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Meet the Founders: Ben

Ben Graef

Posted on August 15 2016

Growing up, I was always an active kid. My brothers and I never had video games and the internet wasn’t particularly useful in the late 80s/early 90s, so we spent nearly all our time outside. We’d ride our bikes, play pickup games with our neighborhood friends, or explore the woods behind our house. We also all played in the soccer and baseball summer leagues.

In high school, I decided to take the lifeguarding course the school offered. At 5’2, 110 lbs., I was “strongly encouraged” to join the swim team so that I’d be strong enough to actually save an adult human. I’m so glad I did. I was never the fastest swimmer, but being a part of the team and competing with a group was a great experience.

I kind of fell out of my fitness habits in college. I was always skinny and I wrongly assumed that meant I was in “good shape.” A few years ago, my brother Josh and I joined a crossfit gym; that proved to me just how out of shape I was. Some of those workouts were absolutely brutal, but those were the workouts that made me feel the proudest after I’d completed them. I gained a bit of weight and some strength as well. My cardiovascular capacity also got a lot better (though never as good as Josh’s - that guy’s a freak!). I found that I mostly enjoyed lifting weights on the heavier side of my ability to build strength rather than the lower weight, high intensity, high rep style of crossfit. We left that gym and later found a personal trainer at a strongman gym.

I am loving strongman! I’ve gained 20 pounds of pure muscle and my max lifts have exploded! My personal goal is to join the 1000 pound club -- to have my bench press, squat, and deadlift add up to 1000 pounds. I’ve made huge strides in that direction and am very proud of what I’ve accomplished so far, but when I finally hit those lift totals and am able to wear that 1000 pound club dog tag, I will be ecstatic!

It’s that feeling of ultimate accomplishment that we celebrate at Proven Brand. We know how much sweat and effort go into attaining your fitness goals and we want to capture those moments of extreme triumph, to put them on display. What you do is who you are. When you accomplish something great, you become great. So show it off! Let everyone see your greatness!

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