What's happening, Fringe Fam?
Garage Gym features of the week are BACK! We're starting this year and this week off with a feature on one of our most loyal Garage Gym Revolutioners, Matt Gephart.
Matt, we appreciate your hard work, your dedication to the Garage Gym Revolution & sharing the gains with your friends & neighbors in your gym, and your love of lifting. Thank you for your support!
Let's get to it - let's get to know Matt & his garage gym.
1. What was the reason you started lifting?
I'm an ICU nurse, and as everyone is acutely aware, the ICUs have been taking the brunt of the pandemic. We see the sickest patients, and have to deal with nearly unbroken stress and tragedy. Healthcare workers, first responders, and other "essential workers" never had a chance to work from home. I found that I was always tired, and lacking energy. I wasn't my chipper and boisterous self. Everyone was preaching self-care; and I realized that my mental and physical health are one and the same. I decided in late 2020 to start building my garage gym, piece by piece.
2. What did you want to accomplish by lifting?
Initially, I was just hoping to blow off some steam, and get in a bit better shape. But after I got a squat rack and some beautiful bumper plates, I realized that I wanted to try powerlifting. The simplicity of the sets, and the complexity of the lifts themselves really drew me in. The more I lifted, the more I wanted to lift. I wanted new PRs, I wanted better form.
3. Did you do any exercise before you started lifting?
I definitely had ebbs and flows. I've always liked fitness and exercise, but I have NEVER been an athlete. I was in the military, and was a firefighter, so strength has always been important to me. I'm as guilty as the next guy for starting and stopping, but it's been a long time since I lifted with much direction and purpose.
4. What benefits did you see when you started?
I noticed a lot of linear gains early, which really boosted my confidence. I felt better, stronger, and had more energy. My job has not become any easier, but my garage gym is one part therapist office, and one part temple. When I get out there, I turn on the boombox and all of my energy is in the lifts.
5. What motivated you to keep going?
To be entirely honest, Fringe Sport kept me going! I'm always really excited to see what stories videos will roll across IG. I don't have a ton of followers on social media, but I have found a lot of enjoyment from posting my journey for my friends to see. I love trolling the site and seeing what gear and equipment I need to save my money up for!
6. What did your family think of your lifting?
My wife has been my biggest champion. She always supports me and encourages me to just get out there, even if I'm not feeling up for a gym session. Even though she laughs, I think that she loves my squat shorts! My oldest daughter is seven, and she loves to join me. She is by far my favorite gym partner. She wants a 5lb bar so she can get super strong like daddy.
7. What has been the hardest thing for you to do?
Well, deadlifts. In all seriousness, changing my mindset about lifting was hard. At first, I was just having fun, and working out a few times a week. As I became more passionate, I realized that I needed to change my diet, stretching, and cardio regimens, as well.
8. What are your favorite workouts? Least favorite?
Squats are absolutely my favorite lift! They are the father of all full-body workouts for a reason. I'd say Pull-Ups are my least favorite, they haunt my workouts!
9. What are your goals for the new year?
This year, I would like to grow my garage gym even more. I am thinking of taking on the dreaded task of creating my own programming. Wish me luck!
10. How have you encouraged others to begin lifting?
I have always been a social animal, so from the beginning, my garage gym had an open door. Some of my favorite lifts have been with my friends and neighbors. My friend Kate and I have dubbed the garage gym the Beechview Power Collective. Also, several of the nurses that I work with have been eagerly following my journey. I constantly am encouraging them to join me, and even get their own garage gyms going.
11. What would you say to someone who is just starting out or is considering lifting?
Just do it. Don't be afraid to pick up some plates! Find a routine that you enjoy; and stick with it. I like to set small attainable goals and build from them every time that I lift.
12. What would you change or do differently? What else would you like to share?
I wish I had set up a home gym sooner. There were so many reasons that I didn't earlier, but in the end they were just excuses. I'm so thankful that Fringe Sport was able to help me start my journey, as they have for so many others. I am honored to be able to share my journey with the Fringe community; thank you for giving me the opportunity. I hope everyone lifts heavily and happily this year!
SHOP THE GEAR IN MATT'S GARAGE: