Photo Credit: Gabriela Migała (@ gabimiga)
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Last summer, it seemed 23-year-old Gabriela Migala had something to celebrate in Madison, WI. She placed eighth in the world, her second consecutive top-10 CrossFit Games finish.
She didn’t see it that way.
“I didn’t enjoy the Games,” Migala said bluntly.
That’s when the four-time CrossFit Games athlete from Poland decided it was time to make some changes in her life, and the first one involved freeing herself from the training camp environment that was no longer making her happy, she explained.
So after living and training in Mallorca, Spain with the Progrm for almost three years, Migala decided it was time to move home to Poland to be closer to friends and family, where she could get some breathing room from CrossFit, something that was challenging in a training camp environment.
“All my friends I had (in Mallorca) were connected with CrossFit, so it was really really hard to disconnect with that sport,” Migala said. “So I kind of felt like I needed change. Change in environment and space (and) going back to my Polish roots seemed like the best idea,” she said.
Back in Poland today, Migala is able to spend more time with family and friends when she’s not training to get her mind off CrossFit, be it going for brunch, or a walk or checking out a coffee shop “and talking about anything but CrossFit with them,” she said.
Another big change Migala decided she needed after last season was a coaching change.
She knew she wanted someone who knew her well, and the person who fit the bill best proved to her boyfriend, Kristof Horvath, Hungarian Games podium finisher Laura Horvath’s brother.
“He knows me so well. He has known me for such a long time, he knows me as a person and as an athlete, and the most important thing is he wants the best for me,” she said.
Thus, since last season, Migala has been working with Horvath, who goes to the gym with her everyday and has been “putting everything together,” she explained, but the training program itself is based on Ben Smith’s Krypton Athletics.
So far, so good: Most recently in January, Migala traveled to Miami, FL, where she and her team—Laura Horvath and Jamie Simmonds— took the title in a jam-packed women’s team field.
“It was actually so much fun. I think it was the perfect way to start the season,” Migala said.
Next up for Migala is to go head-to-head against Laura Horvath in this season’s first live Open announcement on Feb 16 at Caja Mágica Stadium in Madrid, Spain.
The Coach-Boyfriend Balancing Act
Though she’s happy with how her arrangement with her boyfriend and coach is going so far, Migala admitted it’s a challenging balancing act.
“Before we made the decision we had to make some rules and we said that for sure we have to follow them,” she said.
One of the main rules the couple established was that they’re not allowed to bring personal feelings into the gym, and vice versa: When they’re at home, they leave training alone and try not to talk about CrossFit.
For Migala, this generally means that Horvath doesn’t show her what she’ll be doing at the gym until the day of, because if he showed her the night before, she would have way too many questions to ask him and would violate the no CrossFit talk at home rule, she explained.
It “can be tricky sometimes,” but overall she thinks they’re “handling it very well,” she said.
“It’s working…I feel very good about my training right now. I already see such big progress, and I feel like I’m getting fitter, which is actually quite hard after being at it for so many years. I can see that there’s so much more that I can achieve so it’s making me so excited,” she added.
Migala’s hoping “so much more” will include breaking through to the podium this summer.
“I’m chasing the podium, that’s for sure. That’s my goal,” she said. But even more important than that is to actually enjoy the experience again.
“I really want to enjoy the Games again, like I did in 2021. That was the best experience ever. I really enjoyed the whole experience while giving my best,” she said.