I am entering my 8th season of CrossFit. Where has the time gone!?! I look back over the years and two things stand out more than anything else. First, I am stronger and fitter now than I have ever been in my career which is pretty awesome since I will soon be 42. And second, my physique has completely transformed into a leaner and stronger version of my 30 year-old self.
Prior to CrossFit I struggled with weight. I was a yo-yo dieter and battled with an unhealthy relationship with food in college and my early adulthood. I was a college volleyball player and at 5’7’’ I was shorter than many of my teammates. Thanks to my genetics I put on muscle easily which back then was not a good thing. I wanted to be tall and skinny like my teammates. Infact, being skinny was always the goal until I found CrossFit in 2009.
I very quickly discovered it was okay to have muscles. And in the first couple of months my body became very lean and muscled. I tried eating Paleo early on and while my body got even leaner, my energy and performance were very low. This was the start of my 7 year journey trying out various diets in attempt to find the best way to eat that would help me both perform my best and feel good about how I looked.
Looking at pictures over the last 7 years, I can see the differences in my body. Sometimes I was too lean, sometimes I was carrying too much mass. Performance wise I was all over the map. I would have a few good workouts in competitions and perhaps one whole day (if I was lucky) where I would feel good, strong and steady. But I wanted more. I wanted to feel consistently strong and energetic throughout the entire weekends, but for years that alluded me.
At the 2015 Games I was too lean and had very little energy, in fact people kept telling me I looked like I needed to eat a hamburger. So I came home from the Games and I started eating more. In 2016 I was at a healthier weight but I still did not feel great in my workouts. I can’t explain how frustrating it is to train so hard in the gym, to get back to the Games and yet still feel lousy. After the 2016 Games I decided I needed help and I needed accountability, I was tired of guessing and “hoping” I would feel good going into workouts.
It’s been nearly 6 months since I started working with Nick Shaw and RP. During that time, I competed in my second ever weightlifting meet, won the Sinclair and qualified for the American Open, and finished 3rd in the Women’s 40-44 division at Wodapalooza. But more important than those achievements, I have consistently felt the best AND consistently performed the best these last 6 months than I have in the last 7 years of my career. I am no longer guessing about what to put into my body, or about what to eat the night before or the day of in competitions.
NUTRITION IS SO IMPORTANT REGARDLESS OF YOUR AGE. But I dare say nutrition is even more crucial for the older athletes because our bodies do not recover like they did when we were younger. I train with athletes significantly younger than myself, and in order for me to have any shot at keeping up with them I must have my nutrition and sleep dialed in. Willpower and mental toughness alone will not get me where I want to be. Having a nutrition plan is every bit as important as having programming for your training. The RP templates take away all guessing, they keep me on track and thanks to all my work with RP, I am right now the best version of myself.
I am excited to be heading into my 7th Open. This is my 3rd year competing in the 40-44 division and it gets tougher every year. That being said, I actually feel more confident heading into this season than I have ever felt in my career. I don’t know what lies ahead but I know I am going into this season as prepared as I could possibly be and that alone gives me such a thrill of satisfaction.
April Lowe is a competitive CrossFit Athlete (Master’s 40-44) and Olympic Weightlifter. She has been pushing her limits in the sport of CrossFit for the past 7 years. She’s been to the CrossFit Games 1 time on a team, and 2 times as an individual and at the age of 41 qualified for the 2016 American Open. April loves sharing her life experiences and passion for fitness by blogging.
You can connect with her @cfaklowe on Instagram and email@example.com