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I wanted to shed light on the efforts of Stephen Bown. Stephen first came to CrossFit Portland 8 months ago when his daughter Hannah convinced him to join her in some workouts. When Hannah went back to college, Stephen continued pushing himself in the 101 classes and has since then graduated to become a regular face in our noon 201 classes.

A Crossfit gym can be a daunting and intimidating place for seniors: at 65, Stephen is one of our gym’s more mature athletes. Every class he is faced with loud music, banging weights, and people sprawling to the floor post wod, finding pride in their newest sweat angel creations.

Not to mention there are some workouts that still scare the bejesus out of me, and I’m a fairly healthy 25 year old male. I can only imagine how my grandma would feel about it.

Even with all those possible red flags, Stephen consistently keeps coming back. There are a few commendable traits in his attitude that have set him up for success:

1) He knows his limits.

If Steven tried to compare himself to younger members, he would end up getting frustrated. “I’m just too old for this,” is a common mental trap for seniors to fall into when doing the high intensity workouts common in Crossfit.

While those thoughts may enter Stephen’s head once in awhile, he doesn’t let that defeat him. His success comes from focusing on his own movements and not the movements of those next to him. Instead of stomping the accelerator to the floor in order to catch up to his peers, he finds a pace and intensity level he can maintain throughout the workout.

2) He doesn’t quit.

After a longer workout, it is common to see the class cooling down having already cleaned up their equipment and see Stephen off to the side, still chipping away, rep by rep.

He doesn’t say, “Well everyone else is done. I’m stopping too.” He does the work that is written on the board. No questions asked.

3) He stays patient.

Lets face it, becoming flexible and learning new movements is tougher the older we get. Instead of getting frustrated and giving up, Stephen has implemented weekly and daily stretching routines to improve his shoulder and hip mobility.

Also, Stephen repeated the 101 classes two or even three times because he knew some of the fundamentals needed more work. There are plenty of younger members that I wish had the fundamentals as solid as Stephen does.

Finally, I was able to convince him that he was ready for 201 and he hasn’t looked back since!

Because of his diligent class attendance and ability to keep a positive outlook on his workouts, Stephen has continued to make steady progress as a Crossfitter every class.

Currently he is working on the push progression during Custom Goals Training, and is moving ever closer to a strict pushup with perfect form (a feat he thought was well beyond reach when he first started).

Thank you Stephen for showing me a level of determination and commitment worth striving for. You have been a pleasure to coach.


  1. Stephen, your perseverance and determination are admirable! Keep up the hard work!!!

  2. Awesome work Stephen! I’m forwarding this to my dad, who I’ve been trying to convince to come in for a while now. You’re an inspiration.

  3. Stephen — you are the ultimate rock star in my book! Looking forward to meeting you one of these days…

  4. Stephen-
    It has been awesome and inspirational working out with you. Couldn’t agree more with all that has been said!

  5. The encouragement I receive from the Crossfit staff and my fellow students makes this challenging exercise program an enjoyable adventure. Thank you all.

  6. STEPHEN! You are my hero! At 39.9 I started cross fit 2 months ago [in boston ma], its ADDICTIVE! Keep going man! Pull ups on the blue band and beyond!

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