January 2021--Veronica Neeck

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

Hello All! I was born and raised in the Saint Marys, KS area with two brothers and four sisters. I met my now husband, Will, a few years ago and we got married last Spring. We have been blessed with a little boy, Sebastian, who is now my constant motivation and companion at CrossFit. I enjoy photography, reading, and organization.

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

I signed up for and participated in the Women’s On Ramp of August 2017 with a terrific and encouraging group of women. I started because my mother (whom you all know is a shining example to us all) loves and cares for me very much. She was not blinded as I was by the embarrassment and laziness which prevented me from taking the plunge into a lifestyle that would improve my physical well-being. I was not in good condition, physically or mentally. I had chronic back pain that could really only be remedied by strengthening my body.
With gentle encouragement (“Pick a special intention, and offer it up.”) , mom persuaded me to sign up for CrossFit, taught me how to love the workouts (no matter how grueling) and is one of the reasons I continue to this day. She was even there the morning of this past “12 Days of Christmas WOD” just to cheer us on.
I also continue striving to improve for myself and my own family.

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

I ABSOLUTELY remember my first WOD coming out of On-Ramp. It was the Hero WOD, FROSTY.
Mom: “There are these workouts called Hero WODS. They’re REALLY fun! You should totally come do this one with me.”
I’m glad I was naive, or else I don’t think I would have attempted that one so soon out of the gate. After most any WOD, but especially after a Hero WOD, you just feel good. You are proud of yourself for the accomplishment and job well done (regardless of the score.)
I felt like I had proven to myself that I could do it if I tried. So all I had to do was try.

4. What do you enjoy most about CrossFit?

Every time an interview from an AOTM comes out, the answer to this question rarely seems to change, and I think that that is such a powerful statement to the incredible team that we have at CrossFit Benedictus. What do I enjoy most? It is, without a doubt, the camaraderie.
How blessed are we that we get the opportunity to improve ourselves with such powerful forces driving us, coaching us, and enduring the same small crosses right along side us every time we step into the Box? And yes, each and every WOD is a cross; an opportunity for grace. Though they do seem to vary in intensity and “weight”, remember that our coaches will never write a WOD “too large or heavy to carry.” ... we hope.

5. What is your proudest CrossFit moment?

My proudest moment from the year 2020 was giving birth to my son. Leading up to that point I had been able to continue working out through CrossFit and preparing myself to be strong and resilient. “One more REP” easily translated into “One more Push” when the time came.
It definitely seems small and unimpressive compared to some of the accomplishments of my fellow athletes, but I was able to do a full and unscaled burpee throughout my entire pregnancy and up until delivery. I was very proud of myself for this simple feat, and for being able to make myself stronger and healthier for my baby before, during, and post pregnancy.
It’s the little victories, right?

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

I love bar work and weight lifting more than anything. I suppose we all love what we are good at, right? If you don’t, get some help. Haha. Top of the list for me would have to be the Front Squat, though. A close second favorite would be rowing.
As for my least favorite... where to begin? I know that I’m not the only voice crying out against burpees, but there are some movements that even burpees seem preferable to. I’m talking about those evil Wall Balls. I don’t know what it is about them... but I just can’t seem to find a way to make them less detestable. I do not like them here nor there; I do not like them anywhere!

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 will just take this opportunity to practice some humility and admit that one of the “challenges” that I have overcome recently in CrossFit has been complaining. The will power that it takes for me to just “suck it up and push through” has taken years to cultivate. I feel like I have finally reached a point where I can start to put aside my own self-pity, look at my hardworking and patient fellow athletes, and change that voice in my head to one of positivity and encouragement.
On a more physical level, I have noticed that I am able to complete more and more workouts under cap. For the first few years of CrossFit, I could never manage to finish a workout before the time ran out but have since built up the endurance to be able to take fewer and shorter breaks during a WOD and finish in the allotted time.
One of my current goals is double unders. I believe I could successfully complete one, but I just need to get up the nerve to try, and fail, until I succeed.

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

For me, the accountability to the coach and to the other athletes in the class is what really keeps me going with CrossFit. I hate exercising. Shocker, I know.
If I didn’t have to sign up for every class and know that the coach is expecting me to show up, I don’t think that I would be able to commit to half as many workouts as I do. Also, the variety of movements and ability to scale each workout definitely helps keep it interesting, especially for people like me who easily get bored once the novelty wears off.

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

CrossFit Benedictus has definitely helped strengthen my body, but not as much as it should have due to my own poor choices of diet. I know this and am determined to rectify it. We cannot expect results if we don’t do all of the work.
Physical improvement aside though, being in CrossFit has absolutely bolstered my mental strength. The “just breathe”, “just one more REP”, “you CAN do this” that we constantly hear can be and has been applied to so many aspects of my life. As I mentioned before, these motivational phrases stick with me in the day-to-day and have translated into the familiar “just one more push”, “just one more mess to clean”, “you ARE strong enough for this”, “you WILL survive and overcome”, etc.

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

Before I got pregnant, I was on a really good and healthy nutritional path. However, as pregnancy and those horrid cravings set in, I let all of that go by the wayside. I have been slowly trying to redirect my diet to healthier shores and know that as soon as I do that, I will start to feel so much better and regain my energy. I understand that all of my exercising efforts really don’t do me much good without the proper “fuel.”

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

Ah... now for the fun question...
If I could write a WOD, it would actually be a series of 9 separate WODS done on consecutive workout days and called “The Alighieri”, but this is how the first one would go:

“The First Circle”
10’ Cap
1000 meter row
20 second handstand hold/plank hold
10 Front Squats (moderate/not too heavy)
20 second handstand hold/plank hold
1000 meter row

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

You have only got one body. That body only has one life. If you want to live a good one, be good to yourself.
Also, stop being selfish. There are more people than just YOU who are affected by how well or poorly you choose to take care of yourself. So, if you can’t find the desire for self-care within yourself, look outwards and find it in the ones whom you love and who love you in return.

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

It takes courage to attempt something new. You might be thinking, ‘What if I fail?” Oh, but what if you SUCCEED?!
CrossFit is so much more than just a treatment for physical ailments. It truly helps in all aspects of life: physical, mental, spiritual, etc. We, especially as Catholics, have a duty to make the best of that life.
“Take heart. Arise. He is calling thee.”

14. Open Forum:

I obviously cannot end this interview without thanking our courageous and determined Box owners (past, present, and future) and their stalwart spouses for ALL of their sacrifices (seen but especially unseen) that make our progression towards bettering ourselves oh so much easier and more enjoyable.

Also, I must say an equally large thank you to all of the coaches for your selflessness and patience in helping myself and all of the other athletes of CrossFit Benedictus.

However, the biggest and most heartfelt thank you is owed to a very special member of our Box; my First and Forever Coach: my Mother. Without her gentle persuasion at the beginning, inspiring words during the darkest of WODS, and jaw-dropping feats of strength and consistency, I wouldn’t be here answering this interview. It’s that simple. She might be the cause of much jealousy and slight embarrassment on my part because she is SO much stronger than I am, but she is also my driving force and the voice in my head that says, “Be stronger than your excuses.“
628 W. Bertand
St Mary's, KS 66536 (view larger map)