We almost forgot, please join us in congratulating June’s Member of the Month, Toni Penta aka Toni Jean! Toni has been training with us for quite a while. Normally, a Member of the Month is nominated by the staff, but in a lot of ways, Toni’s nomination came from our community. People kept on mentioning how nice it is to have her in class, how friendly she is, how she helps watch the CrossFit Hartford babies… the list goes on. On top of all that, Toni is an incredible athlete who works diligently on her fitness. We are happy to announce that she will be June’s Member of the Month!
Member of the Month June, 2017 – Toni Penta
How long have you been at CrossFit Hartford?
I started here the summer year going into my Sophomore year in College, so it’s been about 3 years.
How long have been involved with CrossFit?
I don’t know, maybe like a year before that? But I don’t know that I’d even count it, to be honest. I was just dropping into CrossFit Cheshire once in a while because I was bored and had to drop out of gymnastics due to injury. I had originally only been able to lower body stuff, so I’d go to CrossFit when it made sense, and then right when I got better I broke my foot!
Were you pursuing fitness before you started CrossFit? Do you have a background in athletics?
Gymnastics, that’s it. I did some other things, but nothing else competitively. I started gymnastics when I was 7. I competed in college when I wasn’t injured, but my body seemed like it was really done with gymnastics. I also coach gymnastics. I started doing that before I was legally old enough to do it. I really enjoy that; it doesn’t feel like a job. It’s just so fun. Especially now that I’m in grad school, with my brain being taxed the way it is, it’s good to have a job that feels like a break for me. I coach all ages, from 3 years old up to high school athletes.
What’s the first WOD you remember doing? How was it?
I had to do a Barbell for Boobs competition because my mom had to drop out so I took her place. It was terrible, because there was running. The rest was fine, but I hate running…and rowing… and the assault bike! and she hadn’t even told me! If she had I never would have taken her place.
What is your favorite thing about CrossFit?
I like that it’s more of a community-training thing. I’m so used to team practices that I find going to the gym alone to be really boring.
What is your favorite thing to see in a WOD?
Handstand Push-ups, because I’m really fast at them. I know that if everything else is really hard, the handstand push-ups will feel a little bit like a rest for me.
What is your least favorite thing to see in a WOD?
Running, or rowing. My little legs aren’t built for those things. One of my strides is like half of someone else’s.
What motivates you to train?
Because working out makes me feel good, and I don’t want to be fat! At this point in my life, being in shape is a part of who I am. I was never out of shape since I’ve been doing gymnastics for so long. If I wasn’t in shape, I wouldn’t be me. This place is also a escape for me. Getting to come here and work out allows me to turn my brain off from things that are stressing me out.
Since starting CrossFit, what goals have you been able to achieve? What challenges have you had to face and overcome?
Ring Muscle-Ups. We always did some ring work in gymnastics, but we never really did muscle-ups. I could do a strict bar muscle-up before I could figure out the ring muscle-up. So much of gymnastics is about form and technique. We’re taught to be in straight lines, and to make things look clean. Much of the gymnastics we do in CrossFit turns all of that on its head. Kipping was tough for me to learn because your body is all bent and there’s very few straight lines.
My biggest challenge has been consistency. Up until this last December, I haven’t felt that I’ve been consistently training. I’ve done what I could at the weight room at school, but since I was at URI, I couldn’t do a whole lot, and I was too far away to come back here. I’m looking forward to seeing how my fitness will change now that I’m being more consistent. I’ve already noticed some little changes.
What big changes have had the largest positive impact on your fitness?
There hasn’t been a whole lot. I was lucky in that I had a nutritionist working with me in my gymnastics program who told me what to eat and when to eat it, and how much, so I’ve always had a pretty good idea on all that. My parents were both very into fitness, and they pushed me in direction when I was a kid. I’ve been on a fitness based track ever since.
What goals do you still have? What’s next for you in your fitness journey?
Butterfly chest to bar pull-ups, and I want my legs to get stronger.
Anything you want to add?