Category Archives: CrossFit Games

Masters Athletes Testosterone. Masters Athletes keep it high.

Masters Athletes Testosterone

WODMasters  Masters CrossFit Athlete with way more Masters Athletes testosterone
A WODMasters with way more testosterone than is good for him. Shops at WODMasters online Store.

Testosterone makes men . . . men. Testosterone, of course, is a hormone.   Testosterone is important for normal sexual function. But testosterone’s role in other aspects of men’s health and well-being is sometimes overlooked. Testosterone maintains muscle and bone.  It drives production of red blood cells.  It directs the distribution of body fat giving men a masculine physique.  Or at least not a feminine physique. Testosterone keeps minds sharp and energy levels high.   Testosterone levels fall with aging.  Testosterone starts to decline when a man reaches the age of about 30. From age 30 on, men can expect a 1% drop in testosterone every year.   Few enjoy the process.   Aging is frankly scary.  And its something none of us of ever imagined would actually happen to . . . us.

What is Normal Testosterone?

Eye Pood Kettlebell Crossfit shirt
Low T? Feeling awesome increases Testosterone. Wear WODMASTERS and feel it rise.

Testosterone levels in men can vary quite a bit.  “Normal” levels are levels that allow a man function normally.   Men whose testosterone levels fell between 300 and 1000 ng/dl (nanogams per deciliter) are considered to be within the normal range.  On average older men have lower testosterone than younger men.   But there are many factors besides age that can lower testosterone.  Lack of sleep, stress, getting dumped, problems at work, even something as simple as losing an athletic competition can cause testosterone to fall.  Some people believe that men should take testosterone supplements to offset natural declines.  And many men report feeling stronger, sexier and more energetic when they take them.  There are a few problems with supplementing with testosterone, including some serious health risks.  There is an alternative.  Before running to the doctor or giving up you can become a Masters Athletes.  If you are already a Masters Athlete . . . keep it up.

Masters Athletes Testosterone.

crossfit shirt rhino crossfit masters
Stiff, Inflexible, Invincible WODMasters shirt for the Masters CrossFit Athlete. And for other people who may also be stiff and inflexible.

Masters Athletes do not share many of the changes in body composition, function, hormone profiles or metabolism that their sedentary peers experience.  At least not to the same degree.  This is according to a recent study of a small group (20) of Masters Athletes compared to a small group (28) of sedentary peers.  Masters were found to have:

  • Greater VO2 Max
  • Greater peak power output
  • Higher salivary testosterone
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower percent body fat

There was no difference between Masters Athletes and Sedentary Peers in

  • Cortisol
  • Fat Free Mass
  • Total Body mass
Masters Athletes testosterone is higher
Being a masters athlete preserves testosterone. Note lack of baldness and rugged masculine appearance. Ignore the slack jaw and dull eyes. This guy is smarter than he looks. This Masters Athlete wears WODMasters Stuff.

Here is an interesting question that wasn’t apparent reading the paper.  If Masters athletes have less body fat and the same amount of Fat Free Mass as sedentary peers what is the source of the Masters Athletes mass?  Probably not blood volume, since blood pressure is lower.  Body hair perhaps?  From less balding?  If anyone would like to go over the paper and let me know what I’ve missed it would be greatly appreciated.

 

Hayes LD, Grace FM, Sculthorpe N, Herbert P, Kilduff LP, & Baker JS (2013). Does chronic exercise attenuate age-related physiological decline in males? Research in sports medicine (Print), 21 (4), 343-54 PMID: 24067120

What is Creatine. CrossFit Training Post: On Creatine Supplements

What is Creatine?

In terms of athletics, Creatine is a molecule needed for muscle function.  It helps keep you from running out of ATP during short, intense bursts of activity.  Energy in ATP (high school biology refresher) ultimately fuels most life processes.  Skeletal muscle uses a lot of ATP during intense exercise.  Creatine helps recycle used ATP so it continues to be available.  Creatine supplements increase muscle force and power.  At least in the short term.  And that’s the very short of it.  Creatine also interacts with other cellular processes.  It appears to increase production of insulin-like growth factor (IGF). IGF works with Growth Hormone and Insulin to increase cell division and growth.  Creatine supplements may cause this Creatine/Growth Hormone system to step up growth.

Will being on Creatine Supplements help me gain muscle mass?

Probably yes.   This may be especially the case for vegetarians.  In average Westerners your body produces half its own creatine.  Diet (meat) supplies the other half.  Vegetarians have lower levels of creatine than meat eaters. Masters Athletes may also benefit.  Creatine may help preserve muscle mass as well.

Can Creatine Supplements help me during CrossFit Competition?

CrossFit involves intense burst of energy from many different muscle groups.  So CrossFit might be the poster child for creatine supplements.

Can being on Creatine Supplements help me with endurance sports?

Creatine probably won’t help with endurance.  And it might slow you down if you have to carry more weight.  That can be muscle mass or it might simply be retained water.

What else can Creatine Supplements do?

Creatine supplements are being studied as treatments for people with muscle disorders.  They are also being studied for use in treating major depression.  Creatine seems to increase the effectiveness of anti-depressants.

What are side effects or dangers?

One potential problem with Creatine Supplements is the increased activity of the IGF/Growth Hormone axis.  While this might help with muscle growth, increased IGF and Growth Hormone can increase risk of cancer.  Most studies of creatine supplementation have involved small numbers of subjects.  And have been for short periods of time.  This means that the effects of taking creatine for a long time are not known.

Another possible problem with creatine supplements is that they can reduce flexibility.  This might be because of increased muscle mass.  Or it might be because of fluid build-up in muscle tissue.

Venus with her Kettlebells CrossFit Shirt.

Should I be on Creatine Supplements all the time?

There is concern that taking creatine for a long time or in great amounts can cause kidney damage.  “More” is often not “better.”  Another thing to keep in mind is that the body tends to seek balance.  If you give it more of something it may respond by producing less of it itself.  This happens, for example, with testosterone.  Testosterone will increase muscle growth, but the testes will figure out that there is enough testosterone in circulation.  And it will stop making so much.  Hence the shrinking testes and reduced fertility in men who take testosterone supplements.   It is possible that taking creatine supplements will eventually result in less creatine synthesis.  If you are going to take creatine you should take it for short periods of time.  And take breaks.  Until more research is done.

Safdar A, Yardley NJ, Snow R, Melov S, & Tarnopolsky MA (2008). Global and targeted gene expression and protein content in skeletal muscle of young men following short-term creatine monohydrate supplementation. Physiological genomics, 32 (2), 219-28 PMID: 17957000

Candow DG, Forbes SC, Little JP, Cornish SM, Pinkoski C, & Chilibeck PD (2012). Effect of nutritional interventions and resistance exercise on aging muscle mass and strength. Biogerontology, 13 (4), 345-58 PMID: 22684187

Lyoo IK, Yoon S, Kim TS, Hwang J, Kim JE, Won W, Bae S, & Renshaw PF (2012). A randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial of oral creatine monohydrate augmentation for enhanced response to a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor in women with major depressive disorder. The American journal of psychiatry, 169 (9), 937-45 PMID: 22864465

Caffeine Coffee and Timing for performance and competition

Caffeine Coffee Tea (Coke?).  First we’ll start off talking about the importance of time of day in athletic performance.

Compete, if possible, in the afternoon over the morning.

Keep Austin Weirdfest 5K CrossFit Seven Athlete prepares for the event.
CrossFit Seven Athlete waits for his event. He’d look better in a WODMASTERS shirt

Athletes perform better in the afternoon and early evening than in the morning.This is the case for weightlifting as well as for endurance exercise like running, swimming and cycling.  Even penmanship is less precise in the morning.  Possibly it’s a warm up issue.  But it looks like a circadian rhythm issue too.  The circadian rhythm is an internal clock that regulates what you do during a day.  It regulates sleeping patterns.   Also body temperature, hormones and fluid regulation. Muscle response to stimulation is stronger in late afternoon.  A 2012 study (Mora-Rodriguez et al.) looked at electrically-induced response in weight lifters.  And they looked at voluntary contraction too, comparing morning and afternoon response.  All weightlifters were men.  All were described as highly trained elite weightlifters. The weightlifters lived in a research facility and were denied caffeine for 4 days before testing.  (That must have been tough.) The study also compared voluntary and electrically induced response in the morning with and without caffeine.  If you are wondering “what is caffeine” get some coffee.  Lifters were given caffeine on a body weight basis.  Caffeine was taken 60 minutes before performance testing.

Study Details: Caffeine, Weightlifting and Performance.

  • Test times were at 10:00 am and 6:00 PM.  Caffeine intake was 3mg per kg.  (if you weigh 80kg.  that’s about 240 mg or  about one 12 ounce cup of extremely strong starbucks style coffee.)  Caffeine was taken 45 minutes before lifting.
  • Morning performance vs. evening performance
  • Morning performance with Caffeine supplement vs. Placebo.

Results

Mother and daughter at Crossfit Seven in Fort Worth, TX.  Caffeine Coffee?  You bet.
Mother and daughter at Crossfit Seven in Fort Worth, TX. Caffeine Coffee? You bet.

Strength and power output with placebo was better in the evening by 3% to 7.5% over morning strength and power output.   Caffeine in the morning increased strength and power output by 4.6% to 5.7% for squats when compared to no morning caffeine.  Electrically invoked response increased by 14.6% and nerve activation jumped 96.8%.  Squats seemed to be more caffeine dependent than bench press.  Maybe mornings are just meant to be spent drinking coffee.

If you are doing Crossfit Open competitions:

This site started as a site for Crossfit Masters Athletes, so here is the info for Crossfit readers:  For people trying to qualify for regionals or the CrossFit Games 2013 this could be important.  Do your Open CrossFit WOD’s in the afternoon.   If you can.  Caffeine in the morning will get your muscles up to the level they’d be if you did your workout in the afternoon.  So when you are competing during a morning WOD, have some coffee 45 minutes before the event.  And don’t forget the four days of abstinence before hand.Last note: caffeine peaks in your blood stream 30-60 minutes after its taken.

  • Abstain from coffee for 4 days before your event
  • Drink Coffee 30-45 minutes before you start
  • Do your event in the afternoon if possible

Note: Tablet or pure caffeine Coffee may not give the same results:

You can read more about the effects of coffee vs caffeine here.

Mora-Rodríguez R, García Pallarés J, López-Samanes Á, Ortega JF, & Fernández-Elías VE (2012). Caffeine ingestion reverses the circadian rhythm effects on neuromuscular performance in highly resistance-trained men. PloS one, 7 (4) PMID: 22496767

Weightlifting, Belts, CrossFit and Back Injury

Weightlifting belts?  Should lifting belts be worn while weightlifting?  Or during CrossFit WODs?  Or during CrossFit competitions?  Many weightlifters swear by lifting belts.  But some believe weightlifting belts are a crutch that will slow progress.  There are a lot of strong opinions.

One of the dangers with CrossFit and weights is that people can get hurt.  This is especially true when enthusiasm and fatigue cause athletes to choose excessive weight and lose form.  Or worse, never develop good form at all.  We highly recommend attending extra lifting workshops if you are doing CrossFit. CrossFit Lifting Certifications are great too.  Even if you are not a trainer.

Weightlifting belts and how weightlifting belts work.

This belted lifter was called a eunuch.
Unnecessary.  But he did refuse to disprove it.

When a weightlifter (or worker or anyone) lifts a load, pressure on the spine increases.  If pressure is extreme the spine may be immediately damaged (acute damage).  Long term and repeated high pressure to the spine can cause damage over time.  Either of these situations should be avoided.  A weightlifting belt will reduce the amount of compression on the spine.  That is why many workers are required to wear weightlifting belts on the job.

Research on weightlifting belts indicates that it is very important to inhale before the lift.  Even if you are wearing a belt.  This increases intra-abdominal pressure, which reduces stress on the spine.  Inhaling before lifting without a belt also reduces pressure on the spine.  But not as much as inhaling before lifting while also wearing a weightlifting belt.  There are some other things going on too.  Highly technical readers will want to take a look at the reference article below.

Weightlifting belts let you lift heavier weights.

Weight belts let you lift a heavier weight while reducing risk of injury.  Good.

Weightlifting belts reduce trunk muscle activation.

You can get stronger while wearing a belt.  You can get your legs stronger without crushing your spine.  Weight belts can be a good tool for increasing the amount of lift you can do.  You should probably not wear one all the time.  They can be uncomfortable after a while anyway.   This is why no one likes to wear them during CrossFit workouts.  You will see competitive CrossFit athletes using them selectively during CrossFit competition.

Kingma I, Faber GS, Suwarganda EK, Bruijnen TB, Peters RJ, & van Dieën JH (2006). Effect of a stiff lifting belt on spine compression during lifting. Spine, 31 (22) PMID: 17047531

Miyamoto K, Iinuma N, Maeda M, Wada E, & Shimizu K (1999). Effects of abdominal belts on intra-abdominal pressure, intra-muscular pressure in the erector spinae muscles and myoelectrical activities of trunk muscles. Clinical biomechanics (Bristol, Avon), 14 (2), 79-87 PMID: 10619094

Protein intake and recovery for Masters Athletes

How much protein do Athletes need?

Younger athletes may benefit from increased protein intake in a number of ways. Increased protein intake may result in muscle strength gains in young adults in as quickly as six weeks (Candow et al. 2006).  Protein supplements may also increase strength in elderly people (average age 83) as well (Bjorkman et al. 2012).  The Bjorkman study of 106 elderly men and women showed a 2.1% gain in body weight with a high-leucine whey protein supplement vs. a 1.9% loss in weight with a placebo.  This was over a six month period.  Leucine is important because it serves as a trigger for muscle synthesis.  Leucine is also a branched chain amino acid (bcaa).  This does not mean supplements are better than a healthy diet. We have evolved to eat food, after all. However, we also seem to have evolved to not do as well as we’d like as we get older. Masters athletes may benefit from increased protein intake.
CrossFit Games Masters Competitor Ken Cutrer of CrossFit EST,

Protein may speed recovery.

Protein intake after exercise may also help speed recovery.  This would be important to athletes participating in an extended period of competition. The CrossFit games, for example. Or in similar high output situations. Whey protein hydrolysate increases the rate of recovery after resistance training.  When protein is hydrolysated it has been partially broken down.  This speeds absorption.  Unhydrolysated proteins (normal proteins from food) may take longer.   This may mean recovery takes 6 hrs. rather than 24 hrs (Buckley et al. 2010).

Masters athletes may benefit from protein supplements.

Older athletes take longer to recover, and lose ground faster during periods of inactivity. Hydrolysated protein supplements and supplements with high leucine content may help Masters Athletes.

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Candow DG, Burke NC, Smith-Palmer T, & Burke DG (2006). Effect of whey and soy protein supplementation combined with resistance training in young adults. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, 16 (3), 233-44 PMID: 16948480

Buckley JD, Thomson RL, Coates AM, Howe PR, DeNichilo MO, & Rowney MK (2010). Supplementation with a whey protein hydrolysate enhances recovery of muscle force-generating capacity following eccentric exercise. Journal of science and medicine in sport / Sports Medicine Australia, 13 (1), 178-81 PMID: 18768358

Björkman, M., Finne-Soveri, H., & Tilvis, R. (2012). Whey protein supplementation in nursing home residents. A randomized controlled trial European Geriatric Medicine, 3 (3), 161-166 DOI: 10.1016/j.eurger.2012.03.010

Training for the CrossFit Games: CrossFit Team Competitions and Strategies

Training for Team Competition
How do CrossFit teams prepare for competition?  While trainers and team members have been devoting a lot of thought and effort to training, CrossFit team training is still in its infancy.   We talked with six trainers and teams at the South Central Regional Competition and compared their strategies with their ultimate positions on the leaderboard.
First Place.
Dallas Central  sent two teams to the Regionals this year, with one new to competition and other highly experienced.  Coach Dean Xu  says team selections for their two teams ”Team 1” and “The B Dream” were based on individual performances in the open.  Team 1’s men include Matt Anderson, James Hugo, Don Walker and Trey Kubacak.  The Dallas Central men finished 271(Walker), 209th (Hugo), 63rd (Anderson) and 8th (Kubacak) in the Open, and finished first in the teams competition. The B Dream is new to competition.  Coach Dean Xu says it has been great to watch them fail, and learn from their mistakes.  “You learn a lot from competing.” says Xu “There is so much strategy within competitions.  Learning to do transitions is extremely important.  It’s very different from individual competition where you need to pace yourself.  In team competition, you need to pace the team, not the individual.  Team members need to go “all out.” Both teams trained as a group and focused on individual weaknesses.  “There wasn’t much time to get people faster or stronger, so skills and efficiency were our major focus” said Xu.
Fourth Place.
Jason Graves and Jonathan Shelton of Crossfit Waco, Waco, TX. wanted to keep team placements clear, objective and as fair as possible.   Slots went to their box’s top three men and the top three women, according to performance in the Open.  Shelton stated that this was also the best way to keep a well-balanced team.  This is the second year they have sent a team to the regionals.  Four of this year’s team members also competed last year.   Aspiring Waco team members worked out together beginning in January 2012.  “We look for the weaknesses of each individual and base our programming on that” says Graves.  “Our members all have different strengths as well.”  “We focused on that as much as we could with the time we had.  We did a lot of Olympic Lifting, high skill movements, heavy metcons, and a variation of all other aspects of CrossFit training in our workouts,” said Shelton.  When asked what they would do differently next year, they replied “WIN!”
Seventh Place
Crossfit Lake Charles from Lake Charles, Louisiana had a strong team this year.  Their top three women all qualified for individual competition at the regionals this year , but chose to go the team route.  The three, Danielle Sawyer age 30, Megan Noris also age 30, and Ashley Navarro age 28, along with three men Ben Vines age 24, Dettef Gharst age 28, and Mitchell Sawyer age 31, have been working with an eye to the Regionals since last November when a dozen of their box members started training together for the express purpose of forming a competitive team.   “We had a team at the Regionals last year” says Danielle Sawyer “but we weren’t anywhere near as strong as we are this year.”   Mitchell Sawyer got his first muscle up at last year’s Regionals, and is now able to string them together in sets of 5-7.  “We’ve worked together every Sunday.  Our training has been essentially coachless.  We’ve been coaching each other.”  When asked to describe how their team training differs from the regular Lake Charles programming Mitchell Sawyer says “We train a lot heavier.  A lot heavier.  We do heavy Frans, pistols, muscle-ups, gymnastics and lots of stretching for mobility.  It’s made a huge difference.“  “We’re together and on the same page.  And we are all very disciplined about both training and nutrition.”  The entire team follows a Paleo-type diet. They were also able to draw from a 100-150 member pool since most of the box members competed in the Open.  Crossfit Lake Charles is very excited about the team’s success and has been very supportive.  They pulled together to raise over $3,000 for the trip to San Antonio.  They were also supported by their local Police Department, held a car wash and a raffle and received assistance from neighboring Crossfit Boxes Old Glory, Bridge City and Baton Rouge.  That kind of help can go a long way towards support team travel, lodging and meals.
Twelfth Place
Coach Brad Rains has been a Crossfitter for three years and a trainer for six months.  His team was selected from Crossfit Nola’s top men (Aaron Hyatt age 24,  260th in the open), Brandon Ecker age 32 64th in the open), Demion Reed age 24, 178th in the open) and women (Andrea Germond age 29, 194th in the open, Kelsey Moran age 21, 135th in the open, Rae Shih age 23, 280th in the open and Taryn Heyman age 23, 356th in the open).  Rains team is made of primarily experienced Crossfitters and most them are trainers as well.  The team did their best to prepare together, which was not always easy because of their varied work schedules and outside demands.  Their strategy was to strengthen weaknesses for all members with their heavy lifters focusing on cardio and their “high tempo” people building strength.  Rains says its best for all team members to be balanced so that any weaknesses in the team will be minimized.  Rains likes the change in the program.  “Last year the team workouts were individually based.  This year you needed lots of communication.  You have to talk to your partners.  We spent a week practicing strategy before heading to Texas.  Doing deadlifts together is not easy.”
The Crossfit Seven Team of Fort Worth, TX. in training.  April 2012.
Fifteenth place
Crossfit Seven of Fort Worth was coached by Ryan Shupe and Ryan “Squared” Simmons.  Their team was unique in that all the athletes were well into their 30s with the exception of 17-year old Karli Kirk.  Five of the team members competed in the 2011 Regionals, and all have been working out together as fellow box-members for years.  “We’re a tight bunch” said Shupe.   The team practiced as a group every Saturday and most Sunday’s following the open and were selected from the top finishers in the Open competition.  Two of the original members, Dusty Sides (36) and Mitzi Hiley (32) were lost to injuries.  “We spent a lot of time working on transitions, refining technique and increasing weight” said Simmons.  “And we made sure we had a great hotel with a Paleo-friendly restaurant, pool and a hot tub in San Antonio.”  The team received support from the Hotel Contessa in San Antonio, enjoyed time in the hot tub, and received sponsorship from local businesses to defray costs.
Twenty-fourth place
Coach Steve Galvan of Crossfit 210 in San Antonio took a strategy that differed from all of the other teams at the Regionals this year.  He recruited talented, experience athletes from outside his box.  “I knew exactly what I was looking for: experienced athletes with lots of fast twitch.”  He started building his team early; long before the Open. Three of the men and two of the women on the team have been doing CrossFit for less than a year.   One of the men has been at CrossFit for only a few months.  The team includes a female ironman-athlete, and a 400 meter sprinter from A&M.  Galvan focused on these six specific athletes, building their skills, correcting their weaknesses and getting them as strong as possible.  Galvan, who was a Texas State Track and Field Champion who ran for Texas A&M, and was coached in Olympic Lifting by Ursula Garza and Mark Rippetoe, brought a high level of expertise to his team.  It will be interesting to see how they place next year.

The CrossFit Games. The Masters: Ken Cutrer, headed to the Crossfit Games 2012

Ken Cutrer, Crossfit Master Athlete and prominent Fort Worth Attorney, is legend in South Central.  Cutrer, who is also known as “The Godfather,” started Crossfit with his law partner, MMA fighter Max Effort.   The two began working off the main site about eight years ago.  We spoke with Cutrer about training for the CrossFit Games.
Ken Cutrer at the Rower
When Cutrer first started Crossfit he would pick and choose WODS that were less likely to induce Effort’s more provocative antics.  But in 2007 he decided to follow the Main Site workouts and stuck with them, regardless of how demanding and grueling they were or how embarrassing Effort’s behavior became.  “That’s when I started to see big improvements.  In my athletic performance, I mean” says Cutrer. “Effort was definitely a distraction, but I was too exhausted to get upset about it.” It wasn’t long before his times became competitive with times other Crossfitters were posting online.   “We didn’t know how old people were back then.  I would wait for Chris Speeler to post and then see if I could beat him.”  
Ken Cutrer of CrossFit EST in Richland Hills, TX

Cutrer competed in the Crossfit games for the first time in 2008.
He has continued to follow main-site WODS, but also spends a lot of time honing skills, attending clinics and workshops, getting stronger and experimenting with different approaches to programming.   “In 2008 I focused on Olympic lifting following Greg Evertt and have done CrossFit Football since 2009.  I learned a lot from that.”  Cutrer follows a Paleo-type diet that he describes as heavy on olive oil and rum.  While this may sound unorthodox, his performance gains have been unbelievable. He has made it to regionals every year since 2009 and placed 8thin the Games Masters Division in 2011.  
In addition to practicing law, Cutrer now runs his own box, CrossFit EST with his partner Chris Lofland. The two have coached one of Crossfit South Central’s most competitive female athletes, Candice Ruiz.   Ruiz hopes to be Masters Athlete someday, although frankly she really cannot imagine being that old.  Ruiz placed 17that the Games in 2010 and will be returning again this year.  
Cutrer recommends young athletes follow Rudy Neilson’s programming at Outlaw Crossfit and do two WODs a day leading up to the Games.  Cutrer also recommends lots of volume while keeping a close eye on rests and athlete fatigue.  “I think Xfitters are hard charging type A competitors.  There’s a different between can I or should I?” said Cutrer, eyeing Effort.  “What are you going to get out of it?  Come back another day.” 
As a Master, Cutrer acknowledges needing to back off some.  “It takes a little longer to recover” now that he’s 47, says Cutrer.  “If you’re injured or hurting, work on something else.  Rests are important.  It can be hard to get the message across.  A lot of endurance athletes have this problem.  They come in with the attitude that more is best and they need to change that.  There is a better way to train.  I’ve watched people who were marathoners dial back mileage and still go out and get a PR with nowhere near the wear and tear they would have had before.”   Cutrer advises Masters athletes, and in fact anyone headed to the Games, to remember how complex it is to organize and pull off an event like this, especially with the sport evolving and growing so rapidly.  “I heard some people were unhappy with having Masters out in a parking lot last year, but I wasn’t.  We (Masters) need to be our own separate thing.”   
Cutrer has been preparing for the games by following a 3 on 1 off, 2 on 1 off alternating workout schedule. Cutrer says that since both strength and speed are important in competition, he is devoting time to each.   Cutrer says he did not stress too much about his performance in the Open.  His goal was to make the top 20 to qualify for the Games, not necessarily place at the head of the Leaderboard.  “I was just interested in qualifying” says Cutrer “1st or 17th doesn’t matter at this stage”.   Cutrer is, in many ways, the ideal Crossfit Masters Athlete:  fast and strong with lots of experience and a defense attorney’s sweeping sense of strategy.   It will be a huge advantage to Cutrer to have seen it all before.  He knows the Game and what to expect.

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How does age influence performance in the Crossfit Games?

Sharp, experienced and stubborn as hell.

We’ve been struggling to write this without sounding overwhelmingly geeky and don’t think its working.  So, let’s just do this:

Partial data from the 2011 CrossFit Games (in this case,
women ages 40-44 who finished in the top 1000) affords an interesting outlook on performance by age.  Would that all data were available.  What is most obvious is that numbers of participants appears to decline with age.    There were a lot more 40 year olds in the top 1000 than there were women aged 41-44. This may reflect a number of different things.

  1. Fewer women participate in sports in general as they enter their 40s.
  2. There are fewer women participating in this sort of activity.  
  3. There may be more attrition due to injuries
  4. People mellow out in terms of giving that much of a $hit after age 40 about competing.  

It does look like the 40 year olds did better than the rest.  The top three 40 year old performers placed 23rd, 33rd and 82nd overall while the top three 41 year olds placed 463rd, 509th and 520th.  That is a huge drop.  Things were a little better for the top 42 year olds at 255th, 309th and 476th overall. 43 year olds gained a little more ground placing 220th, 230th and 438th and then the 44 year olds dumped it placing 387th, 710th and 963rd.  Studies of trained athletes by age show a modest decline in performance after age 40 followed by pretty good maintenance until age 70 when there is another larger drop.  Good news is that there’s no reason why we can’t continue to enjoy beating ourselves into the ground.  Give it some more thought at 70, and don’t take a drop in performance around that age personally.  Its not you.