Raili has always loved sports but family and work commitments did not allow much time for her sports activities. After becoming “a lady of leisure” as she calls the transition from active work life, she gradually started to take baby steps in the area of sport.
The key is, she says, that “if you have had a few decades of stress you should not rush head over heels to practise high intensity sports. I basically walked the first three years after finishing my career. The next logical step after years of walking was to join a gym.”
She was a regular gym-goer for years and those years paved the way to her latest passion, CrossFit.
Today Raili does CrossFit, which is often perceived as one of the toughest exercise programmes. She heard about CrossFit from her friend and out of curiosity started to investigate the concept on the internet.
In May 2017 CrossFit Black Edition Box (CrossFit gyms are called boxes) opened in Cascais. Raili jokingly says that she gave herself the Black Edition membership as a 60th birthday present and that the gift keeps on giving as she visits the box 4-5 times per week.
To understand what CrossFit is Raili’s coach Diogo Monteiro, who is the head coach and owner of CrossFit Black Edition, lists three core concepts of the definition of CrossFit, namely
1. Constant variation-different exercise every day
2. Functional movements that are similar to those you use in your every day’s life
3. High intensity, however intensity levels are adjusted and scaled to challenge the individual and safely improve fitness
The constant variety, never a same workout and the functional body movements are the elements that fascinate Raili the most in CrossFit. In addition, Raili likes the way safety is always the priority as the class size is limited to 20 people and the attention and guidance of the coaches is individual. The CrossFit coaches do not stand far away on the stage but they move around on the floor where the athletes are training.
A typical daily CrossFit class consists of a skill part which could be gymnastics eg. pull-ups, handstands, rope climbs or a weightlifting exercise. CrossFit uses Olympic weightlifting techniques such as Cleans, Jerks , Snatches. The skill section is followed by a high intensity work-out. This high intensity part may last from less than 10 minutes to 30-40 minutes. Warming up and cooling down are crucial parts of the class.
The timetable of the daily workout is made to reach anyone as the classes run from 6.45pm to 9pm. People with different working hours can be served as the same workout is available all day long.
Raili’s biggest motivation to do CrossFit has been the challenge to learn new things. She says it is very rewarding to learn a handstand or to climb a rope for the first time at the age of 60. Therefore, she emphasises that CrossFit is genuinely for anyone and everyone and every move in CrossFit is scalable.
“We Crossfitters come in all sizes and shapes and we do not have mirrors in the box to judge each others’ appearances”, she states and welcomes anybody regardless of the existing fitness level to join the CrossFit family and to accomplish any goal they might have from improved health, increased mobility, weight loss or for better athletic performance.
As the icing of the cake she points out the importance of CrossFit community. We support each other. As there are only a few 60+ Crossfitters in Portugal, Raili follows actively a worldwide 60+ Facebook group where she gets hints and most importantly peer support that she sometimes needs by being by far the oldest athlete at her CrossFit Box. “There are a couple of thousand 60+ Crossfitters in the world but the number of us “mature” athletes is increasing as the same trend is happening with CrossFit in general.”
Raili hopes to continue with the CrossFit as long as possible. “One can never make definitive plans as anything unexpected can happen at any age”. She says that for her, age is a just number but every second counts.