April 2022--Ben Cleveland

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

I come from a military family and growing up I lived in a lot of different places. I am married to a wonderful woman and have 9 children. My wife and I moved from Florida when we only had one child: the time goes by so fast! I work as a motion designer/animator and I like most anything to do with art.


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

I started doing CrossFit a little over a year ago after Joe was nice enough to let me into an onramp 12 hours before it started. I started because I had serious a medical problem that came at me out of nowhere and knew that exercise would be good for my immune system and I hoped CrossFit would be the way to kick it into gear. And if not, at the very least, the extreme exercise and fatigue would be paybacks for my body not doing a better job! I keep going because I enjoy it. Besides playing sports I have never been that interested in working out or exercising much, but CrossFit makes it enjoyable. I like the camaraderie and the shared purpose. I find it helps with my stress level to go to a workout and burn off any lingering worries of the day.


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

I don’t remember exactly what my first workout was, because I accidentally came in with muddy shoes and I knew that is a big no no, so I kept thinking the whole time that my first workout was going to be my last! I do recall having a feeling at some beginning workouts of not being sure I could keep going and should take up Jazzercise, but there was always encouragement and people helping me figure out how and when to scale the workout.


4. What do you enjoy most about CrossFit?

What I like the most about CrossFit is how it pushes you. There is something about doing it with other men that makes you not want to give up and I really like that.

5. What is your proudest CrossFit moment?

My proudest moment so far was when I was doing deadlifts and I just kept adding weights, to my complete surprise I could lift a lot more than what I thought I might.

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

I like doing pull-ups or movements with the rings and jump roping. I was introduced to wall walks at some point and I have never had a good word to say about them since. In fact if I met one in a dark alley, let's just say charity would not abound that night.


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 really want the ability to do double-unders. I was able to put a few together, this still needs work but its a start. My goal is to be able to increase my ability to do overhead squats. I feel like that is something I should work on since it is not easy for me.


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

I have done a little bit of going to the gym at certain points but it never stuck with me. First because I never really knew how and what to do. That is why is it so great to have coaches there to explain and have a program ready. Secondly because I never knew before what I was capable of. I would exercise some, get a glisten of sweat and think that was about the extent of my ability and good enough. With CrossFit you find out your body and mind can go so much further.


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

I have a sedentary job and I feel better from the workouts and have more energy than I used to.


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

My diet has changed, I don’t take it for granted as I once might have. I have been researching more into nutrient dense diets and ketogenic diets. I could still use improvement in this but I am more aware of it now and working on it.


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

I would name it after a hero of mine Jack Churchill, an Englishman who fought in the second world war with a longbow and a sword, was captured after being blown up with a grenade while playing the bagpipes and later took up big wave surfing. It would consist of pull-ups, rowing, running and kettlebell swings and would feature a break halfway through for tea. All this done to bagpipe music. I know this is a little unorthodox but I do have a longer drive to CrossFit than most and so have more time to brainstorm.


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

Since being ill, I realize how important it is to take care of yourself since our health affects those who depend on us.


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

I would tell someone just starting that the sore muscles go away and are quickly replaced by the pride of doing movements and exercises that you never knew you could.


14. Open Forum:

I have never been to another CrossFit box but I would imagine that we have a pretty special one going here. From the prayers beforehand, the common purpose and the suffering wall, it is a pretty unique place to work up a sweat. Thanks to all the people who keep the doors open, I am sure it takes a lot of work.
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