CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR DECEMBER 2017 ATHLETE OF THE MONTH, GABRIELA (GABY) TORO!
Be sure to take a read and familiarize yourself with the woman who, on most occasions, is beating you at the gym.
Being one of the original members of CrossFit Hoffman Estates (since 2014), what keeps you coming back into the gym each day? How do you stay motivated for so long?
I use to do HIIT and boot camp style workouts so when CFHE opened I had my doubts about shifting to CrossFit. After my first WOD I was immediately hooked and have been doing it consistently 4-6 times a week. I love coming to the gym, enjoy the atmosphere and look forward to do all the crazy programming because it is the one hour I have for myself every day. Once the alarm goes off I don’t think twice about it and get out of bed.
I keep coming back because every day is different and so it never gets boring. It also motivates me knowing you can always get better, you can always lift more weight or learn a new skill so goals are always evolving. When I started CF in 2014 I could barely clean 75 pounds, couldn’t OH squat an empty bar or do a pullup, I was so skinny and weak! After a couple of months of Andrew and Eazy pushing me, I was able to do things I never thought possible.
What is the one goal that you’ve accomplished in the gym that you are most proud of and why?
CrossFitting has always given me such an appreciation for what my body can accomplish, but after having my first baby last year, CrossFitting pregnant has taken that appreciation to a totally different level. I think this is probably one of the best things I did for my baby girl and myself so I am very proud of it…and YES, I have to admit that beating people with a pregnant belly was pretty sweet too.
In terms of skills, my first ring muscle up a couple of years ago was something I really struggled with, it took about 2 months of trying and failing every single day, so when I finally got on top of those rings it was the greatest feeling ever! My first pull-up was pretty exciting too because, even though I don’t make gender distinctions (except with rowing of course), I think doing a pull-up is kind of a big deal for any woman. I still remember watching Gail making it look so easy while thinking, "Man! I can’t even do one!"
Your husband of 9 years also works out at CFHE. What do you talk about when you’re not talking about Crossfit?
We have a couple more things in common, we dated for 6 years before getting married, share the same engineering background and our love for food, we both come from Chile (or the rainforest) and have the cutest little daughter so that gives us plenty to talk about, although I have to admit we talk about CrossFit almost every day. He usually asks about my strategy when I get home from the 5:30AM class. I share it with him unless there is a chance he might beat me…I kind of hate losing to anyone but you already know that.
When you were pregnant with your daughter, Mariana, you worked out until the very day that you had your baby. How did you find that CrossFit was able to help you during and after your pregnancy?
I keep asking myself how on Earth I did it, it was like working out with a permanent weighted vest. Joke aside, I had a very good pregnancy and I believe part of it is because I was in good shape thanks to CrossFit. Being able to keep working out and stay active made everything so much easier, physically because I didn’t gain a ton of weight, kept my energy level up and didn’t have any joint pain or discomfort, and mentally because pushing through a workout knowing my body was changing so much made me realize I was capable of great things. It also made the after process more bearable. Turns out my daughter, Mariana, is more stubborn than I am, she refused to flip her head down which meant I had to have a C-Section; my first surgery ever. Having to take 2 months off, without being able to lift anything besides my 6 pound daughter drove me nuts, but I am sure I was able to recover faster because I knew how to get stronger again.
Another thing I appreciate about CrossFitting while pregnant is it helped me feel “normal”. You know how some people look at pregnant women as if they were sick and truly believe they should hibernate for 9 months? Luckily I didn’t get any weird attitude from anyone at our gym and so I loved coming in every day. All the coaches and people from the 5:30 AM class were very encouraging and supportive of my decision to stay fit. I would tell any woman who has already been doing CrossFit for a while that becomes pregnant to continue to do so, as long as both mom and baby, are safe and healthy at all times.
Describe your favorite workout. What kind of movements would it include? Which do you hate the most?
I like traditional CrossFit WODs like DT, Diane and Seven, and if they are mixed in between a triple threat or Tri Fri, even better. I usually like anything with a barbell, specially deadlifts and power cleans. I also love single arm KB snatches and pistol squats. Although I am not the best on the rig, I like toes to bar, bar muscle ups and any kind of pullup. I prefer shorter rep schemes or 21-15-9.
Two movements I absolutely hate are wallballs and rowing, I am 5’4’’ so I struggle with them every single time. I don’t like thrusters either but let’s be honest, who does?? As much as I don’t like these I don’t ever avoid them, challenging WODs are the best to keep me mentally stronger because whenever I feel like quitting I go ahead and try to do one more rep.
What would you recommend to people who are interested in trying out CrossFit for the first time?
CrossFit doesn’t discriminate against gender, age, weight, or capability, every WOD can be scaled so I would encourage anyone to try it at least once. If you walk into a CrossFit gym and see people doing things you don’t think you’re capable of, don’t feel intimidated just because they seem fitter or stronger…breaking news, there will always be someone better at something so try to focus on yourself and set realistic goals. No matter how competitive you are, be patient and consistent, you may have to modify movements or lower the weight sometimes but who cares, do it anyway. You may not do as well as you anticipated, or you may surprise yourself, just play and have fun with it.
Also, don’t get frustrated if you can’t do something, just keep on trying. You’ll never be able to do double unders if you skip DU WODs or if you do singles every time, dare to get uncomfortable and challenge yourself, hard work goes long ways and is so gratifying when you are finally able to do what you struggled with.