Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger: CrossFit Masters Athlete Scott Jenkins

Getting older can just as easily mean getting fitter as well, just ask 2 x CrossFit Games Masters athlete Scott Jenkins. Pick up nutrition and training tips from this determined UK competitor.

CrossFit Blackwater athlete and head coach, Scott Jenkins competed at The CrossFit Games 2016 for the second year running in the Masters 45-49 category.

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 focused all my efforts on making the return trip to Carson.

My goals this year were:

  • Get back to the Games
  • Win an event
  • Get on the podium
  • Win!

Of course I wanted to win it!  It was tough – Bill Grundler is still the guy to beat in my mind.

Scott Jenkins masters athlete crossfit games
At the Games last year!

So what was 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 earned 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 favor.  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.

scott jenkins uk crossfit games masters athlete
Working on his Snatches

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 program – 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.

scott jenkins crossfit games athlete masters
Scott proving that age is never an excuse

Do you think the Masters are sidelined by CrossFit?  You’re scheduled before the main individual’s 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 provides us with the same warm-up 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 individual’s competition.

The way the Games 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 neighbors yelling at the live feed when I came really close to winning the third event SQT last year!!

SCOTT JENKINS: DIET AND TRAINING

Scott, you mentioned last time that you now work full time at your affiliate, CrossFit Blackwater in Essex.  How does your day look now?

I’ll walk you through my day yesterday…I had two breakfasts.

Two breakfasts? Is that normal?

No.  I have my longest training session on a Monday and I also had a class to coach before I trained, so I like to get a lot of food in me early!

The first time I did a 3 hour session I felt spent before the end of it and ended up sandbagging the last met con because I was physically tired and unused to the long sessions.  When I was still working in London and doing long hours I only had time for 1 hour sessions so my body was accustomed to 1 hour sessions.

So yesterday I did a 44 minute warm-up: preconditioning, stretching, mobilizing, empty bar drills.

44 minutes?  That’s nearly as long as most people’s training sessions?

Well I can afford the time at the moment – and I do faff around with the music so it’s not all pure warm up.

Afterwards, a 10 minute snatch EMOM.  I’m working on consistency with my Olympic lifts – yesterday I only dropped one so it was a good day. Then snatch grip deadlifts, back squats, some metabolic conditioning including running, muscle ups and toes to bar and finishing with an EMOM of muscle ups and toes to bar.

What do you do after training?

I should stretch – sometimes I don’t.  I get easily distracted by conversation.  I’m always 100% focused on my training but today I got chatting with somebody outside the box.  Business comes before stretching sometimes! I go home in the afternoon for a bit of downtime and a nap before I return to coach 2-3 hours of classes in the evening. This time of year is brilliant because Springwatch is on TV – my favorite program.  I get to see how the blue tits are doing.

Sadly no stickleback this year – Spineless Si was my favorite Springwatch character ever!

I don’t think many people would have you down as a nature lover?

I can name every British bird.  Not in order – you’d have to show me a picture.  Hopefully there’ll be 5 rounds for time at the Games – 20 pistols OR name these 5 British birds!  That would be brilliant… Or muscles up then recognize the bird call.

Tell me about your diet?

I’ve been told that my diet is pretty good.  I do make the mistake sometimes of telling my members at CrossFit Blackwater that I eat pretty much what I want – which is the truth.  But mostly what I want is a lot of MEAT!

I do have the occasional French bread sandwich with cheese, tomato and onion.  I don’t have it every day but if there is a French loaf in the house I can’t resist.

So you eat pretty clean – what about supplements?

 I’m taking Omega 3 at the moment.  I’ve started to take it consistently over the last 3 months and have really noticed a difference.  I have trouble with my knees – they get sore very easily but I’m able to squat twice a week now.  I still get discomfort but it’s manageable.

BCAA’s.  I didn’t believe in them but I was doing these really long training sessions and struggling to recover.  Since I’ve been taking them I’ve noticed a significant improvement in my recovery.  I’ve been taking them since the Open and I’ve definitely moved forwards. Pick up more nutrition tips with our guide to nutrition and performance.

You mentioned last time that you are following Ben Bergeron’s CompTrain programming.  Why are you using somebody else’s programming when you do the programming yourself for CrossFit Blackwater athletes?

 I program the stuff I like too much for myself.  Whenever I’m in a bad mood or feel like I need a treat I program muscle ups or handstand pushups or toes to bar or bar cycling.  I love a bit of bar cycling…

I like to wake up and have something to follow that makes me address all areas.  I’d been looking at Ben’s programming for quite a while before I got on board and it’s one of the only programming systems that I fully trust.  Ben has been around in CrossFit for a long time – he’s done wonders with Katrin Davidsdottir.  Since she moved over to him last year she seems to have a new fire.  A lot of Ben’s philosophy is about mental mindset.  That is an enormous part of CrossFit.

What do you think your mental game is like?

At the moment it’s good.  I’m prone to a tantrum but I’m getting better at focusing it into my training now.  Injuries and niggles are the things that can really wind me up and put me off my game.

What advice would you give to people training away in their boxes, working hard and comparing themselves to elite athletes?

Train for quality.’

Especially as a master – there is only so much wear and tear our bodies can endure.  Everything needs to be for a reason. When you leave the box ask yourself “Did my training today make me better?”  If not you’re doing something wrong.  If you are going into the gym and beasting yourself at the same things over and over again you may improve your engine a little but you won’t be getting better as a CrossFit athlete.

  • Work on your strength base – don’t constantly max and test lifts.
  • Practice skills outside of timed WODs – EMOM work is great for gymnastic skills.
  • Don’t do three half hearted met-cons – do one, but do it right.  Get intensity into your training over volume.
  • Technique is above all else.  Everybody is different but success and progress at all levels depends on establishing a solid base of strength and technique.

Thanks Scott


Scott Jenkins masters athlete crossfit games © CrossFit Blackwater

scott jenkins uk crossfit games masters athlete © CrossFit Blackwater

scott jenkins crossfit games athlete masters © CrossFit Blackwater

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About The Author

Newly graduated journalist, From Izmir/Turkey and currently lives in Berlin. Passionate about all kind of sports. CrossFit is definetly one of them. Former tennis and volleyball player, global citizen,traveller and sportslover.

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