Being legally blind, 92-year-old John Boots of Slidell, Louisiana naturally cannot drive a car. In fact, he can no longer ride a bike. One thing he can still do, though, is run.
Boy, can he run.
John, who started running competitively in his mid 60’s after a routine check-up revealed an irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure, now has 21 national championships in the 800M, 1500M and 5000M events to his name and a world record for the 65-69 age bracket in the 2 mile. At 78, John set the National Senior Games record in the 1500M for the 75-79 bracket (6:01) and six years ago he was inducted into the Louisiana Senior Olympic Games Hall of Fame.
“One of my goals this year is to be ranked #4 in my age group worldwide,” says Boots. “There’s a guy in Sweden who holds the world record in the 90-94 age group and a guy in Belgium whose times I’m always trying to compete with.” Other goals include winning the 1500M and 800M events at the 2011 Summer National Senior Games taking place this week in Texas and setting national records a month later at the 2011 USA Track & Field National Championship in Ohio.
This relentless focus on goals is what has kept John moving forward through the years. Well, that and one other thing: scientific curiosity. “I’m fascinated with the body’s ability to be trained to improve. Every year, when I start my speed work three months before a race I say, ‘Man I just can’t do this anymore. I’m not there.’ Then to see how much I can advance in three months just amazes me.”
Here's a video with John talking about his goals for the TRX Sponsors YOU contest earlier this year.
How he trains for competition
John spends most of the year running slowly (up to 28 miles a week) and using TRX Suspension Training to build a solid platform of core strength, balance and flexibility. TRX entered the picture early this year when John sought a trainer at his new gym, Slidell Athletic Club, and discovered that Club Operations Director and seasoned trainer Rob Braniff was the perfect fit.
A former martial artist and S&C coach for MMA athletes, Rob knew right away that he needed a much more cautious approach to John’s training. “I really have to be on my game,” says Rob. “But it’s a welcome relief from the butt-kicking that I normally put people through.” That said, Rob started with John the way he normally does with clients…on the TRX. He got John doing exercises like the TRX Chest Press, TRX Sidestep Lunges, TRX Mid Row, TRX Biceps Curl and TRX Hamstring Curls.
“Obviously, I’m not going to have him try the TRX Burpee Scorpion Combo,” Rob quips.
It also doesn’t hurt that Rob just completed the new TRX Sports Medicine Suspension Training Course. “It’s been interesting to learn how to dial things back and I apply that to John’s training.”
“TRX has really complimented John’s game and helped to accelerate it,” says Rob. “You can see his change in physique, core strength and core stability. He’s shaved 30 seconds off his mile time in just four months.”
John’s advice to other seniors and people in general
“In order to make it interesting, to give you the self-discipline and to get you out there regularly, you need to have a goal, or several goals, every year,” says John.
Trainer Rob Braniff is inspired by his client. Rob’s goal: to be functionally fit at John’s age. His other, more pressing goal is the TRX 40/40 challenge.
“I’m getting close, man. I’m real close.”
We wish them both the best of luck with their goals.