Mary Beth Smith, 49, is always looking for the next new thing in fitness. In her desire to still look great as she got older, she discovered Townie CrossFit in Thomasville, Georgia.
Smith, who has attended Townie CrossFit for the last 16 months, said that she already felt stronger after her first few lessons. This success was mostly attributed to having a capable coach.
“My encouragement and success is due to having a trained coach to lead me in strength training and constant varied functional movements,” Smith said. “(I know) that I have the coach to offer support and correct me when I’m not doing the movements in a way that I should to prevent injury.”
Smith explained that she performs WODs, workouts of the day, that challenge her body. According to Smith, WODs have different names, and she does many that happen to have strong female names – like “Row Cindy Row,” which consists of doing as many reps as possible in 20 minutes of 5 pullups, 10 pushups, 15 air squats, and a 20-calorie row.
“Each WOD usually has a movement I really don’t care to do, like pullups,” Smith said. “But I know if I give it 90 percent or more I’ll get the results I want to achieve.”
After completing a WOD, Smith, who prays before each session, goes through closing remarks with her group. This first includes prayers, then general remarks about the workout and exciting events coming up.
When Smith isn’t working hard during her CrossFit sessions, she does other activities outside the gym that keep her active and entertained.
“I run 5Ks,” Smith said. “I’m working to increase the mileage so I can sign up for a 10K in the near future. My goal is a half marathon this year and at least a rope climb and maybe a chin-up.”
Smith was always comfortable with her body image. She knew she would never be the tiny super model-sized people seen on social media, so she took it in her own hands.
“Developing a passion for fitness surprised me,” she said. “The energy I receive after a quick recovery has been nothing less than amazing. When I first started CrossFit, I noticed the foods that I ate and the amount of sleep I got all affected my workout the next day. My recovery time was longer. As I continued CrossFit, the recovery time was quicker.”
With CrossFit, Smith has noticed a change in her range of motion. Her ability to move has become easier and stronger.
“To me, CrossFit keeps the brain and body guessing,” Smith said. “The focused movements have helped me move more efficiently both in training and in everyday life. The park equipment is no longer a challenge, but an adventure.”
Another factor Smith enjoys about CrossFit is the community it provides for individuals who want to be fit and healthy too.
“CrossFit plays an important part in my life – what an honor it is to be an important part of a fitness community that cares, encourages, and prays for each other,” she said. “Once I caught the CrossFit bug, I knew I would make healthy meal choices, sleep better, and deal with the effects of aging. It’s the hardest yet most rewarding 20 minutes of my day.”
Smith has worked out with many different age groups in CrossFit, from high school ladies to women her age. She said that it doesn’t matter the age, just the passion to be fit.
“There is no pressure,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what phase of life you are in or what age. The general goal is to increase your endurance, and I’ve found that if I live in a body that is fit, almost any daily task that comes my way, I’ll do it better.”
Smith had some last words of encouragement for those who are still hesitant to try something as challenging as CrossFit.
“CrossFit is not just a gym,” she said. “It’s a community where you’re not in a race on a treadmill, but engaging in conversation and support – physical, spiritual and emotional – with the extra bonus of developing friendships.”
Written by: Alex Dunn
Photography by: Caleb Carswell