“There are so many advantages in being a strong lady, especially when you are 50+.”

It’s hard to choose the best – but it’s probably the fact that I know the strength I have gained lifting weights means I am stronger in all other aspects of life.

“Apparently I am the perfect build for deadlifting… Long body, short legs, flexible hamstrings!”

Jane Holgate, 57 yrs, deadlift PR: 147.5 kg.

Also a writer, masters athlete, coach and a dog walker. Team Warrior Strength and Conditioning, UK.


Photo: Active Stills

I could never ever be described as a girly princess…

“I was never really sporty until my late teens when I took up squash. I later took up scuba diving and was an instructor for 15 years. My training became more serious then as I felt it was important to be fit for diving. CrossFit came much later!”


I was 47 – so I am coming up to my 10 year CrossFit anniversary!

“I have vague memories of my first workout involving running, dumbells and sit ups and I think my second WOD was a scaled version of Chelsea! I thought I was going to die afterwards but at the same time I had never felt so satisfied from training.”


Photo taken in 2010 at Divided We Fall. 

“I was very lucky – I was introduced to CrossFit by a PT at the globo gym I went to, he and a friend set up CrossFit Manchester – the first CrossFit Box in England – and he offered us a free week to see what we thought of it… obviously we were hooked and have never looked back.”

I feel an amazing sense of achievement when I master the more gymnastic moves that I find a lot harder,  such as handstand press ups, pull ups – I got my first rope climb on my 55th birthday and was delighted!


“Here are two images from the 2010 Regionals. So funny – the reason my t-shirt is wet is because we had to do press ups outside in a car park in the pouring rain! They hadn’t invented hand release push ups yet so we had to have a judge put their hand under our chest to prove it hit the ground… honestly!”

Strength training … Beneficial to all ages but especially older women!

“I am certainly more muscular than I was before, I have biceps and very defined quads! I am always trying to lose weight but people do comment that I am pretty solid!”


Photo: Jon Kendrew 

The mental toughness you develop daily in the gym to get you through the third round of fight gone bad or the fifth set of 5 back squats soon becomes transferable to daily life. I love challenging myself in all situations.

“When you get older you have to focus a lot more on training ‘smarter’. I would say it’s even more important to focus on technique. Get the positions right and then even if you go light you are getting more from it, but you will be surprised how soon the weights/performance do increase/improve. With a bit of testing different skills you will find out where your strengths are and I would encourage people to set themselves realistic challenges and celebrate every achievement: a couple more kilos on the deadlift, a few seconds quicker on the 400m run! Rest is critical and it’s as important to making gains as the training, so programme rest days in and also focus on nutrition as that makes a difference too and although a lot of people think they are eating healthily they might not be as good as they think!”


Photo: Active Stills

I know from my own experience and people I train with and coach, if you have had a stressful day the best thing you can do is train.

Results so far: British Masters Weightlifting champion (there was no competition but just having a go was an accomplishment) – 2nd in the English Indoor Rowing comp (twice), 2nd in Europe CrossFit Games Open (75th in the world), all come to mind and I am proud of all of them.

Event: Raising the Bar

Facebook: Raising the bar – masters

Blog: Raising the bar

We held the fifth Raising the Bar in June. It started with a small group of us (five women over 45) deciding that there needed to be a competition for masters (over 40), as although some competitions had an over 40’s section there wasn’t anything happening in Europe that was exclusively for masters.

We didn’t really know how it would be received but we decided to do it anyway. The first RTB attracted 60, mostly nervous, competitors – it was hailed as a success and so we carried on! This year we closed registration after 5 minutes when 180 masters had entered, including athletes from Sweden, Holland, Spain and Iceland!

The message is that there is a massive will of older athletes to have the opportunity to compete on a level playing field with their peers. Some of the performances are amazing and I believe Raising the Bar has helped masters athlete’s gain the respect of younger ones. This year we had 25 women over the age of 50 competing.