Matthew Barnett, co-founder of Crossfit Cayman, has always been an active individual. Regular exercise and weight training have been an integral part of his life from the age of 12. He played baseball seriously through high school and college, competing in the 2001 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes World Series, earning him a nod from the All American team.
At 29, he stumbled upon Crossfit.com while browsing videos on action movie training regimes. “I think it was maybe the movie '300,'" he says. "I thought it looked cool and decided to try it."
Although he had been working out for many years, Crossfit helped him get into the kind of physical shape he desired.
"About six months to a year in, Crossfit gave me all the results," he says. "I thought, 'I’m sure there are other people like me, who are fumbling around trying to get results and it’s not working for them.'”
Barnett encouraged his wife Tarasa, a competitive volleyball athlete and personal trainer, to try Crossfit, too. After she also saw success with the programme, the couple decided to invest and help others achieve their best fitness results. The Barnetts became certified Crossfit trainers before meeting all their requirements to start a business.
“We never had the mindset of, ‘Let’s turn this thing into a successful business,’” Matthew says. “We just thought it would help ends meet and help other people."
Crossfit takes a well-rounded fitness approach rather than having a narrow focus on one or two types of exercise, Matthew says.
"You can bike, swim, row, run or use body weight movements and lifting."
One of key elements of the Crossfit culture is creating a community of like-minded and supportive individuals.
“Working out isn’t that fun; it’s hard, it creates grit and character,” he says. “Once you get through the technical and scientific part of why Crossfit is effective, there’s also a community of people who come through the gym, and knowing that 100 other people are doing this, too, motivates you.”
Matthew and Tarasa have both competed in the Crossfit Games professionally, and have been active coaches at the gym throughout, even as their client base has grown.
"In the trainer world, there can be burnout because of the long hours," he says, adding that the results their clients achieve make all the effort worthwhile. The fact that he and his wife love what they do also makes the hard work easier, which is related to an important piece of advice Matthew has for prospective entrepreneurs.
"Do something you’re passionate about because people want to work with people who are passionate.”
This article was originally published in the May/June 2022 print edition of Camana Bay Times.