Scaling options for the elderly

This year is my 47th. My husband and I are probably the two oldest members of our amazing Crossfit ‘Box’, but I want to tell you why we don’t give a crap.

paleo crossfit

We both struggle with injuries and ailments, and my own thyroid is apparently on a kamikaze mission to destroy my gym performance, but I am a stubborn bugger, so I have made a point NEVER to miss a session of Crossfit. Like, ever.

There are days when we workout side by side with the people we used to be; the twenty-somethings with all the time in the world and the energy to match, but oddly this is not off-putting. The beauty of Crossfit is that we’re all in it together. The ‘elders’ of the gym are supported and encouraged by the youngsters, without a single ‘are you alright dear?

paleo crossfit


If you’re reading this and you’re in the ‘Masters’ category (a delightfully polite way of describing geriatric Crossfitters), then you will understand what I mean when I say that I NEVER want to accept a scaling option. In my head I am still the same girl who tried out for the England netball team and turned the boys’ heads in my red dress. In my mirror, sadly, I am not. But this does not stop me wanting to be the best I can be. My strength continues to improve and my WOD times are respectable. I keep on keeping on.

Since my first records began in 2012, I have improved my performance as follows:-

Deadlift – from 70kg to 115 kg (1 rep max)

Back squat – from 40kg to 70kg (5 rep max)

Push Press – from 25kg to 50kg (1 rep max)

I can ‘double under’ (now a verb apparently) and the elusive pull-up is getting closer. More importantly, the stubborn little fecker in me says ‘no’ to picking up the lighter kettlebell, so I can (pretty much) RX most of the WODs, which gives me great personal satisfaction, even if I take a little longer than some to get up when I’m finished.

crossfit paleo

I have been Paleo for almost 2 years now, and this has certainly had a positive impact on my performance. Sadly, the thyroid has negated some of this benefit, but I remain optimistic of a re-appearance of my much-missed Mojo at some point before I die.

But actually, the single most valuable thing about Crossfit has been the friends I have made. The remarkable men and women with whom I share this journey will be the subject of another post, but suffice to say that they make the struggle a right good giggle.

If you’ve ever thought about Crossfit but are intimidated by the poster-boys or the YouTube video of heavily pregnant powerlifters, don’t be. The Crossfit environment is packed with athletes from all parts of the age spectrum, enjoying the way their bodies respond to the rigorous torture they are inflicting upon it….no, more than that, addicted to it, and keen, like me to act as ambassadors for those who want to get involved. 

So make a New Year’s promise to yourself and find a Box near you. You’ll never look back.

paleo crossfit


Teen Crossfit body changes

George has been growing rapidly.

He took up Crossfit last year at the age of 12, just as his body began to take on the kind of life-changing transformation which comes with puberty. It has been THE best thing that could have happened during this period. Some time after that he decided to adjust his diet  to become semi-Paleo.

paleo crossfit

The combination of these two changes has brought him:-

  • self confidence
  • fitness
  • camaraderie
  • a role model in the form of his fitness coach
  • an outlet for his hormones and his energy
  • a sense of joining manhood as he challenges his body to increasingly difficult but rewarding things
  • a marked improvement on the rugby pitch

Instead of succumbing to the spreading middle which so many early teenagers end up with after the endless hours of X-Box coma, he has blossomed. His shoulders are broadening, his strength is increasing and his abs are tight. I could not be prouder.

paleo crossfit

Thanks indeed to the wonderful coach at Crossfit HG3 who dedicates so much time to these boys. I would highly recommend this as a form of exercise for any teen, any time.

These pictures were taken just over a year apart – June 2012 and August 2013. What a difference a year makes.

Post-op fitness

Hello Trog Blog, ‘sbeen a while!

In truth, I’ve just been a little too busy to blog here, but it feels like a good time to write a quick post.

After surgery and 6 weeks in a plaster cast, I emerged, withered and sore at the end of June. The good news was that I managed to stay ‘clean’ with my diet for the whole period, achieving the impossible at my age – I didn’t really gain any weight. Phew.

paleo crossfit

Apart from the initial two weeks when I was limited to sitting with an elevated leg and in severe pain, I managed to get back to the gym immediately. It’s quite amazing what you can do on one leg.

It’s now about 8 weeks since the plaster came off and I’m finally back to full WODs. I am running (carefully and even more slowly than usual) and have managed my first sets of lunges and box jumps in the last couple of weeks. It feels good.

There is no doubt that I have lost, in this order:-

1. Flexibility – my foot is like a rod of iron and my ankles are refusing to rotate fully

2. Strength – the squats I lifted with ease are now feeling much heavier to me

3. Fitness – having been an impact-free zone for so long, I must accept that it’s also going to feel much harder now I’m back to aerobic exercise again.

That said, I am determined to get back to full fitness, lose the remainder of my body fat which is stubbornly protecting my middle, and finally master the unaided pull-up this year. Age is just a number.

paleo crossfit

Crossfit on Crutches

We have recently undergone surgery on the troublesome right foot. We shall refer to this as ‘Operation Trotter’.

paleo crossfit

In a nutshell, bones have been broken, shaved off, re-set and pinned, then encased in a plaster cast (or fibreglass to be accurate). It hurts, but having spent over a year working one’s butt off trying to reach a level of strength and fitness that I’m proud of, there is simply no way that I am going to sit on that very same butt for 6 weeks watching Glee.

I am fortunate that my chosen form of fitness is CrossFit. My gym buddies could not have been more helpful and supportive. They descended upon me for coffee and even brought flowers.

But the greatest tribute really must go to the two PTs who run the ‘Box’ – Andy and Pete.paleo crossfit

It would have been easy to send me home, or to sit me on the side and give me a dumbbell to play with, whilst the rest of their members smashed a few WoDs and surpassed their PBs. The reality couldn’t have been further from this. They took the time and patience to encourage me in to the gym, assessed my movement ability and carefully assembled a set of replacement movements that I can realistically achieve until I am back on my feet.

Heck, we even did an hour of Boxing sitting on a box!

I could not be more grateful, knowing that I am in safe hands here. I was paranoid about losing my fitness and strength, but now feel totally reassured that I can retain some flexibility, and work up a sweat with a variety of tailor-made movements, created just for me.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Crossfit HG3.

Crossfit Boys

Time for an update on my amazing kids, methinks.

paleo crossfit

They have both embraced the Crossfit mentality with gusto and I could not be prouder of the efforts they both put in the gym each and every week.

This is George (the one with the awesome jump). He has just become a teenager and is, as a result, very conscious of his own body, its changes and his desire to become the best man that he can. He has adapted his diet significantly in order to take part in the family’s effort to turn Paleo.

paleo crossfit

Whilst George still eats the occasional sugary snack, he has virtually cut out grains from his diet. Gone are the morning cereals or toast. No longer does he queue at the school canteen for pasta at lunch time, but takes a healthy, protein filled packed lunch. He has even started to eat his vegetables!

As a result, he has managed to negotiate the tricky puppy-fat/pre growth-spurt period of the last year with fantastic results. He has grown upwards and inwards. He is super-lean and agile, and now tackling heavy lifting. That’s my boy.

Ollie is just 6 years old and has developed a mean squat.

paleo crossfit

It’s been notably more difficult to wean a child of this age away from biscuits and sweet snacks, so I have to confess that I haven’t pushed him too hard. He has a bad apple ‘habit’, but it’s better than chocolate, so I let him feed it.

Ollie has grown in flexibility and stamina, and has learned a new skill – skipping!

I cannot recommend highly enough that you introduce your kids to the sport of fitness. Get to your local Box and demand a kids’ class.

We are a Crossfit family in the fullest sense, and I rest easy at night in the knowledge that my boys are learning skills and habits which will serve them well in the fullness of time.

paleo crossfit

paleo crossfit

31 day Paleo challenge – the deed is done

31 days clean. I mean totally clean. SO clean that three days after the big finale and I feel bloody awful, mainly due to the fact that I have had several glasses of wine since I finished the challenge. Body says ‘no’.

I found the last week easier to be honest on the coffee front. The big test was what I would select as my morning drink of choice on the first day of ‘freedom’. I chose Redbush tea.

Here are the BEFORE photos…

paleo crossfit

Final weigh-in as follows:-

Weight loss 1.8kg (about 4lb, although my scales at home say nearer to 7lbs lost)

Body fat down 1.2%

Muscle mass down by 0.3kg

Bone mass unchanged

BMI down 0.6 to 24.6

Metabolic age is now 39 (down from 42). Gotta be happy with this as a near 46 year old

Waistline reduced by 3cm. Nice!

Body fluid % up by 1%

Visceral fat also unchanged at 5%

And here are the AFTER photos….

paleo crossfit

Arms a bit less flabby I think, and the belly no longer has that involuntary wobble which it’s had for 6 years since I last gave birth. Yay for that.

So, all in all a decent outcome. I have learned that I can live without alcohol and coffee, but that I don’t necessarily want to. I have also learned that drinking it now makes me feel BAD. Which to choose – pain or pleasure?


There are few words to describe my first experience of Acupuncture, but amongst them are:-paleo crossfit





I was reliably informed by the charming elderly Japanese lady who tortured me that the ‘normal’ kind of acupuncture would not help me with my problem (very painful joints in my foot), but that she could ‘unblock’ me (nothing to do with my bowels as far as I know. No real idea what she was unblocking to be honest…presumably my chakras or summat) with a different kind of therapy.

I agreed in that naive kind of ‘this should be a lovely relaxing hour on a bed’ way, and as I settled on to the bench at the point of no return she remembered to tell me that it was going to hurt like buggery (my words, not hers).

She proceeded to ‘bleed’ me repeatedly by stabbing me, rather like an angry child with a voodoo dolly of the school bully. In her innocent looking hand she held a fat pin, not unlike those that a diabetic might use for blood tests, until the skin gave a little ‘pop’ and the red stuff was drawn. Over and over again up and down my legs, toes, around my ankle 20130211-171331.jpgbones and on the soles of my feet. This latter manoeuvre was so despicable that she asked me to cough every time she stabbed me, to fool me in to thinking that I was not in agony. It was particularly pleasurable in the areas where there are no fleshy or fatty deposits, which to be honest, on my feet is pretty much all of it. Just skin, bone and a serial stabber.

No pretence here, no twinkly music or the sounds of a Caribbean shore 20130211-171343.jpgto drift off to, just a butt-clenching white knuckle ride of terror and the smoke from what now appeared more and more like an opium den.

I was charged £100 for this tremendous experience, and sent off with a polite smile and the request to come back for at least 4 or 5 more sessions. Whaaaaa?!!

My first phone call was to the British Association of Acupuncturists to check that she was registered. She was.

My foot, of course, is predictably no better. Even if we look beyond the bruising and the join-the-dots abuse to my surface flesh, pains still lurk within.

Assuming I live through 4 more sessions, can someone please tell me whether this is going to fix me?