In CrossFit, Special Populations, Videos

May 11, 2011

Video Article

John Van Every, owner of CrossFit Longevity in Santa Cruz, Calif., is bringing CrossFit to athletes 50 years old and older. After Van Every began training his father, both were quickly sold on the idea of bringing CrossFit to others in this demographic.

“We started thinking that offering CrossFit to his age group would be something that would be very beneficial,” John says.

In Part 1, Van Every talks about the success of his affiliate and athletes as well as the obstacles he’s encountered. He says getting new clients in the door is a challenge because many in the age group don’t stay connected through social media.

“Generally, I’ve had to shift the way that I market towards this age demographic, and it’s been a challenge, and we’re still working on that. So really, word of mouth has worked the best so far,” he says.

His athletes are proud of the improvement they have made, and none have left the program.

“I’ve noticed that I am much stronger. Before I came in here, I was having problems getting up off the floor,” says 66-year-old Gloria Thomas. “But I’m much stronger now, so I can do that by myself.”

In Part 2, John and his father, Dr. John Van Every, share their familiarity with Coach Greg Glassman, having met CrossFit’s founder and CEO during the formative years of his coaching.

Part 1
12min 50sec

Part 2
3min 33sec

Additional reading: Training Silvers by Joey Powell, published May 28, 2010.

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Part 1:
Part 2:


13 Comments on “The Story of Longevity: Parts 1-2”


wrote …

That is a crazy story, hahahahahahahah! Love it!


wrote …

Sweet video. Cool to see Clint Eastwood doing CrossFit! He looks so young.


wrote …

This is an excellent story, awesome to see the impact on your clients!!

Seven - only watched the vid to see what you meant by CE; funny. Glad you said that because I love this idea.


replied to comment from Sevan Matossian

dude. sevan. I was thinking EXACTLY the same thing about Clint Eastwood's doppelganger :)


wrote …

I'm 54 been doing CF for 2 1/2 years needless to say it has made a huge difference in my life. It’s wonderful to see people my own age doing CF. Sadly only a few are at my box but for the ones who do join you can see a tremendous change in their bodies. The ones who come in the door stay, how we get more in the door is the question. It’s very intimidating seeing all these young people sling weights but you get over it. I do enjoy working out with the whole community as one although I routinely get my ass handed back to me. But we come back and do it again and again.

Thank you all


wrote …

Great story! This age demographic should do CrossFit, but yes to train with your own peer age group you can relate to eachother much better and not try to compete with the 20-30 year-old group, who have a different goal. Every box should have this class! Spread the word!


wrote …

Although I'm not quite there yet, just close, I think that a crossfit variant focused on the 50+ crowd is a great idea, and possibly a great way to motivate and encourage folks in that demographic to participate. I hopped into the general Crossfit population for the first time at age 46, and enjoy it immensely, but at the same time it's apparent that a typical mixed-age environment might be prohibitively uncomfortable for, say, my parents. I wish Mr. Van Every nothing but success. The effort of the community to reach out to everyone is always inspiring.


Tammi Byxbee wrote …

That was fantastic-I'd be interested in getting certified through CrossFit to offer this.


wrote …

John, I want to commend you on your work. You took a risk and stepped out there to take on a demographic that tends to be forgotten about when it comes to fitness. There is a percentage that still participate in some aspect of it because perhaps they have always been active from the time they were young. But there are those who just kind of 'fall off the wagon' for various reasons (work, life, family etc.) and just get comfortable with not exercising until it becomes necessary because their Dr. told them. They've gone so long without it that they don't know where to start.

I'm pushing 50 (will be in July) and I've been pretty active mostly with weight training for the better part of 30 years. I discovered Crossfit a couple years ago when my chiropractor's husband (a powerlifter) mentioned it. I took a look at the sight but pretty much dismissed it. But after still mentioning that I wanted to do something different, he told me about the Crossfit main site again. This time I took a much deeper look into it. I watched all the Regional and Sectional videos and some of the tutorials and all I could say was 'who are these crazy people!' But this is exactly what what I have been looking for. Something that's going to leave me on the floor about to die.

I have always admired how boxers train. They almost totally exhaust themselves daily getting ready for a fight. I wanted that sort of intensity. This does it for me. I never got this with bodybuilding.

I still haven't joined a box due to prices and my schedule being somewhat unpredictable. The closest boxes teach their last class before I can get there. So for the past year I've been pretty much doing what WODs I could at my globo gym. Some people have commented on what I've been doing but I've been hearing the word 'Crossfit' tossed around more regularly now. So there is greater awareness. But mostly with the younger crowd.

I work at UCLA and they have been doing a strength and conditioning program that incorporates a lot of Crossfit for anyone who wants to do it regardless of age and fitness level. Both coaches are Crossfit Football certified and they come from a training background. A lot of what we do is very challenging to the majority of the class because they probably came from the mindset that all they need to do is some stairmaster, ellipse or stationary biking. Some may have never touched a barbell or exercised ever. Now they find themselves doing wall ball shots, slam balls, push-ups and deadlifts. They are doing things they never saw themselves doing. I'm fortunate to have found Crossfit because it allows me to work even harder in the class since there is someone barking out what we need to be doing. Some have told me that I'm an inspiration. But it's just that I've been doing it longer. There's no magic. I have a long long way to go. Some are older them me and they are the inspiration.

So thanks for doing this and reminding and encouraging people that it's never too late to start. If I'm ever in the Santa Cruz area again, I plan on stopping by.


wrote …

Lovely Story and it's nice to know that there are coaches out there that are willing to train and encourage the 50s something to keep on training. How amazing is it the Craig Glassman has rented a room from his mum before he created Crossfit??? And trained his Dad??? How amazing is that??? Good on you John. Keep up the excellent work x


wrote …

Yeah, your dad looks more like Clint Eastwood than I used to. Clint's look and mine began to diverge when I was in my 40s.

My son trained, and to some extent trains, me. I'm 67, certified as a CrossFit trainer and certified in mobility and movement by Kelly Starrett. I started a program called CrossFit for Classics Aug.2010 at my son's gym CrossFit Dominion in the Stapleton community in Denver but I realized that I DIDN'T KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT AGING PHYSIOLOGY to do the job correctly. I've done a bit of coaching at my son's gym but mainly have been researching the subject for the past 9 months. I expect to know enough to restart my endeavor as FITNESS FOR CLASSICS (tm)shortly.

I wish you the best of luck in your endeavor but I'm not quite convinced you know what you're doing.


wrote …

This is Perfect!! Way to take the chance on this idea, John! You are right, 20-40 somethings have different goals for their fitness levels than most of the 50+ crowd. I applaud all of your 50+ athletes!
Keep up the great work!


wrote …

This is so cool - great job, John!

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