Published on April 7, 2017
“Daddy, you’ve got a big belly!”
Those were the words of Matt Garner’s five year-old daughter, Layla, smiling and pointing. [Insert adorable British accent]
As a former semi-pro football (soccer) player for a local Manchester, UK team (Clitheroe), Matt had always been athletic. Needless to say, his daughter’s teasing words were a bit of a shock to his system.
“I played football on a semi-professional level from the age of 15 to the age of 27, so it’s definitely been a big part of my life.”
Matt was born and raised in small town called Clitheroe. He describes it as being the ‘type of town where everyone knows everyone, and also knows everything about you.’
At 36, Matt is a devoted father and family man, with quite an inspiring journey that all of us can relate to on some level.
Matt lives with his partner, Laura, and two children – Theo (2 years old) and Layla (5 years old). His younger sister also lives nearby with her two children.
“My family is my absolute life. My daughter and I are like two peas in a pod, and we do everything together. She’s definitely daddy’s little girl.”
After retiring from semi-pro football, Matt started a job as a driving instructor. Long days of sometimes ten or more hours sitting in a car, coupled with poor meal choices, led to a steady weight gain.
“I would just grab whatever was convenient – pies, burgers, etc. And I had such limited time to eat between lessons. It quickly became a habit of eating whatever I could find the quickest.”
A newly sedentary lifestyle, coupled with poor eating choices, caused Matt to gain over 40 pounds in two years!
“I would just come home exhausted, sit on the couch and eat as many potato chips and chocolate as possible while watching TV. It wasn’t good.”
It wasn’t until Matt saw an old photo of himself on Facebook that he really started to notice how much weight he’d gained.
“It was a real wake-up call for me. I could no longer be in denial about what I looked like and how much my body had changed. It was not a good feeling.”
Determined to shed the pounds, Matt started by changing his diet. He stuck to eggs or oats in the morning and lean meat, chicken and fish with lots of veggies for lunch and dinner. He’d also bring an apple or fruit with me to snack on during the day to guard against making bad choices if he was hungry.
“Giving up soda was crazy difficult, but it made a huge difference. At first, though, I had major sugar withdrawal!”
In addition to the changes in his diet, Matt started following a bodyweight/HIIT exercise program.
“I stuck with for awhile and had good results, but it just didn’t capture my attention at the end of the day.”
Matt lost 20 pounds, but quickly regained it after returning to a sedentary lifestyle. He played golf and enjoyed being on a local team, but it wasn’t rigorous enough to elevate his heart rate for a long period of time.
“They’re obviously in such amazing shape, and I loved the idea of having a fun and portable way to workout.”
After a month of jumping with regular store-bought rope and relative success, Matt decided to order his first Crossrope Starter Set to take things to another level.
“It kinda stinks to be in the UK because it can be so expensive to order Crossrope with shipping and customs costs. But it was so worth it. My only regret is that I didn’t order every rope at once!”
Matt watched every possible tutorial on the Crossrope YouTube channel that he could, and spent at least 10 minutes after every workout session practicing tricks and technique.
“There’s such a different feel to Crossrope, and the ropes almost force you to slow down and pay attention to your posture and technique. I’ve never felt that with the cheap ones. I will say, though, the Fury rope definitely lives up to its name and will leave a mark!”
He also joined the ever-growing community of jumpers from around the world, the Jump Rope Facebook Community.
“I was pleasantly surprised by how open and welcoming everyone is – a definite change from what I’m used to here in the UK where people can be a little more stand-offish and shy. There are so many different levels of jumpers in the community from beginner to advanced, but no one is arrogant and everyone is always eager to offer their help or advice.”
Recently, veteran Community member Jordan DeLisser even gave Matt some advice that helped him be able to do 440 consecutive jumps!
“I was totally blown away at how well his tip worked!”
Now, a mere 3 months later, Matt has lost a total of 33 pounds and counting, and may even make a triumphant return to the football (soccer) field at the age of 36!
“My days of playing semi-pro are over, but I’m getting back in the best shape of my life with these ropes, so I could definitely join a team a level below semi-professional. I haven’t felt this good in over 10 years!”
And Matt’s new and improved physique hasn’t gone unnoticed by his pals, Chris and Zach.
“They were so curious to know what I did to get in shape, so I showed them Crossrope one night in my kitchen after we were out drinking beer. Imagine – grown men jumping rope in a kitchen at 1am!”
Both Chris and Zach have since joined the Jump Rope Fitness Community, and plan to start a jump rope revolution in their local town alongside Matt.
But his friends are not the only fans of jumping rope…
“My daughter, Layla, is in love with jumping rope. Every day I come home from work, she runs to me saying, ‘Daddy, daddy! Are we gonna do a workout?’ And of course, I can’t let her down!”
What’s Matt’s advice to jump rope beginners or those who don’t necessarily have an athletic background?
“The biggest, most important thing is to have fun. If you enjoy it, you’ll carry on doing it. And it’s rewarding to see your progress! Maybe when you start, you can only do 10 jumps, but a month later, you can do 60. Just share in the community, get feedback from the more experienced jumpers and you can’t go wrong.”
Thanks for sharing, Matt, and we hope you start that UK jump rope revolution soon!
Questions or comments for Matt?
Please leave them in the comment section below!