“CrossFit in general makes a lot of noise,” he said. “Plates are dropping and people are yelling, and things like that. I would go over once a week and check in.”
Adams connected with the quilt store’s owner, Diane Ferguson. Weighing over 300 pounds, she saw CrossFit and the people that did it as something she could never achieve. Of course, Adams said once Ferguson told him that, he immediately thought, “Challenge accepted.”
Four years later, Ferguson has lost over 100 pounds and can deadlift 250 pounds. But her change has led to something bigger: CrossFit for Quilters.
“[Diane], just by owning the quilt story, knows a lot of people. And people saw this huge drastic change in her life, the way she looked and the way that she felt and everything, and they were like, ‘What are you doing?’” explained Adams. “Slowly but surely, we’ve just been adding on people to this class.”
What started as Ferguson’s personal training time is now a class dedicated to Masters athletes, called CrossFit for Quilters. There are currently 12 members of the class, ranging from 55 to 83 years old. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, they meet at 7:30 a.m. to challenge themselves in new ways.
Many of the “Quiltladies,” as Adams affectionately calls them, are doing things and moving in ways they never thought possible. For example, Adams explained Sarah, who is 83 years old, can do regular burpees with the rest of the ladies. He also said that eight of the Quiltladies signed up for the Open. In fact, one lady named Karen had never done walking lunges, jumping pull-ups or real burpees before 16.1, but she was able to accomplish the workout. “What I love is just how excited they are for it, because it’s cool when you do something you’ve never been able to do before,” said Adams.
Most of the members are quilters who saw Ferguson’s metamorphosis. In fact, Adams visits the quilt store monthly to stand before a group of quilters, talking about CrossFit and why they should consider it.
“The biggest thing I tell them is I’m never going to let them do something that makes them feel uncomfortable,” he said. “We’re going to slowly work toward doing things that right now you might think are uncomfortable, but as we continue to work and get stronger, those things aren’t going to be uncomfortable anymore.”
He said other gyms need to know how to properly scale and how to keep the members moving safely before starting a Masters class. “We’re going to help them do life better, and we’re going to progress at the level that they feel comfortable progressing,” he said.
Adams said he now has more quilts, pillows and blankets than ever before because of his Quiltladies. And he has promised his members that when a spot opens up in a beginner’s quilting class, he will be there.
But, he ultimately said this is a demographic many gyms seem to be missing, and there is a lot that can come from reaching this population. “It just takes a little bit to start this big avalanche,” he said.