A huge smile, a laugh, and perfectly coiffed hair is how you will be greeted by Ben Hoffman each time he enters the gym. For the past year Ben has stepped out of his comfort zone every day with an open, positive attitude and patience. He is fearless is his pursuit to try new things. He set small goals to work towards and has achieved almost all of them. Like just trying to kick up to a handstand which he practiced non-stop, even while he was at work! Now he is constantly adding more and more skills to his athletic arsenal, like kipping, kipping pull ups, and toes to bar. His comfort with the barbell has also soared. All of our coaches consider themselves lucky when they are the ones who can witness his “firsts” because he is so full of pride and enthusiasm. His joy and attitude are infectious within our community. Ben has made a solid group of gym buddies who have now become great friends outside the gym, as well. They go hiking, paddle boarding, kayaking, trail running, tubing, and run Ragnar races together. He is the poster child for making the best of each day. Ben was looking for a healthy change in his life and he has worked hard to make that happen. We are so incredibly proud of Ben’s perseverance and strength in all aspects of his life. He is such a blessing to our community and we are proud to call him a Blackbird. MEET BEN HOFFMAN…
Heeeyyyyyy!! My name is Ben Hoffman. I’m 31 years young and I work as a Medical Services Coordinator at Maryland Addiction Recovery Center. I was born and raised here in Eldersburg with my mom, dad, and sister. My parents recently retired and moved to Texas, so I was forced to find a new place to live. I was between Towson or Finksburg and decided to go with Finksburg so that I could continue to go to BBCF.
2. WHAT IS ONE THING WE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU OR BE SURPRISED TO FIND OUT?
It’s not much of a secret but I have 4 years clean from drug and alcohol addiction. I am very open about my battle with addiction because it truly made me the person I am today. My past lead me to a healthy lifestyle. I now also have a relationship with God.
3. WHAT MADE YOU START CROSSFIT?
I started CrossFit a year ago this month. After getting clean and eventually quitting smoking, I put on a lot of weight!!! So about 2 1/2 years ago I started to diet. I gave up gluten and processed food. I lost a lot of the weight at first, but could not keep it off. I started to notice that diet alone was not good enough. I started to work out at Golds Gym but honestly had no idea what I was doing. Eventually I had it with that and decided to try CrossFit. I had a friend from years ago that taught but I never thought I would ever be able to do it. But I knew that I wasn’t getting anywhere with the gym. I picked BBCF because it was 3 min from my parents’ house, but I’m so happy that I did. The coaches were so helpful and knowledgeable not only about the movements but also about how to teach them to someone who has zero experience. It takes a special kind of person to try and teach me something that I don’t think I could ever do. I’m going to be honest, when I first started it was hard…..like really hard. But I stuck with it day after day, week after week. Slowly things got easier and my confidence was getting better. I continued to do CrossFit because my body was literally changing. I use to be a skinny-fat guy with zero muscle. I’m now defined in places I didn’t know muscle could exists. But it’s not just about looks. I also keep coming because I want to be stronger! I want to improve my skills and continue to grow as an athlete. Last but not least, reason I keep coming is because of the community. Everyone is so uplifting and motivating and everyone honestly cares about everyone else. I have made such amazing friends that are by my side in and out of the gym!
4. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT CROSSFIT?
I enjoy the people and the progress. the people make the gym feel like a family. We spend time together working out but also doing life outside the gym. Also, the confidence I get when I finish a WOD I never thought I could or do a skill I literally thought was impossible. That feeling is better than any high I’ve experienced. CrossFit means the World to me. It has not only kept my body healthy but also my mind. I went thought a rough time around when I started CrossFit and it became the only reason I got out of bed in the morning. Those awesome 5:30ers were always there to brighten my day right from the beginning. After completing a kick a$$ WOD I realized that if I could do that then I could continue throughout the day. CrossFit was there in a time in my life when I felt like nothing else was.
My proudest CrossFit moment so far was finally getting kipping pull ups. I’ve watched people do them for a year and I thought it was never possible for me! But it was, and it gives me the motivation that anything is possible if I just keep working at it.
7. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MOVEMENT/LIFT? LEAST FAVORITE?
I really love Cleans! I think I like them the most because I just could not figure them out when I first stated. So now that I can do them I feel so empowered. My new favorite movement is kipping pull ups because I just figured out how to do them!!! (Yay) My least favorite is the overhead squat. It is not made for tall people. lol.
8. WHAT ARE YOUR CROSSFIT GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING THEM?
My goals that I have yet to complete are a handstand push up, toes to bar in a WOD (going to happen any day now), and strict pull ups in a WOD (maybe one day, lol). I plan on putting muscle ups and ring dips on the goal board this January!
BBCF has changed my life inside the gym! It has turned a weak, skinny, out of shape guy into an athlete. I accomplish things I never thought possible in the gym. outside of the gym I have gained some pretty amazing friends. I love that we don’t just sit around and hang out most of the time but go out and be active while enjoying each other’s company!
10. WHAT MAKES CROSSFIT DIFFERENT FROM OTHER FITNESS PROGRAMS THAT YOU’VE TRIED IN THE PAST?
I believe the programing is a big part of my personal success. I feel like each time I come to work out it is programed so that I’m not over working a certain muscle group. Also, the community that supports others and holds each other accountable is what gives me such a great success!
10. WHAT IS YOUR DIET LIKE? HOW HAS IT CHANGED SINCE YOU STARTED CROSSFIT?
Before I entered the gym I wasn’t eating gluten or sugar. Once I started the gym I went paleo. Getting rid of dairy was one of the best decisions I have made. Eventually I decided to go vegan. It was a struggle at first, but I feel good and have been crossing goals off left and right!!
11. IF YOU COULD CREATE A WOD, WHAT WOULD IT LOOK LIKE?
Typically, my favorite WODs are several different movements with fairly high reps. It would include rowing (not because I enjoy it but because I’m good at it), cleans, pull ups, sit ups, wall balls (again, not because I like them but being tall is an advantage), dead lifts, air squats, running and burpees (I know it’s weird but I really don’t mind burpees).
12. WHEN YOU’RE NOT AT CROSSFIT, WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO?
Think about CrossFit. Watch YouTube videos about CrossFit. Talk to my friends and coworkers about CrossFit. Lol. But I also enjoy going for a run in one of the many trails around Carroll county, cooking some new vegan creations, and spending quality time with my friends in and out of CrossFit.
I am so honored that I have been chosen to be athlete of the month!! This is also one of my goals that I have had since I started BBCF! I really cannot say enough good things about Blackbird CrossFit. All the coaches are absolutely amazing! They each bring something special and unique to the program. There have been many times when one coach will tell me something and it will go completely over my head but another one will explain it just a little bit differently and it makes perfect sense. Each coaches’ strength’s and teaching methods really create a complete program for all types of skill levels!! The actual facility is so spacious I have never found it hard to find space and there is plenty of equipment for everyone. I never thought I would be a morning person but the 5:30AM crew is just so awesome that it gives me a reason to roll out of bed!! But I do have to shout out to the 6:00PM and 7:00PM! You guys rock!! All in all CrossFit has been a truly awesome experience and I am so looking forward to all that it has in store for me!!