Confident Cheryl Chechel Aims High on Physique Stage

Figure and Soon-to-be Physique Competitor Cheryl Chechel.

Our latest arrival is Cheryl Chechel, a striking newcomer to the scene who made her national-level figure debut at the USAs after a string of top finishes—including first place at the NPC Texas State Championships—in just her first season of competing last year. She also notched a third place finish at the Europa Supershow and claimed second in the masters category at the Branch Warren Classic.

Although she now lives in Houston, Texas, Cheryl is a native Long Islander and when I caught up with her last week for a quick interview, it was easy to sense that she hasn’t lost any of that New York swagger. For instance, when I asked about her biggest goals in the fitness industry, the 36-year-old responded with the fiery confidence and youthful enthusiasm of a high school prep star getting ready for a big game. “My goals are to be an IFBB pro. I will be a pro no question or doubt,” she said.

A bold statement coming from a girl who, save for a short stint at soccer,  didn’t grow up playing a lot of sports like so many of today’s competitors and only began working out in the gym consistently a few years ago. On starting out in fitness, “I used machines and kind of winged it, then p90x became my regiment,” Cheryl said.

Cheryl credits the home exercise program with giving her a start on training and nutrition basics. “I feel like I built my base muscle to my physique,” she said of the early days. “I changed my diet drastically and that’s when the changes really started. I was committed to a healthy lifestyle.”

First Impressions: One of Cheryl’s early inspirations, and a co-worker at the time, was fitness model Jamie Eason. “She was just getting into the biz,” Cheryl noted. “This lifestyle peaked my interest.”

That commitment to health and fitness only grew the stronger Cheryl became. “As I developed strength and muscle the changes felt phenomenal,” she said. “It challenged me. I was even more driven, motivated and wanting more. It became my passion.”

The contest ready 5-foot-5, 130-pound brunette has only gotten better this past year. “I have widened my shoulders and attacked my legs greatly that I am most proud of,” Cheryl explained. “Still a work in progress, shoulder caps and wider lats are what I am working on at the moment.”

Cheryl was 15th (out of 32) in figure’s class D at USAs. After witnessing the cavalcade of prime physiques in Las Vegas, she’s more determined than ever to improve against the increasingly tough competition. “You can never be satisfied,” she said. “Every time I step out on stage, I will be better and better. Always.”

Spreading Love: “Special thanks to all my friends and family who have supported and do support me in this sport.” -- Cheryl

If Cheryl does indeed make it to the IFBB ranks one day—dare anyone doubt her—it looks like it will be as a physique competitor instead of figure. “It suits me,” Cheryl said of switching to the new division. “I think the new physique category is awesome and I’m up for the challenge.” Cheryl’s physique debut will be at NPC Nationals on November 18th in Miami Beach, Florida.

Answering a question about reactions she’s gotten since taking on her new competitive lifestyle, Cheryl says the reviews have been mixed. “Most don’t understand it. There is no quick fix. It’s hard work, dedication and discipline to be in this sport.”

On the other hand, all the positive responses have been both a feather in her cap and a catalyst to keep pushing herself. “People can’t believe my transformation,” Cheryl says proudly. “Inspiring and motivating others make it so much more rewarding.”

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~ by Dean Sucich on August 25, 2011.

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