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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 01-17-2005, 04:29 PM   #1
Fran Mason
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I’ve aspired to be strong physically since grade school when I started doing push-ups and sit-ups on my own at home in sixth grade. As a young adult I kept active with bike riding, rollerblading, easy stuff. I did not get serious about exploring physical limits until the past three years, with a strenuous fitness program, and then joined CrossFit last fall.

I’m 40. I hope to find I’m still capable of achieving at least some of the things I could have done if I’d started this in my 20s. For instance, like a few other women I know at CrossFit North, I decided one of my goals is a muscle-up in 2005. I go back and forth: I’m pretty strong now so it should be realistic for me to work up to that goal; yet are there any women over 40 doing muscle-ups? Am I doomed to fail? (No, of course not… right?)

Most of my goals are vague. I just like to find out what I can do. How much can I lift? How fast could I run or row? If I try to be more specific and concrete with strength or speed goals, I get confused by having no idea what’s realistic for someone like me. I don’t want to rule anything out, yet I don’t want to kid myself to the point of sounding ridiculous.

I think men have a long history of testing themselves physically through their 40s and even 50s, but it seems to me that this is new to women. How do we know what’s realistic for us? Is it crazy to see much younger women as role models? How do we deal with minor injuries, and can we expect to grow beyond them? (God forbid a doctor should tell me not to start lifting weights at my age!)

What do women hope or expect to be doing in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and beyond? Are we going to be lifting weights, climbing a rope, and so on, or if not, then what? I’d love to hear what other women and men think about these attitudes and questions. We are all getting older, after all!
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Old 01-17-2005, 04:46 PM   #2
Matt Schwartz
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I think you have a great attitude. It's all about how you feel and how well you take care of yourself. More and more research is showing how people still have great learning and athletic potential as they age.
Matt
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Old 01-17-2005, 04:56 PM   #3
Lynne Pitts
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Hey Fran,
Welcome aboard! I've recently started reading your blog; nice to see you here.

FWIW, Kelly Moore and I are both 40+; my background is like yours: started young, kept at it; I've been a competitive powerlifter and seriously pushed the limits of physical strength. So has Kelly.

She can do multiple consecutive MU's; I can do one at a time on a good day. For me, I know it's technique, not strength, since I have plenty of upper body strength.

No reason you can't as well. If you can do dips and pullups easily, that will help immensely.

Speaking for myself, I'll still be at it 'til I can't. Hopefully I'll be an 80 y.o. CrossFit old lady! I'm sure not stopping now; too much to accomplish, too many challenges to conquer.
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Old 01-17-2005, 08:13 PM   #4
Roger Harrell
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I've got a couple 40+ year old mothers (literally) in my gymnastics class. They've made a TON of progress. Keep training, keep pushing and you will see huge benifits.
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Old 01-17-2005, 09:22 PM   #5
Laura Rucker
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Hi, Fran! Thanks for asking that question. I'm practically 39 and recently started CrossFit as my main mode of exercise. I've only recently become an active person and I'm really pushing myself on this program. I've been glad to see the number of women really doing this stuff. Lynne and Kelly are doing stuff I would like to be able to do - though I am not sure I can attain the level they can, I don't have much time to train and I use every bit of it in Crossfit.

However I can say this, since I've always been fairly unfit, every level I get to at this age is that much better than I was at 30 or even 20.

Lynne, if one day I can do one muscle up at a time I will dance in the streets!
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Old 01-18-2005, 04:56 AM   #6
Lynne Pitts
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Laura,
When you're dancing, be sure we get pictures!
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Old 01-18-2005, 10:51 AM   #7
Laura Rucker
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Digital Video clip, of course! ;)

Thanks for the vote of confidence. If I had said the same thing about a pull up 6 months ago, you'd have your entertainment of the week right now!

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Old 01-18-2005, 11:15 AM   #8
Fran Mason
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Thanks for the encouragement. Lynne, I didn't realize you and Kelly were 40+, that's good to know.

If we women are all planning to be a "CrossFit lady at eighty" (rhyme!), I wonder what allowances we'll have to make for aging tendons, etc., and I wonder how fast strength declines when one is striving to maintain muscle mass?

Right now I feel like I'm as strong as I was in my 20s, but on bike rides I can tell my reflexes aren't what they were and so I'm more cautious - I don't weave between lanes of traffic any more!
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Old 01-18-2005, 11:38 AM   #9
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Fran, I'd like to echo Matt's comment on your great attitude. Look at my profile and you'll see: male, 23.... but age, build, sex etc are not such a huge advantage. Sure, I'll run faster than some, slower than others, lift more than some, less than others....But physical attributes aren't the be all and end all of it. Motivation, mental strength, creativity, strength of personality etc. are all important factors, and in the end we all (perhaps excluding some elite athletes) balance out. Acheivements cannot just be measured in mins:seconds and lbs. Your potential is just as great as anyone else whose started this programme, and from the tone of your post I'm sure you'll achieve much more than many younger, stronger etc.
Keep at it!
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Old 01-18-2005, 11:39 AM   #10
Beth Moscov
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Hi Fran,

I am also over 40, 43 to be exact. I find crossfit is making me younger. Laura, I am hoping for a muscle up sometime soon too!
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