AT THIS POINT, you’ve probably heard of CrossFitsuperstar and Team Cellucor athlete Brooke Wells—or, at the very least, you’ve seen her on your social media feeds. The athlete has nearly 700,000 followers on Instagram alone, and for good reason: Even though she’s only 22, Wells is about to compete in her third CrossFit Games. Merely qualifying for the Games requires a level of fitness and dedication most of us mere mortals can’t even imagine—and once you do get there, the murderers’ row of events is so utterly exhausting that the winner can seriously lay claim to the crown of “Fittest on Earth.”
Oh, and by the way: Wells placed 19th at her Games debut in 2015 and sixth in 2016. She didn’tjust get there, she kicked in the door and took the CrossFit world by storm.
If you think that sounds like a lot of work, it is. While prepping for the Games, Wells hits the gym for up to four and a half hours a day, and tops it off with a second session of cardio for good measure. But in the few hours of the day that she isn’t training, she attends the University of Missouri, where she’s a full-time student. (Think about that the next time you feel like going to the gym for an hour after work is too draining.)
Ahead of the 2017 CrossFit Games, which begin in Madison, WI, on August 3, we talked to Wells to find out just what it takes to end up alongside the fittest in the world, how she manages to train while pursuing a degree, and her thoughts on becoming a social media sensation.
Men’s Fitness: You’re going into your third CrossFit Games. Is it just as nerve-wracking as the first?
Brooke Wells: Honestly, yeah. I feel like I’m just as nervous in a good way as I was my first year. Being in a new place, it’s almost like we’re all rookies again just because we don’t really know how to get around and all that. That was what was nice throughout the second year, knowing where everything was and what to expect. Just being in a different place is very nerve-wracking, so I’m pretty much just as nervous as I was my first year.
Do you feel more confident in your preparation for the Games now that you’ve already done it twice?
I do, because this year has been different in a good way. I recently got a new coach, Ben Bergeron. Before that, I would follow a program, but I didn’t have someone telling me what I was doing wrong and coaching me through things.
My team is Katrin Davidsdottir, who won last year; Matt Fraser, who won last year; Cole Sager; and myself. Just being around all these athletes is different from what I’m used to. We’re so prepared, and I’ve never been more comfortable going into a Games. I know how prepared I am, and I want to show everyone else how prepared I am, which actually makes me nervous.
What is the environment like at the CrossFit Games? With so many big names in one place, are you all super-competitive?
We’re all friends, and the competitive side goes out the door when we’re not competing. But when we do compete, I like to call it “friendly competition.” We all want to win, but we’re going to be friends at the end of the day. It’s very competitive when we start to warm up for events and that sort of thing, but when we have our athlete dinners you get to hang out, and it’s so much fun.