Septuagenarian CrossFit coach Mike Suhadolnik refuses to let his peers age gracefully.
Mike Suhadolnik, a former offensive tackle and middle guard at Illinois State University, spent most of his life powerlifting. At his best, he benched 350, squatted 450 and deadlifted 550 lb. His physique implied fitness. But when his daughter Molly and her now-fiancé Tim Hahn asked him to overhead squat more than seven years ago, he couldn’t get the bar over his head.
Then they asked him to do burpees.
“I played football in college. I said, ‘No problem,’” Suhadolnik recounted. “I couldn’t do a burpee.”
Disturbed by this, the then-65-year-old visited his doctor in Springfield.
“I told him I wanted to live until I was at least 110 years old but that I did not want somebody pushing me around in a wheelchair, walking with a walker or having someone wipe my butt,” said Suhadolnik, today 223 lb.
The doctor recommended changes to Suhadolnik’s diet, including eliminating processed sugar, dairy and grains. Suhadolnik also became an athlete at CrossFit Instinct, Molly’s affiliate.
In the year that followed, Suhadolnik reduced his body fat by more than 16 percent and gained 12 lb. of muscle. He also paid closer attention to the world around him and the people in it.
“Every time I turned the television on, it seems like all they were showing (was) big butts and fat guts,” he said.
He decided to do something.
It started with a program he dubbed Doctors Get Fit, and it turned into CrossFit Instinct’s Longevity class. The Longevity program includes about 25 people split between the 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. classes that occur almost daily.
“Hey, don’t wait until you have that heart attack and then start working out,“ Suhadolnik said. ”Bullshit. Do it right now. Start right now.”