January Female Athlete Spotlight - Damaris Bender

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When did you start CrossFitting? Who/what got you started?I started CrossFit in 2016 after my husband spent months persuading!What is your favorite/least favorite WOD?I really like any WOD with double-unders or cleans. Gymnastics is a major weakness for me, so I don’t always meet a gymnastics heavy WOD with enthusiasm!What is your favorite/least favorite movement?Favorite movement: a tie between squat cleans and double-undersLeast favorite movement: a tie between deadlifts and pull ups.

Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, sports, interests, etc.)Family: Husband: Nick; Son: Dane; Dog: Nimbus. Nick is the funny to my serious. He makes me laugh EVERY DAY and I feel so fortunate to be married to him. Dane is our almost two-year-old wild man. He’s amazing, continues to refine me every day and is the greatest gift we’ve been given. I’m the youngest of four daughters. My mom and dad are the most incredible folks - always setting an example of selflessness, humility and generosity.Job: I recently stepped away from my post as Senior Media Relations Director for a Public Relations firm in Oklahoma. I was there for six amazing years but now am staying with my son Dane full-time! I am so grateful for the family my job gave me - I got to work with and for the smartest, hardest-working people in the industry. They taught me so much and I will always be grateful for my time at that firm.Sports: I grew up playing basketball year-round and it will always be my favorite sport to play and watch and I still love playing. I have wonderful memories of pick-up games in our backyard where my parents had a massive concrete slab poured for a basketball court.Interests: My angels Nick and Dane, our church, friendships, cooking, reading, yoga, working outside, singing, being with our families as much as possible.What was your workout routine before CrossFit?I was devoted to dieting and exercise for about seven years until I turned 25. I sustained a serious pelvic injury because I was underfueling and was spinning my wheels in the gym. I was doing a lot of weightlifting and cardio but I felt weak instead of strong. CrossFit has changed all of that. I feel strong and like the possibilities are endless if I put in the work.What did you think after your first CrossFit workout?I wasn’t convinced it was right for me. Mostly because I was out of breath the entire time (continues to this day) and accustomed to working out alone. I did love the feeling of being coached again but I was so unfamiliar with the vulnerability required when working out in a group setting. I’m so grateful Nick encouraged me to keep showing up because now I can’t imagine going back to what I was doing previously.What were your goals when joining CrossFit? Have you achieved any of those goals?I really didn’t have any goals when I joined. I suppose consistency was something I was striving for in the beginning and I’m so glad I had folks around me that encouraged me to keep showing up!I am proud of my progress with some of my lifts, handstand holds, etc.

Has CrossFit affected your life outside the gym?Without a doubt. Friendships and trusted community are so important to physical and mental health. CrossFit has given me both.Do you have any other special memories/ achievements during your time here?I think Murph is always my favorite memory. It’s very emotional to reflect on the ultimate sacrifice Lt. Michael Murphy paid to protect our freedom.What advice would you give to a newbie just joining CrossFit 913?Come prepared to be challenged and get stronger. It’s going to be hard and push you completely out of your comfort zone but usually that combination produces a desirable outcome.Something you might not know about me is?I’m obsessed with RV’s. My dad used to take me to the RV dealership when I was little and let me walk around in them. I really want an RV someday.

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