Members of the Month

Mar 20th, 2012

Comments: 0
Category: crossfit

Members of the Month

The Champs

So it’s been a while since we’ve had a member of the month so we decide to elect two.  And what better two than the determined duo of Josh Okolita and Ben Hoogheem.  These guys started CrossFit at the same time, 4 1/2 months ago, and have made great stride since.   Ben crushed the paleo challenge and continues to be an inspiration to newbies around the box.   You can find Josh consistently reaching out and helping out others around the box and always giving 110% during WODs.  Together, they both bring great enthusiasm to each class and help make CrossFit Southie the fun place that it is.  We are grateful to have these guys as a part of our community and look forward to watching them continue to succeed in and out of the box.

From Ben:

Amy and Goose,

I honestly can’t thank you enough for this. A little personal note for you guys to start with…I came into your gym 4 months ago with my life in a downward spiral. My relationships with my family and friends were crumbling, I was unhappy with my job, and I constantly tried to convince myself that Boston was not the right place for me. I would drink every night just so I could go to sleep. Sleep seemed like the only place I could escape the depression I was putting myself through. Since meeting you guys and becoming a member of the community that is CrossFit Southie, my life has turned around completely. You guys have been the catalyst for what has been the best thing that has happened to me in my entire life. I have never felt such control and confidence. I enjoy my job again, I am closer with my family than I have been in years, and I am comfortable and confident in where I’m at in life. Again, I can’t thank you guys enough. You and everyone at CrossFit Southie have helped me find a life worth living!

Now for some Q&A!

How did you get involved in CrossFit?  What was your first WOD/experience?

My sister and brother-in-law are big crossfitters and had been telling me for over a year that I needed to try it out. I was back home in Colorado over labor day last September and they had me do some burpees and I really thought I was going to die. I have to give them a shout out for getting me into it. They also got my mother into it and she is kicking some serious tail. Working out was something I had always done but I’d go in phases. Workout for a couple months, then stop going, start going again, and on and on. No progress! I knew I needed something that would benefit me both physically and mentally.

My first WOD was on November 1st, 2011. 12 min AMRAP wall balls and wall climbs. I remember this experience extremely well. I walked into Southie Green and saw Goose finishing up his WOD and thought to myself “I am WAY out of my league.” I couldn’t do a single wall climb that day so I ended up doing pushups. Sure enough, I only felt uncomfortable for those first few seconds I walked in the door. What I remember most about that first WOD is how I felt after I finished. Endorphins were firing and I felt great. Completely and utterly beat, but great. Y’all know what I mean.
Is this the first CrossFit you’ve worked out at / how long have you been CrossFitting for?

I took some intro classes at other boxes around town looking for the right place. The camaraderie I saw at CrossFit Southie made it an easy decision.

When did you realize that CrossFit was right for you?

I like to think that I knew CrossFit was right for me as soon as I finished my first WOD on November 1st, but it was probably more so when I upped my membership to unlimited in January. I was getting super anxious on days I didn’t get to the box. I am completely hooked now and I am just as inspired every day I walk into CrossFit Southie as I was my first day.

What are your short-term and long-term CrossFit goals?

Short term – unbroken double unders, rope climbs, become a member of the Landes Bandana Bandits (I sweat a lot but it’s just my fat crying)

Long term – unassisted pull-ups, compete

What is your biggest accomplishment?

CrossFit has given me the opportunity to accomplish something on a daily basis. Although I’ve been able to lose weight and inches off my waist, use less bands, do wall climbs, toes to bar, etc., I don’t think my greatest accomplishments have come in numbers, but rather my overall outlook on life. I am a much happier person, have better relationships with my family and friends, and have learned and practiced self control.

What is your favorite / least favorite WOD/movement?

Favorite – deadlifts and cleans

Least Favorite – Burpees, 7 min of burpees, OHS, did I mention 7 min of burpees?
What do you do for a profession outside of CrossFit?

I do preclinical research for Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research in the Cardiovascular and Metabolism Department. My main research focus is in diabetes and obesity.

What are your hobbies outside of CrossFit?

Snowboarding, hiking/backpacking, fishing (none of which I do nearly enough of). I used to be a world class beer drinker, but I’ve had to stick to red wine and nor-cal margaritas since going Paleo.

Do you eat Paleo or Zone?  What is your favorite paleo/non-paleo meal?

I went Paleo for the challenge starting in January and have no plans of turning back. Favorite paleo meal is salmon with paleo sundried tomato pesto from healthbent.com.

From Josh:

How did you get involved in CrossFit?

On the advice of a good college buddy, I stopped by and before Berretta had finished the walk through I was ready to sign up.  As for my first WOD, I wish I could remember what it was.  The only part of it that sticks with me was the seemingly never ending wall-balls (in reality it was probably only 3 sets of 10, but it seemed like a lot at the time).
When did you start coming to CrossFit Southie?
November of last year.
What are your short-term and long-term CrossFit goals?
In the short term, I want to work on my overhead mobility and form.  For long term goals, I want to get my Christine time down under 10 minutes and my Fran time down under 6 minutes.
What is your least favorite movement?  My least favorite movement is without question, hand release push-ups.  No matter what the WOD it will always be that part that kicks my ass.
What is your profession outside of work?  I work in IT.
Do you eat Paleo or Zone?
I eat mostly Paleo (I tend to cheat on weekends more than I should).  As for my favorite Paleo food I love Carrot Banana Muffins (http://www.paleoplan.com/2009/12-31/carrot-banana-muffins/).

Strength
Back Squat
3-3-3-3-3

WOD
21-15-9
Power Snatch (95,65)
Ring Dips

Level 2 (75,55)
Level 1 (65,35)

  • Lando

    Ben- you can be a member of the Bandits anytime…actually I think you might be the inaugural member! Taking over CrossFit one bandana at a time…

    • Daniel

      Bandandos for life.

  • Anonymous

    Huge inspiration reading this guys to all the new and old members at the box…keep rockin it Ben and Josh!

  • Anonymous

    congrats ben and josh! i loved reading your stories, definitely inspirational!

    looking forward to congratulating you in person with a big high five (or something even more awkward!!)

  • Maze

    Ben and Josh – truly inspirational stuff keep up the good work. It’s great to hear how much CrossFit has positively impacted your lives and in turn those around you. You guys motivate the hell out of me and epitomize the community aspect of CrossFit in its best form!

  • Faith

    Ben, You need to come visit Amy and Parker and get some snowboarding in! Congrats on our hard work! Faith Saltmarsh (Hypoxia CF Ouray)

  • Lindsay Freeman

    Congratulations guys! Very inspirational! People always say “CrossFit is life changing” and its wonderful to hear stories of that in action!

  • Paul Lashway

    Great Members of the Month article! Well deserved…congrats!

  • Mike Jones

    Nice work guys. 8:24 red band, unreal buns in the sun warmup at noon!

  • Joe

    Congrats, dudes! Keep it up!

  • jason barrow

    Good read, good work boys.

    Squat: 235 x 3
    WOD: 11:32 (scaled with red band)

  • marcella

    I love these inspirational stories!! Great work Ben and Josh!!

    back squat: 95 x 3 (PR +10lbs)
    WOD: 10:03 (45#/blue band)

  • Kaitlyngambino

    Congrats!! Loved reading the stories!! Todays WOD: 7:31 Rx Snatch, Red band dips