There is a saying that “things get better with age.”
Gabriele “Gaby” Schlicht, owner of CrossFit Deerfield Beach, is definitely one of those things. Schlicht, 55, currently sits in first place on the Masters Women’s 55-59 Division worldwide Leaderboard. Her 190 reps on Open Workout 13.1, 339 reps on 13.2, and 240 reps on 13.3 would be the envy of any CrossFitter, regardless of age.
Schlicht, a native of Germany, came to the United States in her early 20s.
"I had no athletic background,” she says. "I played tennis in my 20s and became a passionate runner in my 40s. I ran and completed the Disney marathon in three hours and 52 minutes.”
In her 40s, Schlicht started a personal training business, which resulted in her being introduced to CrossFit.
“Five years ago, I used a personal training facility for one of my clients. The owners asked me to try one of their first CrossFit classes,” she says. “I was hooked after the first class. I loved the competition and camaraderie. CrossFit became a lifestyle to me in no time.”
Schlicht competed in the 2010 CrossFit Games in the debut of the Masters competition, finishing in second place. She made a return trip to the Games in 2011, finishing in third place in the Masters 50-54 Division. She took the 2012 Games season off while opening her affiliate and because she was expecting the birth of her granddaughter who was due in July.
“I wouldn’t have missed that for anything in the world,” she says.
Shlicht is excited to be returning to competition in the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games Open.
"I like the set up of the Open. As an athlete it provides me with the flexibility to pick the day to perform the required exercise,” Schlicht says. “I personally hate to do things last minute — must be the German in me. Also, as a new box owner, I just experienced the increase in energy level it brings into the gym. The Open is certainly changing the dynamics of a box in a positive way."
With three weeks into the Open, Schlicht is dominating her division. She has finished first-place worldwide in the first two workouts and second place in the third workout. It is safe to say that Schlicht owns the top spot on the Leaderboard.
“My strength in CrossFit is my endurance. The mid-length and longer WODs seem to suit me the best,” she says. “I know my body very well and know how it responds. I think I am mentally tough. That’s why I have always trained with women’s prescribed weight and continue in doing so.”
When Open Workout 13.1 was released, Schlicht felt confident that she would do well.
"This was the first time that I had to compete with modified weights due to my (new) age bracket,” she says. “It almost felt like a cheat. Sometimes I catch myself wondering how I would score with the heavier weights."
"I did 13.1 one time. I stuck to my plan. (I) rested on Wednesday and did it on Thursday,” Schlicht says. “I think sometimes it might be worth repeating a workout to get a better score. However, when it comes to the Games, everybody has only one shot. So why not train for such a scenario?”
When Open Workout 13.2 was released, Schlicht was ready.
“I was excited when I saw 13.2. I love the 10-minute AMRAPs,” she says. “I knew I could score well because in 2011, I scored high in 11.2, which was a 15-minute AMRAP of deadlifts, push-ups and box jumps.”
Schlicht says she had no strategy when it came to tackling the workout.
“I do what I know best. I stay consistent,” she says. “I don’t like to change a lot of things which might be more strategic because I don’t want to confuse myself.”
Although Schlicht is not one to re-do a workout, after sleeping on her score and seeing the numbers climb in her age division, she opted to try 13.2 again.
“The repeat was well worth the effort as I added a lot of reps,” she says.
Open Workout 13.3 was new to Schlicht since she did not compete in the Open last year. Once again, she opted to do the workout twice.
“The second time, I used a strategy for Karen by breaking up the wall balls in smaller increments and more frequent breaks and got a faster Karen time to finished my (double-unders) faster, as well,” she says. “I had plenty of time left for muscle-ups, but was not able to get them this year. I have had my muscle-ups in the past and need to work on that skill again.”
Whatever the rest of the Open brings, Schlicht says she is prepared. With a second and third place Masters medal already in her trophy case, this may just be the year Schlicht adds gold to complete the set.