Matt's Jump Rope Transformation: No Colon, Still Rollin'0 Comments
We come across countless stories from Crossrope jumpers that are memorable and uplifting.
Matt’s story is no exception. When Matt reached out with his jump rope story, it stood out, and we’re delighted to share his journey of overcoming adversity and reclaiming his health, happiness, and strength.
Matt is already inspiring others with his story, and it’s our pleasure to amplify Matt’s voice. With a little determination and spirit, you can overcome any setback life throws at you. We are truly honored that our jump ropes helped get Matt where he is today.
This is Matt’s jump rope transformation story. Take it away, Matt.
How It All Started...
Having spent four years on Active Duty in the United States Marine Corps, fitness has always been a way of life, incorporated into my daily routine. If I didn’t regularly pound the pavement or hit the gym, my body and mind would feel off. Take care of your body, and everything else will fall into place.
Ten years have passed since my time in the military, but the discipline to take care of my body remains. Little did I know that several years after I was discharged that I’d face the greatest challenge of my life.
A few short years ago, while in my late twenties, I noticed a pain in my abdomen accompanied by symptoms that resembled the stomach flu. Days, weeks, and months passed, and the pain and symptoms grew worse.
An endoscopy revealed that I had developed severe ulcerative colitis, a form of inflammatory bowel disease where the immune system attacks the healthy lining of the large intestine. I was prescribed various medications, including various cocktails that involved many pills and IV infusion medications, including a few rounds of IV chemotherapy.
After three years of suffering through a disease that never went into remission, I decided that enough was enough. I was at a point where I couldn’t exercise because I was so sick, my personal and professional relationships were being adversely affected.
I wasn’t living anymore; I was just existing.
I called my doctor and scheduled an appointment with a surgeon to discuss having my colon removed. The surgery would effectively resolve my symptoms but would leave me with an ileostomy (or ostomy for short)—a small pouch attached to my abdomen that would collect my waste and would need to be emptied several times a day.
It turns out that my ostomy has been the greatest blessing in my life as I no longer live with the unbearable pain and symptoms as I did before. But, as I began to recover from the removal of my large intestine, I found that I had to start over physically.
I had no strength left. No stamina, no endurance. My doctors instructed me that I had to take it easy, and they advised me not to lift heavy weights as I did before, that I had to build myself back up slowly—baby steps.
Discovering Jump Ropes
I remember sitting at my kitchen table post-surgery, researching exercises that I could gradually incorporate into my recovery. I came across the Jump Rope Dudes on Instagram, and I learned that a heavy jump rope was a one-stop-shop for building strength, stamina, endurance, coordination, and balance.
I was blown away by how effective jump rope could be for someone in my situation. I didn’t hesitate to order the Get Strong Set from Crossrope.
Once my surgeon cleared me to start exercising again, I jumped headfirst (well, not really) and began my jump rope journey. I quickly learned how challenging the 1- and 2-pound jump rope is and knew from the start that just two months post-op, the inside of my body was still healing.
I learned early on in my jump rope journey how to listen to my body. I was careful not to push myself too hard but just enough to make progress. And slowly, I began the basic jump for only 5-10 minutes a day, 3-4 times a week. Over the next few months, I gradually picked up the pace and duration of my jump rope training.
Making a Full Recovery
I began to build strength quickly with the Get Strong Set, and it wasn’t long before my stamina and endurance returned.
After training for a few months, I decided to purchase the Get Lean Set and focus on improving my cardio fitness and speed. After just six months of training with jump rope 3-4 times a week of moderate to high intensity, beginning with 5 minutes to now 30-45 minute workouts, I can say that I’ve made a full recovery.
I cannot believe how quickly such a simple yet versatile tool like a weighted jump has changed my fitness routine entirely. My leaner frame has returned, and I feel strong, but more importantly, I feel fantastic.
Breaking Down Barriers
Going into ostomy surgery, I promised myself that my lifestyle wouldn’t change—that I would still pursue things in life that make me happy and complete. After surgery, I would still exercise, wear the same clothes, and still go on vacations and travel. I would still enjoy a rewarding career.
Well, my lifestyle did change—it improved dramatically! With my ostomy, I not only feel healthy, but I am healthy. And jumping rope was one vital tool in my journey to become the best version of myself. I’ve never felt healthier, leaner, and more attractive in my life.
What kept me going through this entire journey was that I wanted to break down barriers. It’s often misunderstood that people with ostomies can’t exercise, travel, or hold intimate relationships.
This misconception couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Over a year has passed since I’ve started jumping rope, and I can honestly say that I am in better shape than when I was in the Marine Corps. This is also the case because jump rope has taught me to listen to my body and be more in tune with what it needs. Jump rope is an exercise that requires you to be in the present moment, focusing your jump while everything else melts away.
Building New Habits & Breaking Old Ones
Even during a pandemic, going through major surgery was stressful enough without having to worry about getting sick. Which was more reason to become even more dedicated to a fitness regime that compliments the goals I have set for myself while building a resilient body.
A strong and fit body can go a long way in fighting disease and decline as we age. So, I decided to incorporate jump rope as my primary tool of fitness as opposed to the dumbbells and kettlebells I used before (I still use weights, albeit to a lesser extent). I made this decision because I find myself short on time most days of the week because of my busy schedule. I can accomplish a full-body workout, maintain muscle mass, and improve bone density in a relatively short amount of time—all with a jump rope (which is also crazy fun!)
Milestones & Challenges
I’d say some of the proudest moments were being able to help people facing a similar situation as I did. Just days after posting a shirtless photo of myself on Instagram showing my ostomy and telling my story, I received a few DMs from people who said that they too were facing the same surgery and were excited to know that they didn’t have to give up exercise once they made their recover.
As for challenges, when I first started to jump, it was extraordinarily difficult for me to stay patient. I was frustrated that all my strength and stamina were gone, sad even.
How could a 1-pound jump rope beat me?
I didn’t stay in a sad mood for long. I accepted what was and moved forward with my training. Every day that I spent jumping I was moving the needle a little bit more. I was improving and not staying stagnate. That’s what matters in the end, and I always keep that in mind. I went from not being able to swing the 1-pound rope for 10 seconds to doing full 20-minute workouts with short breaks in between.
I couldn’t have gone through what I had experienced without the love from my wife, Kristin. She was 6 months pregnant with our first child when I had to have surgery and she was as solid as a rock the whole time.
I also must thank my brother, Dave. I traveled 2,000 miles out of state to get the best surgical care I could find, and it just so happened to be close to where my brother lived. He took me to my appointments and waited at the hospital past midnight to make sure I was okay after my surgery.
Falling In Love With The Lifestyle
I look forward to every workout. There is no feeling of dread when it comes to scheduling a workout. I’m at a point in my life where I’m thinking about longevity—how I want to be able to move and play with my kids. How I need my body to have as much mobility as possible. I have this sign over my front door in my house as you exit, it says “Adventure awaits.” I know that jump rope can get me there.
I’ve never been much of a dancer, but I can turn on my earbuds and shuffle all day to great music with Crossrope jump ropes. I’ve learned so much footwork over the past year that it makes it hard to stop when I get going. I like to tell my wife that I’ve got rhythm now, but she just shakes her head.
From boxer skips to doing crisscrosses while running in place. I can’t get enough of it! There is just this feeling of, well, feeling free when jump roping! Almost to the point where you’re in a meditative state. This is where I go to work out my frustrations, I can just let everything go.
Matt’s Advice For New Jumpers
Take your time! Don’t start off with 30-45 minutes sessions. Start off slow to avoid injury. If you are going through a major surgery as I did or have a medical condition, make sure you get the green light from your physician before you begin. Lastly, always listen to your body. If you need to rest, then rest. Eat right and make sure you give your body what it needs to recover from your workouts.
Thank You, Matt
Matt, we are so proud to have you as a member of our community. Your story is truly inspiring, and it’s the perfect example of why we do what we do at Crossrope. Thank you for sharing. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for you, next!
Have questions for Matt? Leave them in the comments below! Don’t forget to go give him a follow on Instagram (@foxtrot_uc) to keep up with his adventures.
Have a jump rope story of your own to share? Get in touch with us, here.