Never A Lion In Winter


In preparation for the CrossFit Games season, my friend and Masters competitor, Bill Johnston (C), hit's it hard with two of my friends, young bucks, Matt Malone (L) and Chris Morse (R) as they all get after it during some wicked interval work while out in the hot sun. Heck with simply wanting to “be in Billy’s shape when I’m his age”. I’d want to be in Billy’s shape now!

Never A Lion In Winter

One of the only guaranteed investments in life is in your own health and longevity. I don’t care if it’s an investment of your time, your energy or your finances; if you make the investment in your health and longevity, you will see a return on that investment. That return can be greatly magnified and hastened when following an efficacious training protocol such as CrossFit, especially with the guidance of good coaching and solid programming.

My good friend, at the still vibrant age of 90, complained of having trouble getting out of the chair and asked if I had any advice for him. I had him do 3 Air-Squats while holding my hands out as support should he need them, (he did). His depth was marginal and the 3 reps (all he could do at the time) left him sore for a couple days. I told him to do that every day, adding a rep every week. “If you get sore, take a day off.--If you get really sore, take two days off.”, I said. A few months went by before I saw him again. I asked how his squats were progressing and he said, “I’m up to 22 squats a day and they don’t leave me sore anymore.” He proceeded to show me, doing 18 Air-Squats with thighs just a bit below parallel, then stopped and quipped, “Well, dammit, I just ate!”

Think about that for a moment. Even at the age of 90, in little time he went from barely doing 3 assisted Air-Squats that left him very sore, to doing 18 unassisted, (allegedly 22), with “Games acceptable” depth and no residual soreness; proving it truly is never too late to start. Shortly after, he resumed line-dancing and dating all the hot young 70 year olds.

How do you think that adaptation improved his overall quality of life and functional independence? As Glassman has said, “It’s not simply a loss of “cardio” that will rob you of your functional independence; It’s a loss of muscular and neurological strength and of lean muscle-mass.”

A while back, my friend and former owner of CrossFit Watsonville, Sam Radetsky, wrote a blog post commenting on how amazing the Master’s division results were for 13.1, showing how CrossFit is providing an undeniable means for which to stave off the wrath of aging and prolong our youth into our later years.

“The hardest thing about growing old is that other men no longer see you as dangerous.” From ACT OF VALOR

“Arlo, I’m not saying you’re a lion in winter, but your roar ain’t what it used to be.” Boyd Crowder in JUSTIFIED

(“A lion in winter” refers to a proud, prominent, strong man whose great strength and dignity have been eroded by age and adversity, and is originally referenced, I believe, from the James Goldman play about England’s King Henry II, titled, “A Lion in Winter”.)

I’m sure those who see Billy don’t make such assumptions.

My point is, regardless of our age, male or female, we still want to be capable, both physically and mentally, to not simply “maintain functional independence”, but to be able to enjoy our retirement and our grandchildren, effectively share our accrued knowledge with others, guide and inspire younger generations, and still be able to protect the ones we love, boldly facing whatever challenges life throws at us, "Zombie Apocalypse" or otherwise. Sooner or later, the body betrays the will, but improving your physical, mental and emotional health and longevity through CrossFit is an undeniably proven method for procuring those positive adaptations that help ensure our body’s ability to match that of our will, ...forgoing the fate of simply becoming “a lion in winter.”

Pillars of wisdom that they are, we can learn a great deal more from our CrossFit Masters athletes than just the knowledge and wisdom they have accrued over time. Powered by a tenacious work ethic, their continued effort and sacrifice are truly inspirational and exemplify what we are all capable of, should we choose to fight for it.

Crossfit Watsonville



Phone. (831) 687-8239


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