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How I Changed My Life at 58 Years Old

March 02, 2017 1 Comment

How I Changed My Life at 58 Years Old

March of 2013 at age 58 ½, I found myself dealing with problems of early aging – like getting off the floor, out of a chair, difficulty climbing stairs and loss of balance – all despite what I thought was “being active” with a busy career, family, grandchildren and regular walking and light activity.  High-risk family genetics with high blood pressure since my thirties and transient ischemic attacks were precursors for early stroke and/or heart attack.  My diet was fairly healthy and I was only about 15 lbs. overweight – skinny fat.  It was time to make a change, but I had no gym experience and had not run a mile since in my 20s.  I could no longer run 200 meters without gasping.  At age 50 I had a two-level cervical fusion and thought I had limits plus I had no idea what to do. 

Determined to change, I found myself walking into a CrossFit gym and asking if someone like me could fit in.   I was assured that it could happen.  There was a 5:30 a.m. class that did not interfere with my family or work life so I gave it a month to see what happened.   I was determined to improve my health and stamina.

The wonderful thing about CrossFit is that, contrary to popular belief; it’s really not just for young fit people lifting heavy weights.  Everything is scalable – everything – and I was scaled tremendously.  Since I couldn’t get up from a squat, I was placed near a large tire near the rig so I could squat landing on the tire and use the rig to help me up – over and over again.  Couldn’t do a sit-up so there was a band attached to the rig to help me come up.  Pushup?  No way.  Just did what I could.  Burpees?  What in the heck was that!?   I’d lie on the ground and crawl up.  The PVC pipe or training bar was my barbell for months as I learned lifting techniques.  Trying to jump rope was almost hilarious, but little by little I got better. The first time I did 20 jumps without missing was a big deal!  Weekly and monthly I progressed.     Running was difficult.  I just couldn’t get the breathing rhythm down.  It was WAY out of my comfort zone.


Soon it will be four years since I started this wonderful adventure.  Coach Grant McHaney, owner and trainer at Fitness Heroics/CrossFit Epically Awesome, has been my trainer/coach for three years now and he allowed me no excuses for my age.  He safely and skillfully pushed me beyond limits I thought possible.   Within two months of becoming my primary coach, he had me running three miles. That air squat I couldn’t do has evolved to a back squat of 140 lbs., OHS of 80 lbs., and squat clean of 90 lbs.  Assisted sit-ups became regular sit-ups to strict sit-ups when required.  Strict push-ups are challenging, but I can do them!  Those Burpees?  Got them down!  Love that they keep me getting up and down off the floor!  I have done 200+ single jumps unbroken.  I go to CF every day and love to lift and, despite getting older, I’m getting stronger.  I love the feeling of strength, agility and mobility.

In late 2014, I entered a Garage Games competition for scaled 60+.  This gave me confidence and, along with the encouragement of my coach, I participated in the 2015 CF Open scaled 60+ and loved it, repeating 15.3 and 15.5 for better scores.  More local competitions along the way and then the 2016 CF Open was especially exciting.  I repeated 16.1, 16.4 and 16.5 for better scores – still 60+ scaled – but stronger and better.  More local competitions throughout this past year and now I’m super excited about the 2017 Open!  Can’t wait!  I love the challenge and excitement and setting goals!   It’s so fun to see scores on a National Leaderboard for my division. 

Now at age 62, I am stronger and more fit than I’ve ever been and, as my coach tells me, more fit than the average 20-30-year-old.   I feel great and have regained my balance.  The passion for fitness consumes me.  With eleven grandchildren and a busy career, I am enjoying aging gracefully…




1 Response

Janet James
Janet James

March 02, 2017

I want everyone to enjoy good health and mobility at any age. We don’t have to give in! What we do will make a difference! No excuses!

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