Sheila Greenacre

Inspirational is the word which best defines Sheila Greenacre. As a valued and much admired member of Saxon CrossFit her dedication to being the best version of herself is staggering. She has written a heartfelt chronicle of her journey in fitness from her early days to the present. She embodies everything brilliant about being a warrior- tenacity, bravery and resilience.

Read below and feel inspired by this brave member…

I have been a member of a gym of some sort for about 30 years, and before that, I used to do old fashioned Keep Fit at the local village hall. When I was young, there were no leisure centres or gyms as we know them now, so I have kind of developed along with the fitness industry!

I enjoyed the gym, but never really pushed myself, so I started doing the Les Mills classes: Body Pump, Body Combat etc. which were great, but, after a while, they became very repetitive and I found myself not exactly going backwards in my fitness, but not improving either, and the classes became quite boring. So then, I signed up with a personal trainer and it was just when I was beginning to think that I was not making any more progress, that my daughter, Niky, introduced me to CrossFit. When she told me the things she was doing, it was a mixture of “wow” and “I couldn’t do that!”, but I decided to do a taster session. By this time, I was 64 years old!

Well, at the taster session, Tim, the previous owner, demonstrated all the main moves and then gave us an 8 minute AMRAP to finish with. I think it was probably a simplified Cindy- I know there were sit-ups- but I thought the end of the world had come! Niky and a few of her friends turned up for the following class as we were finishing and I remember them all laughing at me (you know who you are!!)

However, I realised that this was something worth pursuing, and so I joined Saxon, and I have never looked back.

There was so much I couldn’t do when I first joined. I remember the first time I managed to hang from the bar, and my first attempts at front squats, for example, and as for climbing the ropes- not a chance! But when you first join Saxon, you don’t realise that there is a whole community of people rooting for you, urging you on, and celebrating with you when you get a PB. There are also the coaches, who don’t let you get away with half-hearted efforts, and that suits me just fine- I need someone to tell me what to do, how to improve, and to call out any lack of effort. 

At the end of 2019, we were expecting a granddaughter, Leah, but devastatingly, something went wrong just before she was born. She was perfect, but still-born. I can’t express how much the love and support of all my Saxon friends meant, and how the classes helped me through that terrible time. Two years later, our grandson Charlie was born, who is delightful- our Rainbow baby.

Then came the lockdowns, and I think Saxon was the only Box to offer a whole programme of online classes, and it was brilliant. My coffee table got used for step-ups, and the garage acquired a set of ring rows, and that continuity of the Zoom classes was a physical and mental health life-saver.

So I have continued to push the boundaries of my own fitness, I can now climb the ropes (almost to the top), I can lift far heavier than I ever dreamt possible, I can kip and get a good way up towards toe to bar on a good day! I managed chin-ups (easier than pull-ups I think, but again, something I never dreamt I would do), I can do 150 full hollow rocks in gymnastics ( thank you Sam!) and I never would have done any of it without Saxon!

Another delight that we have to do is called D-Balls over the shoulder! It took a while but I eventually got it, and actually managed a 30 kg ball for the first time recently. A few months ago, my 90 year old mum had a fall. The only other person available to help was my 89 year old dad, but I managed to lift mum up using the D-ball technique onto a pouffe that my dad managed, at the second attempt, to push underneath her. She was fine, she just couldn’t get herself off the floor.

Then there are the competitions: Christmas and Halloween fun work-outs, Christmas Eve burpees, themed fun workouts such as Jordan’s 80s night, the summer, fun event ‘Farmageddon’, and external events such as Only the Brave, that a few of us did for the Air Ambulance a while ago- and of course, the CrossFit Open. I would never have thought I could compete in any fitness event but I did- and I can, anybody can! 

Another thing I love about this community is that age doesn’t matter, and I have friends here across the age range- it doesn’t matter because we are all on our own fitness journeys and we have that in common. You just have to remember not to compare yourself with others who have different strengths and different areas to work on, and who, in my case, can be up to 50 years younger than me! I have just turned 70 and my aim is to keep on improving, keep persisting and keep coming to the classes, especially the ones I don’t like, so I can improve in all areas, and to still be doing this when I’m 90. And so, if I happen to fall over, I can get myself up, ideally using the burpee technique! 

Saxon is just an amazing bunch of people, coaches (Alex, Sam, Maddie, Jordan and others over the years) and members, all so encouraging, it doesn’t matter what level you start from, or if you have injuries, everything can be scaled and everyone can, if you persist, become the best physical version of yourself!