10 years ago, Dre Olsen walked into the doors of CrossFit Roots and began her fitness journey. When a co-worker introduced her to CrossFit Roots, she shied away in fear that some back pain she had been feeling would become worse. Another coworker signed her up for the Foundations course, regardless, and eventually Olsen gave in.
“I didn’t want to try it because of how bad my back hurt, but I saw how good she (her coworker) looked and was like ok, why not,” she said.
This year, Olsen turned 50, and has never looked or felt better.
Continuing CrossFit Through Surgery Recovery
Since her time at CrossFit Roots, Olsen has undergone two surgeries, one on her foot and the other on her rotator cuff. Roots member Dr. Khemarin Seng of Boulder Centre performed the surgery on her shoulder, and his partner on her foot. She was instructed to stay active throughout recovery, even though she was asked to stay off her foot for 16 weeks and to keep her arm in a sling. Dr. Seng told Olsen to continue attending class because Nicole and the coaching staff at Roots knew what to do. Dr. Seng and the coaches have worked together closely for years to help bridge the gap between surgery and return to normalcy. Seng discussed with Nicole what Olsen could and couldn’t do at the gym and put trust in the coaches to modify the workouts appropriately. In each workout, the coaches would find ways to strengthen other parts of her body such as her back and breathing capacity.
“Every time I would come, my foot would be so swollen in the boot. But when I left, the boot wasn’t tight anymore,” Olsen said. The more she moved, the more the swelling would go down.
Olson maintained a consistent 4-5 group classes/week attendance throughout her recovery – she didn’t miss a beat.
Nutrition from Day One
Before CrossFit, Olsen’s nutrition was “free for all”. She did not focus on how food made her feel but was lucky to start at Roots when the gym was holding its Paleo challenge. Her fitness and nutrition journey started all at once.
Olsen completed the challenge and noticed how good she felt and decided to implement Paleo into her diet ongoing. She doesn’t feel as tired or sluggish throughout the day anymore and it has really changed more than just her fitness. She has been consistently participating in food challenges and likes how it helps her stay accountable when she begins to fall off her diet.
“I just feel better,” she said.
Change Comes with Patience and Consistency
Throughout the years, Olsen has been consistent in coming to class and said it was the community that kept her coming back.
“The community and coaching staff that Nicole and Eric have developed is something that has really resonated with me and kept me coming back because it is world-class,” she said, “Roots has become ‘home’ to me.”
At the beginning of her CrossFit journey, Olsen was coming to class three days a week. After the first month, however, she was motivated to come in more and started to attend four to five classes a week.
Although Olsen felt better almost immediately, she could only squat overhead using a PVC pipe for a while before slowly moving to a 15-pound bar. She moved up in weight gradually throughout the years and it took her two years to perform her first pull-up. This did not stop her from working her hardest to improve. Now, at the age of 50, Olsen can overhead squat 147.5 pounds. It might take time but change always comes with consistency.
“You may not notice the slow little progress,” she said, “But it keeps you coming back.”
Once COVID-19 hit, Dre had a strong fitness foundation, and did not let lockdown stop her from moving. She and her family would workout in their home gym set-up using any materials they could. The children would even lift cast iron skillets as weights. Olsen said that it taught her that CrossFit allows athletes to do anything they set their minds to, even outside of the gym.