SUCCESS STORIES

Tara and Matt Are The June Members Of The Month

The most beautiful thing about being stuck at home during shelter in place for the last four months has been watching some incredible Croga relationships blossom. Not only have we seen some friendships grow stronger than ever (like the 7 am crew that is on Zoom 7 days a week), but we’ve seen husbands and wives like Matthew and Tara get the opportunity to spend more time together and train together daily to push each other to new heights.

We couldn’t be more proud of you two and honored to call you Croganites, even while we’ve been apart. We can’t wait to see you back at the gym (or outside the gym if you prefer)! We miss you Tara and Matthew. Keep up the good work!

When did you each join Cróga?
Tara: My intro classes were the first week of June 2019, but then I got pneumonia and was out of commission for a month. My first real month was July 2019, inaugurated with the 1776 workout.

Matt: Tara mentioned she joined Croga last summer. After a couple of months, she convinced me to stop by Friday Night Lights in the Fall and try a Saturday Bring-a-Friend workout. I officially joined up in Feb 2020.

What were you doing before for fitness?
Tara: I ran a 5K twice a year and collected the bling. I admire it on my wall from a safe distance.

Matt: A few years back, I did a couple cycles of Jack Daniels and Pete Pfitzinger running plans, doing 30-40 miles per week, mixed with some trail running up and down the peninsula. I read Starting Strength, StrongLifts 5×5 and 5/3/1 Strength program materials and signed up for Fit Republic. Waited for my turn on the power rack, listened to whole songs in the minutes of rest between sets for 5×5 workouts, and questioned my life choices while hiking the Dogmeat segment of Priest Rock Trail.

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?
Tara: Besides the reductions in the layers of fluff, I am starting to actually see muscles 🙂 I was a gymnast when I was young, and my strength was always in my legs – I’m starting to feel some of that again. I’ve had numerous shoulder issues over the years (Thanks, US Army!), but I’ve been able to work through/around it and haven’t had nearly the problems I did before. I’m also gaining some confidence, bit by bit – it sounds silly, but I wouldn’t have worn tank tops when I first started, but now I love them! Being able to see my shoulders when I am lifting reminds me that I’m gaining strength. I never thought that I would enjoy lifting as much as I do, but now it’s one of my favorite things.

Matt: Between the WODs and the WAG, I have lost 16 lbs of fluff since mid-March. I have never consistently dropped weight like this ever before, especially while still enjoying the finer things in life: New York strip steaks, waffles, classic beef pot roast, light craft beers, fresh-picked oranges, and ice cream! I am stronger overall than I have ever been and have far greater cardio capacity, despite how few miles per week I am logging. I can break out a 9:30 min/mi without putting up too much of a sweat, when previously I would have struggled with 11:00 min/mi on how little running I have been doing. My shoulders feel like they are twice as big as they once were and I am starting to see some nice definition. I have a new-found respect for bodyweight exercises, although I have more fun working under a barbell. I can’t believe how many shoulder-to-overheads I can do at 75 lbs – literally hundreds! Everything is easier when you are strong – gravity just doesn’t bother you as much.

What days and times do you usually join a Cróga class?
Tara: In the before times, M-W-F 6AM during the week, 7AM benching on Saturdays. I don’t do cardio Sundays. In the quarantimes, 3-4 times a week for the 7AM equipment WOD on Zoom.

Matt: Before, M-W-F 6AM during the week, 7AM benching on Saturday, plus partner WOD if I was feeling adventurous, and cardio Sunday, if I had the energy for it. Nowadays, I’m passenger number five on the Quarantine Gainz Train, 7AM departure time, most days of the week. Weekend workouts at 8AM. Shout out to CJ, Annie, Rocky and Kal for keeping the train running on time.

What’s your favorite WOD or fitness movement?
Tara: Bench press, hanging knee raises with an eye on toes-to-bar, hang power cleans, back squats, and now that I don’t fall down as much, I’m starting to like handstands again. I like to go upside down.

Matt: I like lifting heavy things! Deadlifts, farmer’s carry, bench press and hang power cleans are my jam. DT is an awesome workout – that was the first one I ever did that got me dripping with the sweat output equivalent of being roasted by 1000 suns and it hammered home the beauty of the 21-15-9 rep scheme.

What’s your least favorite WOD or fitness movement?
Tara: B U R P E E S. And running. Don’t forget the running. The best part of shelter-in-place is rowing instead of running!

Matt: Overhead Squats. I just don’t bend that way.

“The Tara” WOD! What would it be?
For time:
1000m row at 30 spm or lower

5 rounds:
10 T2B
10 Pushups
10 Hang Power Cleans

“The Matt” WOD! What would it be?
“The Matt” WOD is really the “Jack and Diane” mashup WOD, set to a playlist of John Mellencamp songs:

https://wodwell.com/wod/jack/

https://wodwell.com/wod/diane/

If I was to invent a new WOD, then it would be 5RFT:

200′ farmer’s carry
15 bench press
10 hang power cleans

What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
Tara: In the before times, a large iced coffee at Peet’s and breakfast in the car on the way to work. Now, a regular home-brewed coffee on the patio while watching the birds, then breakfast and a short walk to the home office.

Matt: As Daryl might say, brefkast! Kodiak oatmeal or muffin cup, 4 scoops Naked Whey protein powder with water, an orange picked from the tree out back, and Mighty Leaf English Breakfast Tea. Pinkies out.

What are your biggest fitness goals for the rest of this year?
Tara: 125 lb bench, 175 lb back squat, 200 lb deadlift, toes-to-bar, 20 real pushups

Matt: Stay consistent with 5 WODs/week. Get stronger by doing the WODs as hard as I can. >25 pushups unbroken, >10 strict pullups unbroken, 1 HSPU, 135 lb 10RM bench press, 300 lb 1RM deadlift, 8:30 min/mi 5K.

What words of advice do you have for people considering joining a Cróga class?
Tara: OMG try it! I was totally scared when I first walked in, but everyone at Croga has been great. It doesn’t matter if you think you aren’t in good enough shape – everything can be scaled or modified. Everyone starts at the beginning, and it doesn’t matter if you are the last one to finish something. The coaches and other members are so encouraging; they help you learn that you can do way more than you think. Lifting heavy things is so much fun; once you start, you won’t go back.

Matt: Walking into the gym, I had some familiarity with power lifting movements and programming, but I had never attempted any olympic lifting moves – they seemed scary and unnecessary. Joining Croga was a big step up for me in terms of expanding my exercise repertoire and form correctness, and I now see the value in dynamic barbell movements. The coaches are excellent teachers – at the beginning of class or when someone has questions, they take the time to break the movement down and they pay close attention to everyone as they work on their form. The level of personal attention that you get in a small class is an incredible experience and the long-time members of the gym are just as helpful – you really feel like everyone has your back.

The people are awesome, the program works and scaling is not a crime. If you are looking for body composition changes, then I highly recommend signing up for WAG at the same time to maximize your time investment. In the immortal words of Shia LaBeouf, “JUST DO IT. DON’T LET YOUR DREAMS BE DREAMS.”.

Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet?
Matt: Shoutout to Dave, for being the kind of leader to keep this community together and moving forward during these times – the Croga OTB response plan is excellent and responsible for many of the gainz I have been seeing recently. Shoutout to Cody for the programming and reliable social media posts that keep the Gainz Train running at 7AM! Shoutout to Preston, for the consistent and positive WAG coaching.

Tara: To Dave, Laura, CJ, Annie, and Joy – thank you so much for helping me push myself. There are many times that I’ve underestimated what I can do, and you have told me that I can do more. I also want to say thanks to everyone who has encouraged me during workouts; it really does help me more than I ever thought. The Croga Community is amazing, and I’m so glad that I’m part of it.

Kal and Ann-Marie Are The May Members Of The Month

Sticking with our theme of honoring multiple individuals for Member(s) of the Month during Shelter in Place, this month we’ve chosen the awesome couple, Kal and Ann-Marie. These two have been coming to Croga for awhile now, but where they live, traffic and their work schedules really only let them come to the gym once during the week and on the weekends.

Once Shelter in Place hit though and they had nowhere to go and full access to Croga via Zoom, they both took it up a notch and started joining in Croga classes and working out together 6-7 days a week! To go along with that, the extra time spent training with their friends and working on their skills has delivered a laundry list of PRs and athletic firsts.

Your hard work and dedication to improving your fitness during this Shelter in Place has been extremely motivating, Kal and AM! We can’t wait to see you back at Croga so you can show off all your new skills and increased fitness.

When did you each join Cróga?
Kal: CJ brought me to a few partner workouts in 2018 and early 2019, and I had a great time. During the 2019 Open season, CJ convinced me to come to a Friday night lights and do 19.5 as my first workout, under the guise that he would do it with me. Then the big jerk went to China, so we FaceTimed him in and he was whispering in my ear to stop staring at it and pick up the bar while I basically died. The energy and the camaraderie from that night instantly hooked me, so we signed up not long after that.

AM: CJ also brought me to a partner WOD as a gateway drug to Croga. It was pretty fun, but super tough. I really liked the competitive aspect as that is something that really motivates me in fitness. I love competing with the big dogs, even though I’m the tiny dachshund nipping at their heels. When we went to 19.5 I really loved the community and didn’t really want to leave. We signed up shortly after to do Saturdays since the commute during the week didn’t seem possible and we’ve been hooked since.

What were you doing before for fitness?
Kal: As you know, I come from a very fit family, so fitness has been an integral part of my life. As a child I played hockey (A Canadian playing hockey? Shocking!) and my family would go for long bike rides or rollerblading. I got big into weightlifting in my early 20’s and did it casually until I hurt my back pretty badly, then I swam a mile every day as part of the rehab. Before joining Croga I was coming off the back injury and feeling much stronger, so I was getting more seriously into powerlifting. That’s part of what drew Me to Croga, actually, was the fact that everyone I saw was more fit than me on things like running and the rowing machine, but they were actually slinging pretty big weights around too. I thought “maybe I can be super strong but ALSO fast!” So far the fast part hasn’t come yet, but I’m hoping one day it will.

AM: Growing up for me was a stark contrast to Kal’s family. As a kid I hated bikes so I roller bladed around the neighborhood and my family played badminton. The only sports I did we’re in school, but I tore a ligament in my ankle early in high school and that was the end of it till late college. I did a bit of working out then but mostly cardio and continued that trend when I started working. I’ve had a lot of injuries to my joints so I never really got momentum working out until I moved in with Kal. Kal taught me some weight lifting and I did a minor amount of weights, but not too much. Minor squats, shoulder presses, curls. I got a bit stronger, but no where near where I’m at now. Now I’m so much more comfortable with weights and have a much better fitness tool belt.

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?
Kal: I am basically an entirely new person. When I joined Croga I was about 5 months into a massive weight loss journey where I lost over 55lbs, I had terrible cardio, no gymnastic skills to speak of, and was still very limited in my mobility and strength. If you ever get a chance, look at my sign-in photo; when I took that photo I was almost 200lbs! Imagine a pudgy little pug trying to run with a bunch of dobermans and greyhounds, and you have a pretty close approximation of my first few months at Croga. Now I’m more like a sleek dachshund running with the dobermans and greyhounds. I’m not very big and I’m not very fast, but I can work my little legs to keep up and sometimes even get on the board!

Actually though, the way I feel and perform has drastically improved. Shortly before I joined Croga I was diagnosed with a rare bone disease that results in chronic joint pain and severely limits mobility and flexibility. My hips had started to fuse together. There were a lot of movements I never thought I’d be able to do: squatting more than 100lbs was impossible, sit-ups, toes to bar, even burpees were a struggle. The awesome coaches helped me scale movements and worked with me to slowly progress, and the improvements have been almost unbelievable. At my first bourbon and barbells I was able to squat 225lbs, which was more than I’d ever thought possible. More importantly, at my follow-up MRI in October, I was told that I had actually reversed the fusion in my hips. The doctor specifically said “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it forever.”

I have good days and bad days still, but Croga has helped me turn my bad days from “I can’t walk unassisted” to “Maybe I’ll only squat 185lbs today”.

AM: My phone thinks I’m a different person! I was just coming off a big 30 lb weight loss when we started but I didn’t have much muscle or definition. Between Croga and Invisalign, my face shape has thinned out and changed, I’m also WAY more jacked. I’m starting to have resting definition in my arms which is just crazy and super cool. I also think I look way more proportional to my frame than I did which is very nice.

Performance wise is like night and day, especially after increasing workouts during the quarantine. Even though old joint injuries are haunting me a bit, I’m much faster, much stronger, and my WOD scores show it. I’m finding that a lot of the movements that seemed impossible a year ago are now just in need of a bit of work. I’m a much different athlete than I was and feel way more like I’m actually competing with the guys than I did before.

My doctor was also super impressed during my physical this year. Last year my blood work was all “just ok” this year he said “I wish my numbers were this good! What are you doing?!”

What days and times do you usually join a Cróga OTB class?
Kal: Before the quarantine, we were die-hard Saturday morning partner WOD people. AM and I would show up at 7:30AM and get in a quick bench with the boys, then crush the partner workout, then hang around for a little to do some mobility and have a nice chill Saturday with the lovely Croga community, then go home and I’d eat a 1000 calorie brunch before starting our day. We’d also go to the Wednesday powerlifting class, which was always a testosterone and pre-workout fueled blast of slinging big weights and making fun of Richard’s music choices.

Since the quarantine, I’ve fallen into a pretty good routine for OTB: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I get up at the ungodly hour of 6:30AM, smash the 7:00AM crossfit class, eat a protein bar, and go back to sleep until 10:30AM or so, depending on when my first morning meeting started. Then I’d sign on to the 5:00PM class with AM and have a nice pick-me-up workout before making dinner and starting my evening conference calls. Tuesdays and Thursdays used to be 7:00AM crossfit, turn off my camera for my morning meetings because I’d still be shirtless and sweaty, then onto the 9:00AM ignite with Joy, but now it’s 7:00AM crossfit and then the Noon Ignite. If it’s a particularly fun one, I might also hop on the 5:00PM and do three-a-day. I’m definitely not addicted. I can stop whenever I want, ok?!

Saturdays are ferda boys, so AM and I do a partner workout at 8:00AM, an ignite workout with Joy at 9:00AM, and I’m loving the new mobility workout at 10AM. Then I eat a 1000 calorie brunch and have a nap before starting my day. Sunday we’ll usually take some rest and do skill drills on a gymnastic skill I don’t have for 30 minutes to an hour. I’m hoping to have Double Unders before the quarantine ends!

AM: The beginning of quarantine was really hard and I only really made it out to Saturdays. I felt like garbage and really only perked up when Kal dragged me to work out. Once things got a bit better work wise (I had been working China hours and was basically a walking zombie), I’ve been trying to make it out to 5pm (or noon if meetings get in the way) and get at least 4/5 weekdays in. As Kal said, the weekend is a team sport and we try to workout together. Saturday is such a marathon that my nutritionist had me add re-feeds on the weekend! By the way, it is super fun to finally have a skill I can crush Kal at (DUs) every Sunday on our “rest day”. That said, I did embrace the Croga spirit and give him some of the tips you guys gave me to help him along.

What’s your favorite WOD or CrossFit movement?
Kal: My favorite crossfit movement is definitely dramatically taking off your shirt in the middle of a WOD to get that extra energy boost.

But actually, one of my favorite WODs I’ve ever done was a simple 20 minute AMRAP partner workout of each partner trades rounds on a barbell complex: 3 deadlifts – 3 power cleans – 3 push jerks. The complex goes VERY fast and the movements aren’t particularly tough for that low rep scheme, but it gets real spicy real quick. I did it with Kenny and he obliterated me.

My favorite movement is anything that involves a barbell. Except thrusters. Thrusters and I are not friends. Thrusters can be replaced with kettlebell swings and Farmer Carries on my list of things I like.

Oh! I also REALLY loved 1776. That was probably one of my favorite Hero WODs, because there’s a lot of teamwork and communication, and variation in the movements. Also hearing Richard say “guys I think we’re done” every 5 minutes was pretty great.

AM: I really dig DB snatches, most of the other skills I like are ones I’m still working on so I love/hate them (DUs and HSPUs).

I agree with Kal though 1776 was the most fun ever! I also love when Brett comes to town and we do one “stupid and long” workout, something like 100 Curtis P’s for time, or the 1000 rep challenge. It’s not the workouts themselves that I’m overly crazy about, more just the ridiculousness and the fun of suffering with friends.

What’s your least favorite WOD or CrossFit movement?
Kal: Honestly running. I hate running, which is sad because I used to love it. One of the side effects of my previous hip fusion is that the impact of running and having my center of gravity shifted forward like that is that it really lights up my lower back and deep in my hips after a while, so sustained running isn’t something I can do. Even worse is wall-ball runs. I’m getting much better at it, but I will always hate it.

I also hate Double Unders. Actually, no, scratch that, I like Double Unders. I hate FAILING double-unders. I’ve been using the quarantine to work on getting them in the hopes that I will be a DU champ when we come back to the gym, and I look like a bad 50 Shades of Grey novel. I somehow managed to whip myself across the nose the other day. HOW?! I’m just waiting for the day I accidentally get my rope caught and it dramatically flings off my balcony down to the street 5 floors below. That will be fun to explain.

AM: I’m not super crazy about push ups, probably because I’m bad at them, though I’m starting to improve a lot and I’ll probably feel better about them over time. I think my real disdain though is for wall walks. The huge push to learn HSPUs is to not have to scale to wall walks anymore.

Also not a great fan of wall balls (as I’m sure is common in the tiny people club), mostly because to get it high enough I have to jump every time. EVERY time. They make me feel extra tiny. Any tips are appreciated (to preempt it: “Be taller” is not helpful. Looking at you, CJ.)

“The Kal” WOD! What would it be?
Oh, easy. I wrote this WOD for the WOD-writing contest and I’m still mad we haven’t done it. I call this one “The Filthy Pump”:
15 minute AMRAP:
Max pushups – you can rest in yoga position, but every time you break and your quads touch the ground, do barbell complex:
– 5 deadlift (135/95)
– 5 power clean (135/95)
– 5 front squat (135/95)
Score is # of total pushups completed.

I did a variation of this WOD with CJ and Brett a while back, and it is true to it’s name; you get the filthiest of pumps. It’s also absolutely gutting and a super fun challenge, and there are a few strategies involved: do I want to go for more pushups earlier and take it easy on the complex? Or stop the pushups before I fail and go hard on the complex? The combo of mental and physical aspects of Crossfit are fun to me, and this really covers both.

“The Ann-Marie” WOD! What would it be?
One that I like and do very often is:
AMRAP 14 mins:
30 DUs
20 Alt. DB Snatches
10 Situps

I used to scale this to single ropes, but I’m amped to try again with DUs. For me the snatches have to be at around 25lbs, but I’m hoping to pull that up over time. I think at this point I just need to do a little bit of form work. This workout though is why I held on with Dave so well during that one workout in the open.

What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
AM: Kal just looked over at me and raised his eyebrows suggestively. Maybe we’ll leave that part off.

Kal: There’s no better feeling than a nice, warm post-workout shower. We generally like to have a big meal afterwards too, so going out for bagel sandwiches with the bench crew is always good, or going home and cooking some really good protein waffles and eggs. If the weather is nice, we also love to go chill in a hot tub for a while and stretch out.

Oh, also, bicep curls. That’s immediately post-workout before any of that happens.

What are your biggest fitness goals for the rest of this year?
AM: probably HSPUs and kipping/higher volume pull-ups. The HSPUs to avoid wall walks and cause circus tricks are fun. The pull-ups to try and have for Murph next year.

Oh! And 100lb bench. Ever since Dave mentioned on the podcast that he thought I’d get it, I’ve wanted it so badly. Only 5lbs to go.

Kal: I really really really really really want to get a muscle-up. I can do weighted dips forever, I can do butterfly pull-ups, I just can’t seem to connect the two together. Also I’d like to make sure I continue to beat Mark G and CJ at workouts. Actually yeah, I’d take that over muscle-ups.

Other than that, I’d love to get a 275lb bench, a 315lb squat, something more than 315lb deadlift, a 135lb snatch, and a 185lb Clean & Jerk. Those are very lofty goals, considering I don’t have a rack at home and I only recently got more than 100lbs for my bar, but I’d love it.

What do you love about CrossFit?
Kal: The community and the support is great. When I was just doing powerlifting on my own, I would enjoy putting on the music and just zoning out. Doing workouts at Croga where we come in early, hang out with the crew for a bit, then hit the workout hard and seeing everyone else working just as hard is such a great motivational drive to push myself. This shelter-in-place has been stressful for a social butterfly like me, and being able to log into the 7AM class, or 5PM class, and see a bunch of my friends ready to attack the day with me has been so uplifting. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the highlight of every day is logging in and throwing down with my crew, or hearing Cody say “What’s up guys”.

AM: Of course the community, whenever I really don’t feel like working out I have this pull to go anyway to see my friends! I also really enjoy that the workouts are an hour max. One of the big barriers to entry I usually have is time and I can make an hour work. Plus that hour is so crammed full of movements and activity, it’s like two non-crossfit workouts. Which is just awesome!

What words of advice do you have for people considering joining a CrógaOTB class?
Kal: Just do it! Find a time that works for you and log in. Don’t worry about whether you can do the movements, or whether you’ll perform well. Everyone is there for fitness, fun, and friends. You will be welcomed in and the great coaches will find a modification for you that works, if needed. It’s a ton of fun, and it should be the best hour of your day.

AM: It might seem insurmountable to commit. So just log in once to start. Pick one day and see how it goes. Once you get moving and laughing with everyone you’ll be energized to keep going with it, so don’t think about that, just one step at a time. Also, don’t look at the workout ahead of time or you’ll talk yourself out of it. Just go and everyone will take care of you.

Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet?
Kal: Honestly if you’re still here, I’m amazed. This was a lot of words that I wrote. Congratulations for making it this far! I really want to thank Croga for everything coach Dave, Cody, Jill, and all the wonderful coaches have done through this difficult time. The world is going crazy around us right now, and I’m so thankful to have a great community to support each other through this. I am so excited to get back in the gym soon. The first WOD we do will be a 10 minute AMRAP hugs.

AM: Agreed! AMRAP hugs when we’re back! Thanks so much to all the coaches for laughing with us and helping us stay fit! You guys are the best!

The Okumura Family – April Members Of The Month

It is with great pleasure that I get to announce our first multi-person Member of the Month award, as we chose to honor the entire Okamura Family! Shawn has been a stalwart of the 6 am class for years now and is a model athlete when it comes to consistency, focus, and hard work. We have watched Shawn make consistent progress month over month and year over year and with the current Shelter in Place order, he was able to convince his family to join him daily at noon for our Zoom workouts. There’s nothing we love more than watching our athlete’s significant others and children join them on their health and fitness journey and having the entire Okamura fam in class every day is as good as it gets. Congratulations on an awesome month Shawn, Dori, Joey, Jack, Jayden, and Jessie!

What are the names of each family member?
Dori (my wife), Joey (18 & senior at WGHS), Jack and Jayden (13 & 8th grade at WGMS), Jessie (11 & 5th grade at Booksin Elementary).

What’s the order of family in height, tallest to shortest?
I am the tallest (barely), then my son Jack (I pray he keeps growing… he sleeps so much lately that he had better be going through a growth spurt!), then Dori (barely) over middle daughter, Jayden, then Joey (our oldest daughter who hasn’t grown since her freshman year) and then Jessie.

What days and times do you usually join a Cróga OTB class?
Noon class, try to make it 2x/week. Aside from me, no one in our house is an early riser by choice. Noontime works best. We get a great workout in together and then enjoy lunch as a family. The 6 am class would be my first choice, but given we do it outside in our backyard, I don’t want to disturb our neighbors.

What is each kid’s favorite exercise?
It wouldn’t be accurate to describe any of the exercises as their “favorite”. However, they prefer the workouts with ab exercises. Mainly because they are not disciplined to do them on their own. Jayden (my middle daughter) struggled with situps in the beginning and is now proud that she can do a few good ones in a row ? Oh… and they like happy penguins. For whatever reason, they amuse themselves by creating their own version of “happy penguins”.

What is each kid’s least favorite exercise?
Joey and I were literally stiff-legged walking after the 1st week. One of the 1st classes w/ them was something like 50 burpees and 100 air squats. After that, they tell me “no leg workouts Dad, I want to be able to go for runs”.

Has anyone learned any new skills or gotten better at something during the Cróga OTB classes?
In all seriousness, I really appreciate the stretching before and after each workout. It has helped with their overall flexibility. 3 of the 4 play basketball and I believe the workouts are helping them tone and their increased flexibility and strength will help their game.

What are your biggest fitness goals for the rest of this year?
Hah! Like everyone else, we are just trying to get through the shelter in place! Ironically, the stay at home order has helped bring me back to Croga. I was on a 5-month “vacation” from Croga prior to April. Honestly, doing the Ignite workouts has already helped me achieve some goals: spending quality time together as a family and getting back into shape.

What’s your family’s favorite post-workout routine?
I’m not sure what my family’s favorite routine is, but I know mine is eating the lunch that my oldest, Joey, prepares for me after each workout!

Which family member is the funniest?
It depends on who is in the most pain during the workout. We tend to keep our Zoom attendance on mute. We don’t want everyone else to hear our groaning and (sometimes) the kids complaining. The kids do seem to get a kick out of me when I am really struggling… somehow they find it very amusing when I am in pain and struggling through the workout. That’s love for you, right?

What is each person’s favorite pizza topping?
Jessie loves artichokes on her pizza. All of them enjoy loading up on veggie (arugula and spinach) and meat toppings when we hit MOD pizza.

What words of advice do you have for people considering joining a CrógaOTB class?
Just show up… through all this craziness, it doesn’t matter as much how hard you go. What matters is that you show up, get some endorphins flowing, maintain some semblance of normalcy with a good workout, and connect with everyone else on the call.

Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet?
I’m grateful to the Croga coaches and how they are showing up. Hailey and Cody have been awesome. While I am familiar with the exercises, my family is not. They take the time to demonstrate the moves and continue to encourage us (just like how it was in the actual class).

Rocky Q. Is The March Member Of The Month

Since Rocky showed up at Croga late last year, he has been Mr. Consistent and has been an incredibly positive force on our 7 am class that has helped take everyone that attends that class time to a whole new level. Rocky walks in the door every day with a big smile on his face, something fun to laugh about during the warm-up and then when it’s time to hit the WOD he’s all business. Then, when the workout is complete, he’s back to his fun-loving and hilarious self. And since we were all forced to shelter in place this last month, he has only taken his positivity and hard work to another level with his 7 am crew becoming even more consistent and crushing it daily with CJ and Annie on video.

Thanks for always working hard and having fun Rocky! We can’t wait to see you back at the box at 7 am in May!!!

When did you join Cróga?
Oct 2019

What were you doing before for fitness?
Bro workouts. Mostly weights, no cardio, no mobility. Chest day was the best day.

What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout?
The first session had a load of wall balls. I thought I waited long enough between lunch and gym time. I thought wrong…anyhow, post-workout was great, the atmosphere was good, and I wanted more.

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?
Morning workouts @ Cróga are what sets the tone for the day, be it weekday or weekend. I look leaner, feel stronger, and come back wanting to get better each time. I’ve chosen to eat cleaner and reduce alcohol intake, mainly so I don’t feel so sluggish for the workouts. It’s been small habits that I’ve been changing for the long-term.

What days and times do you come to Cróga?
Most Days minus Sunday @ 7am. 7am solidarity crew.

What’s your favorite WOD?
DT, so far.

What’s your least favorite WOD?
WODs that contain wall balls and thrusters!

“The Rocky” WOD! What would it be?
Cal Rowing, Clean & Jerk and… I ran out of ideas.

What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
1. Drink protein shake
2. Drink some coffee
3. Probably not in that order. If it’s the weekend, I like getting the outside chores done immediately after coming back from the workout(s).

What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga?
I’ve relied on eggs, every which way, for meals throughout the day. The ease of making them and adding whatever I need, greens, other proteins, etc. Oh, and the air fryer is so useful!

What’s your biggest fitness goal for this year?
There’s a lot of goals, but one my bigger ones that I’ve focused on was getting under the bar for my Oly lifts. I realized I can’t power everything and avoid my weakness lol

What do you love about CrossFit?
1. Albeit, Cróga is my first CF gym, the camaraderie and sense of community is unreal. Iron sharpens iron.
2. The variety of workouts. If you have a strength, good. If you have a weakness, good. You’re in good company.

What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?
Commit. Commit to showing up, and do the work. Your mind and body will appreciate it in the long run. Some days will be bad, some days will be good. Keep it positive.

Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet?
During this shelter-in-place, I’ve seen the leadership of Cróga shine, from coaches to members. From Cróga adapting all workouts to virtual to the members loaning gear to one another and organizing workouts with others to keep each other motivated, these are the moments that I’ll remember for a long time. Proud to be part of this group of amazing people. Thank you to the Cróga coaches and members, current and former, and I look forward to our next workouts together.

There is no quit in this group, and I’m happy to have found Cróga.

Annie S. Is The February Member Of The Month

Annie came to us about 6 months ago as an experienced CrossFitter and every single day she’s in class at 7 am is an absolute pleasure. Despite years of experience, she listens intently, is open to feedback, and makes the necessary adjustments and because of this we’ve really seen her take her CrossFit game to a new level. And, on top of that, she started with us as a Croga Nutrition client a few months ago and has been absolutely killing it on her macros and in the gym because of it. A few weeks ago she told me that she hasn’t slept this soundly in years and she has a whole new level of energy in the mornings and throughout her day now that she’s being fueled correctly and I couldn’t be happier.

Annie is a wonderful athlete to honor as our Member of the Month because she is an incredible person to strive to be more like. She’s kind, fun, thoughtful, and dedicated to improving as a human daily. Congrats on your success so far at Croga, Annie! We can’t wait to see what the next 6 months and beyond hold for you.

When did you join Cróga?
September 2019, after almost 2 and a half years at another box.

What were you doing before for fitness?
16 years as a swimmer. And then quite a few more attempting to recover from that post-retirement 🙂

What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout?
At Croga? I dropped into one of Coach Hailey’s classes for a DT like WOD. Think my feelings were something along the lines of “Yes, I’d like all of the barbell please…crap, that got heavy.” First ever Crossfit WOD? I definitely remember doing Fran for the first time during my on-ramp classes. “Well that was awful…When can we do it again?”

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?
The biggest improvement I’ve seen is in my general confidence, in and out of the gym. Not being afraid to get outside of my comfort zone (embracing it, actually). The PR’s along the way are a fun bonus too 🙂

What days and times do you come to Cróga?
Every weekday at 7am and Sundays!

What’s your favorite WOD?
Crossfit Total is fun. Or maybe DT. Who doesn’t love to lift all of the heavy things?

What’s your least favorite WOD?
Tommy Mac stole part of my soul.

“The Annie” WOD! What would it be?
Probably something with a gross amount of rowing or bike. Maybe a shoulder to overhead situation. Or a kettlebell. And not a burpee to be found.

What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
Sundays! Post-fitness coffee/breakfast bestie catch-up.

What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga?
It’s not exciting, but blending protein into my coffee in the morning before coming into the gym has been a game-changer. I’m also having fun experimenting with whatever I’ve got in my refrigerator.

What’s your biggest fitness goal for this year?
Gah! There are so many! All of the gymnastics, continuing to improve and get consistent with my double unders, I’d love to deadlift 300# (that’s probably more than a year goal…) Maybe the biggest one though is to refine my clean/snatch technique, especially squat cleans/snatches. I want to be more comfortable getting under a bar quickly.

What do you love about CrossFit?
The challenge!! Every day I know I’m going to do something that pushes me outside of my comfort zone either physically or mentally (most of the time, both). That is so empowering.

What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?
Show up! ESPECIALLY on the days that you don’t want to and for the workouts that scare you. You’ll never regret it. Be prepared to try things that intimidate you, to fail, and to get back up when you do. And on the days that you’re not physically at your best, immerse yourself in lifting up someone else. You’ll be amazed at what it does for your mood (and your fitness!)

Croga Nutrition Journey – Aviv B

We asked Aviv for a testimonial and he wrote us a short story. Enjoy!

The first cut is the deepest: reflections on my 4 month 25 lb weight-loss journey with Croga Nutrition (powered by WAG)

My recollection from the initial few weeks of the cut was an overwhelming sense of relief. I was stuck in this cycle of “oh I’m so hungry, oh shoot I ate too much I’m such a slob let me eat less, oh man I’m so hungry…”. My hunger was compounded by the fact that I was training at Croga almost every day. In fact, I gained a bunch of weight during my first year of CrossFit. And I wasn’t trying to. I was trying to lose weight! I kept inexorably gaining weight no matter what I ate or did. It was like a train wreck that kept going on. In retrospect, after having quantified my intake very meticulously, I realize I was eating way too much fat and not enough protein (even though I thought I was). It was the least-clean bulk in the history of weightlifting. Sure, I gained a bunch of muscle. But what good is a bunch of muscle if it’s covered by even more fat? CrossFit was making me stronger but it sure as heck wasn’t making me any leaner. That’s where WAG nutrition came to the rescue. I was inspired to join after seeing some of the gains that other members who were on WAG were making. Losing fat, getting leaner and stronger.

Once I started the nutrition coaching, I felt a weight lift from my shoulders. The responsibility of losing weight was now on someone else. All I had to do was hit my macros. I figured either it worked, and I’d get lean, or it didn’t in which case I’d complain to my coach. The beginning was a little rough. Not going to lie. I quickly learned that all those tips that you read about for losing weight (eat lots of small meals, don’t drink your macros), well, I needed to employ all of them to stay satiated. And even then, there were rough days here and there when I miscalculated how hungry I’d be after a workout and ended up shaky and starved. My coach put it plainly: you’re not going to lose weight without ever being hungry. It’s unavoidable, but it can be minimized. Somehow that made me feel better.

I learned never to leave the house without a snack. I started eating six times a day. I started planning my meals the night before. I had actually tried tracking my macros prior to WAG and I found it time-consuming and tedious. This time around I was proactively planning rather than retroactively logging, and it made all the difference. Planning my meals became like a game or an optimization problem: how can I eat the most on a fixed budget? Advance planning became a must for me. And, since I do most of the cooking in the house it also meant that I had to take everyone else’s needs into consideration. I started a weekly menu so that I could plan in advance what to prepare each day and have the ingredients ready rather than trying to frantically pull something together at 6 pm. My five-year-old saw me trying to put together a menu for the first week, looked at me, and then asked why don’t we just have the same thing for each day of the week and then you won’t have to make a new plan each week (duh)? We agreed that Mon would be Pizza, Tue Tacos, Wed Burgers and Broccoli, Thu Asian, and Fri Frittata. It’s held ever since. Obviously, sometimes we move things around but I love having that weekly plan. That way when I shop, I just have to worry about having the ingredients for those meals plus veggies and protein for myself.

Oh yeah, and I had another kid right about in the middle of my cut. To make things more interesting, my wife was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes in her second trimester and she was put on a special diet. This was initially pretty stressful for us, trying to manage two special diets until we realized that the low carb diet that was recommended to her wasn’t that different from what I was already eating. So I started making double portions of veggies and protein and she’d add some fat to it (avocado, sour cream). She was happy because she could keep her blood sugars down and she even lost a bit of weight in her last trimester which made her happy.

Now I’m eating much more protein than I ever thought was possible for a vegetarian. I think it makes a huge difference for my recoveries. I bounce back from workouts so much more quickly now, whereas before I was pretty much in a constant state of DOMS. Overall, nutrition coaching has transformed my relationship with food. From some kind of weird dependence to one of complete control: I eat what I want when I want, and I don’t let anything get in the way. I’ve become notorious for ignoring free food and not joining team lunches. I’m shameless in my obstinance. They can keep that greasy Chinese food. I’ll keep my abs.

What was it about the nutrition coaching that made it work so well for me? I don’t think that there was one single magic ingredient. Rather it was a combination of factors that increased my chances of success. A supportive community was one. Seeing people further down the same road that I had started on was encouraging. The other thing was my coach, Preston. He was crucial in providing encouragement and guidance as well as a sense of accountability. His answers to my questions at the weekly check-ins were always so well thought out and showed careful consideration. It made me feel good to know that there was someone tracking my progress carefully and making adjustments as needed. It was also someone I could share my progress with and who was wholeheartedly dedicated to my success.

I lost a bunch of fat but I’m not done yet. I’ve decided to keep going with WAG and continue on to a longer-term coaching relationship with Preston. I want to drop the last vestiges of my former fat self. And then I’m going to try to bulk again. Hopefully, do it right this time. Get back to moving more weight again. It’ll be fun. I’m confident I can do it.

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