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.


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