Young at Heart

March 22, 2013

Lisa Zane

"My main motivation is just to get (to the Games). Being one of the top 20 fittest people in my age category in the world ... that's an amazing goal for me."

At 49, Bruce Young is at the top end of his age bracket in the Masters 45-49 Division. He’s also at the top of the Leaderboard in Canada East after 13.2.

Young sits in first place in the region, with just one box jump separating him from Marc Chiarelli.

Although he finished first in both Open Workouts 13.1 and 13.2 by narrow margins, he says he is not feeling the pressure because winning the Open is not his goal — his primary objective is to make it to the Games. As he sits in 57th worldwide, he’ll have his work cut out for him.

“My main motivation is just to get there,” he says. “Being one of the top 20 fittest people in my age category in the world … that’s an amazing goal for me.”

Young owns CrossFit Select in Mississauga, Ontario and got into CrossFit four years ago, after playing hockey. More recently, Young has been involved in adventure racing.

This year, his approach has changed slightly and he has put more focus on his mental game. With the help of Jamie Nuggett, one of the owners of CompWOD who also runs competition-prep classes at Select, and Pete D’Amore, who coaches at the gym, Young has been able to improve the mental side of his training and competing.

“The mental aspect and the strategic aspects have helped me, especially on the first two (workouts),” Young says.

Meticulous strategizing helped him gain more than a few reps — he attempted 13.1 and 13.2 three times each.

“I learned every single time, and I got better,” he says. “I knew exactly what was going to happen to my body.”

Part of his approach included whipping through the 135-lb. snatches in 13.1 as fast as possible to improve his time in case of a tie. This paid off. Of the 112 men in his division worldwide who hit 150 reps, Young had the sixth fastest tiebreak time.

Young is constantly striving to improve as an athlete. He says the No. 1 thing he looks forward to when he competes is “driving myself to be better.”

He gives lots of credit to fellow Select Masters athlete, Scott Snarr, for motivating him on a daily basis. After 13.2, Snarr is third in the world in the 55-59 Division.

“We go head-to-head on a lot of things and that helps competition. It really, really helps me,” he says. “He pushes me, I push him — it’s a really good battle.”

Although Young didn’t qualify for the Games last year, he flew to California with his wife, Cecile, and a bunch of the athletes from Select to watch the action.

“I spent a lot of time watching the Masters,” he says, adding that being there made him want to compete even more.

For the adventure racer, met-cons are right in his wheelhouse. He thrives on bodyweight exercises like muscle-ups, and is working on improving his strength, particularly on movements like overhead squats.

With three more workouts to go, Young is happy with his position so far and says you’re never too old to start CrossFit.

“I wouldn’t say I’m getting better with age — I would say that I am better than I was last year."