Erik Olson has been at Blackbird CrossFit for 9 months now. We remember his first WOD where he could literally barely do a sit up. But he has showed up consistently, with a smile and determination to improve a little each day. It was during his first Paleo Challenge where we saw it all click for Erik. He had only been working out with us for a short time, but he jumped right in and saw fantastic results. Within 1 month he lost 13 inches overall, had a 2% decrease in body fat, improved his 1-mile run by 2 minutes, and came in 5th out of 28 athletes. He saw and felt the connection between working hard in the gym and in the kitchen. Erik has maintained his weight loss and healthy overhaul of his life, and has seen great improvement in his lifts and conditioning. He even participated in his 2nd Paleo Challenge this Fall and lost another 1% body fat, shaved 15 more seconds off his mile time, and added over 10 reps to the challenge workout.
The best part is that Erik never uses age as an excuse. Many 50 year olds are under the impression that CrossFit is for bicep-bulging 20-somethings. With Erik, there is no ego to overcome. Don’t get me wrong, he pushes himself hard and works out with great intensity, but it’s within his own limits, not those of the 20-something slugging it out beside him. He has had a great attitude from day one and understood that it wasn’t going to get easier, he was going to get better. And he’s done just that. Meet Erik…
1.TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF.
Erik Olson, age 50! Magruder High School Class of 1983, Saint Mary’s College of MD Class of 1989. Operations Manager at RESCO Electronics, where I’ve worked since 1993. Happily married since 1991 to my beautiful wife Theresa, and proud father of two lovely girls, Paige and Kelly, both in college now.
2. WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START CROSSFIT? WHY DO YOU DO IT NOW?
I joined because I wanted to be fit enough to hike mountains, climb rocks, run 5K and 10K races with friends and family, and play basketball. I also, wanted to be stronger and fitter than my daughter’s boyfriends! Although I initially believed I’d only be here a month or two while getting to a minimum level of fitness, the early results have me feeling way more motivated to stay fit than I initially predicted.
3. WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS AFTER YOUR 1st WOD?
I didn’t know if I could finish the warm-up. My legs felt like jello after the first WOD and it’s a damn miracle that I was able to even walk back to the car! But I loved the intensity and the coaches and the people in the class and knew right away I’d be coming back for much more.
I love that we work out as a team and that the competition is fun and friendly.
5. WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST CROSSFIT MOMENT?
I’m pretty happy about being able to do a few unassisted pull-ups. I couldn’t even do half a pull-up when I started.
I like the kettle bells, box jumps, and wall balls. If I ever figure out double unders, I’ll like them too! Turkish get-ups are the worst.
7. WHAT ARE YOUR CROSSFIT GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING THEM?
I have far exceeded my original goals of just being fit enough to participate. I don’t know what my new fitness goals are, but they include snowboarding, marathons, swimming, and tennis. I would love to complete the “Murph” WOD next Memorial Day.
8. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE NEW TO CROSSFIT OR THINKING OF GIVING IT A TRY?
I was doing everything wrong before CrossFit. If I had one tip, I’d say forget about any one thing being a magic bullet, but instead consider living better in all ways. Eat healthy, show up for the work-outs, sleep more, listen to the coaches. And get your head out of the way on push presses!
9. WHAT IMPACT HAS BLACKBIRD CROSSFIT HAD ON YOUR LIFE, IN AND OUT OF THE GYM?
I’m 50, but feel like I’m 25 now. I can keep up with all my friends of all ages with everything they do. I’ve never felt so healthy and fit.
The intensity is so much higher, and so is the “fun factor”.
11. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND/OR THE IMPORTANCE OF THE DEDICATION TO TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF?
To me, most of the fun things in life require more than just a minimum level of physical fitness. And the more you work on fitness here and now, the more fun things you’ll be able to do later and anywhere. All the work we do at Blackbird makes those fun things more accessible and more achievable.
12. WHAT IS YOUR DIET LIKE? HOW HAS THE CHANGE IMPACTED YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE?
My diet is completely different. I ate 90% paleo for the first three or four months, and 80% paleo now. Eating this way has had real benefits. I have more energy. Cheat meals are more enjoyable because they are more like “treat” meals. And three, all the weight I’ve lost has stayed off.
This is a great place. The coaches I work with include Matt, Rebekah, Steve, Justin, and DJ, and all are terrific! Thanks to all! When I started I didn’t know how I’d work CrossFit into my very busy life, but I enjoy this so much that I work it in.