CrossFit Blackwater athlete and head coach, Scott Jenkins has qualified for the CrossFit Games 2016 for the second year running in the Masters 45-49 category.
Ahead of his trip to Carson I caught up with him to ask him a few questions about his preparation for this year’s competition.
Scott, we haven’t seen you at any of the UK or European competitions this year – what have your goals been this year?
I have taken a step away from other competitions and have focussed all my efforts on making the return trip to Carson.
My goals this year were:
1) Get back to the Games
2) Win an event
3) Get on the podium
Of course I want to win it! It’s going to be tough – Bill Grundler is still the guy to beat in my mind.
So what’s the plan at the Games this year?
Last year I was thrilled to qualify for the Games. I had been trying for 7 years to get there and I felt that I’d achieved my goal just by going. The first couple of events out in Carson weren’t great for me and I ended up in 18th after two events with a fight on my hands just to make it into the final.
This year I mean it to be different. I feel like I’ve earnt my place and I want to go out there and scare a few people! If the programming goes my way I don’t see why I can’t be a podium contender. If there are a lot of one rep maxes and a pistol marathon – maybe not.
How do you think you stack up against the big names in your category – Bill Grundler for example?
I think the odds are slightly in his favour. My engine is better this year so I think I can challenge him on the met con type workouts. My problem is the strength wods – I lose a lot of ground on those workouts whereas Bill does consistently well across all the board – he nearly always finishes in the top 5 across all events.
I’ve been working hard over the last 3 months – my training plan includes 3 days a week of heavy olympic lifting. I am working really hard on my weaknesses – I am getting better – maybe not at the pace to get top 5 at the games in those events but if I can squeeze into the top 10 it won’t have such a profound effect on my overall rankings.
So is there anything you’ll do differently this year with the benefit of last year’s Games experience to draw on?
I made a lot of rookie mistakes at the Games last year. I took my top off too much! Got sweat all over my equipment and made some movements even harder than they were already.
You have no idea how much you sweat out there – especially in the tennis stadium. It’s like being in a sauna – the air burns your lungs.
How do you prepare for that – you’re based at your CrossFit gym in Witham, Essex with the variable British weather and then suddenly you have to transplant yourself into California and make your body perform optimally?
Fortunately we have a glass roof in the box at CrossFit Blackwater. When it’s sunny I train directly underneath it. I put the rower outside when it’s sunny. It’s not the same as California but I do everything I can!
What’s different to last year in Scott world?
Now I don’t have two jobs. Last year I did an eight hour day in an office in London, commuted 3 hours a day and then coached 2-3 hours most evenings. So I have more time for training and recovery.
I’m on a special masters programme – Ben Bergeron’s CompTrain. I train 2-3 hours a day, 5 days a week.
I feel fitter. I’m a little bit stronger – it’s hard to get stronger when you’re really old! Now it’s more about fighting against losing strength. But I can and have got fitter.
Tell me about injury – how do you balance the need to train enough and keeping the volume to a level that doesn’t cause injury?
I trained so safely last year because I was so nervous about getting injured. This year I’m training sensibly but I’m pushing the intensity as much as I can.
I have a strain in my supraspinatus at the moment so I’m working around that. I have to be careful with muscle ups and snatching.
Do you think the Masters are sidelined by CrossFit? You’re scheduled before the main individuals events, there are no offsite workouts – do you think you are treated as a lesser category?
Not at all! There’s not as much interest in the Masters – we don’t draw the big crowds. CrossFit HQ provide us with the same warmup facilities, same soft tissue therapists – we are in the same stadiums… I think we are very well looked after!
Spectators want to see athletes doing superhuman things. Although the stuff we do as masters is amazing for our age, it doesn’t make as good viewing as the individuals with their superhuman feats! That’s why the big sponsorship and attention is on the individuals competition.
The way the Games is programmed is perfect. It means I get to do my bit and then sit back, relax and watch the individuals and enjoy the rest of my trip.
What’s the vibe with the other guys out in Carson – super competitive or friendly?
It’s pretty friendly and there’s lots of banter. But inside we are all competitive beasts! It doesn’t matter how friendly we are – we all want to beat each other like nothing on earth. Most of the guys have competitive experience from other sports so there’s a lot going on under the surface.
Who have you got rooting for you at the Games this year?
All the guys at CrossFit Blackwater, my CrossFit gym in Essex, are really supportive – I know last year they were all catching up on the action when they woke up in the morning. The time difference means that a lot of the events happen late at night real time in the UK. One of the guys said that he woke up his neighbours yelling at the live feed when I came really close to winning the third event SQT last year!!
Read part two of Scott’s interview.