Fitter at Fifty: Why It’s Never Too Late to Become an Athlete

Turn on ESPN2 when the CrossFit Games are airing or simply Google “CrossFit” and you’ll no doubt be blown away by the fit physiques of those who could very well pass as Greek deities – or at least demi-gods à la Achilles – in a different time and place. However, in this time and place of 21st-Century America, those mere mortals populating motivational fitness posters and entertaining awestruck spectators with their Herculean feats of strength do share at least one thing in common with the ancient Greeks’ pantheon of gods: they’re in the minority.

The majority of us don’t train with dreams of qualifying for the Olympics or CrossFit Games motivating our every rep. We don’t strive to be the strongest or the fastest. We do strive to be healthy for tomorrow, to become stronger than we were yesterday and, simply put, to feel good today.

If you turn off ESPN and visit a real-life CrossFit box, you will immediately find that there are more people there who resemble Average Joes than Avengers. Sure you’ve got your former collegiate football and soccer players like Jackson and Li, respectively (see below), doing overhead squats and double-unders with ease, but you’ve also got men and women who graduated college decades ago (also below) – athletes in their own right – working out alongside them.

Jackson, former SMU football player doing double-unders at our CrossFit box
Jackson, former SMU football player, doing double-unders at our CrossFit box in this year’s CrossFit Open!





Li played soccer at LeTourneau University. Here she's doing overhead squats at a CrossFit competition last fall!
Li played soccer at LeTourneau University. Here she’s doing overhead squats at a CrossFit competition last fall!
Woman I don't know doing a farmer's carry at a Masters' CrossFit competition. Awesome!
Woman I don’t know doing a farmer’s carry at a Masters’ CrossFit competition. Awesome!



The Baby Boomer generation comprises the true heroes (of the non-mythic sort!) of CrossFit, in my opinion. When they could provide myriad excuses for throwing in the proverbial towel and taking a load off in favor of sedentary pastimes and ho-hum hobbies, they keep working hard and sweating often for great health.

Today on my Blog Talk Radio program I interviewed one of the oldest athletes (yes, “athlete!”) I coach at CrossFit 925. Merrily is fifty years old and will tell you she feels like she’s in her thirties again, and that she’s fitter than she’s ever been.

When she started CrossFit eleven months ago in my garage, she couldn’t do a single sit-up by herself. When she tried performing a 45-pound deadlift (while I wasn’t watching!), she had to sit out the remainder of the workout and schedule a chiropractor appointment for a strained back muscle. When I announced that part of the workout called for a few 200-meter runs, she began to bawl. (Okay, I made that part up. But she really didn’t like running!)



Fast forward to today and Merrily is one of the strongest women in the gym. She can do sit-ups ‘til the cows come home…holding a fourteen-pound medicine ball, I might add. She presses 110 pounds overhead with ease. She deadlifts 250 pounds, and her back feels peachy afterward. And believe it or not, on the days she can’t make it to CrossFit she emails me her “Map My Run” results which show she’s running nearly two miles at a time in less than a half-hour.

Merrily's Before and After photos. The Afters were taken 6 months after she began CrossFit
Merrily’s Before and After photos. The Afters were taken 6 months after she began CrossFit

Yes, Merrily is like Wonder Woman to me. At fifty years old she is pushing herself daily to be the fittest version of herself, and not so she can flaunt a two-piece bathing suit, but so she can live fully and serve others with her gifts and talents every day of her life with confidence, strength, energy, and vitality.  She is living proof that it is never too late to discover one’s inner athlete.

 “He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!” -Psalm 103:5, NLT

Check out our twenty-minute radio interview here:

Listen to internet radio with The Revolution Of Health on Blog Talk Radio

Stay fit, stay faithful ~<3 Di