“It’s going to be much harder than you think” — I did not realize just how challenging it was going to launch a business. It took a great deal of mental energy and really put my problem-solving skills to the test.
As part of my series about young people who are making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Matt Becher, the founder of Athletic Grit, is a calisthenics and martial arts athlete. Through his business, he hopes to help people lead athletic lifestyles.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit how you grew up?
Since the age of 15 I’ve had a keen interest in fitness. My athletic journey began when I joined a local boxing gym in Canada. Since then, I’ve trained in many places and explored many avenues of fitness such as weight lifting, field sports, calisthenics, weighted calisthenics, and martial arts, namely Muay Thai.
In 2020, Covid-19 caused a near worldwide shutdown which forced me to leave many of the latter athletic avenues behind. During this pandemic, my newfound interest in business combined with the lack of an accessible fitness community motivated me to create a community of my own.
Athletic Grit was born.
Prior to the existence of this company, I began to learn the science of athletic development. I pondered how I would create my own training program and set up my own home gym. I realized that while there were a few trustworthy sources, none seemed to acknowledge the big picture: What’s valuable for one athlete, isn’t necessarily valuable for all athletes.
Now I continually work to make Athletic Grit a reliable source of information and education for athletes and aspiring athletes of all levels and training styles.
You are currently leading an organization that aims to make a social impact. Can you tell us a bit about what you and your organization are trying to change in our world today?
Right now, it seems that the only easy routes ordinary athletes and aspiring athletes can take to achieve their fitness goals involve paying for a coach’s knowledge, or ‘winging it’.
Athletic Grit will eventually offer an alternative to this traditional approach for those that have a strong desire to be independent athletes. My goal is to provide all the information one might need to build an athletic lifestyle from the ground up. Not through templated programs, but through education.
I strongly believe that an athlete can only have true control over their physical development if they understand the body and the languages that it speaks.
Above all else, I hope to make as many people as possible aware that it’s imperative to find a way to maintain their bodies through proper sleep, nutrition, and muscular development or maintenance.
Many will be satisfied with templates fitness programs (and there’s nothing wrong with this). That said, a large number of people quickly abandon a strength program because it isn’t suitable for their personality or current circumstances. These individuals should be able to quickly learn what they need to build their own programs — something we hope to offer in the future.
We also provide gear guides to help athletes build up their home gym — something that is necessary in times like these depending on their preferred style of strength training.
Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?
Many of the people who are near and dear to me have suffered the consequences of poor training.
Most are overwhelmed by the idea of learning about the body. Others are completely unaware that through strength and mobility training they could have saved themselves from the slow painful degradation of their bodies.
If you don’t brush your teeth, they’ll rot. Similarly, if you don’t maintain the body it will fall apart.
My hope and dream for this company is first to spread awareness of these concepts to those who don’t have it. And second to provide a well-structured education that is easy to follow.
Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. They don’t get up and just do it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and do it? What was that final trigger?
Before I ever understood the online marketplace I was in college and hated it. The pandemic stopped school and gave me a chance to breathe. I quickly realized that I was in the wrong place.
Over the course of a few months, I dropped courses that I disliked until I eventually dropped out altogether. At this point, Athletic Grit was well underway.
In my case, the pandemic made me realize how quickly circumstances can change. It also quickly revealed the vast number of people who depend on their coaches to maintain their bodies. The pandemic caused some of the most athletic people I knew to quickly lose control of their bodies since they didn’t know how to take care of themselves without a coach.
I hated what I saw and decided to do something about it.
Many young people don’t know the steps to take to start a new organization. But you did. What are some of the things or steps you took to get your project started?
Invest in education. Aspiring business people need to become aware of the different business and investment models that exist.
Regardless of who you are, there’s a business or investment model that is suitable for your current circumstances and personality. Don’t believe the lie that there isn’t.
I strongly believe that everyone needs to care for their financial health just as they need to care for their bodies or teeth.
Second, invest in a course. Want to build an e-commerce business? Buy a course. Want to invest in real estate? Buy a course.
One of the first things you’ll learn about money is that it’s almost always worth far less than time. Besides saving you time, a course will prevent you from a very large amount of failures by making it possible to leverage other people’s experience. I am not shy about dropping 1000–2000 USD on a course provided the creators have a great reputation and a lot of experience.
Learn what to do, then how to do it, then do it.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?
When you actually make the choice to start a business, there’s a lot of things going through your head.
When I first started my business I was very motivated. After a few months, I started breaking some of the rules to success. I would get sidetracked, focus on the wrong things in the business, and even fall prey to shiny object syndrome.
The journey was very long and difficult. The most challenging part of it all was second-guessing myself at every turn. I had been working for 6 months straight and I was still talking to a ghost town — very discouraging.
The road to success is long. Of all the lessons learned, the most important was to never give up.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or take away you learned from that?
Honestly, I can’t think of a funny mistake other than the dozen or so times that I spent way too many hours trying to fix some obscure thing on the website.
I guess if anything these occasions made me more resilient to sitting through really annoying situations for hours at a time.
None of us can be successful without some help along the way. Did you have mentors or cheerleaders who helped you to succeed? Can you tell us a story about their influence?
When I first got into online marketing I bought a course from some reputable businessmen. Part of the package was a Facebook community filled with thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs like myself. These people probably saved me from months of failure by helping me navigate the beginning stages of growing my first business.
There have been a number of times that I wandered down a rabbit hole that wasted days of time. If I hadn’t had a community to put me back on track I may have wasted weeks, or even months of time doing the wrong things.
Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?
Athletic Grit is young. I haven’t personally heard from those who’ve been helped by the business. It was really my love for helping athletes outside of the business (before the pandemic) that was meaningful to me. But after the pandemic, those communities dissolved because we couldn’t gather.
This is much of what motivated me to start Athletic Grit. An online community can touch millions of lives once fully matured — something I could never have done at a local gym.
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
As I see it, the issue I’m trying to solve doesn’t reside in any specific community or society, nor is it political. The heart of the problem I’m trying to solve lives within the individual — perhaps most individuals.
My mission is accomplished by simply spreading awareness that it’s possible to enjoy the process of developing or maintaining the body and doing it successfully. I know so many people that continually train in ways that are contrary to their personalities and incompatible with their circumstances. These people don’t stick to their training long-term which results in the gradual degradation of their anatomy.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
“Stick to the plan”
When I was first starting out, I was being instructed by two other successful businessmen. They provided education to aspiring entrepreneurs. I really wish I had followed their guidance without wavering as there were a number of times when I did things that were contrary to what they taught. I wasted a great deal of time by doing this.
“It’s going to be much harder than you think”
I did not realize just how challenging it was going to launch a business. It took a great deal of mental energy and really put my problem-solving skills to the test.
“You’re going to make mistakes”
Although I didn’t do this often, the few times I did were terrible. I wasted days at a time doing the wrong things without realizing. I wish that I had accepted in advance that I was going to fail the first few times.
“Don’t sweat the small stuff”
The small stuff doesn’t matter at first. Get the business running first and worry about everything else later. You can’t make something better if it doesn’t exist in the first place.
“Don’t hesitate to pay for tools that will help you do the big stuff really well’
There were a number of times where I tried to save money by taking a longer approach to big problems. This was a huge mistake. If I hadn’t been afraid to invest money when I needed to, the business would be way further ahead right now.
If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?
It’s commonplace that people, young people in particular, believe that they don’t have anything that’s good enough to offer the world. This is a lie. Once you know what you enjoy, learn to do it better than anyone else. The world has plenty of talent. If you have the sack to go for it and to push through the difficult times with endurance, you will make a difference.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
One day I’d love to meet Gael Breton and Mark Webster. They founded Authority Hacker — a company that helps new online marketers with their business endeavors. They’ve done a lot of good for aspiring entrepreneurs such as myself.
If either of you are reading this, you have my sincere thanks.
How can our readers follow you online?
You can follow everything I’m doing over at athleticgrit.com.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!