Member Spotlight: Stuart Benton

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In the summer of 2014 I was at a standstill in terms of fitness goals. I have always been involved in athletics and have used these endeavors (baseball, swimming, and ultimate frisbee) as goals for my weekly fitness routine. As opportunities to play sports became much less available after undergrad, my fitness routine stagnated into an Excel sheet exercise list that was probably too focused on glamour muscles and likely hurting my athletic ability. I liked to joke about the fact that I could bench more than I could squat, but I was secretly embarrassed. Workouts became less frequent and the times I made it in, the actual plan usually ended up turning into an episode of The Daily Show while peddling the stationary bike. Beginning in the spring of 2014 I decided to focus solely on ultimate frisbee. I played in two leagues over the summer and only picked up some weights a handful of times. It was a great summer, and I lost nearly ten pounds in the process, but I knew that once the weather got colder I would be left with nothing to pursue that I was passionate about. I had a model of well-rounded fitness in my mind, but I was never able to achieve it on my own.

In September of 2014 ultimate had finished up for the summer. Caitlin was getting over a Zumba obsession and we were both left with no real fitness goals or routines in our immediate future. We had been driving past yard signs for CrossFit Clintonville and had a few discussions entertaining the idea of giving it a try. While sitting on our porch on a Sunday afternoon we emailed Patrick and a little over 24 hours later walked into our first 101 class. The WOD that night included rope climbs in the AMRAP. I was instantly hooked.

For the first few months I remember being incredibly sore after almost every workout and encountering many movements which endlessly frustrated me. It took a few months to work up to being able to go to four classes a week without feeling like I had been hit by a truck. I eventually got over the intimidation of the Saturday “RX” class and that is the point that things really started to take off.

When I was asked to write something for this month’s member feature I was somewhat intimidated. I had spent so much time looking forward to the next personal goal that I had not taken much time to reflect on how far I have come in my fitness over the past two years. I pulled up SugarWOD and was trying to flip back through PRs to reflect on where I was at when I first stepped in to CFC. The most striking of these is a chart of my max unbroken double-under reps. Double under max reps

Once I was able to string a few together I began testing and logging my result about once a month. Over the course of a year the max set steadily climbed from just 6 all the way up to 100 unbroken a few months ago. This was after nearly six months of practice just to chain them together at all. Looking at other PRs, I’m up on average at least 30-60 pounds on each lift compared to my first logged PR and have added 7 full rounds to my “Cindy” score. Each of these goals have been achieved almost imperceptibly through just focusing on making a routine of coming in each day and doing the WOD.

This past year Caitlin and I have been attending the 6am class and have been making it a point to strive for 5 sessions each week. We really love the liveliness of the early morning crew and no matter what our mood or energy level it is always a solid hour of fitness to start the day. I’m happy to have found a great group of guys with similar goals and skill sets to be competitive with. One of the best parts about CrossFit for me has been developing a better model for effective and long-term fitness. I really feel like I’ve found a routine and a set of tools that I’ll be able to apply for the rest of my life, no matter what is thrown my way. I’m looking forward to another year of watching the community grow and some more gainzzz.