2013 has been a year of firsts for Matt Hathcock. The 28-year-old owner of CrossFit Unbroken is on his way to his first-ever CrossFit Games after two valiant, but unsuccessful attempts in 2011 and 2012. In addition to owning and operating his Englewood, Colorado-based box and preparing his mind and body for the games, Hathcock has taken on a new responsibility — he and his wife welcomed a baby girl to the family.
“The birth of my daughter has been awesome,” Hathcock says. “Luckily for me she was born right at the end of our loading phase.”
Not that there weren't hardships.
“However, the week she was born she was in NICU, so we were at the hospital a lot, and then I fell ill,” he says. “So I had a week where I wasn't doing much. My wife Shannan has been amazing though, taking on the entire parenting role while I get through this Games season.”
Shannan's contributions have been a large part of Hathcock's success.
“Shannan cooks my food for me, keeps my clothes clean and takes care of our daughter every night so I can get good sleep. It is the game changer for me because if she didn't do those things, I would not be as well prepared.”
This season, he began working with Rudy Nielsen, who has introduced Hathcock to the Outlaw Way, which emphasizes Olympic lifting skill.
“Working with my coach Rudy of the Outlaw Way, my diet change to zone/paleo for weight control, and really working my weaknesses were the three largest factors to my finish at Regionals,” says Hathcock, who finished the Regional in second place this year.
Hathcock also receives support from his training partners, Kevin Ogar and Christian Lucero. According to Hathcock, two partners are better than one.
“I like having multiple training partners because it really keeps you pushing your limits,” he says. “Depending on the workout, there is always someone to chase or outrun. It makes you push harder than by yourself. That's why I love CrossFit.”
In 201l and 2012 Hathcock came excruciatingly close to qualifying for the Games with fourth-place finishes two years in a row.
“Finishing back-to-back fourth places was very tough to deal with,” he says. “There is a lot of suffering that you put yourself through in training and to do all that and not make it wouldn't be pleasant for anyone. It makes the fire burn hotter though and you get back after it.”
Overcoming two consecutive disappointments has given him a positive mental boost.
“I feel I have become more relaxed and I am really having fun with training,” he says. "We did a huge volume loading phase which was very tough to get through, but seeing the fruits of the hard work makes me excited to see what I will do at the Games.”
Hathcock's top priority at the Games is “to have fun, really take in the experience and learn more for next year.”
Regardless of how Hathcock performs in Carson, Calif., the birth of his daughter keeps things in perspective.
“Primarily, I know that how good I am at CrossFit does not make me a better father. Winning is a good result, but I like to focus on the process and glorifying God,” he explains.
“I have never really compared my athletic career in CrossFit to being a father. I guess I feel like knowing the fruits of hard work and never giving up will be values I can pass along to my daughter. I know that being a competitive CrossFit athlete and a father is a tough combo to pull off without a great partner. So I'm just thankful I have such a great wife to help me along the way.”