Food for Thought: My Why for 2018

Every year when January rolls around we all feel the need to create New Year’s resolutions and to set goals for the year ahead.

Inevitably, some goals we reach and others we do not, but the people that are often most successful throughout the year are those that have a deeper motivation than just hitting a 30 lb PR on their back squat. They have something that makes them enjoy the process and the journey, not just the end goal.

When I talk about a deeper motivation, I’m talking about something that really speaks to you.

Something that pulls at your heartstrings or something that you can be true to deep in your soul.

And this is where I think many people’s yearly goals end up failing them. They pick things that don’t really matter to them and try to accomplish them, only to fail to achieve whatever benchmark they arbitrarily chose because they don’t really care that much.

So, for 2018 I want to propose that we do things a little different.

If you already set tangible “goals” for the year, that’s great, don’t change them.

However, I want you to think about WHY you chose those goals.

What is your deeper motivation?

When you don’t really feel like going to the gym or your squat number isn’t increasing quite as quickly as you had hoped, what motivates you to get to the gym and try to improve yourself that day?

With that info, I want you to come to Cróga and write it on our goals board.

Put it out there.

Let everyone know.

On those days where you get to the gym and you’re feeling a little sluggish, look at your why and recalibrate.

And on those days that you have a little tougher workout or it doesn’t go quite the way you planned, take a peek at your why on the way out the door and remind yourself of the bigger picture.

Finally, if you’re not a member of Cróga, we’d love to hear from you about what your why is.

Shoot me an email,, and let me know what is driving you to be a better version of yourself this year.

And let me know if you can use our help, we’d be happy to work with you in person or remotely with coaching, programming or just friendly email motivation.

P.S. My why for 2018 is: To stay happy and healthy so I can be a good dad, husband, business owner and coach.


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Julianna Is The Cróga Member Of The Year!

The list of reasons why Julianna is our choice for 2017 Cróga Member of the Year is long and we couldn’t be more proud to celebrate such an awesome person and athlete.

Not only did she attend an astounding 292 classes this year, which is an unbelievable accomplishment in and of itself, but she also did all of the below:

Attacked her weaknesses weekly at Open Gym on Saturday

Was a team captain during The Open

Made sure the new athletes that came to 6 am felt welcome each time she saw a new face

Volunteered her time during our holiday volunteer day

Helped organize our Cróga baby shower

And, even watched Cróga Murph one weekend when we went out of town

Her hard work and dedication to becoming the best version of herself possible is inspiring and are the exact qualities we strive to instill in all our members.

Congratulations Julianna!

There was no question who deserved this award this year and we couldn’t be more proud of all that you accomplished!

What are some new things that you have learned about yourself since starting CrossFit?
Since I started CrossFit a few years ago, I’ve learned that I actually love to move and sweat. Growing up, I never participated in any organized sports and PE was torture except for during the Presidential Fitness Test (when I could do the bent arm hang forever) and rope climb days. I’ve never been particularly coordinated or athletic, but when I joined Croga to address some health issues, I discovered that there is a kind of gracefulness that comes along with developing strength, particularly in barbell movements. I am proud of the fact that I was able to make such a drastic lifestyle change at this point in my life.

What’s the best part of working out with the 6 am crew?
Except for Saturdays, I rarely stray from 6 am, so maybe they’re all like this, . . . but 6 am is a great mix of personalities, no big egos and no whiners. We love to laugh, but we get down to business. There’s lots of encouragement, and the only shaming is good-natured. There are athletes of all ages and levels of experience, but it’s a very inclusive group. And you know it’s got to be great when my 15-year-old, Ethan, is willing to wake up at 5:30 to work out with this group.

You attended nearly 300 classes this year, what was your driving force for spending so much time here?
I’m a creature of habit, so once I decided that I wanted to go 5-6 times a week in 2017, I just put it on my calendar and showed up. But what inspired me to do it was the idea that I never wanted to tell myself, “I really should get to the gym more.” I wanted to see what would happen if I was relieved of any of that guilt and what my body would feel like if I was truly getting as much exercise as I could. Now, with that experiment over, I’m telling myself, “I really should go to the gym less!”

What’s your biggest fitness goal for this upcoming year?
I have several, but the overarching goal is to recalibrate. This year, at 48, I discovered that it takes a little while for me to recover and I wasn’t very good about listening to my body when it was screaming it needed rest. I’m starting the year off with a little break, then I’m going to build in more rest. I also am going back to basics–sometimes I got caught up in trying to go as heavy as I could and my form would suffer and recovery would be harder. Now I’m going to try pretending like I’m new to CrossFit and really pay attention to my form and how I’m moving and be more deliberate. Going a little lighter, hopefully, will allow me to go a little faster, too.

What is one thing about you that people may not know?
I want to compete on the Amazing Race. My oldest son, Jim, and I want to do it together so I have to wait a few more years until he turns 21, but I’ll only be in better shape for it then, right?

If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy?
After sizable contributions to numerous philanthropic causes, of course, I’d then spend half the year traveling the world and the other half on my private island somewhere cold, maybe off the coast of Scotland. My husband, Steve, is only down for this island plan if we have an excellent internet connection, so a chunk of money will have to go to laying undersea cables.

If you could have one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?
I’m a big fan of chopped salads. I like a little bit of everything. I could also eat a great crusty loaf of Italian bread with butter every day. And then I’d have to finish the meal off with See’s peanut brittle or bridge mix. Or Peeps.

If you could have a conversation with anyone that ever existed, dead or alive, who would it be?
I’m a big history nerd, so there are so many questions I have for so many historical figures that it would be impossible to pick one, so I have to say my dad. He died almost 21 years ago, before I had kids, so I’d love to catch up with him and talk to him about what my boys are up to.

Anything else you would like to add?
Thanks to all of the coaches for helping me be my best and to the 6 am crew for making Cróga such a fun place to go. And a big thank you to Dave and Kelly for creating, growing, and sustaining this cool neighborhood gym. It’s clearly a big part of my life and I’m always happy to be there.

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20 Unbroken No’s

“Making the right food choices for performance or physique goals is a WAR.” – Larry G.

I saw this “punchcard” on Instagram last week and loved the idea, especially since we’re nearing the end of the holiday season and all of our lives have been bombarded with temptations that we know taste good, but we should really say “no” to.

The concept was that the coach would give a free personal training session to anyone that gave 20 unbroken “no’s” to temptations.

Before I go further here, please DO NOT be “that guy/girl” that eats chicken and broccoli, drinks only water and then refuses dessert and/or champagne at New Year’s Eve while everyone else enjoys themselves.

That is the wrong time to say no.

In fact, saying no in situations like that are what cause you to lose friends and make nonsustainable dietary changes.

With that being said, the answer shouldn’t always be yes when asked if you want some or if you want more.

And, although I give you some solid strategies for the remainder of the year below, the 20 No’s is the perfect way to start your New Year off on the right foot as well.

Be smart about what you’re eating and try to limit the portion size of the “treats” and increase the quantity of the things you know are good for you, or reasonably good for you.

Eat protein, maybe in larger quantities than usual, to fill up on the one piece of food that’s usually prepared in a manner that doesn’t include a bunch of crap you don’t realize is included.

Only have 1 roll or piece of bread, don’t keep going back for more and slathering them with butter.

Try to get as many carbs as possible from green veggies.

Limit the portion size and the number of types of dessert you have. There’s no need to have 5 cookies when 1 will probably do the job.

Finally, don’t be afraid to say no.

My go to “excuse” is that I’m overly full.

This is usually the truth because I tend to struggle with following my own suggestions above, but we’re all human, right? I’m entitled to make some mistakes.

I hope you all enjoy your friends and family this holiday season and enjoy the food, but make as many good decisions as possible.

And remember this card come January 1st.

You can do it!

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50-Mile Challenge: Coach Justin’s Journey

Our Tuesday morning coach, Justin, accomplished a feat recently that is not only extremely impressive but inspiring as well and I couldn’t help but make sure we shared it.

He walked 50 miles in 17 hours and 15 minutes!

Without giving the whole story away, I’ll just leave it there and let you know that we’re extremely proud of him, we’re looking forward to seeing if we can get a group to do it with him again next year, and we hope you enjoy the story below.

Where did you get the idea to walk 50 miles in a day?

The origin of the 50 miles in 20 hours challenge is a fascinating story of fitness in American life. If you want the full story, read this brilliant write up:

The summary is this:

  • Teddy Roosevelt observed weak soldiers in his tenure as President and issued a directive that required all officers of all military branches be able to march 50 miles within three days without more than 20 hours of effort.
  • As JFK became the President-Elect, he issued a similar challenge to a Marine commander, pointing out that, in Roosevelt’s time, many Marines were able to complete the effort in one day. JFK told the commander that, if he took up the challenge, member’s of JFK’s cabinet would probably do it as well. Before the commander could even attempt the challenge, Robert Kennedy (then the Attorney General), decided to give it a go himself. With a pair of Oxford dress shoes and no training, he left his at 5 o’clock with four staff members to walk from Virginia to Maryland. He was the only one that lasted the full 50 miles. His time? 17 hours 50 minutes. (That’s him getting his feet rubbed after the effort. Photo Source: Life Magazine)

When do you first hear/read about it?

I first heard about the challenge from a program I participate in called The Strenuous Life, which is best described as Boy Scouts for Adults. The program begins with 12 weeks of challenges, ranging from things like “Wake up every morning and do a max set of pushups before walking away from your bed” to “climb a tree” or “walk 1 mile with a 50-pound boulder.” To complete the first 12 weeks, you must complete all challenges… you only have one make up opportunity. I missed one challenge, and the makeup was, you guessed it, walk 50 miles in 20 hours.

How long have you been considering giving it a go?

When I started the program about 12 weeks ago, I saw it and thought “maybe someday.” Then I was dumb and didn’t complete an easy weekly challenge (read a 150-page book in a week), and found myself with a challenge to make up, and only one option. So after that, it was not if but when.

Once you read about it, what motivated you to go for it?

I felt this was an interesting challenge, for me especially. For where I’m at physically, I felt this wasn’t going to be impossible. It didn’t require me to train. At the same time, it wasn’t going to be easy. It came down to guts…did I have the guts to see it through?

So I felt I could do it. I asked myself, “should I do it?” I remembered a quote, “If you could, you should.”

I also think the scale of the effort didn’t sink in until much later…50 in 20 seemed like a nice round number.

After my first attempt on Black Friday, which ended just short of 28 miles, I knew I had to finish it. I hurt so bad at mile 27, I thought I couldn’t continue. But after a half hour of relaxing, and later that night, I felt fine physically. Mentally I was angry. Why did I stop? I could have kept going. That night I resolved that I would do it again, in the next two weeks, and I wouldn’t stop unless I couldn’t move.

What did you do to prepare for the walk?

From my experience backpacking and my current fitness, I felt I was physically prepared to make the walk. No specific training necessary.

Logistics, however, become important.

The first logistic was time… When was I going to do this? Luckily for me, Black Friday was coming up. I’m not a big fan of shopping, and the question of what to do while the ladies of the family are off shopping always causes a little frustration. So about two weeks before Thanksgiving I figured “Why not black Friday?” I passed the idea by Krystal (my wife), who would have to watch Juliet (our daughter) all day, and she was agreeable. (Luckily for me, the logistics of a supportive family who go along with crazy challenges was solved long ago when I met a wonderful woman).

The second logistic was location… Where was I going to walk 50 miles? Given I would be in Danville for Black Friday, the obvious choice was the Iron Horse Regional Trail, a 25-mile stretch of paved trail running from Dublin all the way to Concord.

The third logistic was stuff… What would I bring? I decided to bring 3 liters of water (my full water bladder), a spare water bottle with BCAAs, some candy bars and proteins bars, spare shorts and shirt, a headlamp for walking at night (I estimated 7 hours walking in the dark), a spare flashlight, my phone with a backup power bank, my GPS watch and my step counter for tracking distance, a hat and a pocket knife.

As I embarked on my first attempt, I made two major mistakes: I had the wrong stuff, and I picked the wrong route.

I had the wrong pants, wrong shorts, no headlamp, and the wrong watch. I also didn’t have the best socks (too thin), which would cause major problems later on. I had also overlooked one major consideration: chafing.

I had also picked the wrong route. The route had my leaving from my parent’s cushy house (complete with jacuzzi and lots of tasty food) and heading north, walking back by my parent’s house at 28 miles and heading south, then arriving back at my parent’s house to finish the walk.

The error was walking by my parent’s house halfway through. At 27 miles I started hurting bad, and then the negative talk started …
“Your back is going to get injured, you should stop.”
“It’s just a dumb challenge. Stop now and enjoy your day off.”
“You don’t have the right socks. Better to stop and do this again another time.”
Those thoughts combined with an easy way out led to me quitting early when I clearly could have continued.

So I made some alternations for my second attempt:

First, I would leave from my house here in San Jose, and walk, and keep walking until I was 25 miles away. Then I would turn around and head home. Now quitting wasn’t so easy. I burned my boats.
Second, I had my stuff worked out. True, you don’t need the right gear (Robert Kennedy did it in freaking Oxfords), but at least I was more comfortable.
Finally, I fixed my strategy. On the first attempt, I had rushed through miles 10-27, without much rest or thought of fuel. My watch said I had burned 5,000 calories, and I had eaten a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and a small bag of M&M’s. So on my second attempt, I rested 5 minutes every 5 miles, and I ate nuts with a little bit of chocolate and jerky.

What was the route and give us a rundown of the plan.

The image above shows my rough route (compiled from phone data collected by Google). The route started at my house then went West to the Los Gatos Trail. From there, I headed North (in the dark), following the trail to the Diridon train station. I crossed over there and went to the Guadalupe River Trail, which picks up at the park across from the SAP Center. From there I went North all the way to the Southern end of the bay, past Levi Stadium, to a town called Alviso. Then I turned around and came back.

I stopped by Cróga to say hello, then headed back to the Los Gatos Trail. It was pitch black. I had my headlamp, but after a quarter of a mile with three homeless camps spotted, I decided it was unnecessarily risky to walk another several hours on that trail, so I backtracked and headed to downtown Willow Glen.

This presented a problem. I was too close to make a direct route to home, but I didn’t want to be on trails. It was about 7:30, and I was worried about loitering and drawing negative attention. Luckily for me, it’s near Christmas, and everyone in Willow Glen takes Christmas Lights seriously. This provided an excellent pretense for me to walk up and down every street in Willow Glen by myself at night… I was just looking at the lights! I got a few looks, but no one called the cops.

After a sufficient amount of wandering, I headed back to home. When I saw the house, I still had a half mile to go. I texted Krystal to tell her I was just going to drop my backpack at home then finish up. “Keep walking, I’m not unlocking the door” she texted back.

So I walked past the house for a quarter of a mile, turned around, and walked back. Total time, 17 hours 15 minutes.

Did you run into any obstacles along the way that threw a wrench in your plan?

The hardest part was finding a place to piss. The Guadalupe Trail is great for biking, terrible for hiking, for this exact reason. There’s a 7 mile stretch with 0 bathrooms and 0 stores or other accessible places with bathrooms. When you’re walking 3 miles in an hour and drinking plenty, this is a problem.

Two options presented themselves: trespass into corporate parks and use their bathrooms, or find a roughly covered area next to the trail. Sorry Nature.

The second obstacle I dealt with was the dark. I had planned to be on trails from 5 PM to 10 PM. The dark trail in the morning was fine, quiet. In the evening, there was lots of activity in the various campsites. I felt that wasn’t safe, so I had to make a route change. Once I was on streets I had to deal with crossings and sidewalks, but no big deal there.

18-20 hours is a long time to spend by yourself, did you learn anything about yourself?

I did. I learned I love my family. I missed lots of people, but them the most.

I learned that I’m good at these types of challenges (sustained efforts over long periods), but not as good at small efforts repeated consistently. Many of the things I want come from the small efforts, so I have something to work on.

What did you listen to?

Podcasts: Lionhearted Podcast of course, and Bill Burr’s Monday Morning podcast, which is hilarious.
Audiobooks: Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual. I listen to the first half of this when I started walking, and again when I hit 27 miles (where I failed the first time). Jocko’s voice and words helped me push through.

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss. A book about negotiating.

On my first attempt, I listened to Da Vinci, a biography about Leonardo. I’m sure it’s a fascinating read, but on the walk it was boring. I shelved that for this walk.
Music: During my last hour, Arctic Monkeys and Rush brought me home.

Did you meet anyone along the way?

Just a homeless guy: “Hey, I’ve got some weed if you want to smoke some.” I didn’t. There weren’t many others on the trail. I saw maybe 50 people total on the trail.

Any advice to other people that are thinking about giving it a shot?

First, prepare. Think about your feet, your route, your water, and your food. Plan breaks appropriate to your fitness level. It will feel like you’re moving slowly.

Second, go. Don’t wait for the right time or the right weather. Just go, and don’t stop until you’ve done it. If you set out to do 50 miles, kill any thought of “oh it’s fine if I just do 26.2, that’s a whole marathon!” If you want to do 26.2, great, do that. If you go for 50, the only way you make it is if you’re committed to 50.

Third, burn your boats. The critical mistake I made during the first attempt was having a way out (my parent’s house right off the trail halfway through.) Make your route such that it’s hard to quit. Avoid the situations that will make you want to stop (e.g. restaurants, meeting with other people, breaks that are too long.).

Will you do it again?


Well probably. Since attempting it, I’ve received 3 invitations from others to complete the challenge with them. Someone said it should be a Black Friday tradition.

How did you feel after it was over, physically & mentally? That night? The next couple days?

The moment it was over I felt great and really hungry. I didn’t plan for a post-walk meal. I took a quick shower, then I went to Wendy’s and had a Fast Food Glory Meal. I wore my bathrobe. And I drove. Krystal asked, “why didn’t you walk by Wendy’s on the way home?” I don’t know why I didn’t.

The next morning I was sore but no more sore than a good squat workout. My feet hurt like they had been hit hard repeatedly. But I could work, and no injuries. Sunday I was back to normal, just tired. Mentally I felt unburdened. I felt accomplished. And thankful for the opportunity to do something like this.

Anything else you’d like to add to this story?

Thank you to everyone at Cróga for the encouragement during both attempts, and the offers of support. It really helped, even just to see a “like” on a post.

Many of you have asked me other questions, so feel free to ask me on Facebook and I’ll be happy to answer them!

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Audrey H. Is The November Member Of The Month

Audrey has been with us for a few years now and has always been a great athlete to coach and an important part of our early afternoon crew. Recently though, she has really stepped her game up! Along with almost never missing a class, she now consistently pushes herself to go a little heavier during the WOD’s and then often stays late to work on her gymnastics. She also frequently takes her awesome vizsla, Buddha, for a run afterward. With her great attitude and dedication to taking the next step, choosing her as our November Member of the Month was an easy choice. Keep being awesome, Audrey!

When did you join Cróga? 
I joined in January 2016.

What were you doing before for fitness?
I was swimming and going to the globo gym. I had done CrossFit a year earlier and loved the challenge and what it did to my body so I knew I needed to find a box again.

What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout?
I wish I could remember my first workout..but I’m sure I knew I was going to die afterward! Which is why I keep coming back for more, the challenge.

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?
I feel like CrossFit has given me muscle in places I didn’t think I could build it! It makes me want to eat better as well as push myself just a little bit more each workout I do.

What days and times do you come to Cróga?
I normally come Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday either at 10:30 or 3:30.

What’s your favorite WOD?
I love anything with wall balls or box jumps, snatching is a good contender as well just because it’s a difficult movement that I’d love to master at some point in my life.

What’s your least favorite WOD?
We don’t do it too often but I’m not a big fan of overhead squatting. It’s just my mobility that I need to work on making me better at it. Oh and burpees!! They are good alone but in a WOD I totally suck!

“The Audrey” WOD! What would it be?
Something with rowing, wall balls, and box jumps would be a fun!

What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
A good protein shake and some mobility, however, I’ll tell you I don’t get to the mobility as much as I should.

What do you love about CrossFit?
I love the challenge as well as that it’s kind of addicting. No matter how hard or how much I want to vomit in a WOD I can’t get enough! I also love the community! Everyone supports and pushes each other to succeed. Btw…Shout out to the Smiths! Kristi and Steven, you always know how to motivate me! Thank you!

What’s your biggest fitness goal for next year?
Hmmm as many of the coaches know I really need to work on stringing my movements! Toes to bar.. kipping pull-ups.. double unders geeze I’m sure the list could go on. I would also love to get handstand push-ups – one of my greatest fears… going upside down! lol.

What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?
Just do it! You won’t regret it. The workouts are and suppose to be challenging but every accomplishment makes you want to continue. Plus the Cróga family is awesome!

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Don’t blame the holidays, it’s not their fault

I saw this photo of a Snapple bottle top the other day and I couldn’t help but write a Food For Thought blog post about it because it hit the nail on the head.

The weather here in San Jose, CA has officially shifted to cold. Well, cold for us…

It seems like we’re going to work in the dark and getting off when it’s dark too. We’re only 13 days away from the shortest day of the year (December 21st)…

Even though we’ve gotten through Thanksgiving, Christmas is right around the corner and the end of year holiday party invites seem like they’re coming fast and furious…

Although I acknowledge all of these “facts”, I’m here to tell you that it’s not their fault.

Sure, they all make it a little less appealing to get to the gym, but acknowledging them and making the decision to not let them derail you is the true path to success.

The best way to avoid having to make the traditional “get fit” New Years resolution is to not stop training in the final three months of the year when all the excuses above become easy to use.

The coaches and other athletes at Cróga will greet you with a BIG SMILE when you walk in the door.

We’ll make it fun, get you warm, and make you feel good when you’re done.

We’ll give you a high five and possibly teach you something new about fitness or a random fact about the world.

I can promise you that when you stop at the gym instead of driving by because it’s cold and dark outside you won’t regret the decision you made.

After all, you’re the one in control.

So, don’t blame the holidays, it’s not their fault.

PS. If you’re looking for some help with accountability, we recently launched an awesome program called Uplift. It’s the perfect program to help you set a goal, come up with a plan to reach it, and be held accountable with weekly check-ins and monthly personal training included. AND, this program is available to Cróga Members and Non-Members.

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Marc V. Is The October Member Of The Month

Marc V has got to be the most under the radar STUD athlete we’ve ever had at Cróga. He’s been with us for more than 3 years now, he consistently attends our late night classes and puts in the work, and he’s tough as nails. I’m not going to tell you how old he is (I actually I don’t know – I’m sure it’s in our software somewhere) but one of my favorite reoccurring conversations with Marc revolves around how a bunch of his buddies are old and falling apart and he comes to the gym so that won’t happen to him. Not only does Marc look great (he’s pretty jacked, check out his picture) and move extremely well for any age, but he’s made progress on all his lifts, gymnastics skills and endurance month over month since I first met him a few years ago. Keep up the hard work Marc, you continue to get younger physically as the years go by and you inspire me to be like you when I grow up, haha.

When did you join Cróga?
I don’t really remember – it’s been a few years now, but I haven’t been as consistent as I would want to be, so I like to think I get a discount on the time I’ve been doing CrossFit.

What were you doing before for fitness?
I was on and off at a few different gyms here and there. I would typically go to the gym, hit the weight section (and only do the stuff I liked to do) and maybe (almost never) get on a treadmill and do a little cardio work. I found I was incredibly bored with working out, which made it easy to not go, and really wasn’t putting much into it and was also not getting much out of it. I also enjoyed trail running but after a while, especially with getting older, I felt I was doing more damage to myself than good with the long runs.

What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout?
I remember there were three or four of us in an intro class and it involved, I think, wall balls, some burpees, sit-ups, running and then more burpees, then even more burpees…I can recall that when I finished the class I remember thinking; wow, that was a shockingly tough workout, way harder than anything I’ve done in years. It was also unusual for me to have a coach telling me what to do, which I liked since it took the guesswork out of trying to decide what I was going to do at the gym.

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?
I can honestly say I am much stronger than I have ever been, even in my younger days when I was working out quite a bit, based on what I’ve managed to deadlift and squeak out in the Oly classes. My cardio, which was never great, has gotten a lot better. For example, on a ski trip last year with a group of people, everyone else ran out of gas by the end of the day and was complaining about their legs hurting and I was still feeling pretty good and still had some skiing left in me. I also recently did the 10k “Run through the Redwoods” in Felton and finished before the rest of the group I was with by a minute or so. Of course, I told them I had been waiting for them for 20 minutes…

What days and times do you come to Cróga?
I typically try to go to the 7:30 classes and try to go three times a week and get in the Wednesday 6:30 powerlifting class. I’m looking forward to trying the new 30 minute classes at 4:45 pm that I understand will be starting up mid-November.

What’s your favorite WOD?
I really do enjoy the Oly classes, (other than doing overhead squats), and any kind of general strength workouts.

What’s your least favorite WOD?
Anything that includes burpees over a barbell or any workout with the number “100” in it.

“The Marc” WOD! What would it be?
I’ve always liked the EMOM’s or the “do as many rounds of XYZ in 12 minutes” type of workouts. As for the Marc workout, how’s this:
“Row 200m, run 100m then 7 medium weight thrusters and do as many rounds as possible in 12 minutes”

What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
I can’t say I have any kind of a post-workout routine. Depending on the workout, my routine is to get off the floor and try to drive home.

What do you love about CrossFit?
After seeing people doing CrossFit on tv and thinking I need to see what this is about, I remember popping into some of the local cross fit gyms, I mean “boxes” and eventually going into Cróga. Coach Dave was there at the counter and we talked for a bit and I got some info on a pending intro class. I can remember there was a real feeling, almost an aura, of positivity about him which gave me the courage to try this out. That and the encouragement from Coach Dave and all the other outstanding coaches at Cróga make going there and getting through a tough workout a lot easier.

As for CrossFit itself, I love that you never get bored as the workouts are all very different and that you end up working much, much harder than you would if you were on your own in a regular gym. Also, I’ve found the other members to be all very encouraging and have learned that it’s ok to scale back a workout if needed.

What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga?
I’m reminded of the old joke about being on a “seafood” diet, I see food and then I eat it. This is one of my perpetual goals and something I need to dial in as my diet/healthy eating has been lacking.

What’s your biggest fitness goal for 2017?
My main goal is consistency and making a point of getting down to Cróga – sometimes the hardest part of the workout is just getting into the car and driving down. It’s been too easy for me to let work get in the way of working out and how skipping a few workouts can easily turn into a week off (or more) which makes getting back into the groove that much harder. That and trying to clean up my diet.

What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?
I think the biggest issue for new people is how tough the workouts are and how that can be a real shock to the system. It’s really easy to say to yourself that “I can’t do this” and that “CrossFit is way too hard” and that it’s made for someone who’s in good shape in their 20’s. I would tell a new member to give it at least 30 days for their bodies to get used to the stress of the workouts and to ease into it. Perhaps a two week check up to see how they are doing and let them know that it’s ok to use a lighter weight and/or rest a bit if you need to in order to get through a workout.

Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet?
See you at Cróga Crossfit!

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Mascot Spotlight: Cróga Murph

If you’ve been with us a while, you’re already quite familiar with our four-legged mascot, Cróga Murph. He’s a French Bulldog that was born April 19th, 2013 and starting as a pup, he’s spent many early mornings and late nights at the gym. He loves to say hello and goodbye to all our members throughout the day, but you’ll also find him snoring his way through most WODs. We couldn’t ask for a better gym dog and we’re very lucky his owners, Dave and Kelly, somehow convinced him to answer a few questions for us in between his busy nap and walk schedule. Thanks Murph, we RUFF you!

Tell us a little about your family, job, and interests:
I spend most of my days with my dad who drives me around with the windows down so I can get lots of good sniffies, he does weird things like walks on his hands, makes lots of noise at the gym and does a lot of typing on his computer on the couch with me snuggling between his legs. With most of my days spent with my dad, I am always really excited to see my mommy when she gets home from work. I like to show her all my toys that I know she’s seen before, but they’re still really cool, then I like to bark at her to feed me and then I like to snuggle with her on the couch until it’s time for bed. I also have a sister named Rosie who is a Chihuahua, she spends 90% of her time sleeping on pillows on the couch. She loves barking at the UPS truck and makes sure we always get fed on time. My job is to look cute in my bed at the gym and to snore and fart under my mom’s desk when she takes me to work, I’m pretty good at all my jobs. I’m interested in bones, ropes, toys, walks, animals on TV and things that I think are animals on TV.

What is your favorite thing to do at Cróga?
My two favorite activities at Cróga are rope climbs and anything involving PVC pipes, I love attacking PVC pipes. My favorite Cróga pastime is snoring through whatever is going on, no matter how loud it is or how many people are in class.

What is your least favorite thing to do at Cróga?
My least favorite Cróga activity is being stuck on my chain when there’s a wall ball, PVC pipe or rope to attack.

What is your athletic routine?
My mom and dad take me for walks all the time, sometimes I run with my dad, but I can be a pain in the butt because I like to mark my trail so I know where I’ve been and so that other doggies know I’ve been there, which can slow his pace. I tend to go hard and then crash, I don’t consider myself much of an endurance athlete.

When you were a puppy, what did you want to be when you grew up?
From as far back as I can remember I wanted to be a male model. I’ve made it into a few commercial social media posts for big tech brands like NVIDIA, but I’m still waiting for my big break.

If you could be another animal, what would you be and why?
If I could be another animal I would be an otter. My parents have shown me some videos of otters and I feel like we’re a lot alike except I’m not much of a swimmer. They’re pretty cute and cuddly like me though, so I feel like that’d be a good fit.

What’s the last thing you and your parents watched on TV?
We watched the end of Stranger Things 2 the other night. I did NOT like those Demo-Dogs…

What is the one treat that you could never give up?
Dehydrated Oysters. I LOVE THEM! I eat raw food now because I have pretty bad allergies, so all my treats are just dehydrated meats and oysters are my fav.

What’s your favorite quote or saying?
“Ok, I sleeps now…”

Anything else you’d like to share with us?
Thank you to all my friends at Cróga CrossFit for all the pets and treats and kissies over the years. You’re the best friends a dog could ever ask for.

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The Most Revealing Test in CrossFit

A few months ago we Revisited the Cróga Gym Rules, which included looking back on rules we’ve made in the past and adding a few to the list.

One of our new additions to our Rule Book was, “don’t break down your equipment until everyone has finished the workout”.

I wrote a little blurb about why this is important to us at Cróga, but a few weeks ago I stumbled on a blog post by a coach at CrossFit Invictus in San Diego that does a fantastic job of explaining the importance of this rule and how it plays into the success of the group.

So, with that said, I hope you enjoy this week’s Food For Thought blog post titled The Most Revealing Test in CrossFit by Kirsten Ahrendt and take her challenge at the end seriously.

The Most Revealing Test in CrossFit
Written by Kirsten Ahrendt

There are plenty of “tests” in CrossFit. There are lifts to test our overall strength, WODs to test our aerobic capacity, skills to test our gymnastics. But as a CrossFit coach and athlete, there is one test in particular that I hold in the highest regard. This test is given nearly every day we walk in the gym – it reveals mindset and character. The test is simple…

What does a member/athlete do when their WOD is over?

I’ve coached for nearly 4 years, 5 days per week. I have accumulated numerous case studies weekly and have categorized the results into two categories. For the rest of the article, I’ll refer to all members as “athletes”.

Result 1 – The Individual Mindset Result

This behavior is generally executed in the following way:
– The athlete finishes their WOD and may roll on the floor for a few minutes.
– Upon collecting themselves, the athlete may go check their text messages, social media alerts or email.
– The athlete then proceeds to clean up their equipment – navigating in and out of fellow member’s spaces who are still working out.
– Sometimes this mindset manifests itself in members pooling together in groups sitting on the floor and talking about how tough the workout was and discussing their day.

Result 2 – The Group Mindset Result

This behavior is generally executed the following way:
– The athlete finishes their WOD and may roll on the floor for a few minutes.
– Upon collecting themselves, that athlete gravitates towards other members that are still in progress of the workout. The athlete cheers them on (whether they know them or not).
– The finished athlete may clap, give words of encouragement, and move between groups of athletes who are still working.
– Upon other members’ completion of the work, high fives and pats on the back are exchanged.
– Workout equipment is put away together as a group.

Your workout is done when everyone is finished

Why did you join CrossFit Invictus? Is accountability, group sessions, friends or community part of your answer? If so, then consider this…the workout is not done when you finish. The workout is done when everyone is finished. As a CrossFit coach, facilitating a sense of community is part of my job. I played a lot of team sports, so this comes naturally to me. But it can be scary for others to reach out to someone they don’t know well and encourage them. Often people think “who am I to cheer them on? To tell them they can do it?”

CrossFit exploded on the “fitness scene” years ago because of a few key founding principles – 1) simplicity 2) constantly varied exercise 3) community. People could’ve continued CrossFitting solo – but there’s a reason there’s 10,000+ boxes around the world – people crave community. People become their best selves when pushed, encouraged, and surrounded by others that believe in them. As David Byrne, artist and musician writes…

“We’re a social species, we benefit from our tendency to cooperate to achieve what we cannot alone… We do not exist as isolated individuals. We, as individuals, are inhabitants of networks; we are relationships. That is how we prosper and thrive.”

If you came to Invictus to be part of a community or for the “push of others” to keep your intensity high when working out, then consider this – you owe it to give back to that community. Consider it part of your social contract with the gym (entirely separate from your financial contract. Talk to management about that one.) You can keep your end of the deal by supporting every last member of your class to the finish line of each workout.

Coach’s challenge to you
At the start of every class, look around. Every single person who came to that class is now your tribe. You should take personal satisfaction in seeing to it that each individual is supported and no one “finishes alone”. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a founding member or this is class #1 after fundamentals; it matters not that you chose to do Fitness track and someone else chose Performance track. For that hour, we are one group with a common goal – self-improvement through shared suffering. Make sure no one suffers alone.

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Sierra S. Is The September Member Of The Month

Sierra is one of those athletes that has somehow flown under the radar for MOTM, but when I look at her “resume”, her selection this month seems like a no-brainer. She’s got an extremely consistent attendance record, she is dedicated to her goals and becoming the best version of herself possible, she is constantly looking for movement tips and takes instruction very well, she regularly does extra credit, she shows up for open gym on Saturday’s to work on areas she needs to improve, and she does all of this with a big smile on her face when she walks in the door every day (even though sometimes she leaves unhappy if her double unders don’t go well, haha).

Being a happy and focused athlete and doing the extra work is exactly what we look for when we decide on who should be our member of the month and I think it’s more than safe to say that Sierra is deserving of this month’s award. Congratulations, Sierra!

When did you join Cróga? 
I joined Cróga almost a year ago when Ryan (August member of the month, woohoo!) and I relocated to Willow Glen from Seattle. Cróga was the closest gym to our house, so I tried it first out of convenience. After my first class, I knew I had to be a member. Finding my “home” so quickly really made me feel like a part of the WG community so quickly, which helped my transition to the South Bay Area.

What were you doing before for fitness? 
I was a competitive swimmer and tennis player most of my childhood and into high school. Once I graduated, that tapered off. I was feeling sluggish and out of shape and decided after 2 years of toying around with trying Crossfit that I would quit being intimidated and give it a try. Getting my foot through the door at my first box was harder than any WOD I’ve ever done, but I haven’t looked back.

What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout? 
Oh boy, I can’t remember. I do remember there being “a lot” of air squats and feeling like I was going to keel over and die. I thought how am I ever going to put weight behind this?! Let’s just say I’ve come a looooong way.

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform? 
I have more energy, but more importantly, I’ve had a big change in my attitude. If I’m having a bad day, getting to Cróga and doing a WOD with my fellow Cróganites instantly improves my mood. Additionally, since I started the RP strength meal plan 9 months ago, I feel like I’m making gains way faster than I used to. Still tiny…but mighty!

What days and times do you come to Cróga? 
I come about 5 days/week and used to be a regular 6AMer. A few months ago I had to switch to 3:30 PM to accommodate my work schedule. I love being able to leave the bike shop and come straight to the gym in the afternoons. FYI ya’ll, I do not work at Highland Bikes like Marcus and Dave may say. I work for a design firm above the bike shop, so don’t come looking for me for discounts on your dream Schwinn!

What’s your favorite WOD? 
I love DT. Obviously modified in weight and with my bum shoulder I just modify with dumbells, but it still works.

What’s your least favorite WOD? 
Any WOD with long distance rowing…ew

“The Sierra” WOD! What would it be? 
15 min AMRAP of 10 cleans, 40 double unders, 10 TTB

Side note: Anyone who’s done a double under WOD with me in the past year knows how frustrated I can get (sorry Justin for all the cursing), but I FINALLY can do them fairly well, so any WOD with double unders is my jam!

What’s your favorite post-workout routine? 
Ryan and I love our post-workout waffles and life aid.

What do you love about CrossFit? 
I feel like everyone says this, but the community and support. Crossfit has really given me a diverse group of friends both here and in Washington that I would have never met otherwise, and I think that’s incredible. And of course I love getting my ass kicked daily, it always keeps my ego in check and I love the constant reminder that I can ALWAYS improve.

What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga? 
RP strength and timed nutrition. It’s the best, try it!

What’s your biggest fitness goal for 2017? 
To hopefully get some more muscle on these ole’ bones of mine and really hone in on improving my lifting form.

Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet? 
New members, you won’t be sorry you joined. I’ve felt so fortunate to join a gym with top-notch coaching. I’ve never made so much progress in such a short amount of time. The knowledge and compassion in this gym are incredible. Thank you to all the coaches who have been helping me with this progress (and let’s be honest, putting up with my whining). You all are awesome!

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