Meet Matt! Matt (along with his wife Coach Niki) is one of Ardent Crossfit’s Founding Members. Matt works for the Federal government. He loves the Assault Bike and anything Power (Power Clean/Power Squat). You will find Matt at all classes because of his schedule. When he isn’t at work, at Ardent, you can find him doing something outdoors or spending time with his family (Patrick & Rileigh).
1. Why did I join Ardent Crossfit? Well that is a good question, I have an answer, but it is two parts. I had just come off of medical retirement from the Army, if you want to know you can ask me, but I won’t go into that here. I was very fat and out of shape. During my post-deployment/post-injury recovery, I was depressed and gained a ton of weight and did not exercise as much as I should have. I blamed a lot of it on my limp, the pain, and even on other people’s influence. What it really was, was laziness and depression. The depression was easy to overcome, the laziness took a long time. I started Crossfit shortly after my rehabilitation leave. I was on leave for about 60 days and I didn’t do much but sit around and eat. Niki had started Crossfit while I was deployed and continued it after I was Medevac’d home. I watched her get fitter and stronger, while I got fatter and lazier. She asked me a few times to come with her and after constant nagging (kidding) I agreed to give it a go. Now let me explain to you it was a 0900 class at the only gym on post and it was with all moms. I had those women beat me daily and I had guys walk by and make fun of me for it, to include some of my friends thus I didn’t try very hard. This was partly due to laziness and the other part due to pride, what if I gave 110% effort and the girls still beat me? Well, I couldn’t get it through my head that this was ok, and it just meant they were amazing and that is ok. So, I retired, and we moved back to NC. Niki kept at the Crossfit and I would come in a couple of days a week with her and suffer. I ended up taking a job in DC and commuting 7 days on, 6 days off to my family in NC. It was hard and I needed something to keep me focused. I lived in my sister’s basement/gym, was eating terribly and still depressed (not long due to War reasons but I also wasn’t living with my family). My brother-in-law and I decided enough was enough, we would take on the Crossfit and diet journey together. We joined Crossfit Lorton, it went well-ish. It was very different than any Crossfit gym I had been to yet. We struggled and worked every day to get back to our lean fighting Army days. I was losing weight and getting the hang of the fitness, but I was lacking in my home life, which was keeping me depressed and unhappy. I had a long talk with Niki, and we decided the family needed to be in VA with me. She came up the next weekend and we started looking for houses (a Crossfit gym actually but that’s weird to say) in the Woodbridge, Dumfries, and a Stafford area. We hit a couple of the local gyms but just didn’t get the feeling of being home with like-minded people. We found a lot of extremely fit people and a lot of great gyms, but they just weren’t for us. We were driving down 610/Garrisonville Rd on Niki’s last evening here to look at a house to rent and I was surfing the internet looking for any other gym opportunities, when I stumbled onto the Ardent Crossfit site. We got the address and realized it was two blocks away. The site was cool and the description of the Phoenix and how it pertained to Ryan and Kasey was interesting. We found the location, but it wasn’t open. There was a sign on the door, that said they were opening soon and nothing on the inside but a torn apart building location. Well I wanted to know what the time frame was, as well as talk to the owner to see what kind of person he was. Ryan had his number on there so I decided I would just give him a ring. What a mistake that was to leave your number here so Matt Dane could access it! Well he answered after calling twice, I am persistent, and we had a chat about us moving to the area, his outlooks on like, gym mentality, life in general and so small debate on if hook grips was better than no hook grip on snatching. Ok that’s not true, our talk was not that amazing but it would have been so awesome if it had!! He told me the gym would open in the next few weeks and they would have a pre-opening night to join. Well we came to the pre-open, again still not really a Crossfit gym but the skeleton was there as well as the passion for fitness. After talking to Ryan and Kasey; meeting the original coaching crew, Rebecca, Andy and Gabe. Also meeting Sean, Kelly, Roy and Fawn (Roy almost ruined it); we decided to bite the bullet and join as Founding Members. I can tell you this, it is one of the top 5 best decisions I have ever made in my life. The friends, community and family I have made while being at Ardent for the last 6 years (almost 7) have helped me heal, grow and become a better person.
2. What has been your biggest accomplishment? Any of you who know me, I mean really know me, know I have struggled at Crossfit. I began this fitness journey limping, fat and terribly out of shape. I was depressed and lazy with a terrible chip on my shoulder. I got into this due to Niki (Thank you Niki, it has truly changed my life) and stayed because of you all, the community is so amazing. The people that make up Ardent are truly what make it so special, even those that have left. I am so proud of where I have made it coming from where I have been. The biggest accomplishment though is I have humbled myself in this journey. I have realized it is ok to be beaten, it is ok to lose, it is ok to not RX a workout, and it is ok to scale it so much you feel like a beginner. Women (Mommies too) will crush you, kids will beat you, and your friends will win; this is all ok. Choosing to come back each day, beaten, sore and humbled is what drives us to do better, work harder and be better people. This has been my greatest achievement at Ardent.
3. What are you working on now? Well I would love to squat clean and squat snatch in some fashion, so there is that but you all know I love power so we will see if I stay focused on that one.
4. What’s your favorite Ardent memory? I know all of you have seen the video of me doing my first muscle up, it was amazing, everyone freaked out and were so proud but that’s not it. That one is up there but it is not the most amazing. Doing the open with my family, watching them push, struggle and fight for every rep is my most favorite memory. Sharing that with my family/kids daily and seeing my kids push because Niki and I push. Seeing them want to be stronger, because we want to be stronger and seeing them become outstanding members of the Ardent community because we love the community so much, that is amazing!
5. What motivates you to continue at Ardent? THE COMMUNITY, you are my driving force!! KEEP IT UP ARDENT!!
6. What would you tell your pre–Ardent self if you could go back in time? I would try and let myself know that its ok to struggle, fail and be beaten. It’s ok to lean on the friends you have and will have to help you push to new limits. Also don’t be a punk, listen to the coaches, they know what they are doing, trust the process.
7. What are your favorite hobbies outside of Crossfit? Well anything outdoors… Mountain Biking, paddle boarding, kayaking, swimming, hiking, soccer (Ardent Soccer Team), running and my Family.