Matt Fuhrmann of Tao Health & Fitness talks about how teaching has been his biggest game changer

What is your name? Matt Fuhrmann

How would you describe your title? Owner / Chief Instructor

Where should we send visitors? Website: or Facebook (Tao Health & Fitness):

What is the name of your box? Tao Health & Fitness

Are you a Crossfit Affiliate? If so, how many years have you been affiliated? Not a CrossFit affiliate

How many years have you been in business? 4 Years in Business

How many members do you have? Over 50 active members

What sort of training do you offer (personal training, group fitness, etc)? We offer:

  • Group Classes
  • Personal Training
  • Workshops
  • Certifications 
  • Community Events 

We offer the following modalities-

  • Neural Activation 
  • Primal Movement
  • Functional Training 
  • Progressive Calisthenics 
  • Kettlebell & Indian Clubs
  • Oldtime Strongman Training
  • Yoga / Martial Arts / Taichi / Qigong 

How would you describe your community? Our community is a strong tight knit group of individuals ranging from the average person looking to make some changes to acupuncturists, massage therapists, chiropractors, martial artists, personal trainers, yogis, and other health and wellness professionals.  We really have a variety of people in our community and a wealth of knowledge simply with just the people that train here alone.

How would you describe your training style or philosophy? With the training we do here at Tao Health & Fitness, we break it down into levels, with each level building upon the next.  We first look at the nervous system and foundational movement patterns and making sure that everything is functioning as it should.  We want to establish a strong foundation of mobility and stability.  We further this by patterning in good healthy strengthening movements through our Progressive Calisthenics  practice and Kettlebell course.  From there we get into various other tools for conditioning once a respectable amount of strength has been obtained (The standards are pretty high.).  At that point we look at skill practice, whether that be something more  specific like martial arts, or diving deeper into a modality that we already have established a solid base in.  No matter where that path leads at this point the student has enough awareness, experience, know how, and tools to move forward in any of the specialized areas of study that we offer.

Tell us about your fitness journey. My fitness journey started somewhat late some might say. I played some sports when I was younger, did some strength training here and there, mainly calisthenics, later some weights.  Where my journey really started though was when I stepped off the grid and left for the mountains.  With no real wilderness experience, I took the better part of five and half years hiking and literally living in the woods high in the mountains of both the Sierras and the Rockies mainly learning about nature and the ways of the world.  I would typically do some form of training calisthenics based or extra climbing when energy permitted, however days were long, hiking usually 20-30 miles a day, learning more about what I could do with and in nature, learning more about myself, and pushing the boundaries about as far as I could take them at times.   It was one big walking meditation.  It was truly a finding of ones self and a chance to move past the things that were not truly necessary and would only hold me back from being who I am.  It prepared me for everything that was ahead.  So once I landed in Austin back in 2006 ( which as you can imagine is a long story in itself of how that came to be).  I almost immediately began training Kung Fu.  During that same time I dove deeper into Taichi, Qigong, Calisthenics, Kettlebell , and the arts of the old time strongman.  Being very interested and thirsty for knowledge and experience, I spent a lot of time training and studying many different subjects.  I was very fortunate to have a Sifu who was so encouraging, sharing, and even willing to introduce me to other high level martial artist like himself.  This lead me to always seek high standards, to always train with the best in each field.  I am always thankful for that opportunity and experiences.  However in 2010, I suffered a spinal impact injury on C2 which left me in a very bad place physically, and unable to function.  My spinal cord had almost snapped, and no one that I went to see knew what to do to help me, so I literally had to take everything I had ever trained, everything I had been studying and put it together and formulate a way out of it.  This is where and how Tao Health & Fitness was actually born.  Everything we do in our Level 1 classes is a big part of how I rehabbed myself, and within our family at Tao Health & Fitness is where I found further answers.  Though somewhat of a scary experience, it was the spark that sent things into motion.  It was truly out of this necessity that things came to be.

At Tao Health & Fitness most of our members are by word of mouth.  Outside of that, a lot of members join after seeing the positive reviews and hearing about the current students experiences while gaining results and surpassing their original goals in most cases.

Member retention is about relationships as much as it is about results.  You have to have a balance of both.  You can't rely simply on your knowledge of systems, techniques, and data, just like one can not simply rely on being friendly or likeable.  You need to be connected with your students, investing in them as they have invested in you, creating a team, a family, where we are all working together to overcome our own personal challenges that we've set forth to conquer with support from all ends.  At the same note one needs to be educated with the systems in use and be very capable of getting results.   Continued education is as well an important part of what keeps one growing.   Without results, without a good relationship, retention will be low.  So, really just know your stuff, keep learning, and most importantly be there for your students, genuinely care, and take care of them.

Is there anything you've done for your box or customers that's been a game changer? The biggest game changer I see in the industry is when a facility teaches.  Teaching in a way that the student is further educated about their body, their mechanics, form, function, ability to diagnose movement patterns, and risk to benefit ratios.  Also when one is consistently moving forward in a progressive manner, there are always tools from the previous drill or exercise to build upon from and severely limits the chances of plateau or injury.  With this, there is no end of the road, the only limitation is one created by self.  So, eliminate self doubt and one can always be making progress when the proper next step is implemented.

If you were starting again from scratch, what would you do? It all happens for a reason, so I wouldn't change a thing. 

Is there anything you'd like to add? Follow Tao Health & Fitness on Facebook to keep up on all of the workshops and certifications that are coming up through my teachers in each field.

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