As a growing CrossFit box, we are all getting to know each other and building that tight community we always envisioned. Each month, we profile a CrossFit Grail Athlete that is interesting and inspirational. A person that demonstrates a positive attitude, shows up every day and puts their heart and soul into their workout, never gives up, crushes their goals, cheers everyone on and is passionate about the CrossFit Grail Community. And someone who is pretty cool! Although we think everyone has these qualities, we can only pick one.
November 2018 Athlete Spotlight: Matthew Rusch
Why we chose Matt:
Consistency. As I interviewed our November highlight athlete, that is what came to the forefront in my mind. Matt Rusch attends a CrossFit class 4 days week on average. Matt has shown consistency, not only in his attendance, but also in his commitment to nutrition. It isn’t about perfection for Matt, but about being as consistent as he can. This has resulted in results and you guessed it, consistent results.
What we love about Matt is his WHY: his 2 boys. It’s great to have goals. We always ask, ‘what are your goals?’ Sometimes you want to do a muscle-up (like Matt just did), just because it’s a challenge. But behind every goal, there has to be a ‘Why’ to keep you motivated to keep going. Matt is laser-focused on his ‘Why’ he wants to stay fit. He’s a great guy with a great family.
And Matt isn’t from these parts. In fact, he is from the south and went to a rival high school of one of our coaches… want to find out who? Watch Matt’s interview to find out that, his hobbies, and what he loves about CrossFit.
Check out Matt’s video interview here
Tell us a little about yourself:
I am originally from Atlanta/Kennesaw Georgia, the land of sweet tea and fried chicken. The Air Force brought me to Colorado in early 2005, and I decided I liked Colorado so much, so I’ve stayed ever since. I’m one of those annoying transplants, but I made up my Colorado street cred by marrying a native.
I’m married to another CrossFitter, the adorable Heather with a contagious laugh, and we have two kids together Blake (5) & Luke (2). I work for the Federal Government currently as an IT Supervisor managing application servers for time & attendance, payroll, benefits, and other HR functions- (Techie roles: administration, programming, software version controls & implementation on application level.)
Hobbies obviously include CrossFit and I really attempt to put in the effort to work out often, so that I get the results I seek. I also really enjoy playing golf and recently got to play with another CrossFit Grail member, Brian, and really hope we play more together in tournaments next year. And lastly I’m a bit of a nerd and I still enjoy playing Call of Duty during the weekend if time permits.
How long have you been doing CrossFit and what got you started?
I joined CrossFit Grail 12/27/2017, so almost 10 months now. Grail was my first CrossFit experience.
My reason Why is my two boys. My motivation comes from them and provides perspective on why I must do what I do in fitness, not necessarily CrossFit. Even though I used to be known as a gym rat, in the past 6-7 years, I entered a very unhealthy lifestyle. I was having trouble playing with my oldest around the house and realized that if I continued on this path, I wasn’t going to be able to provide the same opportunities for my children that my father provided to me growing up: playing catch, mock baseball games, shooting basketball, playing 21, and practicing football techniques like running routes, punt returns, and defensive drills. Around Christmas, I had an honest conversation with myself in the mirror. I had become soft, weak, lazy, and it was time for me to turn things around. My boys (my why) became my laser focus and drive me to keep my promise to myself to take fitness seriously, concentrate on how it will improve my life, and remember what my life will look like if I fall back into old habits.
While I find it important to have goals, and to succeed at any level, you must have goals. Most don’t succeed at their goals no matter how big or small, that’s because they don’t have a powerful why. Motivation gets you started, goals keep you going, but Why drives your ass across the finish line.
Why I selected CrossFit over other fitness routines:
CrossFit appealed to me in two parts: the group atmosphere and the functional goals of the exercises. In the Air Force, I got into lifting because I worked out with two friends who really drove me to get in the gym every day. Even though I kept that up with for years after they were stationed somewhere else, my gains were always the best when I was around them. Their talent didn’t intimidate me – it drove me, it inspired me. After being away from fitness for years, I knew the journey was going to be long, lonely, and painful and I needed inspiration. I started researching exercise groups and stumbled upon CrossFit, which promotes community, results and fitness as a lifestyle. I truly believe you become the person who you surround yourself with, and I wanted to be around a winning community where people were positive. I was drawn to Grail because of reviews, being a newer facility, and I thought I could have success. I dove in head-first and have been here ever since.
What did you do for your fitness before CrossFit?
I did traditional bodybuilding types of weightlifting- ‘Bro’ workouts, with maybe the occasional basketball game after a workout, but I hardly ever did legs or cardio. That’s why CrossFit sort of drew me in – full body workouts with HIIT training, gymnastics (which intimidated me), mobility, and of course weightlifting. I saw that I got to do it all, which I liked.
What do you like most about CrossFit?
The community. I never feel alone during this process.
I’ve had nutrition questions before and Michelle met with me and we went over my macros, and she determined I actually needed more carbs. I implemented this and I feel stronger during workouts and still have lost a lot of body fat. The coaches always answer my questions on techniques and strategies, even during workouts.
I’ve seen new and old members put blood, sweat, and tears into workouts which truly inspires me. They represent the fighting spirit; tough workouts come along for everyone at Grail but I’ve seen every person dig deep and fight back even if they don’t think they can make it, and rise to the occasion.
I surround myself with members and coaches that believe that one’s life can be controlled through choices and habits. They don’t believe that fitness is controlled through fate or chance. Everyone seems to understand that you show up, put in the work, get the job done, and get the results. People are committing to something positive every day in this community. Everyone knows it is difficult but shows up to improve their life, and seeing people’s progress really drives me.
How has doing CrossFit changed your life outside of the Box?
I went from weighing 215’ish to 178-182 (depends on water intake and time of day), I dropped about 15% body fat and now roughly sit at 15-something, and still put on about 7-8lbs of muscle. Down from a tight 36 waist line, to 32 inches.
Of course, my mood has enhanced and my confidence has increased; even got a promotion because of my change, more positive outlook. Energy has increased and I wrestle with my boys often. We recently took them on a 10-mile bike ride and I pulled them in a double bike trailer the whole way (approximately 100 lbs).
What motivates you to keep WOD-ing?
Of course my reason, Why, drives me because I refuse to go back to average for my boys.
I also really like the struggle. I’m not great at every movement or workout, but I like that! Einstein defined failure as success in motion. Struggle equals resistance, resistance equates to strength, strength equates to a better version and stronger version of myself. I want my boys to see that any struggle can be overcome with hard work and effort. I believe we were given this life because we are strong enough to handle it and to inspire others to look at us and create beliefs within themselves. So it pushes me when I struggle or fail at something to keep going because I’m inspired from others, and who knows if my own tenacity to achieve these goals might inspire others in my life.
Also, there is no end in sight on progress. Workouts always get heavier or speed is increased. Goals are like mountains in CrossFit, if you climb one mountain, find a bigger mountain to climb. I love hearing everyone out of breath at the end and bent over recovering. Then they still come back the next day, still hungry for more and never satisfied.
What are your 3 favorite CrossFit movements?
I realize I put more than 3…..
- Squat Cleans
- Walking Lunges
- KB Swings
- KB snatches
- Sit-ups/Russian twist
What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment?
Probably finishing my MBA. It was a long process and I had to take breaks throughout due to military service. However, I had a goal and persevered.
What is YOUR QUEST?
This month: Ring muscle up
This year: It’s almost over, but I would like this beard to be somewhat presentable.
This lifetime: Be the best example to my children and guide them through their journey.