Madhu N. Is The May Member Of The Month

Madhu has been an athlete at Cróga for almost 2 years now and she’s been a fixture at 5 am and on Sundays since the day she joined. Her positive attitude, love of training and passion for challenging herself have all been important parts of her growing and improving steadily month over month. She even convinced her husband to start training with us! She loves bringing her son to the gym before class to show off all the fun stuff she does to improve her health and fitness. It has been a fantastic 2 years, Madhu, and we’re looking forward to many more ahead!

When did you join Cróga?
I joined Cróga in August 2015, almost 2 years ago but it seems like yesterday thanks to so warm of a reception from day one.

What were you doing before for fitness?
Regular gym and running. I was introduced to gym workouts by my husband. I had been going to the gym for many years but having a kid 4 years back has changed my routine. It was hard to loose the baby weight as well as be regular. I was going to the gym like once a week or so.

What was your first workout? First reaction to the workout?
My first workout was rowing, box-jumps and hand-release push-ups. It was an intro class with Coach Dave. Although I had been working out prior to Cróga, the intro workout was really hard for me. It was an intense workout and I was tired after working out for just for 45 minutes.

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?
I get compliments that I look stronger than before. I feel stronger, my posture is much better, I do not get tired as often as I used to, and I perform all my tasks with much more focus.

In my first intro workout, Coach Dave mentioned that he practiced and preached helping people to get ‘Ready for Life’. After almost two years I feel that I am getting ready for life.

What days and times do you come to Cróga?
Monday-Wednesday-Friday 5 am, sometimes on Sunday.

What’s your favorite WOD?

What’s your least favorite WOD?
Every WOD while I am doing it. Once it is over then that WOD is my favorite one.

“The Madhu” WOD! What would it be?
Running, pull-ups, deadlift, pull-ups, running

What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
Usually, I have to rush back home so that my husband can go to his workout while I stay with my son, more of a schedule than a routine. Sometimes when I have time, I like to hang around to try out a few things for extra credits.

What do you love about CrossFit?
Let’s start with Coach Dave and all other coaches as well. I used to workout in other gyms or go for a run but what I like about being here is that if felt like being connected. As the song goes ‘Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name’. I started looking forward to being in the gym even when I was really tired and sore from an earlier workout. Everyone is competitive, yet it feels like one team and the WOD feels like some team activity.

Being from a different geographical region and totally different culture, I had my doubts and concerns before joining a group workout like CrossFit. I wasn’t sure if I would fit in or even be able to do anything. Looking back, I sure am glad that I dared to join as I have never felt like an outsider any time.All the members are so nice and the way they help each other to unload weights or any other gesture is appreciated.

What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga?
I learned about Whole30 and did it sincerely for a couple of months.

What’s your biggest fitness goal for 2017?
I would like to achieve a hand-stand push-up and strict pull-up. Other than overall fitness, I want to be more disciplined. I think discipline and fitness go hand-in-hand – if I am more disciplined, I will be more fit and vice versa.

What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?
First I would like to tell people that CrossFit is fun, it’s not impossible. Don’t get overwhelmed by looking at the workout videos on the Internet and think it is for already fit people.

I used to think that CrossFit may not be for me but when I walked into Cróga and talked to Coach Dave, I realized it is something that I can do. Credit goes to coaches who make it look simple. Once you get into the zone, it becomes your second nature and you don’t feel like missing it. Joining Cróga is like working out with your buddies and it’s statistically proven that you workout more regularly if you workout with your friends.

My advice for new members is to give it a try. There is a learning curve, some may take a long time to get into it, so keep digging in. Everyone has to start somewhere and Cróga is the best place to start.

Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet?
Thanks Cróga CrossFit team for considering me as member of the month, its an honor for me. I am really lucky to be part of the Cróga community.

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Jason R. Is The April Member Of The Month

Jason is one of our 6 am and weekend regulars that we always look forward to having in class. He’s been a CrossFitter for years since he started with workouts in the police department, and it’s been an absolute pleasure being his coach since his first class. He always gives his best effort, is willing to take instruction and learn even with his years of experience, always has a joke to tell, and you can always count on him having a smile on his face even after a tough workout. We’re proud to call him one of our own and to reward him as our Member of The Month for April 2017.

Here’s a Q&A with Jason about his experience here at Cróga CrossFit:

When did you join Cróga?
Well, Stacey and Madi joined in May of 2013. So I would say that I started attending classes with Stacey and Madi in the summer of 2013. I think I officially joined Cróga as a member in the beginning of 2014.

What were you doing before for fitness?
I was fortunate to be a police officer in Fremont at the time Crossfit began to hit the mainstream. As a result, the Fremont Police Department built a CrossFit gym in the police department and I was sent to become a level 1 CrossFit trainer along with 10 other police officers. So I guess that is a long way of saying I have been doing CrossFit since around 2007 or 2008.

What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout?
My first CrossFit workout was ‘Fran’. And when it was over I thought I was going to throw up!

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?
I would say the biggest improvement I have seen doing CrossFit is that I have reduced injuries to my body despite working out and training on a consistent basis. When I was competing in running or swimming competitions prior to doing CrossFit, I would find that I would be injured once or twice a year from the training.

What days and times do you come to Cróga?
I try to make the Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 6 am workouts during the week. And the morning workouts on Saturday and Sunday.

What’s your favorite WOD?
I think “Murph” is my favorite. I love to run and do pull ups. Plus there is no weightlifting, which is good for me because I am already pretty huge!

What’s your least favorite WOD?
Any workout that has double unders. Jumping rope is not my thing.

“The Jason” WOD! What would it be?

If I would was to program a workout it would probably be “four rounds of 400-meter run, 20 burpee box jumps, 10 thrusters and 5 handstand push ups”.

What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
Drinking a beer… On the weekends that is. Apparently, it’s frowned upon to drink before showing up to work as a police officer.

What do you love about CrossFit?
I love that every time I show up to Cróga, Dave has programmed the workout so all I have to do is workout. And the fact that Stacey and Madi workout as much if not more than I do, I am forced to push myself during the workout so they don’t always beat me.

What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga?
Drinking beer after the workout.

What’s your biggest fitness goal for 2017?
To master butterfly pull ups. And front squat more than Madi.

What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?
Commit to giving Cróga and CrossFit a try. It is a great gym, with great coaches and fun people to work out with every time you show up.

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Wendy C. Is The March Member Of The Month

Wendy walked into Cróga a couple of years ago a somewhat skeptical Physical Therapist who was very curious about CrossFit. She’d heard the various wives tales about how everyone that does CrossFit gets hurt, but was intrigued by all the awesome results she saw on social media of people that regularly did it.

Fast forward to now and boy are we glad that Wendy walked in the door with an open mind. Not only has she improved tremendously athletically, but she has become an integral part of our community and an extremely valuable resource for myself and our coaches. Although I’ve spent hundreds of hours watching videos about mobility and teaching myself about the human body, there is still A LOT to learn and Wendy is often the person I turn to first. She’s got a great attitude, she loves learning and getting better as a PT and an athlete, and she is willing to give of her time and knowledge to help everyone around her. She’s another one of those people that just seemed to fall into our lap and we couldn’t be happier to call her one of our own.

Here’s a Q&A with Wendy about her experience here at Cróga CrossFit:

When did you join Cróga?

I tried out Cróga and Crossfit through Fitmob in March 2015 to see what this whole Crossfit stuff was all about. I tried to do all the workouts on my own at 24 fitness but failed miserably. I finally officially joined in Oct 2015 as my pre-wedding gift to myself and to help me get as ripped as possible before my wedding. I had a small break due to moving further away but I made sure our second move was close enough for me to come back to Cróga. Now I’m only a couple minutes away!

What were you doing before for fitness?

Before Cróga I worked out at the gym, ran and played basketball. Never did any Olympic lifting- cleaning and being a jerk didn’t interest me.

What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout?

I think it was the intro workout with Dave. I believe it was an AMRAP of 10 mins? 100m run, 10 sit ups, 10 push ups, 10 squats. First reaction- when can I start lifting heavy things and do those cool butterfly kipping pull ups, Dave!??

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?

I feel so much stronger and even though I don’t run as frequently as I did when I was training for half marathons, I haven’t lost too much speed and endurance and I am able to regain the speed with just a couple weeks of running again. Before, if I stopped running for even a week, I felt like death during my first run back.

I also eat a lot better because I know I will pay for it the next morning during the WOD if I scarf down a tub of popcorn (my weakness!!) the night before.

I am also more confident with trying to push my body a little further, especially for heavy lifts. As a physical therapist, I constantly have patients come in and tell me they injured their back because they were lifting or squatting 100+lb. My PT brain always told me to “stop because you will get injured!”. Now I am able to turn that off (a bit) and trust my body. It helps tremendously knowing that the coaches are there to stop me if something looks bad. “Trusting the process” of the daily programming has kept me safe and healthy. Now when a patient comes in telling me they tried to squat 100 lbs, I scoff and judge their tiny leg muscles. =P

What days and times do you come to Cróga?

After changing my work schedule, I now come in with the consistent 6am crew. I do miss my 7am friends though! I also try to come in on Sat and Sun.

What’s your favorite WOD?

Uh…I am going to have to say 100 burpees for time..only because it was the first workout I logged on BTWB that scored Dragon status! Who doesn’t want to feel like Khaleesi (Game of Thrones, anyone?)

What’s your least favorite WOD?

Ones that I can’t RX and my CrossFit nemesis, Kristi, can (which are a lot of WODs).

“The Wendy” WOD! What would it be?

3RFT- 15 burpees, 10 power cleans, 200m run, 8 free throws attempts, 3 3 pointers attempts; add a burpee for every shot missed.

What’s your favorite post-workout routine?

#CrogaECC, mobilize and breakfast at Scramblz AM. But usually, it’s lying on the floor after the WOD for a little too long and then rushing home to shower and go to work.

What do you love about CrossFit?

Everyone probably says this but I love the community! I’ve always enjoyed working out and running on my own and never thought I needed the motivation of others but since joining Cróga, I have met so many wonderful people that keep me excited to come into the gym every morning.

I also love that there is always something measurable you can work towards. Got double unders? Cool, now do 100 in a row. PR’d your squat? Cool, now squat more…And faster! I love using Beyond the Whiteboard to measure my progress. Am I the only one that gets sad when there’s a down arrow next to your Fitness Level?

What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga?

Cheerios with my Cinnabon flavored protein shake – performance protein/carb post workout combo that makes me feel like I’m eating a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch!

My second favorite is casein mug cake with cookie butter from Trader Joes. Its amazinggggg, let me know if you want the recipe!

What’s your biggest fitness goal for 2017?

10 strict pull ups and a muscle up.

My very vain goal is to have abs before I turn 30 (on 5/15/17)!

What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?

Trust the process, be consistent, set goals. The coaches here are top notch and there is always something you can do more or change to do better. Little tweaks and quick feedback even during a WOD make a world of difference in your form and efficiency.

Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet?

Thank you to all the coaches and gym members who make the gym the fun and amazing place that it is. Grateful for everyone of you! Now, who wants to start to message my husband Rob multiple times a day to get him to join our community?

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Jose C. Is The February Member Of The Month

We met Jose a few years ago, not long after we first opened. From the first time we chatted, I knew he would fit right in at Cróga and would be a great addition to our community. Well, fast forward a few months and despite a long warm up and plenty of stretching, he blew out his calf on a run. The plan was for him to take a month or two off and return, but life and work got in the way.

Jose lives right by the gym, so as I was driving around the neighborhood I would run into him from time to time jogging with his dog and would yell out the window “we need you back at Cróga, come on in this week!” He would usually respond with something like “I need to! I’ll be there”, but the busy guy that he is, work would usually send him on a trip and it just wouldn’t work out.

Well, fast forward again to about 6 months ago when Jose walked back in the door. We had been missing him and he had been missing us. He jumped right back in where he left off and hasn’t looked back. We often see him 5+ days a week and he’s getting faster, stronger and fitter by the week.

Keep up the good work, Jose. We love having you as an athlete and as an integral part of our community!

Here is a Q&A with Jose about his experience here at Cróga CrossFit:

(Coach Dave): When did you join Cróga?

(Jose): I officially joined Cróga almost at the start but I ripped my calve after only a few weeks training. My Cróga re-birth happened back in October after Coach David finally yelled at me enough as he drove by me to come back.

(D): What were you doing before for fitness?

(J): It has been a long time since I have used weights, I had surgery which removed a significant portion of my left pec and had not been able to train outside of running.

(D): What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout?

(J): I can’t remember the workout but it was a 6 minutes WOD which at first I mocked due to the duration. I don’t think I was able to get off the mat for at least 15 mins…

(D): What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?

(J): I have lost about 18 lbs and have increased my stamina. Overall, I feel stronger and more confident in the WODs, my main surprised has been the on going comments from people in life about how great I look.

(D): What days and times do you come to Cróga?

(J): I started out with the best crew at 7 AM but I find myself attending different times depending on my work schedule. I try to come in 6 days a week when I can.

(D): What’s your favorite WOD?

(J): Murph, by far!

(D): What’s your least favorite WOD?

(J): Anything with wall balls.

(D): “The Jose Cong” WOD! What would it be?

(J): Cleans, burpees over box jumps and 100m sprints AMRAP

(D): What’s your favorite post workout routine?

(J): Hitting Scramblz for an egg white, bean and rice burrito.

(D): What do you love about CrossFit?

(J): The People! Coaches and fellow Athletes have created an amazing community!

(D): What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga?

(J): Cauliflower and turkey fried “rice”!

(D): What’s your biggest fitness goal for 2017?

(J): Improve on technical form across all of the Olympic and Powerlifting movements. AND hit a Bar MU

(D): What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?

(J): ICE it!

(D): Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet?

(J): I am amazed by the inspiration of all of the athletes, whether we are scaling it or those who are pushing RX+, the commitment and dedication fires me up to try harder.

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Sarah R. Is The January 2017 Member Of The Month

The longer I’ve known Sarah and the more I learn about her the more she surprises and inspires me in her own unique way.

From the first time I sent her an email and realized that her email address was SarahAwesome, which instantly became her nickname, because why have a boring email address with your last name if you can have an awesome one with the word awesome in it.

To learning that she comes to 5 am class not out of necessity like most of our other members, but just because she likes the people in that class and enjoys working out early (sometimes she actually wakes up early so she can read before she comes to CrossFit).

Sarah is one of our shorter members, which can make some things that we do more difficult for her, but she doesn’t let that get in her way and she regularly refuses my scaling options or modifications that take that in to account because she’s determined to do the work as it’s written as often as possible.

Her dedication to whatever she sets her mind to never waivers and because of this and her willingness to listen and implement our coaching we have seen her make some huge strides in a relatively short period of time.

We’re looking forward to seeing what 2017 brings to you physically and mentally, Sarah Awesome. Keep up the solid attendance and hard work and all the puzzle pieces will continue to align!

Here is a little Q&A with Sarah about her experiences here at Cróga:

(Coach Dave): When did you join Cróga?

(Sarah): It was probably one of the best days in my life, I went to Cróga in the morning and adopted my rescue puppy in the afternoon.

(D): What were you doing before for fitness?

(S): I did CrossFit for about 1.5 years in Pittsburgh, then decided to move across the country from PA to CA with pretty much no money so I had to take a little break to save up money. During that time, I did a bunch of things, like yoga, sometimes I would run, I had access to weights so sometimes I would lift weights but it’s hard to get motivated consistently by myself so I worked out when I felt like it.

(D): What was your first workout?

(S): Oh gosh, I don’t even remember what it was at Cróga, sorry. I was so so so so happy to be back at CrossFit that I think I just fought back happy tears mixed with mild hysteria. I think it involved rowing, which I hadn’t actually done before. And I do remember the warm up had the bear crawl in it and I thought it was the most awkward thing ever.

(D): First reaction to your first workout?

(S): I apparently documented this on Facebook, fyi. I said “I am so so so happy to be back at CrossFit (see, I wasn’t kidding!). They let me jump right in and I wasn’t really shown any mercy. I thought I had been doing okay keeping up with workouts but toward the end of it, I was like ‘and I wanted to do this again, WHY?’ But I am so happy!” Hot damn, I luh ya, CrossFit!

(D): What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?

(S): I was totes overweight when I started back at CrossFit even though I tried to keep up with workouts on my own! But there’s this really cool thing in Cali where people will deliver food to you at pretty much any time of day or night. For a Pittsburgh girl, this was marvelous, at first. And there is access to such a variety of food. I acted like a tourist the first 6 months I was here, I needed to try ALL the food and I wanted to drive to ALL the cool places so yeah, then I lost ALL of my good habits.

But once I got back into working out on a schedule, I chilled out with my food lust. I threw myself into the workouts at Cróga but it still took a long time for me to drop the weight. NOW, my looks have improved so much – I’m almost back to the weight I was when I moved here, yay!!. I am shapely again and I love that I can feel all the muscles forming underneath my skin.

I feel ECSTATIC. I’m 4’10” so it is really important that I stay in shape. Also, I feel strong and happy. Mentally, physically and emotionally, strong, happy, healthy.

My performance has improved so much – actually Cróga has been so amazing for that. I liked my other CrossFit box but I think they were sometimes lacking in attention to certain aspects of form. However, I improved faster and in less time at Cróga than I feel that I did at my old CrossFit gym so that’s exciting! I am able to lift heavier because my form is more on point. Cróga is seriously awesome.

(D): What days and times do you come to Cróga?

(S): I usually come at 5am MWF and 8am or 9am on Saturday and 9am on Sunday. I have really been able to be consistent with coming 5 days/week and not feel like I’m dying.

(D): What’s your favorite WOD?

(S): hmmm, there was one we did that was pretty much all body weight stuff and I remember telling Dave that it was “all the things I’m good at” but I don’t remember what it was. It probably definitely involved push ups and stuff like that. I think my favorite WODs are the chipper types or countdown ones (like 40 of something, 30 of something, etc) – I just hate doing the same thing over and over and over again but I like counting down and doing a varied amount of moves.

(D): What’s your least favorite WOD?

(S): Probably anything with double unders, handstands, OH squats or power snatches because I can’t really do any of those nicely and I hate sucking.

(D): “The Sarah Rodi” WOD! What would it be?

(S): It would be one of those 50-40-30-20-10 type deals. It’s so hard to pick what exactly would be in it because I like a lot of things. Maybe wall balls, push ups, box jumps, deadlifts, front squats, some sort of clean, push presses….I don’t know. I can tell you more accurately what shouldn’t be in it. (We’re all totally not puzzled right now as to why I would be a member of the month.)

(D): What’s your favorite post workout routine?

(S): I go home and get attacked with love by my dogs (we’ve been separated for, like, a whole HOUR – it’s hard on us, don’t judge), drink a second cup of coffee and make breakfast.

(D): What do you love about CrossFit?

(S): I hate to be fulsome in my appreciation but I feel like CrossFit saved my life so I love everything about it. At both CrossFit gyms I’ve been a member of, the people are totally awesome. The workouts are really hard and sometimes make me cry but I like seeing all the improvement and what’s hard work worth without a few tears shed?. I like that everyone works so hard and there are ways to scale everything and no one makes you feel like a loser if you can’t do something. It’s a very nice, supportive environment. If you miss a class, people ask you why, even if they are just being friendly and don’t expect an explanation, you feel a little guilty and guilt is motivating.

(D): What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga?

(S): Definitely Whole30. I was eating clean before I moved to Cali and in between trying all the cool new places out here I was continuing to eat clean but Whole30 is really helpful for being a reset tool and keeping me on track.

(D): What’s your biggest fitness goal for 2017?

(S): 2016 was the year I made Sarah great again so 2017 should be the year I MAKE SARAH THE GREATEST EVER. (CrossFit is really good for my self-esteem). I should have a noble goal, like “I want to do double unders” because I’ve never even accomplished one but sorry, CrossFit, I don’t care about that. Too honest for my own good, I know. No, for real, I want to lift even heavier than I do now, I want to be well into triple digits with everything I lift and I want my “light” weights for “quick moving” WODS to be on the heavy side. I would LOVE to be quicker at everything. I would also really like to get my overhead movements locked down, so these shoulders need to cooperate with my goals and get more mobile.

(D): What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?

(S): Don’t pay attention to whatever dumb meme your friend of a friend of an acquaintance whom you met once at a club that used to host emo bands back in the 2000s, shares on social media making fun of CrossFit/CrossFitters. You gotta come see for yourself. Also, don’t be intimidated, CrossFit really is for everyone! I could have actually started back a little sooner but I had this idea in my head that I had to be a certain fitness shape to walk into CrossFit again, WRONG (in the Donald Trump voice). Don’t worry about what shape you’re in, just show up. And once you’re showing up to CrossFit, be consistent!! Pick a schedule, stick to it, and keep pushing. In all honesty, you should just start at Cróga to build the best foundation, then you can take on the world.

(D): Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet?

(S): This is so nice of Cróga to consider me for member of the month, it is really an honor and very humbling since I am a pretty average CrossFitter. I’m effusive but I’m glad I found Cróga because it has made living in Cali, so far away from my all people, bearable. I’m obsessed with CrossFit and I like pushing myself to do better all the time, which CrossFit definitely encourages. Cróga is full of coaches who are committed and dedicated, smart and knowledgeable and such great examples of what CrossFit is and should always be. Coach Dave is a genius, very funny and his no bullshit attitude is really good for pushing me and for motivation. I enjoy the events and get-togethers that are scheduled, they enable me to meet other members who don’t go to class at the same times I do. Finally, shout out to Coach PJ, who lets me whine sometimes and just turns a deaf ear to it (Coach Dave NEVER lets me whine haha). I’m really going to miss Coach PJ and rap Fridays.

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Joel S. Is the 2016 Member Of The Year

Although Joel won our Member of the Month award in July, when I was looking through our attendance records for the year and noticed that he was number one in attendance by a landslide and thought about his dedication and infectiously positive attitude, I instantly knew there was no one else we could give our Member of the Year for 2016 to.

With an astonishing 284 classes in 2016, Joel attended 30 more classes than his next closest “competitor” and averaged almost 24 classes a month. He also did this almost exclusively at the 6 am class (minus Saturdays), which is impressive in and of itself.


I’m not going to spill the beans on how old Joel is, I’ll let him decide if he’d like to, but I will say that as one of our masters athletes, he is someone that inspires me daily with his will to improve and dedication to our program. He is always ready to rock when class starts, moves with intent, is a regular in the extra credit club, and never fails to crack a good joke and get the class laughing.
I can’t think of anyone that I’d prefer to be our role model for a successful 2017 as a gym and community. Keep up the good work Joel and hopefully we’ll see you hit 300 this year!
Here is a little fun Q&A with Joel:
(Coach Dave): What are some new things that you have learned about yourself since starting CrossFit?
(Joel): I had not ever done Olympic lifting and not that much in the area of body weight exercises, so those took some getting used to. Especially the Olympic lifting and I feel like I’m still learning the movements and improving my technique.
(D): What improvements have you seen outside the gym?
(J): More energy, better concentration and better sleep.
(D): You attended nearly 300 classes this year, what were you avoiding outside of the gym that made you spend so much time here?
(J): I don’t really think that it’s a question of what I’m avoiding anything… I’m really a creature of habit and I like a routine. Going to Croga for the 6 AM class is part of my morning routine. If Croga had a 6 AM Saturday class, I’d probably be there.
(D): What’s the best part of working out with the 6 am crew?
(J):  The camaraderie and Esprit De Corps along with a group of like-minded people that want to improve their physical well-being.
(D): Star Wars or Star Trek and why?
(J): Star Trek the TV show, because I’m a traditionalist and a William Shatner fan.  “Beam me up Scotty!”
(D): If you could have one meal for the rest of your life what would it be? Bonus points if you pick a paleo friendly meal!
(J): Well, it would need to include not just the food but the environment and who I’m sharing the meal with.
So, the ‘who’ would be friends and family members. The ‘environment’ would be La Palapa Restaurant in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, right on the beach for a candlelight dinner. And the dinner would be…
Wine Séptima Sauvignon Blanc (Argentina)
Appetizer: LOBSTER AND SHRIMP TAQUITOS, pickled onions, watercress and papaya salad, creamy chipotle dressing
Entrée: PAN SEARED SCALLOPS, red bell pepper polenta, salad, miso and orange sauce
Dessert: Chocolate lava cake, vanilla ice cream
After Dinner Drink: Mexican Flaming Coffee
I’m probably not getting a very good Paleo score, right?
(D): What was the first album that you ever bought?
(J): The Beatles ‘Rubber Soul’ 1965
(D): If you could have a conversation with anyone that ever existed, dead or alive, who would it be?
(J):  Leonardo da Vinci, Italian polymath whose areas of interest included invention, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography.
(D): What cartoon character do you resemble the most?
(J): Elmer J. Fudd: “Shhh. Be vewy vewy quiet, I’m hunting wabbits”. Because he never gives up.
(D): Anything else you would like to add?
(J): It is a great honor to be selected member of the year. Thank you.
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Cole S. Is The November Member Of The Month

Cole has been a member of ours for about a year and a half now and he has really come into his own as an athlete at Cróga. When we first met him it was obvious that he was athletic and he had some CrossFit experience, but he needed some fine tuning to his movement and just a little more time doing CrossFit before he would really take off.

Well, over a year and a half Cole has really come into his own, just plugging along, adding more and more volume and focus to his fitness and it has really started to pay dividends.

The second half of this year he’s started to attend 2 classes a day a few times a week when he has time and has begun setting short term very specific goals that are just out of his reach to help motivate him to do the extra work to reach his goal and he’s been very successful.

Most recently, he set a goal to get his first Bar Muscle Up before his birthday, which was about 6 weeks away.

At first his progress was slow and I was a little worried he would give up on it because it didn’t seem like he was really going anywhere and the improvements were so minor that most people wouldn’t be satisfied or think it was going to happen, but he stuck with it and was 100% determined and practiced DAILY (sometimes twice a day until his hands were ripped to shreds) and he made it happen a couple weeks before the deadline.

He then proceeded to begin to master the skill getting a few each day including a few on his actual bday, which was very fun to watch.

This reaching of a goal only helped put more wind in his sails and we’re very excited to give him our Member of the Month award and watch where 2017 takes him with his increased focus and drive to improve as an athlete. Next step, 225# Clean & Jerk! Get it Cole!!!

Here is a Q&A with Cole about his experience here at Cróga:

(Coach Dave): When did you join Cróga?

(Cole): Aug/Sept 2015

(D): What were you doing before for fitness?

(C): Drinking beer and talking about running.

(D): What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout?

(C): I can’t remember what the first workout was, but I remember feeling like I was going to die.

(D): What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?

(C): I’ve lost 30 lbs. much stronger, better endurance.

(D): What days and times do you come to Cróga?

(C): 4-5 days a week and fluctuate between mornings and afternoons depending on schedule.

(D): What’s your favorite WOD?

(C): No real favorite but I prefer heavy lifting vs. cardio.

(D): What’s your least favorite WOD?

(C): 16.5 Thrusters & Burpees over bar 21,18,15,12,9,6,3

(D): “The Cole S. WOD” What would it be?

(C): 3 rounds row 250m, 10 deadlifts, 10 sholder to overhead

(D): What’s your favorite post workout routine?

(C): Rom WOD and eating

(D): What do you love about CrossFit?

(C): I’m very competitive so I enjoy having a group of people all pushing themselves in the same class. The fact that workouts are created for you and contsantly changing to improve different aspects of your fitness is great.

(D): What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga?

(C): Protein Pancakes

(D): What’s your biggest fitness goal for the up coming year of 2017?

(C): 315lbs back squat, 405lbs deadlift, 280lbs bench press, 255lbs clean + jerk, ring muscle up

(D): What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?

(C): For new members I would stress showing up as often as you possibly can. I started going 1-3 days a week in the beginning and had trouble seeing results/improvement I wanted. If you’re considering joining you need to just do it. All of the coaches and other members are great and whether you’re already an athlete or you struggle getting off the couch Cróga will challenge you and provide the guidance necessary to reach your fitness goals.

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Stacey C. Is The October Member Of The Month

Stacey has been a member at Cróga CrossFit since Day 1 and the past three and a half years of getting to know her and coach her have been nothing short of fantastic. Not only is she one of our most consistent members month after month, but she always has a positive attitude, is extremely generous with her time, always volunteering to help with anything we need, and is welcoming and helpful to all our new members. Her husband, Jason, and daughter, Madi, are also integral parts of our community and we couldn’t be more thankful to have them as member of Cróga, as well as, personal friends of ours.

To add to all of the wonderful things we love about Stacey as a person, she is also a great athlete that is always looking to improve by pushing the envelope in class, doing extra credit work after class, and taking care of her body outside of the gym by eating well and seeing specialists outside the gym to make sure she’s working at 100% at all times. She is a great example for our other members to look to as an athlete and as a person.

Congratulations on being named our Member of the Month, Stacey! And thank you for being such an inspiration inside and outside the gym.

Here is a little Q&A with Stacey about her experiences here at Cróga:

(Coach Dave): When did you join Cróga?

(Stacey): I think it was May 2013. My daughter, Madi, saw the sign and asked if we could go check out a class. I had done crossfit at another gym for a few months prior and really liked it. More than anything my teenager was asking to join a gym and workout with her mom!

(D): What were you doing before for fitness?

(S): I had done 6 months of CrossFit at another gym in Santa Clara but before that I was mainly doing cardio workouts. I found that I wasn’t getting great results and I had a hard time staying motivated with cardio only!

(D): What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?

(S): Over the last year I finally figured out the right mix of nutrition and workout’s. I hit my goal around weight but also started seeing better performance with weights and skills. I love feeling strong and constantly seeing how you can make progress.

(D): What days and times do you come to Cróga?

(S): I am a regular at the 6am M-W-F group and usually work out on Saturday and Sunday’s.

(D): What’s your favorite WOD?

(S): Hmmm…favorite WOD. I like the WOD’s that mix gymnastic movements with some lifting. Love pull-ups, wall balls and anything lifting.

(D): What’s your favorite post workout routine?

(S): Not very exciting…usually a protein shake, shower and go to work:)

(D): What do you love about CrossFit?

(S): Like what most people say – I love the varied workouts and consistently being challenged to learn new skills or lift heavier weight. My family makes fun of the fact that at 8pm every night I am excited to see what the workout is going to be the next day:)

(D): What’s your biggest fitness goal for rest 2016?

(S): Hand stand walks and strict pull-ups. My overall goal is to get a bar muscle up by the time Madi is home from college in May!

(D): What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?

(S): Try it! The members and coaches are a fun group of people and anytime you are trying to get motivated and see results you can’t beat Cróga. I would also say set goals – I have seen better results since setting small goals and tracking how I am achieving them!

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Justin W. Is The September Member Of The Month

There’s very few members that I’ve had as much interaction with as Justin and it has been an absolute pleasure watching him develop as an athlete and as a person. As you’ll read below, he has had an awesome journey with us at Cróga that in the grand scheme of things is still in it’s infancy.

He and I have talked about training methodologies, come up with plans to help him reach short term weight loss goals, he’s shared his knowledge of web design and marketing with me, we’ve enjoyed long discussions about nutrition and have sent many an email back and forth about life, growing up, setting emotional goals and finding motivation for training. Justin has become more than just a member looking for a good workout and then walking out the door, he has become a great friend and I’m proud that we get to give something back to him this month as a thank you and award him for all his hard work and dedication.

His Q&A below is very well written and as always well thought out. I highly suggest you set aside 5 minutes to give it a thorough read, you will be better for it.

Here is a little Q&A with Justin about his experiences here at Cróga CrossFit:

(Coach Dave): When did you join Cróga?

(Justin): I first stopped by Cróga on March 16th, 2013. I was riding my foldable bike (reinforcing the big man on a little bike stereotype), and I saw a sign for a CrossFit gym that hadn’t been there before. I rolled up and looked in the window to find Dave, Kelly, and two others (I forgot who) drinking beers in preparation for St. Patty’s Day. They welcomed me in, we chatted, and I was there the next day doing Front Squats.

(D): What were you doing before for fitness?

(J): I have done CrossFit at two gyms previously. One was a stereotypical box with an unskilled coach and her friends. I was way out of my league with those firefighters and LEOs. Next was a CrossFit gym in Oakland. It was alright, but very large classes meant little feedback. I feel in love with Cróga from day one. Right before I joined Cróga, I was riding my bike to and from work, running occasionally.

(D): What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout?

(J): I actually know exactly what it was and my reaction, thanks to Beyond The Whiteboard (I’m obsessed with BTWB). 7×5 Front Squats. In BTWB for that workout I wrote the note “Easier than I expected”. Given the weights I used, I’m not surprised …

(D): What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?

(J): My weight has dropped from 275 lbs to 235 lbs, now back up to 250 lbs (on purpose). Last year, I did a challenging backpacking trip, and I was constantly in the rear of the group. This year I did an even more challenging trip, and I was in the front with ease, when I wanted to be. I enjoyed it much more because I was challenged much less physically. I feel a lot better everyday, especially when stressful things occur. Previously I was prone to get sick easily. Not anymore.


(D): What days and times do you come to Cróga?

(J): I usually make it in 4-5 days a week. My most consistent time is 3:30 PM. I love open gym on Saturday, followed by being guilt tripped into the partner workout afterwards, but I won’t be there for those for a few months due to a new commitment.

(D): The “Justin Williams” WOD! What would it be?

(J): 21-15-9 Deadlifts (1x bodyweight) – Burpees – Row Calories

(D): What’s your favorite post workout routine?

(J): Immediately after: Clench my fist in victory. Any workout finished is a workout conquered.
After that: Wonder what I could’ve done better. Make a post-workout shake of Carbs and Progenex Protein (Belgian Chocolate, not Mocha. Never again Mocha) After that: Hang with the other awesome people at Cróga. This is my favorite time other than the workout itself. After that: Head home and bore Krystal to death about how awesome CrossFit is.

(D): What do you love about CrossFit?

(J): I love the idea of CrossFit, as originally classified by Glassman.

“Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise, but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, and presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc., hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.”
– Coach Greg Glassman

I found CrossFit after training for and completing a marathon. I finished in just under 7 hours. While training, I lost a significant amount of weight, and strength. I looked online for a training program that would allow me to run, but also retain strength. CrossFit came up. I found a gym and gave it a shot. That was 2009.

Since then, I’ve had limited success with P90X, running, and cycling. But the promise of being ready for anything, or being as fit as I could be, kept drawing me back. However, that wasn’t enough to make me “successful” in CrossFit.

Unlike other members at Cróga, I’m not naturally competitive when it comes to fitness. In my career, I’m ultra competitive. But the competitive drive isn’t as strong for me in the gym. The desire to be doing something brought me back to Cróga in April 2015, but even when I returned I wasn’t really committed to an outcome. I definitely made gains in my overall fitness (as evidenced by an epic Snowboarding trip), but I didn’t have consistency. That didn’t come until April of this year.

My beautiful wife Krystal and I were preparing to celebrate our second anniversary. She had told me should would plan everything and surprise me. Then, a few days before our anniversary, Krystal told me we’d have to cancel our plans, and come up with something else. When I asked why, she gracefully dodged the question. Eventually she told me that the plan was to go zip lining in Santa Cruz. Awesome!

But she had just discovered that there was a weight limit of 250 lbs. I was 275. We couldn’t go because I was too heavy.

I didn’t sleep much that night. The voice in my head kept saying, “Some husband you are, fat ass! Can’t even do the things your wife wants you to do. Guess she’ll have to push you around in a wheelchair soon, and you’ll be a burden for everyone!” Other nonsense echoed in my head all night.

Upon opening my email the next morning, I fortuitously found an email announcing the Cróga Spring Paleo Challenge! I jumped on it. More importantly, I decided then and there that I never wanted to feel limited by my weight again. I told Krystal to reschedule the zip lining excursion 6 weeks later, and that I would weigh 250 lbs by that time. She scheduled the excursion.

By paying attention to diet, following the advice of Coach Dave, and constantly measuring my bodyweight, I happily achieved my goal, the day before our trip. The next morning, we arrived in Santa Cruz, I stepped on the scale, was given the OK, grabbed a harness, and enjoyed coasting through the trees with Krystal and friends.

For me, CrossFit is about “being fit to be be useful.” It’s about maximizing GPP, or fitness. I love that my goals and the CrossFit ideal are aligned.

(D): What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga?

(J): As part of the Whole 30 challenge, we found the Well Fed cookbooks. In Well Fed 2, there is a recipe for Plaintain Nachos. You slice up plantains and make little nachos on top of each fried plantain chip. Yum.

(D): What’s your biggest fitness goal for the rest of 2016?

(J): 1. Do 1 strict pull-up.
2. Reach a fitness level of 40 on Beyond the Whiteboard (currently at 32)
3. Contribute one substantial thing back to the community that helps others obtain their fitness goals.

(D): What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?

(J): Advice to new members of Cróga and those new to CrossFit:
1. Discipline = freedom.
It’s hard to make it to the gym at first. You’ll think of something “better” to do. You’ll look at the WOD and say “oh, that’s not good for me, I should probably sit this one out” or “my back is sore, I should probably rest” or “the house is dirty, I should clean it.” I’ve said all those things to myself.

Commit to getting to the gym 3 days a week, or 5, or whatever it is for you. Don’t worry about the details, just find a way to get your foot in the gym door, then let the rest figure itself out. If you get to the gym and something’s not right, you can always leave, but you probably won’t.

This is especially true for Cróga. I’ve never been to a gym where the coaches and members are so understanding and accommodating of ALL levels of fitness. You truly have no excuse not to make it in, there’s always something you can do.

The nice thing is once you’ve consistently set foot in the gym for a few months, it becomes harder NOT to go. You’ll think “I should probably go to the gym and see if I can even do a HSPU” or “my back is a little sore, I should probably get to the gym a little early to mobilize” or “the house is dirty, I should probably go to the gym!”

2. Find your why, make it emotional, make it specific.
I had some success coming up to my anniversary awakening, but it was limited. The incident with the zip lining made it easy to commit, nail my nutrition, and push hard on each workout. I had a number I was trying to reach, and nothing was going to stop me, because I never wanted to feel that bad about my weight again.

In fact, my biggest challenge after achieving the weight was finding an emotional reason to reach my next goal. I eventually found it after observing a fellow Cróganite: I want to be an outstanding example of fitness and health for my kids (the first one is on the way.) Much of a child’s fitness is determined by their father’s fitness, and I’m going to set my children up for a lifetime of health and success. That’s emotional for me. (I’ve broken this long term goal down into specifics for 2016 and 2017, but the emotion comes from this larger goal).

3. Give it at least 6 months.
When I first started doing CrossFit, I saw quick success, then I hit a plateau and dropped off. I blamed the gym, and stopped going.

As I came back, I was more committed, but then my friends started questioning me, saying “you’ll get Rhabdo” or “CrossFit is stupid, you should try TRX/Powerlifting/running/spinning/yoga/etc.” These people would send me links to videos and articles detailing all the reasons CrossFit is terrible.

To truly know whether CrossFit is for you, you’ve got to give it some time. No matter what you try, there will be plateaus. No matter what you try, there will be people telling you it’s a bad idea (I was told the same thing when I used a ketogenic diet to lose my weight). Ignore them, respectfully.

Trust your coaches, commit yourself, be specific about what you want, and give it time. Don’t worry if you don’t make it right away. Set a date to reevaluate your commitment to CrossFit that’s 6 months away, put it in your calendar, and don’t let yourself question it until then. Just show up at least 3 times a week.

4. Make friends
The best part about Cróga is the people. Meet and chat with everyone in class. Tell them about your day. Ask about theirs. You’ll enjoy everything a whole lot more, and it’ll make it easier for you to be consistent.

(D): Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet?

(J): Thank you Dave, Jason, Marcus, PJ, Cody, Preston, Kelly, Charlie, Diana and Haley for your guidance and support. I’ve been to other CrossFit gyms, so I know how lucky Cróga is to have coaches like you.

Thank you to everyone at Cróga. One of you inspired me to create the goal of being the ultimate fit father. Another one of you taught me to check my ego at the door. Another one of you taught me that working hard and having fun can happen simultaneously. Another that injury doesn’t mean I can’t come in and make progress. I learn as much, if not more, from all of you as I do from the Coaches.

Thank you to Krystal, my wonderful wife, for supporting me, and for actually wanting to be the mother of my child. Still not sure how I pulled that one off.

One last thing: Team Dolphin was narrowly robbed of victory last year. It will not happen again.

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Kassi B. Is Our August Member Of The Month

When we polled the coaches at Cróga to see who should get the Member of the Month award for August and Kassi’s name was thrown in the hat, there was an instant flood of responses all with her name. What that says to me is that she has been attending a lot of class lately, has made some big strides, and that we all love coaching her.

When Kassi walks in the door, every one of our coaches is happy to see her, and so are her fellow classmates. She always has a smile on her face even when she’s tired, never stops wanting to learn, is willing to make changes, and always seems to giggle her way through the awkward moments that come with trying new techniques.

She’s also a tremendous teammate/cheerleader for her fellow athletes, which makes her the perfect person to reward with our Member of the Month title. So now it’s your turn, Kassi. Congratulations on all the progress you’ve made so far and thank you for being such a great part of our community, you deserve this!

Here is a little Q&A with Kassi about her experiences here at Cróga CrossFit:

(Coach Dave): When did you join Cróga CrossFit?

(Kassi): I joined Cróga in July of 2015. I had a few ‘friends’ (people who you only keep track of via Facebook really) who were ALWAYS posting about how much they loved CrossFit. I had been embarrassingly unsuccessful in keeping myself motivated when going to a ‘normal’ gym, I had to be shamed into going most of the time (shame…(ding)shame…(ding) . Cardio was my sworn enemy. While on one of our walks, I saw the sign for Cróga and thought the logo looked neat. So I looked it up on google and was sold. The success stories really inspired me to give the free class a shot. Besides, who can say ‘no’ to free?! I figured if people who were twice my age could do it, then I was pretty sure that my little asthmatic lungs and metal reinforced arms could survive it. Or I was going to at least test it out.

(D): What were you doing before for fitness?

(K): My fiance Ross would occasionally get me out of the house to hike, seeing as Pokemon go wasn’t a thing yet, we were doing a whole lot less walking. I also tried to convince myself that the 5+ miles I walked a day at work around the clinic counted as exercise.

(D): What was your first WOD? First reaction to your first workout?

(K): O man… I think it was an AMRAP that involved all my least favorite things. Running, wall balls, and something else that I have managed to block from my memory. I couldn’t walk for at least 5 days afterwards! Which was made worse by the fact that we live on the 2nd floor of our apartment complex. I don’t know how I survived. But everyone was so nice, and friendly that I was really encouraged to come back and do the other intro classes.

(D): What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?

(K): Where do I start?! I originally signed up with the hope of losing weight. I’ve always been embarrassingly self-conscious and while I have noticed a few subtle, physical differences (definition that was never there before) I am most proud of the self confidence I have gained. Just last summer I would have never worn a shirt without sleeves, or a dress without a little sweater cover-up because I never liked the way my upper arms looked and now I no longer feel like I have to hide them. Next Summer might even see me in a pair of shorts.

(D): What days and times do you come to Cróga?

(K): I’ve always gone to the night classes. I used to frequent the 7:30 class more when I first started since I get off work around6:00. BUT then I met and became friends with Jill and Cathy who normally frequent the 6:30 class, so it made me hustle out of work and drive like a crazy person to try and make it to the 6:30 class, I also like getting home sooner so we aren’t eating dinner at 9:30. I still work out at 7:30 on the days where I just can’t get out of work on time, and I am so grateful for all the cool people in the later class that make me not want to wuss out and go home (Clare, Dimitriy, and Chloe shout-out!). I usually kept my workouts for the weeknights, but I have discovered that the team workouts on the weekends aren’t as scary as I thought they were.

(D): What’s your favorite WOD?

(K): Anything with lifting, specifically power lifting. Back squats are totally my jam! I love pushing myself and seeing how heavy I can go. Being labeled as ‘petite’ made me want to lift as heavy as possible. Little girls can lift heavy too! Best way to motitive me at times is tell me that I ‘can’t or ‘shouldn’t’ do something. Don’t tell me what I can’t do!

(D): What’s your least favorite WOD?

(K): Anything heavy on the cardio. Or burpees. Or… Pistols. Nothing makes me angrier then those stupid pistols! (Only because I haven’t managed to do one yet.)

(D): “The Kassi Broten” WOD! What would it be?

(K): Back squats, push-press and deadlifts. And lets throw some handstands in there just for fun.

(D): What do you love about CrossFit?

(K): It’s about so much more then just working out. It is it’s own little community! Being new to the bay area I was having a hard time connecting with anyone, I couldn’t be myself around my co-workers without getting myself into trouble. Croga saved me from just clinging to Ross like a crazy, lonely koala and it gave me a place where I could go be myself and ‘let my hair down’ so to speak. It’s a place where my mouth won’t get me in trouble, and I can go dance around like a dork and talk with my friends.

(D): What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga?

(K): Have you tried almond butter? I am pretty sure it’s a gift from the gods. I’ve also had a lot of success with the Paleo diet. It wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be and I’ve lost about 20lbs. And that’s only what the scale shows. Everyone knows that muscle weighs more then fat, right?!

(D): What’s your biggest fitness goal for the rest of 2016?

(K): I am going to back squat 200lbs. Just wait and see! And I am going to get up that stupid rope too!

(D): What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?

(K): I can’t believe how much everyone at Croga looks out for me; it’s as simple as Dave reminding me to wear my wrist wraps, someone offering advice when it comes to anything food related, or Jill encouraging me when I am being too hard on myself when I just can’t do something as well as I want to. Croga has become my family in the bay area where I don’t have any besides Ross and our kitty Faye. It’s a family that I have gotten to choose for myself, and that have no obligation to pretend to like me. You guys love me, you really love me! You let me ramble on about all the broken bones I see at work, the wedding planning, and my love of everything Harry Potter.

(D): Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet?

(K): I wish I could end this ‘interview’ with something painfully cleaver. But… My best advice it this ‘Just laugh through the pain. Sometimes it’s all you can do. Laughing makes everything better!’

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