You never get a second chance to make a good first impression, and Marc Mazzocchi definitely does not need a second chance.
He made dramatic impression at his first-ever powerlifting competition, winning his weight category and smashing provincial records.
Mazzocchi, the owner and head trainer at Titanium CrossFit in Courtenay, was in Victoria on Sept. 8 for the 2013 Taranis Powerlifting Challenge. He made all nine of his lifts in the 93 kilo division, had the third highest total combined weight lifted (570 kg) of all competitors – which smashed the B.C. record for his weight class by over 60 kgs – and missed winning Best Novice Lifter by .6 of a point.
Mazzocchi notes this was the first powerlifting competition in Victoria in 12 years, and plans are to make it an annual event. He said there were about 50 competitors (five in his division) and about 200 spectators.
Powerlifting involves three events: Mazzocchi did 170 kg, 185 kg and 202.5 kg in squats; 117.5 kg, 127.5 kg and 132.5 kg in bench; and 215 kg, 225 kg and 235 kg in deadlifts.
“I was in quite a battle with another gentleman,” the Comox Valley born and raised Mazzocchi said. “I broke the provincial record on my second (squat) attempt, and he broke my record on his second attempt.
“I broke his record on my third attempt. He tried to break mine with his third attempt but didn’t make it. Apparently it was quite exciting, and I had no idea what was going on,” he recalled with a laugh.
“Freddy Bernier, a friend of mine and coach at my gym and the reason I was able to lift all those weights because he was my trainer/handler at the event and kept me calm, told me after that I had broken the record. They announced it, but I was so nervous I couldn’t hear a thing. Everything just sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher,” Mazzocchi said with a smile.
“The same sort of thing happened in deadlift. I broke the provincial record on my third attempt and he came up with a few kilos more and broke my record.
“I broke the provincial record in total as well. It was pretty exciting. Not at all what I expected. I thought I’d go in and it would be an experience. I’d learn some things and that would be it. I never, ever thought I’d make the podium and never in my wildest dreams thought I’d be even close (to the records),” said Mazzocchi.
“It turns out I was only 10 kilos away from qualifying for nationals. If all goes well I’m looking at competing in February at the provincials and see if can’t qualify for the nationals (in June).”
Mazzocchi said part of what attracts him to powerlifting is that it is sanctioned (B.C. Powerlifting Association, Canadian Powerlifting Union and International Powerlifting Federation) and also a part of the World Doping Association.
That helps to dispel the notion that all lifters are on the juice. Mazzocchi, who is not the stereotypical muscle man, notes that strength training does not make women any less feminine, either.
The fact the event was on the Island and did not involve an expensive trip to the mainland was a factor in his decision to attend the meet, and he said his dad Peter was so proud and impressed by his achievements that he has vowed to scrape together the Air Miles necessary to get his son to the nationals.
Mazzocchi has been an inspirational trainer for many athletes and lifestyle warriors in the Comox Valley. He has worked with Olympic beach volleyball player Martin Reader and professional baseball player Taylor Green.
Other clients at his gym include search and rescue technicians, police and firefighters. “What I didn’t realize, owning the gym and coaching everybody through other competitions and supporting them, was how excited everybody was for me.
“I didn’t realize that it meant what it did for all the encouraging comments they got,” he said, adding the e-mails, text messages, hugs and high fives from his friends and supporters were really important to him.
“I like to think that I work really hard to breed a supportive community within my gym. I really preach that a lot of people don’t have that support outside of the gym so they need a place to go. I support them in reaching whatever goal they have.
“And then to have the outpouring from the gym was so neat, supporting the supporter, it was really kind of almost overwhelming. I didn’t expect it, but maybe I should have. I was proud of my gym.”
Mazzocchi has been running Titanium CrossFit for the past four years, and welcomes those interested in discovering the benefits of CrossFit training to drop by the gym at 823 McPhee Ave. or contact him at 250-897-8121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
He holds frequent ‘Bring a Friend to a Workout Week’ where people can drop by and see what CrossFit is all about. “It helps dispel misconceptions and they get a taste of what our vision is about.”
So, what is CrossFit all about? Mazzocchi, a G.P. Vanier grad, says it combines the best aspects of different realms of fitness and training into an effective method to become fit.
“CrossFit crosses many borders. Weight training is highly effective and when applied correctly is a great tool for any athlete to use,” he added.
“I always believe a good foundation for fitness is strength. It contributes to absolutely everything. Powerlifting is just one element of CrossFit. It exposes you to a whole bunch of different things,” Mazzocchi said, citing gymnastics and rowing.
“I get excited watching people accomplish new feats they never really thought they were capable of doing. My focus is to make people realize their potential. That opens up a lot of doors for a lot of people: ‘Hey, I can make it through this workout …’ then other things become easier and more accessible.”