Dr. Nelson at the CrossFit GamesLaurie has been a member of CrossFit Malibu for since 2010.  After 40 years of being a fitness instructor and professor in sports medicine at Pepperdine University I have (finally) found my workout place. I could never have imagined the strength, endurance, agility and flexibility gains that I have made in just two years. It has allowed me to participate in sports that I used to do when younger. As an extra bonus I qualified to participate in the Reebok CrossFit Games this summer and place 10th in the 60+ female category (see Malibu Patch articles for more information about this). It was an experience I will never forget and I could never have done it without all of the help from the owners and members of our gym. I had the largest cheering section, my own coach, meditation/Yoga adviser, masseuse, cook, etc. Who would have believed that a 66 year old woman could be so strong!


Laurie, now 68 years old, is a professor of Sports Medicine at Pepperdine University.

Ford is a pre-med student in his final year of college.  Five and half years ago my life was changed in the blink of an eye… a broken femur, an obliterated ACL, and a large patch of shredded cartilage.  The first surgery repaired the femur, and three months later the ACL reconstruction was performed. Six months later I was back on the field. The femur and ACL were fine, but it was the torn cartilage that was proving to be my “Achilles heel”.  My doctor advised me that the hoped-for outcome of a chondrocyte implant and osteotomy was to make life normal again. Life, not sports. He told me that we did the surgery so I could live life as normally as possible with the least amount of pain. I was told I should never play sports again, never do a deep squat, and never sprint.

Ford Front SquatMike’s attention to detail, virtuosity in every aspect of every movement, and vast knowledge of the human body and how it is meant to work in the safest and most efficient way possible, made me feel like a kindergartener in a doctorate program. I couldn’t have asked for a more patient, caring, or intelligent coach. He knew how hard to push me, what to keep me away from (for the time being), what cues to give, what weaknesses to look out for, and how to encourage me. In time, I became very confident, felt very safe in every movement, and understood the techniques with a depth infinitely greater than I had before. I was doing full depth squats, every Olympic lift in the book, and was running faster and farther than I had ever gone before.

Before CrossFit, I couldn’t run more than 800 yards without having to stop in pain. Now I can run over 8 miles and can run a mile in 5 minutes and 40 seconds, painfree! I was told I could never go below 90 degrees with my knee, now I’m going well below 60. I had never done an Olympic lift in my life, but CrossFit taught me how to do deadlifts, front squats, overhead squats, split jerks, hang cleans, power cleans and more. I never had the courage to do box jumps and now I’m jumping onto boxes over 30 inches tall without a problem!

Beyond performance in the WOD’s, CrossFit gave me the ability to play once again the sports and do the activities that I loved. Before CrossFit I never thought I’d play soccer again. After seeing the progress in my strength, balance, endurance, and confidence of my knee, I began playing soccer recreationally here and there. Before I knew it, I was trying out for Pepperdine’s Men Club Soccer team. I was amazed in what skill I still had, and how the new strength, speed, and confidence that I gained from CrossFit became so applicable and beneficial on the soccer field. Life felt…right again. I was doing what I had grown up doing, what I was good at, what I felt most natural doing, and what I loved doing. CrossFit changed my life forevermore.