1547-40 Meridian Avenue, San Jose, CA 95125

1547-40 Meridian Avenue, San Jose, CA 95125

Category: Success Stories

Mandy M. is the March Member Of The Month

Mandy has been a member of Croga for a few years now and rarely misses a day at the gym unless she’s being active outdoors instead. Her consistency, enthusiasm and friendliness are second to none and I often have to stop her from making friends so that I can get class started on time so we don’t run late ;). During this past (crazy) year, she has really impressed us by turning to fitness as a positive outlet and making it part of her morning routine to start her day off on the right foot. She often runs from 6-7 am with friends and then jumps in the 7 am class with the group and then is off to work like a flash! Congratulations on being our March Member of the Month, Mandy! Keep up the great work and making us all laugh every morning, we love having you as part of our community!!!

When did you join Croga?
I joined Croga in 2017. I had been looking to join a new Crossfit gym for some time and finally decided to give Croga a try. It was a perfect fit:-)

What were you doing before for fitness?
My first introduction to Crossfit was about 8 years ago. Before Crossfit, I had mostly done cardio for my workouts (running, hiking, swimming). I had really never lifted weights before and it really empowered me. I grew up swimming competitively and played water polo in high school. After high school I didn’t work out too much. It was after I had my second baby, I decided I was ready for a change and started at a bootcamp where I really started getting back into fitness. Soon after, I found Crossfit and both hated and loved it. To this day, I still feel the same:-)

What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout?
To be honest, I don’t remember the details of my first Croga workout! However, I do remember Dave asking me about what my favorite pizza toppings were and I apparently said the “wrong” answer. Lol I know it must have been a good WOD though, they always are. You know the workouts where you think you are in decent shape, and you are proved wrong by the time you are only a minute in.

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?
I definitely feel stronger and better overall. One thing I really like about Croga is that you can always improve and the workouts really never get easier. It’s almost like you realize that you can do more reps at a certain weight or that you aren’t as sore, so it’s time to crank it up and add more weight to the bar.

What days and times do you come to Croga?
I try to go every day, but realistically end up going to class 5-6 times a week. Before COVID, I usually attended the 3:30 afternoon class and Saturday classes. The past year or so, I have been attending the 7am class and love it. What’s your favorite WOD? My favorite types of workouts are ChipperWODS. I love the variety and it never gets boring. I also like that they take a bit longer for improving endurance.

“The Mandy” WOD! What would it be?
Run 400
50 Box Jumps
40 Push Press
30 Deadlifts
20 KB Swings (American)
10 Burpees
20 KB Swings (American)
30 Deadlifts
40 Push Press
50 Box Jumps
Run 400

This can be done with either a barbell or dumbbells. Whatever the coach thinks would be best.

What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
My favorite post-workout routine would be grabbing coffee and talking about my workout for about 45 minutes with whoever will listen. Seriously!

What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Croga?
I never have really enjoyed cooking much. However, I do love eating! I have pretty much eaten intuitively my entire life and it’s worked out ok for me. But, learning about macros, flexible dieting through Croga has definitely made me more aware of what I am putting into my body and makes me think twice about my food choices.

What’s your biggest fitness goal for this year?
This year, I would love to be able to get back into the gym and not only get stronger, but also work on my gymnastics skills. I would love to be able to consistently cycle my toes-to-bar and maybe get some bar muscle ups!

What do you love about this type of fitness?
I love the fact that I am working toward something; getting stronger, improving endurance, skill work. It makes me feel productive and overall, satisfied.

What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Croga?
Try it, be open-minded, and give it time. I was definitely intimidated at first, but soon realized that so many different types of people, regardless of age or fitness level, can do Crossfit and modifications can always be made; that’s not an excuse not to try.

Croga Nutrition Journey – Susie R.

I never really worried about the number on the scale, I never even owned one! I cared more about how my body felt and looked. This became my downfall, because it’s hard to tell how bad things have gotten without some measurement. It hit me during the first lockdown that I had slowly gained 25lbs over the last two years and became fairly self-conscious.

I tried for 3 months to lose weight on my own and nothing happened. That’s where Croga Nutrition came in. I needed more guidance and someone to keep me accountable. It was so easy. I could eat everything I wanted and dropped weight immediately! My coach helped me through the stressful points and encouraged me every day to change my life for the better.

My goal from the beginning was to be able to wear a crop top with confidence. I can only remember a short window in my life where I felt somewhat comfortable in one. I struggled mentally with showing off my body, even after losing 25lbs. With the encouragement of my amazing coach and Croga community I did it, and now I wear them all the time!

Bring on Summer 2021!

Julius B. is the February Member Of The Month

Julius is a bit of a unique athlete at Croga because he has a different background than our average client. He was an elite athlete that played sports at a high level through college and into the professional ranks and although many of us like to think of ourselves as “former athletes”, this is definitely a different level.

The beauty of Julius’ experience in athletics is that he had two things on day one that we sometimes have to work with athletes for years to develop. 1) He could “turn it on” or “flip the switch” and push his effort when he didn’t really want to and 2) He had the ability to focus on a goal and shut out temptation and that little voice that tells you to “just sleep in and skip class because it’s cold outside and it’s really not that important”.

These attributes that he developed during his playing years paired with a fun and competitive, yet friendly, nature make having Julius at the gym almost daily a real joy. This made the decision to make him our member of the month for February 2021 an easy one.

You have been a ton of fun to coach and watch succeed, Julius. Keep it up, we can’t wait to see what the future holds for you and your wonderful family.

When did you join Croga?
I joined Croga in July 2019.

What were you doing before for fitness?
Prior to joining Croga, my fitness consisted of pick-up basketball twice a week and the occasional attempt to pump some iron at work.

What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout?
First workout was a 6 minute AMRAP consisting of 10 Air Squats, 10 Pushups, 20 Mountain Climbers and Run 100m. I’m pretty sure I was looking for an AED or asked if anyone was CPR certified. Needless to say, I was gassed…to make matters worse, it wasn’t even RX’d.

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?
I felt pretty good about the progress that I was making but wasn’t completely satisfied because my diet was just atrocious. It wasn’t until I enrolled in WAG and made an honest effort to get to the gym as often as possible that I noticed the results that I had set out to achieve. While my progress has been great, I think I still have a lot of room to improve.

What days and times do you come to Cróga?
Typically I attend 6a classes during the week and try to get to one class on the weekend.

What’s your favorite WOD?
Favorite WOD is anything that doesn’t involve thrusters or overhead squats!

What’s your least favorite WOD?
See answer above! LOL

“The Julius” WOD! What would it be?
1600m run (Buy In)
100 Double Unders
75 Russian KB Swings
50 Pushups
25 Air Squats
10 Burpees

(I’d need to consult with coaches as this might take way too long! But I’ve only selected exercises that I think might be advantageous when competing against a former collegiate swimmer that kicks my ass every morning.)

What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
Favorite post-workout routine is complaining about how tired I am while also stating how happy I am to have attended class.

What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga?
Hearing Dave’s preference for pizza toppings.

What’s your biggest fitness goal for this year?
To continue to improve no matter how incremental said improvement might be.

What do you love about this type of fitness?
I love that I’m able to get consistent workouts completed in a reasonable amount of time. For as much crap as I give Cody, his programming is well rounded and challenging no matter your fitness level.

What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Croga?
To anyone looking to join or just getting started, you won’t regret it. It’s been a blast to be challenged by the different programs, measure my improvement and most importantly, be part of a community that is diverse, friendly and inspiring!

2020 Croga Fitness Members of the Year

Dear Croganites, This past year has been difficult. It has also been inspiring. A rollercoaster of crazy circumstances; brutal yet uplifting - sometimes all at once. The gym was closed for 119 days, but in those four months, we saw relationships blossom, both digitally and in-person (outdoors), that have only grown stronger as the year dragged on. We were all restricted to our homes, unable to eat out, attend parties, or travel, which gave many of you more time to focus on your own health and wellness, and we loved being part of your journey to lose hundreds of pounds, earn countless PRs and learn innumerable new skills. Government restrictions and modifications of said restrictions came at us left and right like we were in an intense game of Dodgeball (Purple Cobras!) and we took the information in, made the best and safest decision for our community, relayed the message to you all, and you rallied behind the path forward without hesitation. If there’s one thing that I know for certain, it is that this community is strong and we are supremely grateful for your continued support of not just the gym, but more importantly, of each other. Our goal has always been to build a family of athletes that will support each other and 2020 put our mission statement to the test and I would like to commend you for passing with flying colors. That is why, in lieu of a 2020 Member of the Year, we have elected to name the entire 2020 Croga Community our Members of the Year. Your perseverance, generosity, thoughtfulness, and grit amaze and inspire us daily. One of our visions has always been to consistently evolve and improve our product, and with all the momentum you have produced during 2020, we’re excited to continue to improve your experience at Croga in 2021! A big thank you for your continued support of Croga Fitness. We hope to see you in class (outside) soon. Be Lionhearted, Coach Dave

Francis T. is the November Member Of The Month

Over the past few years getting to know Francis as an athlete and now as a friend, I have come to like him more and more as time goes by. As an athlete, he is very inquisitive, asking thoughtful questions and then executing on the coaching he receives in response, which has really made coaching him through the Olympic Lifts fun. Francis is one of the most technical Oly Lifters at our gym now, and he achieved that by really focusing on the nuance, not being afraid to keep the weight lighter to improve his technique and coming to our Olympic Lifting class religiously. As a friend, Francis is friendly, thoughtful, and genuine. He always makes a point of introducing himself to new faces at the gym and I often see him having a chat with them after class and encouraging them to keep coming to class and really just being a good guy and making them feel welcome. It really is an honor to have such a great human as part of our community. When did you join Cróga? Beginning of the year, 2018 as part of a new year's effort to get into better shape. What were you doing before for fitness? Big box gyms, running, biking, and some swimming. What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout? Not necessarily first…but one of the workouts when I first joined was an April Fool's WOD - 100 burpees for time. I was turned off by that. What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform? I have much more energy and confidence, and it doesn't hurt that I've gone down a pant size or two since joining. What days and times do you come to Cróga? Whenever my work schedule allows - usually it's the first or last class of the day. What's your favorite WOD? Anything that has a mix of cardio and oly movements. What's your least favorite WOD? "Kalsu" - that's just unnecessary. "The Francis" WOD! What would it be? Buy-in: 800m run; Then, 21-15-9 Reps of Power snatch, OH Squat, abmat sit-ups; Buy-out: 800m run. Moderate weight. What's your biggest fitness goal for this year? Don't get sick. What do you love about this type of fitness? I feel like you become a more well rounded athlete - having a good balance of strength, mobility, and cardiovascular ability. Additionally, I've come to really enjoy OLY lifting and learning the nuances of the movements which dramatically affect how much you can put up. What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga? i) Come for the community, and ii) trust in the programming and the coaches

Stephanie P. is the October Member Of The Month

Congratulations, Stephanie!!!!! Over the past two and a half years, it has been an absolute pleasure watching Stephanie reach her health and fitness goals at Croga through hard work and consistency. However, I've actually enjoyed watching her learn, grow and evolve emotionally and intellectually over that time by dedicating herself to living a long, healthy life and helping others do the same. There are a lot of people that try diets and workouts with goals of losing a few pounds and feeling good, but very few of them take the next step and read about how diet affects brain function, become certified nutrition coaches and start helping other people that are interested in being successful reach their goals like Stephanie has. I'm super proud of you, Stephanie, and I am very excited to see what else you accomplish in the near future and beyond. Your curiosity, thirst for knowledge and willingness to get uncomfortable in order to learn and evolve will take you a long way! When did you join Cróga? April 2018 What were you doing before for fitness? Going to a regular gym to lift weights/running slowly LOL /coaching soccer. What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout? Heavy Front squats and burpee box jump finisher. I was really happy to be getting into something I knew I could improve over time. Getting under a barbell felt great and I hated the burpee box jumps because my mobility was awful at the time! What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform? I have been able to lift heavier (deadlift,squat/clean) than I ever thought imaginable and improve my technique through the process. I feel great and have improved my body confidence through consistent attendance and good nutrition! What days and times do you come to Cróga? I go as many days as my schedule allows, mostly weekdays 4:30 or 5:30 pm, sometimes I sneak in a weekend workout so i can see Dahveeee What's your favorite WOD? My favorite WOD is anything with running/situps or deadlifts. What's your least favorite WOD? My least favorite WOD is anything that has THRUSTERS or overhead squats! I will WOD pick to not do thrusters any day. "The Steph" WOD! What would it be? 5 rounds - 400 m run, 10 deadlifts, 25 situps What’s your favorite post-workout routine? Catching my breath/trying not to die.. but usually I just like to stay around the gym and catch up with all the familiar faces, see how they did on the workout and celebrate that we all mutually struggled together. What's been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga? That I can make anything I want and enjoy it with flexible dieting, and macro tracking. If I had to narrow it down to one dish it would be my casein mug cakes that I make for dessert every night. 1 scoop of Driven Chocolate Casein, a little baking powder, peanut butter powder, and coca, put it in the microwave for 40 seconds and top with 1TB of peanut butter! It is like having a brownie every night, so good! What's your biggest fitness goal for this year? Starting this year I wanted to drop some LBs but after I accomplished that my main focus/goal has been to maintain my fitness routine through COVID times. Fitness is such a stress reliever and outlet to me, and keeping that consistent in my life is one of my core values. What do you love about this type of fitness? I love that we never really do the same thing twice. Everyday is different from the day before and it's constantly varied and pushing me to new limits. I love the feeling of accomplishment after a super hard workout. What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga? JUST JOIN!!! Croga has been one of the single best things that has happened to me in the last 2.5 years. It's more than just a workout, it's a community of people who care about each other and seeing each other's success in each individual fitness journey. There is no pressure to fit any mold or to be a certain way, although it may be intimidating at first I have found the community refreshing and something that I can't live without! Anything to add that we didn't touch on yet? Just want to express my thanks to the management team and for the other members of Croga that make is such a pleasurable place to be a part of!

Curt C. is the September Member Of The Month

The thing I love about having Curt as an integral part of the Croga Family is that he is a wonderful role model for consistency, thoughtful training, and persistence. As you'll see in his answer below, when he came into the gym he was pretty fit aerobically, but he knew he had some holes in his fitness game and he was excited to work on them. And work on them he did. Over the past 4 years I have watched Curt eliminate mobility issues that were causing pain through consistent stretching, build huge strength to bodyweight numbers (he's toward the top of the list of pound for pound lifters in our gym), improve skills through consistent practice and being open to coaching feedback and then using it to improve technique, take his aerobic capacity far beyond where he started even though most of what he used to do was aerobic based, and become just plain JACKED to the point where he probably can't take his shirt off at pool parties because he'd embarrass the other dads. It has been a pleasure getting to know you, coach you and learn from you, Curt. I really value our friendship and look forward to watching you continue to crush your goals year after year with your focused training and hard work. When did you join Cróga? I joined in July of 2016. What were you doing before for fitness? I used to cycle a lot. I enjoyed climbing the hills up the peninsula, in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and Mt. Hamilton. I also did spin classes and HIIT. What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout? I don't remember exactly what my first workout was, but I do know it included wall balls. I recall Shawn and Tony seeing me, the new guy, pick up the Rx'd 20 lb ball saying something like, "No, you don't want that just yet." It was good advice! What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform? I just feel stronger overall. All the cycling I used to do gave me a good aerobic base, but no matter how many hours I put in or how many hills I climbed I could feel myself getting weaker as I got older. Now, I am stronger and feel more fit than at any point in my life. What days and times do you come to Cróga? My workout times have shifted around over the last four years. I was a regular at 5:00 AM for a while but have settled in at 5:30 PM. What's your favorite WOD? I like chippers. Seeing a large volume of work on the board and the this-is-going-to-suck dread it induces gives me that much more satisfaction when it’s over. What's your least favorite WOD? Right now, it’s anything with double unders. I like jumping rope, but I just cannot get my act together on double unders. However, I haven’t given up and will eventually be able to do them consistently. At that point my least favorite WOD will be anything that includes the assault bike. I enjoy pushing myself hard, but I’m not a masochist. "The Curtis" WOD! What would it be? I like working with kettlebells. Here’s something I wrote for myself a couple months ago. 5 rounds for time: Run 400 m 20 Kettlebell snatches, 10 each arm 20 Abmat sit-ups What's your biggest fitness goal for this year? I started the year with two goals: to log over 200 workout days for the year, and to deadlift over 400 lbs. With the consistent programming that Croga has put out through the shutdown, the first goal is well within reach. Also, the 1+ hours per day that I have gained back from not commuting the past several months has given me more time for working out. I don't have a barbell at home and was beginning to doubt I'd achieve my second goal. I’ve made overall gains during the shelter in place, but I don’t think bodyweight and kettlebells were going to allow me to increase my deadlift. Now, with the small group training and open gym available, I just might have a shot at it. What do you love about this type of fitness? I love the variety of the workouts. Going to a typical gym was never something I could stick with for very long because it was just boring, and I would never make much progress. I’m sure that was due to not having any coaching or any sort of training plan. Having programming that is continually changing but is not totally random keeps working out fun and challenging. What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga? Be consistent with your training. Everything is scalable to whatever your current abilities may be. So get in the habit of showing up regularly even if the workout has a movement that you’re not yet able to do or is a weak point in your fitness. Consistent effort over time will produce the results you’re looking for (and some you may not have expected). And don’t be intimidated by the 6’ 2” bro wearing a Rogue cap and no shirt. He’s actually a cool dude who I’m sure would be very supportive of the fitness journey you’re on. Anything to add that we didn't touch on yet? The community is a huge part of why I belong to Cróga. I have gotten to know some really great people with similar fitness goals. There is a healthy level of competitiveness that motivates us to push harder, but we also encourage and support one another. The coaches are excellent teachers and motivators. They know their stuff, show us how to move safely and effectively, and keep things fun. I am extremely grateful for the coaches and members of Cróga.

Croga Nutrition Journey – Madhu N.

It is indeed a surreal feeling that I am sharing my journey so far, hopefully it will make anyone reading this continue to pursue their goals. As everyone wishing to lose weight, I tried all different things from excessive running to sacrificing food at times to starve myself. But I could never get the result I wished for. At times I would lose a little weight, accompanied by weakness, but that was short lived as the weight always bounced back as soon as I lagged a little bit. In other words, the attempts weren’t sustainable. When I heard about the WAG program at Croga Nutrition, my very first reaction was that it was not for me. For a person from South Asian my diet has a mix of different cuisines, Indian vegetarian food being the prime. But after hearing so many success stories from fellow Croganites and Coach Dave, I thought I should give it a serious shot. Along came constant sideline guidance from Coach Cody. After some tweaks with my food, the results finally started showing up after a few weeks. Lockdown did affect this initially but I wouldn’t say it was a big obstacle. Initially it was tough to measure and eat everything and at times. I felt like giving up, but Coach Cody patiently explained that everyone goes through this phase and very politely inspired me to keep going. Initially it was overwhelming - measuring food is not natural and is hard for Indian food. Medicinal words like nutrients, macros are big and scary, but once you start logging it, you get used to it and then it becomes second nature. Nutrition is nutrition, it's the same in any food from any country, all that matters is measuring it. It is a lifestyle change - making the right food choices, measuring, logging, and meal planning - but the results are worth all of the work. It’s not only about weight loss but about getting healthier. Now I feel much more active, I'm lifting heavier weights, running better, and have less fatigue throughout the day. All the coaches at Croga Nutrition are very accommodating and that makes the journey to better you a little easier.

Susie R. is the August Member Of The Month

This month we have the pleasure of choosing one of our evening class stalwarts, Susie, as our Member of the Month! It has been almost exactly four years since Susie first walked in the door of Croga and she has been a consistent and uplifting part of our community and a big piece of the social puzzle at Croga as well. If you have ever been to a 5:30 or 6:30 pm class at Croga, you most definitely know and love Susie! And she's always been a Croga staff favorite because she loves all the things that we all love: Powerlifting, Olympic Lifting, Murph, making friends quickly, adult beverages, and now that she's a member of Croga Nutrition, counting macros, hahaha. Congratulations on taking an already consistent commitment to your health and fitness pre-COVID to a whole new level by attending even more classes and signing up as a nutrition client a couple of months ago. We're proud of you, Susie, and can't wait to have you back INSIDE the gym with all your friends slamming bars and having dance parties in the back corner of the gym, soon! When did you join Cróga? Around Labor Day Weekend 2016 - 4 years ago now! What were you doing before for fitness? Literally nothing. My old apartment had workout classes I would attend occasionally and I would run about a mile a few times a month. It was a weird time in my life as I have always been active, but I had no desire to then. What was your first workout? The first reaction to your first workout? I have told this story many times, but my first workout was a Saturday WOD. I was told it would be a good day to start because we would have partners. BUT THEN my partner turned out to be Kristi Smith. She was so fit and I was so not - thank God she was so nice to me. We were to go on a wall ball run together, and I just saw her grab this giant heavy ball and take off on what felt to me like a sprint. I chased after her as best I could and afterward all I could think of was, "how the hell did she do that?". When I asked her, she told me she had been carrying around baby Parker for months. I was blown away, if I could be that fit someday right after having a baby I was so in! What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel, and perform? I LOVE looking more muscular. I look back at photos of myself and see scrawny arms/shoulders and think I look weird. I am excited to continue improving with Croga Nutrition. My goal is to wear a crop top this year and I am determined to make it happen!! What days and times do you come to Cróga? I am a solid evening gal, and since COVID started I now try to come 4-5 days a week. It's my only time for socialization :). You will never catch me in the mornings at the gym, I am the grumpiest! Shoutout to the old 10:00 AM Saturday crew! What's your favorite WOD? Anything with farmer's carries, kettlebell swings, or deadlifts. It's when I feel my strongest 🙂 What's your least favorite WOD? Is anyone actually a fan of burpees? I also HATE box jumps. So fair to say I also hate Burpee Box Jumps - I am sure that is why Cody programs them so often. "The Susie" WOD! What would it be? Something with a healthy combo of cardio AND strength exercises. It would probably include some of my favorites above like Kettlebell swings and Farmer's carries and maybe rowing for calories. the WOD would also be an AMRAP, I hate being the last to finish something because it is for time. What’s your favorite post-workout routine? On a nice night, I like to sit outside in my garden to cool off for a bit before eating dinner. Lately, with the heat, I have resorted to driving around my neighborhood with the AC on blast or sticking my head in the freezer 😂. Before COVID and joining Croga Nutrition my post-power lifting routine was to get McDonald's. It was such a wonderful treat and the reason I needed to join Croga Nutrition. 😉 What's been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga? Figuring out ways to make my favorite dishes healthier has been really exciting for me. I love that I don't have to miss out on my favorite things! What's your biggest fitness goal for this year? I always say "this is the year I will get pull-ups". I hope at some point I will be able to get into the gym for some practice soon - I was really motivated this year! My biggest goal is to lose some of my extra pounds and improve my overall health/fitness. What do you love about this type of fitness? I know everyone says this, but it's the community. I love lifting and being strong but there is no way I would have stuck to it without such amazing people surrounding me and pushing me forward. What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga? Just push through your first month. We all had that feeling at first of "I can't do this" or "this is too much". Once you get into the groove you will see results so quickly, feel so much better, and join a community of people you won't be able to live without. Anything to add that we didn't touch on yet? Shout out to the best coaches in the world who have stuck through my sarcasm, complaining, dance sessions, and talking too much during class. I could not have gotten this far without you guys over the last 4 years. Thank you to my friends for pushing me to keep going, push harder, and lift heavier. This community is what keeps me going, and makes me excited for the end of my workday. I am so grateful for every one of you.

Mark B. is the July Member Of The Month

Wow, what a great story and what an incredible shelter-in-place success, Mark is!

We met Mark in January and he had only about 10 weeks to get in the groove before we were all forced to stay home. As I watched him weekly on Zoom workouts for the first couple of months of SiP, I could tell he was not only losing weight consistently, but he was evolving as a human.

His answers to our questions are the best I have ever read and tell an amazing story, so I'm not going to say anything else besides I encourage you to read Marks's whole story below.

We're all extremely proud of you Mark and I enjoy every 6 am class that I get to coach you or join you for the workout during. You are an amazing example of where consistent effort and dedication will take you and I look forward to watching your journey continue for years to come. Let's go get that pull-up!!!

When did you join Cróga? January of 2020

What were you doing before for fitness? Hardcore video games. (NOTHING!)

This isn’t entirely true. I had a decent start in January of 2019 with Crossfit at another gym when I got sidelined with an unrelated medical issue that left me unable to work out. While that took a while to resolve, it left me listless and unmotivated for almost 6 months before I got my act together to push myself again.

What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout? I am pretty sure my first workout was Jan 27th.

“Cali Bear” 1 Clean & Jerk every 30 seconds for 20 minutes

First reaction? Given how awkward I still am at Clean and Jerk I can only imagine that I felt like the biggest fish out of water flopping around :).

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform? The most immediate improvement for me was in my mood and productivity. Before any physical changes happened, starting my day with the crew had a MASSIVE impact at work. Everyone around me noticed that I seemed more attentive, mentally present, and higher energy.

As time went on I started relying on the Croga team and members as my lifeline during Shelter in Place. One of the most underrated things that we have in this community is just that: a sense of community. Almost every member at Croga that I have come to know and love has been through online interactions and Facebook posts while we have all been stuck apart from each other. These people welcomed me so warmly (even at a distance!) that while I was beginning this fitness journey I never once felt alone. It was really through them that I came to realize that having a high-quality support group around you is just as important as the quality of your workout.

Eventually, after stalling out after my first 10 pounds, I started to really notice the physical difference. I would prefer to take the stairs instead of the elevator just to “feel” like I was moving. My gorgeous fancy (EXPENSIVE) celebration jeans I bought for my 100+ pound loss? Yeah, those are too big now. The boyfriend tells me I am significantly less “cuddly” while also giggling when he pokes my arms.

But I think the biggest difference is how I feel about myself. I am overall happier, more active, and more aware. I just feel “good” more often, which is worth its weight in gold.

What days and times do you come to Cróga? You will find me at 6am. My goal is always Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday… but if you see me on Saturday it means I slept in one of my days 😉

What's your favorite WOD? This one is hard! Shelter in Place started before I got a really broad exposure to lots of the WODs that I think I would love most. My gut says anything involving back squats. For some reason I love a barbell on my back. I can’t wait to have it there again!

What's your least favorite WOD? As any member who has ever worked out with me knows: ANYTHING … WITH … RUNNING. I will go out of my way to avoid running. I had a new football coach in high school that used to make us run until we puked up our lunch… and then run some more as a punishment when we screwed things up. When we all stopped eating lunch so we wouldn’t throw up in practice we all learned what dry heaving was.

… to his credit it was the best season of JV the school had ever seen and I loved that coach, but I absolutely blame him for making me hate running. (Well that and my weird mutant feet).

"The Mark" WOD! What would it be? Back Squats + Rowing + Kettlebell swings + CJ Vincent in a Tutu + a country free playlist by David Musgrave where he sings along.


What’s your favorite post-workout routine? My post-workout morning ritual includes browsing reddit and delicious delicious chocolate protein shake with avocado + macadamia vanilla nut butter from Perfect Keto.

What's been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga? Realgood products. Keto doesn’t work well for everyone, but for some reason, it works REALLY well for me. For those of you who are trying to cut the carbs out there, there are tons of products that purport themself to limit sugar and refined carbohydrates, but do a terrible job of it. Companies are adding cauliflower to regular pizza dough and calling it healthy. A couple months ago I discovered Realgood products, and my god when you don’t want to fix dinner/lunch for yourself they have some awesome stuff. I have always enjoyed cooking, but when SiP happened and I had to start cooking lunches, I really wanted something I could just throw in the oven that would be delicious. If you haven’t tried their frozen stuffed chicken breasts (raw chicken wrapped in bacon and filled with cheese and super awesome fillings … not precooked … has to be cooked in the oven) … my god man, that saved my weekday lunches. I eat one every day. (Except Tuesday … Tuesdays are for tacos.)

My second favorite is cauliflower. Man, I had no idea how versatile cauliflower rice was, but I keep a bunch of seasoning mixes around that I do myself, and holy hell does that make a good side dish with just about any cuisine. The pre-riced stuff from the store is in larger chunks and you can make kind of a hash with it with all of the veggies you desire while throwing it in your own blender yields tiny little kernels that soak up flavor like nobodies business. I recently did mashed cauliflower and I had no idea how close it came to a potato puree … that scratched an itch I didn’t even realize I had. Absolutely delicious.

What's your biggest fitness goal for this year? Part of my shift in thinking now that I have been rolling along is a changing mindset over what goals look like. When I was morbidly obese the number on the scale meant everything. This severely distorted my view of my progress early on at Croga, as the way I felt (AWESOME) didn’t match up with rewarding numbers on the scale (didn’t move for a month!). This disconnect was confirmed when I started taking measurements and realized that my body was changing DRASTICALLY even if the numbers on the scale weren’t moving much.

This caused me to reconsider how I think about goals. I know I lost a lot of weight during shelter in place, but the weird thing is I was most proud of getting my first double under. I had wanted them so badly that Annie loaned me her jump rope (which is the only one I still use!) the day after the SiP announcement and I started working on them several times a week. I am still not great at them, but I get more every time! The sense of accomplishment when I got my first one (some of you were there on Zoom at 7 am when it happened) … I was giddy. I had to stop in the middle of the workout because I was giggling like a 10-year-old boy who just got his dream toy at Christmas.

I think this is a better way to think. Set a movement goal for myself and fitness will be achieved as a result of aiming for it. What I want MORE THEN ANYTHING next is a pull-up. Just one. I haven’t done one since high school. This is the biggest reason I can’t wait for the gym to open again.

After that is a handstand pushup. That one will take a while … but I WANT it!

What do you love about this type of fitness? The people. I introduced myself to all of them by telling them they were in a brainwashed cult, and instead of chasing me out of the room, they insisted on indoctrinating me and becoming my friend. Can’t get much better than that!

What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?

Start small and celebrate EVERY victory. Habits are formed over time. For me it looks like this:

I want to start working out. The only time I can do this is before work early in the morning.

- Gotta start with waking up early enough and not hitting my snooze button. - Then I have to MAKE it to the gym(on time). - Now I need to find a way to speed up my recovery so I can attend more classes. - Now I need to make sure I do laundry frequently enough that I can attend more than twice a week. - Now I need to figure out how to eat so I can perform better.

Notice how many of these things happen outside of the gym. Each of these is a goal that contributes to something bigger … and each of these completed successfully is a victory that should be celebrated. Breaking down your path into tiny achievable increments and then building and building and building becomes a habit. That is when you look back 6 months and realized you have changed your life and you didn’t even know it. You just wanted to get out of bed when the alarm goes off and now your clothes are too big!

Start small. Celebrate EVERY victory. If you don’t feel like you have something worth celebrating, re-examine your goals.

Anything to add that we didn't touch on yet?

Don’t I talk too much already? We will end up with my life story here 🙂

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To be eligible for your money back you must:

  • Check in with your coach every week by submitting a complete check-in with photos, measurements, daily weigh-ins and a narrative of at least 200 words. *unless you and your coach have agreed upon a different approach.
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