My name is Ben and I’ve been doing CrossFit for a little over 2 years. I’m married to a beautiful woman named Melissa and we have 2 wonderful children, Lena and Camden and a dog, Maddie.
My CrossFit journey actually starts about 7 years ago while studying to become a Chiropractor. During my time at school there was an area in the gym designated for CrossFit, I would watch the “crossfitters” workout while I was on the treadmill, which were located directly adjacent. I always said to myself “I should try that” but always had the excuse of either, I don’t have time or I’ll try it after I’m in better shape.
Fast forward a couple years, I’ve started my own Chiropractic clinic which was growing but I found myself giving advice to my patients I wasn’t taking seriously myself. I was out of shape, lethargic, and tired all the time. All this prior to having kids… One day I was chatting with one of my patients at the time, and she told me about a CrossFit gym that had recently opened just 6 miles from my office. Again I said to myself: I will go when I get in better shape. Which, I know now, is like saying “I’ll go to church when I become a better person.” It was just a ridiculous excuse I was using to not commit.
My first day of CrossFit was 8/24/2015. I walked in and met Coach Sheldon. I believe I was the only one at the noon class that day. I remember him going over workout goals and proper technique, and thought “Ah, this isn’t going to be too bad.” Then I quickly found out I couldn’t do one of the movements. So that was the first slice of humble pie taken to the face. Sheldon explained that I could still do the workout, I would just need to modify it according to my abilities at the time.. This wasn’t such a big deal to me afterwards because I quickly learned that even modifying these workouts is sometimes harder than not. Upon finishing I thought I was going to DIE! But…. it was the most fun I’ve had working out since playing sports in high school. So I came back. Again and again and again. I am working through my 3rd notebook we use for tracking our workouts.
Over the 2 years of experience I have doing CrossFit at 1936 I have learned a lot. When I first came CrossFit 1936 my thoughts were that this was going to make me stronger and I’m going to lose the 45 extra pounds I’ve put on since graduate school really fast! This was definitely not the case. I have definitely gotten stronger, but what I have not quite grasped yet, and am still learning, is that even when you do the workouts you still must eat correctly. This has been the hardest part for me, mentally. Don’t get me wrong, I have seen changes in my body. I am no longer in a 38 waist pants.. I can proudly say I have just purchased my first 34 waist pants in probably 10 years. But I am still around the same weight I was when I started. Changing my diet is now part of my new set of ever changing goals. The mental changes have far outweighed the physical changes that I have seen. I do believe more physical changes are coming the more I focus but I cannot thank Sheldon and Sara enough for what they have done for my mental health. My noon class at the gym is the only time of the day I can just show up and not think. It is the mental break that serves as a productive replacement to my afternoon nap that I was taking everyday prior to starting.
One of my favorite things about CrossFit has been the mental edge it has given me. During my life I have mostly been pretty good at things athletically and academically. I’m not saying I’m the greatest athlete that ever lived or the smartest person ever either but I’ve always had an ability to grasp concepts and movements pretty quickly. Sheldon and Sara’s workouts have humbled me. There are movements and workouts and movements that I am not good at or simply cannot do.. Yet. Nothing has come easy. Another thing is the energy it provides. My wife comments about how much energy I have to play with our kids even after a long day at the office and doing the workout, this wasn’t the case before CrossFit. I also have the energy to try new things. My new thing is archery and bowhunting. I have not hunted since high school and have never bow hunted but I finally feel I have the energy and the mental fortitude to try a new sport that I can share with my family.
Something they don’t tell you about CrossFit, though, is that for the first 6 months to a year you make all this great progress. You “personal best” almost every time you re-do a workout or a lift. Then a phenomenon called “plateau” occurs. Those PB’s come fewer and farther between. For example it took me almost a year, 11 months actually, to PB one lift. But Sheldon and Sara always say “just show up and you will get better”, little do some of us know is that better can be physical OR mental. Develop mental fortitude because things may not happen in the time you think it should but if you put in the work and stay consistent, you will get better. This is not only true at the gym but also in life. There isn’t anything you can’t push through and achieve if you are persistent and consistent.
One of the ways that CrossFit fascinates me is the amount of data the workouts give us. If you know me, you know I am super analytical and I like numbers. CrossFit has real data that you can use to help monitor and track your fitness. From the amount of weight you can lift to the number of repetitions you can do in a certain time frame sings to my nerdy soul.
The last part of CrossFit I have learned about, and may be the most important, is recovery. I learned very early that if I didn’t take care of myself outside the gym there is no way someone could do the workouts 5 days a week without help. So, I started eating better (still too much), I started getting adjusted more often, I started doing mobility work at home and in my office during down time, and getting more sleep. I can track on a monthly basis that when I am controlling what I do outside the gym, my workouts are far more productive. Sometimes a mental break is needed also. It’s ok. I’ve been doing CrossFit for over 2 years, sometimes you just need a couple days away. The trick is to keep it to a couple days and not let those days turn to weeks to months.
If someone tells you CrossFit is bad for you, consider the source of that information, it’s usually ignorance. Through all the research on CrossFit, there is nothing that says CrossFit is bad for you. It only becomes bad if YOU don’t do it correctly and YOU don’t listen and YOU don’t follow instructions given by our amazing coaches. I have been tracking the joint health on myself and some fellow CrossFitters who do things right for a couple years now, and none of us get injured or show signs of injury unless we are doing something we are not ready for, yet. Leave your ego at the door, show up, learn, recover, and you will get better without injury. Period.
Crossfit 1936 has changed my life physically and mentally. I have new goals that would not be there if it weren’t for this wonderful place and I can’t thank Sheldon and Sara enough for helping me grow into a more well rounded, fitter person.