Matt’s Transformation Story

This year our community voted for one member to win what we call the “Rocky Balboa” award, given to a person who never gives up! The winner, who received roaring applause when announced, was Matt Grills. We asked Matt to share his CrossFit experience in the post below. Enjoy!

Physical transformation comes through hard work, patience and showing up for yourself. Looking in the mirror, three years after joining M4G CrossFit, I see a different me.

I’m leaner, for starters. More muscle. Bigger shoulders and arms, stronger legs. I’m in size 30 shorts, down from 38, and am wearing a tank top for the first time since the ’80s.

A simple reflection, though, doesn’t show the biggest change – the one that ultimately matters: better physical health and quality of life.

To be more active and energetic than I was in my 20s … to hear my doctor say, “You are doing something right” … to not just watch my kid run and bike but to be able to run and bike with her … to run my first half marathon … I owe a lot of this to CrossFit.

To those who knew me growing up, this about-face on fitness is nothing short of a miracle. I hated sports. I’d never lifted a barbell. Like many American guys, I wanted a “Men’s Health” body that required zero effort.

As an adult, I let the weight of life – stress at work, challenges at home, depression – become extra weight, physical and mental, that I carried around, for years. To feel better about not working out, I turned it into a joke.

I was wrong. But guess what? It’s OK to say, “I was wrong.” It’s OK to change our mind, to change direction.

Sure, I deserve some credit for the physical changes I’m seeing. I’m the one getting up at the butt crack of dawn to exercise, and the one rowing, lunging, squatting, sweating. No one, NO ONE, can do it for me. I wanted desperately to change how I look and feel, and I am. My family depends on me to be healthy, and I am. Good on me.

I had to have a safe place to start, though. A place where I could try, fail, learn and struggle without judgment. A place that would welcome me as I was, inspire me to be more, challenge me to commit, and not give up on me. Or let me give up on me. M4G CrossFit has been that. It’s dope, people – legit, lit, fleek, fire emoji, off the hook.

A couple of months ago, I was talking to Becky, one of M4G’s coaches and super-athletes. “Matt, you are looking so fit!” she said.

She didn’t say I looked swole or jacked or shredded, because I’m not. She said I looked fit – meaning, in good health, thanks to regular physical exercise. Having neglected that for much of my life, I really needed to hear those words, and to know that others were seeing what I am seeing.

CrossFit has done wonders for my mental health, too, and given me some great friends, but that’s another post.

Bigger changes are coming, I think. Scratch that. I KNOW. Because I’m not quitting. This is just the start. I am seeing results. At M4G, we say we’re pursuing the best version of ourselves, and I believe the best version of me would have awesome abs. Ha. Kidding (kind of).

The transformation continues.

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