Meet Laurie Nelson, 64 -Year-Old CrossFitter

When you think of CrossFit spokespersons, you might imagine elite athletes who can do lots of pushups, pull-ups, and lift hundreds of pounds in weights. You might be surprised, then, to find Dr. Laurie Nelson, an assistant professor at Pepperdine University, is one of the sports program’s great ambassadors. At 64 years of age, Nelson is excited to generate enthusiasm for exercise, especially when it relates to keeping fit at an older age.

Nelson trains at a CrossFit gym under Mike Anderson, who regularly uses Nelson as his prime example of how broadly reaching CrossFit can be. Anderson met Nelson when he first came to Pepperdine University at the age of 18. He initially invited Nelson to come work out at his CrossFit gym, but Nelson was hesitant. While she always had been an athletic person (a willing hiker, for instance) and had actually been heavily involved with developing women’s sports at Pepperdine, she originally thought that CrossFit was for already established athletes. Not so, says Anderson: “CrossFit is not just for elite athletes. In fact, it turns normal, everyday people… into athletes.”

Over recent years, Nelson has battled sickness, worries, and age to get back into the kind of shape she enjoyed when she was in her 20s and 30s. Although she’s been involved in sports medicine and exercise physiology for years, she now enjoys a role in which she gets to “be a bit of a role model for other older adults.”

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