Meet the Wellness Professional: Ben Dearman - Co-owner of KDR Fitness

Submitted 2 years ago
Created by
Amy Fortier

Wellness Wizard at KDR Fitness

Every week I will be highlighting someone in the Upper Valley who falls under the title of "Wellness Professional" - trainers, nutritionists, therapists of all kinds (physical, psychological, massage), and creators of healthy products, to name just a few. I'll give them a list of the same 20 questions and they can choose to answer as many of them however they'd like. 

Advertisement: Content continues below...

This week I'd like to introduce you to Ben Dearman - Co-owner of KDR Fitness

Bio: I am a personal trainer, nutrition coach and group fitness instructor with 17 years experience at KDR Fitness.

What is your fitness/wellness philosophy?

Eat real foods, mostly lean proteins, fruits and veggies. Work out as little as possible to get the results you want, focus on sleep and self care.

How did you get to where you are now?

Initially I went to cooking school (Culinary Institute of America) because I thought I wanted to be a chef. Big mistake! That didn't fly, so I dropped out and bummed around for a year before deciding to attend Bloomsburg University in PA for an Exercise Science Degree. After BU, I worked with Division One athletes from Rutgers and Bucknell University before taking a job as the Head Strength and Combatives Coach for the 75th Army Ranger Regiment and 3rd Army Ranger Battalion. My main job was to assist the Regiments Physical Therapy, conduct daily training work outs and teach the guys combative. It was a lot of fun!

The company I worked for also did various courses for Navy SEAL Teams, so I had a blast doing that too! My main job was to help fix injured SEALs and teach them about Exercise Science. I got tired of the military gig and wanted to move back up North, so I took a job at the RVC. I realized I could help more people and charge less money if I took out the middle man, so I left and opened up KDR Fitness with my wife (then girlfriend) Jamie CroweWe haven't looked back since! Always forward, never backward!

Did you ever have any setbacks and how did you get past them? 2016 I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma, Stage 2, Bulky Tumor type.

I lost all of my WELL-th. WELL-th is the accumulation of health and fitness. The WELL-thier you are, the healthier and fitter you are. Since I was 12 I worked out pretty much every day in some capacity. At 37...I LITERALLY couldn't walk and talk at the same time.

The chemo was awful. I would go in every two weeks for about 6 hours. I had horrible side effects - they said I pretty much got all of the side effects. Possibly because I was coming from such a high degree of fitness and health (WELL-TH). I would throw up for roughly 10 out of the 14 days between treatments.

I lost about 15 pounds of muscle and gained about 20 pounds of fat. I went from 15% body fat (considered lean) to 25% body fat (considered Obese).

My coaching voice (the voice I use when in a 5000 sq. ft. open space to be heard from one end to the other) was gone. Using that voice for 10 seconds would lead me gasping for air.

I got past that part of my life because I realized that Cancer didn't define me. Titles don't define you, unless you allow them. You are not fat. You have fat. You aren't lazy, you're unmotivated. I wasn't sick...I was just taking a break to focus on an aspect of my life that needed all of my resources to fight.

I have helped hundreds of people get the body and health they wanted, so it was time to help myself. I started small, with only 20 minutes of exercise per day...sometimes it was just walking! Eventually I worked my way back to where I am now - a lower body fat percent, with less fat and weighing less then I did before I went into chemo. I still haven't built my muscle back, but it will come with time.

I got past my hurdles because hurdles are just things you have to step over to get where you want to go.

What makes you unique in your field?

Besides my degrees (Masters in Nutrition and Human Performance with a concentration in Fitness and Performance and a Ex. Sci. B.S.) I have a bunch of certifications ranging from nutrition to movement assessment and rehab.

But, all of that is just paper. What really sets me apart is that when you work with me or KDR Fitness, you are getting the whole picture. Rehabilitation (if needed), nutrition and fitness coaching, health coaching, lifestyle coaching and education on the process so that you can KEEP the results you got.

One of the biggest things that make me unique is my ability (and by extension KDR's) to help pretty much everyone achieve their goals. We have worked with a plethora of injuries and life conditions. I tell people - I am not a PT, but I could play one on TV. I have had a huge amount of injuries personally which grants me a unique perspective on the injury process.

Then there's the whole cancer thing. Listen...I know what it's like to feel unmotivated, depressed, sick, pain, tired, weak...the list goes on and on.

If you don't understand the process, you can't replace the results. I am also able to take very complex ideas and break them down to simple concepts our members can understand.

What's your go to meal for: breakfast, snacks/sweets, lunch, dinner, beverage?

Eggs...eggs can pretty much go with anything.
And nuts.

What's you favorite place to eat out in the Upper Valley? What do you usually get?

Gusanoz would probably be the top pick for an overall meal. If I am in the mood for a salad then Molly's, Salt hill, The Cave (Village Pizza) and Lui Lui's are all good choices.

You're trapped on 12A in West Lebanon starving and you only have $8. What do you buy to get your through your errands?

Hahaha, great question! A bag of nuts with some beef jerky and a 32 oz water.

What's your guilty pleasure (food or otherwise)?

I don't really have one!!! I don't feel guilty about anything I do. When I feel like I deserve something, I go after it! Since chemo my guilty pleasure if spending as much time as I can with the people that mean the most to me.

While I was going through chemo I guess it would have been video games.

Before chemo it would have been a six pack of beer or something, but my system doesn't tolerate alcohol very well now. Maybe an occasional cider or something.

What's something health and wellness related that you wish you'd known years ago?

Eat more fruits and vegetables!
Carbs aren't bad.
Processed food has its place.

What's the best health/wellness/fitness advice you've ever received?

  • Do yoga.
  • Eat more fruits and veggies.
  • Take your time.
    (That's more then one!)

What's your favorite quote or mantra?

Kaizen - it's a Japanese philosophy that means - Constant improvement in every thing you do. I have that tattooed on my forearm.

Who or what gives you inspiration?

My soon to be wife! [Update since this was written: Ben got married a couple of weeks ago. Congratulations Ben and Jamie!] She took care of me going through chemo (and that WAS NOT EASY!) AND took care of our own business and managed to still look great! My mom would also be a huge inspiration for me. She raised me working three jobs sometimes. She taught me about hard work.

What's something you wish your clients/class participants knew? Or did? Or didn't do?

AHAHAHA, uh oh! This might get me into trouble. goes. I wish they knew two things:

  1. Once you start accumulating Well-th you can never stop. It's totally fine to not renew your membership with us, however, don't stop exercising! You will lose everything you gained.
  2. In order to lose weight you must eat!

I wish our members took more time to focus on recovery like sleep, massage, yoga, meditation, etc. I also wish our members didn't kick so much ass because it makes me sad for the other gyms in the area ; )

If you could only have one piece of fitness/wellness equipment what would it be?

Well...if I am stuck on an island then just my body would be fine. If I was stuck someplace that didn't have things I could hang on, then a 55 pound kettlebell.

What's your favorite non-gym physical activity?

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu

What are your passions outside of your field?

Framily (family and friends that are like family) and learning. I love to learn.

What's your least favorite exercise? Your favorite?

I hate them all. Hahahaha....I am just kidding. (NO, I am not.) I seriously really don't like to exercise that much. Before chemo I defined myself by what I could do in the gym, how much I could work out, how strong I was, etc.. But you know what? None of that shit really helped me when I was faced with cancer. Those kind of situations, it doesn't matter how healthy you are, it only matters how much fight you have in you. And health has nothing to do with fighting.

I don't exercise because I like it, I exercise because I like the results. Because of that, I try and make my workouts as short as possible. I prescribe to the minimum effective dose when it comes to fitness, i.e. what's the least I can do to reap the most benefits?

We also use this philosophy with our members at KDR.

My favorite exercise is lifting heavy things off the ground...which also happens to be one of my least favorites. It's a love/hate kind of thing.

What are one or two tips you can give to help people be successful in their wellness journey?

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Hire someone.
  • Don't think you can do it on your own. About 1% of the population can actually achieve their results on their own. And out of that 1%, about 99% gain it all back because how they achieved their goals initially is not replicable and or sustainable.
  • Dropping your calories down to starvation levels, exercising for 2 hours a day, etc. are all unrealistic ways to go about losing weight and getting healthier. 

Where can people learn more about you?  

You can find me on Facebook under Benjamin Dearman and KDR Fitness and online at (that's where I blogged about my cancer process) and


Would you or your business like to be featured in "Meet the Wellness Professional"? Email Amy at RVCAmy at gmail dot com 

Enjoyed this interview? You might also enjoy:

Last Week's Interview - Amity Alize - Owner of Raq-On Dance

Next Week's Interview -  Jared Walker - Owner of Form Fit Function

Want to see more?  Subscribe

More about Amy: A short interview


Download the DailyUV app today!