Name: Jason Bentz
Occupation: Engineer doing Finance Stuff
When did you first start CrossFit? March 10th, 2010
Tell us about your sports & fitness background.
My sports and fitness background is very limited. Even though I was a skinny kid growing up, I pretty much had no coordination (and still don’t) when it came to sports. My favorite thing to do growing up, other than playing Nintendo, was playing soccer with the neighbor kids next door. I continued to not show interest in sports growing up, so much so, that I became an “Orch-Dork” as my wife Stacy calls it, and started playing violin in middle school. Once in college, I picked up rock climbing, and actually got decent at it, and even continued doing it after I started working full time. Work eventually took over, and I didn’t know anyone that I worked with that liked to climb, so I eventually quit going. Shortly after starting a new job, however, I picked up mountain biking, and I loved it. I got pretty decent at that, and had a buddy that liked to go frequently, so enjoyed it a lot. Eventually, after getting married and having our first kid, Sydney, we decided to move back to Oklahoma. Mountain biking continued, but became a little less frequent, usually just on the weekend, until eventually it got to the point where I wasn’t going anymore, mainly due to the time commitment of driving across town.
How did you first get into CrossFit? How did it go?
Josh Dresher, originally part owner of Eclipse back then, demanded that I go at least give it a try. We used to work together, and would come in during the week, complaining about being so sore, and having almost thrown up the day before, during the workout. I know, that makes you really want to go, huh? Well, you can only take so much pestering from someone, especially like Josh, so I eventually caved in, and decided to give it a try, especially considering, they weren’t “officially” open to the public, so it wouldn’t look so bad if I died on the floor. Well, it was worse than I thought it was going to be, and I can’t even remember what the workout was that day…oh, wait, I just looked it up! 4 Rounds: 200m Run, 10 Thrusters (15# dumbbells), Time: 9:21! Wow. Seems like a walk in the park today, but I literally felt like I was going to die. I was the heaviest I had been, at 210#. Something needed to change.
What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health, and fitness since starting CrossFit?
I’d seen huge changes, I lost roughly 35# within 6 months, and was down to 175#. I felt great, and I was loving my new sport. I loved researching what all these new movements I had never heard of before, and thinking about how the workout was going to be. But still, every day when I came in, I mentally kept asking myself why I was putting myself though all of this pain. I will say that after the first few weeks, while everything was still challenging, I was getting over the issues of wanting to puke on a daily basis. I was feeling great, and buying new clothes. My wife, Stacy, started going to the gym about 2 months after I did (once I stopped talking about throwing up every day, LOL), and it was fun, as CrossFitters do, to talk all day about the WOD.
Early on in my journey, I thought if I just started working out, I’d lose all the weight. I quickly learned, after two weeks, that the exercise was only getting me so far, and after 10#, I couldn’t get any more weight off. I spoke to the coach, and he told me I needed to look at my diet, so handed me two copies of CrossFit Journal articles, one on Paleo, the other on The Zone diets. I read both, and quickly realized with my picky eating habits, Paleo was NOT going to work for me. So I bought a food scale, and started making Zone meals for breakfast, snacks, and lunch. After just a week, I was again seeing weight dropping, until over the course of the next 4 months, I lost the remaining 25#.
I maintained the Zone (or so I thought) to make a lifestyle change. The problem was, I eventually got lazy, and fell back into old habits over the course of the next 4-5 years, thinking my fitness level alone, would hold me where I wanted to be, and I could eat anything I wanted. Well, that was a lie, and just this past April, I was back up to about 195# (according to Eclipse’s Scale). I like to think that some of that 20# was indeed muscle, but my clothing purchases recently had said most of that statement not all true…
The Eclipse nutrition challenge came up again this year, and I decided, you know, I knew a lot about nutrition 8 years ago, but maybe it’s time for a refresher. Thankfully, Stacy decided to do it with me (even though I think she’s totally hot already), but having a partner always makes things that much easier. With one of your kids being as picky as you are, it’s easy to fall into their rut of food choices, and go about life. Together we tackled this challenge, and at times, were really challenged with all the technical details, and tough choices we had to make, but in the end, it wasn’t as hard as we thought it would be, after getting used to it the first couple of weeks. Taking the time to make our lunches for the week seems (and still is) tedious, but when you think of making individual meals, the 1.5-2 hour commitment once a week, isn’t too bad. I’ve been reminded of what I already knew about food, and also learned some new tricks from that challenge. We have continued to maintain most of what we learned during that month, for the past 3 months now, and it truly has made a change in our lives. I’m back down to my fighting weight of 175#, and feel even better than I did back then.
What impact has CrossFit had on your life?
I have to admit, I owe a lot to that pesky co-worker, Josh. He, without a doubt, helped me make one of my life’s greatest choices when it comes to things I value most in my life, and I’m thankful for that. CrossFit has also instilled in me the way I think about food. Food is really just medicine, and what you put in your body either helps, or hinders your performance and wellbeing. I also love the fellowship with others at the gym. When I first started CrossFit, it was one of the weirdest things I had experienced, others working out, high-fiving each other, because they were exercising, and sitting around taking for another hour after the workout (which my wife was known to give me a hard time about). Those friendships are important, and I value them a lot, some of them go back to over 8 years ago. CrossFit has taught me that we all are at different places in life too, and I try to remember that on a daily basis when I see someone new. I remember what it was like starting out, and those people that encouraged me, talked to me, and helped me learn was what made almost puking, worth it, so I try to return those same favors when I get the chance. It can totally make the difference between someone giving up, or coming back for more.
What is your advice for people getting started or thinking about starting CrossFit?
My advice is to try it, give at least 75% your first couple weeks, and keep coming back. It’s hard. I remember what it was like when I started, and that was with like 5 other people in the class. Now there might be 10-30 people in the class, so that can be intimidating. Go with a friend, or come with someone that you know that already goes, it will make it that much easier and enjoyable. Leave your fears and ego at the door, and just come in, and let the coaches give you direction. CrossFit has many movements, no one knows them all when they walk in the door, or may not know any of them, but you take what you are given that day, learn it, and practice it. When you come in everyday, you can focus just on those few movements, and get better, every day. It will take days, weeks, months, and years to perfect some things, but as long as you try, you’ll get better. The best advice I can offer, is to get to know a few people, go to the same class when you can, and have fun.
What are your hobbies, interests, and other talents outside of CrossFit?
In the words of Kip Dynamite, I love technology. Pretty much anything related to it, I’ve been interested in, building computers, home automation, radio controlled cars (when I was younger), electronics… As my kids have gotten older though, it’s more about spending time with them, and trying to be involved in what they are doing, which may involve youth church stuff, Scouts, dancing (yes, even I dance, although not very well, and with lots of practice), etc. I won’t go into my talents…that’s been discussed!
What’s the wallpaper of your phone?
Currently, it is a picture of Stacy and I, on our 15th anniversary day, her all fancy and me coming straight from the gym to eat dinner together! =)