April Member of the Month: Matt Downey
For those of you who don’t know Matt (most likely because you like your sleep), he is a staple of the 5:30am class. I can always count on Matt greeting me with a smile and positive attitude in the morning. For those of you who do know Matt, you know that a 5:30 class without him feels empty. Over the past couple months, Matt has made improvements unheard of by someone who has been a member as long as he has. Matt told me that he “just wants to look better naked”. I cannot attest to this, but I will say he looks a lot better in gym clothes. Congratulations Matt on being April’s Member of the Month!
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: Plymouth, MA
Q: How did you get started with CrossFit?
A: I had a few friends in other parts of the country who had joined and were talking about it. I had moved about a year prior to San Diego from the Washington, D.C. and really needed to lose some weight and be healthier (was about 250lbs upon arriving in San Diego). At the time the gym was at the old Fanuel location. I walked by a number of times and definitely did not think I belonged working out with that group, so I didn’t go in. Instead I hired a personal trainer in an attempt to “get in shape” for CrossFit. I kept talking about it until Angela, my then girlfriend and now wife, finally told me to just go in (I assume because she was tired of me talking about it). I signed up for the one on one intro classes shortly after. Note: the personal training sessions did not get me in shape and I still nearly died.
Q: What brought you to San Diego Athletics?
A: I knew I wanted to try CrossFit and did some local Yelp reviews, and CrossFit PB looked like a good place to try. I didn’t know many people in San Diego at the time, so I didn’t have any personal recommendations on where to go.
Q: How long have you been at SDA?
A: Started in September of 2012, so 5+ years.
Q: What is your favorite movement/ type of workout?
A: I like workouts and WODs with olympic lifts. For the WODs I like a goldilocks of weight, not too light and not too heavy. I also like WODs with HSPUs a lot. Unlike most, I kinda like burpees.
Q: What is your least favorite movement/ type of workout?
A: The workouts and WODs without chalk! Seriously though, split squats, I feel like my legs are about to fall off . I also am not a big fan of pistols but at least my legs stay attached and they are doable.
Q: What is your biggest CrossFit accomplishment so far?
A: I would say my biggest accomplishment is building a lifestyle around being healthy and active. I work a desk job in IT with lots of hours and stress. It is really easy to lose sight of taking care of your own health in the name of meeting some deadline, or eating out and drinking day in and day out with coworkers. I know because I did it. Having a supportive community, especially making so many friends through the gym, has enabled me to set better priorities and maintain a lifestyle that makes me much healthier, and more importantly much happier. Also, another huge accomplishment is talking about CrossFit enough to get my wife to join and stick with it also for over 2 years!
Q: If you had to say something to someone walking into SDA for the first time, what would you tell them?
A: Don’t hesitate to have fun. I have seen so many people come through the gym over the past 5+ years and 99.9% are not tip top shape athletes. No-one is judging, no-one is laughing, no-one wants you to fail. Everyone wants you to be there, everyone wants you to have fun, everyone wants you to succeed in your goals. We all started from somewhere, maybe you can’t do a pushup or a pull up . . . yet. You will, and it will happen sooner than you think.
Q: What sports did you play growing up?
A: Football and wrestling.
Q: What are your favorite things to do outside of the gym?
A: I like to travel, though lately with grad school this has been non-existent. More frequently, I like to enjoy new food with my wife and friends. I also really like spending time with my dog, going on walks or just hanging out on the couch, she is pretty cool.
Q: What is your favorite meal?
A: Really depends. I really like a good sandwich, all in the bread. I also really enjoy a nice ribeye, especially the ribeye cap, of course from the Heart & Trotter butcher in North Park.
Q: What is your favorite album?
A: This is tough. I grew up listening to a lot of Beatles in my household as a kid, and Sgt. Peppers was always a big favorite to this day (I can feel Dave Anderson judging me). My parents were both musicians, so there was always a lot of music from all varieties growing up. Probably one album I have listened to since it came out fairly frequently that is not from my parent’s collection as a kid (i.e. “I discovered”) would be Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged album (I can still feel Dave Anderson judging me).
Q: List your top three movies of all time:
A: 1) Jaws. This has been a favorite since a kid, which put me in a phase where I was obsessed with learning about sharks. My grandmother was kind enough to get every book from the library on sharks along with letting me watch Jaws on repeat. My wife dislikes this movie, but she was kind enough to go see it with me in the theater a few years ago.
2) Primer. I think I have watched this 4-5 times and still am not sure I completed understand.
3) Love Actually This just makes you feel good.
Also, not sure if this counts, but I am generally a sucker for a documentary (especially a history or science), if it is on I will get sucked in.