Athlete of the Month: March 2018
Josepha “Joni” Cabrera has completely honed into her goals since joining the gym one year ago this month. So much so that she has catapulted from attending her favorite 7:30pm class twice, maybe three times a week, to now coming five times a week! Joni signed up for Windy City’s Six Week Transformation Challenge at the beginning of the year and completely crushed it. Not only did she exceed her nutritional goals, but she found that in doing so she was getting lighter, faster and stronger. Keep livin' BIG Joni...and Congratulations!
Member since: March 2017
“If you wait for the perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done.”
“Since the 6 week challenge, I started coming to classes in Windy City more regularly and more often. I noticed that since I changed the way I was eating I have more energy to do the WODs. By the end of the challenge, I lost 14 lbs and 7% body fat, overshooting the 2-3% body fat loss goal I have set initially for myself.”
How has training at Windy City helped you become the person you were meant to be?
At one point in my life, almost a decade ago, I was at my heaviest, living a sedentary unhealthy lifestyle and nursing a back injury that prevented me from working for about 2 months. For 2 years I have never used the stove at home because I was ordering take out all that time. Then it all started as a New Year’s resolution. I joined a gym, finally used my kitchen for real cooking and changed my eating habits. I lost a good amount of weight after a year and felt I was at my healthiest until an arm injury made it difficult for me to exercise. I sort of lost my momentum and slowly started gaining weight.
I joined different gyms to try to lose the weight again but felt like I had hit a workout slump. I’ve heard of CrossFit but was intimidated, with fears of reinjuring my back.
I finally had my first taste of CrossFit was in San Francisco while visiting a friend and I enjoyed it. When I came back to Chicago I was convinced to give CrossFit a try so I started with the 1 week trial at Windy City. The first few level one classes I took piqued my interest right away.
However, even though I started CrossFit, I felt I was not progressing in strength and skills because I have neglected the nutrition part. I had started to be more carefree with my diet.
My father passed away in August 2017 which prompted me to go back to my hometown in Manila, Philippines. I stayed with my mom for 3 weeks, as long as I could, to help her take care of everything.
My nutrition pretty much took a nose dive then because I was eating all the good Filipino food I had been missing. I diverted back to my old self, devouring all the comfort food I had missed the many years I was away from home. I was eating like my 16 year old self but with the metabolism of 30 something year old. I still tried to go to a CrossFit gym while in Manila but struggled with every workout. That’s when I realized that nutrition is key to performance.
When I returned to Chicago, my unhealthy eating habits continued and even worsened until I hit a point when I even surpassed my heaviest weight and I realized I wasn’t reaching my full potential in CrossFit. I was getting mad at myself that I wasn’t progressing in strength, I couldn’t fit my clothes anymore and I just wasn’t feeling good about myself.
Suddenly I felt the desire to change. I missed how good it felt when I was more fit. But I was overwhelmed and I didn’t know where to start. That’s when the 6 week challenge at Windy City came at the right time.
I never joined any fitness challenges before because I always thought I can never reach the set goals in a timely manner. But for some reason, I just had this new determination in me.
The 6 week challenge seemed very daunting to me at first because I have never done food portioning or followed a strict meal plan in my life. I lost weight before but it took me a year of just “eating clean.” I had doubts at first if I could actually follow through with this, but I figured I have nothing to lose. I’m going to celebrate a milestone birthday this March and it would be great to start a new decade in my life in the greatest shape I can be in.
Since the 6 week challenge, I started coming to classes in Windy City more regularly and more often. I noticed that since I changed the way I was eating I have more energy to do the WODs. By the end of the challenge, I lost 14 lbs and 7% body fat, overshooting the 2-3% body fat loss goal I have set initially for myself. Justin and Chris has been great accountability coaches. Both of them, with the support of the other 6 week challengers, have greatly help me get to where I am now. I know I’m just beginning my journey and I still have goals to achieve, but Windy City has definitely helped me get back on track.
How has it changed you for the better?
Doing CrossFit here at Windy City has taught me a lot about how to reach my body’s full potential. The training is never ending. Just when I think I know how to do something, I learn new movements and better ways to do a skill I thought I already know. I’ve learned humility and how to respect my body’s limits. Every coach I’ve had in Windy city have been patient in helping me to be comfortable with scaling the movements and they have been motivating me to push harder when I can.
What adventures, events, trips, races do you have planned?
I signed up for the CrossFit Open. My first Open! I was very hesitant at first but I convinced myself to just go for it. I can never know my limits until I test them right?
We are going to Jamaica for my 40th birthday in March. I love the beach and it at this point when my desire to escape the cold is at its peak.
As for other future races, I would love to try Tough Mudder or the Spartan Race. Running is my weakness, but I love obstacle courses.
What would you do and where would you go if time / money were not object?
It was almost a decade ago when I first started to love travel. I made a list then of top 5 places I wanted to see. I was able to cross out 3 out of the 5 (Spain, Greece and Japan). So it would be great to finally get to the other 2, Croatia and Australia.
I made a “road to forty” bucket list which includes a ton of things I have yet to do. It would be nice to take a 1 year sabbatical and just work on crossing everything off that list.
Fitness: To do a WOD Rx, get my first pull up, consistently string more DU. To get better at running. Better endurance on the Assault Bike.
Professionally: I’m a physical therapist and I would like to specialize in orthopedics or sports rehab.
Personal: It’s my project to do a complete decluttering of my home. Decluttering the other aspect of my life as well. I need to learn to simplify things and be more efficient with my time. Be involved with volunteer work. Get a cat or a dog :)
Something that most people don’t know about me:
I actually don’t have much of a sweet tooth although I give people the impression that I do. I only like desserts when I’m with other people. Otherwise, I always go for salty and savory stuff.
Words to Live By
We’ve heard it too many times that life is short. But how short it really is? Short enough that we need to go for what we’ve been wanting, take that trip you’ve always dreamed of, forgive when you can’t forget, and be with the people you really care about as much as you can.