CrossFit Blacksburg takes a more holistic approach to fitness in their SilverFit program designed for adults 45 years old and up. After seeing a disconnect in their area between the older population and a good, quality fitness program, co-owners Carol Beliveau and Jesse Hilmandolar decided to design a fitness program solely for the older population.
“The whole idea for SilverFit wasn’t necessarily watered down CrossFit just to make sure we could service that population, too,” said Beliveau. “We think of it more as programming with the older athlete in mind.”
The first step in the SilverFit program is to figure out the specific needs of a client. No two athletes are the same in any class, and this goes for the participants in the SilverFit program, as well. Beliveau’s first step is to sit down with a client and develop a plan before they even start with the fundamentals.
“I tell them we can just start with a conversation so I can get a better feel for what they are after,” said Beliveau. “If they say they are having trouble getting their groceries in and out of the house, then we can focus on getting them stronger. And it’s really just a case-by-case basis. It rarely begins with an intro session where there’s movement. It’s more of a fact-finding mission.”
Next, come the fundamentals. Beliveau takes those interested in the class through a templated movement system either in a one on one or a semi-private training environment. Once they start to build a trust and can recognize some of the terminology and movements patterns they are released into the group classes. Considering the wide range of skill in these classes, programming comes later on after Beliveau evaluates the needs and restrictions that may prevent the athletes from giving their all during the class.
“I have some younger women who come, that are close to the 45 age range, that do go very hard,” said Beliveau. “It just depends on who is participating each time and if they have any new limitations.”
An interesting aspect to SilverFit is the Coaches also consider themselves as a life coach for the SilverFit participants. Beliveau likes to know what is going on at doctor appointment visits and how to monitor pre-existing conditions so she can make sure the right approach to fitness is being taken.
“We do things differently here, we’re not just handing out workouts and hoping everybody survives, it’s very foundational and we get everyone started in specific ways,” said Beliveau. “If someone has heart issues, I need to know what that means so I can monitor them. People don’t want to reveal to you their health issues because it’s hard for them. That’s why I like conversations with the older athletes because we get to talk about the past where things could come out that are detrimental to their training.”
A SilverFit program may not be how you can get more athletes into competitions, but it is much more rewarding. You are guaranteed participants who are coming to really focus on their health and wellness.
“They are probably the most compliant group that we coach here,” said Beliveau. “And that’s what I love about them. They always show up, have a good time and work really hard.”