Success Stories


We love it when a plan comes together. Watching our members achieve their goals is a genuinely uplifting experience. Who doesn’t like a good success story? Here’s what some of our members have to say.

  • Taylor Tirona

    When I came to CrossFit Society I was 200 pounds, a former athlete, and eager to transform myself. During my time at Stratum, I dropped to 165 pounds within the first six months. In many ways, I felt better than I ever had before. I came to CrossFit with an extensive background in physical activity, from competitive kickboxing, recreational surfing, and skateboarding, to professional ballet dancing.

    My first taste of CrossFit was in 2006 at a gym in Encinitas. The benefits of it were obvious to me from the start. Outside of being a great way to stay in shape, it cultivates discipline and teaches hard work and follow-through, all of which easily translated to many aspects of life outside the gym. Looking back, CrossFit was still in its infancy at the time, but it was enough to get me hooked.

    Unfortunately, within a few months I experienced a lower back injury, which created chronic pain. It prompted me to cease any type of working out. There were various factors that caused this injury, but at the core, it was working with poor technique, while pushing myself to compete with others at a level I had not realistically reached. During the years that I danced, I had reoccurring Achilles tendinitis that would often keep me out for weeks at a time. Later, I experienced a mild, but long lasting, shoulder injury from a workout during my overweight, out of shape, Weekend Warrior period. Fortunately, these injuries have led me to recognize and appreciate trainers and coaches who excel at instruction in proper technique and form, balanced with continual improvement and development in fitness.

    When I came to Stratum in August of 2012, it coincided with several events, including the one-year anniversary at my job. My shoulder pain had lingered for close to 3 years, with no improvement. I had gotten to the point where I was tired of feeling terrible all the time. I missed having a regular exercise routine. A friend had convinced me to try the Paleo Diet to help with my allergies, and mentioned between that and CrossFit, he’d been feeling great. I began looking for local CrossFit affiliates and found that Society had just opened a few blocks from where I lived.

    Blake and Eric do so much more than just “train” their clients. In contrast to my previous CrossFit experience, the guys at Stratum were proactive in inquiring about any new or previous injuries or pain throughout my workouts. Given my situation, they would suggest weights, but left room for adjustment, and paid close attention to my technique in movements that could potentially aggravate my injury. Between their incredible training, excellent knowledge, mobility work, and recommendations for alternative therapy, my three-year-long shoulder pain was non-existent after seven months. These guys have made it their goal and business, to be lifelong students and teachers of all things health and fitness. They have helped me develop greater self-awareness for how I feel and knowing my performance limitations. My pain is less frequent, shorter, and I am always confident of a full recovery.

    Most gyms and products show before and after photos with testimonials. I’m sure I can find some photos to document my 35-pound weight loss, but that would barely scratch the surface of what Stratum Fitness and CrossFit in general, does for people. The incredible community, knowledge, training, and overall interest in members’ well-being is a rare combination these days. Since starting at Stratum, I’ve moved 30 minutes away and there are at least 15 affiliates closer to home, but the drive is more than worth it.

  • Steve Fruitman

    Before joining Stratum Fitness I dabbled in CrossFit on my own after being introduced to it from a close military friend. Like most newbies, I began following the workouts on and started to buy and set up a home gym. I was excited by the newfound challenges of movements I’d never heard of: muscle-ups, Tabata, overhead squats, snatch, push press, and many more. I spent countless hours on the internet watching Olympic lifting and CrossFit videos trying to wrap my mind around this new form of exercise.

    After six months of working out on my own, a co-worker and I were having lunch and found a common connection through CrossFit. After a lengthy discussion, they urged me to join an affiliate to see the real benefits of the “CrossFit family.” But there was one thing holding me back — the cost. By this point, I’d invested a large chunk of money into my home gym and the thought of paying $150 a month when I had a lifetime membership to 24 Hour Fitness for $20/yr. was just too much. A few more months went by and my co-worker presented me with a Groupon for a membership at Cross Fit Society. They told me that not all gyms were the same and I should try it out for at least one month. This was a mistake.

    I can still remember my first day back in October 2012. My nerves and mind were running wild with anticipation. What would this experience be like? How would the coaches be? Am I really in as good of shape as I think? From the beginning, you could tell Blake, Eric, and Stefan were passionate about what they were doing. Each of them spent time getting to know me, learning my past experiences, and trying to understand what I was looking to gain from CrossFit. The first day was an eye-opening experience. As soon as I set foot into the gym lobby, I was greeted by smiling faces and enthusiasm. Everyone was excited to be there.

    Stratum group training started with a comprehensive warm-up targeting mobility as it related to the workout movements we would be performing that day. This included stretches to open the hips, quads, chest, shoulders and back, which I had never even heard of before. We moved on to lifting and it just so happened that we were doing back squats. I thought to myself, “No big deal. Everyone knows how to back squat.” Boy, was I wrong. Before getting any weight on the bar, I was being coached on proper head, neck, and leg positioning as well as breathing techniques. I could already tell that the investment was going to be worth it. It felt as if I had three personal trainers walking me through the workouts.

    After my Groupon expired and I immediately signed up for a monthly pass. The hands-on experience and coaching I initially got from Eric and Blake never changed. Every time I set foot in the gym, they asked me how I was feeling, and if I was sore or tight. They’re always suggesting new stretches and methods to help with the soreness and movement issues. Overcoming mobility was only half the battle and the other half was learning how to correctly perform the movements, while learning new ones. They had me working on muscle-ups, teaching me butterfly pull-ups, and Olympic lifts.

    After a few short months, I was committed to working out four to five days a week. While on vacation, I dropped into another gym to participate in their workout and it was an eye-opening experience. The members were just members. They were there to workout and not talk. I was shocked! The family that I had grown accustomed to at Stratum was so different. The warm-up was performed without any guidance or coaching. I felt like a number going through the movements versus feeling like I was part of a family. The class ended and I cannot honestly recall whether the coach even talked to me that day.

    The coaching at Stratum is handsdown the best I’ve ever seen and experienced. Blake and Eric are passionate about what they are doing in and out of the gym. The experience at Stratum much more than one hour a day. Eric and Blake are at the forefront of teaching healthy living beginning with working out, eating healthy, stretching properly, and resting. Don’t be scared if you’re out of shape. Don’t think that you are in too good of shape and already know it all. Step out on a ledge and join Stratum Fitness. I know from experience that trying to workout at home or at another gym won’t come close to replicating the results that you get here.

    The proof is in the pudding. Here are some statistics from my one-year transformation at CrossFit Society. I entered the gym weighing 218 pounds, back squatting 275 pounds, benching 225 pounds, overhead squatting 115 pounds, and snatching 115 pounds. A year later I weigh 195 pounds, I’m back squatting 335 pounds, benching 255 pounds, overhead squatting 225 pounds, and snatching 195 pounds. While these are merely numbers, the overall health benefits far more important. Hopefully, these numbers and my story are a testament to how awesome Eric, Blake, and Stefan are.

  • Peter Gresham

    My name is Peter Gresham, also known as Big Pete, and ‘m 26 years old. I’m a medical device rep and I live life to the extreme every day. I’m a pretty active individual. I have been playing sports most of my life and was a collegiate water polo player at University of California San Diego. After college, I stayed involved in sports and the gym, but was searching for something that gave me a sense of competition and camaraderie.

    I joined Stratum when I moved back to San Diego after a three-year stint in Palm Desert. I was looking for something to keep me active and ended up falling in love with CrossFit. I enjoyed the variety of skills you work on. While I come from a strength background, there are so many skills that I am terrible at, specifically gymnastics. However, working here presented a new challenge every time I walked into the gym.

    It was never stale or the same old boring routine. Every day was a new challenge and I was able to think strategically about how I was going to approach a workout or discuss the finer points of my row starts with my coaches. I’ve also made many new friends through Stratum who I enjoy in and out of the gym.
    I think one obstacle for me was price. I was already familiar with CrossFit programming and knew that I’d like it. But the monthly fee can seem steep, especially when you paid $20 a month at your previous gym. However, when you break down the frivolous things you spend money on each month they easily add up to the same as a membership. I thought, “If my own personal health wasn’t worth that, what was?”

    Mentally, I am sharper during the day. I feel better and have more energy. Part of this comes from being in better shape and part of it comes from dietary changes. Physically, I have a lower body fat percentage and my butt has become quite girthy.

    I have learned a ton about health and fitness. Stratum is great because not only do you have great people around you, but you have very knowledgeable coaches. You can pick their brains about the nuances of lifts, or how to optimize your nutrition to meet your goals. Having that expert resource constantly available is precious. In my opinion, it’s one of the gym’s biggest benefits.

    The best thing about Stratum is the people. It really is a great community. Everyone is very friendly and welcoming. No matter what ability level someone is, the members are supportive and excited. They understand it’s intimidating to join a new gym. Everyone is quick to say, “Hi” and introduce themselves. There’s nothing like walking into the gym and realizing three of your best bros are there for the same class.

    It reminds me of the team atmosphere I had while playing water polo. Everyone is getting better together, working hard, and having a great time. It’s such a unique environment that it’s a sight to behold.

    I’m most surprised with how much my overall fitness and skills have improved. With so many new movements and techniques introduced, there’s always something to work on. I love CrossFit and I think most people can benefit from it. If you think it’s “too crazy” or “too intense” keep in mind that everything is scalable. CrossFit is about working out with friends and family, improving your health, and getting a little better each day. The hardest part is getting yourself to take the first step.


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