Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Linda Moore, 59, of Duluth has lost 50 pounds since January 2011 while working out at the No Excuses gym in Suwanee.
"Just don't quit. You're not going to believe yourself in a year."
That advice from a trainer stuck with Linda Moore the first time she tried CrossFit in January 2011 at the No Excuses gym in Suwanee.
"It was like those words went down into the marrow of my being," the 59-year-old mother of two said. "It challenged me a little bit. It was like 'I'm made of tougher stuff than this and I'm not going to quit.' So I never did and I just kept going."
A year later, Moore is still going strong and said she's 50 pounds lighter with a new outlook on life. Before starting CrossFit, she had to watch her father-in-law lose his battle with Alzheimer's and she said that was a wake-up call for her to take better care of herself.
"Just being around that situation -- you see your parents coming to the end losing their abilities to do things and it sort of makes you realize that it's really important to take care of your body," she said.
With that realization, Moore decided she wanted to stay active beyond just playing tennis recreationally like she has for the past 30 years. Once she tried CrossFit, which combines weightlifting with gymnastics mixed with cardio work, she said it completely changed her body. She can now do simple things that used to make her out of breath because she was overweight.
"A heavy basket of laundry and taking it up the stairs -- I don't even notice that anymore," Moore said. "Whereas before, it didn't stop me, but I would be breathing hard at the top of the steps because I didn't have the muscle mass."
Besides the physical strength CrossFit has given her, Moore said the best part is the camaraderie within the community. She said everyone at No Excuses gets to know each other and is always encouraging.
"That's one of the big rules of CrossFit -- is if somebody comes in (the gym) and you don't know them, you introduce yourself," she said. "It's just about being really human with each other and celebrating people for where ever they are (physically) and whatever they can do."
Although she's lighter, Moore said she feels like she could lose a little more weight but doesn't have a goal set. Her ultimate satisfaction from CrossFit is being able to do whatever life brings her.
"My goal is to stay active," she said. "I'm hoping I'll have some grandchildren. I'll be an older grandma and I would like to be able to take care of them without anybody being afraid that I wouldn't be able to manage it."
But Moore has proven that as an older person, she can handle CrossFit and inspire the younger athletes at the gym. She said one story in particular stands out to her. It was a day at the gym when her group was doing box jumps, which is standing flat-footed and jumping up as high as 12 inches off the ground onto a box.
"This 20-something girl was telling me, 'Linda, you had such a great rhythm of your jumps and I was getting tired, but I decided to follow your rhythm. You kept me going,'" Moore said, adding that the athletes there can all learn something from each other.
Moore said she hopes her story will inspire others, particularly older people, to give CrossFit a try. A self-proclaimed nut for CrossFit, she said she goes to the gym at least three times a week but sometimes she'll go every day.
"My husband laughs and he's like 'Y'all are in a cult' because my daughter's into it big time, too," she said. "It's been a year now and I'm so much stronger. I'm running and doing pull ups, which I couldn't do before."
Tori Boone, who lives in Suwanee, is a copy editor for the Daily Post. Email her at email@example.com.