A Friendly Tradition:

Koda CrossFit Members Building Bonds While Building Muscles

CrossFit is everywhere these days and for those who don’t know, it’s a training program that builds strength and conditioning through varied and challenging workouts.

“Koda,” the Sioux word for friend, symbolizes the brotherhood that once existed between those who lived, hunted and went to battle together. Today, it represents a dynamic that makes Koda CrossFit in Norman unique and fun.

Owner Toby Johnson moved to Norman on a whim three and half years ago from West Virginia to try out a new area of the country. Upon discovering Koda, Johnson started hanging out at the gym and began coaching classes.
Later he became the manager and is now the new full-time co-owner and operator.

Located one mile west of the University of Oklahoma on the corner of McGee Drive and Lindsey Street, Johnson describes Koda as a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to CrossFit gyms.

“We offer classes anybody can do,” he said.

Classes range from beginner to competitor levels and even include boot camp style options, KodaKids, yoga and bodybuilding. Johnson said his personal favorite is the longevity class, designed for people aged 55 and older who want to stay active.

Their “6-Week Challenge” is directed toward beginners who are new to CrossFit and focuses on assisting people in taking their first step toward a healthier lifestyle in a fun and encouraging environment. The program follows a 6-week diet and exercise program.

“The coaching that you’ll receive at our gym is unrivaled in the state of Oklahoma,” Johnson said. “We have a large facility that offers upwards of 20 classes per day. People come in to get a good workout, but they stay because of our community. Our staff members are friendly, and our members are very friendly. Everybody is rooting for you to meet your health and fitness goals.”

Freddy Petrolia came to Norman several years ago to study Health and Exercise Science at OU and discovered Koda.

“I originally came to Koda and joined CrossFit because I wanted to get fit and look good with my shirt off. I didn’t have any goals other than that. I heard good things about Koda and, when I joined, it was a unique experience unlike other gyms.”

“I hadn’t tried group class training before and was used to doing my workout alone. When I came to Koda, it was different. The class was led by a coach who not only made me laugh but also made me partner up with people, which forced me to…be part of a community.”

The three core values of Koda are integrity, community and progression.
“Integrity means you don’t cheat yourself,” Petrolia said. “No one is counting your reps in a workout so if your plan calls for 10 reps, you don’t cut yourself short and do eight. You hold yourself accountable. The community aspect means we are friends here. People come for a workout but stay for the conversation. We are a big family. Progression means you come to the gym to get better. It’s a fun place to be.”

The programming at Koda is structured for even training, not over training.
Lorin Johnson, who has been coming to Koda for seven years, says Koda has a different approach than other gyms he’s experienced.

“CrossFit is known for hitting it hard every day but that’s not how we do things. They definitely push you but it’s about really good coaching. What’s really cool about CrossFit in general is the wide range of people who walk through the gym.”

“I would never meet half of these people in the real world. We’re all here just trying to get better fitness-wise every day in a great environment. Everyone is really positive.”

Celebrating their six-year anniversary, this spring, Koda has special events and challenges going on all the time. Personal training is also available, and sessions are scheduled according to the client’s needs.

Massage therapy is also available with certified and licensed massage therapist Tessie Taleu. Sessions are 60 minutes or 90 minutes.

For more information, call 310-4047 or visit www.kodacrossfitnorman.com. The first class is free. – BSM