Keys to Longevity in the Sport of CrossFit
Cheryl Brost started CrossFit at an age when most people are a few years into the Masters Division BEFORE there were age group designations in the sport. She outperformed many athletes who were a decade or more younger than her and now, thirteen years later, she is still competing at the highest level, arguably getting better with age, when most of her former competitors have since retired.
Training to compete at a high level in this sport takes time and a serious commitment. People have families, jobs, injuries they have had to deal with or overcome. And Cheryl has all those things as well so why has she been able to continue to compete when others have not?
#1 – Enjoy what you do!
#2 – Follow a well thought out program.
#3 – Prioritize recovery.
#4 – Enlist a support network.
Keys to Longevity in the Sport of CrossFit
Based on her experience and success, there are three things we can pinpoint that aided in her longevity.
#1 – Enjoying what she does.
“I think of my love for the sport and the Crossfit community, enjoying the daily drive and commitment it takes to train for it, and the constant pursuit of becoming the best version of myself,” says Brost.
Enjoyment for the sport is essential, especially when motivation wanes later in the year. This may mean some need to have a shift in their mindset; instead of dreading the monotony of training, embrace the small details of training, knowing that this is helping you to build a solid foundation. An underlying factor to this enjoyment is having an intrinsic motivation, which is total satisfaction with just doing the activity versus an extrinsic motivation which can be fleeting. Do some soul searching and figure out what your intrinsic motivation is and, guaranteed, your enjoyment for the day to day grind will improve.
#2 – Following a well thought out program.
Equally as important [to enjoying what I do], was finding a program like Invictus back in 2012, which has provided me an amazing platform to follow and the best coaches you will find in the sport,” she believes. “And as I have advanced in age, Invictus has continued to provide appropriate, sound programming for the Masters Athlete in mind.”
Here’s what we consider to be a well thought out program:
- Has a solid foundation in all commonly tested CrossFit movements with a goal to compete or simply work to be a more well-rounded athlete in the gym.
- Incorporates a mix of gymnastics skills and drills, strength work, mobility work, conditioning and accessory work.
- It caters to the athlete who would like to fix asymmetries through the use of Strongman, improve overhead stability, mobility and strength, develop posterior chain endurance and work on positioning in the Olympic lifts.
- Uses an appropriate volume load so as to maximize recovery.
#3 – Prioritizing body care and recovery.
“Whether it’s feeding your body the proper nutrition, to spending time working on mobility and flexibility, to getting body work through massage and chiropractic care, all these [critical] components have contributed to me being able to compete for all these years,” she notes.
Recovery is more than just muscle repair. It also involves chemical and hormonal balance, nervous system repair, mental state, and more. For all athletes, especially Masters, it is crucial to take your recovery practices just as seriously as your training protocol. We have had much experience working with both competitive and recreational Masters athletes and notice how much progress they make when they prioritize their recovery compared to those who don’t. Download our FREE guide for Masters Recovery Tips!
#4 – Support!
A social support network has been touted for years by athletes as a key to their success. Yes, they have a drive to be their best, intrinsic motivations, a strong work ethic but all of those things are made possible by a network of individuals who are providing support in numerous ways.
“I am fortunate to have a family that has been very supportive of me in my pursuit of CrossFit, we have our own business so I can structure my work accordingly, and thankfully I have been able to successfully recover through all my injuries and return to competition.
One of our primary goals at Invictus is to bring like-minded individuals together so that they can help support one another in achieving their goals. A great example of this is with the Invictus Masters Program. There are hundreds of Masters athletes who make up this group from around the globe. Not all have the desire to compete in CrossFit but all have the desire to continue to improve and not let age define them. As a twelve-time CrossFit Games qualifier and ten-time Games athlete with experience across four divisions, she has depended on the support of not only her family, but her fellow Invictus Athletes, to stay ahead of the pack and on the podium over the years.
“‘Iron sharpens iron.’ Surrounding yourself around others who motivate and push you to be the best you can be [makes all the difference],” she acknowledges. “I have done plenty of solo training sessions over the years but I much prefer training with others. When I look back on my most successful seasons, it is when I have had a group of solid training partners, both in person and remotely.”
That support is what pushed her to a 15th place finish in 2012, at the age of 41, against competitors with about half the amount of time on this earth. Since then, she has stood atop the podium at Games three times – in 2016, 2017 and again this year. That same support has helped others achieve their goals as well, whether they be Games-focused or life-focused.
“There are a handful of us Invictus Masters Athletes, several being multi-time Games athletes themselves, who communicate on nearly a daily basis and share our training for the day with one another,” she said. “We also have our larger Invictus Masters Facebook Group page where we can post videos and notes of our training session.Coach Nichole Kribs provides us comments and feedback every time so not only do I benefit but the entire Invictus Masters Members do as well.”
The Most Important Factors in Final Stretch Before Games
The weeks leading up to Games are some of the most crucial, especially as workouts begin to be announced and athletes are putting in time on new skills or weaknesses to make sure they are at their peak. Staying healthy heading into competition is the responsibility of both the coach and the athlete. It’s very difficult to compete if you are banged up or injured. So the responsibility of the coach is to make sure the athlete has a smart and well-rounded training program, one that prepares them for the tests at Games, but meanwhile not leaving the athlete into competition overtrained.
And the responsibility of the athlete (besides following their coach’s training plan)? Mindset – it is just as important as physical ability. “Knowing I have put in the time and preparation gives me the confidence in my abilities and allows me to compete with the mindset that ‘Full Effort is Full Victory’,” she says.
Does getting older make you wiser, better, or something else?
Invictus Athlete Programs
The Off-Season Cycles for Invictus Athlete and Masters just started and you can still join up with the online program! To celebrate our Games successes, we are giving you 50% off your first month with us when you sign up before the end of August! Join now with code: 50INVICTUS