Lauren Bruzzone is proof that you never stop learning and that you can do anything you put your mind to, no matter your age or level of experience.
Trying new workouts encourages you to get out of your comfort zone and become the best possible version of you. At 72 years old, Lauren Bruzzone is doing just that. The former lawyer and current adjunct professor at UConn Stamford is no stranger to being active. She practiced ballet for the better part of her life and took up low-intensity workout classes until she was 67. But then she felt the urge to try something new, so a friend introduced her to CrossFit. (Related: What to Expect at Your First CrossFit Workout)
She was hooked, but she still had a more specific goal in mind.
A month ago, Bruzzone decided to start working one-on-one with Wesley James, a certified personal trainer and owner of BasiQ Fitness in Norwalk, CT. Her goal? To master pull-ups.
"Everything I have been showing Lauren is all new to her because my training style is so different from CrossFit," James tells Shape. "She would always stay after her class to work on her pull-ups. She told me it didn't matter if it took her until she was 78, but she was determined to reach her goal." (Related: 6 Reasons Your First Pull-Up Hasn't Happened Yet)
So, a week before Christmas, James offered to help her master the skill in just three weeks. He also shared her progress on his Instagram. "People constantly tell me: 'I'm too old for this or I can't do that move,'" he said. "But I figured, by showing Lauren build strength and muscle at her age, it could certainly help change some minds." And it definitely has. Videos of Bruzzone crushing tough workouts have been going viral, inspiring millions of people around the world.
"The day before three weeks, Lauren got her pull-up," James tells us. But just because she reached this goal doesn't mean this incredible woman is done crushing it.
"Now she is hooked! We are still working to perfect it. However, her overall goal is to just keep improving daily." (Inspired? Here's how to finally do a pull-up.)
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Now, Bruzzone takes a CrossFit class at Carzonne Fitness in Stamford seven days a week and sees James at least six days a week.
Right now the duo is working on calisthenics, stability, and core work, says James. "It's important to establish a strong base first before I can push her into the more advanced movements," he says. "I really stress the importance of body control, controlled movements, and breathing properly." (Related: The Ultimate Guide to Breathing Properly During Your Workout)
These fundamentals are something James says he emphasizes with anyone he works with. "I teach all of my clients how to utilize their core as much as possible to control their pace, support their movements, and protect themselves from injury," he says. "Your core is where all of your power is. Without your core, no movement is possible. Breathing properly allows you to get the necessary oxygen to the muscles, which helps boost and improve upon your stamina and endurance. These are keys to keeping workouts safe and effective—regardless of your age." (Learn more about why core strength is more important.)
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What does Bruzzone's journey tell you? It's proof you never stop learning and that you can do anything you put your mind to, no matter your age or level of experience—with the help of a little toughness, determination, and commitment.
"What makes Lauren so special is that she is still hungry for the grind," says James. "She doesn't complain about anything, she's always ready to go, she's very sharp and loves the process of improvement. She makes my day every time I see her."
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