The Older Woman’s Guide to CrossFit Part 6

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These are my notes from my efforts, as a 49 year-old woman, to join the paleo hipsters by trying CrossFit. 🙂 It’s a sort of journal. I don’t know how it will develop, what will happen, it’s just a stream of consciousness as I go through the process that you are welcome to follow along with if you wish. I’ll try over time to include some pictures.

Back to the Beginning

Read about the previous session

CrossFit Session 7

A leetle bit of shame crept into this session. Just a little. It required confidence and ability to stare down another person to get through it.

I’m not sure if it was the trainer feeling embarrassed she’d got it wrong when all the women picked up their weights for WOD and nearly had accidents of various kinds, or what, but she wouldn’t back down without a fight. There was some chiding, she made us go through our form again, and basically I, if no-one else, felt unsure of myself for a moment and uncomfortable about not being able to do it.

But I just couldn’t

So I changed my weight from 10lbs to 5lbs, and after two lifts, the shoulder I dislocated 34 years ago when I dived into a pool was screaming, so I took them off and just used the bar. But it was a lesson – that occasionally you have to listen to yourself and not use peer pressure to make you go further than you feel comfortable.

The WOD was ten rounds of decreasing reps from 10 through 1 of push-ups and lifts (I don’t know what they’re called, there’s so many of them) above the head.

At the end of the session, I asked about integrating into the regular classes, hoping to hear that there were sessions for people like me who’d just got through the fundamentals. The answer was what I feared – that you just attend whichever class suits you (as long as it’s a level 1 class) and scale the WOD to your ability.

That means you working out alongside the fitness elite.

CrossFit Session 8:

After my latest few sessions, I’ve had difficulty sleeping, I have twitchy muscles, restless legs, and some aches and pains. I think I need more magnesium. After the last session, my right shoulder was sore. I’m feeling I’m inching along with this CrossFit thing. I’m hesitant and ambivalent about it because it goes against what I’ve previously held about exercise.

When I broke my arm in 2010, and then my foot in 2012, having never broken any bones at all in my life previously, I realized that both times, I’d been pushing the envelope quite severely. Pushing my limits caused stress, tiredness, judgement lapses.

Slow down

And I made the decision to be more careful. Pushing limits is fine, until, suddenly, you push too far and then have months to rue a moment’s choice.

My shoulder was surprisingly not sore and did not respond badly to the session today. We went over membership – $180 for unlimited drop-ins. It was recommended that we attend 3, 4 even better, sessions a week to build strength. Yikes. Four. And as I had found out in the previous class, we just roll into whatever class suits our schedule.

We then reviewed everything we’d learned. This was where I saw real progress. I could do every lift with the women’s 33lb bar. I had been unable to do that in the earlier sessions.

Our WOD was 3 rounds of 200m run, 5 squats with the bar and 5 lifts with the bar. I used the women’s bar without any weights. It was tough but doable.

That night, though, my shoulder ached again, even though it had held up without pain during the workout. I had RLS and skin crawling. Next session, I will definitely do a magnesium bath afterwards because that feeling, which I haven’t had for a very long time, is miserable.

CrossFit Session 9

The last fundamentals session. We had a test. Sort of.

We each demonstrated a move and the others critiqued it. I simply cannot remember the names of the moves. A clean, a jerk, an overhead squat? Nope, can’t remember them until they are demo’d.

I went into it confident because of my last class success. It was soooooo hot though. 100 degrees in the shade. My shoulder was continuing to ache going into the session and I was concerned how it was going to hold up.


On the way there, I thought about injuries.

The athletes that I know seem to approach injuries with a straight-forward stance. They just are. They’re something to get over, recover from, and then get right back into whatever it was they were doing before they got injured.

One friend, when I mentioned I was a little nervous going into my second session, said that she loved CrossFit and couldn’t wait back to get into it as soon as she’d recovered from injury! Another friend had major knee surgery just so she could resume running marathons.

Red flags

I guess I have a different view of injury – that they are a sign of something, they are feedback, that I’m going at full pelt, faster than my body was designed for. That something needs to change.

I truly believe we have designed a dominant lifestyle for ourselves that is so far from our basic design. We sit too much, we eat too much, we laud achievements – the more, the bigger, the better. The constant struggle for me is how to fight the dominant culture. And so taking on this full-on CrossFit program is challenging my position.

Higher vibrational energy

However, part of me thinks this: That maybe high athletic achievement will translate into greater happiness, income, confidence, life fulfillment. Another part of me badly wants to get strong enough to rescue someone should I have to. If I can go beyond the training sessions and see benefits to CrossFit in other parts of my life, then that would persuade me.

One of our beginner group is a T2 diabetic. His motivation is to lose weight, get stronger, and get off his meds. That is his ulterior motive. Hmmm…that would persuade me too.


Was tough. Apparently it was a repeat of what we did at the first session and hopefully we were to see that we’d improved our abilities: 5 chin-ups, 10 press-ups, 15 squats. As many rounds as we could do in ten minutes. I don’t know if I did better. I did progress onto a looser band to help me do those chin-ups. The others count their rounds, I just work to keep moving the whole time.

The End of the Fundamentals

At the end of the session was the (very gentle) recruitment drive. Three signed up straight away, two deferred, to” think about it”, and one was still discussing it when I left. What did I decide to do, can you guess?

And after…

My shoulder aches again. It wakes me up in the night, a deep, deep ache. I have given myself another 36 hours to decide whether to sign up for next month.

Read what I did next…