Matt Owen is a rarity. At just 30 years old, he’s just celebrated his business’s 10 year anniversary. Hockey, Track and Field, Olympic Lifting and Gym Jones – for over a decade, Matt has developed an enormous wealth of experience in both training and the business of training.
“This stuff is supposed to be fun, and most people act like it’s a chore!”
Whether he’s talking about his wife Emily, his business or his cars, his philosophy to live with optimistic aggression has served him well.
Read on below or hit play to hear Matt’s story.
Jane Erbacher: Hello and welcome to the Your Revolution podcast. The Your Revolution podcast is a collaboration between Revolution Personal and Performance Training in Melbourne and The Me Project. The purpose of the Your Revolution podcast is to inspire you on your mission of betterment. Each week on the podcast you’ll meet game changers who have created extraordinary lives and you’ll listen to stories and lessons to empower you to make the changes necessary to your life. The Your Revolution podcast is committed to fitness, health, nutrition, mindset, community, education, empowerment and betterment, and we hope that you can take what you learn here and apply it to your very own revolution.
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Are you trying to make an impact on people’s lives but you’re too busy stuck in a hamster wheel barely making ends meet without the energy to do anything about it? And no idea where to start even if you did? Six months I started working with entrepreneur and systems coach Jake Lunniss and the advice he gave me changed the way I do business and turned my life upside down.
Jake Lunniss: The reason I chose the fitness industry is that a coach saved my life. Since 2014, I started what became a very successful business and unfortunately the better my business did the worst my health became. I gained 35 kilogrammes, was on a fast track to dead at 50. My chance meeting with a coach called Matt Murphy turned that around and sent my life on a totally different path. Unfortunately, fitness is a hard business to be in. It means early starts and late finishes, it means sacrificing your personal time for the time of others, it means constantly giving away your energy for other people and too often it means struggling to make ends meet, prioritising others over yourself and constantly chasing your tail but never getting anywhere. My way of giving back is to take everything I’ve learned over the years in business and use it to save the lives of fitness professionals, to give you your time back and to let you live your life on your own terms and to make the money that you deserve.
Jane Erbacher: If you’re trying to make an impact but can’t get out of your own way, visit www.fitbusinessimpact.com and see how a systems coach can give you more time to do the things that you love.
Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the Your Revolution podcast. My name’s Jane Erbacher and I’m your host. I’m back in Salt Lake City, I’m bloody obsessed with this place. This is the sixth time I’ve been here and I’ve just got to bite the bullet and move here I think. I just love it so much, but I don’t think I could. I couldn’t leave my little dog [Poppy 00:04:14]. But I’m so excited because today I’m standing with easily the most polite man I have ever met. I know you weren’t expecting that. You’ll like say I’m really jacked or something. But he’s easily one of the nicest men in the whole world and you’re also a very big strong man so, I don’t know if men want to be called nice. I’m standing here with the owner for Project Deliverance, Matt Owen. Hi Matt.
Matt Owen: Hey how are you Jane?
Jane Erbacher: I’m good and I want to tell everybody how I … the very first time I met you, you won’t even remember this. And we were put in the same team for a ski relay here at Gym Jones and it was you, were on my team and you were so polite and you said, “Yes ma’am” to me and I was like, “Is he talking to me?” I remember looking around thinking where’s the lady in the room? Like who’s he talking to? And then I was like, “Wait. No this is how he speaks to all women. This is amazing.”
And then I still remember the moment the workout ended, we kind of high-fived each other it was all good and next minute I turn around and you’re like mopping the floor. You’re like [inaudible 00:05:13] and you are cleaning the room and I was like who is this guy? I have never met a man like you before. So I’m not sure if that’s how you expected to be introduced, probably not.
Matt Owen: Oh man you are too kind. You know, not exactly how I expected to be introduced but I will take it.
Jane Erbacher: But you are such a great man, and you’re having such a great impact on the world and as I said, you own and run Project Deliverance and you’re going to talk a lot about that today. And you’re also actually the longest serving fully certified Gym Jones instructor.
Matt Owen: Yes, yes indeed. And you know that’s been such a big part of me and my professional career. I can’t thank the people here at Gym Jones enough, Bobby Maximus, Lisa Boshard, Jake Hutchinson for everything that they’ve done in supporting me and Project Deliverance over the years.
Jane Erbacher: And how long has it actually been?
Matt Owen: So we started Project Deliverance back in my parents’ garage back in 2007, in May of 2007. And it’s run basically off and on until 2010, still running though. And then I took it you know as my job after college all the way up until now. So ten years.
Jane Erbacher: That’s awesome, absolutely love it. I want to hear about what your path has been. So are you thirty? Is that-
Matt Owen: I am thirty years old. Yes.
Jane Erbacher: Thirty years old okay. And you’re from St. Louis.
Matt Owen: I’m from St. Louis, Missouri yes.
Jane Erbacher: I was about to say which is Missouri. I’m getting so much better at U.S. geography since this trip because before I was kind of like I couldn’t figure out where everything was and now I feel like I’m a U.S. expert.
Matt Owen: Well it can be confusing as to where everything is because it’s …
Jane Erbacher: And is Missouri south? Would it be …
Matt Owen: Missouri is right in the heart of the mid-west, so right smack dab in the middle of the country.
Jane Erbacher: Right so not a lot of fishing there.
Matt Owen: There actually is.
Jane Erbacher: There is?
Matt Owen: You know you go down to the Ozarks area and there’s great fishing down there. There’s a lot of these lakes that are around that have great fishing as well. So it’s just you know that’s kind of a thing in Missouri, there’s just a whole lot to do there from a nature standpoint.
Jane Erbacher: I love it. Well thank you so much for being on the show.
Matt Owen: You bet.
Jane Erbacher: And the podcast, the show, sometimes I refer to it as a show. I guess it is a show, but I really want to know your path. And the reason that I want you on the podcast, is the last couple of weeks I’ve really been talking about business and passion and how we have this idea these days that if we’re here to serve or we’re here to help people then business is almost like a dirty word. You put it into words really well yesterday when we were chatting and it was how to turn passion into success. And I think that that’s kind of my intention for today’s podcast. I want to hear how someone who’s been doing this for ten years and is only thirty years old had managed to stay so passionate about what they’re doing and also be a really great success. And you’re constantly evolving, you’re constantly growing, you’re one of those people that is not at all, you don’t stand still, but it’s like you’re not at all complacent in any capacity and I want to know how we can learn from you.
Matt Owen: Okay.
Jane Erbacher: So that’s today.
Matt Owen: That sounds great.
Jane Erbacher: I know it’s exciting.
Matt Owen: It sounds good.
Jane Erbacher: But I’m thinking if you can just give us a little bit of an intro on what’s led you to now, what it is you do and like what you’ve learnt over the last few years.
Matt Owen: Okay. So I basically started in athletics when I was in high school, I played football for a lot of years. I ran track for a lot of years. It became a part of me, the training became a part of me. And when I left high school you know the culture was a lot different from a job standpoint here like I had no idea that I could work out and own a gym and train people and make a living. So, really at that point I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, you know if I was going to go into some kind of business or finance or something. It honestly just scared the hell out of me because I didn’t want to sit behind a desk for my entire life. So in my mind it was either become a pro athlete and make money or you’re done. So, the pressure was on and I just wasn’t sure what I was going to do.
And when I was a freshman in college, I had just finished playing football and making the transition to track full time and that’s when I first discovered Gym Jones. And, you know, this was right when Bobby Maximus had started working for the gym and coming hot off of the 300 project with Mark Twight and all those guys. And basically, Gym Jones showed me a path where I could use what I know from a strength and conditioning standpoint, from a sports standpoint, and use that to make a living. And that was the path that I was shown basically through Gym Jones and going into college. So that changed my whole outlook. Anything is possible you just got to really find what you love to do because if you do what you love to do, you’re not going to work a day in your life.
Jane Erbacher: But it’s so interesting because I did, I was talking to somebody about this the other day and I think I may have even posted on Instagram. How do you balance like, you want to do it all the time because you love it, and it’s like but you’re also never feeling like you’re working. I think it’s a really interesting concept that’s happened that really evolved in our era because we do have the freedom to work in the area that we love that much. So are you one of those people that ends up then working all the time?
Matt Owen: Yeah, that’s an interesting question and it’s important to set some time apart for yourself outside of doing the training and training other people and programming and taking some time. Like me for example, if you look at my personal Instagram, horsepowerandbarbells, I will detach from training and go work on my cars.
Jane Erbacher: Yes you love that.
Matt Owen: I got a Corvette and a Camaro that I work on and that’s a good way for me to get my mind away and it will recharge me. I’ll spend like a day working on either car or I’ll you know just go and do car-related things with my dad and I’m ready on Monday to come back and get my head back in the training. So it is important to kind of step away a little bit because if you don’t you’re going to get stale.
Jane Erbacher: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Totally. What is your philosophy when it comes to training and what kind of people do you train and work with? And is it all just face to face at Project Deliverance? Or do you do online, remote, how do you do that?
Matt Owen: So we do offer remote training at Project Deliverance. The meat of our training is done on site, it’s one on one. I’ve got two of the best coaches you could ask for. C.J. Jung, who trains high level hockey players, high school players, all these guys. He’s got some general fitness people. He’s just an excellent guy. And Mike Sobol who just started with us. He and I competed against each other in high school and just developed this huge respect for each other even though we were rivals in high school.
It’s just so cool to have this guy with me now that shares the same passion that I do for helping people improve. And his path from a motivational standpoint and from a vocational standpoint is very similar to mine because training is all he knows. And same thing for C.J., training is all we knew back in you know sport. We didn’t want to basically give that up and give up that connection to the sport to go and you know basically work a job that we hated and just live out your life you know kind of rotting away not being connected to the sport and to the training. So you know that sort of where we’re coming from, from a training standpoint. A lot of our training is done and it’s individualised for the clients and we work with a lot of military, a lot of athletes, but we also have a lot of people that come in the door that just want to make their lives better. So that’s the path that we’ve taken for years and so far it’s worked pretty well because we’re you know ten years later we are still hanging around.
Jane Erbacher: Totally.
Matt Owen: Yup.
Jane Erbacher: And I know that there’s two girls here at Gym Jones Advanced that you’ve been doing online remote coaching with and one’s from Australia, one’s from Colorado. What kind of stuff have you been working on with those girls?
Matt Owen: So Connie runs the Alpine Training Centre in Boulder. It’s a fantastic gym they had me out a couple of weeks ago to train with them. I was really impressed with the culture and the support system at that gym. She is an endurance athlete so basically, the path that we took with her is we need to get you stronger and we need to increase your power endurance for some of the primary test to become certified, which she is more than deserving of being certified because she’s run this gym for a lot of years as well and she’s been so successful. We just need to get her a little bit heavier now so she can hit those standards because she’s just so light being an endurance athlete. She’s so lean we need to put some muscle mass on her. And [Mithi 00:13:55] out of Australia, I’ve mainly been training her for a lot of weight lifting stuff, a lot of snatch and clean and jerk.
Jane Erbacher: Which is your main thing [crosstalk 00:14:04].
Matt Owen: Now that I’ve kind of stepped away from …
Jane Erbacher: Your face just lit up.
Matt Owen: Now that I’ve stepped away from track and field so to speak, you know I still do it recreationally and I still do a meet here and there as I’m invited. You know training her and getting her ready for competition and also to attain the standard she needs to hit to become certified here as well.
Jane Erbacher: Totally.
Matt Owen: So that’s been our main focus and that’s my goal is to help them attain that certification goal here at Gym Jones and use that to basically help them promote themselves professionally and make them better and make their gyms bigger. You know make it so they also don’t really have to work a day in their lives.
Jane Erbacher: Totally. Something I love about you is, and I’ve seen it this week really firsthand, is how engaged you are as a coach with everybody. And in this space you’re extremely professional, like you take it very seriously that when people move well, that people are encouraged to do well and you genuinely do really believe in helping people. And so what I want to know is from that point of view, you’ve got the really really proficient training understanding in a broad area, and your really really important techniques, really important movement everything, you connect with people really well, is there an area of the business that you run that you do find difficult or that you’ve had to work on more?
Matt Owen: So, you know I am a guy that wants to be in the gym, wants to be hands on, wants to be doing that stuff. The business planning is something that my wife Emily, she’s fantastic. She’s basically the reason that I’m here today. She is taking ownership of a lot of the business side, the financial side. That’s something that I can do but it’s not something I really like to do. I just want to come in and make people better and I want to train, I want to throw a heavy weight over my head and I want to really connect with people and help them really just enhance their lives throughout you know using training as a vehicle for that.
Jane Erbacher: Totally, I love that because a lot of people the mistake that they make in this kind of area is they don’t ask for help. They try and do it themselves and then they struggle with it but you’re so good in those other areas, why would you be spending your time in areas that you don’t like when you can ask somebody who’s better at it?
Matt Owen: And that’s why you have professionals, you have business coaches, you have accountants. Go and seek those people out because those are the people that are going to, you know, that’s their area of expertise. Just like training is my area, you know, get them on board, let them help you, they’ll simplify things they’ll make things more efficient for you and it makes your life a lot easier.
Jane Erbacher: 100%. you might be wasting your time.
Matt Owen: Right.
Jane Erbacher: I love it. What do you feel is your purpose in life? I feel like you’ve answered it but I want you to say it absolutely point blank.
Matt Owen: So, my purpose in life is to live with optimistic aggression and to come in and attack the gym, help people improve, engage with them. I feel like if I can help anyone make their life better then if I was to die tomorrow, then everything would have been worth it. So that’s how I view my life purpose as you will.
Jane Erbacher: And it’s really interesting because when you talk to somebody like you it’s so easy to see that you’re living with that. It like oozes out of you.
Matt Owen: Oh thank you.
Jane Erbacher: No it’s true. This morning we did a … it was upper body mass gain and you were there and you were like so there. You were so focused and I think that that’s such a great way to be and if you have this life’s purpose that you’re living out each day, is there anything that you feel like somebody’s out there and they want to start their own gym. Okay, they’re a personal trainer, they’re working somewhere else and they really passionate about it. What kind of advice would you give that person?
Matt Owen: So my advice would be to start small. You do not want to take on a big gym. You don’t want to take a lot of overhead. You don’t want to go into debt and buy thousands of dollars of equipment and not have a client base to support that. Try and find a little small place to start, that’s what I did out of my parents’ garage. We moved up to a little thousand square foot spot. We stayed there for a couple years and really grew the culture and then we’re now expanded into our four thousand square foot space. We’ll be there for about another year and it’s time for the next phase.
You know in addition to that, I would say just make sure that you’re transparent and you’re real with people. Make sure that you’re up front with them, don’t try and do stuff behind people’s backs. One of the things that I learned at a young age is that you want to always say positive things about people when they’re not around, because that’s a testament to your integrity. There were some individuals I was involved with years ago that all they do is talk behind other people’s backs and talk negatively about them. So anytime I’m tempted to kind of engage in that, I think I do not want to be like them. That is something that does not define me, I want to be helping people I don’t want to be tearing them down.
Jane Erbacher: Totally agree with you. And when you put energy into that, even if it is fighting back, you’re taking energy away from what it is you’re here to do.
Matt Owen: Right. Exactly. And just you doing what you do and loving what you do, if there’s people that don’t like you that’s the best way to get at them. It’s not taking an aggressive stance and going after them or trying to troll them down, you just need to be you and forget them. Let them be and you know, those are people that, from a temperament standpoint, they’re literally sick and they need to recover so just get away from them and hopefully they do recover on a long enough time line.
Jane Erbacher: Totally. What’s next for you?
Matt Owen: What’s next for me. I’ve recently been added to the Gym Jones seminar staff here. So I’m really excited about the opportunity to travel around with the guys from Varsity House, Dan Goodman and Joe Riggio, and I think Jared [Sullivan 00:20:06] and I will working probably the closest together out of that whole group. So we’re going to have the opportunity to travel around to teach some people, to really hone in on our craft of being able to teach seminars, and really reach out and help people improve in their fitness and in their day to day lives and their mental outlook of training.
Jane Erbacher: Great. And I if I want to work with you and I live in Australia, how do I get in touch with you? And how can you help me?
Matt Owen: I would, simply just drop me an email at email@example.com or you can follow me on Instagram @pdeliverance for the gym, and @horsepowerandbarbells. Feel free to drop me a comment, a message, it’s all linked together I think it’ll all end up in the same place anyway. I’d be more than happy to work with people remotely, programming. I know C.J. Jung and Mike Sobol are also looking for remote clients. They’re two very fine coaches. We oversee all that within the confines of the gym so if you’re looking to train with us we would be more than happy to have you guys join.
Jane Erbacher: Love it. Thank you so much for today.
Matt Owen: You betcha. Thank you Jane.
Jane Erbacher: And keep it up you’re really great leader.
Matt Owen: Alright thank you.
Jane Erbacher: Thanks everyone for listening. Bye.