From Unfit to CrossFit: Being an Athlete in My 50’s

Are you intimidated by fitness? You shouldn’t be!

Meet Shellie Edington, a CrossFit champion in her 50s, and learn how she rediscovered her passion for fitness after years away.

Starting the journey

My road to my number one finish at the CrossFit Games started back in my teen years when I was a competitive gymnast, training and competing with Olympic Gold medalist Mary Lou Retton. In college, I continued training hard but switched to competitive cheerleading.

Yes, I had a strong fitness foundation, but once I got married and had kids, all that fell by the wayside.

I have three girls, and when they were little, I volunteered with our church preschool program and realized that young kids weren’t getting much fitness education. I developed a mobile gymnastics program called Tumblin4Kids, and through that, I heard of CrossFit Kids. Wanting to learn more, I connected with the local CrossFit coach Mitch Potterf, and we swapped classes. He attended one of my Tumblin4Kids classes, and I attended one of his CrossFit training sessions.

Finding CrossFit

Words can’t express what it was like walking into a CrossFit gym for the first time. It was a mixture of intimidation and a feeling of being “home.” The gym looked like an abandoned building—dark, a little dirty, and with minimal equipment. Oddly it felt very much like the gyms of my youth!

That first workout was so intimidating. I could no longer do even one push-up or pull-up, and I couldn’t run. I ended that first workout in a puddle of sweat and misery.

As I peeled myself off the floor to leave, I realized that I needed this. At 46, after years of being a mom and a wife, I needed to work on myself. I needed to get in shape to benefit my business, but most importantly, I needed this for my mental and physical health. I needed to feel good about myself and to have something just for me.

Rediscovering the joy of training

I returned and stuck with it.

Fast forward five months, and Mitch approached me to start competing. At the age of 49, I placed in the World CrossFit Games. And at the age of 51, I made it to the top of the podium - placing first.

If I can start where I was and place first just five years later, you can start CrossFit today and benefit from it. You can do this!

Learning how to train smarter in your 50s

Being an athlete in your 50s is much different than when you’re young, and surprisingly, it’s better:

  • I’m smarter about my body now. I finally know exactly how to keep myself strong, in shape, and healthy.
  • I understand food, thanks to RP, and how it impacts my training. RP helped me dial in my diet to be leaner and faster for the Crossfit Games but not sacrifice strength. I lost 10 lbs, which made a massive difference in my running.
  • I understand recovery and relaxation.
  • I understand that I need to invest in myself. I choose to channel my energies into being stronger both mentally and physically.

There are also some logistic benefits when you’re an athlete in your 50s:

  • I no longer have young children and their schedules to follow. I now have the privilege of choosing what to do with my own schedule and time.
  • I work out with my husband and my now-adult girls, and we bond over workouts.
  • I stay connected with my family and also have an increased energy level, strength in everyday functional movement, an increased range of motion and flexibility, endorphins, and a great body to show for it.

Loving the journey 

Everyone can return to fitness after a long time away or start getting fit for the first time. If you are starting your journey to be an athlete in your 50s, remember:

  • Focus on recovery and staying injury-free.
  • Be disciplined and get good quality sleep.
  • Eat good food. RP can help with that!
  • Stretch and move your muscles before and after each workout.

I promise if you give CrossFit a chance, you’ll see benefits, too, no matter your age! 

And, of course, dialing in your nutrition is critical to fueling your body. The RP Diet app provides you with a personalized nutrition plan tailored to your metabolism, schedule, and training program. No need to guess your ideal calorie intake and macro splits! It's like having a diet coach in your pocket, ensuring you get the fuel your body requires. 

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