Affiliate owners share how they’re tailoring their approaches to introduce Baby Boomers to CrossFit.

The loud music, the intimidating movements and the unbearable crash of barbells smashing the floor—none of it appealed to Lucia Bragan.

“My husband had been doing CrossFit for four and a half years, and I would go watch sometimes. I knew I wasn’t capable of doing what he was doing,” said the 77-year-old from Maryland.

“And they played really loud music with that heavy beat. I guess it charges the younger folks up and gets them going, but for me it was a turn-off. I wouldn’t be able to hear the coach.”

Needless to say, Bragan had no intention of ever following in her husband’s footsteps by joining Rock Creek CrossFit in Kensington, Maryland—at least until coach Trina Kerns approached her in September 2015 and offered an alternative. The process would start with a face-to-face introductory session at a time when the gym was quiet and empty. No loud weights. No blaring music.

Bragan decided to take Kerns up on her offer. The two met up and discussed Bragan’s health history, and then Kerns put her through a short fitness assessment.

Bragan remembers being intimidated and somewhat overwhelmed, but Kerns was with her every step of the way, which made her more comfortable, she said. Soon, Bragan realized CrossFit—and lifting weights—wasn’t as scary as she thought it would be.

While Bragan said she wouldn’t have joined regular classes, many masters athletes thrive in general sessions that welcome everyone from teens to those well beyond 50, and great coaches are able to modify workouts for athletes of very different levels in a group setting. Some affiliates, however, are finding success creating entire programs that are tailored to help groups of Baby Boomers use CrossFit to stay fitter in their Golden Years.

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