For our final member spotlight of the year, the coaching staff wants to highlight a member who has literally been with us the longest. Matt Leli was coached by Brad and Justin way back at Lincoln Park CrossFit and made the switch to The Foundry once it opened in 2012. Now Matt is currently going through the coach’s progression so he can continue to grow as a member of our community. Read on to find out how far Matt has come and how The Foundry has impacted his life.

Brad coaching Matt's foundations class back at Lincoln Park CrossFit

Brad coaching Matt’s foundations class back at Lincoln Park CrossFit

The Foundry: How did you first hear about Crossfit?

Matt Leli: A friend of mine owns a gym in LA and when he was living out here he started reading about Crossfit. When he moved away he opened his Crossfit gym a year a two later in September 2011 and when we were at a party when he was back in town he said “you should give it a try” and I said “I don’t know, I need like Pre-Crossfit or something” because I was in such bad shape. But another friend of ours was going to Lincoln Park Crossfit where JQ and Brad were at so a week or so after that party I started foundations and then stuck with it since then.

The Foundry: What convinced you to get started with them at Lincoln Park Crossfit?

ML: Um I don’t know, disgust? No, I mean I was in pretty bad shape. I was still trading back then so I was working a lot from 6 am to 5 o’clock everyday. Trading is pretty stressful so I just had to do something to blow off some steam that wasn’t going home to pass out. When you’re in bad shape it just compounds it being stressed out. Honestly, I wondered if I was able to do it or stick with it because I knew it would be hard. But like we tell everyone else there are modications for everything. It was painful at first. I couldn’t handle more than 3 times a week after foundations but then I slowly built it up. Stopping trading helped because then I had more time and wasn’t as stressed. It made getting ready for the next day easier. When you don’t get beat up at work all day it’s easier to come workout.

The Foundry: When did you start to feel things were clicking and you started to see results?

ML: “Click” I don’t know because do you ever feel like ‘I’m so awesome at this?’ No. I never felt that way. But I started losing weight pretty much right away. I started eating paleo and doing the whole 30 for the first month or two. I eat the same three four things a day. It’s just easier that way. I was working out three days a week and eating pretty paleo.

Right away I noticed my pants feeling looser but I would still feel sore all the time. Pull-ups probably came first but I couldn’t kip them. Every time I would get better at something it be like eliminating assistance. Then you start to finish the workouts and get PRs. Before I knew it, I went from the bad side of my belt to the good side- the ‘no more room left,’ to the ‘I need to get a nail out’- in like 3 or 4 months. So that part was great. Seeing my clothes fall off me. I stayed away from the scale but I knew I was losing weight. Before I would try to run to lose weight but I would never lose pants sizes doing that. It was great getting my first kipping pull-up but there was still hard work out there to do.

Matt showing off post-WoD

Matt cooling off post-WoD

The Foundry: How does it feel having trained for the longest under the Foundry coaches?

ML: Until you said it to me last week I don’t think I realized that. I don’t know though. My buddy put me in touch with Justin and Brad so they did my foundations. It’s cool making new friends and crossing paths with people I never would have before. It was cool to do the competition program with JQ this year and getting to know Brad better. It’s almost like a let down for being the most trained person here, you think I’d be the best at something! No, but I like that the coaches are usually around and its nice that its close. When JQ told me where the gym was going to be located, I told him I’d be there a minute after it opened.

Going up to Lincoln Park sucked bad. I would try to be good about eating so I’d bring food with me on the train. I would bring chicken and sweet potatoes on the ‘L.’ I looked like a total crack head with all my layers on, sweating, trying to eat my chicken breast on the train, sweat still pouring off me, people thinking I’m crazy. Hey, it works! I was so hungry!

The Foundry: Why have you decided to go through the coaching progression?

ML: Well partly to have something to do; I know that’s terrible to say but I find my current job pretty boring and I am here a lot. I still haven’t decided if I’m going the full blown coaching route or just helping out with foundations. But you see me here, when there’s people who don’t know what they are doing, I help them out. At the very least, it will be nice to learn more about the movements. Down the road who knows, you guys keep expanding, so I kind of like the business side of things, that’s how I look at it. I’m looking for some motivation on that side of my life right now. It will be good to do the foundations, working with the new people. I can totally sympathize with them. When they’re like “I can’t do this” I’m like “here’s a band, you’re going to do something, not just wait for it to be over.” So hopefully it will be good for me and the students, and for me to branch out a little bit.

Thanks Matt for sharing this with us and we are looking forward to your coaching! Congrats to all our Member Spotlights throughout the year and we will see you in 2014!