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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Jill Parker

Product Assistant


Jill helps us out with member relations, event planning, social media, admin tasks, and other projects. Feel free to email her at with any fun event ideas or if you have any questions about getting started at Croga

David Musgrave



From a very young age, it became apparent that Coach Dave loved all things sport and competition related. Maybe it was being the youngest of four or maybe it was being the only boy in the family. Whatever it was, it has created a fire inside of him that fuels his urge to constantly be striving for excellence through consistent and steady improvement. His unwavering persistence and eternal optimism are his two greatest assets as a husband, father, coach, entrepreneur and athlete. They are the pillars he has stood on for as long as he can remember and are the reasons he is such a fantastic leader. He grew up playing competitive soccer, loves snowboarding and enjoys traveling the world. Dave was thrown into the world of CrossFit in 2008, he has competed in the largest competitions in the CrossFit world and in 2017 he was the 18th Fittest Man in Northern California in The CrossFit Games Open, finishing 34th at the California Regional as an Individual Athlete. Dave relocated to Boise, ID with his wife and two daughters but still has a hand in directing the heart of Croga Fitness. When he is not coaching or training, you can usually find him reading a book, listening to a podcast, doing some online continuing education or having a chat with someone he thinks he can learn from. As a very curious, driven and dedicated individual, he like to say that he is a serial learner and has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Over the years, Dave has experimented with a lot of different types of eating, but never really felt like he was in control or consistently making the correct food choices that would result in long term success until he found WAG and “flexible dieting”. Dave and his wife have both had significant success with improved body composition and performance since incorporating this healthier and more sustainable type of eating into their lives and it has inspired Dave to want to share with others and inspire them to improve their health through flexible dieting as well.


  • CrossFit Certified Trainer (CCFT) (CrossFit Level 3)
  • CrossFit Level 2
  • CrossFit Level 1
  • Certified Working Against Gravity Nutrition Coach
  • Active Life Coach Awareness Seminar Certificate
  • CrossFit Masters Course Certificate
  • CrossFit Aerobic Capacity
  • USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach
  • CrossFit Anatomy Course Certificate
  • CrossFit Scaling Course Certificate
  • CrossFit Spot The Flaw Course Certificate
  • CrossFit Lesson Planning Course Certificate
  • CrossFit Dumbbell Course Certificate

Ethan Fein



After trial runs at baseball, fencing, and soccer lasting two seasons, a couple years, and one practice respectively, Ethan found ice hockey at nine years old and was immediately hooked. Wanting to get stronger going into his freshman year of high school in 2016, Ethan started working out at Croga, where his mom, Julianna, was already a member. CrossFit became a separate passion, rather than just a supplement for hockey. Now a freshman at UCLA, the pandemic delayed Ethan’s move to southern California and allowed him to focus on other interests. He has always been interested in the mental side of sports and as someone who loves watching sports, he enjoys learning the nuances of each game. Becoming a coach has given Ethan a different perspective on CrossFit as an athlete and a chance to help others improve and reach their fitness goals.

Taylor DiBiasio


Snatch – 245

Clean and Jerk – 305

CrossFit Total – Back – 485 Strict Press – 220 Deadlift – 445

Personality – Priceless


Taylor moved to California in 2021 and is originally from Alaska by way of Portland. During the Day he is an HR professional. During his free time, he loves to disc golf, play board games, eat good food, ski, and travel.

Turning Point

I am a D1 volleyball athlete turned recreational rugby player turned mediocre disc golfer. After leaving college I had no idea how to take care of my body or my nutrition. Then at 23, I started what would become a 7+ year battle with cancer and my body was just falling apart. 5 years ago, in between rounds of chemo, I found CrossFit. The diverse workouts kept me excited, the community kept me showing up, and the rest is history.

Motivation & Passion

I truly just want everyone to be as excited about movement as I am. Sure is the competition side of CrossFit fun and exciting? Yes. But there is nothing like discovering the power inside yourself to positively create change within your body, within your life. That feeling from when you’re 6 years old and you make it across the monkey bars the first time does not go away. Whether it’s cross-training for athletics, trying to keep up with your kids, or getting in the best shape of your life at age 50, I want to be a part of that journey for members. That’s why I coach, and that’s why I show up at the gym (almost) every day.


CrossFit Level 2

CrossFit Kids

Carmen Romano


Back Squat: 285#

Front Squat: 225#

Bench: 185#

Dead Lift: 295#

Member of the ROGUE 750# CLUB…woohoo!


I’ve been interested in the human form and movement for as long as I can remember and decided at University to get serious about learning it! I’m a practicing Physical Therapist, fitness coach and mama of three. Those little rascals are by far my favorite and greatest motivation. Some of my interests include: playing the tenor sax, anything water-sport (including sailing), horseback riding, racquetball, dancing, wine tasting …and fun!

Turning Point

I was a boxer and broke my hand in the ring. While I was post-surgical, in my cast and feeling sorry for myself, I started focusing on strength training. After a couple of years and noticeable progress, I decided to try out CrossFit.

Motivation & Passion

When people come together, support one another and get health benefits that surpass conventional outcomes by moving better and working hard..well then we’re on to something. CrossFit facilitates this AND gives an opportunity to all, athletes and coaches alike. Getting someone moving better and proud of their own achievements / progress is my motivator. I may not get them to their finish line, but if there is an opportunity along their journey I can educate, coach and push them, oh…I’m there!


CrossFit Level 1 Trainer

Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist 

Bachelor’s of Science Kinesiology with an emphasis in Exercise Science

Doctorate of Physical Therapy

“Keep moving, keep trying, keep smiling…you are making a difference.” 

  – C. Romano

Johnny McDermott


Back Squat-350

Deadlift- 405



Work as a project manager for a general contractor by day, and throw weight around at my favorite gym by night. I love working out, I want to share my love for working out with everybody and hope it rubs off. It is the best natural medicine for anything. The more people realize that the happier our lives will be.

Turning Point

I have a passion for sports and working out. I want to share that passion with people, and hope it gives them what it has given me throughout the years. I wasn’t able to do that while working as a project manager, I was blessed with the opportunity to do so at Croga and it has been very fulfilling.

Motivation & Passion

I want to see people live happy lives, and one of the best starts to do that is feeling like the best version of themself. Going to the gym and having fun a few days of the week is a step in the right direction.


  • CrossFit Level 1

Nicolas Tran



As the younger sibling of an older brother who was well rounded in sports, Coach Nick was always surrounded with opportunities to dabble in all kinds of sports. He became a multi-sport athlete in wrestling, track and field, volleyball, and was the captain of his varsity football team. As a result of playing all of these sports, Coach Nick found his love for how versatile the human body is from his football coach.

Turning Point

From then on, he wanted to pursue a career in physical therapy so that he could have the opportunity to help people and guide them down a path of living a longer and healthier life. Coach Nick worked as a physical therapist aide at numerous clinics in San Jose and wanted to broaden his horizons with more hands-on training. He looked at gyms and came across Croga Fitness that had a loving community and the rest is history!

Julia Muller


Deadlift 265#

Bench 137#

Squat 205#

Snatch 105#

Clean 140#

Jerk 150#


I am a fitness forward physical therapist and coach with a passion for helping people move better, feel better, get out of pain, and hit their PRs. Being able to share my PT experience with athletes is one of my biggest joys. I am originally from the northeast (Boston area and central NY state) and started coaching while in grad school. I fell in love with group functional fitness for its ability to challenge me both mentally and physically. The communities were unmatched and seeing athletes of all ages achieve new heights was captivating! I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of incredible coaches and mentors. I also grew up a competitive swimmer for over 17 years and have recently gotten into long distance running outside of functional fitness.

Turning Point

When I first started group functional fitness at various gyms back East, it was the first time I ever felt welcome in a lifting atmosphere as a female. Having incredible female coaches was what kept me feeling safe and welcome in the gym. I never thought I would ever have enough experience or confidence to lead fitness classes. As I started taking more lifting specific continuing education in PT school, I realized that I had the knowledge to be the female role model that I had. I hope that other female athletes can feel confident and a sense of belonging in gym spaces.

Motivation & Passion

I am passionate about supporting people with their fitness across the lifespan. I have specialized experience and interest with fitness during pregnancy, postpartum as well as with geriatrics. I love being able to use my PT skill set in the gym to modify workouts appropriately and help athletes feel like they are still performing at their best. I am too aware of the negative health effects that lack of physical activity can have on all systems of the body and it is my mission to help athletes feel welcome and supported with their fitness journeys.


  • Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), Ithaca College and CA Licensed Physical Therapist working at P3 Athletic in Milpitas, CA
  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • Certified in the Clinical Management of the Fitness Athlete (Cert-CMFA) through the Institute of Clinical Excellence
  • Pelvic Physical Therapy trained through the Herman and Wallace Institute and the Institute of Clinical Excellence
  • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Clinical Health Studies, Ithaca College
  • Bachelor of Music (BM) with Flute concentration, Ithaca College

Cody Rubel

Owner and Head Coach


As the oldest of three brothers Coach Cody’s job growing up was to set the path for his younger brothers and to make sure he never let them get the best of him ;). He was a multi-sport athlete in High School, playing Football, Basketball and Golf, which gave him a well rounded view and background in fitness. Along with his brother PJ, aka “The Brother’s Rubel”, he found CrossFit in 2011 and immediately fell in love with the challenge that each day presented and also how great it was having a supportive community of like minded athletes helping you along and cheering for you to be successful in your pursuit of improved fitness and health.

Turning Point

After a few years of using CrossFit for personal growth, Cody realized that he loved being a leader and helping those newer to CrossFit learn and reach their personal goals. He decided to pursue a certification in CrossFit and the rest is history. He has been coaching full time for since 2014 and is extremely passionate about coaching athletes through workouts and teaching them new skills and techniques.


  • CrossFit Level 2
  • CrossFit Level 1
  • ISSA Certified – Specialist in Fitness Nutrition
  • Certified Working Against Gravity Nutrition Coach
  • Active Life Coach Awareness Seminar Certificate
  • CrossFit Aerobic Capacit
  • CrossFit Spot The Flaw Course Certificate
  • CrossFit Lesson Planning Course Certificate


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