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Old 05-01-2015, 08:09 PM   #1
Mauricio Leal
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Retiring from Comp/Life After Peak Performance

I thought I'd try to seek some wisdom and just start a conversation (couldn't find anything in search) with respect to people that have pushed a high level in sports/athletics/fitness/strength, and what they made of their training after the "glory days" had ended.

I'm basically asking about *gasp* GETTING OLD -- say it ain't so right?

I know a lot of athletes finish their NCAA or Pro days in their mid to late 20s (early 30s in some cases), find CrossFit, and re-ignite the fire. That was pretty much me too, but even that has a limit.

I competed at the 2013 and 2014 NorCal Regionals, did fairly well for myself at 29 & 30 years young. I'm currently 31, and decided to quit competitive CF and focus on weightlifting, partly because I have a knack for it and enjoy it, but mainly because the training to compete for spots at the CrossFit Games even at the Regional level is a little now ridiculous IMHO, and I like having a life outside of running a gym and training in one.

I'm still getting stronger (Sn 140kg, C&J 165kg recently as an 85kg lifter), but I'm realizing that at some point that's not going to happen either. Boo hoo right ? Aches and pains are more noticeable regularly, the desire is still there but honestly making a living and other life responsibilities/stressors make the training grind seem rather silly at times. Maybe I shouldn't even bother thinking about these things because it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts, but I like to plan for the future.

So, what do you do when you decide to hang them up? Do you:

A) Just walk away and never touch a barbell again? (Hah!) Eat and travel a lot, write that book you've been itching to, get fat, focus on work, have kids, etc.
B) Do the "fitness class" version of CF, i.e. let go of your old PRs, just get a good hard workout in.
C) Rage against the dying of the light (train twice as hard, hold on, etc.). Plan your Masters comeback.
D) Just do Powerlifting, since one can keep getting strong at the slow lifts for many years.
E) Take up Zumba. Tough Mudders
F) Some combination?
G) ???

I'm sure many of you have heard about several of the big name CFers "retiring", going team, and/or at least dialing it back noticeably, but by and large they all seem to still live this stuff, train an inordinate amount for any "regular" person, or are plotting their comeback. Are there any other options that don't suck?

Thanks for you feedback!
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Old 05-01-2015, 11:33 PM   #2
Marshall Flagg
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Re: Retiring from Comp/Life After Peak Performance

Dude, Sorry about the snatch at the Nor Cal Open. Probly not your best day. I lifted in the last session.

I will be 47 in June. Aches and pains are a part of being old as hell. I quit CF to train WL full time at the end of 2013. Never imagined how much more demanding it would be than CFing.

I work full time and spend a lot of time training because I like it. It is hard as hell and seems pointless when I consider my age, why I am doing it etc. I like it and am only competing against my last competition total. Anyway, assuming I don't bomb out, I can generally beat someone.

Keep lifting as long as you dig it. Masters podiums are in your future as well as lifting in big Senior meets.

You could always be a bodybuilder. If I recall, your quads are huge LOL

Anyway, whatever you do, do something sweet because I sure as hell would rather be 31 than 47-you have plenty of time. Sort of.
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Old 05-02-2015, 11:03 AM   #3
Victor J McQuaide
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Re: Retiring from Comp/Life After Peak Performance

Yes go team I am sure that most every team would like to have you. Planning for masters.. problem that you might have to work harder in the masters dealing with more life (being 10 years) older, pains and aches down the road. Weight lifting is a tough endeavor also.. you have the numbers to do it. I wish that I enjoyed weight lifting particular Oly much more... I love the met cons, running around, climbing ropes, Murphs'... etc.. Hard to sit still doing just one or two things all day.. with that being said I need to take a long oly technique class and get with a coach who can help.

They have other sports that have master's starting at 35 years old.. Track cycling is fun. Takes a while to get the cycling legs but your strength might really be good.

Don't think the couch thing would be a good one.

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Old 05-02-2015, 03:39 PM   #4
Richard Colon
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Re: Retiring from Comp/Life After Peak Performance

Originally Posted by Mauricio Leal View Post
A) Just walk away and never touch a barbell again? (Hah!) Eat and travel a lot, write that book you've been itching to, get fat, focus on work, have kids, etc.
pretty much a lot of this.
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Old 05-02-2015, 07:29 PM   #5
Jason A Smith
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Re: Retiring from Comp/Life After Peak Performance

I know you are looking for advice ? But really the advice needs to come from within.

Do you want to retire from competing at fitness or just dial back your training ?

What do you like to do ? Do you want to lift weights ? Do you like being fit ? Doing the Open, potentially trying to qualify for Regionals either as an individual or on a team while still maintaining a good work life balance ?

From my own experience, I just like to train and have a purpose for why I am doing it. I am currently 38 (be 39 in Sept.) so my goal is to continue to improve and based on the current format try and get to the Master's qualifier when I am 40 and see where I go from there. I have two kids, a full time job etc so for me as long as i feel I am maintaining a good balance and quality of life then that is fine with me. This is my only hobby and it takes up about 6.5-7 hours a week of my time. I suppose I could spend it in much worse ways. I don't drink, smoke and I can still play for hours with my kids (7 & 9) so there is something to be said for that.

You are still pretty young (I started at 32) and I would bet came close to top 20 this year and could likely be a team competitor for several years. Or you could be a weightlifter if that is what you enjoy or run 5K's or triathalons or whatever you decide you would like to do and you enjoy.

Good luck with whatever you decide. I know that from where I stand the landscape of competitive Crossfit has certainly changed since I first watched the Games in 2009 and know in a few years I could do this. The bar has moved so far from the regular athlete it is almost unrecognizable from what it was.
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Old 05-05-2015, 07:55 AM   #6
John Drohan
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Re: Retiring from Comp/Life After Peak Performance

Whatever you decide to do, as long as you remain active, you'll probably find you won't lose "that much" capability. Perhaps during some longer period of time doing something different will either re-ignite the passion you had for competitive Crossfit or allow you to find something just as rewarding to focus on.
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Old 05-11-2015, 09:08 PM   #7
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: Retiring from Comp/Life After Peak Performance


I've been following you for awhile, Mauricio, especially since I follow Max's gym.

As for CF, you can keep on training hard to show up at Regionals. Or you could be fine with showing up at Regionals or going for Team (seeing that you'll need to be able to qualify to Regionals anyways). Unless of course you just want to compete locally and dominate.

Matt Chan was 34 when he decided to hang it up right? Spealler about the same age. Unfortunately Masters is 40 in CF and if you are in your young 30's, that's years away.

For WLing, you get smart about it and figure out what you can do that doesn't bury you. Thing is you still have about 3 years or so until you qualify for Master's. Your numbers right now would grant you the ability to break the Master's records for 35up as an 85, except that the numbers will probably go up every year as that is a very popular weight class. More than likely, you'll still be able to podium or gold with your numbers.

Yeah, you could do PLing or other sports if that floats your boat.

Personally, I've been thinking of something CF-lite ish when I hang them up. SnCJ 2-3x/week, do a couple of metcons and strength work and bodyweight/gymnastics. Train no more than 60-90 minutes at least 3-4x/week, at most 5. Some sessions short and some longer. No late night training sessions and be home in time for dinner to a gf/wife and rugrats.

However, if you don't want to have rugrats, you'll have a boatload more of time. If you don't have a SO, more time.

For any kind of training program or trainee, I like to first know how much time they can/want to train per week as a basepoint. So if you have 4 days a week you can do 90 minutes, that's what you have to work with.

If you decide you are sick of double or triple (split) sessions a day a few times per week with one session on light days, you calculate that in.

For example. Let's say you'd love do do 9-11 WL sessions per week roughly 20hours/week but know you can only manage 5 WL sessions and 3-4 CF sessions a week. So that means you just went from 20 to 10+3hrs/week.

If you can do 3 heavy WL sessions a week at 2.5-3hrs/week and 2 light sessions of 1-1.5hrs and 2-3 of CFish at 1hr/pop you go from there.

Then you look at all this and your daily work schedule with hobbies (church, WoW, quilting, volunteer work, etc) and plug it all in and spit it out.
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Old 06-03-2015, 08:58 AM   #8
Mauricio Leal
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Re: Retiring from Comp/Life After Peak Performance

Thanks for all the replies guys.

I love training no matter what, and in some capacity I will keep either lifting, doing CF, or doing something else active for its own sake indefinitely. But the stresses of constantly trying to PR and go HAM in competitions on top of real life stresses -- all of which have me spending way too much time in gyms in general -- has been a grind and I'm looking forward to a break after Nationals, which I'm tentatively committed to. I also still really enjoy just walking in and coming up with workouts as I go (which of course is not "optimal" but whatever), as it maintains a more creative/playful spirit for me, and I know enough now to come up with decent workouts. Also, cancelling and getting more sleep or taking my dog somewhere instead can be highly satisfying .

It's just a weird transitory time for me, which I guess you could call Actually Growing Up (hah), where I simply don't care like I used to about outcomes from training as much. Something that Coach Rudy (who I'm not a huge fan of but has his moments) said at the Outlaw Seminar (at TJ's in San Rafael, which was a cluster as some might remember) a couple years ago has also resonated with me more over time (paraphrasing): "training for fitness/CF at the highest levels is actually not synonymous with health," which of course flies in the face of CF's Sickness-Wellness-Fitness Health continuum model, but I've found to be true. The times when I was waist deep in awesome training were also times where I was dragging *** physically and mentally to show up and be a good coach and affiliate owner, and meanwhile I often wasn't being a very good friend/family member to my non-gym people. I think the really successful CF athletes (probably athletes in general) get around this mostly by structuring much of their life around training, and/or have a robust network of social and other support systems that propel them. Or are simply masochistic. The training lifestyle can be incredibly engrossing, exciting, but mono-cultural and isolating all at the same time.

Qualifying for things, obsessing about PRing XYZ, lying awake at night thinking about how to crush things the next day. It's all kindof a kids' game TBH. One that I think we should all enjoy entertaining as much as possible to maintain our sense of youth and play, as long as we can recognize it as such and can let it go when stuff that actually matters takes precedent (paying the bills, spending time with loved ones, the many facets of our own health, etc.).

Anyhow just thinking out loud as I get ready to go train today ! Thanks again for all your feedback.
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Old 06-04-2015, 06:47 PM   #9
Jon Campbell
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Re: Retiring from Comp/Life After Peak Performance

Saw the other day where Klokov retired. I guess it eventually catches up with even the best.
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