Most, if not all, Cróga members know who Jose is because he’s a ball of energy that comes to the gym at all different class times and almost all of our community events. When Jose told me that his college-aged nephew was moving in with him and his wife for the summer for an internship and that he was going to join the gym, I was hoping the enthusiasm for health/fitness, zest for life and positive energy would run in the family. As we have gotten to know Justin, it is evident that they do!
Justin is a very smart, friendly and hard working young man that will be missed dearly when he heads back to school in a couple weeks. He had never done CrossFit before, but he jumped right into the deep end and really committed to improving himself as much as possible in the few short months he was in San Jose. He would come to our CrossFit, Ignite, Powerlifting and Olympic Lifting classes, always looking to learn something new and see how much further he could push himself. And at the end of class, no matter how tired he was, he always found a way to flash a big smile and head out the door with his head held high knowing he gave it his all.
Justin, it has been wonderful getting to know you and coach you this summer. We hope you find a CrossFit gym back at school and continue your training so when we see you next year we can pick up another level past where we left off this year.
When did you join Cróga?
June 1st of this year was my first intro class! I finally caved in after a year or so of pitches from José every time I saw him. It’d go something like this: usually, he’d break down the WOD and his time, complete with demonstrations of the movements and sound effects. Then I’d shake my head and say something along the lines of “Wow, that’s (you’re) crazy…” And every family dinner, CrossFit would be a hot topic of discussion (along with attempts at recruiting my dad and me). I totally understand why now! These days I have to keep myself in check at work or when I hang out with friends/family, otherwise I’ll keep blabbing on and on about it.
What were you doing before for fitness?
I was on the football team in high school, where we’d do strength + conditioning year-round; summer, in-season, school, etc. I was definitely the smallest guy on the team (think Rudy), so I had to go hard on the workouts and in the gym. Freshman year I was probably around 5’5″ and less than 100 lbs. Made some good beginner gains, but kind of stalled out in the gains department junior/senior year as I wasn’t really paying attention to my diet. I was also on the track team freshman year.
After I played my last down of football, I didn’t step foot in the gym for probably 6 months and lost a lot of strength. I’d get quick spurts of motivation and go back for a few months, but then I’d get bored or injured/sick and the cycle would start over again. 3-4 months of being a couch potato followed by 3 months of activity for a couple years. I also played hockey 1-2 times a week.
What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout?
First actual WOD was 16-20-24 of C2B PUs, Ring Dips, and Alternating Dumbbell Snatches. Figured beforehand I could keep up with the rest of the class because I was feeling pretty decent during my intro workouts. My ego got put in check by the end of the first round, ha! I thought, “Man, this is gonna be a long summer…”
What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?
My endurance and metabolic conditioning have gone through the roof! Sometimes I finish a WOD and just think back to how exhausted I was my very first WOD, wondering what the hell I was getting into. My strength has also noticeably improved, especially my cleans and deadlifts! Not sure what my clean max was before, but it was nowhere near 215. My deadlift was 275 and is now 315! The stamina gains have been most noticeable in other activities (hockey, Krav Maga, hiking). Where I’d feel burnt and tired before during those things, I now feel like I can go on forever.
Overall, I just feel better and more lively day-to-day! In terms of looks, my color-coordination in my gym outfits has improved tenfold (just ask Coach Brett). My family says I’ve gotten gainz physically, and though I’m not wearing a medium shirt quite yet, I’ve noticed the differences as well.
What days and times do you come to Cróga?
You can usually catch me M-F at the 7 AM class, along with powerlifting on Wednesday nights and 7-9 on Saturdays for open gym + the WOD.
What’s your favorite WOD?
Hotshots 19 was a blast.
What’s your least favorite WOD?
Anything with wall balls. They’re an easy one-way ticket for me to the 1000-yard stare post-workout.
“The Justin” WOD! What would it be?
21 Burpees over barbell
15 Handstand pushups
9 Power cleans (135/95)
What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
Crack open a FitAid, hit up LeanFeast, then head home and chat about the WOD and CrossFit for 20 minutes over breakfast with the rest of the #CongCrew (José + Lina).
What do you love about CrossFit?
In no particular order…
1) There’s no thinking. You just get up, go and do the WOD. All the programming is taken care of and it never gets monotonous.
2) There’s everything! Mobility, calisthenics, lifting heavy weights, running, etc.
3) The community + coaches! We have an awesome crew + coaches at Cróga that not only works hard, but plays hard – it’s rare for me to leave the gym without a few laughs.
What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga?
Definitely the steak breakfast burritos at LeanFeast! Along with finding out that I make a mean peanut butter/banana/chocolate protein shake that hits the macros hard and is insanely delicious.
What’s your biggest fitness goal for this year?
To crush José in every WOD! Nailing my double-unders and muscle-ups should help with that. 🙂
What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?
For new members: make sure you introduce yourself and get to know your fellow Cróganites and coaches, and start building relationships with them! Your coaches and fellow members are the greatest assets you are going to have here. Everyone here is so warm and welcoming – the people are a huge part of what gets me out of bed in the morning and excited to work out!
For people considering: the WODs may sound intense and scary, and they are. But everything can be scaled no matter your fitness level. Before you know it, you’ll be kicking butt alongside some awesome people and coaches, while being in the best shape of your life.
Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet?
Just in case we haven’t had this conversation (which I’ve had many times, ha!) and are still wondering, I am José and Lina’s nephew 🙂
HUGE thank you to everyone at Cróga for an amazing summer and start to my CrossFit journey! It’s been a blast and I’ll miss you all at school.