Athlete Spotlight: Benzo!


I couldn’t believe it was true – we’ve never done a spotlight on Benzo! Benzo is about as OG as it gets at LAX CrossFit, and while he’s been mentioned in many a blog post, we had never done an official spotlight on him. That’s pretty much a crime against nature in my book, and one that needed to be rectified. Like pretty much everything Benzo does, he hit this one right out of the park. I rarely use a good old LOL (and mean it), but I was LOLing all over the place, ROFLing even. The spotlight bar has officially been raised. Enjoy!!

There they are - the famed Minimuses!

There they are – the famed Minimuses!

What was the best birthday present you ever received?

I’ve received a lot of great birthday gifts in my lifetime but I have to give a special recognition to my friends at LAXCF. Back in 2012, Mark Bell (MISS YOU BELL!) noticed that I was still using some pretty janky shoes to do CrossFit in and decided to intervene. Completely out of the blue the coaches chipped in and got me a pair of Minimuses that I still wear to this day.

At the time I didn’t know if I should have been offended or appreciative but big shout to all the coaches that got me those. They’re great! (Don’t take this personal anecdote and expect the coaches now to give everyone a gift. I barely get paleo cupcakes on my birthday these days, haha!)

What’s your athletic background?

Growing up I played ALL THE SPORTZ! But at 12, I joined one of those ubiquitous SoCal travel baseball teams that eventually became my life for every weekend known to man. (No idea how my parents put up with that…)

I played baseball through high school and at El Camino. (With our very own Chris Ornelos, I might add) before moving on to my real athletic accomplishment in life: back-to-back Intramural Flag Football Champions at UCLA.

The ironic twist is that I’m in much better shape now! Just in time for it to be useful… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

If you could instantly become fluent in another language, which language would you choose and why?

This one is easy — Spanish! Like any good California student, I took Spanish for years. But I’ve lost it so I’ve employed fellow 5am beast Teresa to help me get it back. She’s super helpful. She calls a pinche puta all the time during workouts. Super supportive – I’m learning a lot.

Eat every day no matter what for life: pizza or beer?

There’s no way I could do either of these every day but I always choose food over drink.

What’s your favorite action movie?

It’s a tie between Ghost Rider II: Spirit of Vengeance and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

Which CrossFit Athlete do you think you resemble most?

I want to say Rich Froning or Mat Fraser but if I’m honest, it’s Graham Holmberg. Very consistent, solid athlete, probably peaked in 2010 and really pale.

What’s your favorite breakfast food?


Restaurants: I don’t need you to re-invent breakfast. A solid breakfast with eggs, bacon, sausage, and hash browns has worked for hundreds of years. GTFO with your Artichoke-Scrambled Eggs Benedict and Blueberry Pancakes with Blueberry Compote.

Clean shaven, clean form!

Clean shaven, clean form!

If you were sent to live on a space station for three months and allowed to bring only one personal item with you, what would it be and why?

Tough question but I would probably bring a razor. I can’t explore the stars looking like a disheveled Zach Galifianakis.

What’s your profession?

I am a Senior Account Executive at a public relations firm called Finn Partners. Which is a fancy way of saying that I spend 10-12 hours a day playing on Facebook for a living.

What are your goals in CrossFit?

When I first started CrossFit way back in 2008, my goals were to get abs and a girlfriend. Considering that I’m no longer a 21-year-old college senior, I’m using CrossFit more as a way to stay in shape while juggling a fairly demanding work schedule.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m probably never going to be a CrossFit Games champion so I’m striving to just get better and better each day. Long gone are the days of automatic PRs and many times it’s a serious struggle just to maintain the times I got last year. But even though, the workouts continue to challenge, I’m having fun along the way, getting stronger and meeting a lot of great people!

Program your perfect WOD.

It would be a combination of Overhead Squats, Muscle-Ups and Handstand Walks. All three of those movements took years and years of practice to learn so the fact that I can actually do them is quite remarkable. No matter how old you get, there is no better feeling in the world than to accomplish a feat that took your body hundreds of hours of practice to master.

If you could magically have the ability to play one instrument, what would you choose? Singing counts.

As the 5am class can attest, I’m already a very accomplished singer of pop, rap and EDM songs.vBut back when I was in fifth grade, I took guitar lessons for 3 weeks before losing interest. It’s one of my life’s biggest regrets. If I stuck it out, I could have taken the corner of soft-rock Ginger crooner currently occupied by Ed Sheeran. THAT COULD HAVE BEEN ME FRIEND ZONED BY T-SWIFT!!! Alas, we’ll never know….

Workout of the Day 11/9/2015 – Monday


Snatch Grip Deadlift 5 x 3

7 Rounds:
4 Burpee Deadlifts (155#/105#)
3 Burpee Power Cleans
2 Burpee Squat Cleans
1 Burpee Squat Clean + Jerk

Once you begin the burpee, your hands can not release the from the bar until that rep is complete. Compare to 7/27/15.

CrossFit 101

Overhead Squat
Hang Snatch

10 Hang Snatch
5 Overhead Squats
10 Push-Ups