904's FittestIssue 12 • April 2013

904’s Fittest: Jim Lanier

Athlete Profile

Age: 61
Birthdate: 11/01/51
Height: 5ft 9in
Weight: 180lbs
Married for 33 Years
Father of 2


Currently Ranked 1st in the World Crossfit Open Men’s Masters Division
2012 Placed 13th In the World Crossfit Games Men’s Masters Division
2012 Placed 9th In the World Crossfit Open Men’s Masters Division

Personal records (All within last 3 years)

Max Pull Ups: 25
Front Squat: 235 pounds
Back Squat: 240 pounds
Deadlift: 340 pounds
Clean: 165 pounds
Jerk: 200 pounds
Snatch: 135 pounds
5k 26.00 minutes

For this month’s installment of 904’s Fittest, I had the pleasure of interviewing my friend, Jim Lanier. Unquestionably, this forum celebrates some of the greatest athletes in Northeast Florida, but certainly there is more to “fitness” than only being fast or strong. That’s exactly why Jim came to mind. I actually first met Jim at Rotary. So yes, when he is not busy being one of the “Fittest on Earth” and running an Optometry practice, he spends his time doing a little volunteer work.

In March 2012 Jim Lanier competed in the Worldwide CrossFit Open and finished 9th in the world in the Masters (60+) category. This phenomenal performance earned him a place in the 2012 CrossFit Games to compete with the top CrossFit athletes in the world. Jim finished the competition in 13th place.

What was it like to compete in the Games?

It was a truly awesome experience. The event was spectacular and the 12,000 seat venue was sold out. Athletes from around the world came together to compete for the title “Fittest on Earth”. I had two competition workouts per day that were pretty strenuous, but really fun at the same time. My wife Susie, my coach Nick Hawkes, workout partner Chris Stover and six other gym mates travelled to the Games to cheer me on. They were awesome support. In fact, the entire box was just super in their support. Awesome people, awesome gym!

Have you always been one of the “Fittest on Earth”?

I have always loved sports and really grew up playing most sports. I played team baseball until I was thirty. I played softball, soccer, and football in high school and then became a medium distance runner. As I approached 50 I let myself go a bit physically. My physician told me that had I been a smoker, I would have all of the 5 top contributors linked to early heart attack victims.

I decided to get busy getting back into shape. I began a regular routine of heavy weight training and running. I also began an “Atkins” type diet. I got strong and lost weight and stayed with that for about 7 years. However, I felt like I still wasn’t getting enough cardio in with my strength training. I heard about CrossFit West Jax and dropped in for a visit. It was exactly what I had been looking for, a high intensity, strength building program. That was three and a half years ago and I can’t imagine any other fitness routine I could like any better.

Do you follow a strict diet?

I follow the Paleo diet formula about 90%. It is a wonderful way to get nutrition, mainly high protein, low carb, lots of veggies and fruit presentation. I’m lucky because I really like this kind of food, so it’s really not a “diet” it’s a nutrition regimen. I supplement each workout with extra protein for recovery as well.

Have you faced any obstacles on your journey?

I feel like if I’m going to stay on track, I’ve got to put myself in a position to be successful whether that is in business or fitness. In fitness, I have to organize my training so that it fits in with my normal day. Prioritizing my time isn’t always easy. I have to make a living and have time for my family too. Too many times people commit to a health routine and then fail because they like the idea of being fit, but they let life become an excuse and thus they get off track. My gym is filled with really busy people who have just made the commitment to maintain a high level of fitness. They fit it around their schedule. So, my day starts early. I work hard at my job and then I work hard at the gym. CrossFit is a remarkable fitness routine that challenges you each and every time you work out. It challenges you physically and mentally and it is very hard. It isn’t really designed for the single dimension athlete or the casual athlete. It is designed for the committed athlete. It took me over a year and a half to complete an overhead squat. When I first started I didn’t have enough flexibility in my shoulders. Soreness is an everyday thing; almost the price of admission. Older athletes don’t recover from injury as quickly, so injuries are particularly frustrating. That’s the hard part for me. I’m not sure it’s the recovery or the fact that it takes me longer than it once did. Like most things in life, the lesson is in the journey, not in the prize. I honestly like the work. I like the challenge, enjoy, the triumphs and learn from the failures. I look forward each time to testing my ability and pushing myself to become better. Guess I am addicted!

Jackie Culver

Jackie Culver

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