Dad Talk:

Matt

A former collegiate athlete, gym owner Matt knows a thing or two about what discipline, consistency and hard work can produce. He talks to us about how his experiences have influenced his parenting, and how he balances the needs for accountability and compassion.

Thanks for doing this, Matt. Tell me about your background, your story — what got you to today?

So I was born and raised here in Tooele and played baseball growing up through high school played baseball in college. Then when I was done playing baseball, looking for something to fulfill that competitive aspect, so I found CrossFit down in St. George [Utah]. And then came back up here to this gym, and then became the head coach here.

How old were you when you started CrossFit?

22, 23. I'm 31 now, so it's been awhile.

About that — what would you say you were looking to fill after baseball? What was it, specifically, that you were looking for, that you craved, that you were getting out of baseball?

Yeah, like I like to compete. So this kind of has that aspect where you want to get somebody trying to do faster than then be better than them. Just stuff like that.

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How do you feel like you're passing that on to your kids?

Yeah, I'll try to push them to be like that. But if they don't want to compete or be like that, that's, that's okay with me.

Beyond competition, per se, what has fitness brought to you? How do you think fitness has got you to where you are?

It's taught me how to work. Be disciplined –

It's certainly not easy.

Yeah it's not easy at all. I mean, every day is hard. Every day has its own challenge. It never gets easier. I mean, you get, you get fitter. And then you just do more stuff. So it's, it never gets easier.

That lesson right there, maybe — there's a balance between kind of like, protecting your kids, or coddling your kids — where do you see that line, as a dad? How do you want to challenge your kids, teach them how to embrace that growth?

Yeah, I think try to lead by example. I mean, they see me work out. I work out here, they're here with me. They'll see me work out in the garage. They see me do other stuff other than work out, like yard work, just labor stuff, stuff like that, and just try to be a good role model for them.

I don't know. There's the world or whatever. Things are always "Make things easier. Make things quicker..."

Yeah, I'm not about that.

Why not? What do you mean?

I mean, I just like to work and work out and do hard things. And I really like to do stuff that other people don't like to do. So this is perfect for me.

Do you feel that you find, I don't know, pride in being willing to do those things?

Yeah, I get kind of a little high off of doing something, like finishing it, that I know, people wouldn't even think about doing that.

Who do you think that came from?

Probably my dad. He taught me how to work. I mean, he's a he's a hard worker, loving dad ,caring dad, but was always doing stuff. And I remember growing up, he's always doing stuff, whether it's in the yard or doing stuff in the garage or doing stuff in the basement. And I was just wanting to be right there learning, being a sponge — grasping everything.

And that's what you probably kind of want to pattern for your kids as well. Seeing you do all that.

Yeah. I mean, I feel like that's the best way to learn is to be right there doing it.

Other than that, are there maybe other things that you, going into becoming a dad, that you wanted to pattern off of your dad?

Yeah, I think I got my work ethic from my dad, but also my tender heart from my dad as well. Like — there's a time and a place to be tough and be tough on your kids, but then it's okay to hug them and tell them you love him. I tell them I love them every day. And I want them to know that, so there's never a doubt.

How would you want someone to describe you? Like if someone was describing Matt, what words would you want them to use?

That's tough. I feel like I get labeled as a hard ass sometimes. But just for my role, like, you'd describe me as a leader. I lead adults and teenagers every day. I mean, that's what I do for a living is run group classes. So a leader, hard worker.

Yeah, just just baby steps, just scaling the workouts back to, to where they're gonna push themselves, but I know that they, they'll be okay, that they can do it.

Yeah, I think I got my work ethic from my dad, but also my tender heart from my dad as well. Like — there's a time and a place to be tough and be tough on your kids, but then it's okay to hug them and tell them you love him. I tell them I love them every day. And I want them to know that, so there's never a doubt.

What's it like, observing somebody realizing that they can do a hard thing?

Yeah. Something hard. Yeah. Because I think a lot of people doubt themselves. And I feel like if I'm confident with my wording, and how I kind of build them up a little bit, they'll that'll help. But then I do get some reward off of their, the look on their face when they finish it, or when they achieved something they couldn't do when they walked in here, so that that's a good part of my job is that's, that's a reward for me.

How would you want your kids to describe you in 40 years, looking back on who their dad was?

Probably just the best dad who taught them everything they know, taught them how to work. Taught them how to love, taught him how to care. And was always there for them.

What would you tell someone who maybe was like a crossroads in their life? Someone who is trying to make a big decision.

I feel like as humans, we're designed to be challenged like that. And it's okay, if it's scary. If the task is scary, and there's a reward, you're gonna get to the end.

What kind of dad are you? Like a pushover? Like real hard-ass disciplinarian?

Probably both. I mean, I want to, I want to set boundaries and be disciplined, but a lot of times I'll get upset and then I feel bad. And then I feel like I got to. Alright, let's talk about it and talk about what happened. It's okay for them to fail and mess up. I feel like it's how you learn, and truly find yourself doing stuff like that.

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