82-year-old can swing kettlebells, hike trails with the best of them

Since her knee replacements about five years ago, Maggie Skaggs has dropped 60 pounds and inspired fellow gym-goers

She works out or hikes five days a week, she can deadlift about 150 pounds and she spent her birthday on Thursday, Jan. 10, at the gym doing a routine inspired by her age: 82.

Marguerite Skaggs – her kids call her Marge, but she prefers Maggie – was in fairly good shape until she retired from her job making boxes at a factory, she said.

“I really got lazy” and started putting on weight, the Placentia resident said. So she searched until she found someone who would do hikes at her pace and abilities to start turning things around.

She had both knees replaced five years ago and – as her son Danny put it – decided she’d rather pay for a gym membership than medications. She has dropped 60 pounds and inspired fellow gym-goers.

When Danny Skaggs first invited his mom to try CrossFit at an Anaheim gym, she scoffed. But she gave it a shot and liked it, and on Thursday, she and her fellow exercisers at CrossFit Lumberyard completed the “Maggie,” a workout that entailed 82 reps each of five different activities.

Instead of the typical pounding rock or rap, Frank Sinatra melodiously crooned “The Girl From Ipanema” and “I Believe in You” as about two dozen men and women swung kettlebells, zipped back and forth on rowing machines and stepped up and down on wooden boxes. A small, framed photo of a 17-year-old Maggie sat propped on the whiteboard below the workout instructions.

Kelley Vandermoortel, 28, of Irvine, said when she and Skaggs met a couple years ago, it was hard to believe Skaggs was an octogenarian.

Elyse Parr, 30, of Orange, agreed, adding that while some people that age need a walker to get around, “She’s over here not just walking, but she’s throwing 10-pound weights over her head.”

CrossFit Lumberyard owner Reid Worthington said his gym serves all ages – the youngest client is 12, but after Skaggs the next-oldest regular is 76.

Skaggs said aside from her exercise routine, she’s active in her church, she gardens and she crochets blankets for nursing homes. And now, she’s a bit of an exercise evangelist.

At a recent dental appointment Skaggs got to chatting with the hygienist.

“By the time I was done she wanted to know where all the hiking trails were,” she said. “That’s what I feel like I should be doing is encouraging other women to be in shape.”

Skaggs’s kids are proud of her, even if they don’t all have the fitness bug. Jeanne Gonzales, Skaggs’s daughter, said she hopes to start using her gym membership more often and takes heart from her mom’s example.

“It’s an inspiration and it’s encouraging,” she said. “Only the tough can get old.”

By Alicia Robinson from OC Register

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