Stephanie P. is the October Member Of The Month

Congratulations, Stephanie!!!!! Over the past two and a half years, it has been an absolute pleasure watching Stephanie reach her health and fitness goals at Croga through hard work and consistency. However, I’ve actually enjoyed watching her learn, grow and evolve emotionally and intellectually over that time by dedicating herself to living a long, healthy life and helping others do the same.

There are a lot of people that try diets and workouts with goals of losing a few pounds and feeling good, but very few of them take the next step and read about how diet affects brain function, become certified nutrition coaches and start helping other people that are interested in being successful reach their goals like Stephanie has.

I’m super proud of you, Stephanie, and I am very excited to see what else you accomplish in the near future and beyond. Your curiosity, thirst for knowledge and willingness to get uncomfortable in order to learn and evolve will take you a long way!

When did you join Cróga?
April 2018

What were you doing before for fitness?
Going to a regular gym to lift weights/running slowly LOL /coaching soccer.

What was your first workout?
First reaction to your first workout? Heavy Front squats and burpee box jump finisher. I was really happy to be getting into something I knew I could improve over time. Getting under a barbell felt great and I hated the burpee box jumps because my mobility was awful at the time!

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?
I have been able to lift heavier (deadlift,squat/clean) than I ever thought imaginable and improve my technique through the process. I feel great and have improved my body confidence through consistent attendance and good nutrition!

What days and times do you come to Cróga?
I go as many days as my schedule allows, mostly weekdays 4:30 or 5:30 pm, sometimes I sneak in a weekend workout so i can see Dahveeee

What’s your favorite WOD?
My favorite WOD is anything with running/situps or deadlifts.

What’s your least favorite WOD?
My least favorite WOD is anything that has THRUSTERS or overhead squats! I will WOD pick to not do thrusters any day.

“The Steph” WOD! What would it be?
5 rounds – 400 m run, 10 deadlifts, 25 situps

What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
Catching my breath/trying not to die.. but usually I just like to stay around the gym and catch up with all the familiar faces, see how they did on the workout and celebrate that we all mutually struggled together.

What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga?
That I can make anything I want and enjoy it with flexible dieting, and macro tracking. If I had to narrow it down to one dish it would be my casein mug cakes that I make for dessert every night. 1 scoop of Driven Chocolate Casein, a little baking powder, peanut butter powder, and coca, put it in the microwave for 40 seconds and top with 1TB of peanut butter! It is like having a brownie every night, so good!

What’s your biggest fitness goal for this year?
Starting this year I wanted to drop some LBs but after I accomplished that my main focus/goal has been to maintain my fitness routine through COVID times. Fitness is such a stress reliever and outlet to me, and keeping that consistent in my life is one of my core values.

What do you love about this type of fitness?
I love that we never really do the same thing twice. Everyday is different from the day before and it’s constantly varied and pushing me to new limits. I love the feeling of accomplishment after a super hard workout.

What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?
JUST JOIN!!! Croga has been one of the single best things that has happened to me in the last 2.5 years. It’s more than just a workout, it’s a community of people who care about each other and seeing each other’s success in each individual fitness journey. There is no pressure to fit any mold or to be a certain way, although it may be intimidating at first I have found the community refreshing and something that I can’t live without!

Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet?
Just want to express my thanks to the management team and for the other members of Croga that make is such a pleasurable place to be a part of!

Curt C. is the September Member Of The Month

The thing I love about having Curt as an integral part of the Croga Family is that he is a wonderful role model for consistency, thoughtful training, and persistence. As you’ll see in his answer below, when he came into the gym he was pretty fit aerobically, but he knew he had some holes in his fitness game and he was excited to work on them. And work on them he did.

Over the past 4 years I have watched Curt eliminate mobility issues that were causing pain through consistent stretching, build huge strength to bodyweight numbers (he’s toward the top of the list of pound for pound lifters in our gym), improve skills through consistent practice and being open to coaching feedback and then using it to improve technique, take his aerobic capacity far beyond where he started even though most of what he used to do was aerobic based, and become just plain JACKED to the point where he probably can’t take his shirt off at pool parties because he’d embarrass the other dads.

It has been a pleasure getting to know you, coach you and learn from you, Curt. I really value our friendship and look forward to watching you continue to crush your goals year after year with your focused training and hard work.

When did you join Cróga?
I joined in July of 2016.

What were you doing before for fitness?
I used to cycle a lot. I enjoyed climbing the hills up the peninsula, in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and Mt. Hamilton. I also did spin classes and HIIT.

What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout?
I don’t remember exactly what my first workout was, but I do know it included wall balls. I recall Shawn and Tony seeing me, the new guy, pick up the Rx’d 20 lb ball saying something like, “No, you don’t want that just yet.” It was good advice!

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?
I just feel stronger overall. All the cycling I used to do gave me a good aerobic base, but no matter how many hours I put in or how many hills I climbed I could feel myself getting weaker as I got older. Now, I am stronger and feel more fit than at any point in my life.

What days and times do you come to Cróga?
My workout times have shifted around over the last four years. I was a regular at 5:00 AM for a while but have settled in at 5:30 PM.

What’s your favorite WOD?
I like chippers. Seeing a large volume of work on the board and the this-is-going-to-suck dread it induces gives me that much more satisfaction when it’s over.

What’s your least favorite WOD?
Right now, it’s anything with double unders. I like jumping rope, but I just cannot get my act together on double unders. However, I haven’t given up and will eventually be able to do them consistently. At that point my least favorite WOD will be anything that includes the assault bike. I enjoy pushing myself hard, but I’m not a masochist.

“The Curtis” WOD! What would it be?
I like working with kettlebells. Here’s something I wrote for myself a couple months ago.
5 rounds for time:
Run 400 m
20 Kettlebell snatches, 10 each arm
20 Abmat sit-ups

What’s your biggest fitness goal for this year?
I started the year with two goals: to log over 200 workout days for the year, and to deadlift over 400 lbs. With the consistent programming that Croga has put out through the shutdown, the first goal is well within reach. Also, the 1+ hours per day that I have gained back from not commuting the past several months has given me more time for working out.

I don’t have a barbell at home and was beginning to doubt I’d achieve my second goal. I’ve made overall gains during the shelter in place, but I don’t think bodyweight and kettlebells were going to allow me to increase my deadlift. Now, with the small group training and open gym available, I just might have a shot at it.

What do you love about this type of fitness?
I love the variety of the workouts. Going to a typical gym was never something I could stick with for very long because it was just boring, and I would never make much progress. I’m sure that was due to not having any coaching or any sort of training plan. Having programming that is continually changing but is not totally random keeps working out fun and challenging.

What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?
Be consistent with your training. Everything is scalable to whatever your current abilities may be. So get in the habit of showing up regularly even if the workout has a movement that you’re not yet able to do or is a weak point in your fitness. Consistent effort over time will produce the results you’re looking for (and some you may not have expected).

And don’t be intimidated by the 6’ 2” bro wearing a Rogue cap and no shirt. He’s actually a cool dude who I’m sure would be very supportive of the fitness journey you’re on.

Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet?
The community is a huge part of why I belong to Cróga. I have gotten to know some really great people with similar fitness goals. There is a healthy level of competitiveness that motivates us to push harder, but we also encourage and support one another. The coaches are excellent teachers and motivators. They know their stuff, show us how to move safely and effectively, and keep things fun. I am extremely grateful for the coaches and members of Cróga.

Croga Nutrition Journey – Madhu N.

It is indeed a surreal feeling that I am sharing my journey so far, hopefully it will make anyone reading this continue to pursue their goals.

As everyone wishing to lose weight, I tried all different things from excessive running to sacrificing food at times to starve myself. But I could never get the result I wished for. At times I would lose a little weight, accompanied by weakness, but that was short lived as the weight always bounced back as soon as I lagged a little bit. In other words, the attempts weren’t sustainable.

When I heard about the WAG program at Croga Nutrition, my very first reaction was that it was not for me. For a person from South Asian my diet has a mix of different cuisines, Indian vegetarian food being the prime. But after hearing so many success stories from fellow Croganites and Coach Dave, I thought I should give it a serious shot.

Along came constant sideline guidance from Coach Cody. After some tweaks with my food, the results finally started showing up after a few weeks. Lockdown did affect this initially but I wouldn’t say it was a big obstacle. Initially it was tough to measure and eat everything and at times. I felt like giving up, but Coach Cody patiently explained that everyone goes through this phase and very politely inspired me to keep going.

Initially it was overwhelming – measuring food is not natural and is hard for Indian food. Medicinal words like nutrients, macros are big and scary, but once you start logging it, you get used to it and then it becomes second nature. Nutrition is nutrition, it’s the same in any food from any country, all that matters is measuring it.

It is a lifestyle change – making the right food choices, measuring, logging, and meal planning – but the results are worth all of the work. It’s not only about weight loss but about getting healthier. Now I feel much more active, I’m lifting heavier weights, running better, and have less fatigue throughout the day.

All the coaches at Croga Nutrition are very accommodating and that makes the journey to better you a little easier.

Susie R. is the August Member Of The Month

This month we have the pleasure of choosing one of our evening class stalwarts, Susie, as our Member of the Month! It has been almost exactly four years since Susie first walked in the door of Croga and she has been a consistent and uplifting part of our community and a big piece of the social puzzle at Croga as well. If you have ever been to a 5:30 or 6:30 pm class at Croga, you most definitely know and love Susie! And she’s always been a Croga staff favorite because she loves all the things that we all love: Powerlifting, Olympic Lifting, Murph, making friends quickly, adult beverages, and now that she’s a member of Croga Nutrition, counting macros, hahaha.

Congratulations on taking an already consistent commitment to your health and fitness pre-COVID to a whole new level by attending even more classes and signing up as a nutrition client a couple of months ago. We’re proud of you, Susie, and can’t wait to have you back INSIDE the gym with all your friends slamming bars and having dance parties in the back corner of the gym, soon!

When did you join Cróga?
Around Labor Day Weekend 2016 – 4 years ago now!

What were you doing before for fitness?
Literally nothing. My old apartment had workout classes I would attend occasionally and I would run about a mile a few times a month. It was a weird time in my life as I have always been active, but I had no desire to then.

What was your first workout? The first reaction to your first workout?
I have told this story many times, but my first workout was a Saturday WOD. I was told it would be a good day to start because we would have partners. BUT THEN my partner turned out to be Kristi Smith. She was so fit and I was so not – thank God she was so nice to me. We were to go on a wall ball run together, and I just saw her grab this giant heavy ball and take off on what felt to me like a sprint. I chased after her as best I could and afterward all I could think of was, “how the hell did she do that?”. When I asked her, she told me she had been carrying around baby Parker for months. I was blown away, if I could be that fit someday right after having a baby I was so in!

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel, and perform?
I LOVE looking more muscular. I look back at photos of myself and see scrawny arms/shoulders and think I look weird. I am excited to continue improving with Croga Nutrition. My goal is to wear a crop top this year and I am determined to make it happen!!

What days and times do you come to Cróga?
I am a solid evening gal, and since COVID started I now try to come 4-5 days a week. It’s my only time for socialization :). You will never catch me in the mornings at the gym, I am the grumpiest! Shoutout to the old 10:00 AM Saturday crew!

What’s your favorite WOD?
Anything with farmer’s carries, kettlebell swings, or deadlifts. It’s when I feel my strongest 🙂

What’s your least favorite WOD?
Is anyone actually a fan of burpees? I also HATE box jumps. So fair to say I also hate Burpee Box Jumps – I am sure that is why Cody programs them so often.

“The Susie” WOD! What would it be?
Something with a healthy combo of cardio AND strength exercises. It would probably include some of my favorites above like Kettlebell swings and Farmer’s carries and maybe rowing for calories. the WOD would also be an AMRAP, I hate being the last to finish something because it is for time.

What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
On a nice night, I like to sit outside in my garden to cool off for a bit before eating dinner. Lately, with the heat, I have resorted to driving around my neighborhood with the AC on blast or sticking my head in the freezer 😂. Before COVID and joining Croga Nutrition my post-power lifting routine was to get McDonald’s. It was such a wonderful treat and the reason I needed to join Croga Nutrition. 😉

What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga?
Figuring out ways to make my favorite dishes healthier has been really exciting for me. I love that I don’t have to miss out on my favorite things!

What’s your biggest fitness goal for this year?
I always say “this is the year I will get pull-ups”. I hope at some point I will be able to get into the gym for some practice soon – I was really motivated this year! My biggest goal is to lose some of my extra pounds and improve my overall health/fitness.

What do you love about this type of fitness?
I know everyone says this, but it’s the community. I love lifting and being strong but there is no way I would have stuck to it without such amazing people surrounding me and pushing me forward.

What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?
Just push through your first month. We all had that feeling at first of “I can’t do this” or “this is too much”. Once you get into the groove you will see results so quickly, feel so much better, and join a community of people you won’t be able to live without.

Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet?
Shout out to the best coaches in the world who have stuck through my sarcasm, complaining, dance sessions, and talking too much during class. I could not have gotten this far without you guys over the last 4 years. Thank you to my friends for pushing me to keep going, push harder, and lift heavier. This community is what keeps me going, and makes me excited for the end of my workday. I am so grateful for every one of you.

Mark B. is the July Member Of The Month

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

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

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

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

When did you join Cróga?
January of 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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:

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.


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