Three words that are tattooed on 4-time CrossFit Games masters athlete Terry Peters’ skin.
“I found myself writing “keep going” on the floor during the Open workouts all the time. It’s just a reminder to push myself a little harder,” Peters said about the tattoo on the inside of his forearm.
“And this one was next. ‘Be better.’ I just felt like, ‘Ok, I can keep going, but that isn’t enough anymore.’ I wanted to be better. Not just in CrossFit, but in everything,” he added, pointing to the tattoo.
Sitting in his beautiful North Vancouver home, surrounded by paintings he painted himself, Peters admitted it’s hard for some people in his life—people has has known for years—to understand what drives him at the age of 62 to continuously push his body as hard as he does each day—to keep going, to be better—day in, day out.
He can’t really explain it, except to say it’s just who he is.
“I like all-consuming things. It allows me to get right into that moment. I like that focus. I think most of the things I really like tend to be all-consuming,” he said.
This is also why he likes painting so much: It allows him to forget about everything else that’s going on in his life and just focus in on one single task, he explained.
A talented athlete, and painter
“I’m totally in the moment when I paint,” he said.
And it doesn’t matter how young he once was or how old he is now, he explained: That’s just who he is.
Something else that doesn’t matter how old or young you are is the excitement you feel when you qualify to the CrossFit Games.
This year, Peters qualified to his fourth Games—13th in the world. It’s a feeling that never gets old, he said. And it never becomes less consuming.
“When I got through the masters qualifier this year, the first thing I said to my wife was, ‘I would like to apologize in advance because I know what I’m going to be like in the next five months,’” Peters joked.
The next five months for Peters has included spending countless hours in the gym each week training, on top of daily mobility sessions and weekly massages, physiotherapy sessions and IMS to prepare his body to the best of his abilities for his fourth CrossFit Games.
Peters said one of the best parts about having competed so many times in Carson has been watching the evolution of the masters competition.
“In 2011, it was so brand new and the masters competition didn’t receive much attention. We were a bit of a side show. There wasn’t even a warm-up area. We competed in the parking lot,” he laughed.
He certainly didn't bring home a CrossFit Games beer mug in 2011
The following year the masters athletes were moved to the track stadium, and last year—his third Games appearance—he got to compete at the soccer stadium.
“The soccer stadium was a totally different feel. You felt like you were competing with the individuals. We used the same big rig. Ran the same types of courses,” he explained. But the best part of the weekend for him last year was getting the chance to compete in the premiere tennis stadium for the final event, an event he ended up winning.
“It’s going to be pretty hard to top last year’s final event this year. That was the highlight of my CrossFit competition (career),” he said.
Peters in the final event in 2015
So he’s going into this year’s event trying to keep his expectations low and just enjoy the ride.
“I feel so lucky that I get to feel like a competitive athlete at 62,” he said. “Not a lot of people can say that.”
Although he still gets nervous, Peters does think his age gives him more wisdom to be able to appreciate competition.
“It’s easier for me now to know it’ s not a life or death situation. These are just competitions. Sometimes they go well and sometimes they don’t. You can’t define yourself by your results,” he said.
Instead, he chooses to define himself by the other 51 weeks of the year—the days he shows up to the gym and willingly puts himself through gruelling physical challenges. And to define himself by what he’s able to do at his age, and what he’s able to give to others.
Not only is he still improving physically (he pulled a personal best 460 lb. deadlift in this year’s masters qualifier event and got his first bar muscle-up earlier in the year), he is most proud of how his fitness inspires those around him to keep going. To be better. To believe.
“I like that I can inspire people to aspire to be fit at any age."