“If they win, we win. It’s a symbiotic ecosystem. As long as we're all giving our best to one another, I have a strong sense it’s going to be a great 2024.”- Matt Torres on his outlook for the Brute crew in 2024
Coach Matt Torres on Building a Training Camp, the 2024 Season, and the “New” Brute
Since 2013, Brute (previously known as Brute Strength Training), has been a big player in the professional sport of CrossFit.
Linked to athletes like Fee Saghafi and Dallin Pepper, Brute, headed by CEO and owner Matt Torres, has come to be known as one of the elite training camps. It’s sought after by Games veterans as well as rising stars, looking to make their names known.
Some background: Torres came onto the Brute scene in 2018, when it was decided by the current owners to open up Brute to one-on-one coaching. Having an extensive background in coaching D1 athletics and affiliate ownership, he was able to connect with many teenage athletes, looking to break through.
Torres began working with Dallin Pepper when Pepper was 16, hoping to successfully make the jump to the Individual Division after competing as a teen. Thanks to Pepper, Torres was able to connect with James Sprague, Emma Cary, and Tudor Magda. They were his core four.
Fast forward to 2022, Semifinals debuted, and Torres was still coaching the original four. There was a turning point after the 2021 Games: Dallin missed qualifying by one spot, Sprague and Magda were close, but didn’t qualify either, however Cary punched her ticket via the Granite Games.
At the time, all Torres’ athletes were spread throughout the country. But after the Granite Games, he encouraged them to move to Florida, so they could train together, as a cohesive unit in 2022.
A turning point: By October of 2022, all the Brute athletes had come together in Naples, and it was Torres’ biggest priority to get them all to the Games.
Over the course of that time, he connected with other athletes like Fee Saghafi and Danielle Brandon, who then joined the team.
“This was the first time that I had all athletes down here at one time. It was more of an experiment. I thought, ‘this is how I believe it will work, and then we figure out what does and what doesn’t and then we move forward,’” Torres told Morning Chalk Up.
“Around that time, I was encouraged to purchase Brute, but I owned two gyms. I only wanted to focus on my athletes, but in the end I was convinced,” Torres reflects.
Along with Micah Shoemaker, together they purchased Brute, with Shoemaker currently filling the role as co-owner and CMO.
By the 2023 season, Torres was the new Brute CEO, but he still “(didn’t) have his training camp down, the way (he) felt like it would work the best.”
He was still learning, and picking up what works from the athletes. With only a small number of coaches, the athlete numbers were growing. He wanted individualized attention for all of them as well as individualized programming.
“I knew I wouldn’t be giving the athletes the same programming and that they’d be competing against each other. That, I knew wouldn’t work.”
So the future of Brute, at that time, while still bright, was in flux. Torres was on the brink of finding what worked perfectly for him and his team: a system that reflected his approach to coaching and Brute’s values of creating people-centered programs.
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Teen CrossFit Games: The Teen CrossFit Games officially have a date, or rather a set of them: August 29-September 1, 2024 at the Pit Fitness Ranch in Three Rivers, MI.
WHOOP Origins: Ever wondered where the name WHOOP came from? Check out this post from the fitness wearable leader to learn more.
🤯 🤯 “You’re Gonna Wanna Sit Down For This”: A new study was recently published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine that found that wall sits and other simple isometric holds can reduce blood pressure even more effectively than other forms of exercise.
Of course, the devil is always in the details. One of the study’s authors clarified that they were not saying that other forms of exercise should be replaced with isometric holds, but rather that isometric holds can be added easily to the programming of someone already exercising.
From the article: “‘Our main message is that actually engaging in exercise is fantastic and any exercise might reduce your blood pressure,’ said Jamie O’Driscoll, the senior author of the study. ‘But if you’re an individual who is currently exercising to the guidelines and you’re still having a bit of difficulty reducing that blood pressure and you want to avoid going on medication, perhaps isometrics is an additional mode to complement the exercise you’re already doing.'”
🎙️ 🎙️ Good Listen: Last week, legendary coach Ben Bergeron and long-time affiliate owner of CrossFit New England joined host Greg Williams on the Rox Lyfe Podcast, the biggest podcast in the sport of HYROX. In the interview, Ben talks about mindset, sporting experiences, and HYROX.
Working with Larger Bodies Seminar and PRVN Fitness: Athena Perez and Scaled Nation will be joining PRVN Fitness at their new headquarters in Nashville, TN to present the “Working with Larger Bodies” seminar. The event will take place on April 21, 2024, beginning at 9 AM. Register now!
We are now into the second month of the new year, we hope you are still prioritizing your health, nutrition, and fitness goals.
While you are dedicating more time to your nutrition and feeling more motivated about it, we wanted to offer ways to help the tedious task of meal prepping seem less intimidating and be a task that you look forward to because of how helpful it truly is.
Affiliate of the Month: CrossFit Waukee Giving Back Since 2012
If there’s a cause, the CrossFit Waukee community in Waukee, IA gets behind it.
From cystic fibrosis to breast cancer to fundraisers for veterans, it’s just part of their culture, says gym owner Reggie Hoegh, whose gym has given thousands to various charities since opening in 2012.
The details: Seven years ago, one of their member’s children was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Since then, Hoegh and his wife Laura Hoegh have hosted a competition—Major’s Fitness Festival—to fundraise and have raised more than $15,000 for the disease without a cure.
They did the same after two of their members were diagnosed with breast cancer. They began hosting fundraisers each October, and have raised several thousands in various ways for breast cancer through the years, as well. Further, they have raised money for other nonprofits, such as Project Onyx, as well as the Food Bank of Iowa.
CrossFit Waukee’s efforts, however, extend beyond the walls of their gym. It has become part of the local culture for the community to rally and show up for all kinds of local events, from 5k fundraiser runs for cancer to local events to raise money for mental health for military veterans.
“If there’s a cause in the area we believe in, we rally our members together and get as many people out as we can to support that event,” Hoegh said, whose gym usually has between 150 and 180 members, plus a big youth program.
“If it feels close to home and whenever it’s a heartfelt cause, we want to support it,” he added.
That being said, Hoegh insists the desire to give back is led by his members more than anything else.
Case in point: The founder of ValorFit, a non-profit that supports veterans through financial aid and gym memberships, Troy Peterson, was a long-time member of CrossFit Waukee. A military veteran who fought in Iraq, Peterson found himself overweight and turning to drugs and alcohol to cope with his PTSD. In 2015, he attempted suicide. Then he found CrossFit, which became a healing force in his life and soon led him to found ValorFit to help other veterans through fitness.
The CrossFit Waukee community has, of course, hosted multiple fundraisers through the years for ValorFit.
The big picture: As a 13-year gym owner, Hoegh has learned the power of his community, and it’s what keeps him excited to continue doing what he’s doing. And, to some degree, it’s what keeps his members showing up.
“Half our members have been with us for a decade…and any time something comes up, they ask, ‘What can I do to help?’ I’m just really proud of how we step up,” Hoegh said.
He added: “I am always blown away by how supportive [our] members are. It can take a lot of time and effort to get it done and can be exhausting, but it really brings our community together and makes it stronger in the long run….I can’t imagine not being a part of this community, which is why I plan on doing this the rest of my life.”
What to Do When Injured
Check out this infographic, which gives helpful ideas for how to train and what to do if injured. We've all been there, and it's important to remember to stay healthy, both mentally and physically, however we can.
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