CrossFit Gardendale Member Spotlight! Jennifer Bensko tells us a little about herself and her CrossFit Gardendale journey. We are so proud of Jennifer and her dedication and hard work!


Jennifer Bensko


39 (8 weeks away from 40)


Birmingham, AL

Tell us a little about yourself:

I have lived in Gardendale my entire life.  My parents are Michael and Janice Campbell. I have 2 younger sisters, Beth and Rachel. I have been married for 15 years to the love of my life, Jamie. (Who is also a CFG member and my biggest supporter.) We have three beautiful children. Our son, Griffin, is 12 years old. We have twin girls, Caroline and Blair, who are 7 years old. I teach first grade at Gardendale Elementary. We attend Sharon Heights Baptist Church.

What made you start CrossFit Gardendale?

Several teachers that I teach with, April Cooper, Kathy Casaday, and Teresa Griffin tried for a year to get me to join. I had many excuses for not joining….I wasn’t fit enough, I didn’t have time, I was afraid I would get hurt, I didn’t think that I could do it. My husband, who is a firefighter, had taken several classes at Cahaba Crossfit. He encouraged me to give it a try. I had never done anything like CF and was scared to death. I had started running in Feb. 2013 with the couch to 5K app. I ran my first 5K at the Foxtrot Magnolia Run in April of 2013. I enjoyed running, but I wasn’t seeing much improvement. I won a free On-Ramp class through the Buffalo Wild Wings Run on Tuesday nights in the fall of 2013. So months later in March 2014 I finally decided to give it a try. I have not one day regretted it!

Describe your first workout.

March 14, 2014- “Momma Rock Me” 4 rounds- 400 m. run, (alternate 100m forward and 100m backwards) 10 ring rows and 10 hollow rocks. My neck was so sore the next few days from looking over my shoulder while running backwards! I was really sore the entire first month! Aleve and Epsom salt were my best friends. Every muscle in my body hurt, even muscles that I didn’t know I had!

What is your favorite and least favorite lifts/movements?

I like the Sumo Deadlift High Pull (I like the name really.), Deadlift, Power clean, and Wall ball. My least favorite lift is the  Snatch.

What goals have you accomplished so far and what goals do you plan to accomplish?

When I first joined I could not do a push-up on my toes. Now I can do flash push-ups on my toes. I have completed 100 Burpees, which I use to fear! I am just overall stronger. My goals that I would like to accomplish are box jumps and a handstand push-up. I have not Rx’d a workout yet so that is a goal as well.

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

I enjoy traveling. I like to shop. I just enjoy spending time with my family.

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

My body has toned, I have lost weight, and have lost almost 13 inches overall. I never thought that I would love to exercise, but I was wrong. I love CFG! It is something new and challenging each day. I guess you could say I drank the “Kool-Aid” and now I am hooked. I am stronger mentally, spiritually, and physically. I have more confidence in myself and my body. I have a new appreciation for my body. I am amazed at how God has made our bodies to be challenged by our minds. I have a new perspective on the gift that we have been given. When I think that I can not go on physically and my body is telling me “No” my mind and heart are telling me “Yes”. I find it so parallel to our Christian walk in everyday life. We all have struggles and we all at times feel like we can not go on. But with Christ dwelling within us we can. I now want to take better care of the body that God has given me. It has given me a new outlook on a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it does take time, dedication, and yes some pain, but it is all worth it. Our children are learning by example the importance of exercise. They love to come home and have their own CrossFit workouts. Griffin is often telling us what the workout is as soon as it post the night before. It has given Jamie and me a hobby to do together as well.  I would be a fool to leave out the community of CFG. It is not just about self, but about community and family. Chad, Carrie, and the rest of the coaches encourage us all to do our best and finish strong. The members are a family and motivate and uplift each other. The last person finished is usually the one that gets the most cheers! I thank God for CrossFit Gardendale and what it means to me.

What advice would you give to any new member?

Everyone has to start somewhere, starting is the hardest part.  Your body is capable of more than you think. I like quotes so here are a few that encourage me….

“Unless you puke, faint, or die keep going” –Unknown

“It takes 4 weeks for you to notice your body changing. Eight weeks for your friends to notice and 12 weeks for the rest of the world to notice. Give it 12 weeks. Don’t quit”

“Just because I can not do it today, doesn’t mean I can’t do it someday”

“That moment when you feel like giving up, when it doesn’t seem worth it, that is where change happens. Keep going”

“Surround yourself with those who challenge you, push you, motivate you, Those who keep your fire lit and make you better.”