woman drinking a water bottle

By: Genevieve Gyulavary

Gabi is the winner of November’s headliner prize package in partnership with Barbella Box. She scored her first ever Chestee the Ella 2-in-1 as part of her subscription.

Gabi is a new mom, coach, teacher, and athlete. In her own words, she shares the impact of motherhood, dealing with a global pandemic, and finding her way back to training postpartum.

Here is Gabi’s story.

Gabi has been an athlete for as long as she can remember. As an adolescent, soccer was the main sport that she played to the collegiate level. Gabi first found CrossFit® through her brother’s friend who was opening a gym nearby. Gabi had always wanted to try CrossFit®, but like so many others was scared to take the leap.

Gabi has been doing CrossFit® since 2016. Soon after she started, Gabi was asked if she wanted to coach, which led to her completing her Level One.

“I have always kind of been a coach. After college I became a teacher and always knew I wanted to coach soccer. Ironically, after I started coaching CrossFit®, I began to like it more.”

After Gabi had her daughter, she transitioned out of teaching and now works in learning and development, implementing learning strategies and programs at a pharmaceutical company.

Gabi says the effects of COVID shut down her gym for a little bit last year.

“Becoming a mom made access to the gym more challenging while trying to work around my husband’s schedule and my own. Now I kind of pick and choose when I go to the gym just to make sure I feel comfortable.”

Gabi was a teacher for six years. She taught grades six and eight, following her kids to High School. She was able to see some of her kids for four years because of the level of classes that she was teaching.

“I was a little bit sad when I didn’t finish my seventh year. I would have seen those kids finish their whole Middle and High School careers.”

Gabi says it was stressful being a teacher but misses the relationships she formed with the kids.

“I’ve tried to get our owner to start a CrossFit® Kids class, but we have a smaller gym and it’s been a hard sell. We have some teens who come regularly, one in particular that I’ve taken under my wing, and I think he’s going to do something really special in the sport.”

While Gabi considers herself an athlete, she has never taken much of an interest in the nutrition aspect of her training.

“I have done macros in the past and I’ve tried to meal prep but I’m probably the worst coach in the gym when it comes to nutrition. If anything, over the years I’ve learned that aesthetics is just one part of it and it’s the smallest part. That lesson really hit home after being postpartum. I gained thirty pounds and I saw that number on the scale for a while. That weight just doesn’t fall off.”

Gabi’s strongest takeaway from her years as an athlete, coach, and teacher is that you don’t need to look a certain way to perform well.

“I push myself really hard in the gym, but I don’t have six pack abs and there are some things I can’t do, like bar muscle ups, and that’s fine. That’s not my goal.”

“I love it when I can coach an athlete through a movement like that, but it doesn’t need to be my goal.”

Gabi has grappled wither long-term goals in the gym over the last several years. Especially in this last year since having her daughter.

“I’m very competitive. I’m that person at the gym who is secretly competing with you in my head. I’m checking out the scores from other classes and chatting with people about their strategies in workouts. Going back to the gym after having a baby was challenging because I needed to force myself not to go hard and not to be so hard on myself.

Gabi says she has been more focused this past year on what she can do, trying not to compare herself to others. For anyone that has a competitive edge, that can be a hard pill to swallow.

Gabi decided to renew her subscription to Barbella Box when she found out that The Chestee would be included in the box the following month.

“I don’t usually buy myself a lot of clothing. What I have is what I have until I desperately need something new. I had heard about The Chestee and have seen them on other girls and on social media, and a few of us girls at the gym talked about how we all needed one.”

“I wore it as soon as it came in the mail. I remember it was a rest day, but I worked out anyway. I think they were doing cleans at the gym that day and I took my shirt off so I could show all the girls the bra and they could feel it. Then I went home and ordered another one because I didn’t want to wear this one out too quickly.”

“I don’t know if it’s part of the branding but you feel like a badass when you wear it.”

For Gabi, training looks a little bit different after having her daughter. She still trains the same number of days but is smarter about taking rest days.

“After I had my daughter, my husband and I began building out our garage and now I predominantly follow Street Parking. I usually use a kettlebell or a sandbag and I do those workouts two to three times a week. On the other days I do Animal Flow, which I found when I was postpartum to get back into moving my body. It kind of looks like yoga meets break dancing.”

Gabi has fallen in love with this type of training and enjoys treating her body with some TLC and taking breaks from the high intensity of a WOD.

Gabi still loves coaching and being a part of her community.

Many athletes and affiliate owners pushed pause this year to see where it all goes. There needs to be more emphasis on inclusion in this community. Those who have bought into this philosophy and lifestyle need to feel like they are being heard.

“I don’t know about other gyms in the area but I go to a pretty small affiliate. Right now, there are plenty of people who are still members that aren’t comfortable going back into the gym but we have also gained some new members. Throughout all of this, knowing we are still having impact on people, keeping them safe, and watching new members join has been a testament to the strength and resilience of community itself.”

Gabi says they have capped their classes at 12 athletes, and since then she has actually seen an increase in attendance. Recently she even coached a full class, something she hasn’t seen in a while.

“Even though I have been working out more at home I’m still seeing my people when I’m coaching.”

Gabi is starting her daughter at a young age with PVC pipe thrusters, while her husband has dreams of her becoming a basketball player. Luckily, Gabi’s daughter will have a strong role model in all of her future athletic pursuits.


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