Fitness Challenge – Battle of the Bens

In the Spring of 2012, EXPLORE did a “Challenge”.
We had several people sign up to do 90 days of Hill Country Crossfit and we were going to document their struggles, successes, and achievements.  90 days of hard-core fitness, diet, and goal-setting. We had people that we wanted to take from “not so great” to “really, really fit.” The participants were eager, and their coaches were determined.  And so, with that inaugural class, we took several people, toned them up, and hopefully changed their lives for the better.

But I always thought there was something missing.

The participants from that class were awesome people, and really gave it their all, but as magazine people, I always thought that we missed the “not so pretty side”. We all want to get healthy and be fit, but watching the silly testimonials from an infomercial can still leave us with the “They can do it but I can’t” mentality. And that’s kind of how our first challenge felt.  People were understandably a little secretive about their weight, their measurements, and weren’t about to show us how their body looked upon completion.

So after much, much discussion, Ben and I decided that we would do this up as a real-deal fitness before/after challenge.  Yes, I’m Ben, but then there is Creative Ninja Ben (the guy that designs the magazine).  A fellow sloth, we both discussed this and eventually decided that we would put ourselves out there as real people with real bumps.  So for the next 90 days, we have pinky-swore that we would both document our struggles and successes as we attempt to change our lives.

So with that, here we go.  Here’s the “BEFORE” us. We’ll see you in a month, and will hopefully have made some improvements.


“Look at my massive belly. LOOK AT IT!”

Name: Ben Schooley
Age: 38
Weight: 186
BMI: 23.9

What’s your goal?
My goal is really just to finish. Like a lot of people, I’ve started many “fitness kicks”, only to cave after a month or so. I’m determined to see this all the way through the 90 days.

What do you think will be your biggest challenge?
My challenges are named Kendall, Aaron, and David. My 3 kids. They eat up a helluva lot of time, and working in a good hour a day of exercise is certainly not easy. Also, my diet is not always the best, as I’m pretty bad about eating out, so that will take some discipline as well.

What will your program consist of?
I’m going to do p90x2. I like to work out at home; if I have to get in my car to go somewhere to work out, well, it just won’t happen. I can do this program in my bathroom before the kids are up, and I think it gives me a good shot. Additionally, it requires minimal equipment.

"The picture was taken from a bad angle so I look fatter. No really."

“The picture was taken from a low angle so I look fatter. No really.”

Name: Ben Weber
Age: 32
Weight: 205
BMI: 29.4

What’s your goal?
To be consistent. I have no problem eating really healthy and exercising 3+ days a week for a couple of weeks. I would like to, at the very least get back to the shape I was in about a year ago.

What do you think will be your biggest challenge?
Eating. I’ve finally come to the realization that I’m a stress eater. Unfortunately there can be a lot of stress when it comes to producing magazines. Also, my family and I are temporarily living in an apartment and cooking in the teeny tiny kitchen is not fun. So we just go grab drive-thru.

What will your program consist of?
I was a part of the CrossFit Challenge and have continued with that for the past year. I go three days per week, so to supplement the other days, and so Ben doesn’t cry that I’m only working out three days a week, I plan on running. Outside or on a treadmill doesn’t really matter to me. I’m also going to hit the nutrition aspect pretty hard.


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