Age-defying Filipina Lola eyes world powerlifting record

by Jared Bray, ABS-CBN North America Bureau


DRAPER, Utah — It’s 5:30 a.m. at CrossFit Operation Underground Railroad, and 75-year-old Susie Rose is working up a sweat.

“I’m already sweating,” she says after a quick warmup, “and we haven’t even started yet.”

This is how the Bulacan native likes to begin her mornings — pull-ups, jump rope, whatever’s on the agenda.

“It’s so rewarding because I can do lots of things that even young people, you know, half my age cannot do,” she says.

Rose adds weights to a barbell, snaps the collars into place and begins squatting. Lift after lift, she grows older yet stronger.

At 75, Rose can now bench-press 75 pounds, squat 125 and dead-lift close to 210.

At an American Powerlifting Federation competition in Salt Lake City last month, the iron-pumping Pinay lola made a dead lift of 209.4 pounds, setting a national record for the 65-plus age division.

She’s now training for the Amateur World Powerlifting Congress World Cup, which will be held next month in Idaho Falls, Idaho. This time, she hopes break the world record.

“I like challenges,” Rose says. “The more they tell me I cannot do it, the more I do it.”

That can-do attitude has made Rose an inspiration to others, including her seven children and 37 grandchildren.

“We all try to be as strong as her,” Rose’s daughter, Karen McKinney, says, “and hopefully when we’re 75, we’ll be as fit and healthy and as good to our grandkids as she is.”

Rose’s CrossFit-powerlifting journey started in 2012 after her children encouraged her to work out with them.

“When my husband passed away, then my kids, they tried to help me channel my energy into something more progressive, because they didn’t want me to feel sad,” she says.

Five years later, the lively lola is happy and plans to keep on exercising.

“Having so many grandkids, then I want to be fit and healthy to be able to help take care of them,” she says.

That’s why Rose will be back at the gym again, bright and early, tomorrow morning.

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