By Hannah Stevens @hannahshewans
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Videographer / director: Sammy Higgs
Producer: Hannah Stevens, Ruby Coote
Editor: Thom Johnson
Brooklyn Sittner, from Billings, Montana, started weight training at six-years-old after falling in love with the sport at her dad’s gym and can now lift 45kgs - the equivalent weight of a teenage boy.
The pint-sized weightlifter set three state records at the Montana State Weightlifting Championships - including a 43kg clean and jerk - and is on her way to dominating at the Youth Nationals in June.
She told Barcroft TV: “When I wake up in the morning I love having a purpose for life, I love having a goal, a drive. I’m not the type of person, when I wake up in the morning, to just go with the flow. That’s definitely not me.
“I’m very competitive, I always wanna be working to make myself better. I work out six to seven days a week and I’m at the gym, usually, for eight to nine hours.”
Brooklyn, who is home-schooled, gave up a gymnastics training to refocus on CrossFit - a high intensity mix of gymnastics and weightlifting - after getting hooked on the sport at her dad’s gym.
Proud dad Cory Sittner says Brooklyn’s passion for CrossFit and weightlifting started with ring pulls and, four years later, he says she’s more dedicated to the sport than ever.
He said: “Brooklyn first got into CrossFit about four years ago, when I went in. She had that obsession with the rings, she would just go to the rings every day.
“I don’t even think she knew what they were, she would just try and push herself up on them for hours.
“And then all of a sudden, she got her first muscle up and it was a smile from here to here. Floodgates been open ever since.”
Sittner aims to take part in the 2021 CrossFit Games when she is allowed to compete at 14.
She said: “My number one goal is to make the CrossFit games, when I achieve that goal - which I will - it’ll be the biggest reward I could ever have.
“I’ve been working at this thing for over three years now and when I finally make it to the games I’ll be seven years into CrossFit and that’s the first year that I can compete. I would also really like to make the Olympics for weightlifting.”
At her local gym, Yellowstone CrossFit, Brooklyn always trains alongside adults - who she often outranks.
CrossFitter and friend Kelly Armstrong said: “It’s super fun to see her succeed and make crazy lifts on her percentages and her body weight workouts that she beats me at the majority of the time.
“You would never really expect that from a 10-year-old.”
At the Montana State Weightlifting Championships Brooklyn set three state records in her weight class, with a snatch of 31kgs, a clean and jerk of 43kgs and a combined total of 74kgs.
She said: “Do I ever feel like I’m missing out another things kids are doing? No, because when I’m travelling I’m thinking to myself, like Brooklyn - you’re doing awesome.
“Other kids in your neighbourhood aren’t gonna to be travelling to Miami, and all these other places, and they’re not gonna get the same opportunity you’re getting with CrossFit.
“The CrossFit gym is my friends and family, so my neighbourhood friends they’re always like wow, you’re so strong, I bet you could pick me up and throw me across the room if you tried to.
“CrossFit is the biggest family I’ve ever had. Crossfit is community, so I’m with the people from my gym I’m like, man this is where I belong.”
Dad Cory added: “Brooklyn trains with me every day, I train with her. Now like, she teaches me, if not more than I teach her. So it’s pretty amazing.
“All of this is her, I tell people straight up. There is no way, if it was me pushing her, that she would train the way she trains cause you can’t, you can’t push that.
“She trains the way she trains because it’s in her heart, so I don’t care if it’s CrossFit, singing, dancing, motivational speaking, whatever it is - if she’s doing what she loves, 100 percent let’s do it.”
The preteen also hopes to forge a career in motivational speaking and coaching, once she’s finished dominating the competition.
She added: “Do I think I’ll ever get bored of CrossFit? No way josé, there is no way that I could ever get bored of CrossFit.
“You can never beat the game of CrossFit, there’s no other sport that I could be in that could make me as happy as I am with CrossFit.”