I turned 60 years old this past September so now I’m almost half way through the most difficult year I have ever experienced. I dreaded turning 60 and, frankly, I am not sure I like it very much. Because I do CrossFit I often hear, “you don’t look 60″ or “I would never know you were 60″ but this does not change the fact that I am….in fact, 60. When I was younger 60 seemed very far away and it was difficult to comprehend. However, it’s now here. I started Cross Fit 4 years ago because I knew 60 was coming and I wanted to “head it off at the pass” so to speak.

I have lost dear friends who have died and watched other friends struggle with what seems the inevitable signs of aging; diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia, to name a few. Prior to starting CrossFit, I attended a funeral and watched friends and family in my generation struggle to walk, difficulty getting up from chairs, etc. and knew I needed to do something — and fast! I went home and googled gyms in my area and found a CrossFit “box.” Little did I know what I was getting myself in for.

The first day I walked into the box was extremely intimidating. No ladies in cute workout attire, no circuit weights – not even heat or air conditioning! It was a warehouse set up with tires, weighted balls and metal pipes where we would be doing our pull-ups. And weights. Lots and lots of weights. That fit on bars. That guys with tattoos slapped on and picked up with ease. Did I mention tattoos. Everybody had tattoos even the girls. And they were all very, very young. I had furniture older than all of them and discovered quickly I was the oldest person at the box. I was surrounded by Navy seals, military personnel, firefighters and police officers. To say this was intimidating would be putting it mildly. And so began my CrossFit odyssey .. and addiction. It has been a lot of sweat and tears but also growth in what I have learned I can do and accomplish.

There is a huge, what I call, learning curve with Cros Fit. Women in my generation were not encouraged to exercise and the only acceptable exercise at that time was cheerleading or majorette. If you were on the girls field hockey team your sexuality was certainly questioned and well, we’ve grown in this area the past 40 years thank heaven!

Unfortunately, when women in my generation come into the box they are so thrown off by what they are being asked to do they end up quitting because it is so far outside their paradigm. My advice to them is to give it a year, yes a year, because that is how long it took me to get comfortable with the lingo, the lifts and the tone of the gym.

It is very hard to be this age and watch younger, stronger kids come into the gym and in three to six months bypass what has taken me four hard years to accomplish. Oh, but what I can do!! I can do box jumps and am very grateful for the master’s women 60+ 14 inch box for the open! I can do an unassisted pull up but prefer my tiny skinny band. I can do double unders, can deadlift 185, swing a 36 lb kettle bell and can do hand release pushups with the best of them.

My goal is always to see the rear ends of the kids working out in front of me! And squats…I can do squats. And my rowing has gotten way better and I can run a 9:37 mile (on a good day anyway). I can’t remember the last time I didn’t finish a WOD (work out of the day). I may be last but it gets done. And I’ve got muscles! Real muscles. No old lady bat wings for me. I always look forward to summer when I can show off the “guns.”

I do CrossFit because it’s fun (I say it’s like getting to go outside and play with your friends) and it works. I have changed gyms in the past year and I am still the oldest person who works out there. One of my coaches, Adam, says he won’t sign anyone up who’s older than me because I truly love my old person status at the box. If you come to my box and I haven’t seen you before. I will probably put out my hand and say “hi I’m Nancy” quickly followed by “my only claim to fame here is I am the oldest person to work out at the gym.” If you have gray hair I will sneakily sidle up to you and say. as casually as I can, “hmmmm, so how old are you?” Love it when the answer is …… anything younger than me!

Visit her blog at: http://crossfitnana.wordpress.com/

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