“I have an Ironman World Championship in Hawaii in exactly two months and I need to be as strong as possible,” was Cristi Mata’s first reason for walking into CrossFit PTY in August 2010.
Mata, 26, is a lawyer by trade, a runner, and semi-professional triathlete with four years experience. Now she’s added CrossFitter to that list.
Mata is simply addicted to “finding that momentum where my body and my mind work in harmony and allow me to take it to maximum performance,” she says. She claims she has always been an active person who loved running behind her dad when he went for a jog. At 22, she signed up for a 21k, did well, and one thing led to another until she was a world-class triathlete.
She has won her age group at Pucon 70.3 2010, St Croix 70.3 2010, and Nice 140.6 2011, among other impressive top finishes. After starting CrossFit, she got 2nd in the Kona Ironman World Championship in October 2010, which she dubs as her “greatest achievement yet,” along with several other Ironman personal bests.
She says she was always confident with her endurance level, but was starting to feel weak. She “wanted to be stronger. I really became a stronger person [since starting CrossFit.]. Not in muscle mass, it’s hard to explain. It’s something that goes from the inside out. In Kona, the wind is super strong, and it didn’t even shake me. I felt strong like a rock.”
Since starting CrossFit, Mata has a new perspective on fitness. “Before, I thought that exercising made you a healthy person by default. Now I know that all that exercise is useless if you don’t know the rest of the muscles in your body. I have become mentally stronger,” she says. “They would ask me if I had done an Ironman; and I would answer yes, six, but I couldn’t do two pushups. I felt a little shame.”
Mata has fallen in love with CrossFit as a sport and as a community. “People tend to blame their sneakers, their bikes, their shakes, and it’s not like that. Most of the time it’s because you cannot dominate your body, and if you don’t do that first, you won’t be able to dominate anything,” she explains. “CrossFit is great because it’s a sport that also helps you in others sports.”
Mata finished the Open Workout 12.1 in 4th place in the region, with 112 burpees for her first time ever competing in CrossFit. “CrossFit makes me a better person, conscious of what I eat, conscious of my daily movements. I love the healthy atmosphere, and I see myself continuing this sport for the rest of my life.”