Saturday was the first step in a process to decide the fittest people in Elk Grove, but it wasn't all about the athletes with chiseled biceps and thick shoulders.
"Everybody here is challenging themselves physically and mentally to be a better human being," said Charlie Zamora, one of the organizers of The Fittest of Elk Grove competition, which held its first qualifying event at CrossFit 916 Saturday morning. He said the people he was looking forward to seeing most were the more unlikely competitors–the 50 and older age bracket.
Dallas Broussard, an Elk Grove High School track coach, was the oldest participant at 58 years old.
"I wanna show no matter what your age is, get out here and compete [and be more active]," said Broussard, who was sweating and winded after seven minutes of box jumps, pushups, squats and medicine ball exercises but otherwise felt "pretty good, actually."
The top three competitors from each age group after qualifying events Saturday and on Oct. 6 will advance to the final event on Oct. 21, to be held at Bartholomew Sports Park.
Saturday's event drew numerous first-time competitors, like Irene B. West Elementary School kindergarden teacher Danice Discipulo.
"This is kind of my alter-ego," said Discipulo, clad in shorts, a bandanna and a sports bra that exposed a large tattoo on her back.
Elk Grove resident and Congressional candidate Ami Bera attended the event to cheer on his wife and daughter, who competed. He said Elk Grove residents do a good job of staying active.
"Part of what we love about living in Elk Grove is we see so many people out jogging and walking," Bera said. "This is definitely the right kind of thing we should be doing."
Elk Grove resident Katy Welsh said she ran track in college, and has done crossfit in Elk Grove only since June. She said the supportive community was the biggest difference she noticed between crossfit and previous sports.
"Even though you're competing on the floor together, everybody's cool," Welsh said.