CFLA Athlete/Coach Profile – Matt Cipolla

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“Marianne with lil’ Karen” (See 3.11.13 for past scores)

3 rounds for time:
7 Squat Cleans (165/105)
9 Burpee Broad Jumps (7ft/5ft)
40 Wall Balls (20/14)
*20 minute cap*


6 DB SC&J @ 45%-50% of barbell jerk (or quality allows)

B) 5 RFQ
Sucka Punch Foo
Max effort strict CTB Chin ups

C) 4 Rounds for time and reps
300m run
Max strict dips

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Hometown: Hope Valley, RI
Age: 25 and 11 months
When did you first start CrossFitting?: August 2010
When did you first start training at CFLA?: October 2011
Favorite WOD: Franklin Hill OR 3 Rounds of 500m Row, 15 DL (225), 20 Lateral Burpees
Least Favorite WOD: Anything with Thrusters

Tell us about you sports & fitness background: I was a musician growing up, so I never played any organized sports or really worked out. I started going to the gym in college to “pump iron” and get “buff,” and I also joined the Club Rugby team. We were assigned a workout program for rugby, and that was my first exposure to intense and functional workouts. When I moved to CA for grad school, I reverted back to going to the gym and lifting weights and using some machines.

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? Take us back to your first WOD… what was it, and how did it feel? My friend from college told me about CrossFit, because he saw some similarities to the rugby workout program I used to follow. I went to his gym in December 2009 to do a class with him. I don’t remember the specifics, but there was some skill work and a WOD that had Wall Balls and Ring Rows in it. It was an AMRAP, and the coach pitted me against my friend. I thought I had it in the bag, so I went all out, but quickly got very tired and slow. Needless to say, I did not do as many rounds as my friend.

What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CF (before/after)? I didn’t start regularly doing CrossFit until August 2010, when I started doing workouts from on my own. I also started to eat healthier at that time. The beer/ramen/mac n cheese gut that I had developed in grad school went away, and I started to look and feel strong. That was just the tip of the iceberg though. When I joined CFLA, I really started to improve. It’s funny how I thought I knew it all, because I watched tons of YouTube videos. I was wrong. Videos just don’t even compare to live coaching! I’ve gotten incredibly strong and healthy at CFLA. And I understand the context of mastery that CFLA incorporates into its classes. It’s allowed me to exercise in a sustainable manner that promotes longevity, health, and a vibrant/active lifestyle.

What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit that were totally unexpected? I’m definitely more confident in everything I do. There’s something about intense workouts that gives you an incredible sense of empowerment. Also, CFLA’s approach to mastering the mind, heart, and body has directly impacted my perspective on all aspects of my life, not just the physical.

What does coaching at CFLA mean to you? I love it. Coaching is my full-time profession now. I followed this path, because I knew I could help people experience life-changing moments like I have. I’ve seen students and clients come a long way as a result of their commitment to their own health and fitness. Also, there are few things that are more rewarding to me than coaching a class in a new movement or point of performance and seeing the students “get it.” They know that it clicked, and they’re excited about it. That fires me up.

Please share with us any favorite CrossFit / CFLA moments: Oh my gosh, I don’t even know where to start: All of the CF Opens; Cheering on TEAM CFLA at SoCal Regionals; Competing in Phoenix with Hacker, Todd, and Beach; Beating Alyssa ONCE on a Competition Day, and the list goes on…

Any advice for people just getting started? First and foremost, any new person needs to understand that “Rx” weights and reps are just NUMBERS! That’s all. Every person’s body and prior experience is completely different. It’s not the number that goes on the board that matters, but the individual effort from you that matters. It’s not fair to yourself to compare your numbers with those of someone else who has a different background, body type, age, etc. It’s good to use your classmates to motivate you, but don’t get caught up in what they do. Focus on YOU!

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit? Well I practically live at CFLA, but I enjoy church, friends, family, my girlfriend, the beach, softball, skiing, driving, books, piano, coffee, chocolate, red wine, whiskey, and cigars.



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