There are those who say CrossFit literally saved their lives, and Cheryl Nasso is one of them. The petite powerhouse became a fan favorite when, overwhelmed with emotion, she humbly gushed in front of the video camera about her disbelief at being considered a top contender at the 2011 CrossFit Games South East Regional, and ultimately moving on to the Games as the 2nd place finisher.
She came a long way to reach that point after battling anorexia.
Prior to finding CrossFit, this 5-foot-4-inch athlete lived off of only 400 calories a day, and whittled down to an alarming 83 pounds. Nasso eventually ended up in the hospital and spent four months in a treatment center. She left the center only after losing her health insurance due to the eating disorder.
“I could feel myself going on that downward spiral again. I luckily walked into a CrossFit gym,” Nasso said. “I really wanted to be strong and really wanted to be fit. I went to the Florida Sectionals after three months of training and was so inspired that that was it. No turning back. This is what you want to do. You are going to eat good, and you are going to be a role model for others.”
And Nasso has never turned back. After finishing 28th at the Florida Sectionals in 2010, she dedicated herself to training and to becoming healthy. She leapt up to 2nd place at last year’s South East Regional and finished 40th at the Games. She is now a much healthier 122 pounds and is looking forward to competing in the 2012 CrossFit Games Open and hopefully returning to California. “I have an idea of what to be prepared for, and nothing is out of the question,” she says. “It makes you want to get there again.”
Nasso trains at CrossFit Fort Pierce and primarily follows the CrossFit main site for her programming. “You should be able to do everything that comes up on the site if you want to go to the Games. Going into the Games last year, I saw swimming, handstand walking, L-sits. I made sure to fit that in to work on them,” she says.
She recently looked outside her box for an Olympic lifting coach and now travels 20 minutes to work on her lifts. “It is not about being so strong, it is about technique and power,” she says. “I can hit a pace and keep a pace for five rounds, but when it comes to being fast twitch, I struggle so I have been working on that.”
Nasso is very candid about the disease she has struggled with, and a documentary featuring her story is currently in the works. “Not many women are open about how they are feeling. Maybe if I can share my story, and there is some girl out there who is struggling, she can see me and wonder how I did it. I can be that person to help them.”
Although Nasso credits CrossFit for helping her to overcome anorexia, it is her own strength and discipline that has gotten her to where she is today. “You can only be the best you can be,” she says. “I am still getting better every day. I may not PR every day, but I am always moving forward."