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October 2021 Member of the Month: Matt Brandell

Member Since: March 11, 2019.

I live in Sharon with my wife, Lisa and our 2 daughters and dog.  I grew up in New York, although I moved here 18 years ago I still considered myself a New Yorker.  That means I am a New York sports fan including the Yankees but especially the Rangers.  My grandfather had been a season ticket holder for the Rangers for over 40 years.  I am an elementary special education teacher for students with emotional and behavior disorders.  Coming to Torque is definitely my chance to decompress from a crazy day.  

I had been working out at a Globo gym for a long time before trying CrossFit.  I always thought that CrossFit was for people who were “super fit” and I never saw myself as falling into that category.  About 3 years ago a cousin of mine joined a CrossFit in Natick and I figured if he can do it then I can too.  I initially joined Torque because the schedule was a perfect fit for my busy family life.  

The workouts, the people and the coaches keep me excited to come work out. I love that the workouts are constantly changing.  No two days are exactly the same.  I also know each time that I come in I am going to leave feeling better than the way I came in.  The coaches are super motivating and at this point they really know me well and are able to offer quick corrections that have led to huge improvements. They have also been extremely helpful in providing specific feedback and practice in one on one skill sessions. 

My greatest accomplishment is that for the first time in my life I see myself as physically strong!  Squat Snatch is a movement that I have not been able to execute.  I finally was able to successfully execute that move and I felt super proud. I was paired with an athlete for a partner workout who I thought of as in a different league than me and I was able to keep up with them! 

My biggest challenge is not overthinking things too much.  If I perform any lift well 9/10 I tend to focus on the 1 time things went wrong! Coach Lea has been amazing at knowing when I am over thinking things and cuing me.  Another challenge for me is not defining myself by what I can’t do (rope climbing) but what I can do (lots of things that I couldn’t do when I started).  When the speed ladder comes out during warmups I want to run and hide.   

My favorite movements are Back Squats and Deadlifts when those come around I can usually see the gains that I have made by being able to push more weight.  I generally feel mechanically sound when performing those two movements.   

For anyone just starting out CrossFit is for everyone!  Everyone started somewhere.  The people who you see who seem to be doing things easily have been practicing to master those moves for a long time.  Nothing comes without hard work and dedication.  You don’t need to be a super athlete to do it.  You will see gains but you might need to redefine your criteria for success.  Of late I have been more focused on improving my technique than trying to “go heavy”.  I have seen gains in my technique and confidence in the lifts and more importantly have avoided injury.  

If I had a superpower it would be super speed.  Little known fact that in order to accommodate super speed you’d also need super strength or your body would immediately break down.  It’s like getting two superpowers in one.  

people working out in a group fitness class


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