When I shared with my friends that I was going to try Crossfit, there were several reactions. A couple of people asked: “What is it?” A more common reaction usually involved a raised eyebrow combined with a look that conveyed, “You might think about getting a mental health check up ‘cause you’ve gone off the deep end.” I even had one person suggest that, at my age, water aerobics might be a better choice!
Who could blame them? I certainly don’t fit the media image of what a Crossfitter looks like. I mean really! How many Crossfit magazine covers profile a 60-year old woman with bad knees and an expanding waistline? None. Absolutely NONE!
But Crossfit isn’t reserved for the elite athlete only. Sure we can watch the competitions and the athletes who participate are impressive. In reality Crossfit is for anyone – at any age – who is seeking the encouragement and support of a community of positive people focused on becoming healthy and strong. And that was exactly what I needed!
The fall of 2012 was a rough year for my family and myself. The first of September, with only days before I was to leave on an annual “girl’s only” hiking vacation in the mountains of Colorado, I suffered a stress fracture in my left foot. And then on September 7, my husband suffered a brain-stem stroke. But we were very blessed. Not only did Jerry survive – he survived one of the deadliest strokes with absolutely no neurological deficit.
Yet through the remainder of fall and winter, the worry about Jerry and my limited physical activity was taking a toll. I wasn’t sleeping well. I gained weight and my blood pressure was high. One night in prayer, I felt God speaking in a gentle yet very convicting voice saying, “Jerry is going to be fine but you’re not if you don’t start taking care of yourself.”
My two sons had done Crossfit previously. As they talked about their workouts and how much they were lifting, there was something about it that I found intriguing. Yet I was hesitant. I’m fairly competitive. OK I’m a lot competitive and I don’t like to fail. I wondered, would I be able to keep up? Was I too old?
I knew Kim was actively involved in Crossfit. I would read her Facebook posts and we texted back and forth as I waffled with my decision. Finally, with a lot of encouragement from her, I started Crossfit in January 2013. Yep – I joined the Garage Llew crew still dealing with a stress fracture, bad knees and, of course, an expanding waistline! But I was determined to push and challenge myself.
My workouts are scaled to accommodate my limitations. But don’t think for a moment scaling means getting off easy! Instead of box jumps, I do just as many step-ups. A four-hundred meter run is still out of the question but rowing has become my new best friend. And the day I dead-lifted 95lbs., I couldn’t wait to share it with my husband and my sons. This spring, I even challenged myself to finish each workout with a 3200-meter row.
Each and every WOD is a challenge both mentally and physically. Just when you think you can’t go one more another minute or lift that bar one more time, one of the trainers or others doing the workout with you cheer you on. When it’s all over, you walk away knowing that you’ve – once again -- defeated the voice in your head that says, “You can’t.”
While the bathroom scale hasn’t budged all that much, I can say without hesitation that I’m stronger both physically and mentally. Physically, my body is changing. I’m getting stronger and developing more muscle tone. But more than that, I have gained confidence and I am proud of myself. As trainers, Kim, Mike, Jimmy and Callee, have helped me push the limits of what I ever thought I could accomplish.
Crossfit isn’t about others … it’s about you. Whatever age you are, you owe it to yourself to be healthy. Sixty may determine my age but it doesn’t determine the possibilities of what I can accomplish. If you want to settle for water aerobics, go ahead. As for me – I’m just not that old!