Masters Fitness Collective Introduces Pay To Play Model

June 17, 2021 by
Credit Kay Wiese
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This past season, the sport of fitness has seen a record number of online qualifiers. 

From the Open to quarterfinals and the AGOQ, online Semifinals, as well as qualifiers to compete in just about any large scale competition, it seems like athletes are breaking out their video cameras every weekend and competing from the comfort of their gym.

But competing in an online qualifier can be taxing to an athlete. While maybe not as stressful as competing under the bright lights of an arena, they can disrupt training plans and doing weeks of back to back online qualifiers can wear athletes thin, especially masters athletes who typically need a longer time to recover.

One big thing: Masters Fitness Collective founder Bobby Petras saw this problem and decided to offer a unique solution this year.

  • While athletes can still compete in the online qualifier that runs through June 19th, athletes also have the option to simply register in a “pay to play” format.
  • For $750 any masters athlete can register through Competition Corner and secure their spot in September in the Masters Fitness Collective and then sit back and focus in on their rather than pushing themselves to the limit for a qualifying spot.
  • “It was something I thought of last year. The intention behind it is this; there’s an online qualifier every single week, so why not give people the opportunity to secure their spot so they can just train for the event.” said event founder Bobby Petras.
  • Petras went on to elaborate on the idea, “As masters, we’re looking for two things, an experience and to not put a wrench in our training,”
  • He continued to explain the toll that online qualifiers often take on masters and how it can be tough to focus on training when you also have to slot in time to compete so often.

Out of their league: While the people who qualified for the event will certainly be guaranteed to put up a solid fight in competition, the big question mark remains over the heads of those who chose “pay to play.”

  • The concern lies in the idea that these athletes might not have the requisite skills or strength to compete at the level that is expected at a large event like this.
  • Petras is confident that this would not be the case.
  • “You’re probably not going to get someone who doesn’t have the skill level to compete with those [who qualified],” he said.
  • He continued, explaining that he expects those who choose “pay to play” to simply be people who can compete at the level of the Masters Fitness Collective, but just don’t want to invest the time or halt in training to compete in an online qualifier.
  • “I really thought of myself in the situation for pay to play,” he continued.
  • “I’m like a lot of 40+ year olds. I own every stupid piece of CrossFit equipment you could own and I want to compete, but I don’t want to put a wrench in my training,” Petras added.

A new division: The “pay to play” feature was not the only element that changed this year about the Masters Fitness Collective.

  • They also added a 30-34 age division.
  • Previously, masters only went as young as 35 years old. The addition of this new division will be the first of its kind at a large-scale masters competition.
  • “The 30-year-old male [CrossFit athletes] are essentially the new NFL running back,” Petras said.
  • “By the time you hit 30, you’re going to have a lot of miles on your body,” he continued.
  • “Just look at the 13 or 14-year-olds, when they hit 30, they’re going to have 16-17 years under their belt [competing],” he added.
  • Petras feels as though the 30-34 division is a great way to give people more longevity in the sport of fitness and keep them competitive, especially in the men’s division where most of the top competitors are in their early- to mid-twenties.

Teens and masters unite: The 30-34 division isn’t the only element of youth being added to the online qualifier. This year, the Masters Fitness Collective has partnered with the US Army CrossFit Elite Teen Throwdown in their online qualifier, which runs until June 19.

  • “We partnered with the teen competition, which is exciting. They actually did the programming for the workouts,” said Petras.
  • “We’re in total alignment with those guys,” Petras added.
  • “Potentially I could see us running the competition with those guys next year. We have a lot of synergies between those two groups,” he concluded.

The big picture: In the past year, we’ve seen the masters divisions grow in popularity and recognition quite a bit, largely due to advocacy on behalf of competitions like the Masters Fitness Collective. As competitions like the MFC continue to grow and add new elements, so too will the masters divisions both at the Games and beyond, ultimately advancing the sport of fitness as a whole.

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