All the Cool Stuff Matt Chan Did After Not Dying in 2014

Matt Chan-Blog

Sean: 00:05 Hi everybody. Welcome to another edition of Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland. On today’s episode, I speak with six-time CrossFit Games athlete and one of the men behind Train for the Win Programming, Matt Chan. First. Chris Cooper is not the fittest person who ever walked the Earth. We all know that. He never recorded a world record snatch. His Fran time is—let’s call it OK, but Chris does hold a gym record. He’s written the best-selling fitness business books of all time. Based on his experience as a gym owner and thousands of free calls with other fitness entrepreneurs, Chris put together four books that can help you make money and live the life you want. This isn’t smoke-blowing without substance. These books have helped thousands, and they can help you. Head over to Amazon and check them out. You’re looking for “Two-Brain Business,” “Two-Brain business 2.0,” “Help First” and “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief.” These are best-selling books based on hard data and experience, and they can help you find success, so pick one up today on Amazon.

Sean: 01:12 Matt Chan made his debut at the CrossFit Games in 2008 and he returned every year until 2013. At the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games, Chan had the best finish of his career when he took second place overall. We talk about his days as a competitor and his fondest memories from that time, how he and some fellow former athletes started to Train for the Win and how his fitness probably saved his life after a freak mountain-biking accident. Thanks for listening everybody. Matt, thanks so much for doing this man. How you doing?

Matt: 01:47 Great man. Thank you for having me, Sean.

Sean: 01:48 Oh, it’s my pleasure. I appreciate you doing this. What did fitness look like for you way back before you got into CrossFit?

Matt: 01:55 Ah, you know, I mean I think, I grew up in the age of machines and back and bis, chest and tris, shoulders and legs, and cardio before and after, abs every day. You know, I think during the mid-nineties when I started exercising in a gym until the late two thousands, that’s what it consisted of.

Sean: 02:22 How were you then introduced to CrossFit?

Matt: 02:24 A funny story. In 2007, you know, again, I did well with fitness-related stuff. I played sports and I feel like I was always good enough. But when I started firefighting, when I’d have the pack on me, have all my gear on me, carrying a tool, dragging a buddy, all of a sudden, you know, my heart rate would skyrocket, my respiratory rate would go through the roof.

Matt: 02:54 I’d breathe through my bottle in like 15 minutes. And I started just kind of searching around for the right program for me to help improve some of that stuff. And I came across because of searching firefighter fitness. And then I kind of asked some questions of some friends that I worked with and they were like, oh yeah, no, CrossFit supposed to be the new thing. So in 2007, I was still doing my bodybuilding stuff and then added in the CrossFit and it slowly transitioned to being a hundred percent CrossFit for the next 10 years.

Sean: 03:28 Why do you think it hooked you?

Matt: 03:30 Oh, I mean, come on. You know, why. Any CrossFitter that has done it for any period of time knows that first it’s the variance of the program, just the novelty of having every day be different from the last.

Matt: 03:47 – I think the second biggest part was you always see improvements and you always have something to work on. And it gets better and better and better with the more reps you get. And I remember going into the gym and wanting to stay afterwards and work on skills that I knew I was bad at just so that when it came up I could be better at it.

Sean: 04:08 – So how did that then lead you to become a competitor?

Matt: 04:12 – Well, you know, at that time CrossFit was not what it is today. There was no ESPN or televised CrossFit Games. It was, you know, in a dingy, gross warehouse where you’re likely to get a staff infection for using the equipment. Seriously. And there was something too, you know, going in there, sweating all over the place, training, not mopping up your stuff. It took a certain individual and at the time I think it was a little more exclusive than inclusive because of that. I think you had to be willing to deal with a dirty gym where you don’t have towel service, where you don’t have a shower, you just have a small dingy little bathroom that nobody has cleaned in the last two weeks. But I think when I signed up for the 2008 CrossFit Games, it was like that was it. It was sign up and if you’re on the wait list you’re on the wait list, and hopefully you can get in. So we did it just for fun on a vacation, Cherie and I, and we had such a blast that it was like, OK, yeah, I need to train a little bit harder. Cause now I recognize the things that I’m bad at.

Sean: 05:27 – What was it like for you, you know, being part of the second CrossFit Games and competing at the ranch?

Matt: 05:33 – Yeah. You know, I think it was neat because it was definitely a different atmosphere than it is now. It was all athletes. There was no fan base really. It was mostly people participating in the competition itself. That’s just hanging out. You know, it equates to what a lot of these local throwdowns are now. That’s what it felt like. It was dingy gym seating, you know, kind of like what are they called? Bleachers. No shelter from the sunlight. You’re just sitting out in Santa Cruz getting your sunburn on and surviving the weekend. I mean, it was a lot of fun

Sean: 06:19 – After being part of that and after seeing that, what was the sense that you got about where the sport was heading?

Matt: 06:26 – I think in 2009, the difference between 2008 and 2009, I kind of remarked to Cherie that like, man, this is pretty incredible. This is happening. This thing’s growing. And then shortly after the 2009 CrossFit Games, they announced it was going to be at the Home Depot Center in 2010 and that they were searching for larger sponsors. It was like, oh man I’m going to keep training cause this is obviously going somewhere. And then in that 2010, Friday night, under the lights, for Amanda it was just like, OK, here it is. CrossFit Games have arrived. This is going to be huge. And there was nobody in the stands that day. I mean there was like maybe if I had to guess, fewer than 500 people, probably fewer than 300. And that Friday night though, it was just like, this is electric. They’ve got something here. It’s going to be the next big thing for a while.

Sean: 07:30 – You had your best year at the Games in 2012 when you finished second overall. What do you remember about those four days of competition?

Matt: 07:38 – Well, I mean it started off pretty rough with that Microwave Mountain run. But yeah, I mean, it was the year that everything was clicking for me. I had trained well, I did not overtrain, I worked on my weaknesses and you know, frankly, people that say that, you know, if you say the workouts didn’t suit you this year, then you’re not that fit. Well those workouts suited me and I did well at them and I trained for each of those kind of skills that they tested. So I just felt like it was a really good year for me. And you know, being able to kind of have my moment in the limelight on a few of those events was pretty darn cool. But, you know, honestly, I take away the CrossFit Games experiences that I had as being just a series of memories and stuff that I hold dearly to my heart, you know, and that 2012 year kind of capped it off as being the best year, but I wouldn’t trade any of those years. They were all fun.

Sean: 08:43 – I remember your wife Cherie was on the media team that year and I just, I remember how nervous she was watching you compete. What’s it been like having her, you know, someone who’s as knowledgeable as she is in your corner throughout this whole thing?

Matt: 08:57 – Yeah. Cherie is, I don’t, you know, obviously I don’t have the insight into most other marriages and other athletes’ wives or husbands. But I feel like Cherie is as much of a part of doing well in the CrossFit Games as my training was. And you know, anybody that’s trained for something like this, your partner has to be OK with the amount of time that you’re committing to it. And at that time it was a lot of time because I was firefighting, I was training for the CrossFit Games, we owned CrossFit Verve. We had our own relationship that we had to try to maintain and it was just like at the whole time we were on the brink of disaster and just kept pushing through. And you know, in 2013 when we decided that was probably about it, it was a good breather and it was like, man, we survived that. Holy shit.

Sean: 09:56 – To the best of my knowledge, you are still the oldest man to ever stand on the podium as an individual at the CrossFit Games. What’s it like to have that honor under your belt?

Matt: 10:06 – Yeah, you know, I take pride in my age and my fitness capacity that I still have today. I mean, you know, I’m 40, I’m turning 42 next month and I am capable of as much now as I was in my twenties. And you know, I’ve had to back off some stuff obviously, you know, I don’t squat nearly as much. I don’t pull heavy very often. I have to reduce the volume, but standing on the podium that day with Rich and Kyle Kasperbauer was—it was a pretty special moment. I don’t think age really entered my mind. But it was again, the culmination of a lot of years of training and it just felt really good to see it to fruition and feel that fulfillment standing up there with those guys. You know, you could’ve put me on the top of the podium and I would’ve felt exactly the same. It was just a realization that, you know, that year of training, those, you know, combined years of training added up to something pretty special that year, and that was really what that was all about. You know, age didn’t really play into my mind, but now I think about it a lot.

Sean: 11:16 – What are you most proud of about your time competing in the sport?

Matt: 11:22 – You know, I think getting into it early and kind of setting a standard for sportsmanship I think was definitely important to me. I think I learned that even back in 2008 when we were in the ranch garage in the little training area and they were using, you know, makeshift equipment in the back for warm-up stuff and going into that last heat, you know, there’s James Fitzgerald, Jason Khalipa, Josh Everett, Chris Spealler, all those guys that I looked up to. It wasn’t like we were just standing there back there, like clawing each other’s eyeballs out. It was actually a feeling of camaraderie and I think that only improved during the next three years where we supported each other through all that stuff. And don’t get me wrong, there was always a sense of competition and rivalry with certain individuals.

Matt: 12:20 – But at the end of the day, we were all friends and when we see we’d see each other in the hotel room after competition, it was, you know, how you feeling, what’s the recovery plan for tonight, you know, what are you having for dinner? Or we’d go down to the restaurant together or have breakfast together. And it wasn’t a big deal. So I feel like the camaraderie that we brought to the table early on was, I mean, you still see it today and then I think the other part of what I’m proud of is we, you know, those competitors and those individuals, you know, we create—not created, but we refined a lot of the movements that we do in CrossFit. You know, barbell cycling was not a thing and we made that so that it was so efficient and I’m sure somebody else would have down the road.

Matt: 13:11 – But at the time it was like, you know, how can we do this a little bit better, a little bit faster? How can we remove hitches to save a little bit of time? How can we do it so that our heart rate doesn’t jump so high? How can I kip a muscle up so that I can use the momentum from the pull and transition through the dip? All that stuff was stuff that we played with and had to figure out what was the most efficient way to become a great competitor with these movements that we’re doing. And I’m proud to be a part of that group that was kind of figuring that stuff out and you know, through the CrossFit Competitor course for years we passed that stuff along to competitors and coaches alike and that was pretty fulfilling. You know, being able to show people all the tips and tricks.

Sean: 13:53 – You mentioned the competitors’ course. You have started something called Train for the Win. Why did you decide to start that program?

Matt: 14:03 – Yeah. You know, at the time, a lot of athletes were kind of starting their own little, you know, at the time, Chris Spealler, one of the guys that we worked with in the Competitor course and on CrossFit’s seminar staff, he started Icon, and right around that same time we were like, you know what? This is our strength, is programming for gyms, programming for competitors. Let’s start there and let’s pass along, you know, what we know for programming, and our take on things was a little bit different than other training programs out there. It wasn’t all about volume. It wasn’t all about just weightlifting. You know, we had a balanced program that we were trying to create for competitors that only had an hour and a half a day, maybe two hours at the most. And that’s kind of the approach we took and Train for the Win’s really kind of morphed less about competition stuff and more about our affiliate program and now a longevity program that we call Thrive. Which is, you know, I write that because I’m passionate about it now. So, you know, it was a natural extension of everything that we were doing at the time with competition and affiliate programming. So we just wanted to offer it to as many people as possible.

Sean: 15:16 – You have been part of the seminar staff for it seems like the beginning of time, since it started. How has that course and how has being a seminar coach have evolved over the past decade?

Matt: 15:32 – Oh man. I mean, here’s just a simple example. When I started in late 2008 or early 2009, there was no seminar staff handbook that we were teaching from. It was you watched lectures until you felt confident that you could raise your hand and say, hey, I’d like to try this as soon as possible. Whether it’s the presses lecture or the deadlifts lecture, you just watched other trainers give that lecture until you feel like you’ve got a good handle on what the content is that needs to be delivered, the style and timing of the delivery of that lecture. And then also using your demonstrator appropriately as you lecture. And now, I mean, we’ve got a guide guidebook basically that if we stick to that, for example, if you’re good at memorizing things, you can deliver that lecture beautifully.

Matt: 16:30 – That’s one major change. I think a second change is that it’s definitely more professional. When we started doing, the Level 1 Level 2 courses, they were definitely fun. And, you know, kind of a test your metal sort of thing. Now, you know, we scale everybody for every workout. We, you know, try to be as approachable as possible. We try to have a good after Saturday, you know, brief and then kind of a hangout session where participants can get questions answered from the lecturers and from the seminar staff. So I think it’s just become a more professional, approachable course and the Level 2, you know, frankly, if you’re taking the liquid Level 1 for the second time and not taking the Level 2, that’s a mistake. It is hands down the best thing you can do for your training as a trainer any day of the week.

Sean: 17:34 – How did that experience set you up for success with Train for the Win?

Matt: 17:40 – Well, I think Train for the Win is actually a culmination of a few different things that were going on. So number one, we own CrossFit Verve and understanding the affiliate model and what works the best to train people. And also, what do you do in an affiliate? What do you prioritize? Do you buy nice equipment? Do you have nice locker rooms? Do you focus on just training and forget everything else, you know, all of that stuff that we learned over those years definitely played into what we do with Train for the Win, but also, you know, Train for the Win itself pulls from our competition background. And this is Eric O’Connor and I, you know, we both collectively I think participated in something like 10 or more CrossFit Games and that played into it and now Thrive, which is, you know, my main focus, programming for that, that is for those people that only have an hour, 45 minutes to an hour.

Matt: 18:37 – And this is me now. Like I don’t have a ton of time. And if I’m at the fire station, I only have 45 minutes to an hour to get this workout in. And if I get called out, you know, bummer, there goes your workout for the day. So I think the way that we program for Train for the Win is a culmination of all of those skills that we acquired through owning a gym, you know, training for competition and also just training for life. And that’s really where that kinda comes around.

Sean: 19:08 – We’ll be back with more from Matt Chan after this.

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Sean: 20:13 – When someone decides that he or she wants to be a competitive CrossFit athlete, what are some of the best practices that that person can put in place right off the bat to make sure that he or she is set up to do well?

Matt: 20:30 – Yeah, so I mean, here’s the thing, it’s a lot different now than it is back in the day. Back in 2008, 2009. A lot of these athletes that we see coming up today, like Haley Adams for example, was a CrossFit Kids athlete and she has plenty of time to accumulate skills and drills while not being competitive. Right? That’s the thing is like, you know, I just started jujitsu last month and you don’t get to roll as a white belt. You don’t get to stay after and you know, experience, intensity while practicing these skills until you’re a two-stripe blue belt. So unfortunately, you know, a lot of CrossFitters that get introduced to CrossFit or come from other sports, they want all the intensity right away. And I think what’s a better practice is starting with the base skill set that you absolutely have to have and practice and refine those skills and drills.

Matt: 21:37 – And you do that while building both aerobic and anaerobic capacity but in a controlled format and not necessarily in high volume. When the time is right is when every skill that’s on a list is a given, then and only then, in my opinion, is it really time to start throwing in a lot of intensity and multiple workouts, meaning more volume and testing those limits. I really don’t see the point of it, unless somebody just has a natural uncanny ability to pick up new capacities. You know, and I’m just going to say for example, most CrossFit athletes have—they come into CrossFit with a base aerobic level of fitness. So, in other words, they can maintain a exercise for a long period of time and keep it at a low intensity. It’s that building that high intensity that usually is new to them.

Matt: 22:34 – So what do they do? They trend towards that high intensity for the long period of time and they let that low level of aerobic capacity diminish. And the best athletes that you see nowadays, the Mat Frasers, the Tia-Clairs, those athletes have an enormous aerobic capacity that they’ve maintained over that period of time. And they train with the right people too, that help them with that.

Sean: 22:59 – What are some things that athletes often overlook when it comes to training for competition?

Matt: 23:05 – Oh, just what I just stated. I think the biggest thing that athletes overlook is their base aerobic capacity. I personally am a believer in also understanding where your different thresholds are. So that, you know, you can train those thresholds. I know Annie Thorisdottir and Frederick are big proponents of that as well, you know, that’s something that their coach kind of pushes on them.

Matt: 23:33 – I think there’s a lot of fitness to be garnered by using a heart-rate strap and staying at certain thresholds and then slowly push those thresholds into new places. So I think that that long, slow-distance threshold, however, like the aerobic threshold is something that not enough people train. You can do it on active rest days. You can do it as a second session or even like a morning session. But that has to be a main part of your weekly template. And I feel like most people don’t address that

Sean: 24:08 – When it comes to the Thrive program and, you know, training when you’re a masters age, what are the things that those athletes really need to keep in mind in order to get the most out of the time when they’re in the gym?

Matt: 24:24 – OK. Yes. I mean that’s—so I think a lot of athletes that start working out using CrossFit, especially if they’re in their own gym, whether they’re at the, you know, the big-box gym that has a functional fitness area or whether they’re in their garage gym, they say, you know, I don’t have time for working out today. Well, that’s what we’re trying to address with Thrive, and to do that, we try to keep people on task, and that is a big thing that like if you’re going to make fitness part of your life, you need to learn how to keep exercise on task and put your effing phone away and you know, don’t be distracted by the television. Don’t be distracted by this phone call that’s coming in that you think you have to take. Just get in there, get it done and get outta there.

Matt: 25:14 – And the way that we do that with Thrive and you know, our other programs also use the same kind of method is every part of the of a session has timed components. So that as long as you’re not spending a lot of time between each component dillydallying or getting your equipment together, fussing around with your clothing, you know, you’ll push through in 45 minutes to an hour no problem. Now, I personally, I have days where I’m at the gym, I’m having fun and I don’t care how long I’m there. So, you know, I’ll sometimes I’ll dilly dally a whole bunch. But I think the big part with Thrive is that you can count on that program to get you a great base level of fitness that you can then build off on specialty things. But it’ll also keep you on track and it won’t consume your day. That’s what I love about it.

Sean: 26:06 – You and your wife lived out of an Airstream trailer for I think a year. Why did you decide to do that?

Matt: 26:14 – Well, I mean, you asked earlier like what was the kind of the pinnacle of the CrossFit competition stuff. And I think the, you know, that year in 2012 we had put so much into it, that, you know, we’d been doing it for a while, you know, since 2008, and like I mentioned earlier, I was working as a firefighter, I was training for the CrossFit Games. We owned CrossFit Verve. And at the time owning a CrossFit gym was, you know, there was maybe five in Denver, now there’s several hundred, I’m guessing. So it was not an easy task. We had to get people in the gym by searching Craigslist ads for people trying to exercise together. I mean, it was crazy. But I think the thing that got me thinking about the Airstream was, you know, we had committed so much to work and trying to succeed that we were just like, you know what, let’s just take a break.

Matt: 27:17 – Let’s just take a break this year. We want to sell this house anyway. Let’s sell the house. But let’s buy a trailer, an Airstream trailer and move into that and just search around for a new area to live if we want to do that. So I took a leave of absence from the fire department, moved into a 28-foot long Airstream with Cherie and we went throughout the Western US and Canada and really experienced all it had to offer. And it was a total nightmare at times, but it was also an incredible experience at times. And what it really led us back to was like, holy cow. I think living in Colorado is exactly where we need to be.

Sean: 27:58 – What were some of the things that maybe surprised you about that entire experience?

Matt: 28:01 – Oh my gosh. OK. So, well, first off, when we moved into the Airstream, we’d never spent a night in it. Never spent the night in an RV, never rented one, nothing. So the first stop we did, we drove down to Flagstaff and I’m thinking Arizona, it’s gonna be warm. Well, it was December in Flagstaff and it snowed, I think, two and a half feet the first night. And we were like, oh my God, this is not what I was expecting. We’re burning through a ton of propane in just one day. This is insane. Our Airstream is so dirty from our muddy shoes coming in here. It’s just like, all the things that you’d never really thought about is like, oh crap. But the one thing that really struck us is like, holy shit, we may have made a terrible decision. We rented a site in Las Vegas and it was North Las Vegas, which I don’t know if you’re familiar with North Las Vegas. It’s not the strip. So we’d get up there, we park our Airstream in this spot and it’s like, oh my God, we just became trailer trash. And it was a scary thought because we had no back-up plan. We had no house, we had no furniture. It was like, OK, we need to figure this out and like start doing more research. But eventually it got better and we got better at kind of being, I guess kind of like van life people.

Speaker 4: 29:42 – Other than figuring out that you really wanted to live in Colorado on a permanent basis, what did you learn about yourself going through that whole experience?

Matt: 29:50 – Well, Sean, this is interesting. I mean, I qualified for the CrossFit Games out of an Airstream trailer. That was 2012, 2013 that we lived in the Airstream. And I took first place in the Southwest Regional that year, literally training out of either when we were visiting different affiliates or out of the Airstream, where I had probably about, I’d say between like eight and 10,000 pounds of equipment in the back of our truck, which was a whole nother story. But it was, you know, I trained super hard running around RV parks and doing pull-ups and clean and jerks in parking lots. So it was a pretty neat experience. And, you know, I don’t know how many people know of that detail of the 2013 CrossFit Games, you know, that’s probably what made me drop off so much. I think I took like 25th place. From second to 25th, you know, kind of a disappointment. But frankly, I thought it was great since we were working out of a damn trailer-trash trailer.

Sean: 31:02 – You mentioned you’ve mentioned the camaraderie at Regionals and you brought it up and I need to get confirmation on a story and I hope I’m not putting you on the spot here, but I remember one time at Regionals you had a little bit of a mishap when you were trying to, and I’ll use the term crop dust, one of your fellow competitors. Is that true and what happened?

Matt: 31:18 – Yeah, that’s fact. So yeah, we were goofing around. So, Eric, Eric O’Connor, Chris Spealler and I were all in the same Southwest Regional that year. And we had an idea where we were going to do all of our warm-ups and all of our off time out of our—they rented a trailer and we basically had our trailers side by side and we had all the equipment we needed for warming up in between the two trailers. We had a rower, pull-up bar, you know, all the plates you could possibly imagine, you know, everything was there. And so as we’re kind of like getting ready for our heat. We were like, OK, we’ve got about eight minutes. It’s time to head inside. And as we’re walking inside I thought it’d be funny to kind of like lean over and blow a toot on one of them as we walked through the door. And I may have pushed a little too hard and sharted. Yes. I had to have somebody grab me a second set of undies literally like within five minutes of going out onto the floor.

Sean: 32:26 – OK. All right. I just wanted to clear that up. So thank you for being willing to tell that story. You have always been someone who is seen taking his fitness outside the gym and applying it in other areas. Why is that so important to you?

Matt: 32:43 – Well, I mean, I feel like I’ve always taken the hundred words of world-class fitness to heart. And I’ve, you know, every element that Greg and CrossFit kind of put into that statement, I’ve done it all. I mean, I’ve lived that and the last line of that is regularly learn and play new sports. And I think that if you get so caught up in the gym and all the growth that can happen in the gym, you’re gonna see a lot of growth in a short period of time. But then it’s gonna stagnate and it’s gonna become boring and you’re going to get burned out and you’ve got nothing to train for because all you’re doing is just training. So for me, you know, skiing, climbing, biking, occasionally running is a huge part of my life because I’m not good at those things, but I have a great capacity to perform those things because of what I’m doing in the gym.

Matt: 33:41 – So I advocate that people spend at least one to two days out trying something different, doing something new and you know, choose whatever that is for you regionally. But if you’re living here in Colorado with all the opportunities that we have here and in the Western United States, oh man, it would just be a damn shame to spend your Saturday and Sunday in a gym and not out hunting elk or you know, riding parts of the Colorado Trail. There’s just so much fun to be had and it all still involves fitness. So that’s it. That’s the big thing is just building experiences, doing that stuff.

Sean: 34:24 – And of course, look, there is a risk to that. And you are someone who suffered a pretty serious injury during one of your sort of outdoor excursions. For people who don’t know, what happened and what was it like dealing with that whole ordeal?

Matt: 34:42 – Yeah, so I mean it was 2014 and I had just healed up a back injury. And I was kind of getting back into the swing of training again. I was hoping for 2015 and it was 4th of July, 2014, and Cherie and I just went on a mountain bike ride and it was just, it could have happened any day. It could have happened on a sidewalk, honestly. But it I just fell on the mountain bike at a slow rate of speed. And as I fell the bike tipped over and all my weight fell on the handlebars, which were vertical and it struck me in the leg and severed the right branch of my femoral artery, which luckily didn’t break the skin. But I had a humongous hematoma that turned out to be basically a ruptured grape vessel.

Matt: 35:33 – You know, a big vessel, and it filled my inner thigh with blood, which they kind of said it was between a liter and a liter and a half of blood, that had it opened, it would have killed me. And, you know, I’m lucky to be here and talk about it, but at the same time, you know, I feel like it was my base level of fitness, my muscle mass and stuff like that, that really protected me from that injury that so that I didn’t die. And there’s something to be said for that because, you know, six months later I snatched 300 pounds for the first time. So again, you know, we talk about it in the Level 1, the sickness, wellness, fitness continuum, because I was on the fitness end of that continuum, you know, draw a line from one side to the other, I wasn’t gonna fall prey to this injury and swing full circle to sickness. You know, I may have cut a couple of notches in my belt and moved that direction, but I easily rebuilt it right back up to fitness within just a few months. Which, you know, I think that’s an important takeaway from not only that injury, but also just why we exercise. We exercise because we want to build a hedge against that sickness. You know, I mean, and trust me, the people I see on the fire department every day, they don’t have that hedge. So it’s just, it’s like a circling the drain sort of feeling.

Sean: 37:00 – Where do you see your CrossFit journey taking your next?

Matt: 37:04 – You know, I don’t do certain things anymore that I consider to be a little too risky for somebody that’s my age. I don’t do handstand push-ups. Just had too many kind of tweaks in my neck. I don’t do squat snatch and heavy squat cleans anymore. I do them light. But again, it’s just that dynamic movement where your body position is changing so much, so fast. I find that it tweaks my lower back and it tweaks my knees. So I don’t do those anymore. So I think what CrossFit has become for me, and with what my goals are now, is just what it is originally intended to be, which is a general physical preparedness program. I’m not a competitor. I have no desire to compete anymore. I do have a desire to help people understand better what you know, GPP fitness can look like. And that’s what Thrive’s all about. And that’s what I’m going to follow until I can’t do that anymore.

Matt: 38:10 – And then I’ll reassess at the time. But what I’ve set as goals, Sean, and this is, you know, not something that I’ve talked about a lot, but like, after competing for all those years, you start to identify as a competitor and it was a tough break for me to not be that person anymore. To you know, to see all these like direct messages that come in on Instagram that says hey, when are you going to compete again? It’s so good to see you at the Rogue Invitational again. Are you going to compete again? And it’s just like, you know, damn it, that’s just not me anymore. And it took a long time to get there because I really, you know, I enjoyed where it had brought me, what I had done in the sport and all that stuff and it was hard to let go of that.

Matt: 38:57 – But now I’ve decided that, you know, a way of getting that same feeling is to participate in other sports and be the beginner again. So last year I did the Leadville 100 on a mountain bike, which is 103-mile mountain bike ride above 10,000 feet with over 11,000 feet of climbing. And I had no illusions that I was going to win this thing. It was more or less I wanted to finish sub 12 hours and you know, see where that lands me. And literally, I think I was 700th place out of 1500 competitors. So I was so excited about that and it felt good to be a beginner again. And that’s what led me to try a couple of different things like jujitsu. We started and I also signed up for something called the Grand Traverse this year, which is a 40-mile ski race from Crested Butte to Aspen. And I know I’ll barely survived the thing, but for me it’s testing that fitness that I’m—the reason why I’m working out in the gym is just to be able to do this stuff, not necessarily be the best at it, basically survive it and have some fun and build some memories doing it.

Sean: 40:17 – Matt, I really appreciate you taking the time to do this. Really enjoyed the conversation and best of luck with everything moving forward and I do look forward to seeing you again at the Rogue Invitational.

Matt: 40:26 – Yeah, I’ll be there. So, thanks for having me on, Sean. I appreciate it.

Sean: 40:30 – Big thanks to Matt Chan for joining me today. If you want more information on Train for the Win and all the programming options that his team offers, you can go to and you can also follow Matt on Instagram. He is @matt1chan. If you know me, you know I like hockey, wrestling, pro football, dogs and fitness, and I also like podcasts every week. I am fired up to bring you the very best of the fitness world on Two-Brain Radio. I’m always digging for the best stories from the most interesting people in the industry. We are also cranking out other great shows that can help you run a successful business. Every Monday, the clever guys from Two-Brain Marketing are showcasing success and serving the secret sauce that gets leads into gyms. And every Thursday we’ve got the best of the business world, people who will educate you and inspire you. So if you haven’t, please subscribe to Two-Brain Radio. Leave us a rating or a review. I would certainly appreciate it. Thanks for listening everybody, and we’ll see you next time.

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