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Is Happy Hour Holding You Back?

A few weeks ago I had an idea to draft a blog post about alcohol consumption, how it negatively impacts you reaching your goals (strength gains, weight loss, improved aerobic fitness), and how my relationship with alcohol has evolved over the years as I’ve increased my knowledge on the subject and prioritized my fitness.

I jotted down a few ideas as an outline and the day before I had a half hour in my schedule blocked out to write the post I stumbled on a blog post that did the exact same thing.

So, in the interest of not re-inventing the wheel and promoting a fellow CrossFitter/Blogger, I’ve decided to share the blog post Is Happy Hour Holding Your Fitness Goals Hostage? by Taylor of She Thrives. She does an excellent job of explaining Booze, Fat Loss & The Truth. Enjoy!

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Ryan S. Is The August Member Of The Month

When I think about Ryan, there are three things that really stick out to me that make him awesome.

First, he’s got an amazing attitude and always comes to class with a big smile and ready to do the work. He’s very deliberate about what weights he chooses and how he attacks workouts, but not to the point where he sacrifices intensity (I’ve literally seen him puke twice from going so hard, which is very uncommon).

Second, he’s got a great sense of humor, even when the laughing involves me giving him a hard time about the Indian Clubs that he uses to improve his shoulder stability and mobility.

And third, his attention to detail and focus on the specifics of movements and why we’re asking him to do certain things to improve his efficiency. This focus and attention to detail is what has allowed him to make huge strides quickly, but also safely and we love seeing that from our athletes.

Congratulations Ryan, this is an honor that is well deserved!

When did you join Cróga?
After moving back to CA from Seattle, WA. My wife, Sierra, found the gym and tried it first. She loved it so I came in soon after.

What were you doing before for fitness?
Nothing…

What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout?
The first one that sticks out is Fran… I threw up… 🤢

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?
My favorite improvement has been in the technique work the coaches have been helping me with, from trying to learn double unders and butterfly pull-ups, to practicing better lifting form on deadlifts and snatches.

What days and times do you come to Cróga?
I’ve been a time-slot nomad so far in my Cróga career. I started at 7am, but have since switched to 6am and now 3:30pm. A nice benefit is that I’ve been able to meet more members that way!

What’s your favorite WOD?
Karen, love to hate those wall balls.

What’s your least favorite WOD?

Isabel or max calorie assault bike 🤢

“The Ryan” WOD! What would it be?
EMOM alternating heavy Power Clean + Hang Squat Clean and double unders.

What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
Taking my shoes and socks off 🤣.

What do you love about CrossFit?
I love the variety: I always hated weightlifting at gyms in the past because it felt so same-y. It also helps that our coaches are excellent!

What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga?
Pre-workout OJ+protein and post-workout waffles.

What’s your biggest fitness goal for 2017?
Butterfly pull-ups in a WOD, for sure.

What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?
Cróga is the most welcoming gym I’ve been to yet, just swing by to meet Dave and crew and I’m sure it’ll be your next gym.

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Coach Spotlight: Kelly M.

Just thinking about writing an intro to Coach Kelly’s Spotlight has me a little emotional. It probably has something to do with the constant support she has provided me since the day we decided to embark on this journey and the fact that she’s pregnant with our first child who we both cannot wait to meet (I’ve still got a lot of work to do to be ready, but December can’t come fast enough!).

To say that Cróga CrossFit would have never actually materialized into a real thing and, on top of that, that it wouldn’t be what it is today without Kelly is an understatement.

Although I (Coach Dave) am the face of the gym because it is my full-time job, Kelly has spent hundreds, scratch that, thousands of hours dedicated to helping us open the doors. She was crucial in building our initial website and web presence, coaching (especially when I was the only coach we had during year 1), finding ways to improve our product, thinking up and planning events, being my sounding board and voice of reason, and providing the support I needed to be a great coach, boss, and athlete.

She always listens intently even though 98% of the things that come out of my mouth has to do with Cróga, CrossFit or Business, so basically Cróga CrossFit as a business. And she always takes the time to think through whatever is going on and provide me with solid feedback and guidance from her point of view.

It has been an absolute pleasure to have her back coaching regularly again. Although she took some time off, she jumped right back in and didn’t miss a beat, which was extremely impressive – she never ceases to amaze me. Her coaching style is one I admire and try to regularly copy because she controls the class well, stays on task, and makes sure every single person always gets a solid amount of attention and coaching.

If you can’t tell, I could go on forever about Kelly, but I guess that’s why I asked her to marry me and got lucky that she said yes. Below you’ll get a little taste of how funny she is and how much she loves being an athlete and a coach. Enjoy!

Full Name:
Kelly Alexandra of House Musgrave, First of Her Name, the Ungraceful, Queen of the Frenchies and Chihuahuas, Khaleesi of the Croganites, Tearer of ACLs and Soon-to-be Mother of a Davidsdottir

Tell us a little bit about your family, job, and interests:
I’m Dave’s wife and baby mama. 🙂 We have two dogs, Murph, our pig-dog mascot, and, Rosie, our Chihuahua mutt that prefers to stay at home all day — I like to imagine her as an old cat lady in a previous life.

When I’m not at Cróga, I’m over at NVIDIA running consumer PR for our SHIELD business. If you don’t know what SHIELD is, it’s basically a 10x better version of a Roku or Apple TV.

As a self-described, closet nerd, I have a broad range of interests so it’s hard to speak to all of them, but I do love reading, writing, outdoor activities and traveling as much as possible.

What was your athletic background before you started CrossFit?
I started playing soccer when I was four and played competitively until college. I love that sport SO much, but the sport didn’t love me as it left me with countless injuries and two knee surgeries after sixteen years. I also played fastpitch softball from when I was eight years old into high school — I had some fun glory days going to the National Tournament two years in a row with our all-stars teams.

Why/how did you get started with CrossFit?
When I met Dave in 2010 he was recovering from a snowboarding injury that kept him away from this whole “CrossFit thing”, but he kept banging on about it. I initially wasn’t interested, I loved my old Globo gym ways, but I eventually saw the light in late 2011 and haven’t looked back since. I know Dave loves telling this story, but it’s too funny to not mention it again: During the first group CrossFit class that Dave took me to I actually grabbed my keys and headed to my car after the warm-up because I thought we had just finished the WOD. It was pretty embarrassing.

What made you decide to become a CrossFit Coach?
I’ve coached soccer and softball on and off since high school so I’ve always enjoyed instructing movement and strategy, but it wasn’t until I saw how CrossFit truly transformed people’s lives that I knew I wanted this to be apart of my everyday life.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A dolphin trainer. I blame Lisa Frank for my love of dolphins.

If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
This is hard. I’m going to go with a wild horse. There’s something magical about seeing a herd of wild horses running freely — probably because there’s so few of them left in the world.

What’s the last thing you watched on TV?
I’ll give you one guess.

What is the one food that you could never give up?
This is TOUGH – I love food, but I can easily give stuff up — hello, Whole30. I think it would have to be bean and cheese burritos.

What’s your favorite quote or saying?
“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” — Roald Dahl

Anything else you’d like to share with us?
I’m incredibly honored to have all of you studs as members and even though I haven’t coached consistently for a couple years, I’ve loved witnessing all the progress that our athletes have made. I mean, just look at the PR board every month. You guys are rock stars — keep it up!

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Comparison is the Thief of Joy

We’re excited to feature Coach Justin in this week’s Food for Thought Blog. Below are his thoughts on an article that really spoke to him and I couldn’t agree more with how important this subject is for our athletes.

What’s your why for coming to Cróga? Chances are it’s a blend of short term goals and long term dreams. Survival is the reward in the early days of training (especially in CrossFit). But eventually, comparison to others becomes the measure of your success. And with that comparison often follows a loss of perspective, joy, progress, and connection to the reason you train in the first place.

The article Sermon II: Comparisons by Coach Tod Moore at Atomic Athlete in Austin discusses the downsides of comparison, and how to get that monkey off your back. It’s as inspiring as it is informative.

Bottom line: If you’re always comparing yourself to others—regardless of whether you’re worse or better—you’ll lose gains, friends, and happiness. Shift that attitude to gratitude and you can reap the benefits of competition without the costs.

Again, here’s the link to the article: Sermon II: Comparisons by Coach Tod Moore

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What makes a good CrossFit class? CrossFit Gym? CrossFit coach?

Have you ever wondered what makes a good CrossFit class?

What separates the good CrossFit gyms from the ok ones?

Why CrossFit is “so expensive” (hint, if the classes are good and there’s value, it’s not)?

How do I spot a good CrossFit coach?

These are all questions I’ve been contemplating for the last couple years as I’ve hired coaches for Cróga, visited gyms locally and while on vacation in different parts of the country and the world, and as I’ve given advice to friends who live outside the area that are looking for the right CrossFit gym for them.

This blog post is more of a piece for the CrossFit community as a whole and for those looking into doing some CrossFit, but who haven’t jumped in yet (and maybe for those who aren’t satisfied at their current gym and are looking elsewhere).

Let’s tackle these questions in order so there’s actually some structure here and we’ll see where it leads us.

Oh, and this probably goes without saying, but this is an opinion piece, so if you disagree, that’s fine, I’d love to hear from you.

These are my personal opinions based on 9+ years of experience as a CrossFit athlete (4.5 years as a CrossFit Affiliate owner) that include taking CrossFit classes at 30+ gyms in a handful of different states and a couple countries along with what I’ve learned from the hundreds of people I’ve spoken to from all over the world that have dropped into our box.


What makes a good CrossFit class?

I think the first thing I look for when I drop-in to a CrossFit class or I evaluate a class at Cróga is, was every person in the class greeted by name and with a smile by the coach? And are the other members friendly and introducing themselves or saying hi to the people they know? These are steps 1 & 2. If the people in the gym (coach and members) don’t do this, there is no way it’s going to be a good class.

Then, the next most important piece is a well laid out class structure that includes a dynamic warm up, some targeted mobility, movement instruction, a specific warm up, and a well thought out WOD where the athletes are improving physically and mentally.

This keeps everyone in the class together and engaged while also making sure they’re moving better in each class and improving over time, not reaching limitations in their capacity or exposing themselves to risk of injury because they move poorly and the coaches aren’t teaching them how to move better in a controlled setting before intensity is added in the WOD.

If there aren’t gymnastics movement progressions being taught on days with gymnastics involved in the WOD, PVC pipe movement instruction going on when there’s going to be a barbell involved, and mobility work done daily to make sure you’re stretched out for that day and your mobility is improving over time, you’re not getting your money’s worth and you should look elsewhere.


What separates the good CrossFit gyms from the ok ones?

First things first, you’ll notice that I didn’t say anything about “bad” CrossFit gyms.

While I’ve been to a few that I wouldn’t recommend my friends sign up at if they live near them and are looking for a gym, I don’t necessary think any CrossFit gym is bad. I just think they could use a little work or maybe the coach was having an off day and I just happened to be there for that class.

Now, what separates a good CrossFit gym from the others is a three part answer for me.


1.
 A friendly staff that’s looking to build relationships with each and every client. Like you read above, friendliness of the coach and members is huge and is probably the most important piece to ensuring the class will be enjoyed and the athletes will have the opportunity to get the most out of each day.
Honestly, who the hell wants to go to a gym that isn’t fun and the people aren’t nice?
And if you don’t look forward to going, you won’t spend enough time there to get the results you were looking for when you signed up for that day or a monthly membership.
When I talk about building relationships I’m talking really getting to know the athletes. Trust between the coaches and the athletes is probably the most important piece to long term growth. No one takes advice from people they don’t like and don’t trust, so step 1 is to build trust with a smile and a genuine interest in who the person is and what makes them unique and the coaching can follow.


2.
 Like I hinted at in #1, all good CrossFit gyms make a commitment to their members to achieve long term health and fitness. I like to say that at Cróga we’re playing the long game because although we love to see quick success and we love to high five our members that increase their 1 rep max back squat by 50 lbs in 6 weeks or that lose 20 lbs in a month, we are really in this thing for the long haul. We want people to live longer, happier, healthier lives and we want to be a part of that every step of the way.

There’s no gimmicks at good CrossFit gyms. No quick weight loss tricks that don’t create long term sustainable eating or exercise habits. Just good old fashioned hard work and quality balanced eating habits that lead to consistent progress over time.


3. 
Balanced programming that helps people improve, but doesn’t put them at unnecessary risk for injury or burnout in the name of doing “cool” movements or making them lift overly heavy objects every single day.

This is probably the one I’ll get the most pushback on from other affiliate owners and maybe even some more experienced athletes, but in my opinion there are too many CrossFit gyms getting wrapped up in what is required to be good at the sport of CrossFit vs. what is required to be a healthier and more fit human.
What I mean is gyms program A LOT of overly risky gymnastics movements that don’t have a ton of benefit besides that they look cool (think muscle-ups, handstand push-ups, pistols, etc.).
Or, they program strength work every single day which wears people down, takes away from time that should be set aside for movement instruction and mobility, and reduces the effectiveness of the workout that is done after the strength work.

Why is CrossFit “so expensive”?

It’s not.

If your average class size is appropriate for the number of coaches assigned to it, you’re receiving all the things I listed above, and you’re making consistent improvement month over month, you’re getting extremely good value for your dollar.

Based on membership rates and how many times members attend class, your average CrossFit class will cost you between $10 & $20 an hour (memberships are usually lower than $15/class if you attend 10-15 classes a month and drop-ins are usually around $20).

Considering the fact that if you’ve chosen a good CrossFit gym you’re going to receive a reasonably similar product to personal training, but in a group setting so you’ll get a little less attention per hour, you’re getting a pretty darn good deal.

If you’ve done any online research you’ll know that Personal Training typically runs anywhere from $75-$200 per hour depending on who the trainer is and where you live.

How do I spot a good CrossFit Coach?

Everyone is going to have their own opinion here because people like different types of people with different personalities, but personality aside there’s a few things I always look for.

1.  
You guessed it, friendliness. I won’t write another long paragraph about this because I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but if you’re a coach, don’t be a dick, and if you’re an athlete, don’t sign up at a gym because the coach is a good athlete if he/she is a jerk too.

2.
  The coach explains the workout, why you’re doing the workout, some strategy for the workout and challenges the athletes with something specific about the workout. These 4 things display that the coach understands the programming, knows their athletes, thought through the class ahead of time, and wants to help you improve that day.

3.
  The coach is relentless. This doesn’t mean they’re on top of the athletes screaming and yelling at them to work harder and go faster to the point that they’re trying to kill them, but it does mean that they won’t accept crappy movement and they’re going to do everything they can to help each athlete achieve more and to be better, forever. Even if everything they’ve tried up to this point hasn’t worked, they’re going to keep trying to help each athlete. They don’t ever give up on anyone. They think of a new way to explain the movement or to show the movement or to draw the movement or to get the athlete to feel the position they need to be in and they don’t stop trying until they get it.

4.
  They don’t get distracted. It’s 2017, there are A LOT of distractions for everyone in every situation and coaches are no different. Of course there are going to be slip ups, but their cell phone should be set aside and not used for anything besides helping them coach by taking a video of one of the athletes to show them or taking a photo or video for the gyms social media account and then put away after.
They should also not let members walking in for the next class to distract them from the class they’re currently working with. This can be very hard, especially if the coach has made that deep connection with all the members that we’re looking for, but it’s a skill to be able to greet someone with a smile, chat with them for 20-30 seconds while keeping your eyes on the class, and then to walk away to stay involved with the current class only to return to the conversation when the time is appropriate.

5.
  They keep the class on task and on time. The best coaches have a plan for every class and they follow it so that everyone is on the same page throughout, the class flows smoothly, and it ends on time.

6. 
Everyone gets coaching. This is part of why smaller classes are generally better, but a good coach doesn’t ignore the good to great athletes because they know they are going to be ok. They touch base with each and every athlete throughout the class, give them all a win or something to work on each day, and help each and every person improve in some way, shape or form in every class they attend.

Woah, that was a long one!

I’m glad I got it all out there though.

I hope you all enjoyed the read and will use this blog post to help you decide what gym is the best fit for you or what to look for when you decide to give CrossFit a try.

Disagree with me? Got something to add? Want some clarification or got a question?

Shoot me an email (david@crogacrossfit.com) or comment on our social channels and I’ll gladly respond!

And stay tuned for my podcast (Podcast name TBD), the wheels are turning and it’s on the horizon for launch this fall.

I’m very excited about it because I’ll be able to dive deep into a lot of subjects like this and I won’t have to type as much, hahaha.

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Announcing the new Cróga CrossFit Assistant Manager – Coach Cody

It is with great pleasure that we get to announce the promotion of Coach Cody Rubel to the position of Assistant Manager here at Cróga CrossFit!

Over the past few years of coaching at Cróga, Cody has gone the extra mile, taken on some added responsibility, developed lasting relationships with his athletes and become a big part of our community. We saw this as a good opportunity to put him into a management role that will not only increase his time at Cróga but help us continue to improve our product.

In the next few months you will see him coaching more class times, planning and running some of our community events, working with our staff to constantly drive coaching progress and knowledge, running some specialty programs we’re working on, checking in with members and keeping a pulse on how we’re doing and how we can improve our clients experience, as well as a bunch of other fun things.

So, next time you see Cody, give him a pat on the back and say congratulations. He’s a great person, coach, and hard worker and we’re looking forward to utilizing him to continue to push the progress here at Cróga!

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Caitlin Z. Is The July Member Of The Month

Although our 6 am class isn’t filled with a bunch of “fire-breathers”, it does have some pretty loud personalities and it takes a special person to hop right into that class time and get a word in. When Caitlin joined us last November, she fit right in and immediately held her own, instantly making friends and adding to the laughter that usually fills that class for the 30 minutes before the WOD starts.

She has had stellar attendance for her first 10 months of CrossFit and because of that, she’s made some fantastic strides in all areas of her fitness, including going from not being able to do a single pull-up to cranking out 5+ in a row, repeatedly. She’s a ball of energy, has a positive attitude, works hard and always pushes herself, which are all attributes that not only make for a good CrossFitter, but a good person. She’s also a University of Colorado at Boulder Alum (Go Buffs!), so it’s safe to say we love having her as part of our awesome family of athletes and we’re looking forward to seeing what she’s going to accomplish in year 2 of CrossFit and beyond.

When did you join Cróga?
Last November, so coming up on a year soon. It feels like forever since everyone is so awesome.

What were you doing before for fitness?
I play indoor soccer with my company, One Workplace. An avid runner, yogi, skiing, gym sessions and a short love affair with Orange Theory.

What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout?
How about how I felt the next morning… I remember not being able to feel my arms and yelling something like “Dammit Dave” once my alarm went off.

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?
I have been a runner my whole life but I could never do a single pull up. I wasn’t getting the strength based work out that I was looking for before CrossFit. I was intimidated because I didn’t think I could ever lift heavy weight or really anything over 20lbs. 10 months later and I feel stronger than I ever have before. Who cares if you fail or if you look like you can’t lift a box off the ground. Every single person in my morning class pushes me more than I have gotten in any other workout class. I can now do push ups and pull ups. I’m finally hitting triple digits in some of the power lifts and I couldn’t be more excited to see what comes next. I feel strong and challenged!

What days and times do you come to Cróga?

6:00 AM with my favorite morning crew! I try to come 4 days a week or more.

What’s your favorite WOD?

Anything with Clean and Jerks, pull ups or running.

What’s your least favorite WOD?
Rowing and overhead squats.

“The Caitlin” WOD! What would it be?

AMRAP of 15- 20 minutes
Run 200
10 power snatches
20 air squats
10 pull ups

What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
Power Breakfast- I LOVE FRIED EGGS AND BACON!

What do you love about CrossFit?
The people and overcoming something you didn’t think you could do. I played competitive soccer growing up and I feel a part of a team every morning.

What’s your biggest fitness goal for 2017?
Muscle Up and beating Joel more than once in the warm ups.

What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?
Make it fun! Laugh and make fun of yourself. Fail and then get up and try it again.

Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet?
I’ve been watching Survivor since its creation. I’ve applied and probably won’t stop applying till I get on the show. 🙂 Maybe Wendy and I will be on together!!!!

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Coach Spotlight: Dave M.

When I (Kelly, Dave’s wife) was approached to write the intro to Dave’s coaches spotlight, I initially thought it was Dave trying to get me to write his responses. I then realized I wasn’t dealing with a demanding executive, but rather, my husband, who lives and breaths Cróga and simply needed me to do this so he can finally post his own coaches spotlight.

I met Dave over seven years ago and surprisingly, the topic of CrossFit didn’t come up during any of our initial dates. As some of you might know, Dave basically destroyed the lower half of his right arm snowboarding so his usual CrossFit obsession had been placed on the back-burner while he recovered, and apparently tried to win over his future wife. It wasn’t until months later, when he dragged me to a Saturday class at a local box, that I realized how much Dave loved this whole functional fitness deal and that he was actually really good at it, even being called “OG Dave” because he was one of their first members.

Fast forward two years where we found ourselves traveling Europe and making plans for the future. Priority number one: Open our own affiliate in early 2013. We came back from the trip at the end of September and Dave dedicated every free moment he had towards the goal of opening our doors in March (let’s be real, he hasn’t stopped working ever since).

I know I’m preaching to the choir when I say Dave loves everything about CrossFit, but most importantly, he loves every one of our members at Cróga. He’s incredibly proud of the community, the work ethic of everyone that steps through the door and how we get to play a part in so many incredible transformations.

I’ll wrap up with a super corny thought: Coach Dave is truly a gift. All of us who have been coached by him or have had the opportunity to really get to know Dave will understand how much he really cares about every single person he meets. He wants better for all of us, not just in health, but in all aspects of life. I know I also speak for Dave when I say we can’t wait for what another five, ten, and 15 years will bring to Cróga and our members.

Full Name:
David Warren Musgrave

Tell us a little bit about your family, job, and interests:
Well, most of you know about my family (Kelly, my wife, Murph, our frenchie, and Rosie, our Chihuahua) plus we’ve got a little girl on the way that we’re very excited to meet. We think we’ve got a name for her, but we’re going to keep that one a secret until she’s here, so for now you all can just call her Princess Cróga, haha.

My job is about as good as it gets, Owner & Head Coach at Cróga CrossFit. This involves coaching a bunch of awesome athletes on a daily basis, as well as helping educate and lead our staff so that we can continue to offer the best CrossFit classes around.

And finally, I’ve got a ton of different interests, like A LOT. Kelly likes to say, “Dave likes to grow his brain”, and that might be an understatement. I absolutely love learning and I often ask our classes “did anyone learn anything interesting today?” just so that I can add some random knowledge to my life. I love CrossFit (endurance sports, weightlifting, and gymnastics – which tend to be skills that make a good CrossFitter), soccer, snowboarding, large sporting events of all kinds, building things with wood and power tools, construction projects, dogs, business, leadership, the stock market, tech startups and innovation, travel, and probably more random things that haven’t popped in my head in the last 2 minutes. And if there’s something you think is interesting, I’d love to hear about it!

What was your athletic background before you started CrossFit?
I was an extremely active kid, very rarely spent any time inside except when it was raining, but my sport of choice was soccer. I played at a very high level all the way through high school and then hung up the cleats for college except for occasional men’s league games. I actually tore my ACL playing in a men’s soccer league in San Francisco in 2011 and decided to never play competitively again after that because although I love it, it’s not worth the risk.

Why/how did you get started with CrossFit?
Between my 4th and 5th year of college, Summer of 2008, I had a buddy that opened a CrossFit gym in San Jose. He told me I should come down and give it a try. After day 1 of getting absolutely destroyed and then going back for day 2, I was completely obsessed because I could just feel myself getting more fit each day and the rest is history. The other piece to the puzzle was that I truly missed having a competitive outlet in my life throughout college and CrossFit gave me that outlet again while also helping me get back into shape after a few years of just hanging out, drinking beer, and exercising only when I went snowboarding or played soccer.

What made you decide to become a CrossFit Coach?
I absolutely LOVE CrossFit and truly believe, at my core, that it is the best training methodology for all humans to achieve their highest fitness level possible. Because of this, I knew that when I had the opportunity to coach CrossFit, I needed to do so to spread health and fitness and help as many people as possible feel better daily, which will allow them to live better lives.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a lot of things. Ninja Turtle, Astronaut, Fighter Pilot, Pro Soccer Player, and finally, Entrepreneur. I think the first four are out of the question, but I’m doing my best at the last one right now.

If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
Oh man, this one is a tough one. I think it’s kind of funny because the first college I went to was the University of Colorado and this is the mascot, but I would probably be a Buffalo. Buffaloes are just so powerful and majestic and can be quick when needed, but they spend most of their time just being peaceful animals and roaming and eating. I tend to be pretty mellow even though my brain is very active, but I am extremely competitive and am fierce “between the lines” or on the playing field.

What’s the last thing you watched on TV?
I’m watching the 2017 CrossFit Games while typing this, but the last thing I watched yesterday was Ozark on Netflix. I love shows that have deep stories that are believable, but also have action and some violence for suspense. I love Game of Thrones, like most people that have watched it, but I also really liked Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead and Sherlock.

What is the one food that you could never give up?
Although I love to eat, I am pretty good about being disciplined when I decide to be, so I don’t know if there’s anything I couldn’t give up. For things I would prefer not to give up, I would have to say coffee, pizza, carnitas (all dishes, but mostly burritos), beer and peanuts.

What’s your favorite quote or saying?
This is probably the most difficult one to answer because I love finding solid quotes, sharing them and living by them. I could probably list 10+ of them, but I’ll leave you with these two because together I feel like they sum up what makes me successful as an individual and as an athlete:

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” – Calvin Coolidge

“Never stop learning”. -Unknown (I feel like a million people have said this, but I also think that always looking to learn is one of the best things an individual can do)

Anything else you’d like to share with us?
1. I feel extremely blessed to have every one of you that is a part of or has been a part of Cróga CrossFit (staff and athletes). It regularly amazes me that Kelly and I have been able to assemble such a wonderful group of people and have had the opportunity to meet so many quality individuals just by opening our doors, welcoming everyone with a smile, and giving everything we’ve got to this community to help them improve their lives through fitness. Thank you to everyone that has been a part of this journey.

2. If there’s something you’d like to know about me that wasn’t included above, or you’re curious about my journey or want my opinion on something, just ask. I do my best to be kind, open minded and thoughtful with my responses, but I promise I’ll never lie to you and I’ll always give you my honest opinion, feedback or answer.

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Move With Intent

Last week I wrote a blog post about some new gym rules that we’ve decided to add to our list at Cróga and while I was reading through our old list my mind started to wander down a path that became this week’s topic of conversation, moving with intent.

Before we go any further, if you missed it the gym rules blog post, I suggest you give it a read here, Cróga Gym Rules Revisited, it’s awesome, I promise.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled blog post…

As I was reading through our existing gym rules there was one that really jumped out at me

Rule 2: Come In With The Right Attitude

-Come in ready to train. Not workout.

Before you all go thinking I’m writing this blog post about you and I’m calling you out, understand that I train twice a day for about two hours, 4 days a week, plus another 2-3 hours on Saturday, so I definitely know what it feels like to want to just go through the motions and not even be there or doing whatever workout my coach has planned for me.

This blog post is just as much advice for our members and other CrossFitters and gym-goers as it is a self reflection on my own attitude and effort.

With that said, as I thought about Rule 2 the words that I kept coming back to were Move With Intent.

What does that mean? It means:

Don’t half ass the warm up, move with intent. You’ll end of “half warm” (not a technical term, but I like it). We don’t make you do the warm up as written to make you look dumb and to waste your time, we do it to get you warm and the more focused you are during it, the better the result will be at the end. I don’t even want to admit how many times I’ve blown off my warm up and paid for it later in the workout.

Don’t screw off during the movement instruction and practice, move with intent. You’ll end up moving like shit when it’s time to lift a heavy barbell. Not only will this restrict your ability to move the weight you’re truly capable of, which is what we need you to do to get stronger, but it’ll set you up to potentially hurt yourself because you set such poor motor patterns in practice and they’re most likely going to carry over to your lifting later.

Be coachable, and then move with intent. It’s our job as coaches to figure out what it’s going to take to make a connection with each athlete to get them to trust us enough to then take our criticism aka spotting of a movement flaw, then take our advice on how to adjust their positioning or movement, and then put it into action. However, being willing to let your guard down, listen and then try what we’ve got to offer you can speed up the process a ton. We’re never going to try to make you move worse, I PROMISE, and we’re always looking to help you be more efficient, feel better and move safely, so even if you’re someone that doesn’t take “criticism” well (even though that’s not what we’re giving you), try to go out on a limb and accept some coaching, it’ll make this whole thing go better. Oh, and when we give you advice on how to move better, move with intent. Literally focus on exactly what we just told you, shut the rest of the brain off, and do your best to do that exact thing.

Don’t go through the motions in the workout, Attack the workout by Moving with Intent. CrossFit is defined as Constantly Varied, Functional Movements, performed at High Intensity. And if you remember from your intro class, the High Intensity part of this equation is where we get results. Those that don’t actually push themselves, never achieve anything. You can do CrossFit for 20 years with the best programming and coaches in the world and just float along lifting weights that are easy for you, doing 10 burpees a minute when you can really do closer to 20 when you try hard, doing pull-ups in singles because it’s easier even though we’ve all seen you break off 10 unbroken before, and you’ll NEVER get more fitYou NEED to move with intent during the WOD or the lifting if you ever want to go anywhere or achieve anything. When your coach says “This workout is going to be as difficult as you choose to make it”, you should take that as a challenge to push as hard as you can and to make it hurt, because that’s where the results are.

From the moment class starts until the last person finishes the workout, we want you to be thinking about why you’re at the gym. Take it seriously, follow directions and the plan for class as written (unless you have some kind of restriction physically that dictates otherwise), and know that we’re doing everything for a reason with the goal of making you happier, healthier, stronger and more fit after each day in class.

By coming to the gym to train, not to just workout, and making the choice to move with intent, you are putting yourself in the mind-state required to be better and drive progress.

And remember, effort is a choice…

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Croga Gym Rules Revisited

At the beginning of 2015, a couple years into business, I put out a set of Gym Rules that hangs on the wall behind our front desk for all our members and visitors to check out while they’re waiting for their class. You can find my original blog post here: Cróga Gym Rules.

The other day I was doing my usual floating around the internet and learning when I stumbled on a blog post by Nicole Christensen, the Director of Training & Certification for CrossFit, owner of CrossFit Roots in Boulder, CO and CF-L4 Coach (yes, Level-4!), about how she re-shares their Box Etiquette blog post with their members yearly, and I thought that was a brilliant idea.

It’s a great idea, not because we have trouble with our members or visitors violating the rules, but because it’s always a good opportunity to check back in, make sure we’re all on the same page, and see if we should add or subtract from this list.

After giving our rules a quick read (See image below), I decided there aren’t any subtractions that need to be made this year, although I should probably watch my own colorful use of the english language.

However, there are four rules that I’d like to add this year.

1. Introduce yourself. Please introduce yourself to newbies (or someone you don’t recognize). Remember when you were the new guy or gal? A friendly introduction goes a long way.

2. Don’t break down your equipment until everyone has finished the workout. I know you all have busy lives and need to get in and out of the gym in 1-hour, but this is a common courtesy that you too will one day benefit from as everyone is last in the workout someday. You can cheer on others, grab a foam roller, or just sit and enjoy the downtime, but don’t touch the equipment. We’re in this thing together!

3. No ghost-riding the barbells – EVER. The lighter the plates on the bar, the more likely it is to jump left and right and hurt someone or break something. We know you’re tired, but we also know if your bar hits anyone or anything, it’s usually going to win. The last thing we want is someone injured because we’re being lazy. If you HAVE to drop the bar so you don’t get hurt, do it, but you better be right on top of it making sure it doesn’t go anywhere it shouldn’t right when it hits the ground.

4. Treat empty barbells like they were your baby. Would you drop your baby from three feet above the ground? We certainly hope not. We use an empty barbell a lot in class for warm up and form work. When putting the barbell down, gently place it on the ground with the utmost care and admiration for this fine piece of equipment.

Got questions? Speak up.

If not, follow the rules, so we don’t have to give you burpee penalties or pull you aside and have a word, because that isn’t any fun for the coach or the athlete.

And if you need a refresher, check out our existing rules below.

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