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Hi DogTown Family,

Vanessa, now 12, is the youngest member at DogTown CrossFit. She came to us last year from Autumo CrossFit in Ventura, CA. We typically do not extend our training at DogTown to kids as we have never had a specific CrossFit Kids program; but after meeting Vanessa, working out with her and her mother, Tanya, we realized that like all rules, there are special exceptions that arise.

What you may not know about Vanessa is that she has been doing a form of CrossFit for over half of her life. She is present in class and takes coaching very receptively, which is something that often as adults, we have a hard time doing. According to Coach Adam Noble, she may have the best Split Jerk of anyone at the box, regardless of age. Also, through constant work and persistence in gymnastics, after hundreds of attempts and always a smile on her face, Vanessa got her first bar muscle up.

The motivation to become a better version of ourselves is a big part of what drives this community, and no one better exudes that than Vanessa (and her mom!)

Coach Dusty


Q: Ok, Vanessa, you are the youngest member at DogTown CrossFit. Is it true that you started when you were 5 years old?
A: Yes, I did start CrossFit when I was 5.

Q: What got you started so young?
A: I was on the swim team and also played soccer, so my mom thought CrossFit Kids would help with endurance. I have loved it since.

Q: What are your favorite movements/workouts and what are your least favorite?
A: My favorite movements are cleans, muscle-ups, and butterfly pull-ups. My least favorite are burpees and thrusters.

Q: What are your CrossFit goals?
A: My goal is to compete as a teen at the CrossFit Games.

Q: What is it like working out with all these crazy, beastly adults?
A: I enjoy it. It motivates me to push harder in my workouts.

Q: If you could invite a celebrity to workout with you at DogTown, who would you pick?
A: I would choose Brooke Ence because she is the epitome of fitness. She is a fitness model, actor and CrossFit athlete. Or The Fittest Women on Earth, Tia Clair-Toomey.

Q: What do your friends think of CrossFit?
A: They think CrossFit is brutal and would never try it.

Q: You often take classes with your mom. What is your favorite part of getting to do CrossFit with her?
A: My favorite part is just being able to workout with her and push her through the workouts. I am grateful that my mom introduced me to sports and fitness at a young age. It is a big part of my life.

Q: If you could give advice to a newbie coming into DogTown, what would it be?
A: Try your best every day, stay motivated, and never give up.

Q: What are two things that your DogTown CrossFit family does not already know about you?
A: I was bullied the first few years of elementary school. I don’t think they would mess with me now. I am the baby of our family and I have 5 older brothers.



Hi DogTown Family,

We have decided to highlight a special DogTown Member each month for their presence and unique contributions to the fabric of our community.

We have decided to start with a guy who has been a mainstay at DogTown CrossFit since Day One (and even before). Adam and I were coaching and running the CrossFit Culver City Affiliate at Focus Self Defense and Fitness (Alliance) over 10 years ago. Bobby Favus was a Krav Maga student there who transitioned into the CrossFit Program, and then moved with us when we left to open DogTown in 2010.

Bobby is as steady as a human as they come: patient, helpful and hardworking. For ten years, he has been an example of someone who comes in, works out and stays to help support others on a regular basis. Does he do everything right? No. Does he take instruction well? Yes. He has improved so much over his tenure at DogTown (he would even tell you that if you ask him).

I want to share my favorite story about Bobby that best demonstrates how all his hard work at the box, as someone in his 50’s no less, has paid off in his fitness. About two years ago, Bobby quit Krav to focus solely on CrossFit. Around that time, an old friend asked him to help him prepare for his black belt test in Krav. Bobby said yes. He went back to Krav, gloved up and ran circles around this guy, who was not even close to Bobby’s strength, fitness or endurance.

I give Bobby a lot of BS in class, because well he deserves it. He also deserves though to play and get recognition for being a strong, steady and quiet force in the gym. Thank you, Bobby, for being a part of our family. Here are some questions we asked Bobby to get to know him some more.

Dusty

Q: How long have you been doing CrossFit and what inspired you to start?
A: I've been doing CrossFit since you guys started, so 9 years now? It has been a great 9 years I must say. It was my kids who inspired me to start. I wanted to live long so I can see them go about their lives, although they're in Asia.

Q: What are your favorite movements and workouts and what are your least favorite?
A: A few of my favorite CrossFit movements are burpees, box jumps, overhead squats, cleans, jerks, kettle bell workouts and rowing. The things I like the least are pull ups, thrusters, wall balls, running, handstand push-ups, rope climbing, and shoulder press.

Q: When you are not at CrossFit, what are you up to?
A: When I'm not in CrossFit I usually hang out with my friends, and by myself I usually search for new coffee shops to try or new restaurants to try. I love coffee and I love to eat, who doesn't?

Q: What are your CrossFit goals?
A: My goals have been to overcome my weaknesses someday and be perfect at what I'm good at.

Q: Share with your DogTown family 2 things about yourself that we do not already know.
A: Two things about me that you guys don't know....hmmm let me think...ok when I was in grade school back home I was bullied but overcame it and ever since I was never bullied again.

Q: What is your proudest moment of your CrossFit career so far and what is your most embarrassing moment?
A: One of my proudest moment would be I'm still able to keep up with the young ones at the gym, and once in a while able to teach people movements to which they are able to do afterward. Most embarrassing moments are those ladies that can lift more than me.

Q: What advice do you want to give a CrossFit newbie?
A: To a new member, my advice: Do not get intimidated by how fast, or how heavy everyone is lifting. You WILL get there. Be patient. Rome wasn't built in one day. Once you start, keep coming to classes at least 3x/week.

Q: How many cities have you lived in?
A: I have lived in about 10 to 15 cities. Fremont, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Hills, Buena Park, Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, Culver city, Canoga Park, Northridge, North Hollywood, and Pasadena.

Q: What is your favorite cheat meal?
A: As I said I love to eat. My favorite cheat meal would be the roast pork belly with rice, the pork or chicken adobo with rice, gourmet hamburgers, roast duck with rice. I'm Asian lol.




And props to DogTown, from Bobby:

Finally, I'd like to say that DogTown CrossFit has been great to me: the programming, the coaching staff and most of all the people that come to the gym. It's been a great experience for me, and I'm looking forward for the next 9 years......unless you guys are tired of me...

Dogtown Rows the boat
The rowing clinic saved me from drowning in 18.1 (like what I did there?) It opened my eyes to a few things.

1. Even if you have done a movement to completion in the past, it does not mean you have done it right.

2. Efficiency is sometimes more important than speed.

3. Always sign up for a clinic when DogTown offers it.

Let me share this with you. I have been doing CrossFit for 6 years and rowing has always been my nemesis. Whenever a coach would tell me to “use more legs”, I would get frustrated at not being able to figure out how. I was pulling like a madwoman without making gains. Two minutes into taking Zohar’s rowing clinic, I realized that height and weight for me are a major disadvantage. I also realized I have literally been rowing all wrong all these years.

I will defer to Zohar, the resident DogTown expert, on rowing technique but the points are these.

Now after just one hour of a clinic, I kid you not, my rowing has done a 180. I am not necessarily going any faster but I am by far more efficient. In 18.1 I went into it knowing that I would spend the most time on the erg. I was able to though be efficient and make it like 80% legs which saved my arms for the movements that most needed them (toes to bar and clean and jerks).

18.1, for me, was about efficiency and that is something I encourage everyone to think about during any workouts. We easily lose sight of efficiency in CrossFit because we associate being strong with being fast and explosive. 

Think of double unders for another example. Sure, you can jump to the sky or tuck jump. You may string a few together but you are taxing your entire body and engine much faster than if you get can manage to get your jumps to be shorter and staying more erect.  (I know, easier said than done…)

Little tweaks to movements you do can make a world of difference. Listen to your coaches when they give you technique cues. We sometimes just keep repeating what we know to do because it is familiar even if it is not the best way to do it. Sometimes it takes those little cues to reprogram your brain and body to perform the same movement differently (but improved!) CrossFit really is about the small details.

And lastly, next time Zohar has a rowing clinic, GO! Next time anyone offers a clinic at DogTown, sign yo’ ass up!!!

Dogtown Member - Missy Berkowitz