Del’s is a 60-year-old Master whose credentials speak for themselves. He’s a 3 times Games athlete without a fast twitch muscle to his name but more than compensates with crazy hard work and a the right mindset. He believes that if he can do it, so you can you!
How old are you, Del?
How long have you been doing CrossFit and where do you train?
I started in 2009. I own South Tahoe Crossfit.
What are the other commitments in your life?
I work a couple hours in the morning at my grown up job then I coach Open Gym in the afternoon. That’s my workout time.
What keeps you coming back for more?
I’m overly obsessed with not having any holes in my game. It’s difficult because I’m extremely uncoordinated. It takes me so long to figure out movement patterns. Now that I can do all the movements I just try to work on getting more efficient at them.
What achievements are you most proud of?
I want to say going to the Games 3 times but honestly that’s not it. I think it was coaching one of my athletes at the Games. It gives you an incredible feeling when you know that you knew an athlete well enough to keep him healthy and in good enough shape to get them to that point. Tied for my proudest moment would be this. I was so terrible at Muscle Ups and HSPU. I spent so much time working on them I actually made them my two best movements. I’m pretty proud of that.
What are your strengths?
My mindset. I have the ability to get really comfortable being extremely uncomfortable. The dark place has turned into my friend. A good example would be burpees. I don’t have good mobility so my burpees are far from perfect. However I won a burpee event at the Games from just pushing to the dark place and staying there. Fifteen seconds in a workout can move you up 50 spots. Pushing through when everything in you wants a break is huge.
What are your weaknesses?
That’s easy. Oly. I don’t have the fast twitch gene in me. I’m so slow it’s pathetic. It drives me crazy because I’m one of the strongest in my age group at powerlifting movements but just get hammered on Oly.
What are your current goals?
Stay healthy. That’s the hardest part for Masters 50 and up. Finding the right balance of work and rest is so important.
My second goal is to get to the Games this year. Preferably on the little box they make you stand on when it’s over.
Who does your programming?
I’ve been with Michael FitzGerald of OPT for 6 years. It’s one on one programming. It’s way better than one size fits all programing because you can focus on what you suck at. Every year he has Masters Games winners and multiple athletes competing. I think I was his first Master competitor. Since he has become one of the best Masters coaches out there. If you’re at the point you need a coach, I would highly recommend him. He’s very reasonably priced.
Can we find you on social media? Who do you follow on social media that you’d recommend to others?
My favorite person to follow is Pamela Gagnon on Instagram.. She’s a Masters Games competitor who’s an unbelievable gymnastics coach. Her progressions are insane. I highly suggest you do an interview with her. [we’ll see what we can do! MtB]
What supplements do you swear by?
I am limited on my food. I count macros so food is a commodity. I prefer to eat my carbs and protein. My number one supplement is Pangea Origins. It’s a recovery product developed for Master Athletes. It’s crazy. If I forget to take it for a day I’m usually too sore to get out of bed the next day. The company owners have always been super involved and generous to the Masters community. The second is Creatine. I think every Masters Athlete should be taking this. I like Xendurance JB formula.
What’s always in your kitbag?
Way too much shit. Usually kinda stinky shit. Under the shit you can always find some floss, lacrosse balls and xtra heel lifts. Heel lifts are a whole different conversation but so worth having in your bag.
What advice would you give to a Master just starting out in CrossFit?
I’m going to answer this in 3 categories.
Do not ever get caught up in the hype. Go at your pace. Learn good movements. Honestly if you rush the process of just learning movement patterns you will get crushed when you add weight. Always think of the weight you pick in a workout. Think about how that weight will feel after 50- 100 reps. Will that weight still be easy deep into a workout?
Do mobility work!! Everyday do some. Go to class early and do 20 minutes. Stay after class and do 20 more. Watching tv? Get a yoga mat and a roller while watching Netflix It’s literally as important as working out. Obviously if you’re new you’re not sure what you should be doing. Download Romwod and follow that until you can develop your own routine.
Never go more than 2 days in a row when you’re starting. I get it. It’s super fun and you want to go all the time but a 2-1 2-1 schedule is plenty for the first 6 months to a year.
Top 500 to the top 50 in the world CFers.
Your class workouts are just not going to get to all the things you need to be working on. You will have to spend a little xtra time after class. If your moves are good and you have open gym time then maybe get into a cheaper one size fits all program. However you still want a coach on hand to check your movements. Take care of your body. Get weekly body work, roll everything and do a ton of mobility. Shoulders tend to be a problem at this point. Make them bulletproof. Crossover Symmetry is my daily before and after warmup/cool down. Arm bars, ring lockout holds, handstand holds against the wall. Constantly working on shoulder stability/mobility is a good formula for success.
Get a really good coach that knows Masters Athletes. Act like an athlete. That means in every way. Diet, little to no alcohol, bodywork, mobility and sleep. Honestly this is the only difference between a top 200 athlete and a Games competitor.
What’s the key to effective recovery for you?
My coach typically loads a day up. Up to 3 hours of lifting and gymnastics. The following day it’s always bodyweight conditioning. Basically 1.5 hours of active rest- 90% effort conditioning. I honestly think if you go hard 5 days a week or more you will have a brief career or be fighting overuse injuries all year. 45 year olds and under can do more. So basically my active recovery is effective recovery for me.
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. —Maya Angelou
What would you advise CrossFitters to stop doing? What should they start (if they aren’t already!)?
My pet peeve I hear all the time on Masters forums is “I beat the youngsters today”. Honestly if you’re beating kids then those youngsters aren’t very good. Get over being obsessed with the younger athletes.
If you’re not counting macros you should be. Most people won’t face the fact that they might be overweight. The best test is take off your shirt and look in the mirror. Do you see a 6 pack without flexing? If the answer is no then you need to be counting macros. Even 5 pounds/3 kilograms makes a huge difference. Working out is hard. Eating right is not. If you can get better via diet why wouldn’t you. I suggest, if you can afford it, get a coach for the first 3 months. That way you’re held accountable for your choices. I use Stronger U. They have a members FB group that’s invaluable and some great coaches.
My own question.
Del, do I have a chance to get to the Crossfit Games?
Hell ya. I’m 100% positive of this. If you guys saw how uncoordinated I am and how bad I sucked when I started this journey you would be convinced. I just learned early to ignore what I was good at and work on what I’m terrible at. I discovered if I quit drinking I recovered faster and could push more in workouts. I figured out without drinking and exercising consistently I slept better. I became aware of the fact, the more mobility I did everything became easier. See where I’m going with this? If you want to do this you’re 100% capable. If you don’t give, or aren’t capable of giving 100% then you’re probably not making it. Someone else is willing to give it that 100% and take your spot. Your 95% will get you in the top 200. I get it, It’s a huge commitment, but it’s all about do you really want it? I myself lack the skills of most of my peers but I have that 100%. That’s why I’m convinced anyone with mediocre skills and the right mindset can do it.
If anyone has any additional questions please feel free to message me on FB.