Our Weekly Dose of Awesome is non other than Coach Joanna Vargas! As many of you may know, our badass Athlete-Turned-Coach Jo will be leaving San Francisco soon for some traveling before starting a life in San Diego. Before she goes, we thought we'd take the chance to bring to light some fun, get-to-know facts about Joanna, as well as acknowledge her impressive developments in crossfit over the years. For those of you who may not have had the chance to get to know her... if you don't know, now you know!
How long have you been doing CrossFit? 6 years
Where did you first start CrossFit? I first started CrossFitting in San Diego, by way of a Groupon, if you can believe it. The first day of class? We did Fight Gone Bad. Needless to say, I was the only one of about a dozen who made it to the end of the Groupon package. And I was hooked!
How long have you been coaching CrossFit? I've been coaching for just over 2 years here at UB.
What's your athletic background, for those who may not know :) I played soccer, basketball, and softball in high school, and went on to play college softball for the University of Oregon. I was also lucky enough to represent Greece in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens (lucky timing/heritage... my grandmother was born in Greece.)
What other kinds of exercise shenanigans do you do currently, outside of UB? I used to mix it up and play recreational athletics (soccer, basketball, dodgeball, flag football) but the truth is I'm getting a little too old for those high-impact sports. So these days, outside of the gym, I'll occasionally run and hike but the majority of my fitness happens within the UB walls.
What is your best memory(ies) of UB? This is an impossible question to answer.... too many to even count!
Favorite Open WOD of 2017 and why? 17.5 was my favorite --- I'm always so happy to have completed another Open season and appropriately tested my fitness. Even though Hayley absolutely DESTROYED me in our head-to-head challenge, I was still happy with my performance and how far I've come over the last year.
Will you be CrossFitting on your euro trip? Brittany and I are spending the next two months traveling abroad to England, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Croatia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Switzerland --- there will definitely be some drop-in sessions along the way (but probably more pastry eating and coffee drinking than consistent training.) I did a similar trip in 2012 and called it the Global WOD Project, so I'm thinking I may need to revive the blog again.
How hard was it convincing Brittany to try CrossFit? Hah! The first thing to know about Brittany is that you can't convince her to do anything she doesn't want to do. She was involved in the UB community for years as a supportive partner (I made the choice early on never to push her... if she wanted to CrossFit, I knew she'd come to it on her own). That being said, about two years ago, I gifted her a well-timed PT package with the excellent Coach Nikki Staley and her obsession gradually evolved from there.
Favorite food? Pizzzzzzzza
Fun fact about Jo: I've traveled to 30+ countries!
Anything else you would like to share!
Even though I've only spent about 4 years in the Bay Area, I've had multiple jobs, apartments, big life changes, and have seen friends/coworkers come and go --- but UB has been my mainstay, my rock, my foundation! I always leave UB feeling better, more energized, and happier than when I enter, and that's a testament to the incredible owners, coaching staff and beautiful community. It will be so hard to leave this place but I'll go knowing UB has made a significant impact on my life and I'll always carry it with me.
Please join us for a Going Away WOD this Saturday, April 1st! (Worst April Fools joke ever ) to honor her AWESOME contributions, accomplishments, and energy she's brought to United Barbell over the past couple years.
Thanks Coach Jo!
Don't forget how much we love you. You are always Awesome to us.