MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: James (Jamie) Bensko


CrossFit Gardendale Member Spotlight! Jamie Bensko tells us a little about himself and his CrossFit Gardendale journey. We are so proud of Jamie and his dedication and hard work!


James (Jamie) Bensko





Tell us a little about yourself:

I am a Christian, a husband, and a father, a firefighter/paramedic. I work for the City of Vestavia Hills and the City of Adamsville and have worked at both for the past 17 years. I am married to Jennifer Bensko, who is also a member of CFG, and we have three children, Griffin, Caroline, and Blair. I am a member of Sharon Heights Baptist Church. I graduated from Gardendale High School in 1991. Jennifer and I were married June 5, 1999 and we live in Gardendale.

What made you start CrossFit Gardendale?

I have always worked out in some way i.e., weight rooms, the YMCA, and etc. I was introduced to CrossFit at the fire station by some coworkers and friends. Stentsen, Ryan, and Brent encouraged me to give CFG a try but I kept putting it off. I put off joining CFG because of the price, set class schedule, or I could workout on my own and get the same results. You know, some of the same reasons other people use for not joining.

I began telling Jennifer how good the workouts were and that the workouts seemed to help me in my job performance. I always thought I was in pretty good shape, but quickly found out that I was not. Jennifer won a free On-Ramp class and from a little encouragement from myself and others she gave CFG a try. Once Jennifer tried CFG she fell in love with the box, the WODs, and the others within the CFG family. My plan was finally falling into place. Jennifer went for a month and I was able to convince her that it would be a good idea for me to join as well. We would be able to workout together and we could share the same experiences. Walking into CFG is like walking into a home away from home. Everyone is upbeat, friendly, patient, and willing to help me with any questions I have.

Since I had participated in some WODs at work I was used to the structure of CrossFit workouts and I was starting to see a difference at work in my job performance. Before joining CFG I was limited on my time getting into the box and by joining CFG I was able to get in more workouts. I quickly started to realize more and more that even though I had been working out with weights I had not been lifting correctly.

Describe your first workout?

5 rounds of 200 meter run, 10 toes to bar, 15 wall balls.

What are your favorite and least favorite lifts/movements?

I am not really sure I have a least favorite movement, but if I just had to pick one I guess it would be Thrusters or Burpees. Thrusters involve a lot of movements in one move and it wears me down pretty quick. As far as my favorite movements, they would probably be deadlifts, power cleans, or squat cleans. I am starting to like hand stand push-ups and pull-ups more. As time has passed my list of least favorite moves have decreased. The staff and family at CFG have helped me correct my mistakes and I have been willing to accept the fact that I was lifting improperly and needed to fix the problem.

What goals have you accomplished so far?

So far in the last month or so I was able to perform my first muscle-up on the rings. It was tough and took a lot of practice, but that goal was finally met. I think every single coach and even some fellow members played a part in getting me over that hump. I have participated in several competitions and participated in the CrossFit Open this year.

What goals do you plan to accomplish?

I would like to be more constant with my double unders, enhance my form on lifts and other movements, and I would like to increase my cardio. I would also like to remove “can’t” from my vocabulary when talking about performing a movement. Growing up I remember being told that “can’t never could”. It seems as if we hear more and more people say that they “can’t do this or that” when actually if we would just put forth a little effort and practice we would all be surprised what one CAN accomplish.

What hobbies or things do you like to do other than CrossFit?

I enjoy playing with our children, watching movies, and just about anything outdoors.

What, if anything, has changed in your life since joining CrossFit Gardendale?

I use to avoid certain movements and did not like running or any other type of cardio. I have realized how important cardio is to our everyday life. I do not get as fatigued walking up hills or walking up stairs like I once did. I have learned that my body is capable of doing more than I thought it could by practicing and following the coaches instructions.

What advice would you give to any new members?

1) Take a picture of yourself after you finish your On-Ramp class and then again in 6 months or so.

2) Take it slow, learn the moves and modify when you need too. There is no shame at all in modifying a move until you get stronger.

3) Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Everyone is more than willing to answer your questions and help you out.

4) To see results be persistent in your attendance. Life in general can be tough, and CrossFit can be tough but with time the workouts of the day will become less intimidating.

Everyone enjoys seeing fellow athletes succeed. If someone is reading this and has been thinking about joining CrossFit Gardendale then stop by and start your transformation.

“This is not about punishing your body. This is about celebrating all the amazing things it can do.”
“Tomorrow you will smile when you feel sore, and you will remember that today you did something you did not think you could do,”

Hope to see you in a class real soon!!
Jamie Bensko
Ephesians 6:12
Galatians 6:14