The experimental results are in. Under optimal conditions I can do a CrossFit WOD 4 times in five days and not be obviously injured.
That’s no trick for under 30, but over 55 there’s a fuzzy border between enough and too much. Shoulders, knees, wrists (again), butt tendons and backs take turns being funky. Not to mention errant barbell strikes. And the unrelated arthritis.
Yeah, that does sound kind of grim, but the body does some of that just sitting around. The knees were from mountain biking, and the piriformis problem was hockey. With my genes, being old* and active is experiential sports medicine.
I like it though. I even like putting a toe over that fuzzy border once in a while.
I don’t want injuries to bench me though, so here’s my year 3 of CrossFit recipe for staying more or less out of trouble.
- 3 “Workout of the Day” (WOD) every week. Sometimes 4, but I was pushing things this week.
- My WOD target is “Women’s Rx”. I can do that for some movements and weights. This tends to be close to the men’s “master’s Rx” of competitive CrossFit. Muscle fatigue is my main weakness, I think that’s true of most 40+.
- I listen to my coaches. They have good advice.
- 1-2 Open Gym workouts - a light version of a WOD or a special movement or muscle group. Like $*&^% double-unders or bar muscle ups or handstand pushups.
- I started taking one of those whacky protein supplement powders after my big workouts. You can blame that on a recent publication that showed it helping in a small trial of exercise and weight loss. It includes magical arthritis supplements that I’m supposed to take anyway (though they probably don’t do anything)
- Hockey and/or Mountain Biking 1-3 times a week (sub Nordic Skiing**, road biking, swimming, running, underwater hockey, etc)
I think I can keep that going for a few years more, depending on what surprises age brings. I’ve learned that the researchers are right, the body adapts to exercise by increasing energy efficiency — diet is still a challenge. I can’t survive doing CrossFit at the frequency needed to balance my calorie intake, so it has to be supplemented by calorie burning activities that are easier on the old body (bicycling, hockey, etc)
It really is fun.
* 50 is not the new 30. Sorry. Don’t talk about 80. Please.
** Nordic Skiing was my all-time favorite exercise. I’m not a global warming fan.
- On knee pain and the state of medical knowledge (updated) 9/2015: turned out to be partly chondromalacia, but weirdly it went away.
- Fixing a painful wrist with high frequency weightlifting and wrist hyperextension. WTF 10/2015: bodies are weird
- Deep Burning Butt Ache review: Piriformis syndrome, sciatica, deep gluteal syndrome, sacroiliac syndrome, deep buttock syndrome: 2/2016. The stretches worked!
- CrossFit at 54 8/2013. I stopped seeing tattoos. That’s odd.
- Growing old grudgingly: The CrossFit Inversion: 12/2015: But this week I had a new record bench press weight.
- Anecdote - exercise and weight control. It takes a lot 12/2014: You can out-eat almost any amount of exertion.
- Exercise on the exit ramp - the 30 year plan: 11/2014 - scaling with age, ending with golf
- Exercising hard as an old person - one year of CrossFit: 4/2014. Then I did 70-80% of women’s Rx.
- Why geezers hit the gym 3/2014