March 27, 2012
Sue Steinhauer: 60-Plus Leader
By Emma Gatman

When you ask a member of CrossFit Birkenhead who inspires them, there’s no hesitation. You simply hear, “Sue.”

Sue Steinhauer is 62 years old, but her years are barely evident. On a typical day at CrossFit Birkenhead, you’ll see “Rx” written beside her name and new PRs being set with regularity.

"Paul understands that both my recovery and training volume need to be different in order to get the best out of myself.” 

However, the moment that captures Steinhauer at her greatest is when she’s throwing down the barbell to receive high fives and hugs. Once again, she’s taken 1st place on the CrossFit Games Leaderboard.

In 2009, Steinhauer never heard of CrossFit. At the time, she was competing in triathlons but thought she’d have a go at a free trial on offer. “It killed me, but I liked it,” she says.

Her response isn’t surprising considering the hard work her athletic background required. She’s represented New Zealand at high jump, was invited to trial for the New Zealand Silver Ferns, the national netball team, and has a strong Pilates background, including being trained by Romana Kryzanowska, a protégé of Joseph Pilates.

CrossFitters know the value of eating quality wholefoods, but Steinhauer knew this before we all caught on. Twenty years ago, when Steinhauer was in her early 40s, she began to notice how the health of women her age was declining rapidly. By observing and reading she was led to what she calls “a natural way of eating” and for the past two decades has eaten an unrefined, organic diet. She grows vegetables at home or buys them from the local farmers market, and sources organic grass-fed meat and raw dairy direct from the farm, which is thankfully a relatively easy task in New Zealand where all cattle are grass-fed.

In 2011, Steinhauer won her division in the Open. However, due to family commitments, she didn’t compete at the Games. This year, with the help of her coach, Paul Davis, she has focused on refining her technique. She places value on Davis’ understanding toward coaching a Masters athlete. “CrossFit is primarily a young environment, but Paul understands that both my recovery and training volume need to be different in order to get the best out of myself,” she says.

Steinhauer finds herself in 1st place, yet again, after four Open Workouts. With plans to, “do the best I possibly can and enjoy it,” we’ll be seeing her in Carson, Calif., in July.