No Rep to the Widowmaker Heart Attack
My name is Jim Rowe and I am 70 years
old and have been doing CrossFit for just over three years. In fact, today I
did my 627th workout. When I first started CrossFit, I
couldn’t even do a simple front squat. Everything seemed impossible. Over the
past three years, I feel like my life and my body have had a total transformation.
I’ve lost over 75 pounds and six inches off my waist. I hesitate to
think what may have happened if I hadn’t found CrossFit. I happened to be at a
restaurant when I went to a lot of restaurants, and there was a young man
there who was a waiter and he lost quite a bit of weight. And I asked him, I said, “What did you do?” He said, “I go to CrossFit.” And he invited me. I thought, “Come on now, look who you’re inviting.” He says, “Give it a try.” And I did. Well, the first time I walked in, Kyle actually met me and they had me do seven little exercises, of which I was not able to do any. Not any. Now when I go into
CrossFit, it’s a different thing. I belong. The people know who I am. To get encouragement when you’re doing a workout. My goal now is whenever the WOD goes on the board, I want to finish it. [Kyle:] Over the last three years, the change that has happened to Jim is unbelievable. He is the ideal CrossFit member in the
sense that he every day listens to the coach. He every day scales the workout
like we ask him to. He puts in the work outside the gym as well, which is a
humongous factor as to all his success. [Pamela:] I must tell you that five years ago, Jim was in such bad shape with both his knees he could hardly walk. And his
surgeon saw the determination in Jim’s whole attitude and said, “Look, I don’t
often do this, but we’ll do both knees at the same time.” A year after that, he joined CrossFit and it’s been wonderful. He’s lost weight. He’s got a new lease on life. [Jim:] When you finish a WOD, you feel tired, of course, but the thing that’s
amazing is how quick you recoup. You actually within seconds begin to feel
like you just totally relaxed. You actually feel better than when you
walked in because you’re not sore. Everything is loose. It’s a great feeling. Jerry joined CrossFit after I’d been there for a while and I went over and
actually asked Jerry, I said, “Do you mind if I ask how old you are?” He says, yeah, he was two years older than me. And I said, “Great!” You know, I’m no
longer the senior guy, and there’s got another guy, and we actually teamed up.
You know, there was exercises we both could do. There was limitations we both had. He also cannot run because of his hip replacement, so there’s things that are just natural. We have to row, we row together. And it really has worked out well because on Saturdays now, that’s my partner. Jim and Jerry is probably one
of my favorite part about the morning classes. They’re always funny and they’re
always making fun of Kyle and I and the other coach for the workouts we put on
the board. A lot of their comments are hilarious. It’s a grumpy
old man sort of thing; they’re kind of complaining, but they say it with a smile.
Everything they do is for fun and just seeing both of their journeys, with
their friendship, and as far as their progress together, it’s been awesome to
watch. [Jim:] It’s just nice having somebody that’s the same age. We get kidded a lot. It’s
just fun. And we also both have the same sort of gripes, moans and groans about,
you know, what’s sore and what’s not. Don’t anybody know we’re old? So it’s fun. [Jerry:] Kyle told me when I first came here that the reason that 80% of the people go into a nursing home
early is because they don’t exercise. They can’t get out of bed, can’t get off
the toilet, they go in the nursing home. That’s why I’m here. I don’t want to do
that. [Pamela:] Well, since Jim’s been going to CrossFit, we do seem to have a different way of life. We’ve always been extremely close, but now we even get in the kitchen together.
We cook, we clean up, we laugh more than I think we’ve ever laughed. [Jim:] Once I started
CrossFit, I lost about 15-20 pounds and then I stabilized. So they introduced me
to MyFitnessPal and I don’t think it’s a diet. Would you say it’s a diet? [Pamela:] It’s not a diet. It’s a healthy way of eating. It’s something we can do for the
rest of our lives. We’ve lost weight, Jim’s lost weight, and it’s healthy. It’s
good for us, it’s how we should eat. It’s how everybody should eat, actually. [Jim:] So I’ve learned there’s only, a simple scrub is okay. But no prep work. [Pamela:] Just stab the potatoes, as
one does, just turn them over, and turn them over again. Jim has, he weighs everything, he’s
got a nice little digital scale. [Jim:] I’ve got five ounces exactly.
[Pamela:] Five ounces, that’s perfect. [Jim:] This is absolutely a typical meal. This is so more healthy than going down to the pizza joint and getting a piece of pizza, you know. This is just fresh fruit,
fresh vegetables and it’s delicious. You really can taste it. [Pamela:] And then came that
dreadful day when we never thought that Jim had a heart problem. The cardiologist
came to us that evening and he said, “You’ve got a large blockage, we
don’t know exactly the percentage, but we will know tomorrow after the procedure.
It’s called the LADA, otherwise known as “‘the Widowmaker.'” And I’m sitting thinking, “Hello Doc, I’m sitting here, you know.” After 50 years I don’t want to lose my
husband. [Jim:] All the cardiologists had visited me before my stent was put in. I sat there and they told me when they came into my room, you’re probably alive
today because of the things that you’ve been doing at CrossFit—the exercising and changing of my eating habits. I can actually say that CrossFit saved my life, which not many people are probably going to tell you that. Now I’d just seen my cardiologist and
been given a full clean bill of health, but one of the things he asked me while
I was sitting in his office, he said, “You’re a little apprehensive about going
back to CrossFit, aren’t you?” I said, “Yeah, I am.” He says, “Let me tell you, don’t change a thing. I want you to go back, I want you to go at it full bore, I want you to go harder and faster than you ever have, because now you can.” Every day is a gift. I don’t take any
days for granted and believe me, I go to CrossFit five times a week and there’s
some days I walk in and I go like, “Oh my god, look what we’re going to be doing
today.” But when that 60 minutes is over, I say, “Oh my god, that was fantastic.” It’s just a great way to live every day of your life.