Cheryl Brost

2011 CrossFit Games

Cheryl Brost on Competing Against Her Best Self

How the 39-year-old Athlete Outperformed Women in Their Twenties

At thirty-nine years old, Cheryl Brost entered the 2010 CrossFit Games and finished 13th overall. She had just seven months of CrossFit behind her.

If the question ‘how did she do it?’ did not immediately come to your mind, perhaps you should run through those first two sentences again. Age and experience in technical movements are usually strong factors for success in athletic competitions.

Part of the answer is that some of the components of CrossFit training weren’t new to her. Brost competed in soccer and basketball at a collegiate level, and her college trainers introduced her to squats, power-cleans, presses, and deadlifts as well as running and interval training. She grew accustomed to pushing her body hard in her athletic season training. Her soccer team “worked exceptionally hard in practice and took pride in the fact that no other team would out-work or out-condition us.”

Her sports training didn’t end when she got her diploma. Cheryl kept active and competitive in the years intervening with recreational league soccer and marathons. She valued her fitness, and maintained it in the gym and on the field.

Although she’s more than a decade older than most of her fellow Games competitors, Cheryl sees it as to her advantage: she’s a decade ahead of them. In her words:

Overall, nearly all CrossFit competitors are younger and more experienced CrossFitters than me. More experienced athletes? Doubtful.  I have been an athlete all my life.  I've lived nearly double the years of most all the other competitors and with age comes experience, right? 

Cheryl has learned that she can control only herself. She knows she can’t control the weather, programming, competitors, or any of the distractions that may come up—so she blocks out any concerns and simply competes against her “own best self.” Many athletes may be familiar with this, and may even use it as their mantra, but Cheryl believes it takes years of competition for an athlete to really own it.

Standing in the center of the Home Depot Center next to phenomenal athletes and listening to the sound of the crowds cheering, it’d be difficult to block it all out. To just push for your best. But we all have the chance to push for our best each day at the box, and soon with the CrossFit Games Open. Do you have the strength to push out your self-doubt, overcome whatever distractions are set in your way, and compete against your best self?

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16 comments on this entry

1. Rachel wrote...

Awesome!! Inspiring! I just started CF at the age of 41. Cheryl makes me want to hit it harder!

2. Blake wrote...

Yeah what about Ashleigh Moe, the actual person in the picture!!! Theres an amazing athlete!!!! Go Ashleigh!

3. Jason J. wrote...

Not to mention Cheryl was 1 at the Oregon games in Bend,OR.last month.
Wish you all the luck Cheryl

4. Troy Brost wrote...

The "actual person in the picture" is my wife ... pretty certain it's Cheryl. I'll check tonight when we got home though. Ashleigh Moe ... great person and competitor!

5. wrote...

Tony that pic has changed, a few hours ago it was a shot of Ashleigh Moe running during the helen wod at the games sorry for the confusion....

6. Miranda Oldroyd wrote...

Cheryl impresses me more than almost anyone else. I remember at regionals last year thinking..."who is this person?". Then I remember seeing her age and thinking it HAD TO BE a typo! I think I may have even asked Cheryl if it WAS a typo! Ha ha!

Cheryl! You are amazing. Thank you for being an incredible role model! Keep it up!


7. Arlene Abastillas wrote...

Great article for women wanting to start a strength program but hesistant to do so because of fear of "getting big or bulking up." Its about buiding muscle tone and strength to defy age and build self-confidence.

8. Leticia wrote...

Way to go, Cheryl! I am lucky enough to be inspired by her every day at our box. She's an incredible athlete and, on top of that a very kind person!

9. Wayne wrote...

Yeah, pretty awesome what Cheryl did last year regardless of her age. And to think she had only been CF'g 7!

Looking forward to watching her this year and thank you to CFHQ for recognizing this amazing athlete..

10. Kim Ebbert wrote...

Wow! I love, how regardless of age, she is competing and holding her own against the best. I, too, am 39 and I use the youth in our gym to push me harder. Experience is an amazing thing, but to keep your body going on full throttle for so many years is a difficult task to accomplish. Rest days are nutrition are even more critical. I find I can put up great numbers, but tend to need an extra day of recovery after competiton. I would love to hear more about Cheryl's training program.

11. nwlifeisgood wrote...

I had the opportunity to watch Cheryl compete last month, and all I could think about was how smooth and collected she was during the WODs. She is a true firebreather. Good luck this year Cheryl. Way to represent Oregon!

12. Kimberly Malz wrote...

I continue to aspire to attaining your drive, focus, and determination Cheryl.

Best of luck to you for the 2011 CF Games Season.

13. Cheryl Brost wrote...

Thank you very much. It means a lot to me to have support! Thanks CrossFit HQ for the article! I hope it encourages others out there that they are never too old! LOL :)

14. marty raines wrote...

Cheryl....Finally another competative, fire-breathing female crossfitter in the upper 30's age bracket!! I'm sure there are many of us out there, but I know I am (definately) older than most of the female at our box. I'm usually at the top of the board on most work-outs and have placed well in the few competitions that I have competed in over my past 18mths of crossfitting. I think that my age bothers me more than I should let it. Thanks for the inspiration!

15. Carla O'Brien wrote...

Age is a number, but you have just opened the eyes of MANY CrossFitters that are in the same bracket. Thank you for your story, thank you for your insight and best wishes to you in 2011. All us 40-somethings will be cheering you on all the way back in New Haven.

16. Sean Chamberlain wrote...

This was a very interested article to read about her ability to focus on what she can control. I am in the last semester of grad school and pursuing a degree in sport psychology. I am also a fellow crossfitter! It would be interesting to sit down with her and interview about the elements of focus and her mental training. This sport is very physical and very mental as well. Be able to keep your mind focus under inherent stress is an amazing technique.


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