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


The Great Burpee…

From the moment I started Crossfit, one exercise has been a clear favourite – the Burpee. Sometimes something just feels so natural that your body just seems to fall effortlessly into its metronomic rhythm. And so it is for me with the burpee…

Adding 50 of these babies to any workout will make sure it’s a real crowd pleaser, and I for one like to use them as a great way to cool down. In fact, so committed am I to the potential life extending benefits of this exercise that I have decided to share some top tips.

One: as with any fast movement, make sure you don’t have anything loose flapping around. Personally I like to make sure my belly is well strapped in – went down too quickly once and winded myself really bad…

Two: this isn’t strictly in the book, but I find it a great way to get into the prone position is to drop to your knees first, then finish the move with some sort of grunt to make sure you release all/any air you have managed to get into your lungs. I find shouting “Bollocks” really works, but “Shit”, “Christ” or “Help” will probably do the job just as well.

Three: once in the prone position, take a few moments to admire the floor and the relative comfort it affords before you attempt to do battle with gravity and pull your legs in the general direction of your head. I find counting to 10 at this point helps to maintain an appropriate pace, or alternatively, wait for one of the instructors to shout at you in their usual encouraging way, telling you to keep going in case you had forgotten (?)

Four: As your legs finally get into something approaching a squat position, or what I fondly refer to as the ‘Froggy’, make sure you control any urge to let rip with your rear end (I think we all know what I am saying)

Five: The jump. Easy to go too high on this and waste time which isn’t going to get you on the leader board, so just high enough to get a piece of paper under your feet. If you haven’t got a piece of paper to hand, ask a friend to shout when you’re high enough, and then stop going up

Six: Finally, whilst you try to steady yourself for the next rep and take in some much needed oxygen, look down and admire the sweaty silhouette you will have left if you followed step three properly and ask you self this – is it getting smaller? No, then get your lazy arse down for another one and stop complaining!

Last, and on my last legs…

There comes a time when we all have to leave the comfort of induction and go play with the big boys… or in my case, much smaller boys (and girls).

This is a tense time. Frank and I had bonded (or at least got used to each other) and he had become painfully aware just how unfit I was – The joke was out there and it was an old joke. Now it was going to become a new joke again, or so I feared.

Also, if you remember, I had weeks of arriving at the gym to see these much fitter specimens finishing there WOD (Workout of the Day) and looking pretty knackered. Clearly, what we had done on induction was a watered down version. How the hell was I going to feel after a proper session?

Despite my biggest fears, the reality was that you could not find a more supportive, friendly and encouraging (and unfortunately fitter) group of people, which is great, because I, for the most part, finish last –  and a rather strange shade of red with purple highlights!

A few times I have managed to finish quite close to Frank (which feels great), however, having completed a partnered workout with him today, I have come to realise that Frank is a man easily distracted… and a man who frequently loses count. I can only imagine that on those rare occasions where I have come close to his time, poor Frank has probably done at least 20% more than the rest of us…

And so my journey to the height of physical fitness has begun. All that is required now is commitment, effort and £60 per month (very reasonable). This along with my new Cave Man diet, have caused my body to shed 22lbs, and parts of it hurt like they have never hurt before. It’s Hard. When I arrived at the gym today and saw the WOD I thought ‘this is it, this is the day when if all falls apart’ and when I got to my 10th Wall Climb, I thought the end had come! But no, I finished and had enough breath left to swear at Pete…

I have come a long way, I just wish there wasn’t still so bloody far to go!

What CrossFit can do for you

When I began CrossFit 6 months ago I looked like this.

paleo crossfit

Well, kind of.

I intended to work my arse (literally) off. So that I could look like this.

paleo crossfit

Ever the optimist – CrossFit is not actually time travel, right?

In reality I have gone from this…..*blurrrghhhh*

paleo crossfit

To this……

paleo crossfit

Hey, my work here is not yet done, people. But I no longer feel the need to tie my hair in a ponytail in order to remove my double chin, or to wear leggings under my dresses….

I am, however, knackered and aching all over. That’s good, right? 🙂