By BENJAMIN BAUGH
Nicole Mattucci was a competitive equestrian, a hunter/jumper rider for more than a decade. She competed in Wellington, Bonita Springs and Naples at horse shows, but the challenges associated with the sport and the inherent politics made Mattucci question her abilities, which led to her developing an eating disorder in high school.
However, it was Mattucci’s mother who brought her to a CrossFit coach, who would play a critical role in changing her quality of life, coaching her on nutrition, working out and losing the mindset toward food and developing a more competitive approach that placed an emphasis on the amount of weight she could lift, increasing the rapidity of her pace and living a healthier lifestyle.
“I started and got obsessed with it,” said Mattucci.
And from those nascent stages, two years later Mattucci’s now a coach at CrossFit Estero. Mattucci’s passion for the sport is palpable, and competitions have provided a platform to share with her students, demonstrating to them the benefits they can derive from the training and what they’re able to accomplish.
The environment at the competitions provide a family-oriented atmosphere, as she knows a number of the participating organizers and athletes, said Mattucci.
“It’s a fun community,” said Mattucci.
The final phase of the competition Sunday found Mattucci having to carry a D-ball, weighing 70 pounds back in forth in the competition venue for an extended distance.
“Honestly, that’s my jam, I’m really good at pushing through something, if it’s the same thing for a long period of time, I can do it,” said Mattucci. “Just seeing everybody else keep going made me keep going. I didn’t expect to hold that ball for 10 minutes.”
Sunday found the top 10 placing athletes in each division participating in the final heat, having the Herculean task of carrying the D-Ball, the weighted spherical, 70 pounds for women and 100 pounds for men, with the athletes tasked with the charge of having to carry the object a specific distance in a certain amount of time, said Deb Krienke, CrossFit Murdock and an organizer at FN Thunderdome “Time to Commit’ CrossFit Competition.
“But if they put the ball down, there’s a penalty and the penalty differs if it’s an individual event or team event,” said Krienke.
The divisions are broken down into the three categories, scale or beginner, intermediate and prescribed RX for all men and women. The competition featured 12 divisions, based on individuals, gender and teams.
The first phase of the competition on Saturday was held outdoors, with the intent of increasing exposure and interest in CrossFit, said Krienke.
However, for many it’s CrossFit’s sense of community that has served as the impetus to become involved with a training program that has helped to improve one’s overall quality of life. The deep volume of people who attended the event at the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center this weekend, demonstrate the support the athletes receive and the respect for their commitment and dedication.
“There are a bunch of people here who don’t do CrossFit,” said Krienke.
“We’re talking about family and friends. So, when you go to a CrossFit gym, which is called a box, it becomes this community. Someone coined a phrase about it being the church of exercise...if you were to Google up CrossFit, you will see how they band together when an individual at their box is having an issue, if there’s a hurricane and their house is flooded, they’ll create a WAD, the Workout of the Day, advertise it, have everyone that wanted to do it, they’ll pay $10 and give that money to whoever they’re helping out.”
The Boxes hold specific workouts to honor first responders who may have passed, said Krienke.
“When we talk about wellness, it’s just not about your body,” said Krienke.