Mark G. is the April Member Of The Month

Mark G has been one of those pet projects that you know is going to “end well”, meaning he’s going to get to where you want him to go and where he wants to be, but also one that has required a lot of back and forth along the way. The interesting thing about this is that I think our entire staff has learned a lot from Mark while also teaching him a lot over these past three years.

From the first moment I met Mark I knew he was focused and determined and was not going to quit, which as a coach is a fantastic place to start. Then, as I started to have him in my class more and more I realized I needed to hold him back at times to keep him safe because he just needed time and reps to learn the movements that were unfamiliar to him, but he also needed to be nudged and “encouraged” at times to make sure he wasn’t just having fun with his friends instead of improving like I knew was his deeper motivation.

He had high expectations and the will to progress, but poor mobility in areas and just lacked experience. It really has been a fun process to be a part of!

Even though this journey and story is just getting started, Mark has come a LONG way over the last couple years and the balancing act of pushing the envelope, but showing restraint when necessary for safety has been the key to Mark’s consistent progress and this past year we’ve really started to see the pieces come together nicely.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t thank Mark for his consistent engagement with the community, (especially during this last year as it was a tough one), and his never ending encouragement and wholehearted support of our gym and our staff. In his answers below he thanks the other members and the Croga staff a lot, but he has been a big piece of that puzzle for three years now and we truly appreciate him and are honored to name him our member of the month for April 2021 as not only an acknowledgment of his hard work, but as a thank you.

When did you join Croga?
May 2018, when I was transitioning between jobs.

What were you doing before for fitness?
Working out in the gym by the office, on an irregular basis

What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout?
One of the first workouts that was programmed after I joined was Open 12.4 / 13.3 (12 min time cap):

150 wall balls
90 DU
30 MU

I did 143 reps of a 14 pound wall ball before my 12 minutes ran out.

I remember distinctly questioning what the hell I was doing there.
I also remember in the early workouts being incredibly frustrated… because I could not do certain movement, not one… and the workout wanted me to do 50. I would come home ranting to my wife about how I couldn’t even do one! (I hadn’t really embraced the whole scaling thing yet).

I also remember feeling a distinct sense of accomplishment if I were able to do the women’s Rx… and a feeling of profound astonishment of the women who did the same, and kicked my butt… and remember the men’s Rx just being laughably out of reach.

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?
This year has been big for me… during the pandemic I dropped about 10 pounds and significantly strengthened my core, which has helped everything else.

The first year and a half or so, I was able to come about 2-3 times per week and maybe a weekend day. I learned most of the movements, but still couldn’t Rx many if any. And still was stymied by DU and many other gymnastic or oly movements.

During the pandemic, I have been coming 4-5 times per week… have done 40-50 DUs in a row, significantly strengthened my core (through all the Ignite), and am now RX’ing more workouts than I am not.

What days and times do you come to Croga?
I am part of the 4:30 crew… 5:30 when work doesn’t permit, and do my best to come every Saturday for the partner workout with my crew… usually at 9am

What’s your favorite WOD?
I enjoy Power Lifting – call me a bro, but I definitely prefer the strength work to the “engine” work.

There was a 10 x 10cal row sprint workout recently that I really enjoyed as well.

What’s your least favorite WOD?
The ones that use “burpee” as the first word of a two word movement… like “burpee” box jump, or “burpee” over bar… burpees are bad enough, but burpee and I have come to a reasonable peace this year… but when burpee weasels its way into other movements, that I otherwise like, then we are no longer friends.

There was one that had 25 burpee over bar (twice) in between strength work… that was not nice.

Also, OH squats … shoulder mobility… blech

“The Mark” WOD! What would it be?
A mix of power lifting movements
Box jumps / step ups
Ab mat situps
Maybe a run if we need to break things up
… and probably need a vest to show off your Curt patch!

What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
Calculating how many “Curts” I achieved
Texting Kal and comparing notes on particularly good or bad workouts
Talking to the 4:30 crew

What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Croga?
How much this community truly loves its Tacos.

What’s your biggest fitness goal for this year?
Muscle Ups – bar and ring
405# DL / 315# BS
Maybe a pistol squat?
Figure out how to do HSPUs without bouncing on my head

What do you love about this type of fitness?
I love the challenge. I love the comradery.
I love the support and the genuine happiness we feel for each other when someone PRs or does something that they have not been able to do before.
I love doing things that I didn’t think I could, which thankfully has been happening a lot more lately.

What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Croga?
Check your ego at the door. For me, this was really hard. I expected to be able to do things that people who have been training for years were doing. Looking back, I was silly.
Enjoy it … all of it… the trash talking, the hard work, the instruction, the feeling when you do a movement for the first time or PR, the feeling when one of your friends’ PRs.
Just start. We all started at the same place. Tomorrow will be better than today…
… and I have used just about all the excuses you have, so don’t bother… just start

Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet?
The Croga team has been absolutely remarkable during the pandemic. From Zoom workouts at home, to WODs in the park, to getting back to the gym, to getting kicked back out of the gym, to opening the breezeway and weekend WODs in the parking lot… you rolled with whatever was thrown at you and came up with kickass workouts that challenged us and pulled us through the pandemic with you. It would have been very easy to throw your hands up, but there was no quit… and you continued to innovate and create compelling WODs with what we either had at home or what we could use in the gym.
And the community you have created is amazing. Much has already been said about this… but what a great group.

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


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