Fabiana Pinillos said no way to CrossFit. Then, after some convincing, she decided to show up and give it a shot. The rest is history. 

What is your story? 

Born in Peru, my family moved to Charleston when I was 5 years old. My parents and little brother, whom I adore, live in Charleston too. Both my little brother and dad have come with me to Rhapsody Fitness. 

I live with my two pups, Lala and Don Julio, and my cat Ms. Alfreda. Don Julio is well known around the gym and comes sometimes (mostly Sundays). He loves to join in on our stretches and go on the runs with us. He can also pull a 70 lbs. kettlebell (he’s a very meaty 20 lbs. dachshund/pit-bull/chihuahua/beagle/shih tzu). 

I bartend at the multiple James Beard award-winning FIG restaurant right in the heart of downtown Charleston. 

Rhapsody Fitness

Fabiana Pinillos and Mary Shirley at Rhapsody Fitness in Charleston, SC.

At 24, I love champagne, the beach, my convertible bug, karaoke and have an absolute obsession with everything pink – literally my gym bag, water bottle, shoes and jump rope are all pink. 

What brought you to Rhapsody? 

Ben Cabral! At the time we worked together. 

I was going through a really rough time, while dealing with some traumatic loss, heartbreak and unhappiness with my job and overall life in general. I felt very much at a standstill with no light at the end of the tunnel. Looking back at that period, I really did not think I would feel “normal” ever again. I was dealing with a lot of anxiety and depression and nothing was helping. I thought I was going to be stuck forever.

I have honestly never been an athletic person. I played volleyball in middle school and tennis for a year in high school. After that ended, I never kept up with any sort of physical activity, found anything at the gym I liked to do, or was drawn to any sports. 

People kept telling me to workout because of how much it would affect my mental health, but all I could think of was how I had literally not worked out in years. 

I brought it up to Ben one day and he instantly invited me to go with him to Rhapsody. I remember being like, “Are you kidding me? No way in heck I can do CrossFit”. I shut him down quickly. 

But Ben had given my number to Coach Alan who texted me a few times (and who I left on read for weeks). Then a few days later Coach Gina came into our work and Ben introduced me. She started texting me too, and I simply ran out of reasons to say no. 

So I agreed to come to Rhapsody. I swear I had my outfit planned out days before because I was so nervous. 

Ben picked me up to take me that morning, and the second I walked into Rhapsody it just felt like the warmest hug – there was this positive energy radiating everywhere. 

Coach Gina was so good to me. She made me feel welcome from the very first day. I knew halfway through the class this was something I wanted to be a part of – this room full of people who wanted nothing but the best for you. A room full of people united in one movement pushing you, coaching you, cheering you on. It was such a special feeling.  

What have you gotten out of your experience with Rhapsody? 

I could not tell you how much I have gotten from this place. When I walked in I could not do a proper air squat, my first “box jump” was on to two mats, I had no idea how to load a barbell, when I first saw a rower I had no idea what it even was, and the WODs were a whole new language to me. 

Gosh, I was so broken when I walked into Rhapsody, and it seriously has been this magical glue that has been helping me put myself back together again. 

I have gained confidence and energy for everyday life. My head is more clear. I have an outlet for frustration and anger instead of holding it in. I have developed more discipline. I have made friends. I have laughed so hard and, honestly, cried many tears here too. I even learn facts every day from the WOD name. 

Oh and I have learned patience – a lot of patience. I have learned here that if I am patient and set my mind on something I can achieve things I would have never imagined myself doing. 

I can now do a successful overhead squat (thanks, Coach Clay!), climb a rope, jump a 20’ box, and row an RX workout. I have a long way to go in my fitness journey, but I feel so proud of what I have been able to accomplish so far. It is the hunger for more that always keeps me coming back. To learn more, be better and do better.  

What has being a part of the Rhapsody community meant to you? 

What has meant the most to me is the sense of belonging I get from Rhapsody – I belong to a group of people, a community. I get to walk in somewhere everyone calls you by name, and is so happy to see you. 

Rhapsody is full of people who believe in you even when you do not believe in yourself. They believe in you so much that it actually makes you believe in yourself. 

To me, it’s somewhere of only happiness and hard work – it’s a tiny island where your problems do not exist for an hour a day. 

Let some Rhapsody into your life. To learn more about Rhapsody Fitness in Charleston and our wide range of programs, get in touch with Team Rhapsody today.