Success Stories

“Intensity Never Gets Old”

I started CrossFit three and half years ago at the age of 61 (thank God I got an early start!). I had been a gym rat most of my adult life, usually running and lifting weights on alternate days. And I was in decent shape, I thought, although I could never seem to get rid of those last stubborn 10-15 pounds. But I was becoming kind of bored with the same old routine, and I think my body had adapted to my workouts as well because I never really had to push myself very hard to reach my daily goals. I would break a sweat, but that was pretty much it.

So when I retired I really wanted to find something different to do, maybe a team sport, maybe triathlons, preferably something that had senior divisions so I could compete against my peers. But nothing really jumped out at me, so I went back to the workout routines that I had always done.

I was talking about this one day with my daughter and she asked me if I had heard about these “crazy CrossFit” people she would see on her lunch break flipping tires across the parking lot. I thought about her comment later on and went ahead and searched the internet until I landed on the CrossFit HQ website. I started watching the workout videos and was just blown away by what these people were doing, the way they looked, it was unlike any sport I had ever seen. And hey, some of those guys had grey hair! There is this one gentleman that was in several of the early videos by the name of Jacinto Bonilla, age 73. He was doing all the workouts that the young guns were doing, and he was incredible! So he was the one who inspired me to get off my butt and check it out in person.

It was on a Sunday afternoon and I saw that only ShackleIsland CrossFit had Sunday workouts, so I went over at 3 pm, parked in the lot so that I could get a good view without going in, and just watched. Holy Crap!! It looked like a CrossFit commercial, I mean women were flying off the pull-up bars, guys were dropping tremendously heavy barbells on the floor, and Metallica was blasting across the parking lot, it was insane, yet it was exactly like I had imagined it would be. I signed up the next day and haven’t looked back since.

The first program I signed up for was the three days a week plan. After about 12 weeks I started to notice a change in my body composition, my jeans were becoming too large but my t-shirts were getting tighter. Awesome! After about 6 months I changed to the unlimited plan and began training 5 days a week. Ramping up from three to five days made another huge improvement in my capacity and technical skills, and my body was turning into a fat burning furnace. After three years, without dieting, I have dropped thirty pounds and have added some lean muscle mass as well. Now, they say that Crossfit is not a “weight loss” program, it’s a strength and conditioning programming, which is true, but I am here to tell you if you workout at this intensity 3-5 days a week you will see a tremendous improvement in your physique, regardless of what the scale says.

It’s the intensity at which we workout at CrossFit that differentiates us from all other traditional training programs. And it doesn’t matter whether you are in shape or not (you’re not) when you begin. Your age, athletic background, it all makes very little difference. We all start out learning the Olympic lifts with just a PVC pipe, so no need to worry about getting embarrassed in your first classes. The intensity at which we workout is what leaves us all on the floor after just 12 minutes, drenched in sweat and gasping for breath. We each scale our weights so that we can go balls to the wall for a given amount of time. I may have 65 lbs. on my bar, the girl to my right 95 lbs, and the guy on my left 135 lbs. We each are loading the bar with the most we think we can handle without slowing down. At the end of the workout, all three of us will have gotten an ass-kicking workout, and all three of us should get an equal benefit from that workout because we were all working out at close to our maximum intensity.

So, approaching my 65th birthday, I am confident that I will be stronger, faster and maybe even leaner than I was on my 64th. Of course, there will eventually come a day when I will have to lessen the amount of weight I lift during the workouts, but it won’t affect my general fitness because I will still be training at max intensity. Scaling the weight so as to continue working out at max intensity should allow me to continue CrossFit for as long as I live.

If you are reading this and are wondering if you should give CrossFit a try I say go for it! You won’t believe what you are actually capable of doing! I still drive home after class sometimes not believing what we just did and how did I survive? CrossFit will give you a great measure of confidence and pride in your accomplishments, it is so addicting and fun I guarantee you will be stoked.

I love CrossFit, and I love the people who love Crossfit. I’m pretty sure you will too.

Don Werbeck

I started CrossFit at Shackle Island after lots of eye-rolling at my CrossFit obsessed husband. He kept telling me that I would LOVE it and I needed it to try it. After resisting as long as I could, one of my best friends as well as workout partners decided to take the plunge with me. 3 years later, I can testify with my whole heart that it is by far one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

4 months ago, I tore my ACL and medial/lateral meniscus while jumping on a trampoline with my two girls. It was a blow not only physically but mentally as well. I had reconstructive surgery using my patella tendon and basically had to start from scratch with simple tasks such as walking, sitting down, and climbing stairs. I told Coach Mariela I didn’t think I would be able to do CrossFit again.

She put my membership on hold but told me not to give up. She said she would give me exercises to do with my 9 am class that kept in line with my recovery and physical therapy. One month after my surgery, I walked into the gym and started back with Mariela’s guidance and encouragement.

It’s been 15 weeks since my surgery and while I still have ways to go in getting back to 100%, I have made major strides with my injury. Mariela helped me modify my Crossfit workouts so that I can exercise safely while getting stronger. I am doing movements that I didn’t think were possible this quickly after surgery.

Accidents happen every day. People assume that I got hurt from Crossfit because they don’t understand what it’s all about. It’s not just about lifting the heaviest weights or getting the fastest time on a WOD. It’s about friendship. The friendship that becomes family. It’s walking in that door and hugging the necks of your workout partners that you missed for weeks and knowing that they are in your cheering section, pushing you to get better every day.

Jackie Mewbourne