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Athlete Profile: Jacinto Bonilla

Name: Jacinto Bonilla
Hometown: Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico
Age: 72
CrossFitting Since: August 2006

Favorite WOD or Movement: I don’t have a favorite workout. I think they’re all very challenging. The same goes for movements – I’ve never found one that I like over another. I know I’m good at bodyweight movements (like air squats, pushups, pull ups), but I wouldn’t necessarily say they are my favorite.

Least Favorite WOD or Movement: My least favorite WOD is Fran, everybody’s worst nightmare. My least favorite movement is the snatch. I have a shoulder issue and the snatch just aggravates it.

What is your fitness background? What were you doing before CrossFit?

I’ve always been in shape. My friends and I got into weightlifting around age 14. We’d play basketball at the Boys Club, go boxing on Saturday nights (where I used to hand out punishment!) and, of course, lift. As I grew up and got older, I tried all sorts of fitness endeavors – from karate to running marathons – but kept coming back to bodybuilding. I started circuit training and eventually came to try CrossFit.

I thought I was in pretty good shape until I started CrossFit. It kicked my ass and I loved it.

How have you changed since starting CrossFit Virtuosity?

Across the board, my technique has improved tremendously thanks to Keith’s exceptional coaching. I’d say the improvement is most noticeable with my clean, front squat, and overhead squat.

What seems to go hand-in-hand with improved technique is the ability to lift heavier. Keith always stresses that I have to get stronger – he pushes me to lift heavier than I’d ever do on my own. He pushes my limits, but at the same time stresses that I need to be flawless in my technique and form so I don’t get injured.

What are your goals for 2012? Where are you in terms of achieving them?

This year, my goal is to make the Finals for the Masters Division at the CF Games. The Games start Friday, we compete Friday and Saturday, and only the top 8 Masters competitors will advance to the Finals on Sunday.

It’s going to be an uphill battle to make it into the Finals – there are a lot of “young” 60-somethings who will be strong competitors. Most of them are just making it into the 60+ division age-wise which gives me at least 10 years on them.

Why do you enjoy competing?

It gives you something to look forward to while you’re training. Sometimes you don’t feel like training, but knowing that you have a competition coming up motivates you to train.

Not only do competitions keep me motivated, but they keep me young. Most people my age can hardly walk unassisted, nevermind workout. People think that being old means you’re out of shape and overweight, but I disagree. I want to keep fighting that stereotype, proving that you can be fit at my age.

Favorite competition?

I love the Open and the Games because it’s a worldwide competition – you can compare yourself to everyone else out there.

Any best CFV stories?

When I kick everybody’s butt in the 12:30PM class.

Other stories?

I’ve been getting some attention from the CrossFit community due to my age. A few years ago, the President of Estonia visited CF NYC to workout. When he was there, he asked the owner if he could meet me. He thought he was one of the oldest CrossFitters until he heard about me. I was flattered that the President of a country knew about and wanted to meet me!

Does your family do Crossfit?

My wife and children have all tried Crossfit – some have gotten into it more than others, but they’ve all given it a go.

What advice do you have for people just getting started?

For the younger folks I train, I say, “You’re going to get old whether you’re in shape or not. Would you rather be an in shape old guy or an out of shape old guy with pants up to your chest?” A lot of younger people exercise, get in great shape, and give it up when they get older. Don’t do that! Just stay in shape!

For the older folks, you’re never too old to get back in shape. Keep coming, even when you’re tired. Everything is scalable. You’ll end up doing things you never thought you could do – and you’ll feel great about it.

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  1. mike Connor says:

    You showed me how to to practice to get to my first muscle up. I strung 4 together the other day.
    Thanks, Jacito.

  2. Kyle Moore says:

    If I’m half as strong as you by age 72, I’ll be very happy, Heck, if I could deadlift what you’re deadlifting in the photo, I’d be very happy!

  3. Jodie Cohen says:

    Jacinto Bonilla is my inspiration!!! I will be a masters in 2 years. :)