There was a moment in time where everyone we knew was at CrossFit (not us). Gyms were popping up on every corner and manicured hands were dragging tires across warehouse floors and then climbing ropes like something out of a 1950’s gym class. The only thing missing was a fat coach in knee socks with a cigar in the corner of his mouth.
Recently we asked our friends if any of them had taken up a sport or athletic endeavor after 40. The results were fun, uplifting even. We know a few runners, some women in team sports, a few other solo sports, but there was one activity that kept popping up and it is CrossFit.
We weren’t even sure what CrossFit is other than what you see in the CrossFit Games
We decided to ask some devotees about their experiences.
Julianne Freakley would describe herself as having been fairly active for most of her life. At 42 she stumbled upon a private gym in Richmond, VA called Pure Phit.
The thing I like best about exercising is the feeling that I’ve done something healthy for my body. I love the changes I see when I consistently exercise, and it’s my chance to do something for me! I do something different every day, but as part of a structured class and set of exercises at my gym. Some days we’re focused on squats or dead lifts, other days it’s arms, shoulders and chest.
We have to be careful all of the time of injuries, and that is a major piece of our training, but our trainer is correcting form to prevent injuries.
Friends consistently state that the quality of the trainer makes all the difference the world.
Betsy Bailey spent a lifetime with an aversion to sports and exercise. After one of her teenagers fell ill a few years ago Betsy found that her child’s recovery had become the centerpiece of her life. Aside from being an isolating experience, eventually her physical health started to slide, and she had a couple of injuries that served as a wake-up call. She needed to start taking better care of herself or she couldn’t be helpful to her family.
At age 47 after enrolling in a six week class at CrossFit Obsession Betsy took a shine to CrossFit and soon thereafter her husband joined her. She says:
One thing that always appealed to me about CrossFit is that the overall corporate culture is one of inclusivity, support and community. Of course, individual gyms have their own cultures, but most have a free one week trial so you can get a feel for it before committing. My gym is very family friendly, with quality childcare on site, so it appeals to average people like me who may never be elite athletes, but want to have fun getting fit in a safe, welcoming and nurturing environment.Also, selecting a gym with coaches who prioritize form and safety went a long way towards easing my worries. Everything can be scaled to accommodate ability level and vulnerabilities.
CrossFit punishes the specialist
This year at age 45 Carrie placed 7th in her age division at the CrossFit Games. She says:
CrossFit seemed to bundle up all the activities I love into one package. This is fabulous since CrossFit punishes the specialist! Also, because there are so many elements to CrossFit (olympic and power lifting, gymnastics, running and jumping), I never get bored and there is always something to improve.