Get To Know Someone Who’s Dominating the Masters Division… Steve Vinz

steve vinz 1If you’re the average CrossFit athlete chances are good that Steve’s got 30 years on you.  Chances are also good that his times are better than yours.  Meet one of our very own who’s over 60 and 159th in the world.  Autographs after the workout please…

What do you do for a living?

I’ve been retired from IBM for two years where I was a Program Manager for 35 years.

What’s your favorite thing to do outside of the gym?

I enjoy spending time with family and friends.  I also like taking motorcycle and corvette trips with my wife, Cally and summer weekend trips to the river on our boat with family.

What made you decide to try CrossFit Progression?

My son, Shawn and daughter-in-law, Staci were already doing CrossFit for a year or two and encouraged Cally and I to give it a try.  I was reluctant, (I thought how could you even get a good workout in, in just 20 minutes… wow, was I ever wrong) but Cally said she was going to join, with or without me, so here I am 5 years later; still loving it.  One of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

How long have you been at CrossFit Progression?

Five years in November.

What was your experience with fitness like prior to CrossFit?

I played high school and college sports.  As an adult I ran marathons and did some long distance biking.  I’ve always been active but not consistently working out; not until the last five years.

What was your biggest fear when you started at CrossFit Progression?

I suppose my ego got in the way and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep up.  I wanted to be able to be competitive with the others or equal to them, (I didn’t want to finish last).  When I started, I didn’t understand the concept of scaling the workouts.

Favorite cheat day meal?

Burger, fries and ice cream.  Or pizza!

What goal(s) are you currently chasing?

My goals for the next 12 months are to become more proficient at double unders, ring dips, chest to bars and finish the CrossFit Open in the Masters 60+ division in the top 150 in the world.

What’s the hardest part about CrossFit?

Realizing I’m not 20 anymore.  Making sure I allow for enough recovery time.

What’s one thing your fellow CFP’ers would be surprised to learn about you?

I’m a junk food junkie.  I LOVE anything greasy and chocolate and I hate vegetables.  Obviously Cally controls my diet and our food choices!

What is your favorite piece of advice you’ve gotten from a coach at CrossFit Progression?

One of the first and best pieces of advice I received from a coach was to approach a difficult workout or movement by NOT saying you can’t do it, but rather say you can’t do it YET!

How has your outlook on health/fitness changed since starting CrossFit?

It’s literally been life changing.  Prior to coming to CrossFit Progression, I had 2 TIA’s (small strokes), my blood pressure and cholesterol were out of control, and I was 60 pounds over weight.  So in a sense, it may have saved my life.

steve vinz 2What has been your fondest memory during your time at CrossFit Progression?

Sharing this common passion and workouts with my family – Cally, Shawn, and Staci.

Why do you think you’ve stuck with CrossFit Progression?

I stay with it because of the community; the friendships and I enjoy being with others of like mind – all willing to commit efforts to be a more fit and healthy person.  I also enjoy being able to share this with my wife, son, and daughter-in-law.  Though qualifying for the Master Qualifier was an individual achievement, it could not have been done without the support and coaching from the CFP community and coaches.

What would be your one piece of advice for someone who’s just joining CrossFit Progression?

Don’t be intimidated by the fire breathers, check your ego at the door, don’t give up, listen to your body and your coach.  SCALE as appropriate (this isn’t a sign of weakness or being less fit, it might be what enables you to come back tomorrow instead of being injured and out for weeks or months).

What did it mean to you to finish in the 159th spot in the Master’s Qualifier this year?

It had a real sense of accomplishment.  It had been a goal of mine for the last couple of years to be in the top 200 in the world during the CrossFit Open in the 60+ Masters Division.  I wasn’t able to achieve that goal last year due to shoulder surgery, (torn rotator cuff, torn labrum and torn bicep).  By finishing in the top 200 this year, I was able to compete in the Masters Qualifier.  The Masters Qualifier is similar to the CrossFit Regionals for anyone under 40 yo.  This has really motivated me for next year.  It’s amazing to realize that at my age I can still significantly improve my fitness and skills.

Why is the Masters age group (40+) important?

As you age you certainly can remain fit and if you want, you can continue to be competitive… BUT you also need to adapt to the fact that you’ve used your joints, muscles, and bones for 40, 50, 60 or maybe even 70 years and there is wear and tear on them.  Having separate competition groupings for those over 40 enables aging athletes to compete with others who have had an equal number of years of use of their bodies.  The adaptations for Masters allows us to continue as strong, competitive athletes and yet protects us from misuse, overuse or injury.  As we continue to have the numbers grow in the Masters group (60-65 & 66+) likely eventually we will need a 70+ group.  Each five years makes a difference on your joints and your recovery time, especially once you pass 60.

What does the word “Masters” mean to you in terms of how CrossFit classifies age groups?

Initially I felt like Masters was a “less than” classification but now that I’ve been doing it for five years, I feel like it’s an honor to be a Masters athlete.  It’s amazing that we continue to be able to work out side by side with individuals who are 30-40 years younger than ourselves, and for the most part doing the same workout.  I think there are only about 4 of us CFP’ers who are above 60 and we can all participate in any WOD and often do as well or better than some of the young bucks.

I think we’ll end with that. 😉 How cool is Steve Vinz!?

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