Tori Whaley – July 2022 Member of the Month!

Congratulations to Tori Whaley, our July member of the month here at Viking Athletics! Tori is a member of both our powerlifting and CrossFit programs, and runs the occasional half marathon to boot! Learn more about her below!

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

I have mad homemaker skills and enjoy cooking, baking, and home canning.  I also enjoy playing outside with and without my dogs and making things with my hands (sewing, knitting, crocheting, and various handicrafts).  For work, I teach small humans how to read, teachers how to teach reading, and research both of those topics.

  • Share with us one thing that most people do NOT know about you?

This one time, I almost married a Colombian physicist and moved with him to the French-Swiss border to be near his work at CERN, but we called off the wedding 2 weeks out.  (Honestly, since I’m mostly in the back room with the powerlifters, I think there’s an awful lot that most people don’t know about me, but this is a go to in two truths and a lie). 

  • How long have you been with us at Viking Athletics?

I started on ramp mid-August 2021 and membership began late that month. So, almost a year.

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

Coming into Viking, I initially felt a huge wave of what felt like insecurity, but I now identify as impostor syndrome. I’d taken a few months off from training that I had worked hard to maintain through significant weight loss, cancer diagnosis and treatment, and of course, lockdown.  In my perception, those months off had erased that effort and I felt like I was starting from the beginning.  Slowly, I felt myself reemerging.  I tease a lot about learning to deadlift with a PVC pipe in on-ramp, and I will never forget the CrossFit class where the coach said my half marathon PR pace was “practically walking” but those moments and my response to them made me realize I had underrated my ability and background.  While aspects of my fitness had declined during that period, parts of it were learning that was just waiting to reemerge. 

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

I don’t have any particular workout or PR that I am especially proud of.  But I was super proud seeing Marri compete in the powerlifting meet this month.  I use athletic events to create commitment for myself.  I sign up for something public as a reinforcement for training.  So, I came to Viking because there was a powerlifting program and I had decided that I wanted to do a meet.  Competing with Coach Mo in April was also cool, but I’d worked out with her less.  I met Marri in my first powerlifting class.  Seeing her do a meet and seeing the rest of the powerlifters sign up for meets makes me feel like part of, and possibly even an anchor in an athletic community.  That’s not something I would have envisioned for myself, especially not when I was younger. 

  • Design your perfect workout?

Outdoors: hike the south rim trail in Big Bend National Park.  Go up the Pinnacles trail, summit Emory Peak, then down Laguna Meadows Trail. 

In the gym: all posterior chain all day.  Deadlift for the main movement, dumbbell RDL and safety bar good mornings for accessory, seal rows for shits and giggles, and hamstring band curls for a burnout. 

  • What is your least favorite movement?

Handstands. I’ve yet to figure out how to make upside down movement happen

  • Summarize your lifestyle in 5 words or less.

If it’s not cheating: Good Bones by Maggie Smith.

Otherwise: Overthinking, overworking, oversleeping, over everything

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

The biggest change I think has been my mindset.  The past month or so has been very busy and I haven’t been in the gym as much as I like.  Rather than seeing that as a reset in my identity, I see it as a bump in the road and the default is the habits I’ve set in the past year. 

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

The key to moving ahead in life is to not be afraid to suck at something new.  The greatest gift is a community of people who support you as you improve at those things.  At Viking, I’ve found both the opportunity to suck at new things and the coaching and community to improve.  When I was a fat kid who couldn’t run a single lap around a soccer field, I never would have thought a gym would feel like home, but this one does. I’ve had more than a few people tell me that they “aren’t ready” for Crossfit or powerlifting.  I think those statements are based on a misunderstanding of what it means to be ready for either of those activities. All readiness takes is an interest, the willingness to work, and the right coaches. If you have the first two, Viking is a great place to find the last.   

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