Our Community

A Day in the Life of CFCOA

It’s pre-dawn, and the only light glowing among a block of dark businesses on Melrose Avenue is coming from CrossFit City of Angels. Inside, the athletes—men and women of all ages and fitness levels—are warming up. These are the early risers, the busy mothers, the 9-to-5 professionals. The hard workers.

For these members who rise before the sun does, the very first part of their day is often the hardest, and the most rewarding.

“CFCOA means teamwork, friendly competition, encouragement and a place I’m able to call home,” said Monica Obregon, a mother of three and one of the most consistent members of the early morning class. “I love that it keeps my physique accountable and my eating habits in line. The people in the community are all awesome and friendly, and so easy to talk to. I don’t get the feel of someone is ‘over’ or ‘better than’ someone else.”

Erik Qvale, a professional with two young children, makes time to hop on his skateboard and ride into the box before work most mornings.

“It’s a tight community,” Erik said. “Tight as in very friendly, supportive people sweating together in a confined space.”

Members in the morning will eventually head out to their own jobs and responsibilities, but for one hour their goal is unified.

“We are a diverse group but we all seem to have a lot in common,” said member Alex Walton. “I can’t say enough good things about CFCOA and the people there. It’s a friendly, supportive and competitive group. I’m so glad I found you guys.”

It’s afternoon, and Melrose Avenue near Los Angeles City College is bustling with traffic from local coffee shops, hair salons, and boutique clothing stores. From around the corner explodes a line of runners, sprinting down the sidewalk as part of the workout for that day. These are the students, the self-employed, the actors and creative types. The hard workers.

Joseph Ayala, a student who often bikes to the box between work and classes, made incredible strides in his weight and overall health after working out at CFCOA and modifying his dietary habits.

“CFCOA is more than just a group of people I workout with; it’s like a family,” Joseph said. “They push me, motivate me and help me accomplish things I thought I could never do. I am happy to say I am a part of City of Angels. You guys are awesome and I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.”

In addition to working out together, members pool their resources to take part in a variety of activities, such as an organic, local vegetable co-op, periodic CPR classes, and no shortage of social activities.

“Is it not obvious that EVERYONE here is AWESOME?!” said Heather “Heat” Mendoza, an actor and artist who often works out with her fiancé, Marc. “I love the community at CFCOA! Everyone is personable, driven, and I always enjoy the company every time I am able to come to class. What I love is that it is a community.”

Jordan Harbinger, a freelancer and co-founder of his own business, makes time to get to the box despite all of the projects he’s constantly juggling.

“I love coming here,” Jordan said. “It’s an instant de-stresser, just the right amount of butt-kicking, and a very supportive community. The people here have kept me going through busy, hectic days and intense workouts.”

It’s evening, and the line of drivers heading home after work continues throughout the evening. So does the clang of barbells hitting the floor after a heavy set of Olympic lifting inside the CFCOA box. These are the daily grinders, the happy-hour skippers, the night owls. The hard workers.

For many of these nighttime members, the promise of a rigorous workout at CFCOA is what gets them through eight hours at a desk.

“No kidding, I call it ‘my torture.’ I die each and very time, and I absolutely love it,” said Ami Oren, a professor of clinical medicine at USC. “I cannot believe what you made me do and that I am actually doing it, gradually. The staff is better than I have encountered anywhere. Specifically, the knowledge, attitude, constant encouragement, very detailed and careful instructions and coaching, are awesome.”

From the heavy lifters to the weightlifting novices, everyone finds a place at CFCOA. Every workout is scalable to the member’s fitness level, and every member is an equal part of a team.

“One thing I really like is that gyms are just usually not girl friendly, no matter how athletic the girl,” said member Laura Moran. “Girls are either just dismissed or ogled. I love that neither of those things happen at CFCOA. I’ve never had the feeling from any of the guys that I didn’t belong there, or they didn’t want me there, or that I was holding them back. I think that is a really rare thing and is something to be excited about and also something that we can all continue to nurture.”

Everybody belongs. It’s a philosophy rare in gyms and not always prevalent in other CrossFit boxes. Everyone has something to offer, and everyone deserves the chance to improve.

“I know there are people who lump all CrossFitters together and in turn associate a negative connotation toward CrossFit in general. It’s when I read or hear about these negative comments I want to point these people to CFCOA,” said member Patrick Mitchell. “The people at CFCOA are awesome. I feel supported by the teachers and the community every time I go. I feel driven, motivated and challenged all along the way, and I honestly haven’t felt this good about working out…ever.”

Mitchell, who comes reliably three times a week, has seen improvements in himself beyond his physical health.

“I’ve noticed myself getting stronger physically and socially,” he said. “I say hello to people I don’t know now, and carry that along with me on the street. I like looking at my calluses; it reminds me daily how hard I am working. Every time my core hurts or arms shake or muscles groan, I thank God that I am getting the opportunity to use this body to its fullest.”

As the last of the members leave for the evening, finally CrossFit City of Angels goes dark. The box is closed, but not for long. In a few hours, members will be waking up, throwing on some old clothes and making their way toward Melrose Avenue for another workout. Another opportunity to make goals; to make community. Another opportunity for the hard workers.