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Gabby

Pregnancy is often a time to let go and enjoy your expanding curves and eat without regard for an ever expanding waistline because…well…an ever expanding waist line is going to happen anyway.  However, if a love for fitness propels you to rise before the sun is up and head into a non-air conditioned gym in August to command your eagerly waiting troops into action, then pregnancy is a time to challenge your fitness to newer and greater lengths.  That is Gabby’s specialty.

Anyone at the family fitness rec center of Westminster, or The Rec, knows Gabby for her incredible love of all things fitness.  She’s a favorite instructor/drill sergeant/comedian/cheerleader of many who willingly subject themselves to her intense workouts and crave the burn, the sweat and the mental and physical cleansing they feel from her classes.  I’ve learned that many people crave these works outs and get a high from the feeling of pushing themselves so intensely…sadly I do not, but alas, I work out to be able to keep creating in any situation; however challenging.

I know Gabby from her much lesser known barre class, not her grueling Tabata and cycling classes.  Barre offers a chance to feel like a ballerina, minus the pointe shoes.  Gabby jokes (as she does in every class in some way) that she’s saving us a co-pay with a PT by stretching us out in ways that keep a body in motion.  Just by watching her subtle inclusion of dance movements and how she so easily breaks into fluid gorgeous movement between sets, I assumed she was still an actively trained dancer.  However, she stopped her formal dance training at 16 when her much loved instructor moved away!  20 years later and this girl still looks like she’s ready for performance!  Her movements are fluid, graceful and like poetry in motion. She loves sharing that love of dance with us and jokes that our class’s timing has to improve before we can all perform at Fall Fest!

Gabby is passionate about understanding how the body works and all it’s capable of when kept active and engaged in fitness.  Aside from her 12 class a week schedule, she also is a personal trainer for private lessons.  What I love about her as an instructor for barre class is that she breaks every single activity into several steps so it’s virtually impossible to get lost or confused.  As someone who struggled to follow multiple steps of instructors in the past, this was such a welcome change!  Equally wonderful is knowing I won’t hurt myself in her class because she reminds us to do things, like bend at the knees before we rise up out of crazy pretzel bends, to protect our back.  She encourages everyone to consider fitness as a lifestyle, not just a season for a bathing suit.

Gabby’s baby bump has looked like a Hollywood strapped on prosthetic since pretty much as soon as she started to show.  6 months in and a friend who didn’t realize she was pregnant thought she was looking bloated!  That’s because Gabby’s the kind of woman you’d see in a sitcom and say, ‘that’s now how a real pregnant woman looks!  She’s too tiny!”  How has she accomplished this?  There’s been a few rounds of whole 30, consistently teaching 12 classes a week, and a whole lot of laughter throughout her whole pregnancy.  Today, at 37.5 weeks she did 100 pull-ups with a band, 200 pushups on her toes, and 300 consecutive squats in her 9:00 class, then all over again in her 10:00 class!!!

She’s also had a personal challenge to complete 10 burpees in under 30 seconds, every month of her pregnancy…and yes she has done it!  While still teaching at 37.5 weeks, she’s having a hard time gauging whether she’s sweating tremendously or her water has broken.  I’m pretty sure half the women in her classes think there’s a pretty good chance they may be an active participant in her delivery…at the gym.  Something tells me Gabby may still be calling times on burpees or pulls ups between contractions!

She’s going to be sorely missed while she’s out on leave, but one of her very best friends Maggie, equally fitness infatuated, will be subbing many of her classes.  Gabby’s goal was to be in peak physical shape when this baby arrives and she’s done just that, so odds are good as soon as she’s healed, she’ll be back to a new set of goals and bringing all her tribe along with her for the sweaty wild ride!

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