"If I know I worked as hard as I could and I outworked others, that's great. I'd be totally happy with that."
Games veteran Cheryl Brost, 41, uses her age to her advantage. Brost is a two-time CrossFit Games athlete from Eugene, Ore.
“Some of my greatest strengths are life experience and mental maturity,”Brost says. “I have a few more years under my belt, and that experience adds to my mental toughness. It also gives me a more balanced approach to how I perform the workouts.”
Experience and maturity, along with a strict diet and rigorous training regimen, have aided Brost in claiming the top spot among the women in the North West. Brost credits the coaching skills of CrossFit Invictus’ C.J. Martin in helping her get there.
“I’ve always followed Eugene CrossFit’s programming, which has been great,” Brost says. “But I wanted to have someone provide a different perspective, another set of eyes in my training. Where else can CrossFit take me? C.J.’s programming stretches me and makes me do things that the coaches at Eugene CrossFit didn’t do.”
Brost’s tenacity will be tested at this year’s Games. However, she’s going for sheer enjoyment of the sport.
“I get tons of joy out of this,” she says. “It’s so gratifying to complete a CrossFit challenge. I’m not so hung up on where I finish. I’m just enjoying the experience.”
New Coach, New Challenges
When Brost sought out the help of Martin in March 2012, she changed her schedule and programming. Before taking this new approach, she hit the gym five days a week, taking the weekends off.
“Now, I do three high-volume days, take a one-day rest, and do another two days,” she says. “Being older, I miss the two days of rest, but it follows the cycle of the Games, the Friday, Saturday, Sunday event lineup. It’s gotten my body used to the schedule.”
The coaching has become more intense as well.
“C.J. is detailed and organized,” she says. “I might do three rounds of something for quality, some skill work, some heavy lifting and a met-con or something. He incorporates things we’ve seen at past Games and Regionals.”
She also added swimming to her routine. Brost feels this has helped her improve over the last year. It will, without a doubt, be beneficial considering the first individual event at this year’s Games involves a 700-meter ocean swim with fins.
“I’ve also been doing more Strongman stuff, like lifting a 120-pound atlas stone and doing more yoke carries,” Brost says. “Part of the challenge is being prepared for the unknown, being ready for whatever they ask of us.”
If hula dancing were incorporated into the competition, Brost would have a step up on the competition. Brost hulas for fun in her spare time. “Just after I started CrossFit, I joined a hula halau,” she says.
Brost’s family comes from Hawaii. “I really enjoy it,” she says.
‘It’s You and the WOD’
Several weeks ago, Brost headed down to San Diego to train with the other women being coached by Martin for this year’s Games. Always the encouraging and positive team player, Brost viewed the experience as an opportunity to get to know her fellow CrossFitters better and work out with them.
“It was a chance to train with these other great athletes and get to know them,” she says. “We got to spend a few days together before we compete.”
For Brost, CrossFit isn’t all about competing against one another.
“It’s you and the WOD,” she says. “Sure, there’s some competition, but it’s all about you working through it and not listening to that voice in your brain that questions whether you can do it.”
“It’s a really unique sport. The community support, not the competition, is the best thing about CrossFit.”
Still, when she hits the arena this week, Brost says she’s going to go out and perform to the very best of her ability. “I just need to know that I couldn’t have done anything different or better,” she says. “If I know I worked as hard as I could and I outworked others, that’s great. I’d be totally happy with that.”