The right fit

Neither Melissa Perricelli-Goueytes nor Andrea Young practiced cross-training until their late 30s.

Both were outdoors people, to be sure, but they never dreamed they would be handstand-walking across a gym floor or taking part in weightlifting and gymnastics exercises.

“I never actually realized I could run fast and that I was strong for a girl,” said Young, a 46-year-old Makawao resident. “After a while, it was pretty apparent that I should compete.”

Young and Perricelli-Goueytes, a 40-year-old from Haiku, will do just that Saturday and Sunday, teaming up in the “SICest of the Pacific West” cross-training competition conducted by the fitness brand SICFit outside the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa on Kaanapali Beach.

The event, scheduled to start at 9 a.m. each day, will have approximately 45 two-person teams from Hawaii and the Mainland, and combines water sports with conventional cross-training drills.

Young and Perricelli-Goueytes will compete in the masters division, for women 40 and up.

“I’m very excited,” said Young, a member of CrossFit UpCountry Maui in Haliimaile. “It’s unique because we don’t typically do competitions on the beach. It’ll be an interesting scene.”

Young has taken part in several fitness competitions, but it will be a first for Perricelli-Goueytes. The part-time nurse, coach and yoga instructor joined Maui CrossFit Extreme in early 2012, which she said gave her “a new lease on life.”

When she was 13, Perricelli-Goueytes broke her right leg, which did not heal fully straight.

“I always had a disability of sorts,” she said. “It just held me back.”

Although she stayed active throughout her life and has “limped through” the Hana Relay, she was taking daily pain medication and “never felt totally secure” with her ability to run.

Perricelli-Goueytes, a travel agent, wound up getting advice from Maui CrossFit Extreme owner Lee Poston, a physical therapist, to join the Wailuku gym.

“It’s like, ‘Oh my God, I just deadlifted 205 pounds,’ ” she said. “It floors me. I’m shocked by it.”

The first day of the competition is Perricelli-Goueytes’ birthday.

“I’m going in optimistic and going to have fun no matter what,” she said.

Luke Kayyem, founder of SICFit, spent part of his childhood in Kaanapali. He said equipment is being shipped from South Carolina for the competition and will later be sold to gyms on Maui and the Big Island.

“We’ve been planning the event for almost a year now so we’re definitely trying to boost some economy on Maui,” he said.

Frank Deutsch, co-owner of CrossFit UpCountry Maui with his wife, Kehau, said the event should help publicize cross-training gyms and workouts on Maui.

“I think it’s going to be really good in getting it out to the public,” Deutsch said. “It’s becoming more popular and a lot of the gyms are reaching out for more members.”

Deutsch said Young, who trains at the Haiku gym nearly every day, should provide inspiration for others at the event

“She’s a really competitive lady. She’s 46 but beats some of the younger guys,” he said.

Young’s competitive streak was clear when talking about what she expects this weekend.

“It’ll be very challenging, but if I didn’t enjoy a good challenge I probably wouldn’t do CrossFit,” she said.

* Chris Sugidono can be reached at