When Richard Sudmeier began Crossfit in May of 2015, he had never done a handstand, a cartwheel or jumped rope—and he never planned to.
Now, a year and eight months into his Crossfit journey, Richard can’t say that’s the case.
“I’m telling my grandkids that they really should learn to jump rope and do cartwheels when they’re young, because you really can’t very well when you’re 70,” he said.
Still, that hasn’t kept Sudmeier from trying. For the past year and a half, he has been learning new skills, taking it slowly at first and then building his way up to the full skill.
Prior to beginning Crossfit, Richard had done some swimming to get in shape. It wasn’t until he was chatting with his dentist, Art Hermes, that he learned what Crossfit was.
“My dentist told me he was doing Crossfit, and I thought, ‘Well, if an old guy like him can do it, maybe I should try it,’” Richard recalled. “Little did I realize what type of shape he’s in.”
Though his first few Crossfit classes were overwhelming, Richard says the assistance from the coaches and the welcoming atmosphere was what ultimately make him stick with it.
“Luke (Fransen) spent some individual time with me, getting me into it,” Richard said. “When I started, I couldn’t even box jump six inches. I was not very good. They welcomed me and scaled me. I told Luke, ‘I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do this or not, but I’m going to give it 10 years and if I still don’t like it, I’m going to quit.’”
But Richard has yet to quit. Instead, he says Crossfit has taught him persistence and mental strength.
“I just decided to do it and to keep going,” he said. “A lot of times when I first started, I’d be driving over here and thinking, ‘Do I really want to do this? Should I just turn around?’ And then you get here and you get through the warm up and you feel like you’re already exhausted. But you can’t quit then. By the time you’re done and driving home, you think, ‘I could have worked harder.’”
Richard credits his love of Crossfit to the other members, as well as the coaching staff.
“You feel like you belong in a group and you know everybody,” he said. “A couple months go by by and everybody encourages you and pushes you. It’s amazing to me how much the coaches know about the different movements and how you break them down into pieces. These guys have obviously studied and paid attention to what’s going on.”
Richard doesn’t plan to slow down anytime soon. He says Crossfit has taught him what he is capable of—both inside and outside of the box—and that his age isn’t a factor.
“I have really switched to doing a lot more heavy stuff around the house and in the yard, just because I feel like I can do it,” he said. “I just have
more perseverance now and belief that I can keep doing it.”