May 13, 2014
Happy, Humble and Strong
By Cara Kobernik

“It takes time and dedication to become good at CrossFit. If you have fun, you will see great results.” 

Ben Stoneberg is at it again.

The veteran CrossFit Games competitor is headed to this year's North West Regional, and he’s hoping his skills and strength match up to take him back to the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

Following this year’s Open, Stoneberg finished 28th in the world and second in the North West. His goal for the regional is to place in the top three and earn another shot at the Games.   

“After looking at the regional (events), I was surprised on how many high-skill movements there are,” said Stoneberg, who trains at CrossFit Intensify in Springfield, Oregon. “It’s not a heavy regional like we have seen in the past. I’m excited for the challenge. It should be a battle, like always. I think it allows different athletes to have a chance at making it to the Games.”

Making a Name for Himself

Stoneberg, 27, began his CrossFit career in 2010 when a co-worker introduced him to the sport.

“I started because I want to be fit and healthy, and CrossFit gave me the tools to accomplish that,” Stoneberg said.

Since then, Stoneberg, at nearly 5-foot-8 and 180 lb., has made a name for himself on behalf of the North West, finishing second at last year’s regional and 16th at the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games.

“I try not to gauge myself with others too much because it just makes things harder, especially when my numbers or scores are not as good,” he said. “Then again, I would be lying if I said I didn't compare. It's always important to worry about yourself and not others, especially in this sport.”

Fellow athlete and competitor Austin Stack, who’s in ninth place in the North West after this year’s Open, has climbed up the Leaderboard with Stoneberg since they started competing in 2010. He said he respects Stoneberg for his humility, hard work and dedication to the sport.

“The first time I met Ben, I was competing at my very first competition in Bend, Oregon,” said Stack, who heads up CrossFit The Den in Medford, Oregon. “I thought to myself, ‘That is the strongest little bald guy I've ever seen.’ He went on to smash me in that competition and a friendship was made. Who wouldn't love the Albino Rhino?”

Be Happy, Be Humble, Be Strong

Stoneberg coaches at CrossFit Intensify, and said it’s one of his favorite things to do.

“It’s great to see the changes in people and see them succeed in their fitness goals,” he said.

He also shares his CrossFit insight through his strength blog, Its slogan is “Be happy, be humble, be strong,” he said.

“I try to get people new to CrossFit to have fun,” Stoneberg said. “It takes time and dedication to become good at CrossFit. If you have fun, you will see great results.”

He must be having some fun.

After doing his own programming for the past year, Stoneberg said he has seen an increase in shoulder strength, and he currently boasts a 440-lb. front squat, 335-lb. clean and jerk and 500-lb. deadlift.

Stoneberg said he enjoys training with other athletes, but he typically trains alone.

“It’s always great to train with other athletes,” Stoneberg said. “It gives you that extra boost to perform and the accountability to perform at your best. I only get to train with others maybe once a week, if that. I’ve been able to push myself to a high level by myself.”

Beating the Suck Factor

Stoneberg isn’t without challenges.

"My hardest CrossFit moment could either be the half-marathon row or flipping the pig during the Games last year,” he said. “Both of those had a very high suck factor.”

His strength is strength, but he has been improving on his cardiovascular and gymnastics skills.

“I really like all the original CrossFit benchmark (workouts) like Amanda, Fran and Elizabeth,” he said. “They are just good tests of fitness, especially if you make the weight heavier. Fran is a tough one to PR on; my best so far is 2:08. On Amanda, my best is 3:44, which is two minutes faster than what I did at the 2011 Regional.”

Stoneberg also takes care of his body, thanks to his chiropractor and friend Brian Gervais, of Active Chiropractic in Eugene, Oregon.

“Ben understands what it takes to compete at a very high level day in and day out,” Gervais said. “This being said, he knows that recovery and maintenance on his body are of utmost importance if he wants to compete with the top athletes around the world. Ben takes advantage of chiropractic care and Active Release Techniques (ART) and has achieved success in each of his last three years competing.”

Stoneberg added that his family is his strongest support system.

“Both my parents are very supportive of my accomplishments in CrossFit,” Stoneberg said. “My sister and her family are also very supportive. They are always impressed with the things I do and often call me a freak!”