It’s not often that we see a list of potential member of the month names to choose from and everyone agrees on one specific person because they have blown everyone else out of the water that month. However, this month, that is exactly what happened. CJ signed up for our Uplift Program in December and since then he has been absolutely KILLING IT on the fitness front. He has been attending class or hitting the gym or track 7 days a week, has done all the WODs he can make it to and then does Uplift homework before or after class. He also did his first CrossFit competition in the middle of all of it. When you talk about someone putting their head down and doing the work to accomplish their goals, CJ is a poster child. He always wants more work, he always wants to get better, and he’ll do the grunt work (Assault Bike Intervals/Sprints) and the boring stuff (30-minutes of mobility a day) to get him there. Congrats on an awesome start to 2018, CJ, we are very excited to see what is ahead for you this year.
When did you join Cróga?
I joined in June 2017, but had a business trip immediately after I signed up, so my first real class was in July.
What were you doing before for fitness?
I had been training mostly power lifts on my own a few times a week, but was struggling with consistency in 2017. I also played Ice Hockey once a week or so.
What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout?
10RFT: 5 Hang Power Cleans and 5 Push Jerks @ 155 lbs. I remember thinking I should be able to Rx and hang with the class. I did the first two rounds Rx and got completely gassed and had to scale back. Only did 7 rounds by the time the clock stopped I think. VERY humbling, but also impressive to see the kind of shape the regulars were in. I’m pretty sure Coach Danny knew that was going to wipe me out quick but he let me learn the hard way.
What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?
I’m very slightly leaner, but I am trying to eat more to compensate and keep my weight up (admittedly this is a problem I share with not a single other person). I feel so much better for the rest of the day/night after an hour of intense work at Cróga. My performance in WODs is objectively better – Strength is marginally better (I started with a reasonably good strength base), but my aerobic fitness is so much improved, and my movements are smoother (still working on this). I’m MUCH better at the things I had not been doing prior, and I’ve kept or increased my major lifts (my Deadlift has gone up by 60 lbs this year!).
What days and times do you come to Cróga?
I’m a regular at the 7 am class, but I’ve also done 5 am’s (so early!) if I have to be at work early. I typically show up early to Cróga to work on flexibility or skills (Double-Unders FTW!) so the 6 am class knows me pretty well. I also do powerlifting on Wednesdays whenever I can. I come to Cróga just about every day now, sometimes twice a day for PowerLifting, except sometimes I will skip Sunday to run instead. If I didn’t have a demanding job or a wife and dog at home, I would be at Cróga at least two or three times a day.
What’s your favorite WOD?
I tend to like short, heavy, moderate to sprint-pace workouts with two or three movements. “Deads and Dubs” is my current favorite. 😉
What’s your least favorite WOD?
Any of the “chipper” style workouts. Murph, the Christmas WOD, the Caitlyn WOD… all are well outside of my wheelhouse. Anytime when I have to move my own heavy butt (burpees, push-ups, pull-ups, etc) instead of a barbell, I get super tired super fast.
“The CJ” WOD! What would it be?
If I had to program something other than “Deads and Dubs”, it would be something like:
Buy-in of 30 Bench Press @135/95, then 3RFT of 400m run, 75 Double-Unders, 10 Ground to Overhead @ 135/95. The score is total time inc. Bench Press.
What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
Drink a FitAid, Protein Shake, and Coffee, drive to work, shower, and start my work day. Not super exciting, but that’s my routine and it works for me. Also, no protein post-workout clearly equals zero gainz after all that work. Definitely must have two-scoops just to be safe.
What do you love about CrossFit?
I love that there is always something to work on, some weakness to improve (Overhead Squats in particular), or some skill to learn. I’ve done really well on some workouts compared to the rest of the class, and I’ve finished dead last in others. My workouts are much more interesting since joining Cróga and starting Crossfit, and I love that our coaches genuinely work to get you better in some way every workout. Crossfit and Fitness are really about what you put in. If you put in the work, if you show up and put in some effort, it pays dividends in a number of ways and that’s what I’m all about.
What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga?
I’ve been eating like 90% clean for a couple years since I started getting serious about health and fitness, so nothing from Cróga is really new to me since joining. Mostly Meat, Veggies, and some Starch (rice or potatoes) but I have been frequenting Bagel Guys after Saturday/Sunday morning WODs for breakfast sandwiches and I must say I have a weakness for them.
What’s your biggest fitness goal for this year?
No specific goals for this year I don’t think. I want to increase my Bench, Squat, Deadlift and Overhead Press, as well as my aerobic capacity, but I’m more focused on the process right now than the numbers. Steady improvement is what I’m all about right now. Maybe OHS more than 65lbs?
What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?
Come for the workout, and stay for the people. There’s really nothing to be intimidated about – everyone scales something, and many people scale or modify all things. People straight up get more fit here, and if you can manage the cost (one of the biggest barriers to joining for myself) it’s totally worth it. ALL of the coaches are great, and everyone is generally very friendly and welcoming, regardless of your fitness level or your goals. Do what you’re comfortable with in the gym and the rest will take care of itself.
Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet?
I count joining Cróga last year as one of the best decisions I have made in my life. I have been “into Fitness” for a while now, but didn’t pull the trigger on Cróga or Crossfit until last year, and boy am I glad I did. I have met a lot of great people, gotten a whole lot more fit, and just found this whole other “gear” in life that I don’t think I would have if I hadn’t joined this particular gym. I feel better, I have more energy, I am more focused and productive at work, and I genuinely treasure this community of people. I used to live very close to Cróga, and I’ve since moved about 12 miles away, but I’ve managed to still make Cróga part of my everyday routine so that I can continue to be a part of the amazing place that coach Dave has created. I am unbelievably thankful for this place and all of the people (coaches and athletes) that are part of it.