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April Athlete of the Month- Kelly Bennett

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Congratulations Kelly Bennett

If you ask any coach at CrossFit Palm Beach what word comes to mind when they think of Kelly Bennett, it’s likely they would all agree on “motivated”. In her interview, Kelly touches on getting back to the gym with two young children, battling negative self-talk, and how she juggles a full-time job as an attorney with a full family life AND still makes time to get the best hour of her day in the gym. Kelly acknowledges her weaknesses and uses them as an opportunity to learn and grow every single day. We are super proud of all she has accomplished and pumped to have her as the April Athlete of the Month!

Read more about who she is and get a glimpse of why we chose her in the interview below:

Tell us a little about yourself. 

I am 36 years old (next week) and am a Construction Law Attorney. Tony and I are in our 8th year of marriage and we have two little ones and a teenager heading off to college this year (we will be attending both VPK and High School graduation in May!).

What’s something about you that others may not know about you? Any special talents, hobbies, or interests?

I grew up in Punta Gorda, which is a small town on the other coast of Florida. My family traveled with the carnival in the summers when I was a kid. People have opined that I may be just one of a few people to fit the category of: Jewish/redneck/carny/lawyer.

What do you like to do outside the gym?

On the weekends we spend time with our babes: watching them play sports and hanging at the sandbar. In my free time I like to read, declutter the house, and meal prep.

When did you start CrossFit? Why did you decide to join CrossFit at that time? What do you remember most about when you first started?

I started CrossFit about 6 months after Dylan was born. We had 2 kids in 2 years and I didn’t ever fully recover or get back in shape after Avery was born. We didn’t get much sleep for a long time and I eventually started working out in my garage in the mornings. Matt Fiorello talked me into starting at CFPB and told me to try not to be intimidated – especially walking into the 6 AM class at the time (which was very intimidating). I remember my small group class and trying to jump on the smallest box (and not being able to make my feet leave the ground) and having one of the coaches talk me into attempting a pullup LOL. Several years later and I did finally get that strict pullup. I also fondly remember cringing internally while people cheered me on as I was dead last in all the WODS and I would have to jump back and forth over a line instead of jumping rope. So fun!

 

What new belief, behaviors, or habits, adopted since you started BeachFit/CrossFit, have most positively impacted your life?

This is an easy question to answer as to the physical impact: nutrition coaching. It is hard to fully explain how much nutrition coaching has impacted my life. I never thought that “this” would happen for me and I had a lot of built in “reasons”: I wasn’t genetically blessed, my kids were too young, I didn’t get enough sleep, I didn’t have enough time in the day, etc. Now I know that the world will not stop if I spend a few extra minutes preparing a meal before we leave for sports, a birthday party, etc.

I have also been working on my mental transformation. I have a deeply ingrained mindset that I am not very athletic and am clumsy (I twisted my ankle doing a rope climb for example…) Tony Frezza told me once essentially that I wouldn’t talk to Avery like that I should not talk to myself that way either. I have been trying to push myself out of my comfort level and change my own mindset so that I can try heavier lifts, new movements, etc. It was intimidating but exciting for me to start one on one coaching as I am challenging myself to confront my own weaknesses (both physically and mentally) and this is a bit scary. Now – I try to tell myself during WODS “you are athletic, you can run, etc.” It felt a little silly at first, but I think it is helping!

What has been your most memorable workout? 

My most motivating WOD was 2018 Murph. I was able to see on paper how much worse I did in 2018 and 2017 and was confronted with the fact that my nutrition and fitness were completely off the rails. I wrote down the time (60% off Murph with knee pushups). When I started nutrition coaching I set a long-term goal of completing the full Murph in 2019 with real pushups. I started working on real pushups and running and could always find a friend to talk into joining me doing pushups or running after class (or together virtually via Facebook messenger). I’m looking forward to Murph this year so I can see my progress!

My most memorable WOD was “Fio”: I am so thankful to CFPB and everyone who attended this WOD for our friend.

These two photos were taken 10 months apart! On the left is during MURPH 2018 and the right is 19.4!

Do you have a favorite quote or motto that you live by?

My current quote on our quote board is “See things for what they are, do what you can”. This quote reminds me to assess a situation/problem clearly by taking out the emotion and seeing the issue for what it is (as opposed to my feelings/anxiety about it) and then doing “what I can” about it. Do your best but understand there is so much that out of your control.

My favorite fitness quote was prior to running a ½ marathon – Tony said to motivate me “Just keep running and don’t be a sissy (edited this part)”…I still think about this quote during long WODS.

Have you had any setbacks since starting CrossFit, what have you done to overcome them?

After years of CrossFit and making progress getting back into shape – I somehow convinced myself that I was still working out regularly and eating fairly healthy. It took 2018 Murph and stepping on the scale/logging back into MyFitnessPal to come to terms with the fact that I had set myself back so much. To overcome this self-imposed setback, I committed myself to tracking macros, getting Dylan to sleep in his own bed and making it to the gym 5 days a week.

What is the most worthwhile investment you have made since starting CF ?

The most worthwhile investment in my health was doing nutrition coaching with Danielle (I swear this isn’t a paid advertisement for nutrition coaching) and now starting the one on one coaching with Austin! Truly worth every single penny.

What do you do on days when you don’t “feel” like going to the gym, what keeps you motivated?

Tony Frezza wrote an article a while ago that talked about your “lazy brain”. I have been very consistent with the gym lately so even when I don’t feel like going – I recognize my “lazy brain” and operate on autopilot to get out the door: clothes, coffee, gym bag (a new addition to my life now thanks to Coach Danielle), loud rap music and stumble into the gym. When things get tough outside of the gym, I am able to see how deeply ingrained my habits/routine had become. When I didn’t know exactly what to do or what to eat – I truly operate on autopilot and go to the gym, prep my meals, hit my macros, etc.

What do you love most about CrossFit Palm Beach?

I love going to the gym with Tony on Saturdays, that our kids spend hours debating if the Red Bulls or Turtles will win the Open, that they ask me if I “won” the workout, that they believe there is a chance that I could have actually won the workout.

I love that it is so much more than a gym. It is filled with so many people who have struggled/are struggling (physically, emotionally, mentally, etc.) and who will open up and share with you (in those 2 minutes you are getting weights out – or when the coaches are explaining the WOD (kidding kidding we never talk during this time). I love that people are trying to better themselves both physically and mentally, and that at the exact time I seem to need it someone from the gym will say exactly what I need to hear, will give me a hug, will check in on me and will give me support.

What have you become better at saying NO to, and what approaches have worked for you?

My dear friend Erica Heuwetter always says, “NO is a complete sentence” so this helps me practice saying NO. Since I am able to be the most consistent with working out in the AM – how this works related to the gym is I basically saying “NO” to anything after 9:00 PM sharp…kids trying to wake me up NO…husband trying to hang out with me (sorry) but NO….phone calls/texts NO and I’ll text you back at 4:30 AM.