Mark G. is the April Member Of The Month

Croga Fitness
July 19, 2021

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.

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