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

Blog

You all should know I am by no means a yogi. I am probably one of the least coordinated, flexible people ever and struggle with basic poses. I have tried yoga so many times determined to make it part of my life but to no avail. Having said that, I have been lucky enough to have Kenya put me in some poses after a few workouts that have felt wonderful to help lengthen and restore my tight muscles. When I heard that she was having a #chillasanahhh Yoga class at DogTown, I was in!

Since I have too much respect for the practice of yoga, I will not attempt to describe the experience. Kenya has done that for us in much lovelier language than I ever could have pulled off:


A really awesome savasana is absolutely a reward for showing up, stepping on the mat and going through the breath & body work. I feel gooood that that was true in our first #chillasanahhhh class at DogTown.

In any yoga class, and this one especially, we are working on the pliability & mobility of our bodies. For example, opening space in the upper thoracic to help you work toward a better overhead position (over time and with practice).

But the breathwork, warming movement, and stretching ... each of these elements are there to activate your parasympathetic nervous system and lead you to a restorative savasana.

Savasana is also called corpse pose. So this is a good analogy for life: breathe deeply, live strong, be in your body ... and if all goes well, you get the ultimate rest and reset.


For all of us CrossFitters, we put our bodies through a lot. Our workouts push our physical limits and because of that, restoration and recovery are just as important, if not more. Kenya’s class took us through stretches and poses that complement the stress we put our bodies through. Kenya has been doing CrossFit for over five years and has been active in yoga for over 20 years. She knows exactly how to take two vastly different forms of movement and marry them together. While her class was a very soothing and zen experience (I came home and easily could have fallen asleep at 7:30 pm), it had a balance and strategy behind it.

I should also mention that another really REALLY important aspect of yoga is that it creates mindfulness to how our bodies move and how our bodies feel. Often, when we are lifting heavy weight or pushing to get a workout done under the time cap, we are so in the zone that we lose that body awareness. And that is often where injuries happen. So, just sayin’, yoga very well can be a great way to reduce the risk of injury.

Kenya is planning to host more yoga classes so stay tuned for exact details regarding the finalized dates and times. For now, here is what she wants you to know:

For the next class (VERY tentatively Sunday 9/16) , bring your tight hips!
Together we'll breathe thru outer hip stretches and poses for our hip flexors and groin. Constant contraction (aka sitting), overuse, not making time to stretch or roll can contribute to lower back pain, limited range of motion, and limit your access to generating power & speed (among other things).
The good news: we'll revisit 1 or 2 poses from this week. The bad news: there is no bad news. It's #chillasanahhh, man.

See YOU at yoga!


Robert blew me away meeting him after his intro class. He told me his weight loss story and I was stunned. I have worked with people, many who also had significant weight loss, but I had never before that day come across the mindset he brought entering the gym.

I told him after On Ramp ended that he should start with a Gold Membership and when he earned it, he could move to PLATINUM.  Like clockwork, in two months’ time, he wanted to move to Platinum.

To this day, Robert shows up early to mobilize, works on stabilizing his shoulders and quietly out works everyone around him.  Has he had bad workouts?  He will tell you yes. (But haven’t we all?)  Did he dislocate his shoulder during OHS? Yup. He then spent two weeks working on strengthening it with CrossOver Symmetry, and never once did he take a day off.  How many of us when injured try to just push through it or not get to the source of the problem? It takes a strong work ethic like Robert’s to put ego aside and get back to basics.

My belief in him is absolute because that is how he shows up every day. He works hard and trusts the process.

Leaders are born out of mindset, and then deliberate action.  Next time you see him in the gym say hi, but don't distract him lol.  He gets better and better every day.  Robert gets in the zone and stays in his lane focusing on his progress. Finishing first is not his goal. Getting stronger and more proficient is. He is a great reminder to pay attention to what people are doing and less to what they are saying.

Proud Coach. 
Dusty

Q: Well first, congratulations are in order! You have been working so hard and have the pounds coming off to show for it. You are so inspiring to so many of us. Can you tell us what lead you into DogTown?
A: I had been losing weight dieting and exercising at LA fitness for almost two years. I was 500 pounds at my heaviest and got down to 300 pounds when I had joined DogTown in April 2018. But I realized that I was reaching the limits of how well I could train myself. I thrive in an environment with coaches and peers who push me to do my best. Around that time, I had stumbled on some CrossFit Games videos on YouTube and was hooked. I knew I wanted to do CrossFit. I searched Yelp for the highest rated box nearby and found DogTown.

Q: What was your first session at CrossFit like?
A: I remember showing up really early to the class because I was super excited to be there. Jeremiah coached my intro class with two other people. I struggled with the body weight exercises – turns out, it’s difficult to do push-ups and pull-ups carrying around extra baggage. But I stuck with it on the scaled versions. I finished the workout several minutes after the other two people, but I was okay with that. I pushed myself and did the best I could. Exhausted and with soreness setting in, I knew this was where I wanted to be.

Q: What have been the most surprising changes in yourself that you have experienced since starting at DogTown?
A:  The biggest change for me has been my cardio. I used to despise running, but recently I have enjoyed going for long runs around the neighborhood to clear my head. I have easily PR’d my mile time by a longshot.

Q: CrossFit really gets us ready for anything and it opens so many doors to try things we may not have done before.  Have you taken on anything new with the help of CrossFit?
A: I started hiking recently, something I never thought I would be able to do since I had been so big for so long! But doing a hike is easy compared to what we do in CrossFit!

Q: What are your favorite movements and workouts and what are your least favorite?
A: My favorites are definitely the lifts where you move lots of weight (deadlift, back squat, power clean) because that’s where I am comfortable and it’s what I do best. I have been surprised to find that I also really enjoy the sessions which work on progressing with various skill movements. My least favorite is burpees, by far. But who likes those anyways?

Q: What has been one of your fondest accomplishments at DT?

A: It would be easy to point to any of the various improvements I have made on 1RM’s, workout times, or skill progression.
But the real answer is my improvement in attitude. During one workout, Dusty noticed that I had the look of death on my face. After the class, he pulled me aside, and he told me not to feel bad for myself. I realized in self-reflection that this was a poor attitude I carried over from high school football. It was a façade aimed at getting sympathy from others for being the big guy who has to struggle through tough workouts. But Dusty reminded me that everyone in the class is going through the same pain I am. Additionally, I really enjoy CrossFit, so why not let my face show it too? I have to catch myself when my face naturally tends to scrunch up, but I am trying to have fun with the workouts, and push through them, not just going through the motions.



Q: What are your health and fitness goals?

A: I would like to keep losing weight and progress to Rx CrossFit movements. I would love to be able to get all the way down to 200 pounds (on pace for some time next year!). Most importantly, my goal is to just have fun, and not get consumed with trying to be the fittest, the fastest, or the strongest. I would also like more opportunities to be a help to those in my church who struggle with the same spiritual issues I struggled with pertaining to being significantly overweight.

Q: What advice can you give to a newbie at DT?

A: My first piece of advice would be to not compare yourself to others. It’s easy to do, but actually is the enemy of your improvement in CrossFit. Check your ego at the door and get to work improving your strength and conditioning. Which leads me to my second piece of advice: compare yourself to yourself! Buy a notebook and record your workouts each day. When I flip through the workouts in my notebook over the last four months, I am encouraged to see the rewards of all my efforts.

Q: What do you do outside of the box?

A: I work for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems in Redondo Beach as an engineer. I recently reduced my hours at work to part-time, so I could spend more time at school. I am currently studying at The Master’s Seminary (Sun Valley, CA), pursuing a Master of Divinity. Life is busy for me right now with work and studying, as I also spend a lot of time serving at my church. With these studies, I hope to someday do bi-vocational ministry or become a Pastor of a church somewhere in the United States.

Q: What 2 things can you share with your DogTown family that we might not know about you?

A: The first thing would be that I cannot take credit for the weight loss progress I have made. I am persuaded that it is a work of God in my life to produce discipline and self-control. My effort involved is secondary to the overwhelming grace God has shown me over the last 3 years, and to Him alone belongs the praise and glory.
The second thing would be that I am very grateful for each and every one of my fellow DogTown athletes and coaches who are examples to me of hard work and encourages me to do my best. It’s what helps keep me going.

When John reached out to us in November of last year and I then got to meet him in person, I immediately liked his personality. I was excited for him to be the first person to join the Foundations program we were kicking off at 9:30 am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  At the age of 60, John’s fitness goals were pretty clear.  Lets lose weight and get in shape.  PERIOD.

On Day 1 of Foundations, Kelly and Jeremiah put the crew through their first workout:

    4 Rounds of 30 Seconds of Work/30 Seconds of Rest:
    Ring Rows
    Sit-ups
    Squats

John was without question devastated physically from that workout.  He laid on the boxes for nearly an hour after the workout.  Jeremiah came to me twice worried, saying he should check his vitals (Jeremiah's EMT brain was kicking.)  I wasn't worried.  What I saw was someone that wanted to get in shape more than he wanted to breathe.  That is exactly where John’s transformation began.

Over the course of the program, he was the slowest but hardest and most dedicated worker.  He showed up early to watch regular class, and he often stayed after to learn, watch and be a part of the gym.
After Foundations was completed, John began one- on- one training with Kelly, and nearly four months later, he has lost 30 pounds and has PR’ed his deadlift at 325 lbs. 

We are so proud of John for his journey, and of course sad to lose another gem, as he is set to move to the Bay Area for a well-deserved promotion.

Thanks,
Coach Dusty

John sent us this heartfelt letter that we want to share with our Dogtown Family.

Dear DogTown CrossFit,

Just wanted to share my story regarding how I became a part of the DogTown Family.

I first came across DogTown CrossFit on social media, advertising a six-week program called DogTown Foundations Program.  I liked how the program was explained, that it was a stepping stone for new or re-start folks “Like Me”! I also liked how it was explained that the programming wasn’t just a random throw together workout, but a purposeful workout and would start with building a solid foundation and adding to it with each session and week so that by the end of the program I would have a solid baseline to grow with. All I had to do was JUST SHOW UP, and let the program work me!

I had shopped around looking at other CrossFit locations and on-line information, but I found that something was missing. I didn’t feel what I had felt when reading DogTown’s offer of commitment to helping me while I trudged back to a healthier life through each session of their program.

I was sneaking up on sixty feeling sluggish, no energy, overweight and wasn’t ready to be like those other old guys with their pushed-out guts and aligning health. The truth is I was already one of those guys.

So, in January 2018, via email I signed up for the DogTown Foundation Program. I was welcomed by Dusty Hyland, and made an appointment to see him and start with my life changing experience. We discussed what I was looking for and what my goals were.

What I really liked was starting with a group of newbies just like myself and a couple of returning patrons, rather than being added to an already established fast paced group and being overwhelmed, feeling set up for failure. The Trainers (Kelly & Jeremiah) were energized; they explained how the workout was broken down, Warm-up, Lift and Metcon. They performed each exercise/movement, discussing the proper way to execute each one prior to the group performing them, exactly what I was looking for.

First day, I was already sucking air by the time I was done with the warm-up and still had to keep going. Kelly and Jeremiah were very understanding, kind and always encouraging, enthusiastic and motivating as was the group- especially when I excused myself to throw-up! What a day that first day was. I hadn’t felt that worked in years! When all was done I just laid there on the floor. I really appreciated the support and no rush attitude all the trainers had in letting me take my time to recover. They checked on me, making sure I was going to be alright. Now that was cool and always humorous!

As the sessions continued and the weeks passed I learned the proper way to lift, learned about and performed exercises (Squats, Burpees, Mountain Climbers, Lunges, Box Jumps, just to name a few) I hadn’t performed since I was in high school and then some I never heard of. The continuous movement of each routine was amazing and exhausting all wrapped up into 20-minute intervals. Always ending with me on the floor recovering and slowly feeling better, gaining endurance, breathing better which were my beginning goals. The side effects were losing inches, weight, gaining muscle tone/strength and of course feeling muscles I forgot I had. This was just the beginning.

Before I knew it, the program was soon completing, and I would have to decide what my next step was to be. I would come in early prior to my group session to watch trainer Mike V. work the 7:30 group: amazing men and women working at their own levels and working together. They reflected dedication and respect for each other, always encouraging and motivating one another with enthusiasm even when exhausted. They were examples of what I wanted for myself. However, I still felt the need to bring myself along with the help of a trainer and discussed this with Kelly who was available to train me, and I was on my way!



Kelly is so awesome. She is a task master with a glow in her eyes and a smile on her face with an endless supply of enthusiasm, encouragement, motivation, laughter and a drill Sargent discipline for ensuring that I performed the lifts and drills correctly and safely. She really enjoys the lifestyle of CrossFit and her enthusiasm is contagious. I’m grateful and humbled by her honesty and caring attitude.



It’s been approximately six months of commitment to changing my life for the better I’m no longer that gut hanging sluggish ill health guy. And I couldn’t have done any of it without the sincere collectiveness of the DogTown CrossFit Crew.

My friends ask why CrossFit, I reply why not!

Warm regards,

John Macaluso