1.Tell us about yourself, your family, your occupation, hobbies/interests.
I was born and raised in Western Kansas. I was one of 3 boys born in 3 years so we gave my parents quite a challenge in our younger years. I met my beautiful wife Cristina in 2001 and were married in 2004. We moved to Wamego in 2007 and have been there ever since. We have an 11 year old daughter Celia and a 4 year old son Mateo. I have worked for Mike Drippe and Drippe Homes for over 7 years now, I think. It has been a wonderful experience and it has gone so fast I have lost track of the years! When I’m not working or coaching my daughter’s athletic teams I like to hunt and do physical challenges like obstacle course races or adventure races.
2. When do you start CrossFitting? Why did you start? Why do you continue now?
I joined CrossFit Benedictus in June of 2019. My good friend Mike Drippe worked on me for about a year prior to that time planting seeds and always making sure to share with me the benefits that he was experiencing. I had always been very active physically and ran and worked out a local gym on my own and played basketball as often as time would allow. But looking back now I was never trained properly on how to lift correctly and I was struggling with injuries from muscle imbalance. I had a pretty serious back injury that had stopped me from doing much physical activity. I continue to show up to the box because of my fellow members and the great instruction from our coaches. It is always a highlight of my day to roll into class and be able to leave the worries of the day at the door and enjoy the company of some great men while testing our fitness.
3. Do you remember your first WOD? What were your thoughts after your first WOD?
I don’t remember the name of the first WOD after I left on ramp. But it was the summer and it involved running and wall balls and it was honestly one of the worst physical experiences that I could recall. I was cursing the heavy ball under my breath and wondering how in the world others in the class were making that dumb thing move up and down so much easier than me. It was a humbling experience because I thought I had always been someone who had pushed myself very hard on my own. I remember thinking I would never have chosen to do a workout like that on my own.
4. What do you enjoy most about CrossFit?
Without a doubt the thing I enjoy the most is the fellow members of the box. The friendly and healthy competition and banter are something that you can never get if you are working out alone in a traditional gym. I truly enjoy competing against and with such good men, all under the great guidance of some wonderful coaches. On a weekly basis I get so much joy out of seeing someone in the box overcome a hurdle they have been facing or hit a new PR in some movement. Lastly I can’t thank all the coaches enough for what they have done for me. I am forever grateful.
5. What is your proudest CrossFit moment?
So far my proudest moment has been every time I actually complete an overhead squat! This is a rare occurrence but it is always a satisfying moment when I can actually hold the weight, get down into the squat and make it back up.
6. What is your favorite movement or lift? What is your least favorite?
My favorite movement is probably muscle ups and power cleans. My least favorite movements are overhead squat and thrusters, basically any movement that requires me to go into a squat and get the weight over my head!
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’ve recently was able to establish a new PR on the back squat. After years of back injuries this was a big mental hurdle for me to get over. One goal of mine is to be able to squat 300 lbs and right now I am 25 pounds away. I’m trying to push myself to get out of my comfort zone and focus on proper form and technique to be able to life heavier weights. I’ve always been a runner and my ego tends to get in the way to where I just want to make an excuse and say “I’m a runner not a lifter.”
8. What makes CrossFit different from other fitness programs that you might have tried in the past?
The first biggest difference for me is the amazing guidance and programming we get from trained and licensed coaches. All the coaches in the box have been such a great support to me personally and have helped me have so many breakthroughs in my fitness level. And the programming is so well done and varied that you are constantly being forced to develop all aspects of your physical fitness. Just when you get confident from one workout the next one comes around to humble you and remind you what you need to work on. I couldn’t afford to get this caliber of coaching at a traditional gym. The second huge difference I see is the aspect of doing the same workout with other individuals. I can’t remember how many times I have finished a workout, fell down against the wall, looked over at someone next to me and said I would never ever do a workout like that on my own!
9. What impact has CrossFit Benedictus had on your life, in and out of the gym?
One of the biggest impacts that CrossFit Benedictus has had on me is my mental health. For me working out with such good people arguably benefits me more mentally than physically. I can come in, leave the stress of the day behind, offer up my sufferings for individuals who have far more challenges than I do, and let my mind recharge. My wife and children always say I am in a better mood if I have worked out that day! I guess it is just how I am wired. On the physical side it has given me the energy to keep up with my children and be a better, more active spouse.
10. Tell us about your nutrition and how it has changed, if any, since starting CrossFit?
I have always been conscious of my nutrition and aware of what I am eating, but I have to be very careful and intentional. For me I have to make sure that I make positive choices about what kind of food we bring home to the house. I pack a healthy lunch everyday and only eat fast food maybe 2 or 3 times a year. I have friends who say they wish they were as disciplined as me when it comes to eating. But I always tell them quickly that if you put a box of Oreos in front of me or a bowl of fruit I will choose the Oreos every time! I’ve noticed that since starting CrossFit I am even more aware of what I eat because most of these workouts are extra painful when I am not eating properly. I know that if I could become more disciplined with my nutrition I would see more positive results in the box.
11. If you could write a WOD for the classes to do, what would it look like?
It would have to involve some running and lifting!
Run a mile, 5 Power Cleans at 185, 10 pull ups, 10 burpee box overs at 24 inches
Run another mile, 5 Deadlifts at 275, 10 pull ups, 10 burpee box overs at 24 inches
Run another mile, 5 muscle ups, 10 pull ups, 10 burpee box overs at 24 inches
12. What advice do you have for others about the importance of the dedication of taking care of yourself, of investing in yourself?
My advice would probably be what I see most people comment here when they are interviewed for Athlete of the Month. You can’t help others, and the ones who depend on you the most, unless you take care of yourself first. One of my favorite Catholic authors is always saying we have an obligation to become the best version of ourselves. So whatever that may be for each of us individually, we are obligated to be the best we can be for our spouse, our children, our extended family and our friends. Our physical health is such an important part of becoming the best version of ourselves. It is not selfish to make time to work on your physical and mental health. Your loved ones will appreciate your efforts!
13. What advice would you give to someone new to CrossFit or who is thinking about giving it a try?
For the new members just show up consistently. In my mind it really is that simple. If you commit yourself the amazing coaches and the programming they put together will take care of the rest. If you put forth the effort the results will come. For someone who is on the fence about joining I would ask what are you fearful of? From my personal experience you won’t find a more welcoming community of people that will take you in, give you all the support you need, all the tools you need, and do everything in their power to help you succeed. You won’t ever be judged or made to feel like you don’t belong. Everyone, no matter their level of fitness when they come in, is treated with respect and is welcomed in. I think there is such a feeling of mutual respect between all the members of the box because we all know that such few people are willing to push themselves the way we do.
14. Open Forum:
Thank you to Doc and Cindy for starting something in their backyard that has turned into such a great community of people at the current box. Doc you have personally been such a great resource to me when you are at the box. To Joe and Bridget and Andy and Mindy, thank you doesn’t begin to express the depth of my gratitude for the time and effort you put in to make this opportunity available to all of us. It is truly appreciated. To all the coaches in the box I can’t think you enough for everything you have done for me. The constant advice, encouragement and coaching has made all the difference. To my good friend Mike Drippe thank you for getting me to On Ramp and being a continuing source of support. To my fellow members of the Box, especially the 4:30 crew who I see the most, thank you for your friendship, support and constant banter that makes sure we all stay humble Lastly thank you to my wife Cristina who plays such a big part in creating the time for me to find an outlet for my borderline obsessive compulsive behavior. I love you.