"One cool thing about CrossFit is that you compete against yourself as much as the guys around you, and everyone goes through the same pain, so it develops this kind of camaraderie that almost instantly builds relationships."
Matt Brisebois eats anything covered in dark chocolate and drinks energy drinks and sodas.
He started as a bodybuilder in a globo gym before a friend told him about CrossFit in 2008. By February 2009, he joined an affiliate. “During the past six months [of 2011], I actually had very little motivation. It was all I could manage to get into the gym and just lift weights three days a week.”
Brisebois may not personify a typical CrossFitter, but he is 4th in the South Central Region after the Open and heading back into Regionals for a second year.
“As I approach Regionals, I plan on limiting those ‘cheats,’ but not so much that it kills my morale,” he says. “I don’t plan on trying to reinvent the wheel for my Regional training. If what I was doing worked well enough to get me there, then I’ll keep doing something similar.”
Brisebois can be described as chaos personified. At 22, he is all over the place. “I just graduated from college in December and started attending graduate school,” he says. “On top of that, I am also a substitute teacher, an assistant coach at CrossFit Flower Mound and a personal trainer. I am also heavily involved at my church.”
Many ask how he is able to manage school, work, hobbies and training into his life. “Many times, I’m exhausted and don’t want to [train], but I tell myself to do it anyway,” he says. “Fortunately, working at a gym means that even on a busy day I can squeeze in 20 minutes here or there.”
Brisebois says it’s not all about what you eat, who your coach is – he doesn’t have one – or how many times a day you workout. He’s able to fight through the exhaustion, the bad days and the bad workouts.
At the 2011 South Central Regional, Brisebois had a similar experience to many other competitors. “I started off the competition fairly strong, but then tore my hands up horrifically in the deadlift/box jump workout,” he says. “Probably from the combination of the searing heat and thick knurling on the bars, my hands started to rip only 10 reps into the workout. On the set of 15 and 9, it was all I could do to hold onto the bar while my hands were smeared with blood and torn skin.”
Reflecting on the Open, Brisebois says he like repeating Workout 11.6 this year. “I was actually kind of pleased to hear that it was the exact same workout as last year, because I placed 1st in it last year, as well,” he says. “I thought to myself that as long as I did the same as I did last year, I would be good. Then I totally surprised myself and achieved 154 reps – 16 more than last year.”
What drove him to become a CrossFitter has pushed him to become one of the fittest men in the South Central Region. For him, CrossFit is “a training program that satisfies my urge to push myself and get better.”
At the end of April, he’ll have the chance to measure himself against the other top competitors. He doesn’t seem too concerned. “As for the competitors, I’m actually more looking forward to making new friends with the competitors than going up against them,” he says. “One cool thing about CrossFit is that you compete against yourself as much as the guys around you, and everyone goes through the same pain, so it develops this kind of camaraderie that almost instantly builds relationships.”
Brisebois finished 1st in the South Central Region in Workout 12.5, and put his name on the map. “When I saw I got 1st place again, and 4th overall, I don’t think it really registered with me,” he says. “Everyone around me has been super excited for me, and now I’m being interviewed for CrossFit Games site. It’s simply unreal, because I feel like just a normal guy. It’s really awesome.”