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Johnny M. Is The October Member Of The Month

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.

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Gabi L. Is The September Member Of The Month

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.

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Rysen O. Is The August Member Of The Month

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!

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Meghan P. Is The July Member Of The Month

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.

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Why the scale is important, but also doesn’t matter

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 nutrition@crogacrossfit.com 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.

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Mike D. Is The June Member Of The Month

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

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Courtney P. Is The May Member Of The Month

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.

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New Coach Spotlight: Emily S

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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Rob N. Is The April Member Of The Month

I don’t want to put words in Rob’s mouth, but this might have been the greatest month of Rob’s life so far. First, he won the Croga Member of the Month award for his hard work, dedication and consistent focus on incremental progress, and then, he became a dad!!! It doesn’t get much better than that if you ask me.

And what a dad he is going to be to his little boy, Lincoln. Rob always has a smile on his face, is an eternal optimist, never backs down from a challenge and is a ton of fun inside and outside the gym. Congrats on the MoTM, Rob, but a bigger congrats to you and Wendy on the newest addition to the family!

When did you join Cróga?
Wendy tricked me into competing in the 2017 Open without knowing what I had signed up for. I loved the challenge and inescapable feeling of death when I finished the workout. Became official member in October 2017. The real date that’s important is the first day I beat Jose Cong in a workout, Dec 3rd, 2017. My proudest moment as a member.

What were you doing before for fitness?
Primarily the shake weight, thigh master, and dabbled in jazzercise but it didn’t really feel right, I think it was the leotard.

My main background would be as a long distance runner. But I had been lifting weights on my own since college. Averaged about one leg day every 10 years or so. Pretty good base for Crossfit.

What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout?
Wendy told me we were going to get ice cream and buy a puppy but instead, she brought me to Croga and I did the open.

So I guess 17.1 or 17.2. I think deadlift, weighted lunges, and pull-ups?

What I do know is that I stared off into the distance for a while trying not to puke after that one.

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?
I’ve found something I’ve only heard of before. I think it’s called a butt? Whatever it is, it pushes up on my jeans in the back of pants now.

I can proudly say that my usual medium shirts that in my opinion used to make it look like i didn’t work out at all (tiny forearms and hidden biceps) which transitioned to a snug Smedium, to now super tight. NEW goal is to get them to the holy grail “deuchebag tight or creepy weird guy at the gym tight” size, which is where it’s obvious I could/need to buy a larger shirt, but I’d rather show off that muscle tightness. Then repeat this process with a size large shirt. Then get where I’m so swole I don’t need a shirt.—-insert any CJ Vincent shirtless joke here—

Honestly:
This is the strongest and most fit I’ve ever been, never would I have thought that’d I’d be able to deadlift and squat as much as I can now. Body composition has completely changed. I am the heaviest I’ve been, but in a gainz and muscular way that I have never been before.

I can also say that I have been surprised at how well my cardio (running) has been even without running a lot. Because I am stronger, I am significantly more powerful running and in softball.

What days and times do you come to Cróga?
I have been pretty consistent with hitting Croga in the afternoons, 5:30 on most days, and weekends at 9 am.

What’s your favorite WOD?
Anything where I can beat Jose and CJ.

Which usually means something longer in the 15-20 minute range, body weight or lightweight barbell activities and medium reps 10-20, and having a run in there absolutely helps.

What’s your least favorite WOD?
Overhead squats, snatches, handstand push-ups… anything overhead.

Large amounts of thrusters are miserable as well… like 19.5, horrible.

“The Rob” WOD! What would it be?
Rob WOD would look like this:
Backwards hat ✅
Africa on repeat performed by WEEZER on speakers ✅

In 5 minutes: Chug a “Bang” energy drink, rub Icy Hot all over body…

Then for time:
40 double unders
20 burpee box jump overs
20 chest to bar pull-ups
20 toes to bar
400-meter run
5 bar muscle ups
400-meter run
20 toes to bar
20 chest to bar pull-ups
20 burpee box jump overs
40 double unders

What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
Beer, ibuprofen, whiskey in that order.

Physical Therapist answer: Stretching, soft tissue massage, cupping, icing, heat… Any or all of this should be a part of everyone’s routine in some regard before and after workout out to prevent injuries.

What do you love about CrossFit?
The competition and camaraderie are something I haven’t had since high school. And that is what I have fallen in love with. Great group of people who have similar interests.

As a therapist, I love that CrossFit brings out the strengths and weaknesses of an individual, and we all have them. Seeing my weaknesses in my fitness has absolutely made we work on things I never would have thought of before. This is important for everyday life as well as fitness.

Prior to Crossfit, my fitness was very linear, and now I am a much more well rounded.

What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga?
Seeing that my usual diet consists of Monster energy drinks, bagel bites, easy Mac, and Brand-O (it has electrolytes)… I have room for improvement.

I’ve never been big on cooking to be honest, this is an area I need to improve upon going forward, but I really have enjoyed knowing that I can take on more calories and gain muscle.

LeanFeast has been huge!

What’s your biggest fitness goal for this year?
I think it would be great if I could be strong enough to deadlift 400 and fast enough run a sub-5-minute mile on the same day.

Not sure if that’s super realistic, but I think it can be done.

What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?
Just get in here! It’s ok to not be great at all or any of the movements at first. All things take time. I guarantee you will be faster, stronger, and look better. As with anything, consistency is the key. I did not see big improvements in strength and skills until I fully committed to at-least 13 visits a month. Even more so when I went unlimited visits. Even more when I got one on one work with Cody for skills, and even more when I had Cody write RX + workouts for me. Increased practice/training = more gains= higher fitness and feeling better.

Also, you need to listen to your body, if not feeling well talk to a coach and have them alter the workout for you. Any movement can be altered. For injury prevention, every person no matter what fitness level, would benefit from increased stretching and range of motion as well as extra core strength. These are things that will help keep you healthy in Crossfit and regular life. So these things take extra time but are essential for success and preventing injury.

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New Coach Spotlight: Hailey S

When you get the opportunity to chat with Hailey about who she is and how she got to where she is today, it becomes apparent quickly that coaching is right where she belongs. She grew up playing a wide range of sports, Gymnastics, Basketball, Water Polo & Swimming, she then worked in sports with jobs for the San Jose Sharks and the Pac-12 and then she took her experience and personable nature into a pursuit of a career in coaching.Armed with the knowledge that has been passed on to her by high-level coaches in both team and individual sports and her passion for making each of her classes a joy to be in and improving the lives of her athletes daily, she has quickly become another coach that the Croga members look forward to seeing on the class roster.

Full Name: Hailey Smith

Tell us a little bit about your family, job, and interests:
I’m born and raised in the Bay Area. I grew up in Redwood City and went to Menlo School for middle school and high school before moving back east to attend The University of Maryland where I played Water Polo. After graduating I worked for the San Jose Sharks for a year and then moved on to work for the PAC-12 before deciding to get into coach. Now I am a full time coach! In addition to Croga, I am now coaching at NCFIT, Orangetheory Fitness, and at City Beach volleyball helping with sports performance and powerlifting.

What was your athletic background before you started CrossFit?
Growing up I was a competitive gymnast. I retired from gymnastics right before high school and spread my time out between playing water polo, basketball and swimming. I was very fortunate to have a full-time strength and conditioning coach at my school, so I was introduced to Oly lifting and powerlifting at a relatively early age. But it wasn’t until training for water polo in college that I really started to fall in love with lifting.

What made you decide to become a CrossFit Coach?
I wanted to be a CrossFit coach because I remember as just a member at a gym thinking about how much I loved my coaches. How much the gym was always the best part of my day and how much they impacted not just my fitness but my person. I had one coach in particular who said one thing to me while we were in open gym together and it completely changed the way I looked at my body and the way I train. It was such an important moment in my life, far more important than that coach even realized. I hope that I can have that same impact even on one person I coach.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a cardiologist. I actually wanted to do that until I took some chem classes in college and realized there was no way I could make it through organic chemistry…and that was the end to my pre-med path! 🤣 I also wanted to be an astronaut, but I didn’t understand the concept of black holes and I thought one was going to kill me on my way to the moon, so that was the end of that.

If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
If I could be any animal I’d probably want to be a dolphin. They are brilliant and so playful and cute or a koala because all they do is eat and sleep.

What is the one food that you could never give up?
One food I could never give up is burritos.

Favorite quote:
It’s a Hawaiian proverb. “Ua ola loko i ke aloha” which means “love gives life within.” It’s been my favorite quote since I first heard it in high school and it’s kinda my life mantra. If you show compassion and love, and put love into everything you do, it’s the best and surest way to find happiness.

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