K-Mighty: Meet the Special Needs Mom who’s a World Record Weightlifter

Kristi Brewer is a wife, working mother of two and a world record-holder masters weightlifter. No wonder Brewer, who just picked up the sport two years ago, uses the moniker: K_mighty on Instagram. The 35-year-old, who routinely competes against competitors decades younger, doesn’t have the hours to commit to double sessions or meticulously track everything she eats.

But what Brewer, who switched to weightlifting after 18 months of CrossFit, has been able to do is consistently improve. The 63 kg. lifter, who has snatched 80 kg and clean and jerked 110 kg. in competition, will compete against younger lifters again in December’s American Open.

And while she’s aware that her training may not always look like her competitors, Brewer hopes to  continue to prove that nothing —not age, or circumstance —can get in the way of sheer will.

“I’m sort of a part-time taxi driver,” Brewer said. “My youngest daughter [five-year-old Kale’a] is autistic, so I’m at a lot of different therapies. Probably like 20 hours a week.”

Brewer, who reduced her work hours to help accommodate trips to speech therapy, behavior therapy and physical therapy, squeezes in most of her sessions alone in her garage.

“I try to do that at same time every day so it’s a habit,” she said. “I know sometimes I’ll be mid-training session and therapy comes up and I’ll run out and come back and finish later. It’s not always convenient, it’s random hours of the day sometimes, but being able to train at home helps.”

Brewer, who is a Juggernaut Training Systems remote athlete, was a collegiate softball player at Brigham Young University (Hawaii). But her athletic pursuits ended —like many others—when she gradated, as Brewer got married, had two daughters and joined corporate America as a certified public accountant.

The money was great. But it wasn’t making her happy.

“The money wasn’t motivating. For me, the competition and training give me that passion. And also, I love getting back on the platform and competing. It’s made me feel young again,” said Brewer, who went to the CrossFit Regionals on a team prior to switching to weightlifting.

“I’m twice as old as a lot of the girls I compete against. For me, I look at it as my body is still capable of training and doing what I can do. Age for me hasn’t necessarily been a hindrance. I’m just working with what I have.”

That includes balancing the stresses of two girls under 10, spending 10 months finding a new home and squeezing in morning sessions in Idaho in a freezing garage. Brewer, who credits her husband for helping support her training goals, will occasionally go to nearby Snake River CrossFit with her girls just to be around other lifters.

“The special needs part is probably even more difficult than being a mom. It’s a lot more time consuming. But that’s who I am,” she said. “There are a lot of times I get frustrated that I don’t have as much time [as other lifters], because they’ll be doing double days, or their recovery is easier. They aren’t on their feet running around all day, or picking up kids or juggling kids and training and work. But it just comes with the territory. It is what it is.”

Brewer did compete as a Master at the World Championships.

Brewer has made a concerted effort to work on being mentally aggressive this year. That means trying to remember what good days feel like and channeling that for the tough training sessions. She’s also eating more, much more, now that she’s strictly lifting.

“I’m hypoglycemic so if my blood sugar gets low I lose my vision and get light headed. People are always scared about carbs and fat but I eat a ton of carbs. During training I have fruit snacks with me and apple sauce packets,” Brewer said.

“When I had my second baby it was a C-section and they couldn’t stabilize me for nine hours and then realized I just needed some apple juice. It happened to me in CrossFit a few times, too. Now, I just make sure I have sugar and carbs with me at all times when I’m working out.”

Brewer loosely follows the nutrition principles of RP Strength though she doesn’t formally log anything.

“I’m good with [logging] for like a week but our life is so go-go-go,” she said.

“The funniest thing with food is my daughters will now ask me, ‘Is this good carbs? How much protein do I need per day?’ I always tell them food is fuel. I think that’s been nice, showing them that good food is good energy.”

Brewer has also shown her daughters how to persevere.

“My older daughter [eight-year-old Keilana] is in gymnastics and gets super frustrated because she’s not the best. For me, I’ve been able to show her, Look Mom fails lifts, Mom struggles, Mom has cried at the gym. It happens. We aren’t the best right away,” Brewer said.

“We all compare ourselves. It’s been cool for me to directly show her. She gets to see me struggle and overcome it and basically keep showing up. That’s been a cool thing for me as a parent.”

Brewer will once again  elects to compete in the more prestigious Open division rather than as a masters lifter in the AO. It is a tougher qualifying total, a bigger stage. And she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I have [other weightlifting friends] to train with, but  they’re all like 18 [years old]” Brewer said laughing. “I train by myself probably 80 percent of the time. I don’t mind. I have mom responsibility.”


All images courtesy of Kristi Brewer.