By Gareth Shoulder @GarethShoulder

BIRTHDAY celebrations are usually a time for decadence and partying until the small hours – that is unless you’re a fitness obsessed octogenarian

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Videographer / director: Will Francome
Producer: Gareth Shoulder, Ruby Coote
Editor: Sonia Estal

 

Jacinto Bonilla, 80, from New York, celebrated his eightieth birthday on 3 July by completing 80 double-unders on a jump rope, followed by 80 squats, 80 push-ups, 80 pull-ups, 80 wall ball shots, 80 kettlebell swings, 80 deadlifts with a 90-pound weight – ending with another round of 80 double-unders.

Every year since he turned 69, the so-called “grandfather of CrossFit” has added one rep to his brutal trademark birthday workout – the Jacinto Storm.

Jacinto completed his birthday workout on this year in 1h14m. Not bad for someone born in 1939!

He told Barcroft TV: “It’s very important to me what other people think of older people – in their eighties or seventies.

“We can be strong, mobile and we don’t have to depend on anyone to help us.

“That’s why I work out so hard, I visualise myself not needing anybody’s help.”

Jacinto fell in love with CrossFit in 2006 after reading about the high-intensity work out in a magazine article.

In his mid-sixties, he spotted some young men in Central Park working out and struck up a conversation with them about their fitness regime.

He said: “They were doing exercises one after another, they were doing pull-ups, push ups and squats.

“I said to them, ‘wow, I’ve been looking for something like this. Can I join in?’

“They looked at me and said, ‘can you do pull-ups?’ I said, ‘Of course I can do pull-ups!’”

What followed was a thirteen-year obsession with CrossFit, over that time he has become one of the oldest people to compete in the CrossFit games.

Tragically, after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008, Jacinto had to put a pause to pursuing his CrossFit passion.

He said: “I had to stop because I had to recover, I remember the doctor told me when I went back to CrossFit, I would have to take it easy.

“I just had to wait to heal so I could get back into exercising.

“I just like exercising and being able to move, at the time I couldn’t wait to get back and exercise again.

“Before I knew it, I was back into doing the things I was used to doing.”

Now Jacinto celebrates annually his health and fitness by completing his signature birthday workout.

It has gathered cult status within the CrossFit community.

“What makes me proud of the Jacinto Storm last year [2018] took me 47 minutes to do, a lot of younger guys do it under 30 minutes.

“You have to finish it, no matter what! You struggle, you do it!

“They made a video of me because of my age, a lot of people got inspired by it.

“I’m glad I inspire people that way.”

Jacinto continues to inspire guys more than half his age with his workout and determination.

Robert Jackson, who completed the Jacinto Storm last year told BTV: “It was very challenging but amazing at the same time.

“You’re doing a workout next to somebody who is an inspiration to so many in the CrossFit community.

“It’s a pleasure to do it alongside with him.

“When I first started working out, he pushed me in so many ways.”

He says he will continue doing the yearly workout until he is no more.