Paul Manfre writes about what happened to his experience of aging when he started CrossFit.
Getting old sucks. I’m only 51, not ancient by any means, but I can see the future, and it ain’t pretty. I’m fatter than I used to be, less buffed than I used to be, even shorter than I used to be—all this, despite an active lifestyle that gives me the appearance of someone years younger than my peers. For years I’ve gone to the gym. I’ve been a runner forever; a while ago, I began doing triathlons. But things start happening that are out of your control. I went from running 10 miles a day, to running 200 yards and feeling like I couldn’t run anymore. At 30, I could run 10 miles without having run in months, but not now—my knee, my ankle, my this, my that, would hurt.
At 51 years old, with 195 pounds that I think is muscle, and in what I think is great shape except for a bad lower back and terrible shoulders, I walk into this CrossFit box. I’m this former warrior, with a never-quit attitude, ready to show this CrossFit trainer what I got. And I quickly find out that I GOT NOTHING!
Being crushed, I think, could cause many people to be embarrassed or intimidated or, worse, quit. But I sucked it up. I substituted scaled Workouts of the Day (WODs) for those I knew I could not do or would be terrible doing. I became a student again. For the next several weeks, as we went through foundations, I learned to do the movements more correctly.
And when I do, an amazing thing happens: I notice that I don’t limp any more when I get out of bed. My shoulder still hurts all the time but I have a much improved range of motion. I can actually get my arms above my head, something that a short time ago was impossible. I’m doing the WOD scaled, but I suddenly do one as RX’d, and I get better and better.
Plus, Manfre’s Dirty Dozen: Rules To Live By for 50+ CrossFitters