“I’ve tried a handful of CrossFit affiliates around the Peninsula, as well as a few alternatives like Equinox; based on this search, I’m confident that Mad Dawg offers the most efficient and effective coaching/programming in the area. There are four basic reasons for this:
1. Subject-matter expertise: Saul (head coach) knows the exercise-science literature more deeply than almost any strength/conditioning coach I’ve ever met (and I’ve met a lot), and he’s got the curiosity of a true expert: He’ll pull out the anatomy books to help diagnose a tweak in your shoulder, and he’ll follow up by sending you a report on how to treat the problem.
2. Training expertise: It’s one thing to know how to do something well; it’s quite another to know how to teach that thing well. (In education this is called “pedagogical content knowledge.”) The main weakness I’ve seen with most CF affiliates in the area is here: There are coaches out there who can write programs and demonstrate movements but cannot figure out how to get athletes to perform correctly. By contrast, Saul and his team focus on getting each athlete from a baseline (which might be college sports, or it might be a sedentary lifetime) onto a healthy and optimal path *for that athlete*.
3. Holistic mindset: Mad Dawg has seminars on Olympic weightlifting, seminars on mobility, seminars on nutrition, seminars on gymastics, and seminars on goal-setting. Their mission is to get folks living a healthier lifestyle–that goes *WAY* beyond simply getting folks stronger, or even getting folks to move better.
4. Community: This last one is the consequence of the first three. People who train at Mad Dawg are upbeat, supportive, eager to learn, and happy to welcome new athletes. We are all in it for the long haul: We aren’t here to increase our max bench press, we’re here to make sure that when we’re in our sixties and seventies we’re still moving with grace, strength, and joy. (That’s not to say there are no hardcore athletes at the gym: We’ve got several who can post impressive scores in most CrossFit benchmark workouts, run 1:45 half-marathons, etc. They’re just “sustainably hardcore” athletes.)”

“I recently looked around the gym and saw folks working at all levels of ability yet everyone trying to push themselves and everyone respecting where everyone was. That behavior doesn’t happen naturally or easily; it takes a special talent to create what you have done. I hope you know what a difference you make.”

“Where else can a person of any history, age, ability or goals find attentive, sincere, compassionate and complete coaching? Where else does the coaching staff insist that health is a combination of many things, most of which can’t be found at the gym? Where else can a person of any shape and fitness level be treated with respect by not just the coaches, but the other athletes as well? Where else can one be encouraged to get out and use their fitness in so many diverse ways? Where else can one find all this, as well as the company of fun, funny, non-judgmental, quirky and interesting people?”
The [Mad Dawg] commitment to Health with a capital “H” – and [the coache’s] constant quest for growth, learning and improvement – have been beyond life-changing for me and everyone else who has been with Mad Dawg for more than 30 seconds.”

“My weight loss and fitness journey started years ago and eventually led to me trying to switch to eating 100% Paleo. I started meeting with Susan every 2 weeks developing meal plans, fitness goals and overall life goals. She helped me to develop strategies for dealing with tough food situations with family and friends. Having her support made all the difference to me. To date I have lost 53 pounds and 3 dress sizes. If you are looking to become a healthier you and to “be the change” (Susan’s favorite quote), see Susan at MDSF.”

“Thank you for paying such close attention to my son. I really appreciate it and would like Mad Dawg’s Program to be both my boys main activity for a long time.”

“I was reflecting on the past decade and I’ve realized Mad Dawg was one of the best finds for me. I wanted to thank you for teaching and coaching me. Your patience, enthusiasm, the interesting routines, the gym, my fellow athletes have all made Mad Dawg very enjoyable and a very important part of my life for the last three years. It’s been awesome! Thanks!”

“You have NO idea how grateful we are to have found you guys. It’s been an absolute blessing to get stronger and in shape at your gym – you are both so encouraging and supportive, and while I’m at it, I’d like to say that Wes and Richard are absolute studs at what they do. Ahh. We really just feel so lucky. Sometimes, I have to stop myself for being so over-exuberant because that might be annoying but (REALLY!) there are absolutely no words to express our happiness over stumbling upon the community you have built.”
Annette & Dave


And, check out our 5-star reviews on yelp (excerpts below):

“If I could give Mad Dawg ten stars, I would!”

“I absolutely love Mad Dawg Fitness, and look forward to each workout. I’m currently in the bootcamp getting my form tight, and believe they have the best program for educating everyone so they can workout with minimal risk of injury.”

“If you’re on the fence about MDSoF: This place is a major reason for that excitement. When you’re choosing a place to make this kind of commitment to and investment in your life and health, the most important consideration is the experience level and style of the person who will be leading you, and there is NO ONE more qualified or better than Saul.”

“I wish I lived closer so I could continue to go all the time!”

“Being in such a great environment will have a positive effect on your life. I highly recommend Mad Dawg Fitness.”

“I have mainly worked with Susan and found her to very knowledgeable, patient and a very good instructor. The training is very individualized and they do a great job of coaching. I was a bit wary that I was going to feel way out of my league, but it hasn’t been that at all. There are people there who are very advanced, but I never feel out of place.”

“Susan and Saul’s instruction is great, with a strong focus on technique. Bootcamp is twelve sessions, longer than at other gyms, and the training is incredibly good and good value for money – so much better than even 1:1 training I’ve had elsewhere.”

“I am happier, stronger, faster, leaner, and the healthiest I have been my entire life. Now that I have the MOST IMPORTANT POSSESSION I can have – health – I have found my passion and want to pass it on to everybody I can. I owe my start to Saul!”

“I can now do things I never would have tried before.”

“Before MDSoF, I just seemed to donate my money to these gyms. MDSoF changed that for me I have been going for three months strong now, and I am absolutely ADDICTED.”

“Saul and the Team at Mad Dawg School of Fitness are top notch.”

“In a bare bones environment where mixed nut dispensers replace fluffy white towels and musical input is encouraged (bring your Prom Night playlist!), Saul and team have created an addictive atmosphere that promotes a shared set of values in this particular community. Ego-free and supportive, with friendly competition and fitness challenges, book-ended by education, repetition, practice, patience and good humor: it’s the kind of environment I’d create if I was starting my own gym.”

“Saul knows everything about my fitness: He knows what lifts are easy (and hard) for me, my injuries, my training goals, and how to motivate me. I can ask him very technical questions about technique and get a thorough answer–and if he’s not 100% sure, he’ll research the answer and follow up with me.”