If you spend any time skimming news headlines or listening to the radio, it sounds like the entire generation over the age of 40 is doomed to live longer with a poor quality of life
. In reality, so many CrossFitters and other athletes all around the world are not succumbing to that fate; in fact, some are healthier than ever, taking on CrossFit and other new sports for the first time, etc. Now that the CrossFit Games
have added another Masters division
starting at age 40, there is a whole new crop of Masters athletes who are hungry to compete with their peers.
At the 2013 OC Throwdown in January, our team had a chance to catch up with two Masters athletes: Bryan Wadkins, who placed 2nd overall, and Linda Leipper, who came in 3rd. Bryan is the owner and head coach of CrossFit RXD, and Linda trains at CrossFit Redemption. These two SoCal veterans have been at it for some time now, as they have both participated in all four OC Throwdowns (going back to 2010), and Linda was a CrossFit Games competitor in ’08 and ’09 in Aromas. Both of them also qualified for Regionals last year, but Bryan had to withdraw due to a shoulder injury.
Bryan and Linda were kind enough to take the time to answer some of our questions in the midst of a busy weekend of competing.
Bryan: I am 40 years old as of last August, so I am officially a Masters athlete at the OC Throwdown and the CrossFit Games.
Linda: I am proud of my age — I am 44 years old and turning 45 next month. I guess this is similar to my daughter saying she is 9 ½.
What are your thoughts on the changing of the Masters age groups to include 40-44?
I am actually just coming off about a month hiatus…because I felt I needed to; mentally, physically, and spiritually — sometimes you just need to take a bit of a break.Linda:
For me, getting back to the Games is a big goal of mine. I loved my experience in the 2008 and 2009 Games, but I haven’t been back since due to the escalation of the competition in the past few years. Between the Open, the Regionals, and the heavy hitters in nearly every region, getting back to the Games is harder every year. However, I am a competitor by nature, and having that competitive spirit, I would love to make it back there. Being a bit older than many of the females — 20+ years in a few cases — I wish they had made the 40-45 age division for the Games a few years ago, but I am super happy they have changed it going forward.
How many days do you train per week?
Bryan: I work three 12 ½ hour shifts per week as a police officer, so between family and sleep, those days don’t involve a great deal of training. However, I try to train the other 4 days of the week that I have off. Usually, these training days involve multiple workouts, as I currently do Olympic lifting plus strength first, then a met-con. I will then usually teach a class and then do another met-con.
Linda: When I am dedicated and going for it wholeheartedly, I try to train 5-6 days per week. However, I am actually just coming off about a month hiatus, where I was in-and-out of the gym sporadically. I did this because I felt I needed to; mentally, physically, and spiritually — sometimes you just need to take a bit of a break.
What are your recovery methods?
Especially since I have been competing for the past 5 years, I now have to be a bit more aware of the little tweaks…you need to recognize the tweaks and occasionally need to work around them.Bryan:
I am currently going to an ART therapist
regularly since tearing my labrum last year at the 2012 OC Throwdown. Thus, I have learned a bunch of new stretches and techniques, including partner stretches and using the voodoo band. I had to take a bit of last year off to get healthy. As my doctor says, “CrossFit is easy with good internal rotation.”
Linda: That is definitely a tough question to answer because I feel like I am definitely not as good at it as I could be. My focus is primarily on sleep, especially with my 6-year-old and 9-year-old always there to keep me busy. This is especially true when I am already in the gym training for 2 hours 5-6 days/week, as it is hard to stay there and do extra mobility and stretching on top of that.
What else should your fellow “new” Masters keep in mind as we enter the Games season?
As my doctor says, “CrossFit is easy with good internal rotation.”Bryan:
As a Masters athlete, I have definitely noticed that I am having a few more aches and pains. Especially since I have been competing for the past 5 years, I now have to be a bit more aware of the little tweaks. This is a long-term sport, so you need to recognize the tweaks and occasionally need to work around them. In addition, I have noticed that my previous training for individual competition has definitely helped with the Masters’ weights feeling a bit lighter — still heavy, but a bit lighter than the individual weights.
Special thank you to Cody Rice of CrossFit South Bay for helping us cover the OC Throwdown.