes CrossFit different from other fitness programs that you might have tried in the past?
In the past, I just played sports. I couldn’t imagine taking part if it didn’t have a score, and a ball or puck, so I never tried anything geared toward “fitness”. I did join a weight loss challenge once and ended up lighter by about 20 lbs and $100, but that didn’t last very long (the 20 lbs part). CrossFit is different to me because it supplies the competitive aspect that helps push me to work harder and mixes it with the community aspect that helps me want to show up. I truly enjoy our WODs and the time I get to spend with the people here, and that keeps me wanting to come back.
9. What impact has CrossFit Benedictus had on your life, in and out of the gym?
CFB has helped me find a way to even out the bumps of my normal week. I’m just a tad high strung, and before CrossFit all of those stressors just accumulated in my system. This gives me a chance to burn it off.
I’m also notoriously pessimistic about basically everything. CrossFit has made me much more capable of seeing past what is wrong and focusing more on what’s right. Oddly enough, I think that has been a direct result of learning how to lose. I mentioned that I’m pretty competitive, and I really do hate losing. But before I started CrossFit, “losing”, to me, meant that my score was lower than someone else’s. The phrase, “don’t measure yourself with someone else’s ruler” was drilled into my head by Doc and all of the coaches so many times, that it finally stuck. Now, I relish the WOD where I put it all out there and come in low on the scoreboard. Knowing that I can lose on the board, but truly win where it counts has helped me to get over the fear of failure, and that translates positively into everything I do.
10. Tell us about your nutrition and how it has changed, if any, since starting CrossFit?
Before, I paid little attention to what I ate. I ate what I wanted, not necessarily what I needed.. I ate the bare minimum regarding vegetables. Now I eat a lot more vegetables, a little less meat and way less sugar. I still eat some junk, but now it’s more of a conscious decision and is more sparing. Going to class regularly helps me not let it get out of control too much because I notice my stamina drops dramatically in a WOD if I haven’t been eating well. It’s a good positive and negative reinforcement..
11. If you could write a WOD for the classes to do, what would it look like?
The Divine Comedy
50 double KB deadlifts (60/45)
40 weighted box step ups (40/30)
40 man makers (40/30)
40 Curtis P’s (95/75)
5 min rest
7 min to find 3 rep max on OHS
Let me know when that one is scheduled...I think I feel a cold coming on.
12. What advice do you have for others about the importance of the dedication of taking care of yourself, of investing in yourself?
I must admit that I bristle a bit at this question because I think if there’s anything I do well, it’s focusing on myself. But, I know that’s not what the question meant. Investing in myself insofar as it makes me a better dad, husband, Catholic, employee, etc is certainly something worthwhile. I do see a lot of value in CrossFit in that I can spend a few hours per week improving my health and working out the stress accumulated from the daily nonsense so that I can be more available to and invest more in those I love and the duties I have. I think the formation of the will gained in pushing through the pain carries over positively into so many aspects of what I do.
13. What advice would you give to someone new to CrossFit or who is thinking about giving it a try?
It’s not easy, it’s not cheap, it requires you to commit yourself, and it will be humiliating at first. What’s not to love? But it does deliver the promised benefits if you keep showing up. Really, that’s all that’s required--just show up and keep showing up. You WILL get stronger, you WILL get healthier, and you WILL form your will. Oh, and you’ll probably really enjoy the journey too.
14. Open Forum:
I know it’s a bit trite, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t first thank Doc and Cindy Carroll for starting this up and investing so much in it from the beginning. This has made such a difference for me and many others! Thank you to my best pal, Jennifer, for pretending to care about every WOD I described in gory detail for the first 2 years, for not whining at me about the time I spend doing CrossFit, and for picking up the slack when I can’t move the day after Murph...er...the month after Murph. Thank you to the coaches for putting up with me, and especially thank you to Andy, Joe, Mindy, and Bridget for all of the work that recently went into keeping us moving (and therefore sane) up at “the Hollow”. I’m not sure I would have survived this quarantine nonsense without it! Lastly thank you to everyone else who keeps showing up and giving each WOD your all. You’ve all pushed me to do better through your exemplary grit at some point. Doc says it all of the time, but I realize its truth about twice per week--I would never do this alone!
Time. 1,575 words. Where do I log my score?