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When the Climbing Gym Closed, She Took Her Workout to New Heights


Favia Dubyk’s favorite climbing gym in Albuquerque has reopened, but the 33-year-old physician doesn’t plan to go back.

“The pandemic forced me to change my whole training perspective,” she says. “I’ve gotten a lot stronger by climbing outside.”

Dr. Dubyk had chemotherapy for lymphoma in 2013, and has a compromised immune system that makes her more susceptible to Covid-19. When New Mexico issued stay-at-home orders in March, Dr. Dubyk started climbing the 6-foot tall white picket fence in her yard.

“I was really desperate,” she says. “I would try to create challenges, like skipping over all the bird poop. It was a good endurance workout.”

After competing as a Division 1 track-and-field athlete at Harvard University for four years, Dr. Dubyk joined a climbing gym during grad school to give herself a break from competition. When her competitive itch came back, she scratched it by appearing on back-to-back seasons of “American Ninja Warrior” in 2018 and 2019.

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