I AM VIRAGO / MATT ROGERS
Name: Matt Rogers
I say no nick-name but during basic training when I became a Marine I was really into heavy lifting and became known as “big swolz”... Unfortunately... I don't go by that anymore. Now I go by Dad (to my 18 month old).
What is your dream job?
I don't have a dream job, per se. Rather, I am looking to find what I can do that I like so much it doesn't feel like work or a job at all and also contributes to the greater good of society.
Home-town: Binghamton, NY
Fitness Tip: Lifting heavy. I've tried almost everything but I always come back to lifting heavy. As a fitness trainer I always encourage people to expose themselves to all things fitness but when you find your niche, embrace it. Trail running and mountain biking are also huge aspects of my physical training. Working out in nature in any form, I feel very strongly, is essential for overall health!
What are some causes or organizations close to your heart?
Animal rights and anything environmental. When we lived in Philadelphia my wife and I started participating in PAWS, and its even where we got our dog. The National Brain Tumor Society is also an organization that is important to our family. Michelle [Matt's Wife] lost her father to a benign brain tumor when she was in high school and last year my cousin died from brain cancer and this loss was the catalyst for the new chapter of our lives.
Tell us about a time you turned struggle into strength:
My five year carrier with the marines ended in 2007 and my cousin convinced me to move with him to Philadelphia to make a fresh start. Last year he passed away from brain cancer and that loss stayed with me. The grief made me realize how short life is. I inadvertently turned to fitness to cope. Fitness centers me. You have to go outside your own head in moments like that and lifting heavy is one thing that can bring me back to the moment. One day when I was working out and I had an epiphany. I'm never complacent when I step up to the bar and I need to escape from the golden handcuffs that were keeping me complacent in other aspects of my life. Like I said, life is too short. That moment started me on a new journey. Then my best friend Dave, whom I've known since we were 12, also passed away last year. It was a big factor in changing my life's course this year. I recommitted to my goal of earning an MBA, sold all the stuff that was holding me back and retired from my comfortable job as an air traffic controller to start a cross country adventure with my wife and 18-month-old!
We wish Matt and his family good luck on their adventures.
You can follow their journey as well!