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Live to 100, Die on Your Feet by Andréa Maria Cecil - CrossFit Journal

Live to 100, Die on Your Feet

By Andréa Maria Cecil

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Septuagenarian CrossFit coach Mike Suhadolnik refuses to let his peers age gracefully.

Mike Suhadolnik, a former offensive tackle and middle guard at Illinois State University, spent most of his life powerlifting. At his best, he benched 350, squatted 450 and deadlifted 550 lb. His physique implied fitness. But when his daughter Molly and her now-fiancé Tim Hahn asked him to overhead squat more than seven years ago, he couldn’t get the bar over his head.

Then they asked him to do burpees.

“I played football in college. I said, ‘No problem,’” Suhadolnik recounted. “I couldn’t do a burpee.”

Disturbed by this, the then-65-year-old visited his doctor in Springfield.

“I told him I wanted to live until I was at least 110 years old but that I did not want somebody pushing me around in a wheelchair, walking with a walker or having someone wipe my butt,” said Suhadolnik, today 223 lb.

The doctor recommended changes to Suhadolnik’s diet, including eliminating processed sugar, dairy and grains. Suhadolnik also became an athlete at CrossFit Instinct, Molly’s affiliate.

In the year that followed, Suhadolnik reduced his body fat by more than 16 percent and gained 12 lb. of muscle. He also paid closer attention to the world around him and the people in it.

“Every time I turned the television on, it seems like all they were showing (was) big butts and fat guts,” he said.

He decided to do something.

It started with a program he dubbed Doctors Get Fit, and it turned into CrossFit Instinct’s Longevity class. The Longevity program includes about 25 people split between the 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. classes that occur almost daily.

“Hey, don’t wait until you have that heart attack and then start working out,“ Suhadolnik said. ”Bullshit. Do it right now. Start right now.”

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3 Comments on “Live to 100, Die on Your Feet”


wrote …

Awesome job Mike, I am interested in how to start a similar program here in Oklahoma City. I am 69 yrs. old, have a CF L1 plus certified by the American Council on Exercise and have been coaching for nearly 20 years (have only been doing CF for a year. I have Coached a "CF Lite" class but it was for the general population. I have presented a similar program as your to some local boxes but they have shown little to no interest stating that there was not a demand for this, of course I think it is the most important age group to be involved in CF but I guess the chase of money outweighs the benefits to the "senior" age group.
If you, or anyone can help me with a better approach I am more than willing to listen.


wrote …

Very inspiring video but the coach's blue shirt caught my eye "Cheaper than Insulin" and it kind of hit a nerve because it continues to tell me that our community needs more education about diabetes. I am a type 1 diabetic and poor diet and being sedentary did not kill my pancreas--it is an autoimmune disease. Type 2 diabetes starts off as insulin resistance from poor diet and no exercise. I have to be on insulin the rest of my life as there is no cure for Type 1 diabetes but you can rid your body of Type 2 diabetes through weight loss, proper diet and exercise. I was actually 130# at diagnosis. Currently, I follow a fairly strict diet (95% of the time) and I exercise 5-6 days a week as I try to prevent complications. I have even gained 30# but I am stronger and leaner than I was at 130#. But I guess it is upsetting that being a Diabetic comes with a I did something wrong to get this. PLEASE know the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 as they are 2 different diseases.


I have the same difficulties to get older people in the box. Box owners are not very interested. I can not understand why, because older people have a high moral on paying their debts. And once they started, they are very loyal. So, the group of older people can indeed be the financial base of an affiliate.
Ofcourse there a lot of people who can not be cured by crossfit. But crossfit can prevent a lot. If you get stronger and more flexable, the quality of life increases.
Keep up the good work and keep on pushing!

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