Masters Level Athlete: We will all be there one day

When Jared and I laid out our business model for NapTown over 5 years ago, we tried to understand the demographics we would be working with in downtown Indy. One demographic we considered was the 40+ year old demographic, a group we knew nothing about as 2 dudes in their twenties. Over the years, our business (and we) has grown and we have come to know the 40+ age demographic very well.

Previously, my only real experience with that age group was with my parents. My dad turned 80 this year and my mom is 64 (but don’t tell her I told you that). Some might consider them old, but few would be able to accurately guess their age based on just seeing them. My parents are amazing and helped me grow to be the athlete and man I am today, but I would not call either of them “athletes.”  I have vivid memories from childhood of my mom dropping me at the local daycare so she could go to her step aerobics classes and of my dad swimming laps in our pool at 7:00 am. They may not have taught me how to throw a pitch, kick a ball, or run, but they did teach me the importance of establishing healthy habits and finding what worked for me by showing me what worked for them. It makes me smile to see how many parents we have within the NapTown community that are doing the same thing for their children. They are stepping up and showing their kids the value of exercise, athletics, and hard work. As any new parent knows, it is SO important to decide what habits you want to bring your child up with.

The biggest lesson I have learned from my parents and working with so many clients at CrossFit NapTown is that one day we will all be “masters athletes.” I am grateful to know so many wonderful people in this category because I truly believe they are the ones paving the way for our future.

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Sure, it is amazing to see a 20 something year old hit an amazing Fran time or a Snatch PR, there is something innately inspiring about watching young people be… well, young! I find it equally, if not more impressive though watching older clients get shiz done. Isn’t it cool to see a 45 year old that works 50 hours and week and has 3 kids complete Fran as RX? What about watching a 60 year old grandparent learn how to do an overhead squat for the first time in their life. To me, this is just as inspiring as the Rich Fronings of the world.

We sensationalize the young being youthful, but we spend a fraction of our time in that state. Is it not time to glorify the reality, which is that we are longer in our mid-life and old age longer than we are in our youth?  As we continue to age, what path do we want to walk? What values do we want to embrace in our lives and show to our friends, families, and peers?

Why stop showing the world what you are made of when you are out of your 20’s? I watched many women perform in a functional fitness competition a few months back (GLOC). You know what my favorite part was? Seeing these women perform in front of their families and hearing their children cheer them on. Maybe the ladies didn’t do as well as they wanted, maybe they did; either way they showed their children something way more important. They taught them life lessons without having some long chat or trying to belabor a point. They lead by example and laid groundwork for their children to build on.

We all must come to the realization that we all age. We all workout for different reasons and those reasons will change as we continue to grow as people, whether that be in age, character, or experience. The goals I set as a 21 year old are different from those I set today as a 31 year old, and they will be different yet again in a few years.  No matter what the age, it is important that we continue to ask ourselves: why do I do this and what are my goals?

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Seeing that I am not a Master’s athlete yet, I asked a few of our members for their answer to the question, “why do you CrossFit?” and I got many different answers, here are a few quotes from your peers:

 

Athlete 1:


I workout because of the way it makes me feel: before the workout: knowing that I’m going to sweat, work, and produce in a manner that is really good for my well-being, during the workout: competing with the same person every day = Me and my aging metabolism, and after the workout: totally exhausted and energized at the same time. I love that feeling and when I don’t CrossFit I truly miss that. 

I also like the feeling of going through a difficult experience with a group – not only because it makes the workout easier, but because I like seeing others reach/surpass their potential. When you make it through something difficult with others you want to talk about it  … hence the CrossFit stereotype that all we talk about is CrossFit :).

 

Athlete 2:

After having kids, I really struggled to find a workout routine that worked for me.  After 5 years, I had put on nearly 100 pounds and was feeling rather hopeless.  I happened into CF NapTown because a couple of co-workers were doing it and they had a noon class, which didn’t affect my family life.  

There was something about having the coached classes, the barbells, the focus on technique, the seeming randomness and the community aspect that really was appealing to me.  It felt like I belonged from the beginning…I always felt welcomed, I always felt encouraged, I always felt coached and I always felt happier when I left.  As a consequence I am a healthier, happier father, husband and person today.  

 

Athlete 3:  

From day one I felt a real sense of belonging at NapTown…  It took me a long time to realize how important this piece was for me.  Balancing all that life asks (for me, marriage/parenting/kids activities/working, the list goes on), there isn’t much time for socializing outside of my day to day space.  NapTown provides a real and meaningful outlet for me as a community that I can be a part of.

The accountability that coaches and friends provide goes a long way for getting me to come back to the gym and to work hard once I am there. I would wager there are limited few that can maintain the internal fortitude to consistently wake-up at 0’dark thirty and walk into a solitary garage and generate the kind of output the 5:45 class does day in and day out.

I have always been a runner and there are some harden fast realities of an aging runner, you get slower.  Stated another way, my running PR’s are long behind me.  Athletic capacity diminishes in any athletic endeavor with age; however, in CrossFit I discovered a new athletic outlet for me (strength training).  The result is I have been setting PR’s on a fairly regular basis… The amazing thing is I don’t see this kind of positive feedback stopping anytime soon. 

Perhaps most importantly,  CrossFit (and specifically CFNT) works for me.  I am the oldest I’ve ever been and I feel about as healthy as I ever have (except after Karen…I don’t feel healthy for about a week after Karen).  I want to sustain that health so that I can take on whatever life throws my way, especially when life throws my way a lot of disposable time where I can tackle bucket items like hiking the Pacific Coast Trail with my wife or simply living a long healthy and active life.

They all use CrossFit for many reasons, but they all have a few common themes: the community around them, the empowerment they feel in the gym, and to be the best versions of themselves. These members, and many more of our amazing Masters, prove every day that age is just a number. If you are in that category already, then pat yourself on the back and keep on keepin on because you still have a lot of badassery left to accomplish. If you are a young pup, then remember these masters as you continue to age and know that fitness doesn’t stop beyond 40.

Author: Peter Brasovan ~ father of one human and one dog, collegiate soccer player, gym owner, teller of dad jokes long before he was a dad