You’ve seen him, the tall guy with the friendly smile and the um… vertically challenged wife!
But do you know the REAL story about our friend Matt Smith? Did you know he’s originally from New Jersey? Did you know he’s been a firefighter for 23 years and is the Assistant Chief in the Brighton Area Fire Department? Do you think he’s ever competitive with Michelle? Did you hear about what he’s gained AND LOST from the Brighton Nutrition program?
Tell us more Matt!
Tell us about yourself.
I’ve been doing the fire thing for 23 years, and with Brighton since 1997. I think it all started those many years ago as a kid when we would chase fire trucks around on our bikes in New Jersey. Kind of like dogs chasing cars. Except I guess I finally caught one! I also work in the engineering space, which is what helps pay the bills. There’s always enough going on to keep everyone on their toes.
I’ve been married to Michelle for 15 years and we have Sydney (13) and Brendan (11). My oldest son Jonathan is 27 and lives in Texas as another New Jersey transplant.
I’m 21 years now into my 3-year temporary move to Michigan. Which is ironic because I don’t like the snow or cold weather, I like the beach and ocean, and I don’t like the University of M…….well, let’s say I have a penchant for college teams not from our immediate area here.
What got you interested in CrossFit in the first place?
I had friends in the fire service that had started at CrossFit and were proud of the benefits they were receiving. I knew I needed to do something different as I’d dabbled in globo-gyms, and home gym set-ups. I wanted to get healthier as I got older. I then won a trial CFB membership at a golf outing in 2013 which finally got me started and I’ve been all in from there. I went from two days a week, to three days a week, to an unlimited membership. The results (both physical and how I felt), the coaches, the members, and the friends I made at the gym all made it easy to keep coming back.
What did you think when you first started? What did you love? What did you hate?
First thought about how much it sucked and that I was really out of shape! I was often wondering how an 18-year-old just lifted so much freaking weight!
I always liked weightlifting, but never did much in the cardio area, so I immediately enjoyed the barbell work. Starting out, though, I couldn’t even do a 400m warm up run without stopping to walk or take a breather. Now, I can go at least 450 or 500m ha ha…
One thing that I saw right away was that I was never judged by either the coaches or other members. Although I was thoroughly embarrassed at my lack of fitness, I was amazed and encouraged by everyone. The members and coaches always had encouragement and genuine enthusiasm that never imparted a sense of inferiority.
What keeps you coming back?
The results. I know CrossFit works. I’ve done stuff in the fitness world that I never thought I could (I still don’t like being upside down, and am in no rush to master those related skills!!). I’ve seen the results in the mirror, with clothes sizes, and in everyday activities, and with activities I never would have thought of doing before from doing a 73-story stair climb race, running a 5K, going on a 5-mile trail hike at a 9, 000-foot elevation and even wearing face paint at a Halloween Party! The people here make it even easier to show up.
What got you interested in the nutrition program?
I started having to do a lot of travelling for work over the past year. I knew I was making poor eating decisions on the road, and I was feeling (and seeing) those impacts. The travel was also impacting how often I could get to the gym. I knew I had to do something different. I knew some of what I should have been doing from a nutritional standpoint, but I wasn’t doing it. I needed a little extra kick in the pants to get my eating habits back on track. And in the process, I definitely learned some new things about Nutrition like what are macronutrients and how to keep them balanced.
How did you do on that?
The initial four-week program was great! I followed defined meal plan, the tracking tools available, all got me off to a great start. I lost 12 pounds in the first four weeks, along with improved measurements. It certainly helps that Michelle is a great cook, and was instrumental for making sure I ate healthy and “on plan” when home. Travelling for work always presents a few bumps in the road, and that’s my focus right now – adhere to the nutrition plan as much on the road as I do when home. Now I’m down a total of 16 lbs!
Tell us the truth, do you ever compete with Michelle on a WOD?
Absolutely not!! Ok, maybe there was the one time I looked at her 9:30 a.m. time or score, and worked out a bit harder to beat it. Okay, maybe twice, but no more than that, I swear!
What else would be helpful for someone to know whose new to CrossFit and anxious about getting started?
Do it! And you never have to think you have to set records for everything you do. Just strive to do better than the last time you had that workout or movement, everyone here will help you every step of the way. Just getting to the gym puts you ahead of probably 85% of the people in the world!