After just a few visits to CrossFit Bangor, you can see that most members know each other or at least recognize one another. But there is one face at CFB that is known and respected by all…Donna Roberts.
At 72 years old, Donna is the oldest member … but don’t let that fool you. She is a force to be reckoned with. Just try and keep up with her sit ups!
Donna, who grew up in an active family, has always been athletic. But it wasn’t until her 30s that she became dedicated to exercise, more cardio than anything. She became an avid runner and ran a 5k race only months after giving birth to her daughter.
Things started to change though in her 50s. Donna tore her meniscus and had her first scope in 1998. Then it happened again in her 60s. At that point, she decided to stop running and joined a gym to work on strengthening. She quickly became bored with a gym and felt like she wasn’t making progress.
During that time, Donna’s daughter was a Level I trainer who was teaching CrossFit. Jen was instrumental in getting Donna started in CF. Donna chuckled and said, “I thought it was so extreme.”
In 2011, Donna heard that Mel opened CrossFit Bangor and for her 65th birthday, she gave herself a membership. “I needed to push myself to get anywhere,” explained Donna “and that’s when I joined CrossFit Bangor.”
“The support here is phenomenal,” said Donna. “It just keeps me going. And I feel loved here … I really do.”
Along with the incredible support Donna gets at CFB, she said the health benefits from CrossFit have also been significant. From stabilizing her bone density to increasing her muscle, which helped for a speedy recovery from a total knee replacement this past April, Donna is a staunch advocate for CrossFit.
There is a difficult side to being a fitness guru in her 70s though – finding a man her age who can keep up with her.
“I need a man that’s like 55,” said Donna with a chuckle. “72-year-old men in good shape are difficult to find.”
She also feels very comfortable in her own skin now.
“As women”, Donna said, “we all struggle at times with body image because of the society we live in. The freeing thing with CrossFit for me has been that it doesn’t matter. Nobody’s looking at you. People are all looking at each other in terms of how strong you are and how you can persevere – not so much about what you look like.”
Donna said she wasted a lot of time through the years being critical of her body. She hopes that young women today will focus more on what their bodies can do and how they feel versus how they look.
“If you can focus on that.” said Donna, “you’re ahead of the game.”
The earlier people start paying attention to their diet and exercise, the better off they will be when they are older.
“I wish I would have been younger when I began CrossFit,” said Donna, “but I’m here now and that’s what matters.”
So just how long does Donna Roberts plan on working out at CFB?
“I hope to be 80 and still doing it,” she said with a smile.
Written by Linda O’Kresik