The most common question we get at the gym is – “Can I do this?”.

Well, the short answer is  – yes! Absolutely. But this post isn’t my long answer to what the workout looks like, how we can help make it fit for you…

 

This is the story of Steve Bills. Steve is 68 years old and one of the greatest role models at Lift Off Strength – CrossFit Encino.

 

He’s going to share his story, in his words with you in just a sec. But I just want to show you a couple pictures/videos of this amazing man.

 

Steve, 68 years old, doing Step Ups in his FIRST CrossFit Class
Steve, 68 years old, doing Step Ups in his FIRST CrossFit Class

Here’s Steve Bills, 68 years old, doing his 1st BOX JUMP just 4 months into his CrossFit journey.

 

And, without further ado – here’s Steve’s story.

 

My name is Steve Bills, I’m 68 years old.  A year ago I had never heard of crossfit.  Now I’m part of Encino CrossFit Lift-Off Strength workout classes, doing my best to attend three evening classes a week after work.  I’ve been at it for just four months, but my fitness, strength and conditioning have greatly improved and my confidence that I can do this has soared.

I’ve always been reasonably healthy.  I was actively involved in sports throughout my school years and into young adulthood.  But then as the demands of marriage, raising a family, a busy professional life and volunteer work for my church began to take up more and more of my time, my participation in sports and exercise began to diminish.  At age 40 I suffered a lower-back injury while waterskiing that severely limited my level of physical activity and eventually led to corrective surgery.

Thank goodness the surgery was successful, and I’m pain free to this day.  As a result, I was able to resume some occasional favorite sports activities such as skiing and golf, but through the years, work and other demands reduced my sports and exercise time to practically zero.  The only thing I have consistently done over the past several years is daily stretching of my spine and legs, trying to at least stay limber and avoid any further back problems as I entered into my “senior” years.

A year or so ago I began to notice a couple of my friends, both a few years younger than me, who began to look noticeably better – leaner, more muscular, more fit.  I asked them what was up, and it turned out they had both begun doing crossfit classes after work.  Both of these guys have busy family and professional lives like me – one is an investment advisor serving high-net worth clients, and the other is my doctor.  Earlier this year during a regular visit with my doctor we talked again about his crossfit experience which by then he had been doing for a couple years.  He encouraged me to check it out and I got motivated to do just that.

I was sitting at my desk at work, right here in Encino, and googled “crossfit…” and it auto-filled to “crossfit gyms near me.”  I clicked, and found the one closest to my office – Encino CrossFit Lift-Off Strength, just a half-mile away.  That day I stopped by after work, parked on Ventura and, feeling pretty intimidated, walked through the open front door.  I saw lots of activity and heard lots of shouting over the loud music that was playing.  I asked the nearest person, a twenty- or thirty-something girl in workout clothes if there was someone who could tell me a little bit about the gym.

She called out to Eric who was standing nearby.  Eric came over and greeted me in a very warm and friendly way and invited me to make an appointment to come and see the operation and visit with him about my background and fitness goals.  We met the next evening.  My biggest fears about starting an exercise program were that I would be too old, or too weak, or too out of shape to keep up with what I assumed would be a rigorous, demanding exercise routine, that I would feel out-of-place among other participants who were all younger and in much better shape than me, and that I would quickly become discouraged and quit.  I was concerned that crossfit might not be the right fit for me.

Eric assured me that if I was physically able to exercise and willing to commit to participating in regular workouts, my age and present physical condition would not be a problem.  So I made the commitment.  I completed my three private onboarding training sessions and began attending regular training classes.  That was four months ago and I’m still going strong.  I’ve lost a few pounds, my strength and conditioning have improved, and I’ve gained a huge amount of confidence that I can do this.  In my classes during the first several weeks I had to stop regularly and sit or lie down to catch my breath, but gradually, as my strength and conditioning have improved, I am finding myself more and more able to keep up.

The coaches are the best – they are the ones who have made it work for me.  First of all, they always greet you by name as you enter, and they seem genuinely happy to see you.  During classes they always make sure everyone understands the exercise or the routine they want you to do.  They watch and make sure you’re doing it correctly to get maximum benefit and avoid injury.  If a particular routine or movement is too strenuous or difficult for your particular level of fitness, they’ll suggest a substitute that works for you until you’re able to “graduate” to what others are doing.  There has never any shaming or negative comments, only support and encouragement.  They watch each individual carefully and constantly ask you how you’re doing and offer suggestions and positive reinforcement.  It doesn’t matter to them that I may be the weakest or least in-shape person in the class, they tailor the workout to my level and make sure I’m getting the most out of it.  They won’t let me loaf, and they push me to reach my maximum effort with the goal of continuous improvement.

I’m four months in and very happy with my progress to date and my decision to join CrossFit Encino Lift-Off Strength.  It’s definitely the right fit for me!

Steve Bills

December 2, 2018