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Never Retired

ByElliot and Lindsay SchrockOctober 16, 2020

Sheila is 78 years old and probably more active than you.

“Sheila’s who you want to be when you grow up,” says Dave Tillman, Sheila’s coach and owner of CrossFit Cedar Park in Cedar Park, Texas.

If she doesn’t make it into the gym, Tillman says, it’s probably because she power-washed her driveway, “and her driveway’s like — I don’t know — a football field.”

Sheila does all the yard work on her property, mowing, taking care of weeds, cleaning a pond and reservoir system she has that collects water. She claims her love of being outdoors is part of what has kept her active.

“I think that’s what happens as [people] get older, even my age, they’re inside, and they’re not among people,” she says.

Sheila points out she wasn’t far from that path herself at one time. Diagnosed with a degenerated disc at a young age, she suffered from chronic back pain for 57 years. It was during a PT visit that she took her first step toward becoming pain free.

While on the table, she looked out the window across the street and saw a CrossFit gym. “I think when I grow up, I want to go over there,” she joked. But Tillman happened to be in the PT office that day. He said, “We’ll get you in there.”

Though Sheila was nervous when she started, especially after realizing she was the oldest person there, Tillman quickly put her at ease. He acknowledged her bone density and mobility issues, starting her with a PVC pipe to ensure movements were safe before building up in weight.

“This is the first time in my life … that I have not had back pain,” she says.

She thinks CrossFit is great for older people because you have a coach who can keep you on track with good form and safe movements.

She has a message for others who are considering CrossFit but are afraid due to pain or other limitations: “I’m not just this person who’s always been healthy and never had any issues … . I came from the same things that other people have that might cause you to just stop, but instead I said, ‘I’ve gotta keep going.’”

“I’m looking pretty good, I’m feeling good, and I’m staying younger,” she adds.

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Comments on Never Retired


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Patricia Hoffie
October 18th, 2020 at 4:22 am
Commented on: Never Retired

What a wonderful woman - the calm, steady determination and the quiet humility - Sheila - you are DA BOMB!! I hope you go from strength to strength in ALL areas of your life - you seem to have the balance well worked out and you are an inspiration from afar. And - your energy and goodness shine out of you to produce a remarkable beauty. Great article, Crossfit

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Chris Broomes
October 17th, 2020 at 10:05 pm
Commented on: Never Retired

Sheila is an inspiration! This was my first full week of CrossFit workouts EVER. I have big dreams and my hope is that CrossFit helps me achieve those dreams in the next 30 years like Sheila.

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Ann Yoho
October 17th, 2020 at 1:07 pm
Commented on: Never Retired

Wow - what an inspiring story! I want to be Sheila when I grow up. Those amazing arms - that deep faith - that work ethic. I'm 53 and I've been doing Crossfit for about 3 years. I recently started thinking, "How much longer can I do this?" Thank you for reminding me, Sheila, that there is no set age when I should stop Crossfitting.

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Vicki Watts
October 17th, 2020 at 1:29 am
Commented on: Never Retired

By far, my favorite CrossFit article and video ever! Sheila, you are amazing and so encouraging. Your attitude is everything and your results and hard work shows in a big way. I have the vision to keep going strong and be like you at 78 too. Thanks for the encouragement and role model story. Thanks to your CrossFit gym too - what a great combination.

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Rosemary Matossian
October 17th, 2020 at 1:17 am
Commented on: Never Retired

Wonderful! You go girl!

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Katina Thornton
October 17th, 2020 at 1:04 am
Commented on: Never Retired

Muscle mass looks good at every age.

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Kerry Aguirre
October 17th, 2020 at 1:22 am

I am 65 and this is my 8th year in CrossFit. I feel better, have more energy and am 100% happier than I was over 20 years ago. I am strong, confident and active. I hope I am fortunate to continue another 10 years as Sheila has ... and will. Great message !!!

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