Matt Green

Join me, Sean O’Neill in a fascinating discussion with fitness coach Matt Green as they explore Matt’s transition from a university to a Firefighter to becoming a pivotal figure in the fitness industry. We dive into the essence of healthy fat loss, the importance of resilience shaped by early life on a farm, and how these experiences influenced Matt’s approach to fitness and coaching. Matt shares his journey of trying to break into the fire service, leading him to high-intensity training and eventually opening his gym.

The conversation covers a wide range of topics, including the importance of strength training, the role of nutrition in achieving fitness goals, and the value of having a coach or a supportive community in your fitness journey. Matt’s story is not just about physical strength but also about the strength of character, perseverance, and the impact of helping others achieve their potential.

Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast, someone looking to start your fitness journey or a professional seeking insights into effective coaching, this talk provides valuable perspectives on exercise, training, and the power of supportive relationships in achieving personal growth and success.

Transcript - A Fitness Journey: From to Firefighter to Personal Coach

Sean O’Neill: What is a healthy fat loss?

Matt Green: Healthy fat loss would tend to define as like a kilo. Sorry. A pound per week.

Sean O’Neill: Matt must think I have absolutely no brain cells left. Oh, I prefer to starve myself for three days. You’re like the checks and balances, isn’t it? I come to…..

Matt Green: Accountability. Yeah.

Sean O’Neill: I go outside and then scream.

Matt Green: How can you not understand this? Yeah. Yeah.

Sean O’Neill: I think the thing we have in common is we actually grew up on a farm.

Matt Green: Yeah.

Sean O’Neill: And I remember when I was growing up on the farm because I used to hang around with a load of the guys from the town. I thought I was so much tougher because I was resilient to the cold. I had muck on my hands, calluses that. I didn’t realize there was actually a name for that till I watched a Hollywood movie when I was about 15.

Matt Green: Segs in Liverpool, isn’t it?

Sean O’Neill: Yeah. [Crosstalk]

Matt Green: It’s a Segs in Liverpool. But I actually feel like that now helped me with something. The resilience of the cold and the resilience of getting sick probably has, over the time, lost its edge because I’ve now become officially, like a city boy.

Matt Green: Yeah.

Sean O’Neill: But we still have similar backgrounds about how…..

Matt Green: We do, but I think I go the opposite with it. So I remember Jack, who was the guy who owned the farm that I worked on, and I was. Before I started training, I was six foot two and like 70 kilos wet. So I was always kind of like the. It used to kind of grab a hold of my arm and be like, it’s a knotting cotton. So it’s like I got made to feel like I was the wimpy one on the farm rather than the, like the resilient one and everything else, we still did everything.

So like things like your hay baling, like lambing kind of things that are very strenuous, that take a lot of energy. But I think from the end of it, I felt like I was less resilient. Not like as in kind of — I think I had like more of a complex about wanting to go to the gym and everything else from that.

Sean O’Neill: Is that what actually made you go to the gym?

Matt Green: No, no, no. Like, I think it was when I started training. It was probably because….

Sean O’Neill: You were in your twenties, weren’t you, when you started training?

Matt Green: Probably. I’d always come from a sporting background, so we were compet, me and my brothers. So I’ve got two brothers and my father was our swimming coach. He wasn’t actually my swimming coach. He was the swimming coach of the local club and he was always known as, like, the tough coach.

And so we all competed at swimming. Both my brothers were very good, competitive level, and I was kind of like the guy who tried hard but didn’t really make it kind of thing. And so I was into that. We got made to do gymnastics as well. So my dad recognized the fact that my eldest brother had very bad coordination, so he made him go to gymnastics from a very early age. We had pull up bars from a climbing frame in the backyard.

So it was kind of like pull ups before having your tee kind of mentality, especially for Chris, who was kind of getting into my middle brother, who was getting into kind of like the more elite squad for swimming. Yeah. And then when I went to university, it…..

Sean O’Neill: So you’re still 70 kilos, although you could….

Matt Green: No, I wasn’t. I wasn’t even that. I’m talking, like, before. I just started training. So that’s kind of like, very early on in life. And then university, there was. Apart from rock climbing, there was no physical activity. Mostly kind of like bicep, curling pints for three years, cigarettes for three years, and then finishing university, went into laboratory works or any science job that you need to get into. You generally have to have a four year minimum of working in a lab.

So anyway, like, I do my four years, and I decide that this really isn’t for me. It’s like, it was more torturous to me than, like, working in an office because there’s no lights, it’s sterile environment. And anyway, so, like, I decide. One of my friends had got into the fire service, and it really, really appealed to me.

So I decide, okay, I’m 70 kilos, six foot two, not in cotton. I need to start going to the gym. So I said, I want to get to the fire service. I turned around to my housemate at the time, says, I want to get to the fire service. Will you come to the gym with me?

Sean O’Neill: How old were you then?

Matt Green: Oh, 20, 21. 21. So, yeah, that’ll be some background of fitness.

Sean O’Neill: And then it all went, yeah, but wrong university.

Matt Green: My parents were very kind of, like, not letting us go to the gym until we were 16. I think that was the big thing, wasn’t it? You’re not allowed in. So I think that was our generation, like, commercial gyms. We didn’t have anything at home apart from gymnastics stuff and swimming.

So, yeah, he’s said to this guy, will you kind of, like, take me to the gym? And he was really, really helpful. One of my best friends this date, and he’ll laugh at this, if he sees it, because it very quickly turned from him teaching me how to use gym machines, to me coming up with absolutely insane circuits and making him vomit in the gym within the space of about six months.

So, yeah, God bless Dave. He stopped going to the gym very quickly after that. And then I kind of like, got into the more kind of like high intensity training from kind of like age of 21. So, like CrossFit, everything else. I think CrossFit hadn’t really broken into the UK by that point. It was kind of like all still in America or it was very, very dispersed throughout the UK. And like I say, Internet, as you’ll know, wasn’t for.

Sean O’Neill: So what you’ve done since I’ve got to know you is what you do all the time is you research. You don’t just jump into something. If I ask. I have to be prepared to have ten minutes spur if I ask you a question. Yeah, because you will have researched it or have some deep understanding or knowledge before you actually jump in or attempt it….

Matt Green: Or just not talk about it at all and kind of like, I don’t know much about that subject.

Sean O’Neill: Or not get involved, but with me we have long, deep conversations. So whenever you are realized that that was going to be part of your life, you didn’t just jump in, you then gone back and start researching and becoming the researcher behind the exercise, not just doing the exercise.

Matt Green: Yeah. I wouldn’t really be able to tell you why. So either it’s a case of imposter syndrome, like always having kind of like a certain amount of feeling of deficiencies about things so you want to go and learn the most, or whether it’s just some kind of like, deep kind of need for knowledge about. If you talk about something and you’re not quite sure about something going off and research it till you truly understand it or you think you truly understand it, because you can never really.

Sean O’Neill: Yeah, because it’s unique. It’s unique. A lot of people want to go to the gym, get fit, or have a reason to join the fire service. You had all those reasons, but wanted to understand what was going to happen from physiological point of view, the biology, your interest. So you have gone and sort of created your own framework, your own understanding.

And I guess that’s probably why I became fascinated from the minute we met, hooked on why I wanted you to be my trainer, my fitness coach, my mentor, and to this day, one of the people that’s had the biggest impact on my life because there’s an insatiable appetite to understand what you’re talking about and to be able to hold conversation or be able to disregard or be able to take it on board, that’s very rare.

Matt Green: Yeah.

Sean O’Neill: You know, and for anyone listening, I don’t, I don’t think I’ve met anyone else that has, has the constant to want to keep going down the rabbit hole, to understand, take on board, or dismiss with a reasonable amount of knowledge.

So the effort you’re putting into your exercise and your fitness and your progression is also the same effort you put in when you coach someone, when you’re sitting at home and when you’re guiding family, friends, it’s just the same overall effort. And that’s the bit that I’m fascinated about and has helped sort of keep me on track.

Matt Green: Yeah.

Sean O’Neill: So whenever your journey started where you thought, I want to get fit, I want to get strong, and I want to get in the fire service, is there an amount of time that you felt that you spent at home reading that was more than the gym, or did you feel?

Matt Green: Right, okay, I could talk about this because it’s probably, it’s well over ten years, so it’s like. And the company’s closed down, so I want to talk about the fitness side of it and the kind of like, the learning side of it. So when I first kind of like, got into CrossFit side of training is pistol squats. So single leg squat, for those people who don’t know, it was kind of a good single leg strength exercise, good sort of like sign of mobility, and if you’re not that strong with your legs, something very hard to achieve without good amount of practice.

So I’m working in the lab and you get three regular breaks per day. So if you’re working in a sterile environment, and it’d be perfect for gym. So we got into work at 08:00 you’d have a break at 10:00 which would be like a sit down kind of like snack and cup of tea, and then you’d have your break at 12:00 and you’d have another break at 03:00 so if you want to build muscle and rest and recuperate, you sat down all day and eat at regular intervals. It was absolutely perfect.

And I’m 90% sure that people thought I must have had bladder disorder, because every 15 minutes I’d go to the toilets, to the disabled toilets especially, go use the handrail, do a few pistol squats assisted with a hand, come back out again, so that work. And then we’d be running from the.

Sean O’Neill: That’s what you’ve told me about time over tension.

Matt Green: Oh, yeah, yeah. It’s like, what is it? It’s Pavel’s principle of. Yeah, it’s basically repeat the same pattern over and over again and you’ll learn a lot easier. It doesn’t have to be a gym training routine. So if you want to learn how to do a push up, practice the movement of the push up rather than just the strength of the push up. And you’ll teach your body very quickly. It goes back to Olympic weightlift.

And there’s studies to show that if people think about or just practice the movement itself with zero weight or just, even just thinking about it and repeating the pattern in the heads, they will get better at the pattern.

Sean O’Neill: So you’re back in the lab and you’re incorporating what sounds really simple five times a day. Practice the technique, practice your strength, utilize your time, go and eat, do your work.

Matt Green: And then you go back to the other side of it, which is the learning side of it. And again, this is going to either make me sound really obsessed or really lazy at the job that I didn’t enjoy. Obsessed, yeah, obsessed, yeah, we’ll go with that. So we were running like electronic diabetes tests and this test would take exactly twelve minutes to test. So what you do in twelve minutes to look busy is you open up a webpage and you go and kind of like nothing that kind of like looks obnoxious, something that’s got scientific information on it. We had access to journal stores, everything else.

So you can go and check out scientific information and look like you’re doing work regularly. And because I had a biology degree, all of that makes a lot of sense to you. So, yeah, it’s like using your time effectively for your own means, but not very effectively for the job that you’re supposed to be doing at the time, which was basically pipettes, run a test, write down the results.

Sean O’Neill: So we don’t recommend that for everyone to do, but at the same time.

Matt Green: Well, I think the recommendation there is do something that you love…..

Sean O’Neill: Be useful.

Matt Green: Yeah, yeah. And if you can’t do the thing that you love, try and do the thing that you love in the time that you have to be able to progress you towards doing the thing that you love, which is what I tell myself, whereas now I’m very lucky in the fact that I do a job that I absolutely love and then I have to train to kind of be active for that role.

Sean O’Neill: But you didn’t. So when you, it took you over a decade?

Matt Green: Yeah, eleven years to get into. So I first applied 2009 and then in Merseyside they had negative recruitments. So again, for a few years, that was when I got given a really good opportunity by a good friend of mine to kind of like run a space for strength and conditioning for him. So did that for a few years and I quit my job working in the lab to do that full time. So I became full, fully self-employed.

And then, yeah, so I think it was 2014 they reopened it again. Don’t quote me on the year and prove really good. Friend of ours got in, then fire service.

Sean O’Neill: Reopened the fire service.

Matt Green: Yeah, and so I didn’t again. And so anyway, like, you look for a next opportunity. The next opportunity that came up for me was working in Dubai. So I worked in Dubai for about a year and a half and then got back and was like, I think I’ve. I think there was a couple of points where I’d applied for all the fire services in between as well, like, because my parents are from Lancashire, so I applied for Lancashire. My partner’s parents are from Yorkshire, so I applied for Yorkshire. Didn’t get into either of those.

And then I kind of had enough by the time I got back to Dubai and thought, okay, we’ll hit it really hard with the gym. Like, take everything that I’ve learned from running a gym in Dubai, bring it back to Liverpool again. And then an opportunity came up to reapply for the fire service and Prue turns around to him and says, look, you should try one more time. I was like, I don’t know if I’ve got it in me to be rejected one more time. And so did. Got through, passed, got into the fire service and the rest is history.

Sean O’Neill: There’s been a theme around this table and it’s been that never give up.

Matt Green: No.

Sean O’Neill: Everyone who has achieved something and the stories has been told has been people that said, never give up. I think we spoke recently about, you’ve set challenges for me in the past and one of your favorite guys always says, quit tomorrow.

Matt Green: Quit tomorrow. Yeah. So, Dan, John, for people that know, big inspiration, especially when I first started training and kind of following blogs online, so like mid two thousands. And obviously there wasn’t kind of like the YouTube sensation that we have now. So picking up information was picking up information from blog sites. So people just putting a post-up or putting an article, a written article. And he always came across as ridiculously positive in terms of, like, you want to do this because I enjoy it, not because this is going to get you kind of like abs in six days kind of thing. It’s like this is kind of like a really fun thing to do.

And for me that was kind of like when I first got into training and got into coaching, it was more about kind of the involvement of people who don’t really want to do high intensity exercise. But how can you make high intensity exercise like fun for the whole group of people that are doing it?

Sean O’Neill: But do I often say that I’m a really lazy person. However, I’m driven because I genuinely, to this day, don’t enjoy exercise, although I do turn up every day. When you say, Sean, okay, I need prompted sometimes, but I do turn up and I do do it. And the enjoyment I get from, and I’d like to define training and exercise for the people that maybe are unsure, especially your definition of it is the enjoyment I get is that I get to spend an hour or two with you picking up knowledge and information.

But as for the actual part of the exercise and the blood, sweat and tears that goes into that, I think people feel that if they’re there, they should enjoy it. I still don’t enjoy it. And if I thought that I would never feel that pain again, I’d probably be happy. However, I’d end up looking in the mirror. There’s a really, really good podcast about the exercise pill on YouTube. It’s a TED talk. Have you seen it?

Matt Green: I haven’t. You’ll have to send it.

Sean O’Neill: Honestly. I recommend everyone watches this. And it says, hands up, who would take a pill if it made you good looking?

Matt Green: I’ve heard the question. I haven’t heard where it’s from, though.

Sean O’Neill: So if it made you good looking.

Matt Green: Yeah.

Sean O’Neill: More attractive to the opposite sex, helped you live longer and basically listed out this ten different things that just made you into like the perfect, happy human being. And at the end of it he says, well, there is one of those pills, it’s called exercise. That’s the reason, exercise, not because it feels good.

And I think there’s a misconception of how people say do what you enjoy because there’s a lot of people out there that just don’t exercise because they don’t enjoy it. But I’m in that category. I just have found a way around it, knowing that the alternative isn’t worth even considering. But do you actually enjoy coaching and helping other people?

Matt Green: Oh, massively, yeah.

Sean O’Neill: But do you also enjoy the exercise?

Matt Green: Right, so….

Sean O’Neill: Because you’ve never complained to me, apart from telling me your legs are sore today and you need to you’re tired, which is always a byproduct of a hard, hard workout.

Matt Green: I am probably exactly the same as 90% of people out there where you’re there thinking, okay, is I have to go to the gym today. Yep. And then immediately, if you’re gonna. Don’t think I have to go to the gym. I get to go to the gym today. And at some point you’ll procrastinate over going to the gym, and eventually you’ll get there and you’ll be very satisfied about the fact that you did it.

And for me, to be honest, is the times that I find hardest going to the gym is when I know I have to hit a certain, like, percentage or a certain number of reps, and it’s less the enjoyment and more the stress about the fact that, am I going to be capable of that on today? On any given day? And you always are.

But I like the, you know, the 80-20 rule, so. 80-20 rule applies to a h*** of a lot of things. Mostly we apply it to nutrition. So 80% of your diet should be really good. 20% of it. Don’t worry too much about. I’d apply the same thing to exercising. 80% of your sessions aren’t really going to be that enjoyable. You’re going to get them done. You’re going to be very satisfied afterwards that you’ve got them done. But going into them, they might be kind of like a little bit tough, mentally challenging.

Sean O’Neill: 99% of mine are tough.

Matt Green: Yeah, it’s fine. But that 1% of times that you’re going in and you know this is gonna be. You’ve had them because I’ve heard you talking about them before. And it literally starts is, I’m gonna have a great session today. So he does. And it is probably two out of ten.

Sean O’Neill: Because you’ve put a target on the board that I’ve been trying to reach for eight or twelve.

Matt Green: So most of the times it’s like, I just want you to hit five reps today. Yeah. It’s like, anything more than five, it’s absolutely fantastic. Yeah. And we move on from there and then it’s like, it’ll be that case of. Right, today’s a big day, and if you tell, tell Sean, like, a couple of days in advance. Shaun loves a challenge, and if you make it a challenge, he will, like, he’ll do about 20 times more than you thought he was actually capable of. So he’s — You can’t do it all the time, but it’ll be like we had it the other day, we decided we’re going to go do a bit of cold water therapy. And I was like, right, because of the hip issues that we have, we’ll go for a walk with the Kettlebell and we’ll just do. On our way to kind of like Crosby Marine.

Sean O’Neill: Yeah. For anyone that doesn’t know, we walked a mile. But Matt agreed to a cold water dip as long as I carried a 20 kilo kettlebell.

Matt Green: It was supposed to be a 16 kilo kettlebell, though. I picked up the wrong size.

Sean O’Neill: Accidentally made me carry heavy.

Matt Green: Yeah. So prompt me again. What we were saying is…..

Sean O’Neill: Enjoyment.

Matt Green: Oh, enjoyment. So he’s like, turns around to Shaun about challenge and we say, yeah, take this 20 kilo Kettlebell is, if you say, I don’t think you can do it, he will 100% prove you wrong. If you don’t say, I don’t think you could do it, he won’t do it.

Sean O’Neill: Yeah, you think you can do it?

Matt Green: If I hadn’t said that to him, it would have been a case of, okay, Matt, halfway through, could you take this kettlebell from.

Sean O’Neill: Yeah, won’t do anything.

Matt Green: It was no longer a challenge. So it’s challenge mentality is so useful and it’s kind of.

Sean O’Neill: But you also have taught me that not every day in the gym needs to be to max effort. No, you’ve taught me about your nervous system, the amount of things you’ve taught me. I could spend days talking about it.

But what I get asked regularly is by people the difference and your definition of training and exercise and what’s the purpose of it. We did talk about it earlier. Can you explain what you think the difference, what is the difference between training and just exercise?

Matt Green: We’re probably going over nothing new here. It’s like, not in reinventing the wheel, but we define exercise as being just a routine that you’re doing to maintain health. Yeah, sounds kind of fairly broad spectrum, but we define training as a system of interlinking exercise routines that allow for a progression. And it’s that progression that kind of, like we’re really looking for, rather than, let’s say it’s just a circuit.

Sean O’Neill: So it’s measurable.

Matt Green: It’s measurable, yeah. So basically, or it’s linked together. So most people, we’re going to go do a circuit class. Fantastically enjoyable. Getting good social interaction. I don’t really know what weights I was using, I don’t know how many repetitions I was doing. Like I say, I don’t know how long I was going for.

And then the next time I do it, it could be completely different or it could be exactly the same, but I’ve not taken a recording from it and I don’t have a metric of how I’ve improved upon it. Yeah, doesn’t mean we’re not getting fitter, like I say, but we just don’t know how we’re not getting fitter. Whereas training would be is, let’s say, if it’s regarding because obviously I’m not a good endurance coach, it’d be more towards strength training or kind of hypertrophy is.

We know for a fact that by four weeks’ time I want you to be hitting three or more repetitions at a certain weight to show that we have made improvements upon your program. And it’s those linking of those sessions leading to the testing that we’d call training rather than circuit might not do it for a few weeks, circuit, completely different, so on and so forth. You could obviously make that circuit completely a training program. And if you do circuit training, absolutely fantastic.

If you wanted to make it into a training program, you could turn around and say, okay, well, let’s say it’s 30 seconds of work, 30 seconds of rest, and then I know for a fact I can do in that 30 seconds I can do eight burpees. Yep. And then all of a sudden next time I might try and aim for nine burpees and still have enough recovery to do it in the three rounds that you’re doing it in. And that would be making somebody else’s circuit a training program for you.

Sean O’Neill: You mentioned Dan John before and you reference him a lot with me. Is that where you go? For most of your information?

Matt Green: No, God, no. I tend to like Dan John more just for kind of like his. If you’ve read any of his books, just for his kind of like way of talking about things, his systems. So there’s a really good book for any coaches out there probably read. It is intervention, which is just like how to kind of like approach.

Working with the client will be the best way. And kind of like what procedures you put in place to help that person reach their goals. Other ones is just him talking about his life with sort of like his life in training or his life in coaching. And it’s just really well written and kind of like you can relate to it a hell of a lot as an average person kind of thing, not as an average coach.

Sean O’Neill: What I’ve — We’ve got two things in common. We constantly worry, think and try and make our mums better.

Matt Green: Yeah, yeah.

Sean O’Neill: That is a topic, a conversation that has lasted for hours. But one thing that I have been bringing into my life is the value of mobility and the value of muscle mass or strength. Because there’s the hydrophobic. Hydroprophy. How do you spell it? How do you say it again?

Matt Green: Hypertrophy.

Sean O’Neill: Hydrophobic. And the strength trainer.

Matt Green: Yep.

Sean O’Neill: A lot of people think that building big muscles is maybe the best way forward. And you have taught me the value of to get strong, you have to lift heavy. The more that I have spent time thinking about my mom and trying to help her stay strong as she gets older, the more I’ve also reflected that I’m going to be there someday and I need to be aware that as I’ve now hit over 40, I start to lose my muscle quicker than I would have as I get younger.

Is there any tips, advice where you can give people as they get older on how to keep muscle or keep fitness and why they should actually do it?

Matt Green: Right. Okay, so first one is your own parents aren’t going to listen to you, so it’s going to have to be. We know this. Like, anybody who’s kind of like your parents will always be the teachers. I’m not saying you’re up on them, but if you do have a parent who you are worried about or you want to get them kind of more mobile, more kind of active, more physically strong as they kind of like go into their frailty years. We’re talking about it earlier. Is there some horrible statistics about when somebody has fractured a hip, how long their expected life span is following that point?

So as if you are kind of like getting to that point where you worried about your parents, get them professional help, like I say, so, personal trainer, sort of like somebody who’s kind of experienced at it, not because you don’t do it wrong, but because they’re just not going to listen to you? It’s, I’m not saying they’re not, but most cases where, like myself, my partner, yourself, you will try and give them advice, it’s just going to go in one ear, straight out.

Sean O’Neill: So we don’t listen to our parents and they don’t listen to us.

Matt Green: Oh, I don’t know. I listen to my dad an awful lot. And like I say, some of my best anecdotes have come from my father. However, there is one person that I know who’s in kind of like probably a bit younger than us, but his parents were getting on for in their sixties and his mum’s just got her first, kind of like controlled lower on a pull up.

And we were absolutely amazed. Not because she got it, because we know plenty of women in the sixties that have got pull ups over the years, but the fact that he’d managed to get his mum, oh, by his himself, to get to the point where he made her enthusiastic to do these pull ups. So absolutely brilliant.

So, yeah, is the importance of kind of like, maintaining muscle mass as you’re getting older? Not necessarily a case of, like, gaining it, gaining as you’re getting older? As we talked about, it’s going to be very, very difficult. But for us, if you’re an active person already and maintaining, it’s going to be very, very important.

If you’re not, if you’re kind of like, in the same age, back as us, between your forties and your fifties, is make sure that you are now setting yourself up for future so we can gain as much mass, muscle mass as we can in those years, that we can maintain them as we’re getting older and older and older. So the biggest piece of advice is start now, start yesterday.

Sean O’Neill: That’s been my huge thing. We go four times a year, three times a year. We’ve had our muscle mass scanned, our Dexa scan done, where we’ve checked our muscle mass, and I now know that I have to keep over 30 kilos of muscle on my frame for as long as possible.

Matt Green: What’s amazing is we get told, like, as you get older, it gets harder and harder to put on muscle. And obviously, like, for me is I’m getting close to 40 now. And I was so happy that I’d managed to put on five kilos of muscle in a six month period. It was a hell of a lot of efforts. And like I say, you managed to put on, like, a kilo on consistently of muscle every single year since starting.

And we get into that bracket where they’re telling us, like, it’s harder to put on muscle, but we’re still managing it. Yeah, it’s like I say, I found the Dexter scans have been so useful. There’s other ways of kind of like testing your body fat, obviously, but just having that knowledge that you are still managing to put on those muscle in our, what could we call these years?

Sean O’Neill: The enjoyable years?

Matt Green: Enjoyable years, yeah. Where you’ve got a little bit of reflection, but we can still kind of, like, look forward to a good number of years training strong as well.

Sean O’Neill: We’ve been like lab rats in the past, haven’t we? I got tested.

Matt Green: Very willing lab rats.

Sean O’Neill: Yeah, very willing labs. Happiest ones to turn up, but, yeah. So it scanned your bone density, your muscle density, your visceral fat.

Matt Green: Visceral fat.

Sean O’Neill: Yeah, visceral fat.

Matt Green: So that’s fat. Fat. Fat held around your organs, which is, we tend to consider is like the most unhealthy of what.

Sean O’Neill: I don’t get jealous, and I love the fact that you’re much stronger and fitter than me, so even when we do a training session, you’re there to help me out. But whenever your visceral fat went down to 0.3%. 5. Yeah, I was kind of slightly jealous on that one. So you have almost zero internal fat in your body. It might have gone up since you’ve done a strength.

Matt Green: It did. Sorry, just, just to confirm this, we did a crazy experiment. We worked with Peet’s, we worked with the John Walls University. We got dissuaded from doing kind of like the velocity diet, saying it’s not. Not that it’s not going to work, it’s going to be very unhealthy for you. We did it anyway. And we talked. The results were brilliant, weren’t they?

So basically we’ve managed to drop a lot of weight without losing any muscle mass. And I think there was a certain amount of muscle mass, not much, but certain amount of muscle mass that was gained. And again….

Sean O’Neill: Yeah, that program that we did, and again, it’s….

Matt Green: Training was horrible.

Sean O’Neill: It shows how much you actually care about helping others. Because I always — When I say struggle with my weight, I always talk about my weight and trying to get lean is not easy for me. So you developed a program where we would — I would take 1800 calories a day, maintain my protein intake. Trying to get this right now, because I should know exactly what I did. Four shakes a day protein intake.

Sean O’Neill: Healthy fats.

Matt Green: Healthy fats supplement regime as well prepared by Pete’s.

Sean O’Neill: Supplement regime. For anyone that doesn’t know, Pete Williams is a functional health advisor that I’ve been working with for years. And the results was that I dropped four kilos in four weeks, but maintained my, my muscle mass. As someone who’s in their early forties, I didn’t realize how great of achievement that was on the back of a very sort of strict training program that I couldn’t over train, which was shocking. I wasn’t allowed to push myself to the limit because I hadn’t, in effect, got the energy.

Matt Green: Well, I think the simple principle that we’ve applied for years, it’s not just me, it’s kind of like all the people around me as well. I don’t know whether we’ve kind of decided this together or it’s kind of like a bit of influence from one of us. But the big thing is, when you’re losing weights, especially if you’ve been training for a good number of years, don’t try and improve your fitness that much.

So let’s say, for example, is I’m not going to pick up like an incredibly low calorie diet and then all of a sudden decide that I want to PB in my deadlift six weeks later. At the end of this, this program, you may manage it, your willpower might get you through, but remember that your body is going to recover from each session. Your body’s going to be using an awful lot of calories, not just for your muscles, but also like, if it’s a heavy training regime involving Olympic weightlifting or powerlifting, is you’re going to find that your central nervous system requires a hell of a lot of energy to recuperate.

So if you’re digging yourself into that stress, that cortisol hole, the likelihood is that you’re going to find that you get ill, you kind of like, get tendon problems and everything else, and you reach over training a hell of a lot quicker.

Sean O’Neill: So that’s just not giving your body enough time to recover between sessions. Is that true? Calorie intake rest?

Matt Green: All of the above.

Sean O’Neill: All of the above, yeah, exactly.

Matt Green: So he’s like, it’s, it’s not a case of like, you, it’s perfect science. It’s just kind of like common sense put onto it is separate those two things is fat loss. When we’re talking about fat loss, we’re talking about fairly rapid fat loss, like we were talking about, and then like, performance training.

Sean O’Neill: So what is a healthy fat loss?

Matt Green: Healthy fat loss we tend to define as like a keen, oh, sorry, a pound per week.

Sean O’Neill: So half a kilo.

Matt Green: So we were going quite a little bit more than that. Yeah. So when we’re talking about drastic weight loss, so most people, if we give them maintenance calories and then we get them exercising, is they’re going to find some form of weight loss. And if we start to reduce the calories a little bit from their maintenance, they should be able to maintain.

So we’re talking like maintenance calories -200 for most people, they’ll start to see a nice, healthy weight loss over time that’s sustainable. It doesn’t lead to them over training as long as they’re not doing anything crazy. Unfortunately, we love to try and beat the system. So we like to kind of like do ridiculously low calorie.

Sean O’Neill: No, I prefer to starve myself for three days.

Matt Green: Yeah. Which we love a challenge, don’t we?

Sean O’Neill: We’ve had this conversation where I did a 72 hours fast and on the second day you did ask me, have I eaten yet? And I said no. And you’re like, oh, we needed like, take it easy on the train. Third day, have you eaten yet? No. And then actually ended up on another time doing a hundred hour fast. Four days and 4 hours. Still did some training in the morning, but I did notice that by the fourth day, my training needed to be tapered back a lot because I wasn’t. But, yeah, for me it’s. And there’s probably lots of people out there, it’s kind of all or nothing. But the all or nothing approach isn’t something that can be sustained for a period of time.

Matt Green: We’ve both done fasting over the few years for different reasons, haven’t we?

Sean O’Neill: Yeah. You’re like my check. You’re like the checks and balances, isn’t it? I come to you accountability, I come to you with an idea and then you will break it down and ask me a series of questions, which is, what’s the reason? Why do you want to do it always?

Matt Green: What’s the reason? Isn’t it?

Sean O’Neill: What results do I think I’m going to achieve from it? And what’s quite interesting is fasting for me has given me a sense of, I can control my food intake, but I do realize that too often or too prolonged, all of the muscle that I’ve been building, that was it.

Matt Green: Yeah, we did the tests, didn’t we?

Sean O’Neill: I lost. There was the one month. And to be fair, thankfully what we do is measurable because I did a one day, one meal a day for a month and I trained. I was training three, four days a week at that stage, maybe even five, minimum four, because we were doing lots of training and I lost four kilos, but I lost a kilo of muscle in one month. And…..

Matt Green: You shoot yourself in the foot a little bit, don’t you? Like? Yeah.

Sean O’Neill: But I needed to see that. I can go on an Instagram story now and follow these longevity experts and I can get told all of these things, but for me, and I’m sure there’s so many people like me who need to experience that for themselves. The difference now, as I’ve got older, I am. What I do is then measured. And when it’s measured, it gives me accurate results. It doesn’t leave it subjective because I would have thought that I’d lost four kilos in a month and kept fit. But really I lost three kilos and I lost a kilo of muscle.

The next time around, you said to me, of which we just went over, is, well, do you want to do it properly? And that was restricted calories. Probably had the same amount of calories, broke it up during the day, had my protein intake and trained responsibly. And I ended up basically losing the fat and keeping my muscle.

Matt Green: And I think one of the biggest things that I think a lot of people will have kind of, like, resounding in them, is the reason that we went with that shake diet in the first place was because it’s very hard for you, with your lifestyle, to track calories. Yep. So he’s like, you have, you’re a very busy person. A lot of your lifestyle revolves around kind of like, meetings with people. And a lot of those meetings, fasting as well, or in restaurants.

Well, you’ll have to tell the story about what happened to your meetings when you were doing the shake diet or the fasting diet. And you lose friends. It’s amazing how much of your interaction.

Sean O’Neill: Nobody wanted to meet me.

Matt Green: No.

Sean O’Neill: I went. Businesses, I went. I remember them. Four days I sat. It was four, probably because I chickened out after a hundred hours. But I decided I would do a three day fast, and I felt good after the three days. So I’d do four days, but each night I was in restaurants because I had planned my meetings and I’d say, oh, I’ll have a sparkling water. And you could see the upset around the table.

And probably that’s what I’d be upset if. I go for dinner with someone. No matter, you know, whatever you’re talking business about, friends, we meet up because we just. We like to share food and stories together. And that’s me. So I’m sitting, having a sparkling water. And it probably empowered me because I could see around the table, everybody was so upset that I wasn’t eating.

Matt Green: Why do you think they’re upset?

Sean O’Neill: I don’t know. But ultimately.

Sean O’Neill: Because it’s a really common thing, isn’t it? It’s like we’ll all go out and you’ll decide you’re not drinking for a while.

Sean O’Neill: People get upset when you’re not drinking, but whenever you’re not drinking and you’re not eating, they kind of.

Matt Green: We both have the same tactic, don’t we? If you’re going out, you’re not drinking, you get the glass of kind of like either sparkling water and say it’s a vodka and lemonade, and then get the rounds in.

Sean O’Neill: I guess two things happened to me with that. It gave me the empowerment to say, well, if everyone’s so upset or finds it strange, I’m gonna keep doing this. And, well, I did it both with the drinking for quite a number of months. Didn’t go into years, but it went into a number of months. But I did find through that process, you know, you learn a lot about yourself and the importance of my social side, my food, my meetings. And I have created my whole life around that.

So for me to measure my food, as you said, it’s almost impossible. So we had to do something strict, something that couldn’t be broken, something that couldn’t be amended or adjusted or asked for extra vegetables, but it worked. And the message, I think, that I say time and time again to people, and you’ve taught me, is that we’re in a world now where there’s so much information, but usually the answer is reasonably simple.

Matt Green: Yeah.

Sean O’Neill: And whether you can find your way through all of that information and find the simple answer yourself or find someone like yourself, that can be the shoulder belief. Streamline it. Someone who you can speak to about it. Someone like who — When I say, I’m Matt, I don’t know if I can do this, you say, yeah, quit tomorrow. You’re not quitting today, but quit tomorrow, because tomorrow’s a new day. And then you wake up with a new.

Matt Green: Everything improves after sleep. If you want to give up, you have a sleep. You don’t want to give up anymore. But we just had an exact example of it when we sat at the restaurant with one of your friends you haven’t seen for a long time. He comes up and he says, Sean, you’re looking fantastic.

Sean O’Neill: You couldn’t imagine what just happened before.

Matt Green: Yeah, exactly. And he’s. But what I was getting at is, so the interesting thing for me is he says, you’re looking fantastic, Sean. You says, oh, well, you should really talk to Matt. Thank you. Should talk to Matt. And he says, well, I was doing this thing, and it doesn’t matter what he was doing. He made it sound like it was working for him. But then somebody told me that it wouldn’t work.

And this is something that is so common with human interactions when it comes to training and nutrition, that you take the advice off. I want to deviate for a little bit, and I’ll come back to it. Back pain. If you go into your work, you go into your office, you go into your group of friends, and you say, I’ve got back pain.

If you do it in a group, the ten people around you will give you ten reasons why you have back pain. If you do it individually, people will give you ten reasons why you have back pain, and they will all be different, but they will all tell you what you should do about it, and it will come from their circumstances, and they will make it so that it’s very hard for you to, to choose an option that works. And they will all be very because they want to help. They’re very kind of like nice people. They want to see the best for you, but they’ll come out with different answers and it’ll just leave you very confused. And it’s exactly the same with nutrition. So he comes up to us and he says, I was doing this thing.

Sean O’Neill: He was so confused today. He gave us what he was doing was right and then told us why it wasn’t right. And then at the end of it said, I need your number.

Matt Green: And every single one of those people was probably right from their perspective.

Sean O’Neill: Yeah.

Matt Green: Yeah. Just. And they wanted the right destination for him, but he was then left where he wasn’t even doing the thing that he was doing originally because he’d been told by that many people that something else was better. The best thing that you can do is the thing that you decide and you stick to. So probably all those things that that guy was told that he would do to need to help him to lose weight would have got him to the same destination.

Sean O’Neill: Just the answer would be, just keep it simple and choose, choose, add direction.

Matt Green: As long as it’ll work. It’ll work. There’s very few things. So it’s a very big Instagram thing at the moment, and it’s 100% true. There’s a lot of ifs or buts about it. When you come in from a more technical perspective, and you probably are that guy’s friends that are telling me if you do it is where it’s just about energy balance. So if you’re reducing the amount of calories that you’re taking compared to what you’re burning, that you’re going to gain weight.

If you take in. Sorry. If you take in more calories than you’re burning, you’re going to gain weight. If you burn more calories than you take in, you’re going to lose weight. The problem is, that sounds so simple, but 2000 calories for me is different to 2000 calories for you. Yeah. So it’s like we are completely hormonally, sort of like emotionally, psychologically, like I say, our gut biomes are different. Like, so many factors that are involved in how you digest food and how you burn calories naturally are going to be different than what I do. But you go back to it. The principle that you talked about, energy balance is 100% true. You just need to find out what your energy balance is.

So when we use calories as a marker, they’re fantastic. But remember, your calories a, we need to give people a tool so that they can understand what calorie is or a method of measurements that works for that individual. And then we need to get them eating the right amount that will learn where their energy balance is. And that’s not an easy process. And I find by over simplifying it for people by saying it’s just about energy balance is very, very condescending towards people because they make it sound like it’s, duh, it’s obvious. It’s not obvious. It’s a very difficult thing for people who might be very scared.

Yeah, it’s like, if you’ve been told, like a lot of people that we try and help lose weight are people who need to lose weight fairly rapidly to improve their health. Yep. You might have. People have come from a background of disordered eating, like I say, and you’re gonna have to approach those completely different. If I, and I’ve had it before, where we talk to somebody about calories who’s had eating disorders, and they will switch off, they will literally….

Sean O’Neill: We know somebody very, very close to us.

Matt Green: Yeah, exactly.

Sean O’Neill: I know a few people and that took years to.

Matt Green: Yeah, and I know some people that kind of, like, it sends them the opposite way, like I say, is you can derail them. So by kind of not taking into account the individuality of it and trying to make it sound so simple, you’re not talking to the individuals, you’re just making genericisms that make you sound really clever about saying something so simple, but somebody else’s problems sound.

Sean O’Neill: So the word is help.

Matt Green: Yeah, exactly.

Sean O’Neill: Because if you have, you’ve spent time. I’m quite, you know, I’m reasonably knowledgeable and I’m very interested in health, well-being, fitness and. But there’s not one time that you’ve said you’ve got extremely frustrated and say, ah, bloody hell, Sean, here you go again. I told you that three weeks ago. I’m had enough. See you later. I’m on to the next person you’ve sat, you’ve listened to me.

Matt Green: Yeah.

Sean O’Neill: And I often say, now, Matt, I know you’ve told me before. Can you. And you look at me and you don’t say. You go, yes. And you go out on your whiteboard.

Matt Green: And you start, I love a whiteboard.

Sean O’Neill: By the way, and you start spelling it. And sometimes I think I, Matt must think I have absolutely no. No brain cells left, because I ask you the same question.

Matt Green: Yeah.

Sean O’Neill: But you are there to guide, help, and support unconditionally. There’s a lot of people that don’t have that, and I think that is okay. I’ve encompassed that in my whole life, fitness, health, business, and all parts of my life. I’ve encompassed people that are willing to sit there and listen and repeat and repeat and repeat in a non-judgmental and in a very individual way to help me be the best version of what I can be. And definitely that’s my message to people, is it’s really hard to do it on your own.

Matt Green: Yeah. That could apply to belief. You could say that about kind of like, the patience when it comes to training. If I turn around to you and say, Sean, I’ve got this business issue, because my business knowledge is terrible. Sean knows this, is if I kind of, like, come to you and have a problem with it, he’s like, you know, the answer for you is very simple, but for most people is. And you can apply money in exactly the same way that you can apply your health. And if I turn around and say, well, how has this person got themselves so deep in debt? Yeah, it’s like, well, like I say, it could be very emotional for them.

Sean O’Neill: So deep in calories.

Matt Green: Exactly. And it’s. How is this person so obese? And you might find is like, habits aren’t kind of like, it’s not. They’re not transferable. That’s the bigger thing. So is you might have somebody who is very good at money, who has terrible personal habits, and I might have somebody who goes to the gym and they have a fantastic body, but they’re in such deep debt and deep credits. Like I say that, like I say, how the hell they’re surviving and affording to go to the gym, we don’t know.

Yeah, it is like those things are completely transferable. So, sorry. Not completely transferable. So when I come to you, you’re very patient with kind of like the, oh, my God, I’m stuck here, like, in terms of a business. And it might seem very simple to you, but the advice that you give is very patient and very kind of at my level.

Sean O’Neill: I go outside and then scream and go off.

Matt Green: How can you not understand this?

Sean O’Neill: Yeah. And the more I look back at my journey and people think I’m being modest, but I genuinely don’t know what I’m good at, apart from taking risk with my money, being extremely patient when people don’t do what they say as. As fast as they actually say they will do it, which is the same in training, the same in diet.

So, yeah, there’s so many. It’s just like the shoes on the other foot. When I go to you with my training, I do know that I — Okay, I’m at a reasonably good level compared to maybe a lot out there, but I do understand that when I’m sitting in the other side and I am the. The Matt green in my world, that I just have to be patient, and I have to realize that I just have to go on the journey with them.

But the point of that is I actually realized that my business, my health, all of my life is because I’ve got people around me that have actually helped me get there. I am actually not any good at anything without, you know, people, possibly people. I seem to get people on my side, but I, you know, I genuinely, when I talk about it, I am lazy. I could stay in bed all day. When I go on holiday, I’m the most laziest person. I love a drink. You have to be sensitive with it.

But, you know, I could go down the route of having a drink problem. Pete. Pete described me when he took my genetic test. Took my genetic test that he says, Sean, you fit the typical example of someone who loves the sex, drugs, rock and roll lifestyle. Before he spoke to me, he thought I was possibly going to be obese, and I fit the whole description of somebody that shouldn’t be here.

Matt Green: So just for the camera, I’ll explain this one. So I apologize to Pete if I get this wrong, but when Shaun did his genetic testing, he came up with a genetic phenotype that he basically almost absorbs dopamine too fast.

Sean O’Neill: Nobody wants it, right?

Matt Green: No. So he’s like, is the same sort of, like, genetic test could kind of, like, show you that a person like Shawn could very easily become a drug addict, like, looking for that next fix all the time. Or they could be very high end business person. Cause you’re getting your dopamine fixes from kind of, like, successfully achieving something. And it’s fantastic, isn’t it? Because it’s like, with just that realization. You’ve realized getting dopamine from things like cold water therapy. That keeps your dopamine for a lot higher. Like spending time, more time abroad.

So, like, in sunny destinations, which is something you found out by yourself before having the genetic testing. Because every year, Shaun would go away in December or January, somewhere sunny just to avoid what we thought I was. Like, seasonal effects. Sad. Like low vitamin D or anything else.

Sean O’Neill: Yeah. That can go down the rabbit hole of so much that I’ve learned about myself, but it becomes nearly a theme that people don’t really believe. But I genuinely could end up having nothing if I hadn’t got all the people around me were there to support. Help. Okay, I must give some support and help back, or it’s never a one way street. But there’s not one thing that I can say that I have really achieved or done on my own without somebody else, you know, helping me along the way.

Matt Green: But you’re very good at putting yourself into situations where you can aid other people mutually, or that you are willing to compensate somebody for their time, like, properly for utilizing their time and not getting anything in return, or they’re not getting anything returned.

Sean O’Neill: Yeah, I’ll give my time or money. Actually, I don’t see any value with money is transactional, and my time, you could argue, is valuable, but at the same time, it’s no more valuable than anyone else’s time.

So if I feel you’re somebody that can add value to my life, and vice versa, my time is yours. How I’ve kind of scaled my business is that I’ve scaled the people around me that I can help and they can help me. And we’ve had common interests, a common goal, and we have understood each other’s value. And when I met you, you were doing that actually en masse when I started training with you in 2013.

Matt Green: 2013, yeah.

Sean O’Neill: So eleven years, you had managed to bring the personal approach to over 100 members where you could individually help them people, but then they all had the tools to train and help and interweave and work together to create some really amazing successes.

Matt Green: Yeah.

Sean O’Neill: And it wasn’t always the fittest people. I saw the smile on your face whenever there was a few older or people with disabilities had turned up, which is amazing for them to walk through the door. Cause your Jim….

Matt Green: It must be very intimidating for anybody who’s got overweight or they put in a situation where it’s not comfortable for them to be in a gym scenario, and then you’re coming in and there’s everybody from people doing kind of like muscle ups over there to lifting obnoxious weights over the head over there, dropping weights from overhead, and then to stick with it. I’ve had stories of, I had a really, really interesting person who….

Sean O’Neill: So just to bring it into context for anyone listening, because some of these stories are, you know, and this is why we’re good friends and this is why, you know, you have no choice, but you have to train me forever. That your gym was a shed with a few ropes hanging from the ceiling and pull up bars, and it just was not glamorous at all.

Matt Green: No.

Sean O’Neill: And when I walked in, I thought, bloody hell, I’ve either reached the wrong place or the right place.

Matt Green: Remember what sort of month it was when you came in? It was like in winter.

Sean O’Neill: No, it was horrible because. No, actually it wasn’t. It was February. It was March. Okay, but the training session was 05:00 a.m. In the morning because you were so busy that you had to nearly queue up to get into your classes.

Matt Green: Yeah.

Sean O’Neill: But you had managed to bring something that is extremely personal to a huge number of people, but then you also spent time incorporating the sort of the, what would be the weaker or they’re more vulnerable. To be able to train with people that were more skilled, and you brought a fun element of, there was an educational basis of why you’re doing this. People just couldn’t turn up and exercise. People came to learn.

Matt Green: I’m going through so many stories, but.

Sean O’Neill: I just need it. I need to build the picture because it’s an incredibly unique place that I just got hooked on. So you were able to have a group of people of all skill levels that had no ego, that were able to somehow support, help and bring a community together. That, to me, was just addictive. I just completely get hooked on the fact that there’s this room full of people that should never be together training. If you were to look at any sort of traditional way of understanding what exercise or training is about, they’re all in a room supporting each other.

The weakest one or the one that was more vulnerable got the biggest support, and ultimately everybody walked off on such a high. And I just thought that was. That’s the way sort of life should be. And not saying that I was definitely at all elements of my business life in that order, but it’s the way. It’s sort of something that I looked at and wanted to resemble in my life as much as I could, although I was already on that path.

But there’s a few stories that you’ve told me in the past and you haven’t told me. Anything you brush over about the successes, about the Olympian, Olympic athletes that you train or the people that are going to train in world competitions, but the stories that really you come back to is what probably makes you ‘YOU’, and so many people around the country are delighted to be your friend, is the stories of the vulnerable or the people that need help, that have walked through the door and you’ve dropped the fit person over there isn’t as important as the person that’s vulnerable in needs. And that’s a very unique quality to be able to, you know, inside you. I don’t think you can teach that. That’s something that you inside want to help the person be the best version of them.

Matt Green: I don’t think that’s a personal characteristic. I think that’s just, that’s a characteristic of a good coach in knowing the fact that if I’ve got somebody who’s a competent athlete, the definition of a competent athlete from a coach, from a coaching perspective, so the definition of a competent versus a novice athlete is the actual time that you have to put into them. So a novice athlete is going to need nurturing. They’re going to need kind of constant form updates, whereas the elite athlete or the competent athlete is going to need cues every now and then maybe to remind them.

Sean O’Neill: Are you using the word athlete as any? Was I an athlete walking through the door?

Matt Green: Yeah. So he’s at the time, like, so CrossFit’s OG definition of an athlete is somebody who trains in kind of like, strength, power, speed.

Sean O’Neill: Okay, so what do you mean by a novice athlete? Is someone who just can walk through the door?

Matt Green: As long as you’re still learning the movement.

Sean O’Neill: Okay. So not athlete as in a lot of people.

Matt Green: Sorry. Yeah, like, yeah, if you turn around and say, novice athletes.

Sean O’Neill: I walked through the door, I was a novice athlete.

Matt Green: Yeah. Even if you’re a novice athlete who’s taken in Olympic weightlifting, we’d still call you a novice athlete.

Sean O’Neill: Olympic.

Matt Green: If you. But if you’re taking that decision to take up Olympic weightlifting, in my mind, you’re a novice athlete. Okay. Yeah.

Sean O’Neill: Okay, cool.

Matt Green: So, yeah. Is like, it’s where you dedicate your time. So that ability is a current member who is kind of like an advanced athlete understands if they’re part of that gym community, and anybody who owns, like, a small gym group will understand the importance that it is to grow that community. Your business can’t survive without growing that community.

So your higher end members should have, or you should be able to put forward to them a good understanding that I need to be able to go help that person who might be scared more than I need to help you just purely and simply because they’re more likely to walk out the door and they should be a lot more confident by themselves than that individual.

Yeah, I don’t think that’s me. I think that’s just good business sense, really. At the same time is, yes. I would probably be more happy to spend more time out of hours with the elite athlete to kind of, like, help them refine their technique because the type of input that they need probably isn’t as hands on in terms of, like, feedback. Then I don’t know why my hands still in that position than the feedback, than the novice athlete. Does that make sense?

Sean O’Neill: Yeah.

Matt Green: Yeah. And you’re going back to it. You were saying about the love of kind of like sharing information is I got made to feel an awful lot. So I love talking about kind of training and trying to pass on the love of training because I assume that anybody who comes into the gym kind of like, wants to know as in depth as I do until this one moment.

We’ve got a really good friend in common who we met through the gym is Luke. So Luke isn’t training with us at the moment. He’s just had a kid. Congratulations. So he’s trying to get into a routine, but we sat at the board and he asks me a question, and I can’t remember what the question was. It’s completely irrelevant. And I go in the it depends roots, and we go into this big explanation of what….

Sean O’Neill: Always happens.

Matt Green: Which always happens, and we’re in a class at the time, so the guy’s already got an hour. And I go into this big explanation about. And it turns out this. Matt, just shut up. Just tell me what to do. And that is still very poignant in my mind of like, that is like, sometimes, like, from that moment on, another good friend of mine who Simon Jones, who used to know from he does CrossFit level one and CrossFit level two kind of courses. And he said on my level two for CrossFit, he said, Matt’s a talker and I am a talker.

And from then, I actually tried to change a lot about how I coached is I tried to get people moving more than I was talking about. It doesn’t matter how much I was talking because I could talk while you’re moving. And I always wonder how much of that talking is down to my own ego or how much it is genuinely just wanting to pass on information to people and you talked about the expansion, I think, over the years, expanding your model for a gym is I’ve done it wrong and right so many times, and I’ve seen that kind of like that expansion and that contraction about how I do it.

So I started off as one guy trying to run a gym by myself from 06:00 in the morning till 09:00 at night, doing the job of cleaning the floors, everything else, to a point where we took on volunteer coaches. People wanted to expand their knowledge, and like you, we were saying about how you get to do your role or how you want to pass on your information to your clients or trying to pass on your message to it.

And then you try and find coaches who are very like-minded, who want to do it in the same way that you want to do it, and they want to kind of have the same kind of values as you and then taking on more. And then the only way that I could then at that point, once it got to that stage, was full time employment of people, and then from there make it self-sustaining.

So it means that, I think the idea of if you have a concept and you put into place processes, and I don’t know if this is resounding with your businesses, if you put in place processes for a business that can’t work without you being there, they are not successful processes.

Sean O’Neill: Yeah, it’s not a business.

Matt Green: It’s not a business. Yeah. But for me, it was the coaching aspects of it, and I made a big mistake. Moving to Dubai is I didn’t have those processes in retrospect, and it was completely on me. I didn’t have those processes set up correctly.

Sean O’Neill: Yep.

Matt Green: And I actually learned that halfway through while I was in Dubai, it became a very big, kind of, like, trouble trying to manage two businesses at the same time, or coach and manage a business at the same time. And so came back, changed it around a little bit, and then learned another lesson from trying to contract a business again and sort of like trying to dial it in in that way.

And I think it’s — Trying to make a gym successful was a constant chop and change of your message stayed the same, whatever it was. It’s like what you wanted to do and how you wanted to put it forward, but your implementation changed drastically depending on how you wanted to do it. And it was, being one person doing too much was very easy. Yeah. But incredible stressful.

Sean O’Neill: I’m sure that most people. I remember listening to Elon Musk talk about how he slept in his factory for three years, because if he had a left to go home and sleep in a bed. The people wouldn’t have kept working so hard or the business would have collapsed.

Matt Green: Yeah. And I would have made it so much easier sleeping in a gym in the early years, because it’s the traveling.

Sean O’Neill: Yeah. But, you know, it was funny, I used to, I used to go to the morning session and sometimes you used to train me privately before you did the 06:00 session. Sometimes we trained at 05:00.

Matt Green: Yeah. Which you loved, especially if you’d had a few drinks the night before.

Sean O’Neill: Yeah, I just didn’t go to bed then. I just went straight training.

Matt Green: That’s their crazy times when you think.

Sean O’Neill: Back to how tough I was. Which was anyway, not recommended.

Matt Green: No, we’re not recommended, but it’s still a good story. We’d have the same conversation each time. I haven’t been to bed. It’s like, okay, well, we’ll make this a light session, Sean. And it’d be, no, no, I want to see how much I can kind of like how many reps I can get on the bench today.

Sean O’Neill: I remember I was, dear God. Well, this is — And these are hundreds. Well, it could be close to over 100 sessions that I went out to. Three, four in the morning, got home, got my gear and turned up. And I don’t know if the more you study health and well-being, it probably isn’t wise, but I always turned up, and that has given me some sort of real resilience to know that I will always turn up. I had a guest in before, and he’s an extremely successful person in business.

Well, in a lot of things, but definitely business. And he, that was his point. He just never, ever give up or don’t quit, thankfully. Now I’m a bit more sensible that my sleep has taken more priority. But I was going to the gym with no sleep, shocked that you had left the gym at 10:00 the night before, and you woke up at half three feeling. And then I realized, actually, I’m feeling. I’m feeling the same thing, but with.

Matt Green: A bit more alcohol.

Sean O’Neill: Yeah, I’ve been as bad as you.

Matt Green: Yeah. But to kind of let people who are watching, I’m sure there’s a lot of them, is that. Oh, my God. As you’ve gone into a session, you’ve been drinking the night before, drinking heavily, and you’re still training. It’s thinking back on it, if you hadn’t done those sessions, the likelihood is at some point, if you applied that at that time in your life and you’d said, okay, well, I’ve been out drinking, I’ve not had any sleep, I’m not going to come in. At which point does that habit become a habit.

Sean O’Neill: And then you don’t train.

Matt Green: And then you don’t train. So it’s very easy because we’re looking back ten years, and again, if it’s ten years, you can laugh at it no matter what it is.

Sean O’Neill: No, mine’s like in this past few years.

Matt Green: Oh, is it? Okay, well, he’s very good at covering up the fact that he’s had quite a lot of beverages. So, yeah, it’s like, at which point might have given up and then in which case do you spiral down and you just give up on fitness altogether? And it’s something that we very complicated.

Sean O’Neill: And that’s where I often thought that I’ve undone all the good work I’m going to do before I’ve even. Yeah, but I thought that at that time, whether it’s my, the great excuse that Pete gave me is now I understand it’s my crave for dopamine.

So I decided to suffer, enjoy a night out, to suffer the morning, because I’m not willing to compromise on either. I know that if I, I’m struggling to stay at home in the evening, but at the same time, I know that if I don’t go to the training session, but it’s not just that. I understand the value of people, and I guess most people will say they do to some level, but I understand the value of people, and I know that if you could have a collective of people around you that are willing to support you unconditionally and turn up, to let them down or not deliver on what you’ve promised, then you’re losing a big part of a big positive part of your life.

And the choice was, if I don’t turn up, Matt’s not going to take me seriously. If I turn up drunk, that’s a different. I’ll deal with that. But I’ve still turned up. And you have to show commitment if you want people to commit to you. You will hear lots of times again about how a trainer has maybe not turned up to a session, or the coach is not turned up, or the other person is going to train, is not turned up. But that means that there hasn’t been that commitment, whether it’s unspoken, whether it’s terms of engagement, however you want to put it. And I always find that I will have the upper hand, or I will give the upper hand, or will show my hand by saying I will always turn up whatever it is.

Matt Green: Yeah.

Sean O’Neill: And I will never give up whatever it is unless I’m out if I just think this isn’t for me.

Matt Green: Yeah. But you’ve generally put the time in to start off with to understand that this isn’t for you.

Sean O’Neill: Yeah.

Matt Green: It’s not a case of like, oh, this isn’t for me. I’ve not made excuses.

Sean O’Neill: A good friend of mine is a piano teacher, and I bought this beautiful piano. I made. The biggest excuse ever that I don’t like other people using is that COVID happened, and my piano teaching stopped after six months because of COVID You know, if I hear other people making that excuse about anything, my answer is, you didn’t want it. Stop making excuses, or I just don’t listen. So sorry, my piano teacher. But that’s something that genuinely. I can admit that I didn’t want it.

Matt Green: Yeah. Have you still got your piano?

Sean O’Neill: Oh, it’s a beautiful piece of art in my hallway. Yeah. There’s some takeaways that people can think tomorrow after listening to this podcast that they should try that, do that, research that, start that, or stop that. Is there any way of summing it up? Is it, you know, it’s all in their control. Find supportive people. Stop looking at all of the 30 seconds Instagram posts that have no context to start looking at. The 30 seconds Instagram covered quite.

Matt Green: A lot of them there, to be fair. So he’s, oh, I could go through kind of, like….

Sean O’Neill: The importance of strength.

Matt Green: Importance of strength. Big one. So, like I say, strength training. I’d always choose strength training over cardio. If you only have a choice of one or combination of the both, they’re not mutually exclusive. So some thought, like CrossFit, absolutely fantastic. And you step into a CrossFit gym these days. Like I say, it’s — They’re very welcoming. They’re very kind of, like, able to get you started in a very accessible way. Get a personal trainer. Like I say, get a gym partner, somebody that you go to the gym with.

Accountability is so much more important than having the perfect trainer. It’s like, what is it? It’s a bad plan implemented now is better than the best plan implemented tomorrow. Like I say, getting started, it’s always going to be the hard one. Simplify nutrition. Don’t listen to everybody and anybody. Just listen to general good advice. Dan John’s advice, don’t eat like a child. If it’s got a picture of a tiger on the front of it, it’s probably not made for you to eat. Yeah, probably not. Shouldn’t be eating tigers. If you’ve got kids, like I say, movement wise, my biggest piece of advice is get them into gymnastics. I know. It’s the way that I started. Bortle. We tend to throw children into sports far too quickly.

Yeah. So he’s like, we don’t teach them how to move well. So he’s like something like gymnastics or something gymnastic orientated about body control. So much more important. You’ll tend to see injury rates and massively reduced in children if they go into football or other sports, if they have a good amount of body awareness beforehand. An exact opposite. If you are a parent, sorry. Or you’re getting into your kind of your golden years, hire a personal trainer. Step into a CrossFit gym. That’s the other thing about CrossFit gyms. Absolutely fantastic.

At catering for different types of people, hire a personal trainer like myself or like any like-minded people, somebody who is going to cater towards you, not bully you and kind of, well, they’re going to have to bully you a little bit because you’re probably not going to want to be there.

But like I say, make you accountable to do it. Like I say, if you’re very lucky and you’ve got somebody in your family who you can train with, in your golden ears, get training with them. Like I say, I think that your fringe people, like your children, like your kids, like your elderly people, are so important to kind of, like, introduce them into exercise in a very easy way because my parents and your parents, they’re going to view exercise in a completely different way than us. And our kids are going to view exercise in a completely different way to us as well. Yeah.

Sean O’Neill: Finally, where can people reach out to you?

Matt Green: So if you go to my Instagram and just type in Coach Matt Green, you can get me on there that’s got all my contact details.

Sean O’Neill: Thank you very much!