Athlete Spotlight

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Gretchen-1

Name: Gretchen Mando
Day 1 with CFHH: August 2011
Occupation: 1st grade teacher
Favorite Thing to Do (Other than CF, of course): Shop
Biggest Goat: anything with the word up in it (pull up, push up, etc.)
What are you doing to improve it? Trying my very best everyday…and following coach’s directions of course!

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Gretchen-3

The Burning Questions

Inside the box:

Why did you begin CrossFitting? I’m the kind of girl that walks around a normal gym for hours and never breaks a sweat, but chit-chats with those around me, I’ve even been known to snack in the gym. My friend, Tommy Baltz, suggested crossfit a year before I started and after a year I decided to give it a try. The programming was the answer to my lack of self-motivation and here I am!
What’s your first memory of CrossFit Hilton Head? Attending a free Saturday class where we worked in teams with members, I was incredibly humbled by how out of shape I was. I was also totally turned off by the number of people in toe shoes, I’m extremely pleased that trend has phased out.
What was your worst workout ever? 6 am class in the rain with two-for-one wall balls, facial bruising before dawn is no way to start the day.
What’s the best part about coming to CrossFit Hilton Head? Focusing for one hour on myself, it is an incredible way to unwind after a wild day in 1st grade. I also love the camaraderie you feel inside and outside the gym.
Do you have any CFHH goals? I’d love to improve my attendance and see what can happen from there.
Gretchen-2

Outside the box:

What has CFHH done for you outside of the box? I joined crossfit at a time when I needed a change and being part of such a great community provided me with an incredibly positive change in my life. I have grown stronger, both physically and mentally and have seen myself conquer things I never knew I could do.

Do you have any advice for someone thinking about joining CrossFit Hilton Head? What are you waiting for???

What’s next for you outside the gym? Summer vacation, I see myself with a nice tan and a margarita on the beach very, very soon!

5 questions in 5 seconds:

Gretchen-4

Would you rather:
Be stronger or faster?
faster.
Eat Paleo Pizza or drink Norcal margaritas? Pizza…always pizza.
Do Fran naked in front of all your friends and PR or do Fran clothed and never have your time improve? I’m a firm believer that no one should squat naked.
Do 20 muscle ups for time or 200 double unders for time? Double Unders.
Drink out of somebody else’s water bottle or wear somebody else’s gym clothes? Definitely water bottle.

Coach’s Thoughts:

Gretchen is a badass. Not in a mean or terrifying sort of way, but one of those “awesome at life” kind of badasses.

She always comes to class smiling, sometimes even a little goofy but never to the point of distraction. She is refreshing. She listens and applies what she is taught immediately. She is happy with where she is at without being satisfied and this allows her to always pursue her better self in a positive frame of mind. This type of mindset is a challenge for competitive people but perhaps Gretchen’s secret lies in this: she is, almost always, only competing against herself. She is a treat to watch progress through not just the gym, but life. She is growing up without growing cynical. (She’s also the only person I’ve ever seen write a smiley face next to the rep scheme of Fran right before doing the workout.)

I cannot wait until Gretchen finds the confidence she needs to start really coming out of her shell in the gym. If she ever wanted to, she could give quite a few athletes in the CF world a run for their money… which is probably the last thing she cares about!