Adapting to Changes in the Masters Season – Carl Giuffre & Briana Gaipa
Interview by Nichole Kribs

There was a wave of shock and disappointment when the CrossFit Games announced that Masters, Teens and Teams would not be competing at the CrossFit Games in 2020, due to the worldwide pandemic. However, all the training leading up to the Qualifiers was not lost as the Masters Fitness Collective soon announced they’d be hosting a competition for all the Masters who qualified for the CrossFit Games along with additional athletes determined by an online qualifier. The competition is set to take place on August 20-23, 2020. Let’s see how Carl, Briana and others have adapted to the changes to their season.

Perspective from Carl Giuffre

At the spry age of 61, Carl Giuffre qualified for the 2020 CrossFit Games placing 4th in the 60+ age division. This would have been his second year competing at the CrossFit Games in that age division.

What was your initial reaction to the CrossFit Games being cancelled for the Masters division?

My initial reaction was probably like most people’s initial reaction which was disappointment. Those who qualified worked awfully hard to get there and so to have them cancel it was a disappointment. And this is not specific to the Masters division, I think teens and teams were disappointed as well. But I understand why they made the decision that they did and so then it was about okay let’s see if anything changes. The Masters competition at the CrossFit Games didn’t change but the Masters Fitness Collective came up so that was exciting. 

I ended up taking a week off after the Games cancellation announcement and did exactly what I had done in the years from 1978-2005, absolutely nothing. Honestly it has only been the past 5 years since I was introduced to CrossFit that I started paying attention to what I ate and worked out. I remember my first day for ramp-up at my local CrossFit gym and I could barely complete the warm-up! I took like a duck to water once I was introduced and knew competitive fitness was something I wanted to do.

How are you training in preparation for the Masters Fitness Collective?

I am very fortunate to go to a gym that has many competitive athletes who’ve pushed me over the few years (CrossFit Adrenaline) with team athletes who’ve been to the Games three times and a Masters athlete (Tom Bourdon) who has inspired me and continued to push me. That has helped me continue to prepare and train to be competitive as I focus on the MFC. 

The gym owners have also been very accommodating and have given myself and a few other Masters space in the gym that is our own in order to train. That makes for a really great and fun training environment!

What does your current training schedule look like?

My morning session consists of a workout from the Invictus Engine Program and my afternoon session is programmed by a coach at my gym and incorporates some strength and classic conditioning including some strongman/odd object work.

(Note: Carl completed the Invictus 8-Week Strength Program recently and had outstanding gains. He improved his bench by 10 lbs; put 25 lbs on his back squat, 15 lbs on his front squat and 25 lbs on his deadlift. This just goes to show you that you can still get stronger no matter what age).

If you could design an event for the Masters Fitness Collective, what would it be? 

It would have to test brute strength so something with deadlift or maybe clean and jerk and then some high level gymnastics movement. So a high strength + high level gymnastics event would be great and lets throw in a 1-mile run to open up the event.

Perspective from Briana Gaipa

Briana Gaipa took 7th place in the Age Group Online Qualifier, securing her first ever trip to the CrossFit Games. She dominated all weekend and shone with Event 3. We spoke with her about her reaction to the Games being cancelled and how she has adapted her training. 

What was your initial reaction to the CrossFit Games being cancelled for the Masters division?

This was my first year to qualify for the CrossFit Games and so it just felt like all this work for the past 7 years was null and void. It just felt a little empty following the announcement. However right after they cancelled the Masters competition I was like I am going to keep going, keep training and stay so motivated. Ha! But that only lasted about three weeks and then I hit a wall. That was when I decided to take some time off and rest a bit. It was during that time that the Masters Fitness Collective came up and it was just the stimulus that was needed to channel all the handwork I had put in into a tangible goal. Plus my coach Tino Marini said I had to. 🙂 

How have you adapted to the change of training conditions with the onset of COVID-19?

I am very thankful that I have a good friend who opened up his personal barn gym (yes the gym is in his barn) to me so my training has stayed very consistent. I now have access to a public pool as that just recently opened up. But there are only a few public pools in our area so I have to be on it to reserve our swim time for the week before it gets filled up. But I am very thankful I can get back to swim training.

How are you training in preparation for the Masters Fitness Collective?

Tino has been programming for me and so in the last three weeks training has ramped up and lots of odd object/equipment training. But there is always the reminder to have fun with training and that definitely helps when training volume ramps up.

If you could design an event for the Masters Fitness Collective what would it be? 

Definitely have squat snatches (preferably a squat snatch ladder) with handstand walking in between. That would be my favorite event; a little gymnastics sprinkled with a heavy barbell ladder. Oh and also throw in some ring muscle-ups to sweeten the deal. 

If you’d like to learn more about Invictus Masters Online Program click here.

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