Oak Park/CFLA Athlete Profile – Mr. Matt (Nichols)
Hometown: I grew up in Abilene, Texas, but spent the last 14 years in Carson City, Nevada.
Occupation: Coach at Oak Park / CFLA and sometimes attorney
When did you first start CrossFitting?: January 2012
When did you first start training at CFLA?: July 2017
Favorite WOD: Any workout with Clean & Jerks and any type of partner/team workout
Least Favorite WOD: Long grinders are not my jam
Tell us about your sports & fitness background: I played a variety of sports in high school. I was a cheerleader in high school and college. I have been training CrossFit since 2012 and have entered the Open and the Team Series each year since then. In the last three years, I have also competed in Olympic weightlifting and studied historical European martial arts (aka longsword fencing).
How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? Take us back to your first WOD… what was it, and how did it feel? My brother started his first CrossFit gym in 2007 and tried to convince me to start this whole workout thing where you mixed strength and cardio into the same workouts. It sounded insane and for years I politely declined. A co-worker of mine started CrossFit in 2011 and she experienced such an amazing transformation physically and mentally that I was finally compelled to give it a try. My first workout was a 400m run, then 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps of KB Swings and Burpees, then a 400m run. I didn’t die, but it was so much harder than I expected. My coach later told me that he expected me to quit after that day. In fact, he programmed that workout with the intention of making me quit (his version of a mental toughness day) and was shocked that I showed up the next day ready to go again.
What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CF (before/after)? You mean besides the gnarly calluses on my hands and the scars on my shins, right?
I was not in a good place physically or mentally when I started CrossFit. I rode my mountain bike in the summers and my snowboard in the winters, but in my life as a lawyer I was spending 12-15 hours a day hunched over a computer working at a job at which I was very skilled but not very interested. My job was not conducive to a healthy and fit lifestyle and I unfortunately let my fitness take a back seat to my career for many years. CrossFit helped me to recover from the damage that I was inflicting on myself with my job and I have continued to get stronger, faster, healthier, and happier through training.
What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit that were totally unexpected? CrossFit fundamentally changed my life. I did not expect to find my calling as a coach through CrossFit, nor did I expect to find connection and community through the gym. I thought CrossFit would be just a supplement to my life that would give me the fitness to survive my job and still enjoy the things I like to do for recreation. Instead, because of CrossFit, my life has taken a completely different (and better and happier!) direction than I could ever have anticipated.
Please share with us any favorite CrossFit / CFLA moments: I don’t know if I can choose a favorite CFLA moment, because every day here is fantastic. I feel so blessed to have been welcomed into this community with such open arms. That being said, a moment that I will remember forever is the day Kenny Kane called me to chat about coming to CFLA.
Any advice for people just getting started? Have fun! Work hard and be patient with yourself. Commit to mastering the fundamentals. Ask lots of questions and be open to trying and learning new things. Embrace this journey of growth and self-discovery.
What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit? Most of my time outside of the gym is spent with my girlfriend AJ and my dogs. As recent transplants to SoCal, we are really enjoying exploring LA. I also like to spend time writing, riding my bike, and I am learning how to surf (yes, it is a cliche – deal with it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZ-dPBoR_xg).
1 Depth jump to broad jumps (20/12)
3 Handstand pushups
20 Russian plate twists (45/25)
5 Deadlifts (60%)
12-12-12-12-(12) (By feel)
FT, as a group of 3
200 Hand-release pushups
150 Toes to bar
5 RFQR (20s:20s)
Bike for cal
SA DB OH Lunges*
*Switch arms each round, extra round goes to weaker side
4 RFQR on the 3:00
Max Effort Bench press (BW / ⅔ BW)
–30 sec cap each round–