SUCCESS STORIES

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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Ryan S. Is The August Member Of The Month

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

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

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

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

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

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

What were you doing before for fitness?
Nothing…

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

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

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

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

What’s your least favorite WOD?

Isabel or max calorie assault bike 🤢

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Caitlin Z. Is The July Member Of The Month

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

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

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

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

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

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

What days and times do you come to Cróga?

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

What’s your favorite WOD?

Anything with Clean and Jerks, pull ups or running.

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

“The Caitlin” WOD! What would it be?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Cliff K. Is The June Member Of The Month

Every class that Cliff and his wife, Gabi, walk in the door for is instantly a good 20-25% better than without them. Not only does Cliff ALWAYS bring solid effort, but he’s constantly looking to improve himself by paying close attention to the details that will help him hone his technique and make him more efficient. On top of that, one of my favorite things about Cliff is that he spreads the love by attending classes at all times of the day. With his consistent energy and positive attitude, Cliff is a solid addition to every class and we look forward to having him and Gabi with us for years to come.

When did you join Cróga?
In September 2016. My wife, Gabi, and I just moved into the neighborhood from San Diego.

What were you doing before for fitness?
I was doing CrossFit in San Diego at CrossFit Del Mar. Prior to that, I did just about everything… Running, swimming, yoga, weights, other HIIT programs. I’ve been an athlete my entire life.

What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout?
I can’t recall the exact workout, but I remember I couldn’t walk down stairs the next day.

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?
All the benefits you would expect from doing CrossFit. When you’re a more “mature” athlete, you measure success a little differently.

What days and times do you come to Cróga?
I go whenever I can or need to. The 4:30 pm is probably my most frequent. We always try to make the Saturday morning class when we’re in town.

What’s your favorite WOD?
I don’t have a particular favorite. I tend to like chippers and WODs with running.

What’s your least favorite WOD?
I like all WODs, but for different reasons.

“The Cliff” WOD! What would it be?
Something that’s easy to count the reps. My math skills seem to deteriorate when I’m working out.

What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
A soak in the hot tub followed by a dip in a cold pool.

What do you love about CrossFit?
The comradery of the Box and the chance to compete in the Open.

What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga?
I haven’t really gotten into CrossFit cuisine. I just try to eat real food.

What’s your biggest fitness goal for 2017?
Mobility, mobility and more mobility. The expected result is the ability to do Toes-To-Bar and Chest-To-Bar Pullups

What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?
Make it a habit.

Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet?
It’s great to be a part of the Cróga family. Thanks!!!

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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?
Murph

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.

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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…
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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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