Laurie Nelson Starts CrossFit in her 60s

By Mike Anderson and Laurie Nelson

In Athletes, Coaching, HD Videos

December 01, 2012

Video Article

When Laurie Nelson was in high school, there were no women’s sports. It wasn’t until she graduated from college that college sports started for women. Once at Pepperdine University, where the 67-year-old is an associate professor of sports medicine, Nelson started the women’s athletic program there.

This year, she finished 10th at the Reebok CrossFit Games in the Masters Women 60-Plus Division.

For about a year before she started the program, “she knew that CrossFit was not for her,” says Mike Anderson, owner of CrossFit Malibu, where Nelson trains. Anderson explains that Nelson thought CrossFit was only for elite athletes, so while she encouraged others to go, she stayed away herself.

She was 64 at the time and had a “bad knee” and a “bad foot,” Nelson explains.

”I really, really had no experience with this,” she adds.

When she started, she couldn’t do push-ups, sit-ups or proper air squats. But Nelson quickly realized CrossFit can be scaled for athletes at any level, and she turned a slow start into outstanding performances in the 2012 Open and CrossFit Games. She’s proof that you can improve your fitness at any age no matter what your goals are.

“It’s just absolutely fantastic. I can, first of all, just carry anything I want to carry: the groceries, the luggage, the rocks—I happen to like working in the garden. Whatever it is, I can do it,” she says. “Now I get a chance to be a bit of a role model for other older adults, and I really, really like that because I want them to know where I started and how you can do it.”

Video by Mike Koslap.

6min 38sec

HD file size: 157 MB
SD wmv file size: 79 MB
SD mov file size: 96 MB

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Additional reading: What Is Fitness? by Greg Glassman, published Oct. 1, 2002.

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7 Comments on “Laurie Nelson Starts CrossFit in her 60s ”


wrote …

Keep it up young lady!


wrote …

I love these stories about older adults. I too just joined at crocker river cross fit in Ohio and I am going on 55 first I thought I was over my head.. But my trainer Kyle is so motivating, I still bring up the rear, but I can now do more and have more endurance.. So good job Laurie.. Story is very motivating..


wrote …

What an inspiration for normal everyday people; to know that there is so much more to get out of life as we grow older gracefully. It's ours for the taking and you prove this to be true. Thank you for sharing.


wrote …

Love it. I started CrossFit at age 56 (will be 59 in 2 weeks) and just passed my Level 1 Trainer course 2 weeks ago. Don't have access to a CrossFit box but have given up my spot in the garage to outfit my own. I strongly encourage everyone to attend a level1 class even if they don't plan on actually working as a trainer. I learned a lot about proper technique (which was my primary motivation for attending the class given my lack of access to a coach) but the class gave me so much more. The instructors are fantastic and I came away with a much broader appreciation of whys and wherefores of CrossFit. Seniors rule!


wrote …

What an inspiring lady! I love to see people of all ages participate in CrossFit and become great athletes, it gives people no excuses. Thank you for sharing your story Laurie.


wrote …

I wish you could talk to my Mom!
You go girl, keep rocking it!


wrote …

Laurie, thanks for the encouragement. I am a 61 year old guy who just started CrossFit 3 months ago. I have a long way to go in achieving fitness, but I have progressed so far is such a short time. I am amazed how CrossFit can bring out the dormant athlete that I didn't even know existed in this body, after decades of sedentary office work. I have seen no generation gap or gender gap at CF. Everybody encourages everyone else to the next level.

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