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Brandon Smith – June Athlete of the Month

Pictured: Brandon Smith, Landon Marotz, Aaron Topil

Our newest Athlete of the Month joined for the health and stays for the people. Brandon stays consistent in the gym to not just smash his fitness goals, but to help him with work and overall wellness. He’s always a great athlete to have in class and shows no fear in trying new things. 

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What do you do for a living/study? Feel free to add more.

I am originally from Zanesville, Ohio, a place decidedly in that weird little part of the world between Appalachia and the Midwest. I did my undergrad (Chemical Engineering) at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. I then spent a few years post-college in both Ohio and Tennessee before fully relocating to Lincoln in March 2021. 

My “title” is Senior Process Engineer for Mars Pet Nutrition. What that means is that I am a professional dog and cat food engineer! To simplify what I do, I make dog and cat food either better, faster, or cheaper.

How did you find out about Lincoln Nutrition & Fitness?

I found out about LNF from my girlfriend (now wife) Sheyanne. She was heavily into CrossFit at the time, and came to Nebraska about eight months before me. She did all the scouting of the local gyms for me! While she has moved on to other sports, I have remained at LNF continuing my CrossFit journey.

What was the biggest obstacle for you to start?

The biggest obstacle for me starting was the idea that I didn’t meet the concept of what a “CrossFitter” could be. I certainly don’t have the typical body type of an athlete, and I never thought that I would be able to achieve any sort of gymnastics.

How did you overcome that obstacle?

I overcame that obstacle by deciding that I wanted to try something new to improve my health. I was 22 years old, I had just moved to a new state, and I realized that I was still young enough to combat some of the genetic dispositions I had to certain health conditions. I knew I wanted to improve myself for the long term, so I decided to try CrossFit to see if it was something I thought I could do long-term, and it was pretty quick that I was hooked. 

Do you remember your first workout?

It’s been six years, so I can’t say I remember my very first workout. However, I was able to find it on Wodify!

3 RFT

400m Run

20 C2B

10 Strict HSPU. 

I obviously scaled that….a lot. Still would scale it today!

I do have a better story from my first partner workout. I was TERRIBLE about not pacing when I first started CF. My first partner workout (40 minutes in length) started with a 400m run. I smoked that run for as big as I was at the time. I then…couldn’t maintain it. I ended up puking in the parking lot of my gym about 20 minutes in. I have gotten (a little) better at pacing then!

Who have your coaches been? How have they helped you through your first year of CrossFit?

Since first dropping into LNF in late 2020, I have seen so many coaches! I am very grateful to Paul and Austin for continuing to push me to develop in a well-rounded and form-wise manner. Mark has been a mentor as a coach and athlete, since we both believe that I am very often a younger version of him. Landon and Aaron have both gone from workout friends to simultaneously coaches and competition partners. I have always respected the coaches who are willing to give me coaching that they don’t believe I want to hear – it’s often the very thing I do need to hear. 

Why do you keep coming back to LIncoln Nutrition & Fitness?

I come back to LNF for the people. You can do a lot of CrossFit workouts with relatively small amounts of space and equipment. However, the relationships and the community you foster really make the difference. The people next to you are the support you need to keep going, the competition you need to push yourself, and the comrades to commiserate a terrible workout. I do my best, most productive workouts with others around!

How do you balance health & fitness with a busy schedule? How do you stay so consistent in the gym?

Health and Fitness is a conscious choice for me. It’s so easy to fall back into habits that are unhealthy in the long run. I remind myself that I will do a lot of what I am doing for the Brandon of 20 years from now, not the Brandon of 20 minutes from now. I have made the decision to prioritize my health and fitness routines because I know these are what are going to help me the most. My goal is to be able to be active and mobile for the vast majority of my life!

I am lucky in the sense that my life is set up in such a way that I have less stressors and commitments than others. However, I do make it a goal to plan my workouts at the beginning of the week. Knowing what days and times I plan to go allows me to balance my life with the amount of time I want to spend in the gym. It also allows me to have some sort of structure to adjust when life gets crazy. 

How does CrossFit help you with your job? How does CrossFit affect the rest of your life?

CrossFit helps with my job by raising my work threshold to a much higher level. As an engineer, there are times where you do have physical demands to help make a project or trial move along. I am always able to achieve what my work needs of me in regards to physical demands, and often with a quick recovery!

What I have told lots of people is that “CrossFit doesn’t fix anything – but it does make a lot of things better.”. I am able to be more active, do more things, and just generally be more ready to face whatever the day asks of me because of crossfit. I am able to be functionally fit to accomplish almost anything my day to day asks of me, and in a way that I can do repeatedly, day after day.

What is your favorite thing about Lincoln Nutrition & Fitness: Home of CrossFit Lincoln?

My favorite thing about LNF is the people. The community that has been fostered between the athletes is awesome. I have so many people that I can talk about workouts, my day, or really my life with. We can workout next to each other and push each other one day, while working together the next. I have friends both in the gym and outside of it as well. LNF provided me with the springboard to make so many of the friends I have in Lincoln. 

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