March 2017 Athlete of the Month: Jax Mattioli

First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself—where are you from, what do you do outside of the time you spend here, hobbies, fun facts, etc. anything goes! The more the better! What would you like people to know about you?

I grew up in Dundas, Ontario and still consider myself to be a small-town girl living in the city. I am fortunate to be able to spend most weekends at the cottage on Georgian Bay to keep me balanced with the chaos of city life. I love a new challenge, and spending time outdoors – I generally look for new sports to try, but prefer team/social sports to individual. I also love checking out the local dining scene in whichever city I am in, and love finding the hidden gems. I literally have a notepad in my iPhone with a list full of my favourite restaurants and those I still want to try across North America. Otherwise, you can find me playing ball on the beach with our dog Oban, Sailing or Cycling.

Life is extra busy right now as I am counting down the days (and $$$ L) until my wedding, this June, just outside of Charleston, South Carolina. I’m grateful for the support of all the coaches, especially Rachel, as I try to keep focused on regaining my pre-travel body and lifestyle habits, and to look good in my wedding dress of course J.

Tell us a little bit about your fitness history. What were you doing before you joined CrossFit 416? How did you find out about us? How was your first class here? How long have you been coming here? What has been the biggest factor in keeping you hooked at CF 416?

I played competitive softball for over 20 years at a provincial, national, and varsity level. I used to train and play 3-5 days a week, plus up to 8 tournament weekends. It was my life for a long time!!! Until I tore my shoulder playing for McMaster University. I trained and played one more season before deciding it was time to retire. After a year of physiotherapy, it was clear weightlifting was no longer an option, it was going to be a critical part of keeping my shoulder strong and pain free. So I replaced my 3-5 days of softball training with 3-5 days in the gym, obsessively reading about training. I added Cycling, Golf and Yoga and actually came to a place where I was the fittest I’d been since I was a kid.

Things all got complicated when I was promoted to a national role that had me travelling 3-4 weeks out of a month. That’s when I discovered CrossFit. I met a man in a hotel gym training a client; turns out he owned a box in Alberta. After I told him CrossFit wasn’t for me, he invited me to come to his box for a WOD, I declined, but accepted his dare to find a Box in Toronto and give it a shot.

My first class was BRUTAL—thanks, Luke!. Lol. I will never forget the 20 minute AMRAP: Push Ups, Sit Ups, and Air Squats. I remember leaving the class and texting a note back saying: “Thanks, but no thanks.” The next day, when I woke up, and EVERYTHING hurt – I wrote back and said “I think I’m in love…” That was it for me. That was before I fell head over heels in love with the amazing coaches and people I’ve met – of course now I could never leave.

If you could go back to that first class and give yourself some advice based on what you know and understand now, what would it be?

The only person you are ever competing against is yourself. I think any athlete would agree it can be difficult not to feel the nerves and pressure as barbells are smashing down around you and people are moving so fast. Also – mobility. I think I always went through the motions with softball warm ups, but really learned the importance of it in CrossFit – this sport will take your ego down a few levels and highlights every weakness you have!!! Lastly, leverage the coaches. Whether you are new to CrossFit or a veteran, CrossFit 416 is stacked with some amazing people who can quickly assess your form and help you work with your body to get the most out of your workouts and improve faster than you will on your own. Even when you think you’ve mastered it, bad habits are easy to build. Ask for a form check from time to time, you won’t regret it!

What is your favourite movement in CrossFit? Why?

I actually have a love/hate for Wallballs. LOL I hate them while I am doing them, but honestly, I can’t get enough of the pain in my butt and legs the next day. I know they work! Also, I love lunges and have come to enjoy rowing. Did I actually just say that?

Aaaand your least favourite movement and why?

I would trade Thrusters for just about anything else. They are my sore spot for sure. Barbells, dumbbells, doesn’t matter, I have a big time hate-on for Thrusters. Showing up on a Thruster day is hard.

If we could create a Hero WOD named “Jax”, what would it be? Movements, rep schemes, rounds, length of time, etc. all variables are yours to unleash your programming creativity here!

Let’s Tabata all my favourites!!!

8 Rounds of each :20 on :10 off

Overhead Plate Lunges

Ball Slams


Toes to Bar/Post

Wall Balls

Ring Rows

Ring Dips


Is that too much? J
What is the favourite place you’ve travelled to? Why? Where are you planning on going next?

Gosh, I have travelled a lot but will say there are still so many places I want to see! One of my favourite places, however, is a little barrier Island outside of Charleston, South Carolina called Kiawah Island. It is part of what they call “Lowcountry” and rich with history, architecture, and some of the most amazing food in North America. There is something about Southern Hospitality and charm that makes you feel worlds away, or as if you have stepped back in time.

Kiawah Island itself sits on the Atlantic Ocean, it is a private residential island about with a beach strip 10 miles long. Once you arrive, you can literally park your car and move about the island on bicycle. One of my favourite things to do is ride through the streets admiring the multi-million dollar plantation style homes on the way up to the Ocean Course Golf Club, enjoy a bottle of our favourite wine and some lunch on the patio before letting the wind push us all the way back down the beach on our bicycles.

We love it so much we will be heading back in just a few short months for our own low-country intimate seaside wedding in June. After that I will go back to my bucket list and pick another spot.

How do you like your toast?

I like my toast thick and crusty, golden brown like it’s been meticulously torched by a fine dining pastry chef, topped with crunchy peanut butter and a thick layer of creamed local honey. YUM!

Tell us something about yourself no one might ever guess about you.

I am bizarrely shy and hate being the center of attention unless it’s part of a team, and I’m not big on surprises, hahaha. Yep, my nooners can attest I would kill myself in a WOD just not to end up having a crowd around me cheering me on. I once followed the office crowd into the office they planned to surprise me in for my birthday, and yelled surprise before they even knew I was in the room. The only surprise I liked was when my fiancé proposed, because he kept it simple and private on the beach at our cottage. Trust me, I was still awkward!!!

What are three things we would always find in your fridge?

Multiple Nut Butters, Eggs, Maple Syrup

Who inspires you?

My fiancé Cameron. I met him as he was training for an Ironman Race. A gruelling 140.6 miles of Swimming, Cycling and Running. He encouraged me to run a 13.1 mile half marathon, I don’t think I ever did a single training run I didn’t complain about. I don’t know how he ran a 26.2 mile marathon after 7 hours of swimming and cycling. He never complained when training, just just got up and got it done. It definitely hurt, and it wasn’t easy, so he either has the pain tolerance of a god or the focus and determination of a first class athlete. That is inspiring.

Otherwise, it’s the members at CF 416 who push themselves every day. I would probably take the slacker way out if Coach Derya wasn’t watching and pushing me on my weight selection each day.

What is your proudest accomplishment thus far in life?

Realizing I can survive just about anything and that I can find gratitude even in the worst times. I would have to say I’m also pretty proud of my people collecting skills – I am surrounded by some of the most diverse and amazing people who have been a greater part of my journey than they will ever personally know. I have learned a lot about life, the ups and downs, the ins and outs, but mostly – the importance of people. You never know how you will touch someone’s life, what they struggle with, or how you might affect their journey, be kind, be true, be open. We are all in this together.

What is your most embarrassing childhood/teenage infatuation/trend/fad, etc. that you wholeheartedly prescribed to?

Geez, that’s a tough one. I generally hate fads. I am plain Jane and could probably pull something out of the closet from 15 years ago that wouldn’t truly show its age. LOL But I will admit, I was a boy band kind of girl and sucker for a love song. Still am, hahaha