SUCCESS STORIES

Jose C Is The Cróga Member Of The Year!

If you had told me that one day we’d have a member attend more than 400 classes in a year, I would’ve called you crazy. Not that it’s impossible, but I never knew that a normal, everyday member, who has a wife and a job, would carve out that much of his/her time to spend at our gym. Although, now that I think about it, I’m not exactly sure you can call Jose “normal”.

Besides our staff, he is easily the most recognizable face at Croga CrossFit. Jose attended 408 classes in 2018, often multiple a day and all while also traveling to Europe for significant chunks of time this past year. It is no wonder everyone knows him, he’s ALWAYS in the box if he’s in town!

The great part about that though is that Jose is the perfect model for success in CrossFit. He always smiles, he works hard, he never complains about the workout (well, until it’s over and he’s tired or sore the next day), he does extra credit to improve the things he needs work on, he stays after class to stretch, he eats well and he is a motivator and always cheers for athletes of all levels. In addition, he pushes his fellow Croganites to get out of their comfort zone and try things they’ve never done or to get out and use their fitness (as evidenced by spearheading our Largest Team award at the San Francisco Spartan Race and getting 10+ athletes to compete at local throwdowns when they didn’t plan to ever sign up).

With all of this considered, there really was no other option for our 2018 Member of the Year awardee. Congratulations, Jose Cong, we couldn’t have asked for a better person to crown as this years MOTY. Keep up the good work, our gym would not be the same without you!

Can you tell us a little about yourself (family, work, hobbies)?
The parts you may not know about me: I am half Chinese – half Mexican who has lived in the Bay Area since 1982, grew up in SF and East San Jose and now home literally is a few blocks behind Croga (for as much as I love to train, it is interesting that I don’t find myself walking or jogging to Croga). I have been a TV producer for a morning live talk TV show where I doubled as an on-screen lifestyles reporter who also has worked on music videos and one B slasher movie a long long long time ago (all while in High School then a couple of years after graduation). I have designed and ran sales and operations for a few gyms in the past while in college before finding my calling in the world of recruiting and talent management aka HR. I have helped build and org design teams with companies like Apple (early iPod and super early iPhone), Nest Labs, Google, and now with my own startup where we are attempting to productize a philosophy developed to build and drive high impact in teams over my career (as well as advice and angel invest in startups). I travel more than I care for and I came close to actually being liable in Europe for taxes due to my extended scheduled across the pond. I give speeches and write a few blogs about the future of work in my free time.

The parts most of you may know: I am married to the amazing Lina Rizzo, another member of our fantastic community at Croga. Justin makes up the Cong clan trifecta during summers and other school breaks from Yale. Contrary to popular belief, he is our nephew, not our son, though we love him just like one. We also have two dogs, one neurotic and a perpetual puppy staged one in Jake & Kiki, they drive us crazy at times but we love them like our children! We are actually excited about the arrival of the next clan member in March of 2019. When possible, I love attending sporting events and will do anything to experience top events like Super Bowls, NBA Finals, World Series, World Cups, etc. Love food, all kinds, a great bottle of wine, bourbon, or nice spicy and dry mezcal. I enjoy traveling just not the short work trips across the Atlantic which literally reduce my lifespan each time. I don’t mind if I can spend a little bit of time soaking in the culture and the food of my destinations. I am about to get my 3rd passport and it is mostly because I am constantly running out of room for stamps. Enjoy playing sports and if I had my way, I would be kitesurfing daily but my beach bum days are long gone. Favorite Pizza is a simple 3 cheese from Modern Apizza in New Haven, CT, Favorite Doughnut is a Basil, Blueberry Bourbon from Blue Star in Portland, OR, Favorite Ice Cream: Dark Chocolate Gelato at Chocolat in Milan, Italy or Sea Salt Caramel from Bi-Rite in SF but would happily settle for any good “homemade” vanilla bean ice cream. I am the type of individual that can’t help but to jump from a cliff if I see one (75 meters in the highest waterfall dive I have successfully completed and ~200 meters repelling drop with a 25-meter “release” dive) and that pretty much summarizes my attitude about life. Live for challenges! Obviously, I love CrossFit!

What are some new things that you have learned about yourself since starting CrossFit?
I have learned that it truly is never too late to learn new things and to hit reset in my life. I grew up as an active and highly competitive child (I know, hard to believe, right) participating in cross country, track & field (yes, field too, did the shot put), swimming (medley specialists), football, and my main love, rugby & kitesurfing. I grew up fairly fit but my career responsibilities made it harder to work out and stay fit once I retired from 15 years of competitive rugby with the San José Seahawks. I gained a lot of weight, at my highest, I was probably close to 190 lbs, and not a CJ “gainz” type of good 190 lbs. I tried everything from running to the regular gym but I was unable to return to my younger fitness levels. I actually joined Croga in the box’s earlier days and loved it but a freak injury to my calf on a sprint out of all things. Unfortunately, I ended up leaving Croga and went back to my physically sedentary and mentally stressful lifestyle.

A couple of years ago, I finally decided to try and do something about it thanks to my wife who was always trying to get me to join her HiiT gym and her trail races. A picture my brother sent me from Justin’s high school graduation and Coach David yelling at me to come back to Croga every time he drove past me as I walked our dogs around the hood finally got me to step back through the door. I have not looked back since! What started out as a workout a couple of times a week has turned into a lifestyle (and obsession) to follow an inspiring Crossfit mantra, “Build a better version of yourself”. I had never done any gymnastics or Olympic / Power Lifting before and didn’t think I could Rx any of the WODs, but through the coaching & mentoring of our coaches, the support of the community, and the energy Croga generates, I have learned new tricks, increased my confidence in being fit at my age, and can honestly say that I am in the best shape of my life. The best part, I honestly feel like I am nowhere near my apex and can get significantly more fit!

I have also learned the importance of making time for my well being. The stress management benefits of working out. The value of eating healthier The positive impact of feeling & looking fit.

I can honestly admit to being in the best shape of my life and at my age, I am proud of it but again, I know I can get better, much better.

You attended over 400 classes this year (often multiple a day), what was your driving force for spending so much time here?
I could write a novel about this but if I think about it, there are a few benefits. My main driving force is the feeling of getting better! Nothing like achieving a new PR, beating a previous score, on rare occasions beating some of the great athletes at Croga (especially body weight type of WODs). The feeling that I am better today than yesterday because of the work I have put in energizes me and the opportunity to exceed my own exceptions tomorrow drives me to work harder each day. It is a perpetual source of energy for someone as competitive as me. Other motivations include taking on the challenges Coach Cody throws our way with the programming (Some ignite WODs, at times, seem more challenging than the regular WODs). I may be one of the very few members who refuses to look at the WODs ahead, I am often surprised when walking in or have bugged Lina to tell me what the WOD is the night before. I just love being surprised and having to think about strategy. The support and guidance from the Coaches is also key. I am constantly improving on a movement or learning a new skill. Last but not least, THE ENERGY from the members is not only inspiring but addicting, I could probably name 90% of the community and share a specific event which inspired me and I bet the remaining 10%, I have just not met them. Our community is closest to what I experienced and miss the most from playing competitive rugby, truly blown away by the fellow athletes and their support.

Do you have a favorite WOD, lift, or movement? What’s one you love to hate?
My favorite WODs are the Hero ones and the Girls, basically, anything that looks impossible and will most likely leave me flat on the rubber mats! I enjoy powerlifting and wish I was better at Oly. I would say that I hate anything with the Assault Bike and Wall Balls but given my injury, I have learned that I can improve on the AB but not sure that I can ever love it. WBs are getting easier but I still HATE them! The one WOD that I have both hated and loved, Steve’s member WOD this past year. That and the Assault Bike marathon. I also have to throw in any crazy extra credit workout that CJ talks me into doing with him (ie: Death Race) and I can’t forget Andrew & Rob N.’s “summit run” to Mission Peak a few months ago.

What’s your biggest fitness goal for this upcoming year?
One goal this year, recover from my ACL reconstructive surgery and get back to where I left off so I can do the October Open, do at least one competition, play rugby with my old team at a tournament, finish the Spartan Race at Oracle Park (formerly known as AT&T Park in SF) and the ultimate goal, be as fit as I can be so I can keep up with our son and be an example to him so he can grow up living a healthy lifestyle.

What is one thing about you that people may not know?
I once had my driving license suspended for over a year and no, it was not because of a DUI. I have not spent NYEs in San Jose or in the same location for over 15 years. Also, I am really not great at anything, seriously, I just refuse to be outworked!

If you could have one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?
Tacos!!!

If you could have a conversation with anyone that ever existed, dead or alive, who would it be?
Leonardo DaVinci, I am not sure that there is anyone in history with a bigger vision for the future, many of his ideas seeded inventions which changed the world and in my opinion, continue to inspire!

If you could give your former self any piece of advice about your current journey, what would it be?
To watch the Steve Jobs commence speech at Stanford University and understand that dots do connect. Decisions we make earlier in life could have profound effects on our future. I also spent a great deal of my life working as hard as I could for companies/ projects that had a great impact in the world but I did it at the expense of budgeting time for family, friends, and myself. I spend a lot of time at Croga and exercising now because I realize that a more balanced lifestyle supersedes my previous achievements. Set lofty goals but include personal ones as well.

Anything else you would like to add?
I am blown away by this selection, I just want to express my gratitude to everyone behind Croga, from the coaches to Jill P, to the community. I hope I am putting back enough energy into our community to make up for the tremendous amount that I take out of it. Special thank you to Lina for allowing me to allocate so much effort into Croga and Crossfit! And at some point, I need to meet Ben officially and do a 5 AM WOD with him. He sets my personal marks daily with his scores!!!

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Jill H. Is The November Member Of The Month

Jill H is hands down one of the kindest and sweetest ladies you’ll ever meet in your life. She and her husband, Frank, are loyal 5 AM members of ours, but he only shows up at that time because she brings him along with her ;). When you read through the answers below you’ll quickly notice that Jill is extremely selfless, gets along with everyone and is inspired by many in our community, but I don’t think she realizes how inspiring she is to the group!

Her consistent positive attitude, her ability to push herself when the going gets tough and her constant encouragement of her fellow athletes really make her the perfect choice for our Member of the Month.

Congratulations Jill, I couldn’t be happier with our choice for this month, you represent our gym extremely well and I love being able to call you and Frank friends of mine and members of our gym.

When did you join Cróga?
I joined Croga in June 2017, but really wasn’t able to be consistent until March of this year.

What were you doing before for fitness?
Nothing really.  I’ve gone on various trends – personal trainers, running, gyms – but nothing has made me feel like I do with CrossFit.

What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout?
I don’t remember the workout, but I do remember Danny asking me to tell everyone about myself.  I was so nervous I rambled on about how I was trying to fit into this dress for my niece’s wedding and how many kids I have and how old I was.  I’m sure that’s not what he was wanting/expecting to hear!

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?
The coolest thing is how strong I feel.  It’s such an empowering feeling.  I love recording my workout in the app and seeing how much stronger I actually am. (Thanks Kristi!)  In addition to seeing the weight on the bar increase, this year I learned how to do box jumps and handstand holds.  On top of all that, I’ve lost close to 20 pounds, which always feels good.  And yes, I finally fit into that dress!

What days and times do you come to Cróga?
I’m a 5am’er.  I had a short stint at the 3:30pm class and still miss my friends there, but I find fewer excuses to miss 5am.

What’s your favorite WOD?
I love the hero WODs.  I get pumped to do something in honor of inspiring people.

What’s your least favorite WOD?
I don’t really have a least favorite.  I do have a ‘least confident’ WOD – that would be anything hanging from the bar.  I look forward to the day I do my first pull-up. 😉

“The Jill” WOD! What would it be?
Well, it would have to be a hero workout of course!  I was born in ’67; married the love of my life when I was 29; have 6 amazing children; am one of 7 kids; have 3 wonderful parents, and was born and raised in the 408.  So here goes: 3 RFT: 67 double-unders, 29 thrusters, 7 box jumps, 6 handstand push-ups, 408m run.  I guess I’ll have to go do something heroic now!!

What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
For those that know me, I am not one to swear.  But, when the workout is crazy hard, I love to get in my car, feeling proud and astonished, and yell, “What the *#@$ did I just do?!?!”  Then drive home smiling, knowing I’m a badass because I just did CrossFit.

What do you love about CrossFit?
I love being inspired by a completely diverse community of amazing people.  I love when I don’t think I can finish someone yells out encouragement.  I love that everyone helps everyone put their weights away.  I love when someone younger and stronger doesn’t mind being my partner.  I love working out with a partner who encourages me to push myself.

What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga?
After completing the Whole Life Challenge earlier this year I reduced my flour and sugar intake to 2/week.  It’s made a huge difference in how I look and feel.

What’s your biggest fitness goal for this year?
For 2019 I would really like to consistently jump on a 20” box, get closer to doing a pull-up and master double-unders.

What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?
Don’t compare yourself to anyone else – simply focus on being the best version of yourself and be super proud of that.

Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet?
I want the Croga family to know how much they inspire me – Frank, Emilie, Franny, Kristi, Steve, Dave, Todd, Madhu, Ben, Cody, Wendy, Erin, Kurt, Jenny, Stacy, Julianna, Joel, CJ, Laura, Jose, Lina.  I want to be like all of you!  Sometimes I don’t think I will finish a workout and someone yells something encouraging that spurs me on.  I’ll look over and see people smiling – while sweat is pouring down their face and they can barely catch their breath.  Sometimes I simply watch others push themselves to do better than they did the last time.  I watch people juggle work, CrossFit and family.  I see super strong people lift really heavy weights.  Some people are recovering from injury or dealing with chronic pain – and they still show up to do the best they can.  Young and older, everyone is working on being the best version of themselves.  It impacts me tremendously and makes me want to push myself.

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Jordan O. Is The October Member Of The Month

When I think about Jordan being our member of the month I immediately think back to one of his first workouts. He was just dead tired and looked like he couldn’t take much more, but still had a huge smile on his face and wouldn’t stop because it was a partner WOD and he didn’t want to let his teammate down. It was right then that I immediately knew he was going to be with us for a while and eventually he was going to develop into one heck of an athlete because he had the right mindset.

It was also pretty darn easy to choose him as our member of the month because he, his wife, Tami, and his brother, Rysen, are quite possibly the three nicest people you’ve ever met. The Otomo Crew always walks in the door with big smiles – ready to have a laugh and get to work. They even pretend I’m funny when I hit them with my Haole Hawaiian lingo since they’re from Maui and I love the Islands so much.

It’s been nearly a year and Jordan’s progress and expression of his athleticism are very impressive. I’m excited to see what year 2 holds for him. Congratulations Jordan!

When did you join Cróga?
I joined Cróga this past January.  At the time, I was mostly looking for an activity that would rebuild some of the mental toughness and competitive fire I lost when I hung up my speedo at the end of my high school swimming career.

What were you doing before for fitness?
Just pick-up basketball a few times a week.

What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout?
My first workout was a Saturday partner workout.  It consisted of a lot of rowing, a lot of deadlifts, and a lot of T2Bs, which I couldn’t do at the time.  After nearly 30 minutes of rowing, deadlifting, and hanging knee tucking, my forearms were crying and I was gasping for air.  I distinctly remember saying to myself, “if by the end of this first year I am half as fit as this Jason guy, I’ll consider my journey into CrossFit a success.”  That first workout was also when I started to realize how encouraging and supportive everyone at Cróga is (thanks Jason!).  I couldn’t wait for the next workout.

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?
My scale says I look the same, but I’d like to think that I’ve converted some fat to muscle since January.  I definitely feel a lot more fit and prepared to take on physical challenges.  My strength and stamina have also improved a lot, though I still seem to red-line quicker than most at Cróga…

What days and times do you come to Cróga?
5:30 or 6:30 pm during the week and 8 am on the weekends.  I try to come as often as my body permits, which is usually between 4 and 6 times per week.

What’s your favorite WOD?
Don’t have a favorite yet, but I definitely prefer short and on the heavier side.  Maybe something like Heavy Grace.

What’s your least favorite WOD?
Anything long, unless it includes a partner.  The workout that Steve wrote this year comes to mind…

“The Jordan” WOD! What would it be?
Hmmm…how about 6 rounds for time of 6 BW bench presses and 6 BW power cleans.

What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
Catching my breath in front of the fan then doing a post-game analysis with whoever is nearby.

What do you love about CrossFit?
Two things: the constant improvement and the constant challenge.

It may just be beginner gains, but I love that I’ve been making measurable improvements in fitness and strength without focusing on any specific goal.  I ran my fastest mile since high school 8 months after joining Cróga without doing any more running than what was programmed in the WODs.  Similarly, I’ve seen steady improvements in my max deadlift despite doing heavy deadlifts at most once a month.

Though it can be frustrating at times, I also love that there’s a never-ending list of things to learn or get better at.  At first, it was double unders… then HSPUs… then snatches… etc.  My next hurdles are overhead squats and pistols.  The challenge keeps me motivated and excited to come to class.

What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga?
The only new thing in my diet is my post-workout protein shake (or smoothie if I was really nice to Tami that day).  Need to make sure my hard work is being converted to gainz.

What’s your biggest fitness goal for this year?
To get a little leaner so those C2B pull-ups and other bodyweight movements aren’t so taxing.

What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?
Come on in, the water’s warm!  No matter what your level of fitness is, you will be embraced by the coaches and community.  I often hear people say that it’s so much easier to work out when you have a training partner — at Cróga, it truly feels like you have a gym full of partners cheering you on and pushing you to do your best!

Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet?
Thanks to the coaches and other members for making Cróga such a great community.  I know it’s been said many times before, but the community is what makes Cróga so special!

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Erin W. Is The September Member Of The Month

Erin’s story is one of those CrossFit stories that I absolutely love to tell. It’s a story that we’ve heard a thousand times, but to me, it never loses its significance. Erin didn’t consider herself much of an athlete or a gym rat before she decided to head into Croga because a friend of hers was one of our members.

Over the last 2 years, we’ve slowly watched Erin pick very specific and individual goals, set her mind to them, do everything we asked and then some to target those goals and proceed to smash them. And in the process, she has come to love spending time at the gym and has become an inspiration to many others at the gym to commit to more consistent attendance and effort.

Thank you for all your hard work, your big smile and your commitment to constantly improving Erin. You have made a big impact on our community and we love having you as an integral part of our Croga Crew.

When did you join Cróga?
Right after Thanksgiving 2016.  I noticed how fit Stacey Cast was… and she told me her secret as she showed off the callouses on her hands.

 

What were you doing before for fitness?
I loved running and would do half-marathons  (Las Vegas strip at night was my first and my favorite), but I never belonged to a gym before.

What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout?
Don’t remember but I know that I almost died.  I had never done an air squat before.  Every muscle hurt the next day and the day after that.

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?
I’ve experienced such confidence in physical activities — I love to travel and now I’m more apt to choose an outdoor activity.  I’ve done tons more hiking and biking on vacation.  I’m also a lot more willing to try things and trust that my body will support me.

What days and times do you come to Cróga?
I mix it up.  I am trying to be consistent with 6 a.m. at least 3x a week, but I also love Ignite, so I do that too.

What’s your favorite WOD?
I love running and rowing — so I’m always happy when they are included.

What’s your least favorite WOD?
Anything with box jumps.  I still can’t get the hang of them.  But I keep trying and I’m so grateful for the soft boxes that have saved my shins!

“The Erin” WOD! What would it be?
4 RFT:
400m run
30 abmat situps
20 push ups
10 deadlifts

What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
I head straight home for Greek yogurt and blueberries and make sure my kids have gotten themselves up for school.

What do you love about CrossFit?
I love that such a physically demanding workout has options for every skill level.  I love that I have been able to try new things that are really difficult and feel supported and encouraged.  I love the upbeat, fun community of people and their pets.

What’s your biggest fitness goal for this year?
I’m really focusing on consistency.  I was a very casual crossfitter until I decided to get serious at the end of the summer.  In August I made it to 7 classes. I hit 18 for September and am working on even more for October, November and December.

What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?
I always hear from friends that they are afraid to try CrossFit, but if this 47-year-old mom who never really was much of an athlete can do it, anyone can.  You’ll get lots of friendly help, make tons of new friends, and develop so many skills you never anticipated.  There’s room at CrossFit for everyone from elite athletes to those of us ready to learn and develop.  The coaches (who I thought might be intimidating) are phenomenal — kind, helpful and encouraging.

Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet?
Super grateful that you thought of me and even more grateful that I have found a place that has made such a positive impact on my physical (and mental) well-being.

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Lina R. Is The August Member Of The Month

When I taught Lina during her first intro class, one of the first things she told me was that she was fiercely competitive. This did not surprise me knowing that she was Jose’s wife, another member of ours that is also very competitive. Because of this, I knew their little in-house rivalry was going to be fun to watch.

Lina and I would chat regularly to make sure that she was comfortable with the movements and weights she was using, and then we would let her chase Jose down and really push her limits. She has done an absolutely fantastic job of easing into the world of CrossFit while also getting the most out of the program by pushing the intensity level in each workout.

On top of all her hard work in class, she also does extra credit skill work after class. She makes sure to show Jose that with a little practice, she can handstand walk better than him.

Keep it up, Lina. You’ve been a ton of fun to watch and we can’t wait to see what’s next for you.

When did you join Cróga?
I joined just before the 2018 Open started. Literally, I had my intro just a few days before 18.1.

What were you doing before for fitness?
Prior to Croga I was doing HIIT training, running 10k trail races almost every weekend with Jose and was also going to NC30 (similar to Ignite). Oh and resistance training walking our 2 crazy dogs.

What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout?
I honestly don’t remember my first workout because it was so close to the Open and that’s what I remember. I had only done a couple of sessions before jumping into the Open. I had asked Jose “What is the Open? Should I do it?” His response was “Just do it”.  I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.I remember my first Friday Night Lights with the group…I was feeling intimidated seeing EVERYONE there watching everyone compete. Especially since I was new to cCossfit and didn’t really know what I was doing. Everyone was super friendly and made me feel very welcomed. I hadn’t done a clean before, so I had quickly asked Cody to show me what to do. I learned how to do a clean within 20 seconds. Thanks Cody! Once the buzzer sounded, I jumped in and my intimidation fell away. I was hooked on Crossfit!

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?
I’ve definitely gotten stronger and have more stamina in general and have also seen improvement in running.

What days and times do you come to Cróga?
I usually go Mon – Sat at 7am (Sat at 8am) along with Ignite and sometimes the evening classes if I didn’t make it in the morning.

What’s your favorite WOD?
My favorite WOD’s are the Hero WODs. I like that we’re representing fallen hero’s and remembering them. They are also fun!

What’s your least favorite WOD?
Anything with Wall Balls!

“The Lina” WOD! What would it be?
4 rounds FT:

400 meter run
15 handstand pushups
10 deadlifts
10 cleans

What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
Getting breakfast!  Especially with fellow Crognites on the weekends.

What do you love about CrossFit?
Hands down the family community!

What’s your biggest fitness goal for this year?

To beat Jose in walking handstands. 🙂

What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?
There is no better way to get into a training routine and feel great than having wonderful coaches with personal attention to improving our athletes and the most amazing community of fellow members to support you at every turn of your fitness journey.

Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet?
Yeah. Love the outside events we participate in as team Croga!

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Justin C. Is The July Member Of The Month

Most, if not all, Cróga members know who Jose is because he’s a ball of energy that comes to the gym at all different class times and almost all of our community events. When Jose told me that his college-aged nephew was moving in with him and his wife for the summer for an internship and that he was going to join the gym, I was hoping the enthusiasm for health/fitness, zest for life and positive energy would run in the family. As we have gotten to know Justin, it is evident that they do!

Justin is a very smart, friendly and hard working young man that will be missed dearly when he heads back to school in a couple weeks. He had never done CrossFit before, but he jumped right into the deep end and really committed to improving himself as much as possible in the few short months he was in San Jose. He would come to our CrossFit, Ignite, Powerlifting and Olympic Lifting classes, always looking to learn something new and see how much further he could push himself. And at the end of class, no matter how tired he was, he always found a way to flash a big smile and head out the door with his head held high knowing he gave it his all.

Justin, it has been wonderful getting to know you and coach you this summer. We hope you find a CrossFit gym back at school and continue your training so when we see you next year we can pick up another level past where we left off this year.

When did you join Cróga?
June 1st of this year was my first intro class! I finally caved in after a year or so of pitches from José every time I saw him. It’d go something like this: usually, he’d break down the WOD and his time, complete with demonstrations of the movements and sound effects. Then I’d shake my head and say something along the lines of “Wow, that’s (you’re) crazy…” And every family dinner, CrossFit would be a hot topic of discussion (along with attempts at recruiting my dad and me). I totally understand why now! These days I have to keep myself in check at work or when I hang out with friends/family, otherwise I’ll keep blabbing on and on about it.

What were you doing before for fitness?
I was on the football team in high school, where we’d do strength + conditioning year-round; summer, in-season, school, etc. I was definitely the smallest guy on the team (think Rudy), so I had to go hard on the workouts and in the gym. Freshman year I was probably around 5’5″ and less than 100 lbs. Made some good beginner gains, but kind of stalled out in the gains department junior/senior year as I wasn’t really paying attention to my diet. I was also on the track team freshman year.

After I played my last down of football, I didn’t step foot in the gym for probably 6 months and lost a lot of strength. I’d get quick spurts of motivation and go back for a few months, but then I’d get bored or injured/sick and the cycle would start over again. 3-4 months of being a couch potato followed by 3 months of activity for a couple years. I also played hockey 1-2 times a week.

What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout?
First actual WOD was 16-20-24 of C2B PUs, Ring Dips, and Alternating Dumbbell Snatches.  Figured beforehand I could keep up with the rest of the class because I was feeling pretty decent during my intro workouts. My ego got put in check by the end of the first round, ha! I thought, “Man, this is gonna be a long summer…”

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?
My endurance and metabolic conditioning have gone through the roof! Sometimes I finish a WOD and just think back to how exhausted I was my very first WOD, wondering what the hell I was getting into. My strength has also noticeably improved, especially my cleans and deadlifts! Not sure what my clean max was before, but it was nowhere near 215. My deadlift was 275 and is now 315! The stamina gains have been most noticeable in other activities (hockey, Krav Maga, hiking). Where I’d feel burnt and tired before during those things, I now feel like I can go on forever.

Overall, I just feel better and more lively day-to-day! In terms of looks, my color-coordination in my gym outfits has improved tenfold (just ask Coach Brett). My family says I’ve gotten gainz physically, and though I’m not wearing a medium shirt quite yet, I’ve noticed the differences as well.

What days and times do you come to Cróga?
You can usually catch me M-F at the 7 AM class, along with powerlifting on Wednesday nights and 7-9 on Saturdays for open gym + the WOD.

What’s your favorite WOD?

Hotshots 19 was a blast.

What’s your least favorite WOD?

Anything with wall balls. They’re an easy one-way ticket for me to the 1000-yard stare post-workout.

“The Justin” WOD! What would it be?
4 RFT:
21 Burpees over barbell
15 Handstand pushups
9 Power cleans (135/95)
400m run

What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
Crack open a FitAid, hit up LeanFeast, then head home and chat about the WOD and CrossFit for 20 minutes over breakfast with the rest of the #CongCrew (José + Lina).

What do you love about CrossFit?
In no particular order…
1) There’s no thinking. You just get up, go and do the WOD. All the programming is taken care of and it never gets monotonous.
2) There’s everything! Mobility, calisthenics, lifting heavy weights, running, etc.
3) The community + coaches! We have an awesome crew + coaches at Cróga that not only works hard, but plays hard – it’s rare for me to leave the gym without a few laughs.

What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga?
Definitely the steak breakfast burritos at LeanFeast! Along with finding out that I make a mean peanut butter/banana/chocolate protein shake that hits the macros hard and is insanely delicious.

What’s your biggest fitness goal for this year?
To crush José in every WOD! Nailing my double-unders and muscle-ups should help with that. 🙂

What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?
For new members: make sure you introduce yourself and get to know your fellow Cróganites and coaches, and start building relationships with them! Your coaches and fellow members are the greatest assets you are going to have here. Everyone here is so warm and welcoming – the people are a huge part of what gets me out of bed in the morning and excited to work out!

For people considering: the WODs may sound intense and scary, and they are. But everything can be scaled no matter your fitness level. Before you know it, you’ll be kicking butt alongside some awesome people and coaches, while being in the best shape of your life.

Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet?
Just in case we haven’t had this conversation (which I’ve had many times, ha!) and are still wondering, I am José and Lina’s nephew 🙂

HUGE thank you to everyone at Cróga for an amazing summer and start to my CrossFit journey! It’s been a blast and I’ll miss you all at school.

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Emilie S. Is The June Member Of The Month

If you’ve been to our 3:30 class at Cróga, then you definitely know Emilie. She is a die hard 3:30er now and rarely misses a class unless she’s out of town doing something cool like camping in the desert for a week while off-roading. She’s one of those members that listens well, puts in the time and hard work, kind of flies under the radar and then you look up one day and she’s doing something she’s never done before and it kind of catches you off guard.

The progress we’ve seen Emilie make over the last 3 years is absolutely fantastic and I know that she takes pride in how her hard work has paid off and the constant progress she makes. She is just another outstanding example of how when you put in the time and do the work you will be capable of things you never thought possible.

Congratulations Emilie, this recognition is well deserved!

When did you join Cróga?
I joined Cróga in July 2015

What were you doing before for fitness?
I’ve done a lot of things to maintain fitness, but just previous to Crossfit, I was swimming laps 3 to 4 times a week.

What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout?
The first Crossfit Workout I completed was front squats and running. Just a squat by itself was difficult, and I quickly figured out my mobility was pretty bad and my running worse.

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?
It’s easy for me to know that I am way stronger. Looks are something we all struggle with, but I know in general I hold my posture better, and a small thing like just standing and putting my hands on my hips, I can feel something other than mush now :).

What days and times do you come to Cróga?
I really loved going to the 0500 and 0600 class because it gave me the energy to get through the day. Work has changed that and I have to be at the airport two hours before that now, so for the last 15 months, the 3:30 class has become my home and I love it too. I think that getting to the 3:30 class after work (as most do in that class) has made me a bit stronger and reduced how much I grumble about the WOD. I make the choice to go, and I have rarely heard anyone else complain, so it’s basically time to suck it up and work through it.

What’s your favorite WOD?
A long Chipper.

What’s your least favorite WOD?
Well, I like to say my least favorite WOD has a lot of rowing. That is because I’m short and slow. Haha!

“The Emilie” WOD! What would it be?
A Chipper with 200 run, push presses, Sit Ups, 200 run, toes to bar, push-ups, 200 run, dumbbell snatches, burpees, cleans….blah blah blah until you can’t or times up, lol!

What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
My routine is usually stopping at the produce stand on the way home, watering plants in the backyard, then getting ready for the next day. 0330 is usually about 9 hours away at that point.

What do you love about CrossFit?
I’ve played many competitive sports over the years including tennis, volleyball, softball, soccer and competitive sailing. CrossFit is by far the sport that will take you through the years healthy so that everyday functions become so much easier.

What’s your biggest fitness goal for this year?
I think that I have gotten somewhat stronger over the last year or so, and I still wish I could attain those goals like an unassisted pull-up or a handstand. I do have an everyday goal though, and that is to lift half of what Kristi lifts…haha. True though, and still difficult or not possible at times.

What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?
Oh, I just love watching new people join Cróga and get through their first WOD, first week, first month. I just want to encourage this is for everyone, and absolutely everyone is welcome at Cróga. I don’t know if it gets old saying it, or hearing it, but CrossFit with Dave, Cody, and the whole Cróga community is the best thing you could do for yourself.

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Sean C. Is The May Member Of The Month

As I’ve gotten to know Sean over the last few years I’ve enjoyed having him in class more and more and in what seems to be a recent theme, he’s one of our long-tenured members that I couldn’t believe had never won member of the month before. Sean is one of those guys that always makes it to the gym, morning or night, whatever is necessary with his schedule that day. He always comes to work and to give it everything he’s got. His journey has been absolutely awesome to watch. On top of all of this, he loves bringing his daughters to the gym to hang out and do a little functional fitness, which has been very inspiring and cool for me as a new dad of a little girl. Congratulations on many months of success and a bright fit future ahead, Sean. Thanks for being such an important part of each class you’re in and setting a solid example for all us dad’s of little girls out there.

When did you join Cróga?
I think I joined in May 2015 after talking with a member, Mark Imelli. I think Mark has moved on to be an Orange Theory guy.

What were you doing before for fitness?
I was at PayPal at the time so I was going to the gym on campus, mostly doing the elliptical and watching TV, not very effective. I started doing some boot camps that were offered and realized that I needed someone to provide the workout for me otherwise I was inherently too lazy to do anything of substance. I would use my 3 ACL reconstruction knee surgeries as an excuse to do low impact workouts.

What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout?
I can’t remember yesterday’s workout let alone the one from years ago, but I am positive it kicked my ass. For some reason, I decided to keep coming back. I guess I enjoy punishment. I do remember a time when I was performing a WOD when there was an 8 AM class and I was the only person in the class (probably why it is gone now) and Dave literally thought I was going to have a heart attack and quite frankly so did I. I wish I could remember that workout. He probably has not programmed it again since it almost killed me.

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?
Believe it or not, I have seen improvements in my golf game even though I don’t get to golf that often but my ball striking has definitely improved. You play better golf when you workout, who would have thought. When I was younger it was always a function of how many greyhounds I had to loosen me up.

What days and times do you come to Cróga?
I usually try to come to the 5 AM class to get the workout out the way. But I will mix in some evening classes depending on how the work schedule is going.

What’s your favorite WOD?
Even though I cant finish it, I look forward to the 12 days of Christmas workout.

What’s your least favorite WOD?
100 burpees, it is a long way down to the ground and back up for me.

“The Sean” WOD! What would it be?
Something like 21-15-9-6-3 deadlifts, power cleans and thrusters.

What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
After 5 am class….coffee!

What do you love about CrossFit?
I like that the workouts are determined for me (I mentioned I was lazy right), the workouts typically involve a large number of muscle groups and I don’t feel cheated after a workout (usually I am gasping for air when I am done).

What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga?
I wish I had one…see my biggest fitness goal below.

What’s your biggest fitness goal for this year?
Trying to be smarter about the way I eat and drink (need to reduce my alcohol consumption). Being a bean counter typically leads you to needing a cocktail on a regular basis.

What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?
Hi, I’m Sean Cook, member at Cróga Crossfit and I’m here to tell you, you’re perfect just the way you are. But if you feel like losing a few pounds, getting healthier and making some great friends in the process, then Cróga is the place for you. I had to steal a line from Dodgeball, A True Underdog Story. I like quoting movies.

Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet?
I would like to thank Dave and his staff as well as the rest of the Cróganites for making getting my ass kicked on a regular basis a lot of fun and allowing my girls to workout with me every once in awhile.


Jill Parker
Operations Assistant

Cróga CrossFit
1547-40 Meridian Ave.
San Jose, CA 95125

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Jenny L. Is The April Member Of The Month

Over the past year, it has been a ton of fun to watch Jenny go from the girl who was al because she had been to a couple other CrossFit gyms and didn’t really like them to the girl that asked for Olympic Lifting in the AM classes because she couldn’t make the evenings. She sometimes comes to the gym twice in a day to do some extra credit work.

She has been a fantastic addition to our community with her quick-witted personality and her evolution as an athlete in a year has been impressive to watch. Her dog Leo has also become a regular, always by her side.

Congratulations Jenny, this acknowledgement of all your hard work is well deserved!

When did you join Cróga?
I wasn’t sure so looked back at emails and I believe May 5th was the 1-year anniversary of my “no sweat intro”.

What were you doing before for fitness?
I have always been active but hit a lull in late 2016 early 2017. I would find excuses for everything, so I knew I had to find a place that felt like a second home. I tried multiple CrossFit places, HIT places, etc and couldn’t find a fit. In the middle of last year, I finally started looking at places close to my home (to limit my excuse factor), saw Cróga on yelp and decided I should check you it out. Dave’s loud ass “JENNNNNNNNNYYYYY” was a lot first thing in the morning, but I knew right then it could be a second home 😉

What was your first workout?
Hmmm, not sure I remember. I think a baseline type of workout.

First reaction to your first workout?
These people must think I haven’t worked out a day in my life.

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?
#1 – How I feel. When I workout with people I enjoy being around I am just happier and as Adam (my husband) would say, I am a lot more pleasant to be around 😉

#2 – Performance – CrossFit is humbling. I am the most uncoordinated person EVER!!!!! I have always been active but I had never enjoyed CrossFit because coaches were never patient enough to help coach me through the movements until I started coming to Cróga. I still struggle with a lot of movements but I feel much more confident and know that the coaches are there to help.

What days and times do you come to Cróga?
I started with a 3x a week membership and moved it to Unlimited because I started waking up wanting to go to the gym. Typically I go 4 – 6x a week @ 6 am or 7 am but this past month I have gone to a few 5 am and a few 3:30 pm classes as well!

What’s your favorite WOD?
I don’t know if I have a favorite WOD, but I love back squats & box jumps – probably because it’s what I am most confident in. I also really love a WOD with a strong focus on core, glute and some running – not too much running 😉

What’s your least favorite WOD?
Lately, anything overhead because of my lame ass shoulder.

“The Jenny” WOD! What would it be?
Not sure but these are my favorite things:

  • Box Jumps
  • Core
  • Burpees
  • Run
  • Back Squat

What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
Putting my shit away and getting my Rubel Roasting coffee at home!!! I am trying to get better about staying a few minutes and stretching/rolling out, especially with my shoulder. Not my favorite but has helped the most – having someone put a 45lb weight on my shoulder.

What do you love about CrossFit?
The family/community aspect. I think we all have days we don’t want to workout but I know I enjoy seeing everyone at Cróga and always feel amazing once I finish my workout….especially if Leo is there!

What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga?
Not sure its considered culinary, but Rubel Roasting!!!! Adam and I are hooked.

What’s your biggest fitness goal for this year?
I can list a million things but at the end of the day I just want to feel good and keep enjoying working out. However, dropping a few lbs and gaining strength never hurt either 😉

What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?
Laugh. Enjoy the company and check your ego at the door. If you workout for you and don’t focus on anyone else you will LOVE it. Don’t give up when you feel defeated, utilize the coaches!!

Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet?
If someone is new to Cróga and starts to feel defeated, DON’T look at the WOD’s the night before!! I realized I would try making excuses for myself if there was something I thought I couldn’t do, I didn’t want to be a pain in the ass and have coaches adjust the workout, etc…. DON’T LOOK and go enjoy the workout!

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Richard N. Is The March Member Of The Month

If you ask any of the members at Cróga CrossFit who the most spirited member is 100% of them will respond with Richard. Not only is he the loudest person cheering for his fellow athletes during The Open, but he’s up there in the most improved category as well. Richard is also our most active member in the local community, so I like to call him The Mayor when he’s in class, which always makes him laugh and deny that he’ll be running in the future. I’m still holding out hope. It has been a pleasure to watch Richard improve as an athlete over the last couple years and become an integral piece of our community in the process. Congrats Richard!

When did you join Cróga?
I joined the summer of 2016!

What were you doing before for fitness?
I went to a local gym but was unfocused and unmotivated. I didn’t know many exercises so I just did the little I knew over and over again, which was boring. I also stopped working out whenever I started to sweat.

And that’s if I made it inside. There were multiple times I got dressed to workout, drove to the gym’s parking lot, saw people legit exercising through the window, said “NOOOPE!” and drove back home.

What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout? 
I think my intro class had a combination of rowing, hand-release pushups, sit-ups and band-assisted pull-ups for time.

There was another new member, and I felt determined to finish before him (sometimes I can be competitive), so I really pushed myself. Good news: I accomplished my goal! Bad news: I was dying on the gym floor for the next 25 minutes. At one point, Coach Kelly politely asked me to find another place to lie down, because I was literally in the way of the next class’ warmup.

And I’ve been back ever since.

What days and times do you come to Cróga?
I try to attend night classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, or Fridays, as well as a weekend session.

What’s your favorite WOD?
The ones in which good 90’s R&B/pop music is playing and none of my least favorite movements are involved. Bonus points if the WOD is a partner-workout.

What’s your least favorite WOD?
Anything involving snatches, cleans, thrusters, barbell front squats, and wall balls.

“The Richard” WOD! What would it be?
Walk to Rite Aid, buy and eat ice-cream, and walk back to Cróga for time!

It’s Coach Preston-approved, so it’s totally a legit WOD.

What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
I love-hate lying on the floor, gasping for air after a hard workout. It’s not physically pleasant, but I love how any stress cluttering my mind clears out because all I can think about is breathing for dear life.

What do you love about CrossFit?
Being part of the Cróga community. The people at Cróga are so supportive and friendly, cheering you on and giving you helpful tips. And I enjoy hanging out and chatting with everyone.

What’s your biggest fitness goal for this year?
Winning the Ugly Sweater Rowing competition, so I have another Cróga victory over Steven S. this year.

What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga? 
You get so much more than just a good workout at Cróga. So jump in and experience it for yourself.

Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet?
With the hectic-ness of life, Cróga has become an escape of sorts for me. Some days working out at Cróga has been the highlight of my day. So thank you to everyone who makes Cróga awesome.

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