Member of the Month: Matt Whalen!

We are extremely excited to introduce our newest member of the month, Matt Whalen! From the first day Matt walked into the gym, he has been a hard worker with a great attitude and a friendly face to all . In fact, in Matt’s first month here, Coach Beretta actually said to the rest of the coaches at a meeting, “That new kid Matt W. is going to be member of the month one day. Trust me.” He was right! On any given night, you can find Matt mobilizing before class, working hard during class, and then working on weaknesses after class as well. He is always the first to introduce himself to a new member or a veteran that he doesn’t know, and has a way of making anyone feel comfortable in class. His progress over the past 9 months has been amazing to watch and we can’t wait to see what happens in the future. Way to go, Matt! We’re all pumped to have you here at Southie.

How did you get involved in CrossFit? What was your first WOD/experience?
My brother Kevin, a firm member of The Taj in the North End who I still try and recruit to Southie every day, has been CrossFittingMatt on Bike for the past three years. He had been pushing me to join up and see what Crossfit had to offer and having not done any technical powerlifting in high school or college I was always hesitant. I had resigned myself to endless machine circuits and long distance running on the treadmill at BSC during my lunch breaks for the longest time and felt like I was just trudging in mud and not progressing to the goals I had set for myself. When I moved to Southie I found out I was literally a 5 minute walk from CFS and no longer had a valid excuse not to try the CF experience!
When I walked into CFS for the first time Southie Green was a daunting jungle of metal, chalk dust, and the air smelled of sweat and PR’s…just my kind place! Southie Green was small and still in it’s infancy, which speaks to how much hard work, dedication, time, and effort Goose/Amy and the coaching staff put into expanding CFS in such a short time frame it is still remarkable to me, yet I still felt like a small fish in a big pond.
My first WOD, like many others, was the intro WOD with Tina Mo. I remember thinking to myself that, “Hey, I go to the gym 4-5 times a week, I should be able to crush this workout no problem!” and like many others I was thoroughly, and painfully awakened to the cold reality that I had A LOT of work to do. But again like many others that I see in the box every day, that intro did not stop us, but only served to motivate us to keep pushing forward! I came out of that first WOD with a motto I use to this day, “Not where I want to be, better than I use to be”. I keep telling myself, new recruits, and veterans this after every WODMatt power clean!

When did you start coming to CrossFit Southie?
October 2013

Is this the first CrossFit you’ve worked out at / how long have you been CrossFitting for?
Crossfit Southie has been my home base of operations since I started as I have been training here for the past nine months. I have had the opportunity when I travel for work to drop in on other boxes, such as Crossfit Raleigh (North Carolina) and River North Crossfit (Chicago), and all boxes have welcomed me and all newcomers with open arms which continues to underline the fact that I keep coming back here not just for the good sweat and pained muscles, but the community that helps make it all bearable.

When did you realize that CrossFit was right for you?
I realized after Tina Mo handed me the intro packet and I walked outside of Orange in state of confusion, nausea, and dizziness from the blinding Sun, that I had stumbled upon THE activity that would help me achieve, not only all my fitness goals, but help cement me into a community that looked out for their own and always strived to help others (i.e. PR for Pat).Matt HSPU

What are you short-term and long-term CrossFit goals?
Short-Term: I was bummed when I didn’t have hand stand walks down to be able to perform them adequately during PR for Pat, so my short-term goal is to master hand stand walks as well as Goose with his wing span the size of a gorilla!
Long-Term: Becoming a burnt toasty and getting more active in local competitions, Olympic weight lifting or Crossfit, would be two goals I have for myself in the distance. I also want to help serve as a CFS ambassador and recruit people on the fence, continue to motivate both first timers and veterans to push themselves beyond what they believe they are capable of has always been a long-term goal on my list.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
As Coach Retta would attest too, I was tempted to say my recent first muscle up since that movement combines both high technique and strength to accomplish, but I have to say that consistently being able to perform WODs at Rx levels effectively and more frequently has been my biggest accomplishment. I remember the days of L1 WODs, sore backs from bad deadlift form, and near lost lunches from endless burpees, but after 9 months of hard work in the box and in the kitchen I can say reaching the Rx level has been my proudest.

Rope tireflipWhat is your favorite / least favorite WOD/movement?
My favorite movement would be the squat snatch as when it’s performed correctly it looks like a thing of beauty at high weight. It’s a movement that continuously puzzles me to this day, but with the help of Coach Haley during Olympic lifting class (a class I HIGHLY recommend more people sign up for if not for Barrows’ shenanigans alone).
My least favorite movement would be pistols because let’s all be honest, like the Kardashians, are they really needed?

What do you do for a profession outside of CrossFit?
I am a Senior Financial Analyst that focuses on financial reporting and planning for Atlantic Power, a clean energy producer where we manage interests in twenty-eight operational power generation projects consisting mainly of Natural Gas, Wind, and Hydro assets, across eleven states in the United States and two provinces in Canada. Helping to save the environment one debit and credit at a time!

What are your hobbies outside of CrossFit?
Outdoor activities i.e. Hiking, biking, recently got into rock climbing, and an avid skier during the polar vortex months. Also getting people needlessly hooked on catchy tunes like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eevUjhIlfM#t=94Matt stone

Do you eat Paleo or Zone? What is your favorite paleo/non-paleo meal?
I have tried the fabulous cuisine over at Paleo Power Meals and can say they offer some delicious Paleo options for anyone looking to see what the diet is all about. I have taken many paleo recipes and ideas and crafted my own diet. I had the fortune, but equally frustrating, problem from most people of trying to gain weight. When I first started CrossFit I weighed 165 soaking wet and was often referred to as Mr String-Bean. But today after sticking to a high protein diet, shakes morning and night with heavy protein/healthy fat lunch and snacks, I have gained 25 pounds of muscle and looking to add a bit more of a goal of around 205. Paleo maybe too strict a diet for some but it is a great tool to learn from and see where your dieting habits line up.

Fun fact?
On my last vacation I unwittingly got off a moped on the wrong side and ended up branding myself with a lovely big red mark on my left leg. So next time you see me no I didn’t forget to tape up during rope climbs, just forgot to tape up while moped’ing!