It's that time of the year, beyond being Zensah's Gift Guide Season, it's also season to look back to your 2022 resolution goals. Which goals did you achieve, and what was your motivation towards them?
As multi-facets individuals, it is extremely normal that we are not intrinsically motivated all the time, causing us to seek extrinsic motivation within people around us. (Disclaimer: we are super grateful for Zensah's community to be a key motivator for us and each other.) Going along these lines, we had to talk to Matthew (Matt) Fish, Zensah Ambassador, about these two friends: motivation and mental health, after all did you know they can be related to each other?
Read on to meet Matt, discover how he finds balance into being a"husband of 16+ years, dad of 3 minions, runner, active-duty U.S. Marine," and ultimately learn how he found his wait into being limitless.
ZS: What is one thing you'd like people to know about you?
MF: I am not a super-motivated person. Motivation is a feeling that comes and goes, On the inside, I am a lazy fat kid who likes to sit on the couch and eat junk food all day. My co-workers say “WOW Man! You are motivated getting up early and running/working out all the time! Wish I was that motivated”. I’m just dedicated to beating the Blurch (read the Oatmeal comic strip if you don’t know what I’m talking about).
ZS: How did you get into running?
MF: I walked into a Marine Corps recruiting office in early 2002 and my recruiter asked me how fast I thought I could do three miles. With ZERO sarcasm I replied: “Well traffic is kind of bad today and I might hit some red lights so probably take about 10 minutes” He laughed and said, “Not driving! How fast can you RUN three miles”. I replied, “OOOOH! I have no idea I’ve never even run a mile before!”. I soon learned how to run 3 miles. For a long time, I only ran when I had to and hated every second of it. About 11 years ago before my son was born, I decided I needed to do something to keep my weight in check and stay active. I had a good friend who had run track in high school and told me he would run with me. He gave me a lot of pointers and before I knew it, I was running a half marathon. I was hooked! So long story long, I got into running because I wanted to be a Marine and then I really got into it because I wanted to stay healthy. When my wife got pregnant, I realized I did not want my son to grow up and have a dad who could not keep up with him. I was 30 at the time and knew I needed to do something to keep my body in shape since I would be older when my kid(s) were still in high school. Now I run and work out one because it is a legit job requirement as a member of the military and two so I can keep up with my kids. I’ll at least be in my mid-fifties by the time my youngest is old enough to go out on her own and I want to be active with them!
ZS: You mentioned running is a type of therapy for you. Could you please talk more about that?
MF: Mental health is a difficult topic for a lot of people, especially guys and even more so in the military. Despite hours of training and TONs of resources available there still seems to be a stigma attached to needing help with your brain. I am a pretty introverted person but when I run with other people I talk and when I talk, I can get things out of my head. Sometimes I just need to babble on about my thoughts and when the run is over my head is clear and my day is better. My friends will bring up things in conversation later and I am like “Oh! WOW! We talked about THAT!? When did that happen??? OOOOOH on a run? Yeah, that makes sense! Glad we talked about that I do not even remember that conversation”. When I run my brain can work through things even when I am not with someone else. I know there are chemical reasons for this and between that and the talking, I started telling people that running is cheaper than therapy and folks don’t look at you weird when you say I’m going for a run at lunch like they might if you said I’m going to therapy quick I’ll be right back. Because of running I have connected with people like I would have never and have discovered I’m not the only guy or person who uses exercise as an outlet and finds it helpful to vent to others. The community of runners is amazing! I linked up with some amazing Norfolk/VA Beach groups like Not Today BCP, NERC, SPARC, Ocean View Run Club, Tidewater Striders, and Norfolk Run Club. Not only are there some epic runners in these clubs but they are people that will talk with you and help you physically and mentally to become stronger and better personally and as a runner.
ZS: How do you balance your life between being a dad, husband, Marine, and runner?
MF: Honestly, I used to limit myself to running only very early before the family was awake. I would feel guilty about heading out for an hour or two on a Saturday if it cut into family time. My wife and kids have always supported me, but I beat myself up about time lost with the family. Over the years I have come to realize that my time away on a run or workout is important because it makes me a better person FOR my family. The same goes for my Marines.
It can be difficult sometimes to find time but like anything worth doing it comes down to time management and priorities. I make time to run to be better for myself, allowing me to be a better husband, Dad, Marine, and runner.
ZS: What would you say to someone who's starting to run?
MF: Don’t worry about pace or losing weight or how far you can go or if you (GASP) take walk breaks. Go run! First, go to a running store like an actual local running store. If you are in the Hampton Roads VA area, check out Running Etc. or Fleet Feet and Pacers in the DMV area. Get a gait analysis done so you know what kind of shoe you should wear. Then spend money on a good pair of shoes. You won’t regret it.
ZS: Zensah’s motto is #withoutlimitz meaning we want you to feel limitless in everything you do. We’re launching a campaign called “Limitless Looks Like This” because limitlessness can look different for every person. Limitless might look like finding balance, reaching goals, acing the race you have coming up, or manifesting your future. What does limitless look like for you? Why?
MF: You can be a normalish dude, run (and walk), work out a couple of times a week, still eat candy and do crazy things like running for two hours on a Saturday just because. Your body is capable of much more than even your brain is aware you just must put in consistent work.
ZS: What are your Zensah must-have products? Why?
MF: Calf sleeves! I have been wearing calf sleeves since I started running for fun. I used to get Achilles tendonitis bad and occasional shin splints. I haven’t had those problems since I started wearing sleeves. If I go for too many runs without sleeves, I feel the tendonitis coming on. So, for what it is worth from just a guy…. the sleeves WORK!
ZS: What is one quote you live by? Or a personal mantra?
I think this concept can apply in any situation not just running.