We chatted to Neat Ambassador & cycle instructor, Matthew C. to find out a little bit more about him, from how he got started in health & fitness to why surfing feeds his soul...
First of all, tell us a little bit about you?
Well I grew up playing sports; I was an athlete throughout most of my childhood and high school years. Basketball, football, track and field - I lived for the big games. But once high school ended and sports were no longer an outlet for me I started to struggle finding a purpose in my life and started down a road that was in the opposite direction of health and fitness... It wasn’t pretty. It took me almost a decade of going in the wrong direction before I found a passion for training and working out again. I was an athlete and just because my playing days were over, didn’t mean I couldn’t still train like one, so that’s what I did. I started slow and over time just being consistent with my diet and workouts. I got into better shape in my early 30's than I ever was in my teens and early 20’s.
I ran with it, I got certified and started training clients. I worked for some of the top speed and agility coaches on the east coast and built up a nice clientele. I moved back to California and that’s when I found SoulCycle.
When did you decide to become a SoulCycle instructor?
A friend of mine, Lindsay Buckley, now Lindsey Wandzilak, was teaching at SoulCycle and said I should come to check it out. At first, I was like; "nooo I don’t do cardio hahaha" (I was trying to get my swole on back then), but I finally went and wow it was a game-changer for me. I cried, I sweat and something magical happened in there for me. I saw my friend doing what I was doing but instead of doing it one on one, she just did it to a room full of 60 people and we all had the same experience. I couldn’t keep the beat, I thought I was going to die, my arms felt like they were about to fall off and I loved every second of it. I decided right then and there that I was going to be a SoulCycle instructor.
The best thing about SoulCycle is the people. The staff, the riders, the other instructors, they create the magic that is SoulCycle. Something happens in that room that is hard to explain but easy to be felt. It’s the power of human connection. It’s what keeps me coming back day in and day out and I will forever be grateful for it and for them.
What’s your top tip for a beginner who wants to try a SoulCycle class for the first time?
Listen. Instructors at SoulCycle are the best in the world because of the training that we go through. When we say something, it’s for a reason. It’s going to help your body, your performance, and your overall experience. SoulCycle isn’t like any other cycling class. We base our resistance off a feeling. We don’t use numbers or leader boards. A 10 on the resistance knob for some people might be easy and for others, it’s going to seem impossible. We want everyone to feel successful and accomplished, so listening to what the instructor is saying is going to help you feel that way.
You live a busy lifestyle and seem to always have a lot going on, what do you do to re-charge & reset your body and mind?
Meditation & my homegirl Mother Nature! Getting outside of myself and into nature is something that I’ve always done to re-charge, reset and re-connect. Life comes at us pretty quick sometimes and while meditation and Mother Nature don’t slow life down, they do slow me down enough to where I can see what the next right step is going to be.
Out of all of your active pursuits, what is your favourite to do and why?
That’s a tough question. They all are so different, SoulCycle is in a group and that’s where the magic comes from. The collective consciousness is what we get to tap into and I’m able to push my mind and my body through limits that I wouldn’t be able to do if I was doing it on my own. Knowing that we’re stronger when we work together.
I typically go surfing alone. Being in the water grounds me to something bigger and I’m able to get out of myself and into the connection of moving and flowing with the universe. There’s something very spiritual that happens while surfing that’s just good for the soul!
Mountain climbing is about overcoming - overcoming challenges to get where you want to go. With mountain climbing, unlike hiking, the only way is up. There’s no rolling hills or flat sections that you can chill on, if you’re moving, you’re moving towards the top. I always like to say that no one ever trips, falls and lands on top of the mountain. You start where you are and you put one foot in front of the other until you get there. It forces you into a state of hyper-awareness when you’re isolated in the wilderness and it’s up to you and your crew to get you in and out of there safely. It’s a mental challenge more than anything else.
I honestly can’t pick a favorite. All three are important in keeping my mind, body and soul healthy and nourished. SoulCycle feeds my body, climbing mountains challenges my mind and surfing is good for my soul.
Finally, what plans are in the pipeline for you?
I have a personal development & surfing retreat coming up in September that I’m hosting with my girlfriend, Dr. Jennifer Chrisman - she’s a psychologist and an all-around amazing human being. Our masculine and feminine energy play well off of each other and she’s one of the best there is in the personal development world. The retreat is in a small and very remote town in Costa Rica called Pavones. It has the second-longest left breaking wave in the world and is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. I’ll also be hosting some local events here in Los Angeles too. If you want to stay connected and find out when and where, make sure to give me a follow on social media.
As far as my personal goals, at this point in my life, my goals are to learn something new everyday, to keep growing mentally, physically and spiritually; and to have a positive impact on as many people as I can. I want to use my story to inspire others to unlock their true potential.