3456 South Motor Ave., Suite 107, Los Angeles, CA 90034 (310) 558-4496


With the 2019 CrossFit Open behind us, it is a great time to get some discussion going around what we walked away with. I know from past years, one common pattern is this feeling or realization of “I am not doing enough during the year.” And my response to that is always, what is enough?

Every one of you is different from tenure to background to your own personal goals. The concept of “enough” or “not enough” is so relative. That is why Adam and I are excited and encourage you to set up one-on-one goal setting sessions with us.

Are you looking to run a half marathon? Do you want to train for a Tough Mudder? Do you want to lose 20 pounds? Do you want to add 30 pounds to your back squat or 50 pounds to your deadlift? Are you trying to improve at Gymnastics?

Maybe your goals are a combination of the above. It is common for someone to want to increase what they can lift while still training for a half marathon and also wanting to work on a gymnastics skill, like a pull-up. It can be really overwhelming also to figure out a plan that attacks all your goals SMARTLY.

That is why Adam and I are here to make sure you do have the right plan for YOU from how to tackle the daily workouts to additional work you need to perhaps do outside of normal class hours.

*Private Training is available with any of the coaches.
** Coaching/goal setting is available by Adam and myself.

Speaking of Goals, Let’s Chat “Why”
Adam and I always want to make ourselves available to have 1:1 goal setting sessions (and we encourage this!) It is a great opportunity to have an open, honest discussion about your personal goals and how to realistically get there. We want to dive a little bit into the “why” behind a goal.

For example, sometimes we feel that if we focus on getting stronger by having a goal to increase our back squat by 20 pounds, that it will automatically transfer to being stronger in metcons or be able to move faster (or mean that we will lose weight). It might but there may be other ways to go about it. The “why” is important to make sure that the goals we set align with what you really are after.

A theme that I often see is that we can be easily influenced by what we see on the Internet and Social Media. A common scenario is being exposed to a different Lifting Cycle and wanting to try that. My first question always is “why?” What is the purpose behind it? Does it align with your goal and your “why”? Does it compliment the training you are doing or does it potentially add too much volume too fast? Do you need to assess your overall training for it fit in? Are there other options to explore to reach your goals? I do not mean that to sound negative by any means or that someone should not try something. My intention is to put thought into it before jumping right in.

As Always, Safety First!

Our primary goal at DogTown is the safety of our clients. The speed and pace of conditioning absolutely can contribute to injury, and that is why we have a constant focus on keeping you safe. We are very proud of the extremely low injury rate at DogTown.

That is why we want to take the time to remind everyone of our protocols when it comes to safety. Accidents can happen (and will happen) but hopefully they will be minimal if we can collectively as a community, both staff and members, accept and practice the following:

  1. Please stage hanging bar elements (pull ups, toes to bar) appropriately prior to conditioning workouts and please listen to the prompts of the coaching staff. 
  2. If an injury occurs let the Coach who is certified in First aid and CPR lead and direct.
  3. No personal headphones in class.
  4. No extra training will be done during class time.  We just do not have the space.  If there are lifts you missed, extra training etc. there are Open gym times for that including Sundays from 10-12pm that is coach lead.

The noise level at the gym can get high with music, barbells clinking, etc; and that is why we want to alleviate any extra distractors, like wearing headphones. It is also so important that EVERYONE can hear prompts from coaches at all times.

It is in the same spirit of community that we want to keep an environment that is positive and inclusive. Think about the last time you went to a global gym and everyone was wearing ear buds. They are cohabitating in the same space without interacting. That is the opposite of what we have cultivated at DogTown. We are about community and connection and we always want that to be on the forefront.

I am anticipating some questions around the policy of not being able to do extra training during class time. We completely understand that it happens that perhaps you miss a lifting day and want to make that up or you are front loading before an upcoming trip. During many of the hours we have classes, the gym can be at capacity between main classes, Personal Training Sessions and On-Ramp. In an effort to keep our gym safe, our policy is to do that extra work or make-up training during Open Gym hours.

I also recognize that depending on what your individual goals are, you may need to be at the gym outside of main class. Please plan to use Open Gym to work towards your goals.

We pride ourselves on the product we deliver at DogTown through our programming and coaching that we implement within an hour. I want to take a minute to mention that Coach Mike does a stellar job of programming to make this possible. It is also a big factor in why our injury rate is so low. There are reasons why the RX weights are set as they are and a method behind cycles and every day metcons and skill work.  (For specific questions on his programming, reach out to him directly).

If your goals are beyond that, please, reach out to Adam or myself. Let’s make sure you are getting the most out of every hour (and plan for additional training). 

DogTown Is About Reaching Our Best                                                        

With the discussion of goals and wanting to perform at our best, just a few reminders on some of the classes we have outside of Main Classes.

Adam has been coaching Olympic Lifting for over 10 years, and he coaches a class Tuesday nights at 7:30 dedicated to it. It is a great opportunity to get proficient at lifting, which also will help you move better in your daily workouts. For anyone who has specific goals around Olympic Lifting, I encourage you to come to this class regularly.

I also lead a dedicated Gymnastics Class Thursday nights at 7:30. Read more on that here

We have some of the best coaches in the world who have coaching pedigrees rooted in traditional strength and conditioning that is not just CrossFit specific.

We are here to help find solutions and build a community that is stronger by training folks that are to be at their optimal mental and physical states.

Coach Dusty

The "Ginja" was referred to us by a former client and female Firefighter, Chelsea Grigsby.  Dean is a great athlete and a fun dude who enjoys gymnastics as much as I do.  I love his energy and general joy he brings to the gym.  Dean is overall a healthy example of what our next generation of wonderful human beings can be.
Coach Dusty

Q: What was your health and fitness like prior to CrossFit?
A: Prior to CrossFit I spent fifteen years surfing recreationally and competing through the NSSA (National Scholastic Surf Association) during high school. I also did karate for 11 years starting from when I was six.

Q: How long have you been doing CrossFit and what inspired you to start?
A: I started CrossFit in 2013. One of my first friends when I moved to Santa Barbara for Art School had been doing CrossFit for a couple years and wouldn’t stop talking about it. That had me interested.

Q: What are your favorite movements and workouts and what are your least favorite?
A: Movement wise I would have to say my favorites would be the snatch and clean and jerk. They are so technical and when you have a great lift it feels satisfying. For workouts anything quick where I can push the consequences to the end and move fast. Least favorite movement has to be heavy box step ups or heavy sled pushes. So much leg pain that turns into overall pain.

Q: What is one of your most proud CrossFit moments and what is one of your more embarrassing ones?
A: Proudest moment so far was squatting more than 300lbs. It was amazing to look at where I started and see how much stronger I had become. So that ties into my most embarrassing story pretty well. I was really skinny but I thought I was ‘fit’. My friend Aaron had got me to come to CrossFit for the first time in Carpinteria. The warm-up for that day was some moderate running and broad jumps up and down the street. I gave it my all during the warm-up, felt terrible by the time the workout started, and went home early. I ended up with the worst DOMS I have ever had in my life. It took a week to walk down stairs with bent legs. Painful and embarrassing lesson to start.

Q: What are your CrossFit goals?
A: I started CrossFit because it sounded fun and that has always been my main motivation. I want to get stronger, move better, and keep improving every day.

Q: You are a regular at the Thursday night Gymnastics class. Two part question: How has that helped you in your overall CrossFit fitness? And is that how you became nicknamed Ginger Ninja?
A: I’m a smaller guy and gymnastics has always been fun because it plays well in my strengths. My body awareness has also improved a lot because of gymnastics. I feel like I pick up new things quicker and have a better mental picture of how my body is supposed to move through space. As for the second part I really don’t know where the ‘ginger’ in my nickname comes from, but I was trained to be a silent assassin from a young age in Japan.

Q: You recently participated in a team competition. What was that experience like?
A: It was a great experience for all of us. I had done four other competitions before that so I was used to the process but it was really fun to prep and compete with Geoff and Ahmed. I love competitions because they are a great representation of all the work you have put into your body. You get to show up with the support of your friends and teammates and push yourself.

Q: Any advice you can give to a newbie at DogTown?
A: Come in as consistently as you can and have fun. Check your ego at the door.

Q: What have been the most surprising changes in yourself that you have experienced since starting at DogTown?
A: How much I enjoy seeing everyone. I have a great group of friends from this gym and I will always appreciate that.

Q: As a photographer, what CrossFit athlete would you love to get to work with?
A: I would love to work with Pat Vellner. Promote redheaded athletes!

Q: What 2 things can you share with our DogTown family that they may not know about you?   
A: Genetically the mutation that gives people red hair also comes with an increased pain tolerance and sensitivity to temperature fluctuations. Also redheads were burnt as witches during the dark ages (These count right?).

Let’s all make 2019 the perfect formula of technique, progressing smartly, being challenged and having fun! And of course, crush those goals!

To start, let’s chat the basics

Be present and in the moment.

Yes, that does mean ditching your phones when you walk into DogTown. For many of us, the 1 hour we spend at DogTown is the only true hour we have for ourselves. Make the most out of it.

Being present also means listening (I mean, REALLY listening) to our coaches. The more we can tune in to those queues they give us, the better our technique gets. And the better our technique gets, the faster and stronger we get. Coaches intentionally repeat themselves when it comes to explaining and breaking down movements because that is what creates that body awareness and performing movements almost on autopilot.

Everyone needs coaching.

Even those who have been at this CrossFit thing for years, it is never mastered and there is ALWAYS room to improve. Having proper coaching is what keeps us safe and continuously getting better. Noone is above needing coaching.Look at professional athletes. They have teams of professionals coaching them.

Stay Positive.

Firstly, no one likes a complainer. Show up to class ready to work and be positive. It is infectious, so be the person that everyone is inspired to work out next to.

Being positive is what can make or break us and get us to our goals. It is so easy and common to become our own worst roadblock so think positively and be kind to yourself.

It also means celebrating every little thing. Maybe you are still struggling to get full depth in that Overhead Squat, but recognize that you are getting lower than you did yesterday. Celebrate those PR’s, even if they are “just” a pound more. Every little bit gets you closer to where you want to go.

Be Consistent.

If you do not want each time you come to CrossFit to feel like your first time at CrossFit, show up consistently. That soreness you experience gets better when your body adapts to the intensity and volume.

Also, think about consistency in terms of how you pace yourself during those wod’s. Strive to have a consistent pace and if anything, instead of starting off like a bat out of hell, pace and at the end, go crazy.

And about them 2019 goals.

For some goals, we will organically hit them simply by showing up and giving the regularly scheduled programming 100%.

For other goals though, we will need to put in extra time and effort. Which means, goals have to be more specific than “get 1 strict pull-up” or “hit a 300 pound back squat”.  HOW do you plan to accomplish that? Are you going to ask one of the coaches (or youtube) for extra accessory work? Are you going to come in during Open Gym to work on strength?

Really put thought to the plan to hit a goal because merely wishing it and putting it out into the universe may not result it in magically happening.

Also, just because you hit a goal once, does NOT mean you are golden for life. You must continuously work at it. (Just look at myself and Bar Muscle Ups. I have 4 under my belt but my success rate is like 1%).


Alright, 2019, let’s do this!

On Behalf of the DogTown Staff,