Back to Episode
Juliet: [0:06:04] Welcome, Matt Vincent.
Matt Vincent: [0:06:06] Hello, friends. Happy to be back.
Juliet: [0:06:07] Thanks for being here.
Kelly: [0:06:08] So just to clear the room, everyone knows that we’re friends. Not just friends, we’re great friends.
Matt Vincent: [0:06:14] Like actual real life friends.
Kelly: [0:06:16] Real life friends.
Juliet: [0:06:17] Like maybe even family-ish friends.
Kelly: [0:06:18] And that’s going to allow us-
Matt Vincent: [0:06:19] Real name is Mitchell.
Juliet: [0:06:21] Yeah. Like chosen family.
Kelly: [0:06:22] That’s right. We have been on the Grand Canyon together. You and I have ridden bikes in the desert together. I have not met Doug, your new cat, but that’s the only thing between us as total friends.
Matt Vincent: [0:06:33] Currently.
Kelly: [0:06:34] Currently.
Matt Vincent: [0:06:35] But it’ll happen.
Kelly: [0:06:35] Your new used cat. But I just want to start by saying do you have any opinion that if Juliet had flexible ankles, she would have won the CrossFit Games World Championship?
Juliet: [0:06:45] Sorry. I’m sorry. Rephrase that. It would have been an inevitable reign. I’m saying like 2012 timeframe.
Matt Vincent: [0:06:53] So like still at the ranch.
Juliet: [0:06:54] No because 2010 was the first year that it went to Carson. So I’m saying like in the 2011-2012 timeframe, it would have been like a reign.
Matt Vincent: [0:07:03] So what you’re saying is ankle mobility is what kept Juliet or is the only thing that kept Juliet from being the master’s version of Annie Thorisdottir?
Kelly: [0:07:14] That and law school.
Juliet: [0:07:18] And having babies.
Matt Vincent: [0:07:18] Tomato, tomato.
Kelly: [0:07:19] Do you feel like you two, especially being world champions, sorry, former world champions, do you feel like you’re now just kind of a world champion entitlement? Like you’re just like ah, I could do that, I’m a world champion, it transfers?
Matt Vincent: [0:07:34] It’s nice to know the thing that I was built to do well is at the furthest end of the niche as it possibly could be. I’m glad it wasn’t coding or something really valuable that could have helped me for the rest of my life. Instead, it was throwing rocks in the field. I’m just trying to pivot as good as possible since then.
Juliet: [0:07:50] I think we’re competing with you on the furthest niche. Maybe in the opposite direction but deep niche. We can talk about that more later.
Kelly: [0:07:57] Yeah. In fact, just since we’re here in this moment, my sport, your sport, Juliet, was done on rivers far from civilization as possible. Do people actually show up and watch your events, Matt?
Matt Vincent: [0:08:09] They did. They did. It depended wildly on where we were.
Kelly: [0:08:13] That’s neither here or there because —
Matt Vincent: [0:08:15] Yeah, that’s true.
Kelly: [0:08:15] My point is that you had a more popular sport than Juliet’s world championship sport.
Juliet: [0:08:19] There was like massive television coverage. I don’t know what you’re talking about. Okay.
Matt Vincent: [0:08:22] This was at the Olympics.
Juliet: [0:08:24] I want to get back to this because I do want to talk more about your professional athlete career. But I want to go way back in time, Matt Vincent. You obviously are a very successful entrepreneur. You are a very successful athlete. But I want to know where it all started. Did you play sports as a kid? What were your influences? Did you plan to be world champion of a French sport? Let’s hear where it all began.
Matt Vincent: [0:08:47] So for me, everything growing up playing sports, doing everything, and especially the growing up in the South in the ’80s, I just don’t remember ever there being a choice about playing sports. It was just soccer started, and now we’re in soccer, and then it moved on to baseball season and basketball season and football season as soon as I was old enough to do that. I don’t think it was probably until late middle school that my opinion of, hey, I don’t like playing baseball was interesting to either of my parents. And so by that point, I was able to focus on a thing.
Kelly: [0:09:20] You have an older brother too. Is he athletic?
Matt Vincent: [0:09:22] Yeah, a bit. Andy being the mutant in the family at 6’5 and a little over 300 pounds by the time he graduated high school, was an All-American High School Football Player, all offensive lineman, played for AM, lettered there four years, and also was an All-American, and then played a couple years in the NFL for Miami and a year for Detroit. So yeah, moves well. And then was a professional Strongman.
Kelly: [0:09:48] The path was a little greased.
Matt Vincent: [0:09:50 Yeah. Professional Strongman. After that. also did some Adventure Races with me and then he more recently became a professional Highland Games guy and did that for 10 years. Stayed in the Top 10 in that sport.
Juliet: [0:10:03] Were you and Andy the largest people to ever do Adventure Races?
Matt Vincent: [010:08] I think our group was rough. It was like us two and the guy I own the bike shop with. And Bill was definitely our 135-pound runner. And so at that point, anytime Andy and I were looking at the trail or where our next checkpoint or anything like that was, if there was an out and back run to the checkpoint, we weren’t joining him for it. We’ll wait here.
Juliet: [0:10:31] You guys could probably do a really… You know how they do all that toeing in Adventure Racing now?
Matt Vincent: [0:010:32] Well, we look terrible in a canoe.
Juliet: [0:10:36] You could toe anyone.
Matt Vincent: [0:10:36] Andy and I and a third human in a canoe doesn’t go great.
Kelly: [0:10:40] I’m going to go with circus bears on bikes. Circus bears in canoes. That makes total sense.
Juliet: [0:10:47] So just to clarify though, the sport you landed on was football.
Matt Vincent: [0:10:51] High school was track and field. Track and field. So I got into throwing shotput in middle school. I wanted to do it from as early as I could. I watched Andy do it in middle school, and that’s really the first time I guess growing up that I had a chance, would have been like seventh grade. I tried to go out in sixth grade and my coach told me, no, no, we have a guy who’s in eighth grade right now who throws 40 feet, why would we bother to teach you how to do this. And I was like, okay, sick, so next year, I guess. And then I came out the next year and threw for seventh and eighth grade, and then made my way through high school, learned the discus, and then I was recruited by LSU, and did shot discus and hammer. So learned hammer once I got to college.
Juliet: [0:11:29] Just side note, how big were you when you left high school, since we talked about —
Kelly: [0:11:33] And how big were you when you started high school because you’re kind of one of my, just as an aside —
Juliet: [0:11:37] You’re not a small man.
Kelly: [0:11:37] You can answer this question because actually what people say to me is, every single time they’re like, Matt Vincent is like the largest person I have ever met. And I’m like you know, Matt actually weighs less than me right now, and he’s like 5’4. And he’s like a size three in Lululemon.
Matt Vincent: [0:11:52] Yeah. So when I got out of like eighth grade, starting high school football, so kind of had some summer practices and things like that, I remember at some point one of the coaches relaying it back, it was like, you weighed in at 173 pounds from eighth to ninth grade. And then I graduate high school weighing 270. So 100 pounds in four years. That’s normal growth. Look, on any of the dietary stuff, you’re not supposed to lose or gain more than a pound or two a month. So it worked out perfectly. I just did two pounds a month for four years. Easy 100 pounds. Anyone can do it.
Kelly: [0:12:24] That’s amazing. And when I first met Matt, everyone, he was off of the World Championship. You’ve been making content, bringing your friends along for the ride, for as long as I’ve known you, physically. And you had a little roadshow called The Drifta Lifta.
Matt Vincent: [0:12:43] Yeah. We did that for five years, man. Yeah, that was a five-year thing of trying to make a thing catch that, I don’t know, I would say mixed success.
Kelly: [0:12:52] But really, I think what’s important to this is I feel like if you drop into Matt Vincent now, you’ve got an incredible business line, a healthy relationship, your body is changing, you’re going through all these growth changes, man. You’re coming into your body. When I met you, you were maybe over 300 pounds.
Matt Vincent: [0:13:13] Probably 280.
Kelly: [0:13:15] Okay. Really? Only 280?
Matt Vincent: [0:13:15] Yeah. Probably. Because I was still doing Highland Games. The biggest I ever got was when I was doing Strongman. I got up to like 318 and didn’t carry it well, if you were wondering.
Kelly: [0:13:27] Just so you know, if I could go back in time, Matt often refers to the things that old Matt used to do as Big Matt. Like Big Matt would do that.
Matt Vincent: [0:13:36] Yeah. He was a different person.
Kelly: [0:13:38] Like that was his —
Juliet: [0:13:39] Yeah. Yeah. It’s like a totally different person.
Kelly: [0:13:40] It is a different person because right now, you sort of transformed yourself, and that’s I think the genesis, what’s interesting about this conversation we’re having is that you’ve gone from athlete, collegiate athlete, good level, world champion, to you had some change that came your way relative to your knee, which I think is very interesting, sort of forced retirement out of a sport. And you’ve completely remade your body and remade the things that you’re doing, which is bananas.
Matt Vincent: [0:14:08] You know, I looked at it a couple of different ways, right? I was always aware that the Highland Games was going to come to an end. As I hadn’t seen anyone do it for the remainder of their life, I had to go ahead and make the agreement that probably at some point I wouldn’t be doing that sport anymore. And if that’s true, that we should maybe think of an exit strategy. I knew that for me with the Highland Games, I loved it. I loved competing in it, I loved training for it, I loved traveling for it, I loved the guys I competed with. But I knew that I didn’t want to be Matt Vincent, Highland Games guy. It was a cool thing I did, but I didn’t want it to be who I was. And so whenever I got out of that sport, and I knew while I was in it that whenever that time’s over, I need to change, like I need to drop weight. There’s no reason for me to be this big going forward with regular life or doing any of that. And also, the message I try to share with the brand about trying to be better and improvement and all that, that’s the ethos that I live with. And so sitting there and just, I don’t know, man, it was one thing to be big and strong, but I wasn’t interested in being big and weak and broken. If I’m going to deal with a bit weaker and more broken, I’m going to be aesthetically better looking. Otherwise, the message of what we stand for doesn’t translate to people, right, because you don’t walk the walk.
Kelly: [0:15:28] What do you weigh now?
Matt Vincent: [0:15:029] 235.
Kelly: [0:15:30] 235. You actually weigh less than me.
Juliet: [0:15:32] So I’ve got to go way back in time because my husband actually skipped 20 years of your life. He went from you going to LSU on scholarship to what do you weigh now.
Matt Vincent: [0:15:42] What do I weigh currently. Things are in the past, Juliet, people can’t learn from that.
Juliet: [0:15:46] Yeah, I was like these things are in the past. You and I have talked a little bit, back to your athletic career, first of all, if you could explain for everyone what the Highland Games is, but then secondarily, I think you and I have talked quite a bit about the mental aspect of sport, and you and I both sharing a feeling that we were pretty good at that, being gamers, and that that was never really a stopping point for us, but is a stopping point for so many athletes. So I would just love to sort of hear your take on that, where you’re coming from there.
Matt Vincent: [0:16:15] Sure. So I guess we’ll start back on the first part of that and what is the Highland Games. So Scottish Highland Games are considered Scottish heavy athletics, the Scottish Highland Games. They’ve been doing them in Scotland for a really, really long time. Some of the games, like being over in Scotland, will be the 700th running of that competition. And even cooler for stuff like that sometimes, it’s the original stones or any of this stuff that they’ve kept around the whole time, so there is this kind of cool, historical side to it, right? So I really like that.
Kelly: [0:16:46] How come no one steals those stones in the field? They just lay there? Do you pick them up?
Juliet: [0:16:48] That’s actually like that is a really cool part of that sport, this deep history.
Matt Vincent: [0:16:54] People ask that about the Husafell Stone and I’m like what the hell are you going to do with it?
Kelly: [0:16:57] Pick it up? You can’t even pick it up.
Matt Vincent: [0:16:59] Where are you going to go with it? It’s 407 pounds. It’s awful. I had a weird day where they had used it at a competition in Iceland and I was going out to Husafell the next day to go carry it with a friend. And they’re like do you just want to carry it in the car and bring it back with you. I’m like, no thanks. Like I don’t want this in my vehicle. What am I going to do with it? Prefer someone else to drive it out there and leave it on the ground. But so the Highland Games, yeah, so we have nine events that we do. And this worked very, very well for me as an athlete. So we have two stones that we throw, just like shotput. We have two weights that we throw and technique wise is somewhere between hammer and discus. But you throw a 56-pound block or a 28 pound block off of a length of chain with a ring on it for distance. You throw it one-armed, spin around twice. And then we have the hammer. And instead of the Olympic hammer, which you would turn, the Scottish hammer, your feet are fixed into the ground and then you orbit the ball around you and then throw it.
Kelly: [0:17:59] Can you talk just for a second how your feet are planted into the ground because I find this amazing.
Matt Vincent: [0:18:04] Knife boots. Custom knife boots. So yeah, there’s a lot of silly equipment with the Highland Games too, which is also a lot of fun.
Juliet: [0:18:11] And also, what are you wearing when you’re competing in the Highland Games?
Matt Vincent: [0:18:15] You wear a kilt. That’s one of the ones that people get caught up on more than I ever expected. I was like it’s a uniform. People wear dumb shit for cycling. Like hey, you wear spandex. Yeah man, that’s part of the gear, what do you want me to do. It’s not like I’m stoked on wearing a kilt. But also, I’m not mad at it. They’re comfortable.
Juliet: [0:18:34] A bunch of large men in a kilt is, I mean it’s very cute looking.
Matt Vincent: [0:18:38] I appreciate the vibe we put out.
Kelly: [0:18:40] I do want to jump in just for a second because you’ve sort of lain down — and if you’ve ever head of a caber toss, that’s an event.
Matt Vincent: [0:18:47] Yep. That’s another. Caber toss is another event. So back to the hammer. Yeah. So as you were saying with the blades, so the way this works is, and they’re called blades, so you would bolt like a six- or seven-inch metal blade to the front of your foot or to the shoe. Just check it and don’t ask questions. That’s it. Just put it in check bag and move on. I traveled with a big giant rolling suitcase or rolling hardware box that you would use as a traveling toolbox from like Lowe’s. As long as they kept it under 50 pounds, good to go.
Juliet: [0:19:21] Good to go.
Matt Vincent: [0:19:22] Yes. Not extra or oversized on Southwest. It was great. I don’t know how things currently are. But yeah, so you have those blades. And those anchor you to the ground. So essentially, once that hammer at 16 or 20 pounds is really going fast and is reaching behind you because the bigger the orbit is, the faster it’s going, the further it’ll fly. It’s really hard to stay on the ground unless you’re anchored in. And then once you’re anchored in, you can actually start pulling on the ground with your legs to accelerate the ball instead of thinking about it with your shoulders. Gets weird. But so that’s six events now with the caber, which is the one everyone knows most, which is the telephone pole that you throw. And you throw for accuracy. And the idea is that you flip it end over end away from you, and it lands at 12 o’clock on a clock face from the direction you were running. So your last three steps set the direction the caber flips. Twelve o’clock would be perfect. Anything off of that is slightly less. If it doesn’t flip, you’d get a percentage.
Kelly: [0:20:18] Of course, it’s a sport. That totally makes sense. It’s like gymnastics. There’s a little bit of judging in there.
Matt Vincent: [0:20:25] A little bit. Yeah. Leaving it up to that guy, especially on percentages, some guy on the side of you going 75. Great, I’m going to go ahead and turn this so I don’t have to deal with that part.
Kelly: [0:20:40] I want to just tie up a couple things. You have a lot in there. But the reason I brought up Big Matt is Big Matt, when you are competing your best, you are pretty hard to beat, and there’s a signature to the style of competition that you bring. Can you talk about that? When you’re feeling good —
Matt Vincent: [0:21:00] I’m having fun, man. I’m not the intense guy that wants to be left alone and sit in the corner and be focused and do my own thing. I’m out having a good time and telling jokes and cutting it up with the other guys I’m competing with and laughing between attempts. And typically, with me, with throwing, I’m looser. It would be the same way that Olympic lift, whenever I did those competitions, I felt the same mentality to what produced results. Power lifting and Strongman took a little bit more of kind of had to get your shit together because it’s heavy. It requires more effort. Whereas there’s no grinding it out in the Highland Games, right? Everything moves so fast and it’s so light and you have to be loose and explosive, not tight and trying to be strong. Hydraulic power doesn’t work well in the Highland Games. I need horsepower and torque, if that makes any more sense. So it’s got to be fast and explosive movement to accelerate a light thing.
Juliet: [0:21:55] But can I ask something real quick?
Matt Vincent: [0:21:55] Yeah.
Juliet: [0:21:56] And I guess I was sort of alluding to this before in my earlier question, but I think it’s so interesting that it seems like you figured out a way to compete with joy, and not that you didn’t have some level of intensity because obviously you had enough intensity to actually win multiple World Championships, right? So you were able to strike this balance between being a serious, legit competitor, but also actually having fun. And I think that’s the thing so many people are missing.
Kelly: [0:22:24] Yeah, apply that to business or any other thing. Relationships.
Juliet: [0:22:25] They think it’s one or the other, right? They think unless I’m perfectly intense and serious all the time and not having any fun there’s no way I can be the best.
Matt Vincent: [0:22:33] Well, to me a lot of that is people getting caught up on someone else’s interpretation of how you compete, like someone else being able to say, well, they’re not very intense, they must not be taking this serious. That’s not the case. I have the ability to turn it on and turn it off. That’s how I can stay out here and do this for eight hours. You can’t just stay nutted up and locked in for eight hours. You just can’t hold that line. And so I’ve got to be able to work on spikes. And so if I’ve got 27 relative attempts that I’m going to take that day of nine events, three throws each, I need to be really focused for 27 things. That’s it. What happens between those doesn’t matter.
Kelly: [0:23:15] That’s a lot.
Matt Vincent: [0:23:15] It’s a lot but you can’t hold it. You know what I mean. And back to being a gamer, I was having fun.
Kelly: [0:23:21] That really is I think a hallmark between you and Juliet, is that you guys, it looks effortless from the outside, and yet I’ve seen Juliet do things in a moment when the pressure’s on. Juliet is one of the biggest gamers I’ve ever met. Oh, 60 Minutes is at the gym, oh, let me just PR my clean, lifetime clear, because obviously you need three cameras and 60 Minutes to have the right motivation to have a PR. That sort of thing. You have done an amazing job transferring that into your current state whether we’re talking about your business and creating content. But more importantly, one of the things that’s so amazing about you, even with Drifta Lifta, is that you brought everyone along for the ride. And I feel like that was watching you compete because I knew you during those times, that joy that you felt and the looseness wasn’t just aimed at you. It was aimed at if we all are not necessarily taking ourselves seriously, but playing with joy, we actually can go further. I feel like this is a huge… I mean all these entrepreneur podcasts, what’s your daily ritual, how do you hack, and how are you optimizing. And you really have created a sustainable process that is always party.
Matt Vincent: [0:24:45] It’s always party, man. And the always party side, it’s about performing when it counts and that’s what it’s about. And I wonder though with you too Juliet, and you too Kelly, because I mean as gamers, right, the stuff that I’m confident in now is I don’t care if I’m not totally prepared for a thing. I’ll be fine. I’ll get it done. I know that I can make it happen whenever the time comes. And that’s a cool confidence to go forward with in life because I’ve done enough presentations as an outside sales rep, I’ve competed enough times where it’s final throw, this is that bottom of the ninth moment. And more times than not for me, I’ve performed well, especially depending on how you want to define well, right? If not failing and not choking and screwing up is performing well, then you can get pretty good at that. It’s not always a hit it out of the park. But you’ve got to at least know that you can get your job done when the time comes. Maybe you’re not a homerun in the bottom of the ninth. But I mean know that you can get the base hit and know that you’ve got that confidence in yourself for work, for life, for your relationship that doesn’t all have to be work if you know that you can flip that switch and make progress and be on point and be smart and be present when it counts.
Kelly: [0:26:01] The river running is interesting because you’ve had some success in that, Juliet, in quotation marks, but even if you just go out and run hard with your friends, you can’t be gripped all day. It doesn’t work. You paddle like ass, it’s not fun, you don’t enjoy it, there are no goofy moments. You’re going to have to eat lunch at some point and you can’t eat lunch in silence. It’s a really long day where you have to get up and focus and get your shit together and then wind down, run the sections between the big stuff. I mean that risk taking practice over and over again, I see you, Juliet, be able to get in and out of flow or in and out of intensity very quickly.
Matt Vincent: [0:26:38] And I think it’s also important the better you are as an athlete and the further that you develop as a business owner is realizing what level of intensity each problem’s requiring of you. You’ve got to have more than one gear.
Juliet: [0:26:50] You know, not to change the subject, but one thing I really wanted to talk to you about, and this could just be the let’s name all the things Matt and Juliet have in common podcast. But another big one I think we share, and I think it’s a big one, is that after college you took an outside sales job, which you can talk about. But then while you were doing that job, you became an entrepreneur and had kind of two jobs for a while.
Kelly: [0:27:13] Three jobs. Athlete.
Juliet: [0:27:14] Three jobs.
Kelly: [0:27:15] Outside sales. Started the business.
Juliet: [0:27:16] And at some point, you felt that you had enough humans and support and whatever you needed from a financial standpoint to be able to sort of jettison your day job and actually do HVIII Brand Goods full time. So —
Matt Vincent: [0:27:31] Well, the day job decided to quit giving me a paycheck.
Juliet: [0:27:34] Well, yeah, I know that wasn’t like a conscious decision, but I think you would have come to that.
Matt Vincent: [0:27:40] Of course. I would have got there.
Juliet: [0:27:41] You would have gotten there, just maybe not right in that moment. But I don’t know, talk to us a little bit about what that transition is like from normal job to entrepreneurship and what that was like for you and what your motivation was.
Kelly: [0:27:54] I think a lot of people want to know this because I think people feel like they wish they could start their own business and work for themselves and have sort of their autonomy and time back. But the leap is big. Even Juliet, just for context, really struggled internally for a minute to leave her law profession which she had seriously invested in, was quite competent, on her way to being a partner, and suddenly you were like no, I’m going to go be the CEO of a stretching company.
Matt Vincent: [0:28:18] Well, that’s tricky, right, because there’s that fallacy of cost that we all deal with, right? That man, I’ve already put 10 years into this industry, I can’t just start over. Fuck, you can. You can start over. Hit the button and start over.
Kelly: [0:28:33] Did you get there overnight? I mean did you have any doubts?
Matt Vincent: [0:028:33] No, of course. I also learned a few things from previous mistakes, right, from being an entrepreneur. So I did the bike shop thing immediately coming out of college and I failed at that. So that was a brick and mortar, we opened from jump. I established contacts with vendors, I built everything with getting bikes into our shop from scratch. So I learned a ton from it. My execution was really poor. And I just didn’t have the knowledge. I didn’t have the knowledge of how to make a struggling business succeed and the brick and mortar, those type of things. I didn’t have any of that knowledge.
I got out of that and did two jobs I didn’t care for, including back working at the strip club, bouncing, and DJing at night. And then that got me into working in the petrochemical field not doing outside sales. So my first job in the petrochemical field was a hand. So I was climbing towers and doing radioactive scans on things and trying to read data and deliver it to clients.
And then the change is, why when I was working for a company doing just climbing towers, getting paid, getting my commission, right, why did I decide if no one’s doing sales for us, someone should. That’s the mental switch people have or don’t have. I took on extra work because it would get us more work as a company, which in turn pays me more money. So I started cold calling a blank list of clients every day for eight hours. And by the time, I mean somebody would answer every eight to ten phone calls, you don’t even remember who you tried to call. And so you’re like, hey, how are you. You try to get context clues together from what they’ve said to schedule a meeting and do something to go forward. But cold calling is rough. And then you do that for a few years. And then taking customers to lunch and then another company who I had made contact with wanted me to just to do the sales thing for them. I didn’t have to climb towers anymore. And so it slowly progressed on like that.
Juliet: [0:30:30] You had to do a bit of driving though. A little bit of driving.
Matt Vincent: [0:30:32] I had to do a lot of driving. Yeah. About 75,000 miles a year is what I averaged for quite some time. Didn’t do the best things for my body. But here we are.
Kelly: [0:30:43] I feel like there’s a phrase here like fast carbs and lean protein, is that right?
Matt Vincent: [0:30:47] Fast carbs and lean protein, they’re key. They’re key for success when you’re on the road. You stop at a Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers. You get seven chicken fingers and some fries and a three liter of Dr. Pepper and it’s the best combination, essentially for building your bench press, I was taught, during my powerlifting years.
Kelly: [0:31:05] Whatever is left in that cup is standing between you and your dreams.
Juliet: [0:31:08] Okay. Okay. So you’re in this outside sales job and competing as a Highlands Games athlete and you decide to start HVIII Brand Goods. Did you start with Drifta Lifta first?
Matt Vincent: [0:31:20] So I decided to write a book in 2011. It was called Training LAB. And so it was essentially my breakdown of how you would approach a full year of training for the Highland Games. Took a lot of what I had liked from Strongman and powerlifting and then what I had learned from actually competing in track and field in college. And because it’s such a different sport, there wasn’t really anything out there for athletes in arena. And why it’s different from other strength sports is I would compete 22 or 23 times a year. So you can’t peak for 23 games. You have to decide as an athlete these three matter. And then you train around those and you build your whole season so that I can… I don’t want to throw PRs in May; I want to throw PRs at the World Championships in August. And so you build your season and your training and strength training program around that.
During writing of that book, one of the philosophies I talked about was something my brother and I had discussed called the hate. And it was something we had always seen in athletes we’d admired. These guys who were at the top and still doing the gnarly work to try to get better because it matters to them, not because they have something to prove, not because of expectations or any other thing, but that own athlete’s hunt for how good can I be. And that way at least I know when the time’s up, hey, I didn’t leave anything there. I don’t have any of that about Highland Games, like ooh, if I could’ve won another one, if I could’ve done this. I gave it hell for the whole time I was in it. This is the best I could’ve ever been at it. I’m very honest about that with myself. Anything extra, I didn’t clearly want to do. So here’s where we ended up. And I’m stoked on that. And so I don’t have any weird feelings going forward. Also, I found out how far I throw all those things. I’ll never throw those things further again so I don’t need to keep chipping away at a goal I’ve already accomplished. That didn’t make any sense to me once it was over.
Kelly: [0:33:13] Let me frame this. I’ve been in Matt’s house. Let me say that there is not a single caber, stone, knife shoe in your whole house. If I didn’t know, I’d be like, well, this is this big jacked runner guy because that’s what you do. There’s not a single photo of you throwing. Do you have shame, Matt? Do you have Highland shame?
Matt Vincent: [0:33:32] No, it was a good memory, man.
Juliet: [0:33:34] You have to remember every so often, it appears on Instagram. It’s not like not there. Every so often it appears.
Matt Vincent: [0:33:38] Yeah, yeah, every once in a while, it’s cool. You’ve got to remind people.
Juliet: [0:33:40] Yeah, it’s not like not there, you know. Every so often it appears.
Kelly: [0:33:43] I don’t think you have any… We have one boating picture of you in the house maybe?
Juliet: [0:33:47] No. No. That was a thing we did. It’s not who we are.
Matt Vincent: [0:33:49] That’s exactly it, right? I’m very proud of it. But I also, I could see that trap with other athletes of like, oh man, be careful because I mean so let’s say that that was the gimmick, I leaned into for everything, that I tried to build my business around, was this Highland Games thing. Well, it’s now 2021, and by 2026, which will be here instantly in four years, I will have not competed for a decade. That seems like a real weird thing to be yelling at, at 43, remember when I did that thing you guys didn’t care about then, well, I’m going to keep talking about it. Like no man, you better figure out the new gimmick, figure out whatever the next way to translate that thing is. I mean you still need that credibility, but that’s all it is at this point for me, is I did a thing.
Juliet: [0:34:40] So you kind of alluded to sort of the ethos a little bit that you and Andy created around this idea of hate. But could you give maybe just me the elevator speech around what it means? And let me tell you the backstory. You know, basically our entire family including me is wearing HVIII Brand Goods stuff 24 hours a day.
Kelly: [0:35:00] Caroline and Matt are wearing the same shirt today.
Juliet: [0:35:02] Yeah. You and Caroline are wearing the same outfit today. And people do ask me. And I think I need some training on my elevator speech to explain what it is, because I think people are like what is this HVIII Brand Goods. And I was like, well, it’s not hate like in a bad way. In fact, it’s the opposite of hate, it’s about joy and partying. And so I guess I’d love to hear what’s your elevator speech on what the brand HVIII Brand Goods means.
Matt Vincent: [0:35:27] The biggest thing about the hate, right, is that you’re not willing to tolerate your own shit, your own it’s been good enough, I deserve the day off, oh, we deserve snacks. Any of that deserve, entitlement, any of that. No one owes you anything, man. It’s being willing to hate yourself to do what it takes to get where you want to go because if you don’t care, no one else is going to care for it more than you. That’s one of those things I never understand. If you’re not willing to want your success more than someone else does for you, what are you doing? There’s a lot of suffering that comes through that.
Talking about making the shift to entrepreneurship and all those type things because they want that freedom of life that you’re talking about, because look, it’s real cool to look at year seven in, but good luck because the first four years are ugly. The first four years are not taking a paycheck, constantly trying to figure out systems, and how to put things in place, and why your business doesn’t operate, how do we get paid, how do we pay taxes. And then the better you get at that, how do you really pay taxes, how do you find an accountant, find all these people to take care of the jobs? I’m seven years in, it feels like year one. And so anyone who looks at the, oh, it must be nice to own your own business thing, sure man, but get ready for the baptism by fire. You don’t get both.
Juliet: [0:36:40] Yeah, you know, we’ve had a couple of people in more recent years be like, wow, you guys are really hot right now. What’s it like?
Kelly: [0:36:46] Overnight success. Best new stretching artist.
Juliet: [0:36:48] Yeah. Best new stretching artist. And we’re like, wow, it’s been like digging a ditch for 15 years, but thanks for letting us know we’re hot right now.
Matt Vincent: [0:36:57] That’s all it ever feels like, right?
Juliet: [0:36:58] Yeah. It’s digging a ditch.
Matt Vincent: [0:37:00] That’s what the hate’s about. The hate’s about not tolerating that good enough, that if you want it, you go get it.
Kelly: [0:37:07] Juliet will talk to a lot of college seniors who are about to transition to the workplace, who are athletes, these Division I schools, and they all seem to think that they don’t have any skills. And Juliet will have to remind them, actually, you guys are the most employable people ever. You know how to be on a team, you know how to show up, you know how to work when you don’t want to work, you know how to do the thing, go to bed early, delay gratification.
Matt Vincent: [0:37:33] They should realize that that’s the skillset they’re building, right? But I don’t know what coaches talk about at this point. I know what my experience was as a collegiate athlete at that time, but I don’t know what the university system feels like anymore.
Kelly: [0:37:44] That’s right.
Juliet: [0:37:45] You know, this is a pet peeve I have. Or not even a pet peeve, but I think let me just say this. If I had two candidates that I was going to hire, like young people, like 22 year olds, and one of them had been an entrepreneur, and one of them had worked at a pizza joint, chances are I would hire the kid that’s worked at a pizza joint because I think that —
Kelly: [0:38:02] Entrepreneur’s not the right word.
Juliet: [0:38:03] I don’t know if that’s the right word. But it’s like we do, we have sort of fetishized, I can’t say that word, entrepreneurship, but I have to think that a lot of the skills that have translated for you and most of us come in part from just doing whatever job that is. I mean in your case it was having a failing bike company or God knows whatever jobs you did in college or otherwise where you have to show up and answer to someone.
Matt Vincent: [0:38:27] I learned from the bike shop thing, and the important thing I learned was I didn’t want to work for someone else. All right, let’s zoom out again and figure out. And also, it took me 10 plus years to reload and try again. From the bike shop failing, a decade.
Kelly: [0:38:41] I can really relate to that. You know, I’ve sort of hinted before about Big Matt, but the flip side of Big Matt is Puka Shell Kell. And —
Juliet: [0:38:52] He was truly wearing a puka shell when I met him.
Kelly: [0:38:55] It wasn’t a puka shell. It was an allegorical. It might have been like yak bone
Juliet: [0:38:55] It was an actual. And you were wearing clogs. Just saying.
Matt Vincent: [0:39:01] You should just get one puka shell tattooed by your ankle.
Juliet: [0:39:03] I’m sorry. I have to go farther before Kelly makes his point and just sort of paint the picture. When I met Kelly, he weighed 179.
Kelly: [0:39:10] No.
Juliet: [0:39:10] He claims it was like 183, but whatever. It was 179.
Kelly: [0:39:13] 197.
Juliet: [0:39:14] He had dyed his hair white blonde and he was wearing clogs and a puka shell necklace. I’m just saying. And I thought you were totally hot.
Matt Vincent: [0:39:23] Jorts?
Juliet: [0:39:24] No. The jorts are a new thing. And I have to say, I really dig them.
Kelly: [0:39:28] Yeah, you should. I didn’t have an ass to support the jorts before. I mean Juliet used to call my legs the birds.
Matt Vincent: [0:39:33] Jorts are important. You can’t do saggy jorts though.
Juliet: [0:39:38] No, they need to be butt tight. No, no, no, they need to literally be butt tight.
Matt Vincent: [0:39:42] Yeah, yeah, yeah, five-to-six-inch inseam, tops. You need to see a little bit VMO out of the bottom at all times.
Kelly: [0:39:48] Carrying these quads in a kayak does me no favors, just FYI both of you.
Juliet: [0:39:52] No, it does not.
Kelly: [0:39:53] Except I don’t need any additional padding. I actually had to take all the padding out of the kayak.
Matt Vincent: [0:39:56] If you really cared about training for kayaking, you’d FDR those legs immediately.
Juliet: [0:40:00] Carrying around your quads doesn’t help you a lot in most of the stuff we do these days, baby.
Kelly: [0:40:05] Except jorts.
Juliet: [0:40:06] Except for jorts. Yeah, they do look good in jorts.
Matt Vincent: [0:40:09] Yeah, except walking around and establishing dominance against the rest of the men we see. We’re primates.
Kelly: [0:40:13] Don’t pretend we’re making, mixing… A dominant species mixing an inferior species in a pot. That’s called making chili. So the reason I mentioned Big Matt/puka shell is I don’t think people appreciate that you can’t get to where you are today without just the practice and the failing and the risk taking. It’s a lot of risk for you. You ended up throwing up as well as you could train and you had to peak that day. And there’s a million things that have to go right on a competition day for that moment to happen. And I feel like the better prepared you are and sort of just more practice you get, the more likely you are to have that success. Obviously, you’re super talented.
And one of the things that Juliet and I continue to sort of stumble and rediscover is when we were river guides paddling, taking risks, being in charge of people, that really set us up for feeling uncomfortable about the outcomes. Because I think a lot of people would love to jump into entrepreneurship, but they’re not that familiar with failure because they really haven’t fallen on their face many times. Especially if you work for someone else, right, where you get a check, maybe you get a bad review. But it’s really hard to get fired. You really have to be messing up. And yet as an athlete you risk so much. And I don’t just mean physically. I mean psycho-emotionally. You show up and there was a terrible event and you have to be able to put that together over and over again, and that’s very much the same lift, the iterative, quick fail, risk taking in order to have a successful business.
Matt Vincent: [0:41:46] Yeah. I think that side of it, I think it’s a learned skill. I think that’s one of those things that gets forgot about by a lot of athletes because the training gets such a focus, as it’s the majority of time. Luckily for me, coming from a track and field background, right, we compete a lot as track and field athletes. So our season starts as indoors in January and we’re done in June. So that’s every weekend for six months. Not all those track meets are terribly important. Some are practice, which you need to get better at competing. It’s better at knowing the routine of here’s how we show up to the track, we’re going to get some warmup through us, there’s some unknowns that are going to come. Don’t worry about those because they’re unknown every week, just like they are for all the other people. And then you focus on the stuff that you can control. And so you do the best you can to stack the cards in your favor for success on that day and that comes from having experienced doing it. You don’t develop a really good competition day strategy without competing. I got to try how to compete 20 plus times a year for the entire time I competed in my sport. Like that’s different than powerlifting or something else where you get on the stage to compete three times a year. I’m doing it a lot. And I got really good at competing and beating when it counts. And that skill has transferred over to relationships, life, right? When stuff gets tough or uncomfortable, I’m happy. I’m good there. Or business stuff, like if I don’t have that kind of uncomfortable feeling like everything’s on fire, I realize no one’s on the gas, we’re coasting, and I’m no longer interested in staying in that room. I want to be on the gas and I want to be uncomfortable.
Juliet: [0:43:25] I’m going to take this conversation on a real left turn here, Matt.
Matt Vincent: [0:43:29] All right. We gonna talk about aliens?
Juliet: [0:43:31] Because a lot of people would sort of… There are a lot of things we have in common as the three of us that are sort of obvious to anyone.
Kelly: [0:43:38] Thanks for including me now.
Juliet: [0:43:39] You’re finally in the group. But one thing that nobody would never necessarily know is one of the things we bonded over so intensely when we first met is our mutual love of midcentury modern architecture and design.
Matt Vincent: [0:43:54] And fake joints.
Juliet: [0:43:57] And fake joints. Sorry. Also fake joints. I don’t know. Tell me a little bit about because you obviously are someone who cares about design and functional spaces and being in places that feel good. Details.
Kelly: [0:44:10] Of all the people in my life, Matt is top three, impeccable taste.
Juliet: [0:44:14] Yeah. I agree.
Matt Vincent: [0:44:15] Oh man, that’s probably my favorite compliment that I’ve ever been given. That’s so much cooler to me than anything on top of the sports stuff. It’s all great and fine. Taste is different.
Juliet: [0:44:25] Where does that come from? Where does that come from, Matt? I mean you’re this —
Kelly: [0:44:28] Louisiana, obviously.
Juliet: [0:44:28] Track and field kid from Baton Rouge.
Matt Vincent: [0:44:32] Midcentury modern’s way popular in Louisiana.
Juliet: [0:44:36] I mean I’ve got to know. I have to understand what the deal is because it’s a real moment for us.
Matt Vincent: [0:44:41] I really wonder that, why my interest leaned towards the things that it did, design aesthetic, those type of things. I knew that I had an interest in art growing up for a long time and that I found interest in album covers and graphic art and those kind of things. And now looking back at stuff, there’s kind of an interesting pathway that I wasn’t paying enough attention to over what stuff I was doing as hobbies. One of which when I had the bike shop, one of the things I liked doing most at the bike shop was designing shirts. And then I tour managed for a friend’s band.
Kelly: [0:45:15] Matt just sent me some pictures of the first HVIII Brands logo ever. Like scratched
Matt Vincent: [0:45:22] Yeah. Like sketched out in my notebook. Yeah.
Kelly: [0:45:24] And a couple iterations. I mean what I’m saying is that this is also a skill that you’ve practiced and practiced. You’re in constant feedback loop. In fact, we visited your gym, I came back and I knocked something off right away. I was like we need to get this neon sign stat.
Matt Vincent: [0:45:38] Yeah. I think it matters that you create a vibe, right, especially if you’re lucky enough to get to build your own universe, right? That I’m not just buying things to get the job done, that I get to buy the things I want. And if I’m going to buy the things I want, then those things need to matter and have a reason for why I think they’re cool.
Kelly: [0:45:57] And that’s actually really consistent with your whole sort of competition worldview, is that you built a universe that you wanted to train in, in which you wanted to compete, where you could control. And I have to really be honest, that your home design, gym design, aesthetic design is really, and even just the people that you curate and cultivate and are friends with, same thing, you’ve just done a different iterative world building that you did as an athlete.
Matt Vincent: [0:46:21] Yeah. Yeah. I’ve been lucky enough that one of the skills that I tend to have is that people like my company. So that’s a good one. I’ve said it a lot, as far as building to get the right people around you or that network or any of that, because I do think that really, really matters. For me, I like being the least successful of my group of friends. That makes me happy. That means chances are only going up for me. I’m not dragging everyone down. Whereas if you’re the most successful group in your group of friends, probably they need to go. You should probably find some other people to be around, to be inspired by, to be fired up by, people that are just driving forward as hard as you are that want to help success, that are stoked on success and not trying to grab ahold of yours or mad at it.
And having that focus of putting the details in has always mattered to me. I’ve never wanted… it’s never been a turn on for me to have the big 6,000 square foot, giant 10,000 square foot mansion and 20 cars. What I want is 2,500 feet of perfection. I want everything in there to be made for, to be purchased for a decision. I want everything to have a couple layers of oh, that’s cool, and then you get closer and then realize, oh, that’s cool. For example, my desk, I really like my desk, it’s a simple desk, couple things that add to it: It’s electric and adjustable. Awesome. That’s not a normal thing people have for a big giant six and a half foot long desk. Then you look at it again and you’re like, wait, what’s the top. It’s a 100-year-old bowling alley lane. There’s things that matter. And so I built this because I found a guy selling bowling alley lanes and then I found legs from another place and I put it all together to be my desk. This is what I like. I didn’t have it refinished and sanded perfectly because I want the wear and tear that comes from it being a 100-year-old bowling alley. And I’m going to continue to beat it up.
Kelly: [0:48:17] Do you think people just don’t know what they like?
Matt Vincent: [0:48:20] Maybe.
Kelly: [0:48:20] Do you think they just —
Matt Vincent: [0:48:21] My mom’s a perfect example of this, where she knows what she doesn’t like, and then the other side of that, everything’s basically pretty good. But nothing’s incredible. I know the stuff for me that only falls into incredible. And I’m not interested in much compromise on the other side of incredible. I don’t want good enough. I’ve done good enough. I’ve done that in the past and I don’t want it anymore.
Juliet: [0:48:45] Speaking of incredible, I would venture to say that the growth that HVIII Brand Goods has had over the past few years has been incredible and amazing. And we as your friends are so excited to just watch you continue to grow that business and be so successful. What are you guys thinking about? What’s next? What are you looking forward to? What are you working on? What’s going on right now?
Matt Vincent: [0:49:06] We’re at a point right now where I feel really confident and comfortable in my ability to create stuff we’re putting out. I can do it. I’m taking on that work for a couple of other people’s brands because I want to see what I can do creatively. Can I think of ideas fast enough basically is what I want to find out, where the rev limiter is on that dumb machine.
And so now as the business is growing and I’m starting to get real help from my team, with Brant and Andy and the other media guys, and then the guys that we have not in house. We’ve got an editor in Australia, Aaron, we’ve got a podcast editor in London, various people like that. So now it’s trying to figure out that system. We had a big meeting today and I essentially got to plan out for the first time since I’ve had our business, I know in general what everything’s getting made for the rest of the year. Now I may not have finished design files for December yet, but I know what December’s vibe is. And that’s a starting point. At least that’s setting the compass, right? Because you’ve got to be able to at least pick directions.
So now kind of for the first time this year now that I’m doing it, I feel like a CEO. It’s the first time I’ve had in the process, okay, we’re serious now, we’re trying to run a business. And I’ve got to make CEO decisions of delegating work, and trying to keep people motivated and bought into the company we’re running. That’s my job now. My job is to be the face, be content, come up with the direction, and then make sure my team can implement that direction the best way possible, instead of me just doing everything moderately poorly at the limit of my abilities.
Juliet: [0:50:46] You know one thing I think that maybe people don’t really fully appreciate is because you are a lifestyle brand, how much content you are creating on a daily, monthly, weekly, yearly basis to be able to support what you’re doing.
Matt Vincent: [0:51:02] One of these days it’s going to catch.
Juliet: [0:51:05] I just want to make sure there’s no illusion that it’s like, let’s create a Shopify store that looks real nice and press play and I’m going to sell some stuff, right?
Kelly: [0:51:11] Can’t compete like that anymore.
Matt Vincent: [0:51:12] Now with that, it did start there.
Juliet: [0:51:14] Right.
Matt Vincent: [0:51:15] Like it did realistically start there, right? Like I came up with a T-shirt design, I had some stuff in place as far as how to print it and where it was going to ship from. But it’s still doing one shirt. And so we did a preorder and sold, I don’t know, 100 over the course of the week. And then essentially, kind of with apparel, you’re at a 50 percent margin. So then we take all the profit, and now we have 200 shirts on the shelf. And those can sell. And when I realize those quit selling, we probably should come up with another design. And that’s kind of been the pace we’ve run since then, is we only have two types of customers, right, for me. You guys have a consumable thing that there’s always new information for people to keep buying. I am selling things. And so if I only have returning and new customers, new customers will buy whatever’s new, but I’ve still got to feed the people that have been on board. And they’re not buying the same shirt again. So I’ve got to be able… The more that I keep putting out new stuff that feeds both of those audiences better, instead of like, oh, we made that great design in 2018, we’ll keep running it.
Juliet: [0:52:23] No, I mean I think we really do relate to that though. Even though you’re selling things and we’re selling content, we’re in the same boat, right? Like we have all these, right? And I think that’s actually really what trips up a lot of people in sort of our line of work on the content side, is they’re kind of just like let me just drop in this content and press play and then go take a nap. And we’re in the same boat as you where you’ve got to constantly be updating, updating, adding new, making sure that you’re —
Matt Vincent: [0:52:49] And the monster’s hungrier. It isn’t like the same workload that was working a year ago works anymore because now there’s different fronts. Like I have to produce a… sorry. I don’t have to produce a podcast. I get to do a show that also helps build other business and drive things in a different direction for myself and the brand. Luckily, the podcast because it’s sharing more of my mentality and more conversations I want to have, it builds more to the identity that people want to buy into of HVIII Brand or Matt Vincent. And then I also have a place to sell advertising. But again, whereas HVIII Brand is something we’re putting out two drops a week now, it’s a lot of things. It’s a lot of things to get made and a lot of new designs and new ideas and new colorways and things like that. And then it’s one or two podcasts a week, not to mention continuing to be a guest on other people’s things because that’s part of it. And you guys know all this.
Kelly: [0:53:45] Did you always feel like HVIII Brand was a sure thing?
Matt Vincent: [0:53:48] No. I don’t know when. Probably this year. In this year, the sure thingness felt enough of like we’ve got a thing. That’s it. We have figured out a little bit of how to catch fire, how do we just keep breathing oxygen into it now?
Kelly: [0:54:04] Let me ask you this. I don’t want to go super deep into this. We’ve just been chitchatting. We can keep chitchatting. These are the same conversations we have when we’re all in person. You and Juliet and I, Juliet alluded to that we’re all pseudo-cyborg. Some of us are more cyborg than the rest. Juliet, she’s a double cyborg.
Matt Vincent: [0:54:19] I’ll catch a hip at some point.
Juliet: [0:54:21] You will. You will. You’ll be right behind me, Matt.
Kelly: [0:54:22] But people don’t know you had your knee replaced. To my understanding, you’re the youngest athlete I’ve ever run into who had a total knee resurfaced.
Matt Vincent: [0:54:31] I mean I don’t know if I have a record, but I don’t know anyone younger.
Kelly: [0:54:35] I’m going to go with number one.
Matt Vincent: [0:54:35] Yes.
Kelly: [0:54:37] You’re the record until proven otherwise. And you’re someone who actually has to use their leg, gets to use their leg. You went through a pretty gnarly bout of a lot of surgery with this knee. This knee was starting to give you grief. You didn’t have an ACL. You tore it in high school or tore it in college, retore it, lot of surgeries. Lo and behold, you end up cruising toward a knee replacement after a lot of other surgeries trying to avoid that. Can you just talk about how easy that was in your life in that moment because so many people can relate. They have a physical identity. And your physical identity, one, had changed because you weren’t competing anymore at that level. But two, your physical identity was squashed because you couldn’t actually even do the things you needed to do because of the chronic pain and persistent pain.
Matt Vincent: [0:55:25] So it was a bit of a double-edged sword. I now, with having some distance between it and perspective, there was a lot of really good that came to me that only would have come from that route. But going back and getting hurt, the hindsight is if I just would’ve retired in 2016 and lost weight, I would be in better physical shape than I am now, than trying to do the surgeries. The surgeries are really what put me in a bad place. But they’re elective and that’s the route that I thought was the smartest decision to go down. So I made the best decision I could at the time. I don’t have any weird feelings about that. Also, what good are weird feelings about that? Here we are. And going through that, because it switched me so hard to chronic pain, the interest I had in getting back to my sport took such a backseat to it that that never was the priority again. Because what do you mean… Anytime someone would ask me, yo, are you going to throw again, I’m like I can’t walk up and down stairs. We have some other things to probably accomplish first, right? Until I can run, jump and sprint without ever having to think about what direction or any of those type of things, we’re not ready.
Kelly: [056:34] So couple things I want people to know. Right now, you’re training up, studying up, to run a little longer than a half.
Matt Vincent: [0:56:40] Yeah. Eighteen miles or a 30K in Bryce Canyon in 27 days.
Kelly: [0:56:47] Last time I was in the desert with you, walking was a little bit tough.
Matt Vincent: [0:56:51] It was tricky.
Kelly: [0:56:51] Now you’re going back to the desert.
Matt Vincent: [0:56:53] Back to the desert.
Kelly: [0:56:55] Do you feel like that a lot of people have a hard time ending a career or transitioning? In retrospect was this knee injury surgery, did that make it easier to be like, well, I have to do this now, that’s what this does now?
Matt Vincent: [0:57:08] Yes. It totally took that choice from me of getting back to my sport. It just wasn’t ever going to happen again. And so let’s move on. Let’s figure out the next thing instead of sitting here dwelling. That’s never been a thing I understood. I wasn’t interested in holding on to it, the same way that I didn’t go to college and try to talk to people about how good I played football. You know there’s a place that good football players go to after high school, right? It’s called college. They play it there. And so if you weren’t asked to go, guess what? You weren’t a good high school football player. That’s math of it. And great high school football players, guess where they go? It’s called the NFL. Were you not invited? You weren’t a great high school football player.
Juliet: [0:57:46] You know, Kelly and I love to have something to either look forward to or train for. Is that for you part of why you’re doing —
Matt Vincent: [0:57:54] Got to have a carrot to chase.
Juliet: [0:57:55] Yeah. Got to have a carrot to chase. I mean is that why you’re doing this Bryce Canyon thing?
Matt Vincent: [0:57:59] It was easy enough, right? It was an easy enough thing that was going to be a fun experience for me. The low, I mean the bar of where I’m setting success versus failure of that is pretty low. And I think that really matters a lot too with going forward as an athlete mentality wise. Because I’m never going to be best in the world at a second thing. Not on a bad knee and not on a bad hip. At least not something athletically, right? Who knows what the rest of life brings up. But chances are I’m not going to find another active strength sport on a fake knee getting older. So sick, I found mine, I got to do it, it was awesome. And so it just never made sense to me why I would keep going down a path I’ve already been down. Like I’m an experienced nerd and so that’s what I want to do, is I want to find out more of what I’m capable of, what other lessons are there to learn.
If I got so much benefit in my life from that time that I spent competing in the Highland Games from learning how to prepare, learning how to show up when it matters, learning how to eat properly for a sport, learning how to recover on such short terms because I had five games in a row plus travel to each one. I’ve also, in that time that I competed 24 times a year, I’ve never competed and slept in my own bed the night before. So there’s tons of travel mixed in with that. And still having a real job until 2017 for the entire time I competed in that sport. So learning all those things was great. So why wouldn’t there be other things to learn from other sports? And so for running, one of the things I was really curious about learning from that going forward was, man, the ability to tell yourself to keep going. That’s something I’ve never had to do because I’ve never done endurance. Everything for my sport is done in two seconds. In powerlifting or any of those things, the focus is very, very short.
Kelly: [0:59:52] I’m just going to jump in and call horse crap because some people are gifted in one end of the spectrum, like oh, Matt can clean 400 pounds and has been Olympic lifting his whole life, and benches 500. You’re pretty strong. One of my strong friends. You have wrists that are like my thighs. And then conversely, I have been on a bunch of bike rides with you, and it turns out you’re a very gifted aerobic athlete, which is sort of falls into the course. I’m like oh yeah, I forget Matt’s a mutant. Even though he’s one of my best friends, he’s a mutant. So I think it’s a little disingenuous to say, but what I can say is I’m not sure you’ve ever run this much ever since high school football. That’s got to be true.
Matt Vincent: [1:00:30] I’ve never run this much. I didn’t run this much in high school football. I just was playing football, right? There’s a difference in that engine. I still couldn’t go run a 5K when I was in high school.
Kelly: [1:00:40] But on a bike, you’re a savage.
Matt Vincent: [1:00:41] But I didn’t start riding until college. And then I got lucky enough that through recovery and rehab for me, because I always liked cycling, it was one of the things that I could do that I could train hard on that didn’t hurt the system in a bad way, right? Cycling at least gave me, because I like cycling, I like the gear aspect of it, I like the nerding side of getting new components and clothing and all of that. I remember being in the desert and we had a couple of talks during that ride because, what, I was on six months of a new knee at that point. And you had some —
Kelly: [1:01:15] You were exactly where I am right now.
Matt Vincent: [1:00:16] Right. And you had some concerns about me, how hard I was going out every day. You’re like, hey man, be careful. And the only thing I said back to you was it’s the first time in three years that my body feels tired the way it’s supposed to. Like my legs burn the way they’re supposed to, not searing joint pain that makes me want to kill everyone. And so because I could find that again, which it was the first time in three years that I could push, that I could actually hit the gas pedal to be like, and there’s the red line. That’s a thing we haven’t felt in a long time. And so finding those edges of your ability I think matter. And cycling was one that I could do coming out of knee surgery that I could still pour the coals to and not have any risk. Like I couldn’t squat anymore, right? I’m never going to find that feeling squatting again.
Kelly: [1:02:04] In my own recovery, Juliet’s been saying, hey, you need to walk more, you need to walk more, you need to walk more. And so I actually came back after seeing you and started walking a lot more steep hills. Lisa and I are actually —
Juliet: [1:02:15] They’re in a competition right now.
Kelly: [1:02:15] We have a one-hour loop in our neighborhood. This is Lisa, our producer. And she was like, yeah, I can do that loop in under an hour. I was like bull crap. And she’s like, oh look, and she pulled up a 101. And I was like, oh it’s not a 101. That’s not — and she was like, well, I went to my car. And I was like sorry, Strava doesn’t lie.
Juliet: [1:20:32] I’m sorry. I have to just fully cut Kelly off, Matt Kelly refuses to track anything he does on any wearable or phone or otherwise. And now he is trying to enter into a competition with Lisa with no data of any kind because he’s too cool to use —
Kelly: [1:02:52] Hang on a second. I went 56 minutes.
Juliet: [1:02:54] Allegedly.
Kelly: [1:02:54] And then Lisa —
Juliet: [1:02:55] There’s no way to confirm that.
Kelly: [1:02:56] That’s true. And then Lisa just threw down 53 minutes.
Matt Vincent: [1:03:00] Well, hers is real.
Kelly: [1:03:02] And so I’m like I can walk —
Matt Vincent: [1:03:03] Why don’t you just say you did it in 52 because we may as well make up numbers if you don’t have data.
Kelly: [1:03:09] I actually just did it in 52 today. That’s really funny.
Matt Vincent: [1:03:09] Oh okay. How much did you run?
Kelly: [1:03:13] My point is this morning I went and ran hill repeats because my friend Matt Vincent is running again. And I was like it’s time to start running again. I’m springy enough. I need to start introducing it.
Matt Vincent: [1:03:24] Dude, it doesn’t have to be fast, right? It’s quicker than a walk. And let me explain running for those listening, what I’m doing. The 18-mile drill run, I’ve got… Here’s where I set my line of expectations for I’m going to do a thing that I’ve never done before, here’s how I manage it. And this is coming from the same guy who’s a lunatic to become a world champion at things. My intentions are I want to be in good enough shape that when I go do that 30K I can enjoy being in Bryce Canyon for 18 miles. Not I’m on some death march for seven hours trying to survive. So 18 miles divided by my time allotted to do the thing is like seven hours. So seven hours, it comes down to 2.67 miles an hour is what I need to average. Anything faster than that, success. That’s where I’m at.
Kelly: [1:04:15] You use the whole time. Got to use the whole time.
Juliet: [1:04:17] You know what this makes me think of, Matt, and we might have mentioned this to you once before. But we worked with this great consultant and we got this phrase from him that we use literally all the time, all of us in The Ready State in any business interaction we have, he taught us, his name’s Bill DeWitt, and he taught us to say, “What does success look like to you?” And you have no idea how relevant that question is. But I mean that question is exactly what I think of because what success is to you is enjoying your time in Bryce Canyon and finishing in under the cutoff, right? It’s not winning the World Championship of running in the desert of Bryce Canyon, right? But that question has been so important for us from a business standpoint, a personal standpoint. It’s our favorite question.
Matt Vincent: [1:04:55] Yeah, because don’t get me wrong, I’m going to move as fast as I can.
Juliet: [1:04:58] Of course.
Matt Vincent: [1:05:00] Because that’s already there. I don’t have to decide that part.
Juliet: [1:05:02] Yeah. You don’t have to conjure that up.
Matt Vincent: [1:05:03] I’m a crazy person. That’ll just take place. But the difference in having that expectation versus intention of what I want that event to be for me changes where the line of success and failure is, right? But it doesn’t change my outcome. My outcome is going to come from I’m going to do as good as I can do. And because I’m a lunatic who’s competed a bunch of times, I trust whatever outcome comes from that day. I did it as good as I could. If I needed to walk, I don’t have anything to prove to you. I probably needed to walk.
So being able to look at it that way, changes it from I finish it in five hours dead, which would be a pretty killer time for me if I’m looking at it based on how I’m currently running plus the elevation. If I look at it for five hours dead and my goal was to finish it in five hours, then it’s like cool, we did it. But if my goal is to enjoy the thing and I finish it in five hours, it’s like holy cow, look at this, I did it in five hours. That makes five hours really cool, whereas if I set the expectation of five hours and I barely achieved it, I feel differently about the same outcome. So having my intention be on enjoying the day, that allows my chance of success and how it makes me feel after the event and how I use it to build forward much better than I didn’t hit my number.
Kelly: [1:06:22] I think you can apply that to a whole lot of parts of your life.
Juliet: [1:06:24] So I have this one… As we get towards the end of our conversation, you may not remember this, but I remember this so distinctly, and it was like my first ever check the box, I love this guy Matt Vincent. You came out to San Francisco to interview us. And I think you were among the first people to be like, hey, these Kelly and Juliet people are a partnership, I’m going to interview both of them.
Matt Vincent: [1:06:48] Yeah because I wanted to talk about… The stretching stuff’s great, but I was more interested in the standup testing.
Juliet: [1:06:53] Yeah. Yeah. But I have to say that was pretty cool, Matt, and pretty unusual, especially at that time. Because it’s hard for me to talk about this because I don’t want to sound like I’m some whiny, like I’m hiding in the background kind of scene person. But it was super noticeable to me, that I was like, wow, this guy we don’t even know, who barely knows us, somehow is one of the first people in our industry to notice that we’re a partnership, and let’s talk to them both. So I just want to give you props for that. And then you’re like, and I love midcentury modern design. And I was like, can we just have like a too long hug. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I don’t know what about you made you realize that and act on it, but —
Kelly: [1:07:36] Then you took him to the Larkspur Stairs and gave him —
Juliet: [1:07:38] Well, yeah. And then I gave you rhabdo, so I went down a notch in your friend life. But I want to —
Matt Vincent: [1:07:43] I always appreciate getting my ass kicked by my friends. This is a big portion of my life. You don’t have super mutant friends and then do badly at their thing and not kind of enjoy it. That’s how this works. And so —
Juliet: [1:07:54] Anyway, I just wanted to acknowledge that, Matt.
Matt Vincent: [1:07:56] That’s a big deal to me, Juliet. And you and I talked about it when I had you on my podcast. I think we get really confused about women’s empowerment and what I believe role models should look like. And that’s been a big deal for me while I’m curating if anything. Why it’s important to me to kind of build this group that I’m friend with, right, that I could see it. I could see it because I’m a little older than anyone else. But seeing people like Bonnie and then our friends Dana, Stefi Cohen, as well as Geo at Barbell Brigade, these other women, and these women to me are what women’s empowerment is. They’re all entrepreneurs. Stefi’s a doctor. She’s a 25 time world champion or world record holder in her sport. She’s a first generation immigrant who’s built everything on her own. Was selling Venezuelan currency back and forth on swings to help pay for school, right?
These are the women that did it. These aren’t the pretty face that things been handed to them or something that we’re confused by. These are strong savage individuals that happen to be female, that being female isn’t the biggest identifier for them in their lives. Being kickass is. And I think that’s a focus that we should look at more so than the male or female thing. It bums me out where I think we lower the bar for women’s expectations with what’s going on on the planet, who we look at as these big movers and people to look up to, whether that’s, oh man, the Kardashians or something like that. Meanwhile, dudes have an Elon Musk. Who’s the female of Joe Rogan? Who’s got that general influence over the female audience that has to do with health, that has to do with entrepreneurship, that has to do with free thinking?
Juliet: [1:09:46] Yeah, I mean there’s a lot of diffuse women, but there’s no Joe Rogan or Tim Ferriss or —
Matt Vincent: [1:09:52] Right. And we should have that. We should totally have it.
Kelly: [1:09:55] I also appreciate that I want everyone to know that I texted you and I was like look, if we’re going to be friends, you have to be sure that you call my wife, and email her first, and make it seem like you’re really progressive.
Juliet: [1:10:05] Oh, don’t even try to say. He knows that if he actually wants to reach you, he needs to email me.
Matt Vincent: [1:10:09] Also, I did outside sales for a decade. You don’t think I learned how to talk to, to figure out, my goal was whatever got me the meeting is how I will learn to communicate with those people.
Kelly: [1:10:20] It just turned out that you two ended up being besties. That’s kind of annoying. Because I’m like Matt’s my friend.
Juliet: [1:10:24] I love you, Matt Vincent.
Matt Vincent: [1:10:24] Look, I had to make a ton of people in an industry I had no interest in like me. I get to hang out with people I actually like now. This is so much easier.
Kelly: [1:10:32] Still universe building, still decorating, still choosing the right basket for your cactus in the corner.
Matt Vincent: [1:10:38] It matters.
Kelly: [1:00:39] I understand. It matters.
Matt Vincent: [1:10:39] Everything matters. Details matter, man.
Juliet: [1:10:41] Where can the people find you, follow you, buy your stuff, support what you’re doing, learn more?
Matt Vincent: [1:10:48] So as a really smart person, and everyone’s read in business, the number one thing you should do is change your branding on every single avenue. So I have @IHVIIIMattVincent is my Instagram. My podcast is UMSO. The YouTube channel I think is Matt Vincent. And then so right now on the YouTube channel we’re filming, just kind of the current run of it is All In. And so whatever the new challenge is, my goal is that I apply that same tenacity and knowhow and ability that I got from being a world champion to the new thing. And just what can be done, what newbie gains can be rounded up if you apply this same drive to it of like we have to do the work before anything else. Dude, the newbie gains best. I’m not trying to keep running after this thing. But if I run two 5Ks a week,
Kelly: [1:11:36] Yeah, I think newbie gains are the new thing. And what did I hear someone saying the other day? They were like low-hanging fruit is still fruit. So let’s pick all the low-hanging fruit.
Matt Vincent: [1:11:45] Dude, for sure it is, right? And look, I got the same thing after figuring out my diet. It was important to me that whenever that shift had to get made and I needed to lose weight, look I had some other reasons why I wanted to lose weight, mostly getting out of inflammation, doing anything I could to take a couple percentage points away from pain. I just couldn’t mentally leave it up for I wasn’t trying everything. And so I was. I had a cold tub, I had massage therapists, I had everything. And so now I’m pretty good at recovery. If I have a joint that gets mad, guess what? I have a formula for how to knock that out because I have a ton of experience with it.
Kelly: [1:12:23] Everyone, Matt Vincent. Matt is a tinkerer. I think you’re actually a bona fide inventor, if I remember the plaque in your car.
Matt Vincent: [1:12:31] Yes, that’s true.
Kelly: [1:12:33] But you also did invent the Mobility Sleeve. I just want to just bring it back up. Which slipped right on a kettlebell. You’ve got to throw a lot of stretches before they start to stick to the hamstrings, as they say.
Matt Vincent: [1:12:48] But that’s another big part, right? Failure. Man, I’ll get through this and this is something that’s been a big takeaway for me that I think matters to people, is that you can’t be afraid to fail. Failure is key for succeeding. And in fact, success is such a worse teacher than failure. If you can figure out how to fail small and fail often so that you’re constantly getting course corrections, that’s the key instead of just letting the whole thing burn down because your ego got in the way of saying this is the direction we said we’re going, we’re going. But it’s constant little failures to be like, oh, we should send that email out an hour earlier. The corrections get smaller the better you get at it, but you’re still listening to failures. Or the big picture would be like we don’t need to sell a shirt that says that. It didn’t sell, that color scheme. Let’s just never do that again and burn the inventory. But it’s listening how to fail. And that’s what helps you in sport, right? Because you try things and you get experience and you go that didn’t work, let’s try something else. And that applies to the rest of your life.
Kelly: [1:13:53] But we’re talking about every throw is a new opportunity to fail differently.
Matt Vincent: [1:13:57] Right, which was so hard for me to understand training for powerlifting or Olympic lifting the way that I had been experienced with it. For Olympic lifting with me, it is exactly like throwing. It is submaximal weight, highly technical. I should be getting yelled at by my coach every attempt on something to fix. There shouldn’t just be that empty session where I went in and trained. I can’t imagine sending my Olympic lifting to someone and them reviewing video of it and me not having it done live. I don’t know how I would have thrown that way. Luckily, I had a decent background in throwing that when I got to the point of training myself, I could do it. But yeah, you’ve got to be willing to fail. You’ve got to be willing to screw some stuff up and start making mistakes. But allow yourself the ability to go, oh, that was wrong and move on. Realize you messed up.
Juliet: [1:14:45] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Not just ruminate over it forever. Okay, that didn’t work, let’s do the next thing.
Kelly: [1:14:50] I’ll say it’s also very useful to have a partner who tolerates your failing. Thanks JStar.
Juliet: [1:14:56] Yeah. Ditto.
Kelly: [1:14:56] Because I am really good at it.
Matt Vincent: [1:14:58] And I’ll say this. While we have been nice to each other, something I have never said, as someone who has zero interest in ever having children, you guys are one of the few that made me go, ah, that’s pretty kickass.
Juliet: [1:15:13] Ah, thanks, Matt Vincent. That may be the nicest compliment ever.
Matt Vincent: [1:15:15] Yeah, you guys are one of the few that are like, man, if I do it, it has to go like this.
Kelly: [1:15:20] Georgia got into her first fender bender today and I’m just going to say call your Uncle Matt.
Juliet: [1:15:26] No, it’s next time call your Uncle Matt. You get one free pass and you’ve got to call your Uncle Matt to help you.
Kelly: [1:15:31] Uncle Matt, you’re bigger than life in our house and our kids know you. And man, they’re lucky to have you as an uncle. And thanks for dressing my children. And just to say that Georgia’s boyfriend was wearing a HVIII the other day and it’s my HVIII shirt. And I was like bro —
Juliet: [1:15:49] Where’d you get that shirt?
Kelly: [1:15:49] Where’d you get that shirt? And he’s like Georgia gave it to me. And so I’m like this is how it begins.
Matt Vincent: [1:15:56] We ought to hook him up with that Bell and Ross. I’ll mail that back to you.
Kelly: [1:15:00] That’s right. That’s right. Matt Vincent, we love you man. You’re the best.
Juliet: [1:16:04] Thank you so much for spending some time with us, as always.
Matt Vincent: [1:16:07] Anytime. I love you guys. I can’t say enough thank you for the both of you as for friendship, mentorship, everything. You guys have got to be around for a very interesting chapter of my life and I appreciate the help through all of it.
Juliet: [1:16:23] Many more. Life is long, Matt Vincent.
Matt Vincent: [1:16:25] I plan on it. I hope the next 10 years is just as exciting.
Kelly: [1:16:28] Love you, boy.
Matt Vincent: [1:16:29] Love you.Back to Episode