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February Athlete of the Month!


Bethany Benzur!!!

I snuck up on our athlete of the month this time around and just told her, then asked to sit down with her. Brooklyn’s favorite Southern belle has been making an impression at CrossFit South Brooklyn for 3 years now and was a prefect fit for Athlete of the Month.   Bethany caught our attention for the honor this month for a slew of reasons: Her dedication to move well (i.e., lift with proper mechanics), her knack for bringing both intensity and a friendly vibe to whatever barbell or rack she is grouped on, consistently getting in to the gym to work her own pre-hab, and beaming a bright smile in the gym on a regular basis. There was a lot more to learn about her though, which I found out when we sat down.

Fox – Thanks for coming in tonight, Bethany. I know you must have a million things to do. (Bethany came in on a planned “off night” for the interview. She was flying a red-eye the next morning to visit with family).

Bethany – No problem!

Fox – Congratulations on being February’s Athlete of the Month! We’re psyched to honor you this month. First things first, how did you find out about CrossFit?

Bethany – Well, I’m diabetic and about 5 years ago my doctor told me that I was going to start having to take insulin. That scared me enough to start looking into healthy alternatives like diet and exercise to manage my insulin. Somewhere in there I came across CrossFit and started stalking CrossFit Atlanta. I didn’t go in, I just kind of checked it out from afar.

Fox – CrossFit stalker, creepy. You never worked out there?

Bethany – No. My first time at a CrossFit gym was CFSBK in February of ’08. I remember it pretty well. I had recently moved to New York from Atlanta and met Allan (E.) through the music scene we were both in. They gym was in the basement of the Lyceum at the time and I’m pretty sure the workout was Grace. I remember one of the girls, Steph Paddock I think, banging herself in the chin on a clean and jerk and just continuing with the workout. That was baddass!  I wanted to be tough like that. It was awesome to see these girls in there doing that stuff and I was instantly hooked. I did Foundations immediately after.

Fox – Nice. It’s so cool to hear many of our female athletes recall a moment of another female being baddass and refer to it as inspirational. What had you been doing up to that point, fitness-wise?

Bethany – (blushes?) I had been going to a regular gym and also following these exercise videos, Cathe’ and Tae-bo and the like. I’d grown bored though. Right away I like that CrossFit had variety. When I was younger I played sports a bit. I’d just found my calling as a catcher on a summer softball league when I joined the high school dance team. That took over from there, and I also was on the dance team in college (Go, Millsaps Majors!!!). We’d perform during halftimes of sporting events and stuff like that. I really liked to dance and dedicated a lot of time to it.

Fox – Cool. You mentioned the music scene before too. Tell me about that and what kind of stuff do you do in spare time?

Bethany – Well, I DJ a regular monthly party called, "Kiss and Tell" that is actually looking for a new venue after this month. I’ll be going to Boulder, Colorado to perform at the Community Festival this year too. Tal (G) and my friend Dang and I do a monthly DJ  podcast called, "So Wrong, So Right". This past episodes theme was guilty pleasures. That was a lot of fun! Record shopping with friends is a regular pastime. I cook a lot too. I LOVE gumbo and am on the lookout for a paleo option. You can’t have a good gumbo without a good roux.  I still dance and have taken dance lessons of all sorts but none of them holds my interest like CrossFit does.

Fox – What was your guiltiest pleasure on the podcast?

Bethany – Oh God…Ghost Town DJ's "My Boo"!!!

Fox – I remember when I first met you in summer of ‘09, you were training around a pretty significant injury. Talk a bit about that. What had happened?

Bethany – Knife through the foot. I was chopping green beans and knocked a chef’s knife clear off the cutting board. It fell on my leg and completely severed my anterior tibialis muscle. I didn’t know it and we actually stopped the bleeding so I thought I was ok so I went to sleep that night. The next morning my foot didn’t work…I was really bummed out for the first few weeks when I couldn’t go to the gym. After about 3 weeks though I started coming in and doing cast-friendly workouts that David and Shane would write up for me. Lots of pistols on the good leg, and lots of pull-ups and seated pushing stuff for the upper body. That was huge for me to get back into CFSBK.

Fox – I was really impressed at you and Allan, a.k.a. The Gimpy Duo (Allan E. had broken a foot around the same time) coming in and training around injuries. Now that you’re well past that what are some of your goals as an athlete?

Bethany – A big goal for me this year is to improve my posture. Working with Deb and Alec and reading some of the Esther Gokhale stuff has made me acutely aware that I can’t reach my potential if I’m not in good positions. I work at a desk all day and some of the bad posture that I develop there has set me up for recurring injuries. I also just completed 30 days with no alcohol for the Paleo Challenge and that was huge for me. It was actually not nearly as bad as I’d imagined it would be. It’s made me reassess how often I’ll drink, and if I’ll stay away from beer in general. So far Paleo Challenge has been great, I’m sleeping better and I’ve lost the beer belly I set out to lose.

Fox – You’re part of Coach Margie’s Tough Titsday. What’s that been like?

Bethany – It’s been great. We’re going over an in-depth philosophy of the lifts, learning how to approach a bar and set up the lift before having the weight on your back or in your hands. I had a great Press the other night and I’m looking forward to hitting 200 lbs on my deadlift!

Fox – So what’s your particular approach to a lift? Rage and angst (a.k.a. David O and Jeremy F) or quiet and focused (a.k.a Avi S or Pauly S)?

Bethany – Definitely quiet and focused, with a touch of aggression. 
Fox – I like that. No wasted energy. What keeps you coming back to CFSBK?

Bethany – The community, the people and coaches. Sometimes when I’m at work and looking forward to coming in to the gym it’s as much for the time I spend with the people as it is for the physicality of it. This place is unique like that.

Fox – OK, Bethany. Last thing, what do you think we should look for in a future Athlete of the Month?

Bethany – Someone who pushed themselves and others and is supportive of the community inside and outside of the gym. And, they have to be nice.

Fox – The “No D-Bag rule” shines yet again! Congrats and have a safe trip home.

Congratulations and thanks again to Bethany for coming in on short notice and sitting with me the night before a 6am flight. We love having you in the gym and appreciate all that you bring to the community, especially the capacity to be yet another in a line of baddass ladies who inspire those around them. Get that 200 lb deadlift in the books!
Paleo Chicken and Andouille Gumbo Health Bent
Paleo Gumbo with Lotus Root Nutty Kitchen
Gumbo on a Rainy Day Paleo Kitchen
Paleo Gumbo Fit.Healthy.Whole

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Reader Comments (25)

Love the Miss Firecracker photo!!Congratulations Bethany!! Perfect, perfect choice for AOM!
February 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDeb
Awesome pick! Well done Bethany - you're a champ - I remember that injury rehab time clearly, you were an inspiration.

February 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSamir Chopra
Awesome athlete and such an inspiration to work out with! Bethany is focused and serious yet always has a smile ready.

And thanks for sharing the great picture! CFSBK dance class time?
February 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterariel
Yay Bethany! And yay best ever AOTM PHOTO!

The knife through the foot story still gets me. Oy. You're a strong lady, sister!
February 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobin
Amazing picture Bethany -- just one month into the paleo challenge and look at you!

February 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAllan E
Oh my goodness... I thought surely the Bethany circa 1995 scan would be a supplement, not the main image greeting me when I opened the blog this morning. You guys...!! :P

Thank you everyone, it is a (mildly embarrassing) honor to be AOTM!
February 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBethany
Congrats Bethany! You have always inspired me since I started SBK, from your awesome lifts to your control over your own health to overcoming injury. What a tough lady! Love the pic too.
February 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
A Great choice! Bethany has always been a lifter after my own heart. You have ideal grind, push and thoughtfulness.

Oh and sweet gumbo links!!
February 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMargie

You haven't changed a bit. I vote you bring that snazzy outfit back and that we also include ribbon dance into cfsbk workouts.

I remember meeting you & Allen E before I embarked on the journey known as "joining CrossFit". Back then, I remember being so impressed that you were talking about lifting all this heavy stuff and not being intimidated. It was a big motivator. Not to mention you looked super fit! I'm happy that i've had the opportunity to watch you PR (again, and again, and again) and overcome obstacles (both personal and physical) with grace and determination.

You're a good friend and a great workout mate/motivator.


Now onto last nights workout (which hit me about 2 hrs after I got home, holy crap I was tired!)

- 30lb DB waiter walks (the 2nd one for both arms was broken up as I kept losing my lockout)- 40lb DB farmers walk- 1pood then 1.5pood carry, what was this one called? I think I could have done 2pood.- 50lb keg hold (again, I remember no names)- 50lb then 95lb bear hold (keg)

Had a GREAT time working with the boys at 7pm class! You guys are fun. And a special thanks to Laurel for setting the mood of the class with "now shut your eyes and touch your nipples". Yep.
February 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterasta
Excellent choice and excellent picture! Congrats Bethany!
February 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJess
best blog photo ever. yay bethany, my Weightlifting Shoe Fairy.
February 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermichele ma belle
Betheny - you are stellar. Great sport sending in that pic, too.


Check it!

February 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFox
Congrats, Bethany! You were one of the scary strong girls at the gym when I started in Feb '09, and it was great to realize that a) you weren't scary but b) you *were* scary-strong. I've always loved working out with you. (Particularly when the workouts lead to childbirth...)
February 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte
Congrats, Bethany! What more can I add that hasn't already been said? You are an all-around impressive lady who constantly keeps me on my toes. I truly enjoy working with you at CFSBK. Here's to more PRs!
February 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBecca
CONGRATS BETHANY! you are such a perfect AOTM - strong, engaged, excited and fun to workout with. you wanted to be badass and you most certainly are!! and i definitely remember that day in the lyceum! it is so great to hear that it left a positive mark - and that we can all continue to do that day after day at the gym for each other. you are such a strong lady and continue to push and inspire me.
February 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterstephaniep
February 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermichele ma belle
So no worries for us paleo challengers if we get hooked on cocaine. We've shown we can beat the sugar addiction, so cocaine doesn't stand a chance!
February 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew C
Bethany - That has to be your Fight Gone Bad outfit next year!!

February 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternywineguy
congrats Bethany you deserve it. and yes that picture is awesome.

felt good to actually be inside the gym and see everyone, even though it was only for active recovery. gotta take a page out of bethanys book and keep chugging along. i just get annoyed when i cant lift moderately heavy things. everything hurt in active recovery but that's to be expected with the long layoff. back felt ok, so we'll see what happens in the next class.

and fox don't forget to send me the info.
Congratulations, Bethany, awesome choice!
February 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Mak
Thank you everyone for the kind words!

Actual recap of the final Tough Titsday to come tomorrow when I'm not so bone tired, but I did want to document for prosperity here that I did hit my deadlift goal plus some for 205. :)
February 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBethany
cloyde! i hardly knew ye!

felt good under the bar tonight. lifting is so, so dope.
February 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermichele
Go befo !!!

Not proud that on the 2nd year crossfit anniversary I am prob. top candidate for the "slacker of the month" award (if such title ever existed).

Give me some of your persistence potion Bethany , mucho respect !
February 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTal
February 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterUGG Joslyn Boots

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