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How Masters Resolve to Evolve

Words of wisdom from Masters athletes.


Like birthdays, celebrating the new year sort of loses its luster once you pass a certain age, and the whole idea of making resolutions (and then failing to stick to them) gets kicked to the curb. So in honor of 2016, I won’t bombard you with a dictatorial diatribe on how to find your “why” or make a dream board or any other litany of goal-reaching strategies that have been done to death. I’m sure you’ve heard it all before and nothing I could say would be actual news.

Instead, I offer up some words of wisdom — some funny, some touching and some hardcore — from actual Masters athletes. These quotes come from our website and Facebook feed, and I even got some impromptu quotes when I pop-quizzed some of the unsuspecting Masters in my own box. Use these words and life lessons to help you stay motivated and pushing forward. Happy 2016, people. Let’s hit it hard.

“Getting older is an interesting experience that for some reason I never thought would happen to me. I feel young in spirit, but the world sees me as older. The worst is when we have a partner WOD and no one chooses me to team with. Don’t they know I’ve sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, that I was an Outward Bound instructor, that I ran a marathon in 3:41? They don’t, and that’s hard, but I accept this stage of my life, stay positive and keep setting goals for myself. My next goal: string together burpees and toes-to-bars in a nice, pretty row.” 

— Terry O’Hara, 57, Guilford, Connecticut

“I started CrossFit as an ‘older Master’ at the ripe age of 47. Three years in, and I’m stronger, fitter and happier than I’ve been in decades. It’s not about winning but living a longer, healthier life. Although beating the younger folk in a WOD is cool, too!” 

— Jonathan Cragle, 50, Washington

“I’m fitter and stronger than I have ever been in my life, and that is motivation enough. I started four years ago and never thought I would be where I am today.” 

— Mary Pont, 48, Branford, Connecticut

“My motivation? Looking at my wife.” 

— David Strong (married to Mary Pont), 49, Branford, Connecticut

“I like looking at Strongo’s wife, too.” 

— Gene Fischer (ogling Mary Pont), 53, Branford, Connecticut

“My goal with CrossFit is to learn one new thing about myself or something about a specific movement or skill each time I train. At the end of a workout, I ask myself, ‘What did I learn today?’ And I always make sure I have an answer.” 

— John Lynch, 43, Guilford, Connecticut; second place 2013 CrossFit Games Masters division (40-44); first place Masters division 2014 Europa Games, Phoenix

“When the going gets tough, pull on your big-boy undies, get off the floor and do another rep.” 

— Gene Fischer, 53, Branford, Connecticut

“I’m a cancer survivor, and I want to be strong enough to beat it should it dare to come back. CrossFit will make that happen.”

— Cathy White, 57, Oswego, Illinois

“As a retired Navy officer, I was doing a disservice to those who wear the uniform by not staying in shape. I started CrossFit in 2014 and since then have lost 50 pounds and gotten off blood-pressure and cholesterol medications. But what motivates me most is knowing I am not ‘done.’ I’m not done improving, not done learning, not done competing. Every little victory — a chest-to-bar or losing 2 pounds — motivates me to keep trying like hell.”

— David Eller, 55, Waterford, Connecticut

“I love the feeling I get when I walk in the door of the box — I know that no matter how much I suck at the WOD, when I walk out, I will be just a little fitter and healthier. I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when I was 21 and have been dependent on insulin for 33 years. But through CrossFit, I have been able to maintain my blood sugar without any complications with kidneys or vision or feet. Also, I love how non-CrossFitters are just a little bit afraid of you. It’s satisfying in a weird way.”

— Robin Sandler, 61, Branford, Connecticut

“Life does not stop, and I am aging every day. I have a lot of people who count on me, so I listen to my body, rest when I have to without guilt and modify, modify, modify.”

— Tricia Wirtz Anderson, 55, Branford, Connecticut

“When I tell my friends about the workouts I do, they scrunch their faces and shake their heads in a way that weirdly motivates me to continue. But when it gets tough — and it gets tough — I remind myself that I don’t want to be typical.”

— Diana Minelli, 53, Branford, Connecticut

“I am a proud Masters athlete, better known as a Silverback, and I have no shame in my weekly Dunkin Donuts indulgence. After five days a week in the box, I deserve it.”

— Sandi Bourget, 66, Maryland

“I am a 5 a.m.-er. Before the kids wake up, before work or other obligations can get in the way, I do my WOD. I prioritize my workout and my health, and I make time to do it.”

— Corinna Bisgaler, 43, Princeton, New Jersey

“You can’t swim out of your gene pool. I have genetic knee problems, and in 2014, I had a total knee replacement. Six weeks post-surgery I was back at CrossFit. Slowly, my body recovered and I got better. My WODs are always scaled. I don’t move as much weight as others, I’m not fast, but I sweat as much and rejoice as much when completing a WOD as everyone else. All our journeys and reasons for working out are different. Mine is to be strong enough to lift my two grandchildren and play long hours with them with the energy of a 25-year-old.”

— Connie Woodson, 58, Arnold, Missouri