For Steven Ritza, CrossFit isn’t about Fran times and deadlift PRs.
Ritza, 61, was active in a host of sports until he had a stroke about four and a half years ago. Suddenly, his lifestyle changed and it became a task just to get out of bed. Ritza has been training with Tyler Belanger at CrossFit Catalyst in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. For about a year, and he’s been working hard to regain capacity and improve his life.
The challenges are more than just physical. An engineer by trade, Ritza now struggles with words and numbers, and he admits it can be very depressing. Stroke recovery, he explains, takes you right back to grade-school activities.
“It drives you nuts because you know that your capacity for doing this stuff is way beyond that, but you’re stuck where you are,” he says.
With CrossFit, Ritza has regained his sense of balance and now has the confidence to pick things up, but his main goal was walking his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day.
“You’ve got to look at those things and say, ‘Well, is the effort worth it?’ And it is worth it,” he says.
Ritza has another daughter, and he plans to walk her down the aisle, too.
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Additional reading: CrossFit Is for Everyone by Lynne Knapman, published March 16, 2012.