The 2019 Croga Member of the Year was an absolute no brainer, it HAD to be Meghan Pierce. Her decision to take a leap of faith and trust the process, her commitment to going all in, her enthusiasm along the way and the progress she’s made not only physically, but mentally, are nothing short of incredible and have inspired not only other members to follow in her footsteps, but even the coaching staff to break down barriers and do things we all never thought possible. As you read through Meghan’s answers to our year-end questions below you’ll get some pretty good insight into how awesome her journey has been to be a participant in, but some of the things she doesn’t mention that made choosing her such an easy decision are below: She lost over 40 lbs in 7 months and when you see her now she looks strong, confident, and happy – ALL THE TIME. She reached countless physical milestones including getting her first pull-up, toes-to-bar, pistols, handstand push-ups and made it through The Open with multiple workouts completed RX’d, all things that weren’t even on her radar at The Open in February/March. She raised $1,060 for Barbells for Boobs in the month of November and did 1,060 burpees along the way as a thank you for every dollar donated. All because Cody and I peer pressured her to set up a page on our weekly Fast Times at Croga CrossFit podcast. With all that said, thank you, Meghan, for such an amazing year. It has been a ton of fun being your coach, cheerleader and mentor and we’re all looking forward to watching all that you’re able to accomplish in 2020. What are some new things that you have learned about yourself since starting CrossFit?There are two things that immediately come to mind – that might seem contradictory, but I think actually make sense together. I’m capable of more than I ever thought – Even though I played some sports growing up, I was never very good. So while I secretly harbored dreams of being super fit, I had convinced myself I just wasn’t very athletic and couldn’t do certain things. CrossFit has decimated those mental limitations for me. I’ve done things that I never thought I could and I’ve become so much less fearful of trying (even if it means risking failing)! I can’t do it all on my own – To be honest, I dragged my feet on really going all in on the gym and joining a nutrition program because I just kept telling myself I should be able to do it on my own. I kept saying “you know what you should eat” or “you know what to do at the Big Box gym down the street” – and kept trying to white-knuckle through it with sheer willpower. It wasn’t until I admitted to myself, “You need others to help you do this – both for the accountability factor, but also for their experience,” that I finally was able to get things to click. So in short – I can do hard things, but not without others! 🙂 You made an enormous amount of progress in 2019, what fueled you to keep going when the going got tough?There’ve been two phases that have been the toughest. The first was the first three months when I really committed to the gym and started nutrition-coaching – Aprilish to June. During that beginning time, I think it helped a ton that I only focused on process goals. I didn’t set any expectations for myself regarding outcomes (times or weights to hit, numbers to see on the scale, etc); I just said “Show up to class at least 5 times a week, work hard, eat to your numbers and trust Cody & Dave. Keep your head down, do what you’re told, trust the process, and it will work.” That was hard because I am a big numbers person, but it kept me going because it guaranteed I could see “wins” no matter what the short-term outcomes were. Lately, the last two months of this year, post-open, when, from my perspective at least, it’s starting to feel like visible wins and growth are coming much more slowly (probably because from July to October, basically everything I did was a PR lol). So in addition to reminding myself to continue to trust the process, I’ve been reminding myself to enjoy the process. A quote I saw recently said “Before you dream about the view from the summit, ask yourself if you’re willing to keep your head down and spend your life walking up a very big hill. It can take years of walking to earn a minute at the top.” I figure I’ve got a lot of walking ahead of me, so I better enjoy it. You signed up for Croga Nutrition in May and lost 40 lbs by December. With your travel for work, this took a lot of discipline. Did you have a mantra you used to keep you on course throughout this journey?Yes! “We fail to the level of our systems.” (from the book Atomic Habits which I highly recommend!) For a long time with my eating, I convinced myself it was all about willpower and discipline. However, my discipline never lasted and I’d fall off the wagon – hard! This time, I really, really worked to put myself in a position where I didn’t need to exercise as much discipline at first. Catered work event – I’m bringing my own lunch! Work travel – I’m purposefully booking a hotel next to a Whole Foods and going shopping for meals the first night. For the first three months, I rarely put myself in a position where there were any surprises eating-wise. My colleagues started joking that they never saw me eating something I didn’t pull out of my ubiquitous “food bag” I’d bring every day. I knew it wasn’t long term sustainable, but it was what I needed to get started. Then I started adding in more opportunities to estimate, make decisions on-the-fly, etc, but the systems and habits I built are still there as a foundation. Who was your biggest cheerleader this past year? Care to give them a shoutout?I’m deeply aware that I never could have done anything I did this year without the epic Croga community there to support me! I feel eternally grateful! As for shoutouts: At the top of the list has got to be Cody. A couple of months ago, when I started doing RX workouts more regularly I was feeling really discouraged because I felt so slow (again!). When I was complaining to Cody about it, he shared with me about that time in his CF journey and how he would be the last person finishing in the class for months. He told me I needed to just keep doing what I was doing and also helped me remember how far I had come. From post-open “proud of you” texts, “F-yea!” notes after hitting big weight loss goals, or filming my first pull-ups – it’s been his support, encouragement and coaching that have helped me get here, and I can’t thank him enough! I can’t get enough of Dave’s wisdom and enthusiasm. One day I showed up to Oly class and I was the only one – I basically got an hour individual coaching from Dave on my snatch and it was the best!! Also, his occasional enthusiastic “Atta Girl” from across the gym when he noticed me doing something hard always kept me pushing myself for more! All the members of the gym, and specifically the regular 3:30 weekday and 8 AM Sunday crews: y’all gave me a safe space to try, fail and grow! Outside the gym, my family, and specifically my sister & brother-in-law, continually inspired and encouraged me throughout this whole year! What’s your biggest fitness goal for this upcoming year?I have so many – a whole Google Doc’s worth in fact 🙂 I feel like I want to get better at everything! Really, it’s what at the top of the doc: “Get Stronger, Faster & More Agile: Get More Fit!!” Specifically though, I’m focusing on improving technique and increasing strength on my Oly lifts – I’m coming for you snatches! – and continuing to string together bigger and bigger sets of various gymnastic movements. You’ll likely see me being best friends with bars on the rig after class. Also Double Unders because #fudoubleunders. And last, but definitely not least, is beat Steven in a WOD! That is definitely happening and I will engrave it on the PR board permanently when it finally does 🙂 What’s your favorite way to “use your fitness” outside the gym?Going on hikes throughout the Bay Area and exploring new cities and places on foot! If you could have one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?Well if I could have one meal forever without any nutritional considerations, it would probably be my family’s homemade Christmas Eve dinner – green chile pork, posole, fresh tortillas, guacamole, tamales, homemade tiramisu for dessert. However, if I actually had to only eat one meal for the rest of my life it would probably be what I eat 90% of the time anyway – a veggie/meat/grain bowl. Throw some roasted veggies, grains and meat in a bowl, mix it up with a greek yogurt-based sauce. Boom! If you could have a conversation with anyone that ever existed, dead or alive, who would it be?Hmmm…. well I think a good option could be Amelia Earhart. Not only would I bet she’d have some great thoughts on perseverance, dedication, and how to be a trailblazer – but she could also tell me definitively where she disappeared to! 🙂 If you could give your former self any piece of advice about your current journey, what would it be?The beginning is the hardest part! There’s a reason they say “objects in motion stay in motion” – overcoming the inertia to start is often much harder than sustaining it! Keep going! Anything else you would like to add?Just once again THANK YOU to the amazing community that is Croga! So excited for 2020!
Oh, Whitney… There’s a few members at Croga that are chronically “late” (we start every class 3 minutes late on purpose so that these people are on time), and Whitney is one of them. However, sometimes I wonder if these people are just really good at being on time and since they know we’re going to start 3 minutes late, they don’t want to waste those 3 minutes leaving their house early. Is that the case, Whit? Either way, I find it amazing when you walk in the door at :03 every single day, especially since I’m the guy that walks in at :48 usually because I’m always worried I’ll be late. When Whitney walks in the door right on time for every class, it doesn’t seem to phase her. When I tell horrible jokes, she always gives me a courtesy laugh. When I tell her to row faster even though she’s the shortest one in the room, she humors me and pulls harder for a few seconds even though she knows her legs aren’t going to get longer, and on top of all of this, she quietly kicks ass in every single class she is in. Whitney is an anaesthesiologist and when I found that out about her, it explained a lot. She is always as cool as a cucumber and her calmness and poise even when she’s dying from crushing the workout are incredible. And to top that off, she worked out throughout her whole pregnancy and was the same way all the way through a few weeks before the baby was due. You wouldn’t have even known except when she turned sideways. Whitney and her husband, Kenny, are just two absolutely wonderful people that I like more and more every month and year that I get to know them. They’re great parents and examples for all of us and I’m glad we chose to honor one of our new moms as our MotM. Congrats, Whitney!!! When did you join Cróga? November 2017 What were you doing before for fitness? I was eating ice cream on the couch and watching reality TV. I was not athletic by any means, nor did I do any exercise on a consistent basis. However, I needed a way to get in shape before my wedding and there happened to be a CrossFit box half a mile away from my apartment in Baltimore. I did not know ANYTHING about CrossFit before my first class. The orange theory fitness/yoga classes were a ten minute drive away which was too much effort in my books. I gave CrossFit a shot and I’m still here today. What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout? My first foundations one had wall balls, burpees and box jumps. By the fifth wall ball I remember wanting to curl up in the corner and die. Unfortunately, it was a one on one foundation class so there was pressure to not just quit then and there. To this day whenever I watch someone do wall balls for the first time and have the same look that I did of “wow this sucks,” I feel for them. What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform? Pre-CrossFit, Kenny (my now hubby) could not get me to row faster at the gym if my life depended on it. I would tell him if he wanted to hang out with someone who could row faster he should go find another girl. It was all too ironic I started CrossFit by myself. When he joined me in a CrossFit class three months after I had started he could not believe the difference in ability and attitude I had when it came to working out. Gainz since then only continue, especially as I have been more serious about the nutrition piece. What days and times do you come to Cróga? I’ve come to every class time since I’ve joined. Thank you to everyone, especially the coaches, who have tolerated my little sidekick tagging along. If I’m at class now one of the following conditions are met: 1. The baby is in a good enough mood to take her out in public (9:30am, 3:30pm, 4:45pm) 2. The baby kept me up all night and I’m awake anyway (5am, 6am) 3. I have someone to co-watch the baby with or someone is watching the baby (7am, 5:30pm, 6:30pm, weekends) What’s your favorite WOD? Anything with movements that I can more or less do without too much scaling (sit-ups, burpees, jump rope). What’s your least favorite WOD? Anything with handstand push-ups. I really hate the feeling of being upside down. “The Whitney” WOD! What would it be? The pyramid WODs are my favorite. For time: 10 DB thrusters 20 DB hang power cleans 30 burpees 40 sit-ups 50 doubleunders 40 sit-ups 30 burpees 20 hang power cleans 10 DB thrusters What’s your favorite post-workout routine? Being 3 minutes late to my next appointment after Croga =). My profession effectively involves multiple shots of adrenaline during the day. Likewise, when I am not at work, I find it boring if I am not constantly rushing around. I consider it a victory if I am the last person on the plane right before the gates close. What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga? I love peanut butter so PB2 has been the latest game-changer when I’m looking for a snack. I’ll even try to eat the powder without adding water because water is too much effort – it does not always end well. Other very close seconds – perfect bars (I refused to eat any protein bars before), food scale (I realized that at work I would easily eat 12-16oz of red meat in one meal). What’s your biggest fitness goal for this year? With the baby/work the short term goal is to try to keep consistently coming to class. A pull up would be otherwise my next biggest fitness goal. What do you love about CrossFit? The variety, the intensity and the fact that I don’t have to run very long distances. Self-motivation was clearly not working for me before CrossFit. Doing a similar workout with intense, motivated and fit people challenges me to work harder than I would on my own. It is nice to know that when I am randomly up before my alarm goes off and the sun comes up there is a special place where there are (perhaps crazy) people that are ready to get a good workout in. What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga? Just do it! I was about as un-athletic as you could get before I started CrossFit at all and it many times is the best hour of my day. Each WOD is a unique challenge vs going to a fitness class that is a “routine” so it is difficult to get bored of going to CrossFit. This cannot be said enough – the coaches at Croga are AMAZING! They actually care about you and make sure that you’re doing movements correctly. I have now tried out a few other CrossFit gyms when I was looking for a gym in the area and on vacation and this is definitely not always the case. Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet? Nothing! If you’re reading this I’m glad you made it to the end of my ramblings. This was not Whitney in 100 words.
Johnny is one of those guys that always walks in the gym with a big smile on his face, ready to work. He then proceeds to read the workout and has one of two responses “Hell Ya!” or “Ahhhh, shit!”. Watching Johnny check out the whiteboard, process what’s written up there, and then react to it is always a highlight for me when I get to coach him. In all seriousness though, Johnny is just one of our young guns that works hard, listens well, is competitive with himself and the other guys in the gym and when he sets his mind to something he goes and does it. He’s always got something funny to say and is always up for a good laugh. And he always makes sure that I’ve got a good “banger” playing on the speakers when the WOD is about to start. Thanks for the years of hard work and positivity Johnny. It has been fun to watch you grow as an athlete over the last few years. I can’t wait to see you get that 225 clean and that muscle up in 2020! When did you join Cróga? I joined Cróga in the fall of 2017, so about two years now. What were you doing before for fitness? Before Croga I went to American Barbell 5 times a week doing the same workout over and over again, I got bored af! What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout? I forgot what my first workout was but I remember feeling like shit afterwards, I thought I was in amazing shape until I got my ass kicked at a 5:30 class. I had to show up the next day to try to redeem myself from the day before, and two years later, here I am. What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform? Since joining Cróga, I feel like I am way more flexible and mobile. I focused mainly on my upper body before CrossFit, so I definitely feel a balance in my overall strength and energy levels. My back has gotten a lot stronger from all the pulling work and variations of pull-ups, I have a better wind from all the high-intensity training as well, which has translated to my overall energy at work. Ohhh and my Olympic lifting skills are way better, I can snatch a decent amount of weight now. What days and times do you come to Cróga? I usually come on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and some Fridays for an ignite class and the 5:30 WOD right after. What’s your favorite WOD? My favorite WOD would have to be the one we do every year at Christmas time. It is a fucked up way to start the holidays to say the least. What’s your least favorite WOD? My least favorite is anything with pull-ups. “The Johnny” WOD! What would it be? The Johnny WOD would be a Fat arm Friday: Some nice curl sets, a little bench press, and finish it with an AMRAP of something like wall balls and hang cleans. What’s your favorite post-workout routine? My post workout routine during the week is change my shoes, go on a cool down run or jog, and come home and make a protein shake before dinner. I eat late around 8:30-9 every night. What do you love about CrossFit? I love the competitive nature of CrossFit. I grew up playing sports and always thrived in a competitive environment. When I was working out at 24, I was losing that competitive instinct because I was isolated by myself with my headphones on. When I’m in an active environment I will go harder because of my competitive nature. The workouts are far more intense as well, which is good for the brain. What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga? Mush, perfect bars. What’s your biggest fitness goal for this year? My fitness goals for the year are to get 225 up on a clean, hit a ring muscle up, lean out, and just feel as healthy as I can be. I’m a firm believer in the saying health is wealth. What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga? Just go for it! The coaches will not make you do anything you aren’t capable of and they will guide you so you’re doing it right. Just be prepared to sweat and grind. What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga? Thanks for welcoming me to the gym family, it’s been a great two years. Can’t wait to reach my goals with you all in the future. Shake and Bake.
Gabi and her husband, Cliff, joined Croga a few years ago when they moved from San Diego and they have been a wonderful addition to our community since day 1! Gabi is another one of our athletes that is so consistent, even with a busy work travel schedule. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t see multiple times in a week, she’s amazing. She always asks the right questions in class and you can tell that she’s looking to push herself and improve each time she’s in the gym, which makes her a ton of fun to coach. Congratulations, Gabi, this is well deserved and I’m very happy we could acknowledge all your hard work and consistency! Now let’s go get that pull up!!! When did you join Cróga? 2016 What were you doing before for fitness? Crossfit in San Diego, and running. I like swimming, too. What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout? Intro class in San Diego. Reaction: I could not straighten my arms even after three days. What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform? I feel more fit and healthy. And I have more of a “you can do it” attitude. What days and times do you come to Cróga? Usually twice a week, 5:30 pm, and the Saturday partner WOD! What’s your favorite WOD? Chippers with a good mix of activities. What’s your least favorite WOD? Assault bike, without a doubt. “The Gabi” WOD! What would it be? Rowing, clean and jerks, sit-ups. What’s your favorite post-workout routine? Hot tub! What do you love about CrossFit? The community and the high level of attention every member gets to ensure that they perform at their best. What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga? Peanut butter What’s your biggest fitness goal for this year? A pull up! What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga? Just do it. Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet? Looking forward to more fun and fitness in the coming years.
Rysen is one of my favorite lead by example athletes at Croga. He always comes to the gym ready to work, stays focused the whole time, gets the work done even when it’s not his favorite type of workout and then often stays after to work on something he’s not as good at or do some stretching so he feels good to go again the next day. I also enjoy pointing him out to some of our newer members because of how smooth and effortlessly he moves and how mobile he is. He’s a much better example than I am for these two things, so he makes for a good coaching tool, haha. He’s a little shy, but once you get him going he comes out of his shell and he can hang with the best of them. I also love the fact that Rysen and his older brother, Jordan, are from Maui so I get to stay fluent on my island slang whenever they’re at the box. Congratulations on the MoTM, Rysen! Your hard work, consistency, and dedication are inspiring. I can’t wait to watch you hit that 225 C&J and 185 Snatch! When did you join Cróga? I joined Croga in June 2018. What were you doing before for fitness? I was mostly Olympic weightlifting a few times a week with a few friends when I was still in school. What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout? I remember my first workout at Croga pretty vividly because the assault bike was involved. The first part of the workout was back squats and the second part was a 1-minute sprint for calories on the assault bike. After that, I could barely walk for about an hour. Shoutout to Cody for making sure I wasn’t actually dead. Also shoutout to Jordan for warning me beforehand. Unfortunately, I didn’t take him seriously. It felt terrible, but I liked the atmosphere at Croga. So, I knew I would come back. What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform? I think the biggest difference that I notice is the way I feel. I didn’t really take conditioning too seriously before I joined Croga, and it is nice to walk upstairs without getting winded. I am also a little less afraid of running. What days and times do you come to Cróga? I am at Croga on most weekdays at the 5:30 pm class! What’s your favorite WOD? I’m not sure if I have a favorite WOD. Workouts with double unders, handstand push-ups, and pistols are usually pretty fun. What’s your least favorite WOD? Workouts longer than 15 minutes are usually not too fun for me. Also, anything with the assault bike, wall balls, or thrusters are also terrible. “The Rysen” WOD! What would it be? Buy in of 100 double unders and 30 pistols followed by 21-15-9 of hang power cleans (115lbs/75lbs) and handstand push-ups. What’s your favorite post-workout routine? I like to stretch, foam roll, and voodoo floss. I’ve noticed that at least doing one or two of these after a workout helps me feel less sore the next day. What do you love about CrossFit? I love the variety of CrossFit. There are so many movements and ways to structure a workout that I never feel bored. I like that I can feel confident about a movement, finish a workout, and realize that I actually need to be more proficient at it because I didn’t realize how bad I am at something when I am tired. I think those kinds of things are what make CrossFit fun. I also love the community. People are usually really encouraging and genuinely happy to see others improve! What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga? It’s not really a culinary discovery, but Francis and Cody got me to try pour-over style coffee. It’s amazing! What’s your biggest fitness goal for this year? I think it would be cool to hit a 225lb clean and jerk and 185lb snatch. What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga? I would say that consistency and having fun during workouts is key! All the members at Croga are really encouraging and friendly. The coaches at Croga are great and always help you with your goals! One subtlety that I appreciate is that the coaches know almost every member’s name. It’s awesome and shows the effort they put in to make classes great. Anyone considering joining Croga should at least try a few classes. It is the most fun I have had working out since I stopped competitive swimming after high school!
Meghan has been with us for almost a year now and the progress she has made has been nothing short of fantastic and all of it is due to her hard work and dedication to trusting the process. Each month that has gone by, she has made an effort to attend more classes than the last. She is consistently asking for tips on how to help herself achieve new levels of the progression of each movement. She was one of two of our members to complete all the extra credit required to complete a Croga Bingo Blackout. And, over the last few months of being signed up for Croga Nutrition and following the guidelines of Coach Cody to a T, even with travel for work and an often unpredictable schedule, she has already lost nearly 20 lbs in 3 months. She is a fantastic example of how hard work and focus are key to helping you achieve your goals. Congratulations on all your success so far and this Member of the Month, you deserve it! When did you join Cróga? My first class ever was Sept 24, 2018. But I can be a slow starter, and for the first 6 months I only went 1-2 times a week. So I really consider my Croga “birthday” to be April 2019. That’s when I started going regularly – 5 to 6 times a week as long as I’m not traveling for work. What were you doing before for fitness? For the past 8 years I’ve been in and out of pretty much every fitness routine you can imagine – spinning, yoga, marathon training, HIIT circuits – I’d get really into something for a while and then fizzle out. But, for the year before Croga – really I was doing nothing. I was probably at the lowest level of fitness (and confidence) I had been for almost 10 years. Then I finally got fed up and promised myself I’d stick with something for at least 6 months – and signed up for 6 months pre-paid after talking with Coach Dave. What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout? My first workout was an Ignite workout – I don’t remember exactly what it was but it involved box jumps which I had to scale to step-ups. And then could barely walk up the stairs for the next few days! What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform? There are too many to list. It sounds like an exaggeration, but I literally feel like with Croga and Coach Dave & Cody, I have really transformed. I’m lifting more and moving faster. I started WAG nutrition coaching with Coach Cody at the end of May and in 12 weeks have lost almost 20 pounds and a bunch of inches. I’ve definitely upped my mental fortitude – I walked into Murph on Memorial Day planning on only doing half – and ended up doing the full (partitioned) thing! I wouldn’t have believed I could – and then I did. I feel so much better physically, have more endurance, more strength, and feel way more in control of my nutrition. Really – it’s just been all good things! What days and times do you come to Cróga? I try and make the 3:30 class every weekday. And sometimes stay for Ignite. 8AM Sundays have also become a habit. Recently, because of work, I’ve begrudgingly been making more frequent cameos at 5 AM. What’s your favorite WOD? I like longer WODs (it’s that slow starter thing) – anything with push presses, box jumps, burpees, squats or rowing I tend to like. Recently I’ve been strangely enjoying the Sunday endurance WODs – in a love/hate way! What’s your least favorite WOD? Well I tend not to like things I’m bad at, so usually if I don’t like a WOD, it means I need to work the movements more – and therefore should be grateful to Cody for programming it. (Even though that’s usually not what’s running through my head in the moment 🙂 ) Wall balls, snatches, toes-to-bar, sumo deadlift high-pulls and KB swings come to mind. What’s your favorite post-workout routine? Either a cold brew after the 5 AM class, or a grocery shopping trip after Sunday class. What do you love about CrossFit? It’s infinitely scalable – there’s any entry point for anyone. Consistency and dedication pay off – generally in life but especially in CrossFit. And I especially love that I actually have to think and focus to do it – it forces me to take my mind off everything else and just be in the moment. What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga? A food scale!!!!! (Thanks Coach Cody!! I promise I’m going to sleep as soon as I finish this questionnaire 🙂 ) What’s your biggest fitness goal for this year? I have some more goals for WAG I’d like to get to. For fitness – generally get stronger and faster. Specifically – get a pull-up or two, continue my ongoing battle with stringing together double-unders, and improve my Oly lifting form. What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga? Totally, totally do it! The coaches are amazing, the people are great, Murph is a perfect gym dog, and you’ll get so much out of it. I waited so long because I was scared I wasn’t going to be perfect right away – which, spoiler alert, I wasn’t! But as Coach Dave says “Progress not Perfection” is the best way forward! Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet? Really just how grateful I am to be a part of Croga. I knew (and Dave & Cody knew) I wasn’t coming frequently enough those first 6 months, but not once did they make me feel bad about it. They just always greeted me with smiles, encouraged me when I was there, and gently nudged me when I needed it. I’ll always remember the first week of April, which was the first time I came every day of the week. I sat on the ground after 3:30 on Friday and said to Dave “I came every day this week!” And he just smiled at me and said “I know! We’re so happy to be seeing more of you!” BIG THANKS Cody & Dave – I’m happy to be seeing more of you too.
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]When working with nutrition clients, one of the metrics that we like to track daily is weight. The main reason for this is that we want to see the general trend of their weight to ensure that their average weight is headed the correct direction and toward their goal. Daily weight tracking also helps highlight good and bad decisions made throughout the day before in terms of food quality, water intake, and exercise. (We also track our client’s chest, waist, and hip measurements and have them take progress photos weekly and my personal opinion is that these are better metrics because we all want to look a certain way for ourselves and others, but we only step on the scale in private, so the number shouldn’t REALLY matter.) Unfortunately, one of the most common things we have to do is tell our clients to STOP tracking their weight. And, in my opinion, this often stems from our inability as a population to stick with a plan that doesn’t deliver instant results, even if our expectations are completely unreasonable. We’ve all seen thousands of print ads and hundreds of hours of informercials touting ridiculously fast weight loss if you take this pill, drink this drink, follow this crazy cucumber and lemon only diet, or use this weird crunch contraption to get a six-pack in 30 days. I hate to break it to you, but IT’S ALL BULLSHIT! NONE OF IT IS SUSTAINABLE OR HEALTHY. The only true path to success is consistency over long periods of time. But all of that BS and non-sense has reshaped the way we think and our expectations. And when we don’t see the scale (again, only one of our three check-in metrics) moving the right direction daily, we often see our clients get discouraged and immediately begin to self-sabotage or start losing trust in the coach or the process. Well, a few weeks ago I stepped on the scale a couple of days after returning from vacation to a bit of a surprise. While we were there I did zero tracking of my food or alcohol consumption, I just enjoyed my time. I did a few workouts, but nothing crazy. I also did some walking and playing on the beach and in the ocean, so I wasn’t just sitting around for a week straight. But the weight the scale read upon my return home didn’t appear to reflect that I did anything but eat and drink… When I left for vacation I was weighing 183 lbs pretty consistently. Some days up to 185 and other days down to 181 or 182. When we returned from Hawaii on July 3rd and then I enjoyed July 4th weekend I stepped on the scale on Monday, July 8th and I weighed 191.6 lbs. 191.6! From before we left for Hawaii until 11 days later I gained 9 lbs. When I looked in the mirror I didn’t think I looked like I weighed 9 extra lbs, but I stepped on the scale again and it read the same thing. At this moment, I didn’t freak out and immediately give up and overeat. I also didn’t immediately decide to starve myself to get right back to where I was comfortable. Because I knew that it was impossible to actually gain that much fat in a week and that everything would be just fine if I just got right back to eating consistently. After years of retraining my brain to think more logically about weight and body composition, I didn’t have a knee jerk reaction and I’m hoping by telling this story, I can help some of you turn the same corner on how you think about the weight the scale reads. At that moment I made the decision to do five things that day: 1. eat a “perfect day”, meaning to hit my macros exactly 2. to drink a sufficient amount of water 3. to ride the Peloton while my daughter was sleeping (just a 30 minute ride, nothing crazy) 4. to take a nap that day 5. to get a good nights sleep that night to catch up a little. After executing on this plan I knew that I would be headed the right direction and I’d be more likely to do the same the next day and I’d be back to pre-vacation form in no time. And guess what happened. I woke up the next morning, and I weighed… 186.2 I lost 5.4 lbs in 24 hours. with NO magic pills NO special drinks NO weird food combinations NOT starving myself and, NO extra exercise Now, at that weight, I was still a couple lbs above where I was when I left, but I probably earned that weight. I enjoyed myself. I ate food that I wouldn’t normally eat I had alcoholic beverages daily, which I do not do while at home. But in the long run, none of it will matter because consistently eating a healthy quantity of carbohydrates, protein, and fat to support my body and activity level and staying properly hydrated will outweigh a week of less than optimal decisions. The moral of the story here is that weight loss or gain or maintenance is NOT linear. And, the scale is only one metric that we track and it might be the least dependable. So, we all need to stop letting it control our thoughts and influence our decisions, but just take it for what it is, a number… If you want more information about counting your macros or flexible dieting or are interested in nutrition coaching, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or check us out on instagram at @CrogaNutrition. We’re more than happy to schedule a free 15-minute phone call or in person meeting to chat about your goals and to see if our coaching style might be a good fit for you.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
If there was a list of Croga Legends, Mike D would most definitely be on it. He has been around since the beginning and our friendship has grown to include our significant others and our children now, which has been a ton of fun. For 6 years I joked with Mike that I was never going to give him Member of the Month because he’s always complaining about the programming and how we never program the “perfect” workout for him, but I finally gave in when he bought a new house and moved further away from Croga, but went out of his way to become more committed to getting in the gym. With a wife, two kids and very busy days running around selling “RE” (Mike’s slang for Real Estate), I am always impressed with Mike’s ability to participate in tons of networking and charity events, as well as help the other agents in his office, spend time with his extended family that all live in the area and get to the gym regularly. Congrats on finally achieving MOTM status, Mike. Don’t hold your breath for Member of the Year… When did you join Cróga? A long time ago (5+ years?)…shortly after the gym opened up and Dave was coaching every class, every day…he was always a treat. What were you doing before for fitness? I was doing personal training with some Crossfit type functional stuff. Also, running on my own. Did a few half marathons, one full marathon and then I retired from running. What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout? I can’t remember fully, it had some overhead kettlebell lunges and other stuff. All I remember was trying to beat my best friend Big Mike, who introduced me to Croga. Mike, Dave and I go a long ways back to high school (Mitty is better than Bellarmine btw). What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform? I’m definitely more ‘jacked’ than I was before, I still have to work on my eating habits and therefore my ‘Dad Bod’ is in full force. I’ve noticed how the ‘functional’ part of Crossfit helps me in everyday life. What days and times do you come to Cróga? This is a loaded question. Before my son was born (baby #2) it was 6 AM class and at least 4 times a week. Now, it’s whenever I can make it. It’s usually in the afternoon, and I’m late to class or workout on my own on the side. What’s your favorite WOD? Anything with DEADLIFTS and ROWING! What’s your least favorite WOD? I hate ring dips…absolutely hate em! Muscle Ups too…so I guess that means anything that requires gymnastics and body weight? “The Mike D” WOD! What would it be? Rowing, Deadlifts and bicep curls! Program it Cody! What’s your favorite post-workout routine? I try to fit in some ab mat situps to make myself think if I do enough of them, I might get a six-pack at some point in my life. What do you love about CrossFit? All of the components that go with Crossfit…weightlifting, cardio, gymnastics, etc. The community. The coaches. I do love competition with some of my buddies there too. I don’t fully believe in ‘competing with yourself’…I like it when I kick someone else’s ass in a workout. What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga? It took me a long time to catch onto all of the different types of diets that correlate with Crossfit. I do like Keto. I have not been perfect at it, but it has driven me to try and cut out sugar/carbs more than I ever have in my life and I have been seeing the results. What’s your biggest fitness goal for this year? It’s actually not setting any PR’s…really I’m just trying to get back to a regular schedule at the gym, and going to the gym more. Having a busy work schedule and family life has made it tough and I’m determined to get back to my gym routine. What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga? If you have the time, I highly recommend taking the Crossfit Level 1 course. It’s an action-packed 2 days full of information and fitness and only going to make you a better Crossfitter. It also allows you to potentially coach if you wanted to someday…I’m still waiting for Dave to ask me if I want to coach for Croga haha jk Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet? Getting Gamesbound doesn’t just pertain to Crossfit…it can pertain to all parts of your life. Also, I’m not going to lie, this MOTM award for me is definitely not from my performance last month or even in 2019. I appreciate Dave and the team considering me for this for all of the years I’ve been a part of this great community. I have friends that own other Crossfit gyms, and have visited other gyms out of area…and none of them compare to the people that run Croga and the members that go to Croga. Love, Mike D
When we meet potential new members at Croga I often ask them why they want to do CrossFit. For many of the members at Croga, the reason is often to be able to do more activities with their kids and to know they are doing something to live a longer life so they can spend more time with their loved ones. And as you will read below, Courtney is one of those members who has a very strong will to improve so she can be the best mother to her children and wife to her husband. She is such a great example of strength, persistence, will power and love. We couldn’t be happier than to honor her with our member of the month award and to let her tell her story because we know it’s one that a lot of people can identify with and is one of empowerment through hard work and dedication. When did you join Cróga? I think it was late in 2016 for the first time. I’m a boomerang as some would say (at least in my work world). I wasn’t consistent back then though. I had just gone back to work after staying home for a few years and was figuring out how to balance work, 3 kids, a marriage, home, etc. This time around I came back in October 2018. A little over a year ago, a very good friend of mine had a heart attack. Since October 2018 alone, I have had 2 friend’s husbands die in their sleep from heart attacks. Due to that and the fact that coming back this time around was about 1000x harder physically than the first time I joined, I promised myself I would set aside 3 days a week and really commit to these workouts. Overall, with a few exceptions, I’ve kept that promise. For the month of June, I’m trying to make 4 classes a week as my kids’ schedule lightens up a bit. What were you doing before for fitness? Sadly, the last 2 years nothing. I just worked a LOT, came home, drove kids to practices and appointments of all sorts, ate dinner then went to sleep. Did that on repeat and felt pretty awful. I would wake up achy for no good reason which is another reason I came back. I figured it’d be better to be muscle sore than joint sore. Previous to that I did quite a few things. I grew up riding horses and competed pretty heavily in my 20’s. Then I had kids and took some time off. I went back to it for a bit after having my 3rd child but it was too time-consuming. I also had a new(er) fear of getting hurt that I didn’t have before I had kids, getting thrown off horses is no joke! Around the same time I started riding again, I also joined a local bootcamp 3 days a week and picked up running 2-3 days a week as well. I did a couple of half marathons and decided I really didn’t like running THAT much. The last race I did was a 10-mile race over the Golden Gate bridge. I did it for my daughter Kendall, who happens to have special needs. She was turning 10 that year and I thought it was a very fitting way to end my few years of running. It turned out to be the easiest and best long run I ever had. Somewhere around that same time my youngest son wanted to try karate. I sat in the waiting room watching him for a few months. I thought this was one of the few sports that I could do (equally) with him so I started taking classes with him. Let’s just say kids make everything look easy! It was much harder than I originally thought. Part of the deal in karate is that you also have to spar eventually so I jumped in and took classes for that as well. It was super intimidating but really empowering and I loved it. Soon enough I had earned my first belt then another and another etc. Before I knew it both Chase (my youngest boy) and I ended up with our purple belts after a pretty grueling 4-hour test. What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout? I have no clue what it was back in 2016, it’s all a blur. This time around I still don’t know what it was but I know a farmers carry was involved and that was a modification. I’m pretty sure the entire thing was modified and I didn’t record it because I was so frustrated that I was so out of shape. I thought I was going to die. I remember my husband, Dan, telling me when I got home and walked through the door that I looked almost dead. I followed that comment with the good ol’ look of death then sat at our kitchen island and planted my face down on the nice cool granite for like 30 minutes before I moved or even spoke again. What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform? I’ve lost a bunch of inches all over my body, I think the last time I check it was around 11 inches gone. I am definitely stronger but still not as strong as I would like to be. I will say the biggest thing is that I can do the workouts now without my back/hip acting up and stopping me in my tracks (knock on wood). We spent what felt like months working on getting my back and hips to cooperate and now they do! What days and times do you come to Cróga? Mostly 3:30 or 5:30 pm during the week on whatever days my schedule allows. I’m often there on Sundays too. What’s your favorite WOD? Ideally, one where I could beat Dan (my husband). For real though, I like the longer workouts with a combo of weights (I like power cleans), some gymnastic movement (because I want to get better at them) and rowing, running or box jumps. What’s your least favorite WOD? Anything with burpee box jump overs or burpee pull-ups or the whole burpee then jump 6 inches thing. If it was ever just a burpee it would be ok but it’s never just a “simple burpee”. Overhead squats also hate me but at least my body allows me to do them now so I’m actually grateful for that. I’m pretty terrible when it comes to anything that requires me to sprint or go super fast. Those workouts are not at the top of my list, but I do them anyway. Pretty much only because there are so many of them! Look, if I was asked if I was the tortoise or the hare in the race, I’d for sure be the tortoise. I go slow but I always finish. “The Courtney” WOD! What would it be? First, I’d have some amazing 90’s rap playlist that would likely include Dre, Snoop and maybe even Too Short. Just to mix it up I may even throw in some good big hair bands as well, no ballads though. Then we’d do something along the following for 3 rounds, building in weight for the squat cleans……there would probably be a time cap on it as well and since I’m a tortoise I’d make that 20 min. I don’t even know if that’s a reasonable time for a workout like that but it doesn’t matter because it’s “The Courtney” WOD right!? 15 Squat Cleans 30 Toes to bar Run 400m 13 Squat Cleans 30 Toes to Bar Run 400m 11 Squat Cleans 30 Toes to Bar Run 400m What’s your favorite post-workout routine? Laying on the ground in front of the big fan, almost dead, realizing I survived another workout. I also really like the darn Fitaids but I try to minimize the amount of them I have every week. Once I’m out of there it’s back to reality so just laying on that floor feels like a break for me and I always appreciate a good break! What do you love about CrossFit? This is an easy one, the people, the workouts and the coaches. Everyone is 100% supportive, it doesn’t matter where you are in your fitness journey, everyone wants you to succeed and roots for you. I love that the workouts are constantly changing so you can’t get bored and of course the coaches. They have been absolutely awesome. They are so knowledgeable, helpful, and kind. They even make me laugh when I want to cry (note- I have yet to burst into tears in class, I’ve come close a couple of times so don’t put that past me). What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga? Dave posted the Skinny Taste cookbook recipe for a Giant Turkey Parmesan Meatball. We double the recipe because my kids can put down some food and basically turn it into a meatloaf. Serve it with pasta (zoodles for me) and salad. It’s something all 5 of us gobble up. Definitely worthy of the #crogaeats hashtag. What’s your biggest fitness goal for this year? I’d really like to be able to do toes to bar and not just knee raises. I’d also like to get at least a banded pull-up. Overall, I want to get stronger and more efficient with all the lifts. What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga? Just show up and trust the coaches. Everything can be modified. Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet? When I was 29 I had my first child, my daughter Kendall. She was born with special needs due to a rare chromosome disorder and was/is also deaf in her right ear with a mild loss in her left one. We had no idea until she was born that anything was wrong. That really rocked my world and crushed me. Basically, in that moment I had to shift all my dreams and expectations of what her life was going to look like. That is VERY HARD to do. Actually, it may be the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. We all have some unspoken expectations/dreams of what our child’s life may look like. With typical kids, you have time to start to see them shifting away from things you thought they may once do and you have time to process it. With Kendall, I didn’t get the time to process it. It was thrown upon me. Everything she has done in her life has been on her own time frame. She didn’t crawl until she was 15 months old, she didn’t walk until she was 2.5 years old and she didn’t talk until she was around 9 or so years old other than some very basic words. To this day she talks but there is a lot you can’t understand and everything is still delayed compared to the typical world. However, she has been the best gift I could have ever received in life. She has shown me that life is not a competition even if we do live in one of the most competitive areas in terms of schools/jobs etc. She’s forced me to slow down (and be that tortoise), she’s shown me nothing but love, taught me empathy, changed my view of the world and others in it and so much more. She has been through more in her 15 years of life than most people I know. Because of her, I don’t take anything for granted. I’m grateful for all that my body can do even if I often get frustrated that I can’t do more. She’s given me such a good perspective on life. Raising her has been challenging and amazing all at once. She’s the reason (along with my other 2 boys of course) that I do this. I need to be strong enough to continue to care for them but especially for her. She’s made me both resilient and persistent. I think both of those qualities help me in all areas of life but they really help in Crossfit as well.
Coach Emily comes to us with a very diverse background in a lot of different fitness modalities and a passion for helping others improve their lives by finding a form of fitness and nutrition that they love. As you’ll read in her write-up below, Emily has completely flipped the script on what it means to be in control of your mind and body and her bravery and willingness to talk about her past and help others who are or have gone through similar experiences is one of the things we love most about her. She’s also up for just about anything and likes to have a good laugh mid-workout, so she fits right in with our unique and fun Croga family. Full Name: Emily Ann Suttle I was born in London and my whole family is from England. When I was 3, we moved to New York so my dad could work on Wall Street. He commuted into the world trade center so 9/11 was transformative for our family. We relocated to Washington DC and I struggled badly with depression as a result of the move. In my teens, I found that if I couldn’t control what was going on in my world, I could control what was going into my body, so I began to starve myself. This battle with anorexia would continue into my late 20’s. I graduated from American University with a degree in economics and went straight to work in research for wealth management groups and hedge funds. Eventually, I succumbed to the pressure of toxic work culture and decided to focus exclusively on recovering from my eating disorder. This is when I fell in love with fitness. I started teaching a few group exercise formats, like spin and bootcamp, and then became a certified personal trainer. I found I could shift my focus from trying to control what I put in my body, to what my body could do. As I started to recover, I also found that I could integrate my economics background with my fitness career, growing into roles in upper management, business growth, and marketing. I got certified in CrossFit when I was rebranding a CrossFit facility in North Carolina. I’ll admit that I was initially skeptical of the CrossFit culture, but it wasn’t until I went to my L1 and started attending class & coaching that I realized I had already been living a CrossFit lifestyle. I’m a huge believer in diversification of exercise and nutrition. These days I run a Bay Area Pilates company. I teach CrossFit, bootcamp, HIIT, core, yoga, spin and pilates. I’ve run over 20 marathons and love hiking, paddle boarding, gardening and walking my two dogs Ziggy & Chewy. I love cooking and eat a lot of plants, meat, fish, grains & fats. I love wine and the way that it pairs beautifully with the freshness and flavors of a good meal. Some days I have carefully planned meals and other days I eat pizza and drink tequila. I haven’t had a birthday cake since my 16th birthday, and I know I will always have a complicated relationship with food and my body. I know that fitness both helped me heal, but also replaced a mental illness with a healthy obsession and I’m passionate about helping other women find the right balance without compromising their mental health. Favorite quote: “You have seen my descent, now watch my rising.” – Rumi
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