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Benjamin Timm, left, coaches athlete Thomas Dunn at CrossFit Double Barrel in San Marcos. Photo by Rebecca Lindsey
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From combat to CrossFit: Marine finds success in fitness

SAN MARCOS — As a young man growing up in Detroit, Michigan, Benjamin Timm said he was unsure of which path to take in his life. He was raised in a family of business owners, but he shuffled majors often while a student in college.

To find direction, Timm enlisted in the U.S. Marines at the age of 21. His service to the nation ultimately led him to find his passion, Timm said.

Timm, now a resident of San Marcos, is the owner of CrossFit Double Barrel, a thriving gym frequented by more than 250 members weekly. The four-year-old business, which offers customers high-intensity workouts, is expected to unveil its latest expansion later this year, growing from 7,600 square feet of space to 9,000.

Timm said he discovered CrossFit during his time in the military. His peers encouraged him to do a 20-minute workout that consisted of three pull-ups, six push-ups and nine air squats every minute for 20 minutes.

“I had never done anything so physically demanding,” said Timm, who did five tours overseas, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I started looking at workouts online and did it at the base’s gym.”

Eventually, officers from Timm’s unit pushed him to become a certified CrossFit coach, which led him to teaching classes to fellow service members. In 2014, after leaving the service, Timm took the plunge and opened his own CrossFit gym.

Timm said he opened his own gym after being inspired by his wife, Jamie, and family of business owners.

“Anytime I see someone doing something, I believe I could do it better,” Timm said. “(When I opened Double Barrel), I knew I could do it better. I wanted to own the nicest, coolest, best-service CrossFit affiliate out there. That is what I work towards every day.”

But Timm didn’t open CrossFit Double Barrel without competition. The popular fitness brand has more than 15,000 locations worldwide and dozens in North County, alone, according to CrossFit blog,

Timm said he’s able to compete and thrive in the aggressive fitness industry by continuing to add “value” to his location.

“(My team) has more than 50 years of combined coaching experience,” Timm said. “But we’re not just doing cardio. We want to build stronger, healthier, happier humans.”

The goal of creating “healthier humans” was achieved with at least six members, who each lost 100 pounds since joining Double Barrel, Timm said.

Of course, Timm said, the success of CrossFit Double Barrel hasn’t come without its challenges.

“Nobody wrote a playbook on how to open Double Barrel so anytime we do anything, we’re learning,” Timm said. “And, we know that we will have to pay for that learning every day. We’ve already spent thousands of dollars on this expansion and we haven’t (had any physical change) yet.”

Although he’s never had any formal business education, Timm said the most valuable trait he’s learned as a business owner was developed during his time in the Marines.

“I learned about leadership in the Marines,” Timm said. “I am a firm believer to never ask someone to do something that I haven’t done or will never do. I will always look out for my employees’ well-being. I will always look out for the members.”

With the ethics he developed as a Marine and from his family, Timm said he hopes to someday open another CrossFit gyms in the area. But if there’s one thing he’s learned from being a business owner, it’s “the job is never done.”

“We’re ever-growing, ever-expanding, always learning, always-improving,” Timm said. “You’re either growing or you’re dying. There is no other direction.”

For more information about Benjamin Timm or CrossFit Double Barrel, go to