Archive for the ‘Aging’ Category

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Photo courtesy of CoconutCirclePhotography.com

In a stunning display of ageism and ignorance, organizers of the Disney Fit Challenge (Sept. 26 – 28 in Orlando) have created separate age groups within the RX, Scaled and Recreational Divisions but NOT the Masters division.

Although the age groups within each division have not been released, according to the DFC web site, “Divisions have been established allowing for a wide range of physical ability and skill in addition to age groups allowing competitors to see how they place not only within a division but also within their respective age group.”

Except for Masters athletes.

The Masters division begins at age 40 and anyone over that age – regardless how many years or decades beyond 40 – will compete against each other. That means that a 60-year-old athlete could end up competing against a 4o-year-old. Apparently, the folks at Disney don’t have a problem with that.

However, the Disney folks believe it would not be fair for a 39-year-old athlete to compete against a 21-year-old – so they are creating age groups within RX, Scaled and Recreational divisions to level the playing field.

Really. (more…)

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As of today, I have been on the planet for exactly 20,089 days, which makes today my 55th birthday!

A lot of women probably don’t want to turn 55 but I have been longing for 55. Two reasons: 1. My employer provides lifetime medical benefits to employees 55+ who have worked at the company for at least 20 years. 2. Weights and movements are scaled for 55+ Masters in the CrossFit Open.

KeepCalmIn other words, I don’t have to lift as much weight or throw as heavy a damn wall ball as you do! Na-na-na-na-boo-boo. 

The lifetime medical benefits are great. However, the odds of me ever retiring are pretty slim so I may never get a chance to use them. Still, I earned them and that’s all that matters.

As for the scaled weights and movement, I intend to take ruthless advantage of that advantage. Ruthless.

For example, here was the Week 1 WOD that I did last year:

WOMEN – includes Masters Women up to 54 years old

Proceed through the sequence below completing as many reps as possible in 17 minutes of:

  • 40 BurpeesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • 45 pound Snatch, 30 reps
  • 30 Burpees
  • 75 pound Snatch, 30 reps
  • 20 Burpees
  • 100 pound Snatch, 30 reps
  • 10 burpees
  • 120 pound Snatch, as many reps as possible

And here’s the 55+ ladies’ WOD

MASTERS WOMEN – includes Masters Women 55+

Proceed through the sequence below completing as many reps as possible in 17 minutes of:

  • Jackson40 Burpees
  • 35 pound Snatch, 30 reps
  • 30 Burpees
  • 55 pound Snatch, 30 reps
  • 20 Burpees
  • 75 pound Snatch, 30 reps
  • 10 burpees
  • 90 pound Snatch, as many reps as possible

See where I’m going here? There’s a big difference between a 55# snatch and a 75# snatch. Like a 20 pound difference. It gets better, I now get to use a 10# wall ball – which I didn’t even know we had – instead of the 14# wall ball. Four pounds makes a big difference.

I now get to do jumping chest-to-bar pull-ups instead of regular chest-to-bar pull-ups. I don’t know what a jumping chest-to-bar pull-up is but it can’t be harder than a regular C2B, can it?

It kind of feels like I’m getting a AARP discount on my lifts and movements and by-golly, I deserve it. So, to honor this special day I’m going to work on my 35# snatches and see what a 10# wall ball feels like. Ah, the privileges of age: wrinkles, gray hair and jumping C2Bs – whatever they are.

Maybe some non-paleo cake, too.

There really is no elegant way for a woman my age to say this, but my snatch was on fire this morning!

Okay. Enough with the double entendres – I won’t share with you details of my explosive hips or random utterances of how good it feels. Seriously, my snatch was something to behold – at least I thought so.

Enough with the snatch jokes already.

Enough with the snatch jokes already.

Granted, I did not have much weight on the bar – a measly 45# – but I have not even attempted a snatch in weeks so I was anxious to see whether all the resistance work with chains and bands had paid off. Man, did it ever. I threw that sucker over my head like it was nothing and then I dropped down into a deep overhead squat over and over.

It not only felt good, it felt comfortable and fast. I had a feeling – a hope – that the Westside Barbell training I had been doing would give me the power and strength I desperately need. It did.

I am completely smitten with Westside. It makes sense to me and I need more things in my life that make sense. The training is hard – not just because it takes a lot of time but because I’m working little teeny, weeny muscles that I didn’t even know I had and they hurt like hell. (more…)

I have been to the mountaintop and there are a couple of bald guys up there who know how to lift some serious weight – like the kind of numbers that need commas.

Yes, I am talking about the legendary Louie Simmons and Shane Sweatt of Westside Barbell. A month ago I had never heard of Westside Barbell but I drank the Kool-Aid the at CrossFit Powerlifting Cert at our box a couple of weeks ago and now I am a groupie.

Louie Simmons: Need I say more?

Louie Simmons: Need I say more?

In fact, I just spent a glorious Sunday afternoon here in South Florida watching Louie Simmons videos on YouTube and reading articles about the Westside method instead of going to the beach.

Let’s just say that Westside Barbell is to powerlifting what Graceland is to Elvis fans. More world records have come from athletes that trained at Westside than any other gym in the world.

Which puts Louie Simmons right up there with Elvis, except Louie’s fan base is a little smaller and he doesn’t wear a white bell-bottomed jumpsuit.

Louie didn’t actually teach the Powerlifting Cert. That was done by Shane Sweatt, who has trained at Westside along with his wife Laura Phillips Sweatt, who has broken more than 40 powerlifting world records. (more…)

Act your age – or not!

Posted: October 20, 2013 in Aging, Crossfit Lifestyle
Tags: ,

Despite the fact that this is a blog about – how should I put this? – “mature” CrossFitters, I don’t really think about my age much. I’m actually looking forward to turning 55 in December because I will be in a new age-group and we aren’t expected to lift as much as the 50-year-olds in the Open.

I don’t feel like I’m 54. Of course, I don’t know what 54 is supposed to feel like but I still feel like I’m in my 30s. There really isn’t anything I can’t do now that I could do in my 30s. I’m still running at about the same pace as I did in my 30s. I’m the same size I was in my 30s and I still cuss like I’m in my 30s. Maybe even 20s.keep calm

But the “age thing” has kind of smacked me upside the head the last could of weeks.

They made a commercial at my office and the rumor was they recruited staffers who were under 40 to be in it. Us “veterans” watched from our cubicles. We’re also downsizing again and the 55+ workers were offered an extremely generous voluntary severance package.

Then, some youngsters I know made some nasty comments on Facebook about a photograph that one of them shot at the beach of some random elderly woman in a bikini (she actually had a great body but, like me, has gravity-impaired saggy skin).

Seriously, who cares if appearance trumps experience in a commercial? I didn’t see the voluntary retirement package as “ageism” but rather finally getting recognition and appreciation for all of my hard work.

But the Facebook posts about the woman in the bikini really bothered me. I realized that for some people, age is not something to be proud of. It’s something to be ashamed of, mocked and covered up. It really stunned me because for me, age is a state of mind. (more…)

My employer recently informed us that our health insurance premiums are going up next year. We can offset much of the increase if we have a health screening, which includes testing cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, waist circumference and blood pressure. The tests are FREE – my second favorite “F” word. I jumped on that opportunity.

Let me start by saying I have very strong feelings about health insurance and personal responsibility. My opinion is very controversial but I’m sticking to it: Health insurance should be risk-based.dual-head-stethoscope-78888-163895 Meaning I should not have to pay as much for my insurance as someone who smokes, is obese, does not exercise and it essentially a train-wreck of expensive health problems waiting to happen.

I understand that some medical conditions are genetic. I know a gifted 20-year-old athlete who works her tail off, eats well and has high-cholesterol. It runs in her family. I also know people who eat horribly, don’t exercise, smoke, drink too much and consider golf a form of exercise.

Car insurance is risk-based. You get a DUI and your insurance premium goes up. You are a risk – not to mention stupid. Life insurance is risk-based. Hurricane and flood insurance are risk based. So why isn’t health-insurance? (more…)

One of the benefits of being a senior Crossfitter is that you get to call the youngsters “Grasshopper” – even though they totally miss the David Carradine/Kung Fu reference.

I don’t have much wisdom to pass on but I have had a lot of coaches Carradine in many different sports over the years and I learned a lot. Unfortunately, I don’t remember much (I should have gotten sober sooner). But here you go, grasshopper.

1. By the time you get to the starting line, all the training, nutrition and stretching is over. The only thing you can do now is give your muscles fuel – oxygen. BREATHE! When we get excited we tend to take shallow breaths – which do not provide much oxygen to our muscles.

When you are training, focus on your breathing. At what point in an exercise does your body naturally inhale or exhale? Is there a more efficient way to breathe? How much to you breathe during rest intervals?

Remember, your muscles are screaming for oxygen. Give it to them.

2. If you don’t need to use a muscle, don’t. Remember, every muscle movement – no matter how small – requires energy. We tend to contract our muscles when we are stressed. You see this a lot in running. Tight shoulders, back and core and scrunched up faces. (It takes energy to scrunch your face up like that, you know.)

Take a look at elite long-distance runners. They are fluid. They move effortlessly. They do not make funny faces. It’s called “efficiency of movement.” Don’t use muscles you don’t need to use and use mother nature and the laws of physics – inertia, gravity, torque – to your advantage. Flow, grasshopper. Flow.

Okay. That’s it. All athletic wisdom I possess. Wait a minute. There’s one more:

Double-tie your shoelaces, grasshopper.