So we constantly hear information about “aging gracefully”. What exactly does this mean. The media promotes it as generally being healthy and active, and not having any severely damaging habits. This is great, but what about going beyond that?
This weekend at the games I was surrounded by the masters competitors. The interesting thing is if you saw most of these folks from the neck down you’d likely place them in their early 30s. The only exceptions were those that had clearly spent a lot of time in the sun. It was truly inspiring to watch these athletes compete. Most of them would give any of us a run on our workouts, but you guys know that because you get to compete with Bill on a regular basis.
So a little history on my coming to terms with what CrossFit was really about for me. So Greg Glassman and I had been working together and talking about gymnastics curriculum for CrossFit for about 6 months before I taught at a certification seminar. I had read a lot about the CrossFit methodologies and incorporated some concepts into my training, but had not done a true CrossFit workout. So I was teaching in the afternoon on day two and participated as an attendee for the rest of it. Day 1, Friday. Morning was spent drilling squats for about 3 hours. Ok, so tall gymnast out of Davis with a crappy squat was already suffering. Ended the squats with a quick bottom to bottom Tabata squats. So at this point my legs are already shot. 30 minutes of lecture and its time for the first workout. The put Frelen up on the board. This is basically Fran with a 400m run before each round. Didn’t sound so bad. I knew what thrusters were but hadn’t done them. Pull ups, no problem. Three 400m runs. Ok, I can do that. So I place myself with the folks I knew well (CF HQ Staff trainers) and started the run. These folks went out fast, I hung with them. First 400 was fine. Then the thrusters came. Ok, first few reps were fine. About rep 7 I realized I was in trouble. So Mr. gymnast… Strength, check. Power, check. Stamina, what’s that?!? After finishing the thrusters I got to pull ups. At least I can do those, right? I jump up on the bar and discover my arms have mutinied due to lack of nutrient transfer. The rest of the workout was truly miserable. I had to walk part of the last run. I felt like I was going to puke. My time… 24:42. It was horrible. Then I sat staring at the floor for 15 minutes contemplating if I needed someone to take me for medical care. I also was acutely aware that a large number of the folks that had just smoked me on this workout were considerably older than me.
Prior to that moment I totally got Greg’s programming. It fit in with my understanding of training and human adaptation, but when these folks in their 50s absolutely crushed me on that workout I realized there was a lot more to this than what it appeared. I was 32. A pretty darned fit 32 yr old. I now wanted to make sure I helped bring this training concept to as many people as possible. If I could witness people age like these folks I was going to be stoked. Well, here we are years later, and I get to see folks doing much better than just aging gracefully. Every day is filled with older folks that are thriving. Thank you all for giving us clear examples on what it is to be healthy and truly fit at any age.