Gabby Kassel – January 2022 Member of the Month!

Congratulations to Gabby Kassel, our first member of the month for 2022! Gabby is a member of Relentless; our competitive CrossFit program. When she’s not cycling a heavy barbell or cranking through some advanced gymnastics work, you can find her being active outside, in a pool, with her dog, or reading. Learn more about her below!

Gabby Kassel

What are your hobbies/interest/talents outside of the gym?

There is nothing I love more than getting to use the fitness I’ve gained in the gym, to experience my life for fully. For me, that looks like hiking, swimming, walking, and biking as a way to explore the places I live (or am visiting).  

Share with us one thing that most people do NOT know about you?
When I’m not working, working out, or walking my dog, I’m reading. 

How long have you been with us at Viking Athletics?

I joined in Viking Athletics in June of 2021. And joined the Relentless competition team about one month later (thanks to the urging and kindness of Marcus and Jordan!). 

Take us back to your first week here. How did you feel? Remember the workout?

I am an innately competitive person. I played rugby in college, found CrossFit within a few months of graduating, and never looked back. And then the pandemic started, and the box I was a member at in New York City shuttered its doors. First, temporarily. Then, as the pandemic wore on, permanently. 

For the first hand-full of months that I lived in Connecticut I stuck with my garage workouts. But after 15 months of working out on my own I was lonely. I didn’t have many new friends in this new state, and I missed the push of working out alongside life-minded folks. 

So, I joined Viking Athletics.

Immediately it confirmed for me that CrossFit people are the people I need in my life—not just as workout friends, but real life friends. (I get emotional thinking about how much richer my life is for having the Relentless/Viking community in my life and routine). 

What moment/achievement are you most proud of at Viking Athletics?

To date, my most proud CrossFit moment is the partner competition Marcus and I did (Team Beefcake Factory) at CrossFit Danbury on October 30th, 2021. 

To set the scene: There were about 40 teams total competing, 19 scaled and 21 RX. And the RX teams were stacked. There were 7 two-person teams that had at least one person who had been to Regionals, The CrossFit Games, or competed at Wodapoolza on either elite or RX teams. In other words, the competition was STEEP. Beyond that, Marcus and I hadn’t ever taken the competition stage together. So while we had suspicion that our competition energy would be compatible, we didn’t know for sure. 

For those of you who don’t know, the way local crossfit competitions work is that they there are 3 to 4 pre-planned workouts that every competitor does. Then, there is a final workout, that the people currently seated first through fourth get to do. The final workout and the teams who get to do the final workout are announced, and then 5 minutes later those teams the competition floor. 

Sure, we thought that there was a *chance* that we might make it to the final workout. But there were a handful of other teams that we wouldn’t have been surprised either. 

… And then they said our same. 

…And then we absolutely brought it in that final workout. 

Those of you who know (or recognize!) me know that I spend long hours in the gym on a daily basis. Hearing our names called affirmed for me that the work I am putting in in the gym is worth something, it proved that what I think of as my athletic potential isn’t misguided. 

Design your perfect workout?

The perfect workout exists, and it’s CrossFit “Girl” benchmark workout Lynne. 

It involves doing as as many repetitions as possible in 5 rounds of:

Max Bodyweight Bench Press 

Max Pull-Ups

I’m an upper-body dominant athlete, and this workout gives me an excuse to show that off. 

What is your least favorite movement?

Is there anyone who answers this question without something other than “the assault bike”??? The assault bike never gets easier, you just get fitter and therefore can push the intensity of it. But that “oh shit” feeling that overtakes your body 15 seconds after getting off the torture device after interval spirts? That feeling never goes away. 

Summarize your lifestyle in 5 words or less.

Hard work works. 

Have you experienced any changes in your lifestyle since joining Viking Athletics?

My whole life has changed for the better since finding the Relentless competition team. There’s a saying that read, you’re an accumulation of the 5 people you spend the most time with. 

The fact that the 5 people I spend the most time with are all people who: 

  • Organize their lives around movement 
  • Are brave enough to have a big hair audacious goal
  • Aren’t afraid of pain or failure 

Has helped me grow into the most confident, kind, fearless version of myself. 

What advice do you have for anyone who is thinking about joining or who has recently joined?

Congratulations on doing (or thinking about doing!) something brave: Trying something new. You are doing something that not many people have the guts to do, so commend yourself for that. 

Make a promise to yourself to stick with it for 3 months. The learning curve of sport is steep and you will feel a little lost for 8 weeks or so. But once you pass that mark, you’ll start to recognize all the movements. You’ll start to make friends. You’ll see the and feel the difference within you. 

CrossFit will become a microcosm for the the rest of your life. If you can come into the gym and handle whatever the WOD throws at you, you can handle whatever life throws at you—no matter how painful, or daunting, or scary. It will change your life. 

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