Q&A with Reebok athlete Chyna Cho

We got to sit just a few metres away from the competition floor at this year’s CrossFit Invitational in the Caja Magica, Madrid, where Team USA battled it out with the Europe, Pacific and Canada teams and then went on to win.

We also got to speak to one of the four winners – USA’s Fittest Woman & Reebok athlete Chyna Cho – to talk ego-managing, family inspiration and taking her strength to the next CrossFit Games.

How did your CrossFit journey begin?

A classmate in college had been doing it for a couple of months and said he thought I should try it.

What is it about CrossFit that you love?

I love the fact that it’s always different. There are so many different movement combinations that you never get bored! I was a swimmer before I started Crossfit and even though I loved it, swimming can be very repetitive.

Did you know from early on that you wanted to compete?

Yes. I knew pretty quickly. I have competed pretty much my whole life, so I’m not sure if I know anything different!

How does it feel to make the Games?

It is one of the most incredible feelings in the world. It makes all the hard work, sacrifice and tears worth it.

The CrossFit Invitational was incredible to watch. What are the major differences when training for an individual competition compared to when you enter as a team?

When you train as a team, you can’t be selfish. For example, if someone on the team is better at something than you, you let them do the work so that the team does better. You have to let your ego go for the good of the team.

Where or how do you find the inspiration to push your limits?

I would have to say my Dad is my biggest inspiration. He was diagnosed with Stage four cancer last year, and has never once complained about the cards that life has dealt him. He lives life to the fullest and never lets anyone feel sorry for him. He wants me to be the best that I can be, he tells me this constantly. Any time I feel like giving up or throwing in the towel, I think of him.

What’s an exercise you found most difficult but have now ‘mastered’?

Butterfly Chest to Bar pull-ups. The timing was extremely hard for me to get down. I definitely haven’t ‘mastered’ it yet, but I am a heck of a lot better!

Do you have a pre-competition ritual?

Not really a ritual as such, but before every event I have to make sure I have a sip of water, put Chapstick on, and pop some gum into my mouth. Gum helps my mind stay occupied when I want to pass out during a workout!

What are your gym bag essentials?

Extra Reebok Nano shoes, Reebok Lifters shoes, an extra pair of bootie shorts, JUNK headbands, rock tape, wrist wraps, belt. I love Reebok and all that it stands for, so it’s awesome being a part of the family.

What’s your go-to WOD (work-out of the day)?

A round of ‘Cindy’ (5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 squats), doing as many as possible for 20 minutes. Or do six rounds of 500m row at 75-80 per cent effort, plus 10 burpees over the rower. I feel like these are very fast and effective workouts, especially when I am short on time.