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


Grace is an understated badass of the morning crew. She comes in consistently on time for 6:30 AM classes. She works her butt off, moves weight, pushes hard and rarely complains about the workouts. In her thirties, Grace quietly works the program by showing up and putting the effort in. Without even knowing it, she often sets the bar for many of the women that come in to the later classes as a goal on the white board to aspire to. She does not even see that at all, which is what is so special.

Coach Dusty
Q: What was your fitness like before CrossFit?

A: Prior to having kids, I didn’t have a lot of fitness. I’d occasionally go to the gym to run on the treadmill or the elliptical, and then maybe some weights, but I really didn’t know what I was doing. After my last child, I had a hard time losing the last 10 pounds so I thought I’d run a half marathon to get me into shape. I didn’t lose any weight but it lead me into marathon running and triathlons, so I spent a lot of time in the pool and on my bike/spin class. I was never fast but I could just keep on going.

Q: How long have you been doing CrossFit and what inspired you to start?

A: I started CrossFit around March/April 2011 or 2012 (I can’t remember). A friend of mine called to tell me about CrossFit. He had just started and loved it. He told me to research and look it up on YouTube. I didn’t have a good enough reason to not give it a try. Plus, with all the endurance and cardio I was doing and not seeing the results I was expecting, I told my friend I’d try it out for 3 months. If I didn’t like it I would go back to my normal routine of swim/bike/run. I didn’t love CrossFit at first. I always went into the gym a little nervous, but I loved when it was done. And now I just love it all because I see strength and progress.

Q: What have been the most surprising changes in yourself that you have experienced since starting at DogTown?

A: Since starting DogTown, I think the change that surprises me the most is my willingness to try new physical activities. A couple of years ago, a friend invited me to hike Mt. Whitney in a day. Mt. Whitney is the highest peak in the contiguous US. Round-trip, the climb took us 16 hours and probably the hardest thing I’d ever done, but the summit and view were indescribable. Without any training or preparation, CrossFit allowed me to challenge myself in a way I never would have expected from myself before I started CrossFit.

Q: What are your favorite movements and workouts and what are your least favorite?

A: I love movements that include squatting with a barbell, so I particularly love it when there’s a workout involving a front squat, back squat or overhead squat. I also love it when we clean (not power), and especially from the hang. My least favorite movements involve anything where I have to hang from the rig, so pull-ups and toes-to-bar.

Q: When you are not at CrossFit, what are you up to?

A: When I’m not at CrossFit, I’m usually busy with my family and getting kids to their appointments/destinations, and household errands. But lately and more excitingly, my husband and I bought a local business so we’ve been busy growing the store and building a brand. And since we both work, the new business has been consuming most of our free time. But I believe anything you own is worth the time invested.

Q: What are your CrossFit goals?

A: I don’t necessarily have any CrossFit goals. I just want to get better, faster, stronger. I realize as I age that there will be diminishing returns on my efforts, so the goal is to stay strong in order to live an independent lifestyle in my retirement years…just planning ahead.

Q: Working out in the morning takes serious dedication. What motivates you the most to not hit snooze?

A: My evenings are committed to being a mom. I’ve tried doing other group classes after work, but it just eats into my family time. And since I work, that leaves only the mornings to workout. Mornings are consistent so I shouldn’t have a reason to miss class. Earlier in my CrossFit journey, I was going to class pretty regularly, but I found myself cherry-picking the workouts because there was movement I didn’t particularly like. Then about 4-5 years ago I made a resolution to myself that if I was well enough to go to work, I was well enough to go to the gym. Since then, there’s probably only been a small handful of times that I’ve missed class to get a little more needed sleep.
Q: You may not realize but since you are one of the first women each day to do the workouts, you set the bar VERY high with impressive weights and times. What has been your secret sauce to being such a beast?

A: I don’t think there’s a secret sauce, although I wish there was. There’s always someone faster and stronger in class and I’m just trying to keep up. I don’t think I’m competitive so I don’t strive to finish first. But I definitely don’t like to finish last. I think that’s what keeps me pushing a little harder.

Q: Any advice you can give to a newbie at DogTown?

A: I think the best advice that I can give to a newbie at DogTown is to just show up. The programming and workouts are planned. You just have to show up and put in good effort to ensure good progress or results. One other thing I’d encourage anyone starting CrossFit is to keep track of their lifts and record their benchmark workout times. I still keep a journal and I love to reflect and look back to see where I’ve been and how far I’ve come.

Q: As a mom, what do you hope being committed to your health and fitness will teach your kids?

A: I hope that my kids see my lifestyle and commitment to health and fitness, and good nutrition as a normal lifestyle. When I’m at the gym, I think I’m like everyone else. When I leave the gym, I see myself as more of an anomaly since most people don’t exercise and eat out too often. I’m not a great cook, I have my kids help in the kitchen because I think cooking is a good life skill to have. And this summer my son, Nolan, spent the mornings working out with me at DogTown, which I truly loved because it gave us an opportunity to bond. If I show them it’s normal to make a meal and to exercise and the importance of being strong and staying strong, I hope as adults they’ll create a lifestyle that will incorporate some of my values.

Q: What 2 things can you share with our DogTown family that they may not know about you?

A: I’m not sure I can come up with 2 things about me to share, but one thing I can share is that I love puzzles, especially mega puzzles with 500-1000+ pieces. And I love doing it with my kids because it’s a great family activity. When we finish a puzzle, and because we’ve invested so much time into the puzzles, I could never take them apart. So, if you pull up all the rugs in our home, you’ll find almost a dozen puzzles that we’ve done. Every once in a while, when we lift the rugs, it’s always a pleasant surprise to see them.

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. 

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.