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Cody and Jennifer Limbaugh take expertise to big ESPN contest

by: REVIEW, TIDINGS PHOTOS: VERN UYETAKE - A very fit family indeed is the Limbaugh family of Lake Oswego. In back, is 11-year-old Reagan. In front are mom Jennifer, dad Cody and daughter Faith.Once upon a time there was a 230-pound young banker — fat, weak, sickly and unhappy — who sat in a cubicle all day and consumed a diet that assured he would only get fatter and fatter.

Today, Cody Limbaugh is getting fitter and fitter and owns CrossFit Excellence on State Street in Lake Oswego. His wife, Jennifer, is super fit, too. Giving a perfect ending to this fitness fairytale is that the Limbaughs have become such experts in their field that they just returned from judging the CrossFit Games, which were televised on ESPN.

The origin of these games is even more unlikely than Cody Limbaugh’s rise from fat banker to fit trainer.

“It started out almost like a backyard barbecue five years ago,” Cody Limbaugh said. “There were 80,000 people competing in 17 regionals, from Asia to Latin America. Jennifer and I were at the Northwest Regional. The games are a high level of what we train people to do every day. The games are so cool. They inspire you to work out. People ask us, ‘Can you make me look like those guys?’ ”

“When I found out we had been chosen as judges I did a little dance,” Jennifer Limbaugh said. “Cody and I had to test to be judges. It was hard!”

There is an exciting element to the CrossFit Games that makes them different from other fitness competitions. Competitors do not know what the areas of competition will be, so they have to be ready for anything.

Charles Atlas would have been right at home at the CrossFit Games because they hearken back to old school physical culture, with gymnastics, kettlebells, rowing and more.

“There’s an infinite number of combinations,” Cody Limbaugh said. “You can’t be a specialist. You’ve got to try to be the most well-rounded athlete in the world. Last year we started with a swim in the ocean, then rode bikes on a sandy beach, then we had weight lifting.”

Sounds like fun. If you are really fit. And that is what the Limbaughs are, coming up on their 10th year as trainers in Lake Oswego. They work with men, women and children from the ages of 8 to 70.

“I became a trainer because there is no better way to get in shape than to teach other people,” Cody Limbaugh said.

Developing the body beautiful and spending endless hours in front of your mirror is just fine, but the Limbaughs have something more practical in mind with their training.

“We want people to be able to function better and to have better health,” Cody Limbaugh said.

“We want you to do yard work without hurting yourself,” Jennifer Limbaugh said. “We had a lady with six artificial joints by the age of 70 being able to dead-lift paving stones.”

Such happy clients have earned the Limbaughs wide recognition as experts in their field, and they are receiving an increasing number of invitations to judge fitness competitions.

“We keep up with the infinite situations that come up,” Cody Limbaugh said. “We develop an eye for proper movement.”

“We’re good at what we do,” Jennifer Limbaugh added.

A great side benefit of being upper echelon fitness trainers is being part of the CrossFit family, which has members from around the world. Right at home the Limbaughs have three children who are fitness buffs, 20-year-old Hunter, 16-year-old Faith, and Reagan, who is a real tiger in the gym at age 11. There are lots of friends who drop by to work out, such as Lake Oswego native Tommy Hackenbrook, who took second place in the 2009 CrossFit Games.

“Here we are in little Lake Oswego, and people from Australia call us when they’re in town and want to work out,” Jennifer Limbaugh said.

Is there anything more for the couple to accomplish in the world of cross-fitness?


“We would love to be asked to judge the world Reebok CrossFit Games in Carson, California,” Jennifer Limbaugh said.

Should that invitation come, she will surely have another little dance for the occasion.

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