Marina L. is the November Member of the Month

Croga Fitness
December 12, 2022
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Since she arrived at Croga in June of 2021 Marina has been crushing the fitness game, improving in every area possible, physically and mentally! Marina tells a story where she fell at a dinner and was able to catch herself (without dropping any food!). Crediting the gym as what got her body “ready to take care of her.” The gym might be the place where she goes to get her fitness, but Marina is the one who puts in the work. Emphasis on putting in the work. Marina is pretty dang consistent!

One of the coolest things to see as a coach is how much more confident Marina is, it’s obvious in the way she carries herself! There’s definitely more swagger. And the swagger is contagious! Over the summer Marina was able to get her daughter, Emily, into the gym. Together they’re an unstoppable mother-daughter duo, crushing partner WOD’s like crazy!!

Marina doesn’t care what the workout is, or who’s in class, she’s going to give her very best effort and she’s going to do it with a smile and a positive attitude.

When did you join Croga?
June 11, 2021

What were you doing before for fitness?
Fitness???  Not much.  I was walking the dog two miles, five times/week.

What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout?
According to the Beyond the Whiteboard app, I did the 5:30pm class where we did a 12-Minute AMReps workout which included Ring Dips, Plate Russian Twists and Lateral Hops, building 3 at a time (3,6,9..).  I replaced the Ring Dips with Ring Pulls. I made it all the way to 18 Reps.  Based on other people's time stamp entries in the app, it looks like Aviv and Curtis were also in this class with me.

What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?

Honestly, the improvements to how my body looks, feels and performs are more than I ever could have imagined.  I used to think weight lifting was an exercise in muscle isolation.  I thought you did one specific exercise to build one specific muscle.  Eighteen months at Croga and I know how incorrect I was in my thinking.  I just didn't know.  I never tried many of the moves we do at Croga.  Now I realize that one movement can work my WHOLE body.  To do some moves correctly, I must engage multiple muscles to maintain good form.  It's a GIFT!  Crossfit is SO EFFICIENT.  I walk taller, straighter and with more confidence.  My butt muscles are lifted.  What?!  I had no idea weightlifting would do that!?  Slowly over time, my core muscles are more engaged throughout the day.  I feel more fluid as my body moves through the day.  My joints feel flexible.  I feel resilient.  I've discovered layers of muscles in my shoulders and back that I never knew existed.

Back in May 2022, I was at a golf club reception and the high heel of my shoe got caught on a table cloth and I fell immediately to the floor while holding a full plate of food.  And you know what?  I felt my hip hit the floor and in a split second, ALL of the muscles in my body engaged and I bounced right back up off the floor to a kneeling position while confidently balancing the plate of food in my right hand.  I did not spill a thing!  And I was standing on my knees as if nothing happened.  Of course, several tables of people around me were staring at me in shock, expecting me to be hurt or something.  I simply smiled at them and said, "I'm good!"  It was the funniest moment.  I knew immediately it was a Croga success story moment.  That fall could have turned out so much differently.  Before Croga, I'm sure I would have been laying all over the floor with food spilled everywhere.  But because of Croga, my body was primed to react and take care of me.  These are the life moments we cannot anticipate.  Accidents are going to happen in life.  Challenges are going to come our way.  I may not be doing all of our workouts at Rx quite yet, but I know the work I'm doing in the gym is making a positive impact on how I experience the world every day.

What days and times do you come to Croga?

During the week I prefer 6am. But sometimes I have early work meetings and push my workout to the 5:30pm class.  On the weekends I like 8am, unless I want to avoid the partner workout on Sat., and then I'll go at 7am and do my own thing.

What's your favorite WOD?

I don't have a favorite WOD yet.  I feel too new to Crossfit to have a favorite.  Since I'm still building my skills, I try to just roll with it.  I know some people like to cherry pick their workouts.  I try not to do that.  I remember taking a Cardio Day workout in my first or second month and hardly anyone showed up.  I was surprised.  Ethan was coaching.  I asked him "Where is everyone?"  He said, "Oh, lots of people skip Cardio Days in favor of Weight Lifting Days."  I had no idea that was a thing.

What's your least favorite WOD?

Honestly, my least favorite WODs have nothing to do with the movements and more to do with my eating habits.  Over the last 18 months, my least favorite WODs have been the WODs I tried to do at 5:30pm after eating pizza or lasagna for lunch, or after having alcohol the night before.  The four times I've felt like throwing up during a workout were because of my eating or drinking habits.

"The Marina," WOD! What would it be?

I'm not experienced enough to put together a good WOD.  I'll leave that to the professionals.  But I generally get excited if I see wall balls, dumbbell thrusters or split jerks.  I like how my body feels after doing these movements.  I feel like I've used my whole body and every muscle is awake.

What's been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Croga?
Culinary discovery?  Uh yeah, don't drink beer if I intend to work out the next day.  Consequently, I find I'm drinking a lot less alcohol since joining Croga.  I'm not sure if that was intended?

What's your biggest fitness goal for this year?
In general, I want to attend more frequently.  In my first 18 months, I attended 13x/month.  This was a BIG win for me because I was consistent and I didn't quit.  I tried Crossfit two other times in my life.  Both times I tried to compete with others and pushed myself aggressively from the start just to burnout and quit a couple months later.  This time, I did it differently.  I chose NOT to compete with anyone else.  I decided what was good for me, but stuck with it.  Honestly, our Croga Coaches get a lot of credit for this.  I never felt pressured by our Coaches to push harder or be more aggressive with my training.  Other gyms I attended were a bit more pushy in their coaching style.  I never felt pushed at Croga.  I have always felt supported and encouraged, but never pushed.  In the next 12 months, I'd like to attend 18-20x/month.  There are several moves I'm still working on and I know if I increase my frequency, I'll have a better chance at success with the harder moves.

What do you love about this type of fitness?
What we do at Croga feels 100% scalable, 100% adaptable, and 100% limitless.  No matter what's going on in your life, our workouts are diverse enough and scalable enough to meet you where you are.  In my second month at Croga I used bad form on a deadlift and I hurt my back.  Cody was really great in coaching me through my recovery.  He was very insistent that I should NOT stop moving my body.  Don't just sit on the couch, he told me.  He asked me to keep coming into the gym and he would give me stretches to do to help with my recovery.  I did and it worked!  Four weeks later, and several visits to the chiropractor, I was back doing the regular workouts.  I did not play sports in high school or college.  So, I've never experienced anything like that where you get injured and you move your body through recovery.  I feel like I'm at the very beginning of a long journey that is going to help me age better than I ever thought possible.

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

1) Don't be intimidated by any of the weight lifting moves or Crossfit jargon.  Just try each move as it comes.  Don't compare yourself to others.  Your only goal should be to keep coming back to practice good form.
2) This is a marathon, not a sprint.  Don't expect miracles overnight.  You WILL see results over time if you are consistent.  In June 2021 I did my first split jerk with a 35 pound barbell.  In Sept. 2022, I did a split jerk with an 80 pound barbell.  And let's be honest, I don't really care about the weight.  I care that my arms look good in a tank top as I get older.  
3) Try to be consistent with which classes you attend so you can make friends with other people who come to the same classes with you.  We have a wonderfully diverse group of supportive people at Croga.  Get to know them!

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

Uh, yeah!  I just completed my first Spartan Race on Dec. 3 (with the help of all my Croga friends) at age 56.  You're never too old to try something new!  Thank you, Croga, for opening my belief system to new possibilities.

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