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


In what seems the blink of an eye, Celia Cruz has been a member at Dogtown for 8 years.  A thoughtful, quiet, hard worker in the gym she helps set the standard as a member for commitment to movement standards and consistency in workouts! We love having as a part of the family.

Coach Dusty

Q: What was your health and fitness like prior to CrossFit?
Looking back it wasn't really a priority in my life. I mostly ran on the treadmill a few days a week. However, my secret obsession was the Gunnar Peterson "Core Secrets" DVDs featuring Brooke Burke. Not sure if anyone remembers those or her, ha!

Q: How long have you been doing CrossFit and what inspired you to start?
I would drive by the old location when it first popped up and always wondered what went on behind those windows. It wasn't until I met Elda that we both dared to try it out together. We loved it and signed up January 2011, 8.5 years ago! It's so funny because, in the beginning, we were so intimidated, we would only go to class after confirming the other one was going to be there. How far we've come.

Q: What are your favorite movements and workouts and what are your least favorite?
Favorites, I love squats, burpees, deadlifts, and pretty much everything else except for what follows. I hate wall balls, haven't figured out the breathing and there's nothing I can do about the vertical challenge. Rowing is ok. I'm not a fan of snatches in workouts.

Q: What is one of your most proud CrossFit moments and what is one of your more embarrassing ones?
Anytime a fellow member says they tried keeping up with me or that I did well on a workout makes me happy. There are so many movements I've learned and gotten better at. I've thought, "Oh, I hadn't been able to do that, but now I can," I count those as accomplishments. Nothing embarrassing so far, fingers crossed.

Q: What are your CrossFit goals?
Overall, my goals are to stay active, keep moving, and prevent injury. I don't set specific gym goals. If you have patience, take no short cuts, work hard, stay consistent; naturally things get checked off "the list."

Q: You are an Energizer Bunny during workouts. What’s your secret sauce for being able to move so fast and efficiently during metcons?
 I like to pace myself from the beginning, and then once I find a groove, I know how much I can push myself the rest of the workout. Breathing is also essential so I make sure to concentrate on it, especially when I feel like I'm hitting a wall. It's one of the things I have noticed makes a difference in workouts.

Q: With a demanding work schedule, you always find time to still get workouts in. How do you stay so disciplined?
I make time to fit it in because I see all the benefits it provides. It helps me relieve the stress of dealing with parents and gives me the energy to keep up with the kids. It keeps me sane, so it doesn't feel like a chore.

Q: Any advice you can give to a newbie at DogTown?
Don't be intimidated! You are showing up all by yourself, that's more than I did in the beginning. Just keep coming, you will slowly start enjoying it and having fun!

Q: What have been the most surprising changes in yourself that you have experienced since starting at DogTown?
My taste buds. Let me explain. Nutrition is a subject that unfortunately was not emphasized in medical school. While at DogTown being exposed to meal prep, nutrition challenges, and food delivery services, forced me to get educated on the subject. I won't go as far as saying that food is only fuel because I do love food, but I do find myself enjoying the taste of healthy food. It supports my workout performance and enhances the results of my hard work in the gym. Maybe it's discipline, but perhaps it's just my brain tricking my taste buds (since it knows better) that nutritious is enjoyable. Whatever works.

Q: What 2 things can you share with our DogTown family that they may not know about you?                    
I never played recreational or competitive sports growing up. I know it's hard to believe! The last few years I've made sure to make up for that. I've picked up ice skating, tennis, skiing and now can say I enjoy swimming (had a traumatic sink or swim childhood experience). It's never too late to learn new things and step out of your comfort zone! I think DogTown had a lot do with that. Also, some may not know that I'm a pediatrician, which explains some of the answers above. Make sure you eat your veggies and get your sleep kiddos!

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?).