Bill Sutton, a 76-year-old Marine veteran, is the epitome of longevity and endurance. This fitness fanatic is a regular at Thomasville’s local Crossfit community, Townie.
The grandfather of five recently celebrated his 40th wedding anniversary by hiking Blood Mountain, the highest mountain on the Appalachian trail, with his wife right beside him. Sutton has developed a love for exercise since his introduction into the Crossfit world thanks to his son William, who regularly attended the fitness program.
“I guess I kind of fell into it,” he said. “I wasn’t searching for it, but once I saw William attending the sessions with his family, I was influenced to go.”
Once Sutton showed interest in the program, he met Jonathan Watt, the lead trainer at Townie Crossfit. Watt offered Sutton a free lesson, and he hasn’t looked back since.
“I love the workouts; they’re extremely exhausting but addicting at the same,” Sutton said. “There hasn’t been a time where I wasn’t on my back, but the natural high is priceless. Jonathan Watt is a great gym owner as well; he makes the gym a welcoming atmosphere.”
Sutton went deeper into explaining how the Crossfit environment has helped his workout experience. He said that every individual is uplifting and goal oriented.
“The people there are great,” he said. “They call themselves a fitness community, and it’s true. I wake up early and attend the 8:30 (a.m.) class. The people there are so encouraging, and it’s not competitive. It’s excellent. I can’t speak highly enough about the place. Come try it out. It’s a free-for-all, and you’re surrounded by a great group. I love the camaraderie.”
As a former high school All-American diver, Sutton has been naturally athletic for his entire life; however, he admitted to not taking exercise as seriously in his younger days. Crossfit is his first workout program ever, and he maintains a strict weekly regimen by working out every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
“My recovery days are on Wednesdays and Sundays; I have to allow my body to heal,” he said. “I can honestly say that I’m in better shape than I was in my twenties.”
Sutton recommends Crossfit to each and every person, no matter what age. He explained the importance of pace and awareness of one’s athletic ability. Knowing what level to begin his Crossfit journey has helped Sutton effectively improve his fitness.
“The difficulty of the workout depends on your general health,” he said. “It could work for anyone who is in reasonable health, and you don’t have to be in shape. The workouts can be scaled to the individual’s capability. It gives you the control to do what you can do. The Townie community looks out for me.”
Sutton said that he enjoys cardio and lower body workouts. He continues to set the bar higher each day by pushing himself to accomplish more than the previous day.
“Right now, I would say box jumps are my favorite,” he said. “I can do 26 inches, but before long I want to get to 30 inches. I’m seeking improvement to set an example for myself and others.”
Sutton said the most impactful life lesson he’s learned through Crossfit is to give and show gratitude.
“In everything, give thanks,” he said. “You can’t give thanks for a whole bunch of things, but you can give in it.”
Written by: Dominic Ligon
Photography by: Jesse Taylor