In 2010 we took a chance on an up-and-coming training program that we were both addicted to: CrossFit. Back then, there wasn’t a program near us, so with the help of the gym we were training at in St. Pete, we opened CrossFit Rebels.
Fast forward to 2015: below you’ll get the history of how the “Legends Program” was created. While all of that was going on, we were also trying to stabilize the very large gym that CrossFit Rebels had become. As Legends was beginning to grow, we knew we needed new leadership for CrossFit Rebels so we could grow the offshoot (Legends), that had equal weight in priority in our lives.
Long story short, we sold CrossFit Rebels in 2020 at the height of its membership and success (surviving and thriving through COVID), so that we could dedicate 100% of our time to Legends, now GrandMasters Rx. Running a CrossFit gym for a few hundred young, middle-aged, and senior athletes is no different than running a gym for solely senior athletes – except maybe it’s not just fun and making us fit, it’s extending good health and quality of life. We had no intention of moving our program out of Rebels and into its own space in 2020, but, sadly it happened. For us and our athletes, we/they have thrived. But as with many changes, something that was so established as was CrossFit Rebels, did not survive under the changes and closed three years after we sold.
GrandMastersRx caters to 55 years of age and older with a mean age of mid-70s. And this gym is TRICKED OUT! Our athletes deserve it. Starting a strength and conditioning program in your 50’s, 60’s 70’s 80’s, and even 90’s? That takes guts because of the unfortunate “very-hard exercise” stigma that CrossFit or functional fitness gym can carry. Our program is infinitely adaptable to all ages. And we’ve proved that.
Backpedaling to March 2015, Ed Farina (co-founder of CrossFit Rebels, and a physical therapist) began offering physical training services specifically to seniors 70 years old and up at our affiliate. Ed created the “Legends Functional Fitness” program using functional movement principles that are a foundation of CrossFit and focusing on ensuring activities of daily living were being met at a higher level. Since early 2015, we have been providing a progressive program that stimulates and improves the health and independence of our senior population.
We would often drop the “Functional Fitness” part of the program’s name and just call it “Legends”, though functional fitness is always there. Legends sounded cooler!
The term Legends just seemed appropriate. A Legend: an extremely famous or notorious person, especially in a particular field…anyone who considers taking the best care of themselves and investing in their health and fitness to the level we expect is a legend in our mind. Legends have been around for a while. They’re experienced in life, wise – many times “have seen it all”.
The term “Functional” and “Functional Fitness” is a common and overused term in the fitness industry today, but we honor its true meaning and take it to a whole new level. The Mayo Clinic defines functional fitness exercises as those that train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work, or in sports. While using various muscles in the upper and lower body at the same time, functional fitness exercises also emphasize core stability. This is spot on!
After a while, it seemed “everyone” was developing a “Legends” program, and we felt we had something unique. So we began a rebranding campaign. While we often still call our program Legends, we have a new name: GrandMastersRx.
In fitness, a “masters” athlete starts around 35 years of age. THIRTY-FIVE! Ugh. Many of our athletes are twice this age, plus! So, the natural progression up from masters would be GrandMasters, right? Right! And the Rx gives us a prescription…a prescription for health, strength, mobility, independence…everything!
That’s how GrandMastersRx came to be.
WHAT OUR PROGRAM DOES
Our program’s goal is improved health, developed as participants build the following:
- joint, muscle and connective tissue (tendon/ligament) mobility and durability,
- core stability and strength, which results in better posture & balance,
- strength and mobility in the most commonly atrophied and/or underdeveloped muscles in “older people”: glutes (rear-end) and hamstrings (back of leg) and “back” in general (mid/upper back and low back),
- stamina and endurance – a little goes a long way – stairs get easier to maneuver and distances needed to travel to seem shorter,
- greater independence, longer, compressing morbidity (the amount of time between when we get sick and die); we live healthier, longer, and
- community…it just happens; those you exercise with become your partners…your friends.
So…what does that mean? What does our program do again? In simple terms?
- knees, hips, back, shoulders…all move a little better – more range of motion, less pain
- you stand up straighter, your core is stronger and you feel more “stable”
- maneuvering stairs, picking things up, standing up…as take less effort
- more energy
- you can live independently…longer
- you make friends…that become your family!
WHAT A CLASS LOOKS LIKE
What does a Legends/GrandMasters class look like?
We are slightly atypical in structure from a normal “CrossFit class”, but the results are the same. When training this age group, some things need to be different. We figured this out!
- CHECK-IN. We spend the first few minutes checking in: How is everyone feeling? Any news? Jokes and “antics” typically begin here!
- WARM-UP. Warm-ups vary, but they’re designed to get your heart beating a little faster and the blood circulating throughout your body, and loosen you up – make sure we have good range of motion in those joints we’re about to work out. It could include (but not be limited to): rowing, PVC pipe work, and calisthenics.
- PRIME. Sometimes in the warm-up, as prep for the next part of the workout, we work on a movement(s) that helps to increase joint range of motion, build strength and endurance, and build muscle memory for patterns we like to see occur, specifically in range-of-motion (for example, reaching overhead). “Priming” movements means practicing them att lighter loads before we use them in our workouts.
- STRENGTH. We load: medicine balls, barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells. Light to heavy loads (specific to the individual athlete), low to high reps. Loading movements helps us get stronger, more stable, and be able to “do more” in life with less effort.
- CONDITIONING. We do a “workout” that is at a little higher speed and intensity than the other parts of the class. You have a task and a goal….it’s almost like game. We may do several short workouts or one longer workout.
- RECOVER. We rest in between these segments of the class.
Everyone works at their own pace and ability level.
And…it’s a good time! Everyone participating, including your trainers, look forward to the classes and can’t wait for the next…not what you’d expect from an exercise program.
RESULTS AND GOALS
Results! How many of your friends and family may “work out”…for hours sometimes…and when you ask them how they feel or how they’re doing, they just can’t convey to you any positive results. The fact is: “they’re just going to the gym”. That won’t happen here! Results are reported every day. Some are functional and some are a result of the athlete’s personal goals for the program.
Seriously, we are both experienced at this, and good at it!
Our classes are programmed and tailored to the “mature” athlete. We get it – after a certain age, we all have “something”:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Atrial Fibrillation
- Total Joint Replacements
- Bolts/Screws…are you “wired together”
- Balance Disorders
- Heart Attacks/Open Heart Surgeries….
- High Blood Pressure, Cholesterol
- …trust us, we’ve probably seen it. We don’t have many “unique snowflakes” here!
As a result of knowing how to “train” (not treat….but TRAIN) around and through these conditions, REAL functional results occur:
- I don’t “plop” in my chair anymore
- I can get up out of my chair without assistance; without pain
- I can walk unassisted; I walk more confidently
- I don’t worry about not being able to get up off the floor if I fall
- THIS IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST GOALS OF THE PROGRAM
- I can walk longer distances
- I don’t need a raised toilet seat
- I don’t have to sell my low furniture because I can get up and down off of it now
- I can reach higher in my cupboards
- My posture is better (my daughter told me so)
- My bloodwork is better! (glucose, cholesterol, CRP)
- My bone density is improving, even at my age!
- My blood pressure is lower (without meds) or I’m off meds!
- I can see muscles!
- I “FEEL BETTER” – this one’s the best, right?
When results come, some athletes begin to set goals:
- I want to be able to hang from the bar (pull-up bar)
- I want to be able to squat (insert load here – greater than current)
- I want to be able to rise from a half kneel independently
- I want to be able to walking- lunge 50 feet
- I want to be able to step up to a 16-inch box
This is not just “another program for seniors”. In fact, we Googled “Senior Fitness” and were both appalled and frustrated over the laughable exercise programs out there – NOT functional, NOT progressive, and NOT appropriate for people who need their functional independence more than their children and younger friends. Like other programs created by our founder, there’s a special mix of experience, training, personality, and passion that goes into the trainers for this program – it’s unparalleled and takes years and years to develop. The “care factor” is off the charts!
If you are interested in joining us, or getting a friend, parent or grandparent involved, email or call us from the CONTACT page. We are by appointment only so PLEASE resist the urge to drop in. We’ll be courteous if you do, but know our priority is coaching when classes are in progress.
Our schedule can be found HERE.
SO HERE WE ARE!
GrandMastersRx (Clearwater) powered by CrossFit Weaver Park.
The first and only affiliate established in 2020 solely for ages 55 years and up. As of 2024 we have opened a few classes for “younger folk” to better serve the empty hours of the gym and continue to be a viable business.
This is where we are on the world wide web:
This is where we are on social media:
COMING IN 2024!
AFFILIATE AND GYM SERVICES
This is the big picture. A company that provides a multi-pronged approach to helping every senior citizen have access to a progressive, functional, and results-oriented program like GrandMastersRx. We will consult with gyms and affiliates, we are currently providing seminars and coaching opportunities to allow other coaches to gain experience coaching this age demographic, and will provide resources to help gyms and affiliates grow programs to serve this population specifically.
Yes, it’s a specialty. Yes, it’s a niche. And yes, it requires a little extra training…same as coaching a muscle up.
And why not simply within a CrossFit class? There’s a very large difference in the pace of movement, learning, and setup between someone who is 70+ and someone who is 35. It’s our experience that “super-seniors” thrive in a setting of their own age demographic – not to mention trying to find a music genre that spans your young to your old athletes!
GrandMastersPro.com coming March of 2024!
GrandMastersRxPro will offer live and online educational courses to help gym and program owners and coaches learn the differences between masters and seniors. Learn how to scale for them, coach them, and relate to them. Learn how to improve their health. Our downloadable program manual will provide specifics and resources. And our live coaching and hosting for hands-on practical work will also be a specialty of our company. Check us out!
NOT-FOR-PROFIT FINANCIAL HELP FOR ATHLETES AND GYMS/AFFILIATES
Our 501(c)(3) will collect and distribute grant money and donations for the following purposes:
- Help seniors who can’t afford to train with us by subsidizing their dues
- Help other CrossFit affiliates and like-minded gyms set up this program
- Help seniors who aren’t near a gym like this train from home via an app
- Help fund CrossFit affiliates and like-minded gyms to put this program in place, where they otherwise may not be able to afford it
- Help fund equipment for CrossFit affiliates and like-minded gyms who can’t afford the essentials like light-weight barbells or an AED.
Ed & Sam.
Husband & Wife.
Equally passionate (and competitive 😉).