Joe Baken


Systems Specialist

Which class time do you usually attend?

How long have you been CrossFitting?
Since January 2014?

How did you find CrossFit i1uvit?
My friend Dave Walters was instrumental. He tried jamming me into a Jogo On-Ramp class. January 2014 was the agreed upon start date and Jogo didn’t have an On-Ramp class scheduled early enough, or it was full. Who remembers what happened in January at this point in the year?
Dave knew Matt (Lovelady) from his days at Jogo and knew that he had opened a new gym. While I was helping a buddy move to Lynden we did a random pop-in to i1uvit or a pre-scout if you will. We were greeted warmly by Matt, and Tim Wheeler was still around, they gave me the waiver and some info and the rest is ongoing.

What is your athletic/fitness background?
Fitness. It makes me think of CrossFit’s “TestofFitness” video. “No one else is testing fitness.” Once upon a time I fancied myself a competitive swimmer for USA Swimming in Yakima. Nothing makes me happier than being in or on water which my parents recognized when I was very small. So starting when I was 8 I would just hang out in the pool as often as I could and work real hard. This was all fine and good until I hit a hard stop when I was heading for my senior year in high school that involved my left hand and a lawn mower. After that my fitness took a real hit. Motivation is bound to take a hit after multiple surgeries and an inability to train. It did and my path in life changed and now I’m here. Slowly my fitness is getting back on track. Crossfit reminds me of swimming in so many ways. All I have to do is show up and do the good work. I’m personally responsible for my performance, for the most part, but I have the support and structure of the team next to me. I’m a blunt instrument, tell me what to do and I’ll do it. Everyday there’s a workout on the board, all I have to do is show up and care enough to pound it out. Trust me when I say I care enough. Also, with the ramp up of CrossFit nationally there are enough competitions going on to start to think of them like swim meets.

Favorite WOD:
I don’t know how to answer this. I love showing up. I love doing the work. I love being personally responsible for my performance. Basically, I like anything that has a specific time limit because it keeps everyone working for the same amount of time and I don’t have to be last ;).

Favorite lift or movement:
I find it easiest to measure improvement on the rower.

Least favorite WOD:
This is going to come out wrong, but I sure did feel funny after Partner Murph. I don’t know if that makes it my least favorite, recognizing who and what it stands for. It was a great reminder of personal limitations and the amount of growth that can still and continually occur.

Least favorite movement:

Favorite life quote:
Recently, “Come on guys stay on it!” has been pounded into my head. Once upon a time there was a “great” application called Facebook that kept track of some of my favorite quotes. Had I known I’d have to recall what those were it would be much simpler to reference one. Oh! Kaylee gave me a good one a few months ago. “Come on Joe! You can because you CrossFit!” I find that to be rather accurate. Even back then.

Favorite “guilty pleasure” food:
Pepperoni Pizza. Just try and stop me! :-)

How has CrossFit changed your life, lifestyle, and level of fitness?
Gosh. No one has time to read an honest answer on this one. Things are so much easier. Opening pickle jars, going out to get the mail (just kidding i never did that), bringing the dog food in from the car, it’s insanity. In all honesty CrossFit has put me back on a track I haven’t been on in over a decade. Last year at “Ski to Sea” doing the “Car Free” high ambition team as a support member things were very difficult. There were three of us that pulled the canoe from Green’s Corner in Ferndale to the put in in Lynden. We took turns pulling the canoe hooked to the back of a bike. After they were in the water, I pulled their two bikes and the canoe trailer back to Ferndale. From there I proceeded to crawl into a small hole not to be seen again for a couple days. This year “Car Free” Ski to Sea I pulled the canoe alone from my house to the put in, paddled down the river and then pulled the canoe back to the house. While I still curled up into a small ball and wasn’t to be seen for two days I did it feeling more accomplished. Other changes include an increased clothing budget, general and prolonged soreness, an uptick in the consumption of fruits and vegetables and a decrease in the consumption of pizza.

Who or what motivates/inspires you to keep coming back?
Great question. The knowledge that if I quit I would be publicly flamed by friends and peers. I kid of course, partially. It’s taken me a long time to get to a place where I can notice an impact and an improvement. Knowing that it makes an improvement why not just keep showing up, doing the good work and see how far it can go?
Watching the monsters move mountains also helps.

What is your proudest CrossFit achievement?
Starting. Taking that first step.

Name one goal/personal achievement you would like to achieve through CrossFit?
I would love to be done with bands and assistance and scaling. One day I’ll be a big boy.

Hobbies/Interests outside of CrossFit?
I do some improv study with Improv Playworks in Bellingham. I run to Yakima to see the family fairly often. Road bike to some extent and I can almost ride a mountain bike. It’s scarier though. I love going fast on the road bike but once you crack a helmet on a mountain bike confidence goes down.

Any advice for new members?
Advice is simple. Just keep showing up. Trust the process, trust the coaches. If you show up you’ll get the work done. It doesn’t even matter how you show up. I didn’t do any pre-work to get myself psyched up or into any kind of “OK I’m ready for this” shape. But I kept showing up. You’ll be afraid and nervous and have a fair amount of doubt. If you show up, change will happen. It’s unavoidable.

Any additional thoughts/shout-outs/comments:
Do people still say “Hi Mom!”?
My parents are a constant source of support through everything. Without that, who knows where I’d be. They raise good kids and both of them have their fair share of gray hair to attest to the trials we put them through. I’d like to think that it was an equal amount of gray for each kid and that it isn’t all because of me. Schvetty B gets a shout out because if he hadn’t filled my head with CrossFit talk for a year and a half through subliminal messages I don’t know if the fires would have been lit Andrew for his raw ability to impact change through brutal truth. Yes Gonzo I’m stubborn but I hear you. Melisa for the constant support and taking the time to do research and summarize, so that I don’t have to. I’m not very good at reading instructions. Finally i1uvit for existing and being an environment away from meat heads and relentless one-up-manship. You guys aren’t there to prove that you’re better than anyone else, you’re there because you 1uvit and you love inspiring. I never feel like Ryan and Jordan are doing Nipple High box jumps because they want to put it in my face, they’re doing it because they can, because they CrossFit and because they love the continual improvement. Matt and Kaylee and Mikey and Chris (Squared, both of you), you do it right. Thanks for paying attention. Thanks for taking the time to sculpt and change a stubborn Scandinavian. I’ll keep showing up.