Welcome to the Crew, Matt Wilpers
Welcome to the Crew, Matt Wilpers
Matt Wilpers is best known today as a Peloton instructor and endurance coach with a worldwide following.
But Matt began his career in accounting. After several years working for prestigious firms, he decided he wanted to make his mark on the world in a different way - by helping others improve their health.
Matt went back to school for his post-bacc to prepare for medical school. As a long-time triathlete and long distance runner, he worked as a fitness coach on the side to pay the bills. Just after he got into medical school, his opportunities in the fitness world skyrocketed. Matt had a choice to make: to continue down the path of becoming a physician, or take the leap of using a brand new digital platform to help people around the world better their health through fitness.
With millions who have now benefitted from Matt’s fitness coaching and infectious positive energy, the rest is history.
Welcome, Matt. It’s good to have you as an Oarsman.
Behind the Scenes with Matt
Matt Wilpers X Oars + Alps
We talked to Matt about his personal fitness, career, and how he takes care of himself amidst it all.
How did you get into running, biking, etc.?
My parents got my sister and I into athletics at a very early age starting with soccer. I didn't really get into cycling until my mom made my sister and I go mountain biking with her as part of "our training" before going on our first big ski trip together. She said that we needed to be "in shape" in order to ski with her haha.
In high school I got into running in order to stay in shape for soccer. Eventually I decided to pursue running in college and ran D1 XC and Track for Georgia State University. I did not get into road cycling until after college. I was training for the Boston Marathon and got injured. The only way I could stay in shape was cycling, so I got a road bike and joined a racing team. Eventually, I decided to bring running back into my life by getting into triathlon.
What’s your favorite fitness discipline?
It depends on what I am feeling. Nothing clears my head and gets my brain working like a run. Surfing is the ultimate stress reliever and reminds you how life works every time. You can't bring your cell phone and you have to pay attention to the ocean...otherwise you will get smacked! Sometimes you're not paddling hard enough to catch the wave that you want. Sometimes you are missing all the good waves because you are simply not in the right spot. Sometimes a wave catches you off guard and crashes on your head. Sometimes you're going in the wrong direction because you are not looking in the right direction. Sometimes you get impatient and catch a smaller wave only to completely miss the best wave of the day right behind it. Sometimes your leash breaks and you just have to find a way to swim back to shore...even if that means taking a few poundings.
How do you bring fun to your personal fitness?
Everyone that knows me knows that I am BIG on maintaining a positive mindset. I expect that of myself as a coach as well as of my athletes. Celebrating our wins and having a good laugh at our failures helps us keep an open mind and fear failure less. This in turn helps us progress faster and also helps us enjoy training a little more...which is important because building great fitness is hard work that doesn't happen in one day.
"Fitness teaches us that we must take care of our bodies, inside and out, if we expect them to perform well."
How did you decide to jump from a corporate career to a fitness career?
I was working at a big company and just realized that the cushy corporate life just wasn't for me. Two things I firmly believe in: 1) When we are not sleeping, we spend much of our lives working. Why not work at something we're passionate about? 2) The challenge is not to simply make money. It's to make money and do something good for the world.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?
Athletically, probably the Ironman distance triathlon. Professionally, nearly pulling off a career switch from accounting to medicine. I went back to school in my early 30's, completed my post-bacc in pre med and then made it into med school...only to then take a job at Peloton.
What’s bringing you energy right now?
Getting some sense of my athletic life back post COVID. I forgot how good it felt to race! Also, I just continue to be really excited about my job at Peloton. There are so many cool things that we are working on constantly and I really just want to make as big of an impact in the world as possible when it comes to helping people improve their health and well being.
How do you make sure you can show up at your best with such a rigorous teaching and training schedule?
You have to take care of yourself, mentally and physically. You can't be on camera and look like a train wreck. I know that my athletes have limited time to train and count on me to make the most of it. So just like preparing for an event, I have to prepare to be at my best every class and deliver results.
How do you think about grooming as someone who breaks a sweat for a living?
Fitness teaches us that we must take care of our bodies, inside and out, if we expect them to perform well. I always like to compare things to cars. Don't build me a fast car engine without giving me an awesome exterior design as well. Also, high performance cars often require a lot of maintenance.
Fitness also lends itself to staying well groomed because you have to take a lot of showers, clean up etc. Well you don't have to...but... As we now know, showers can also cause wear and tear on the body. And that's where using products to help restore your hair and skin's natural moisture can really help.
How has your grooming routine evolved over time?
Early in life my parents taught me to take care of myself, including my skin. My mom always said that if I don't do things like wear sunscreen and moisturize after showers, I would look old in no time haha. So, I applied sunscreen almost every day and after every shower I would cover myself from head to toe with lotion. As I got older, I saw the difference routines like this made compared to people of the same age and it really gave me more conviction to do more.
I started looking for more and more products...and there was just nothing for guys compared to what was being developed for women. For the longest time, I purchased a lot of serums and lotions that were marketed to women more than men. So, I was really pumped to discover Oars + Alps for this reason. It's about time someone helps us guys out!!
How do you think about the ingredients you use in or on your body?
I try to keep things as natural and organic as possible inside and out. Also, it's not only important to stay hydrated for athletic performance but also your skin. Speaking of skin, my skin is super sensitive...so it doesn't really tolerate a lot of unnatural chemicals etc.
Athletics also teaches you to listen to your body. When you are pushing your body hard, you learn what works and doesn't work for you pretty quickly. For me, what works is usually keeping things simple.
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