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Get to Know Your Coach: Matt “Kirby” Kurbel

KirbyCroppedCoach’s Spotlight – Coach Matt “Kirby” Kurbel             

We met Coach Kirby in WoD 13.2 of the Open nearly 2 years ago!  Since then, we’ve come to know that he might actually be the real The BATMAN, except without the dour expression!  Always happy and supportive, Kirby’s turned into one heck of a competitive athlete as well.  Aspiring to his discipline in diet, workouts, mobility, and the courage to go hard even when he’s not feeling is something we all could learn from.  I think his greatest attribute, though, is that he cares more for you than himself.  Truth.

CFD:  You were coaching before you came to CF Dynamo originally as an athlete.  What got you here and why did you stay?

THE BATMAN:   Jon Holland invited me to participate in the CrossFit Open at Dynamo. He said that his gym holds a special competition every Sunday during the Open and that I should come and check it out. I did and I never left. What blew me away from the start was the amazing community and support that I was given day 1 at Dynamo.

CFD:  You love helping others.  What’s the best about coaching to you?

THE BATMAN: Watching people grow and develop emotionally and physically is the most rewarding aspect of coaching. Being a part of that transformation is really special and I get to share in that experience. It’s why I coach.

CFD:  You’re quite the athlete.  What sports did you grow up playing?

THE BATMAN: I mostly played baseball in my youth but as I got older I started playing new sports like football, track, bowling, roller hockey, and golf.

CFD:  Have you always been a great athlete?

THE BATMAN: No. I was always told that I was to small and not good enough to play, but I didn’t let that stop me from trying, even if it meant playing high school baseball for 2 years and only playing 2 innings. That didn’t stop me from being the best dam bench warmer in the game. I learned that if I was going to get any recognition on the playing field of any sport that I needed to show how hard I was willing to work for it. So there was the lesson that I took from that experience, play hard, show them that I was going to hustle all the time, arrive early and stay late, be THAT guy that always took it a little too serious and was always there, no excuses.

CFD:  After being at Dynamo a year, you moved from 30th percentile in the World, to 15th.  That’s a huge jump over thousands of hard training guys, many younger than you.  What gives?

THE BATMAN: Diet, Diet, Diet and then sleep. You can’t run a sports car on cheap gas. You can’t run your body on bad food. It’s an easy answer but the hardest thing to do, be consistent with your diet and get your rest.

CFD:  Since the 2014 Open, you’ve upped your game even more.  What’s working for you?  Would it work for everyone?

THE BATMAN:  I’ve really been focusing in on my weak points and in turn the things I’m good at are getting better. I believe that until you face those obstacles that are in your way you will not grow as an athlete or a person. If you want it bad enough you will make it through to the other side and you will be a better person for it.

CFD:  You take your mobility seriously.  How much better percentage-wise, do you think it makes you?

THE BATMAN:  100%. If you can’t get into the position how can you do the movement? Range of motion is one of the most important aspects of fitness, it changes your body fast.

CFD:  Same for your nutrition.  What are you eating?  When?  How key is dialing it in?

THE BATMAN:  Breakfast: Oatmeal and yogurt with granola. After breakfast, every 3 hours or so I have 6oz Chicken, 2 cups Vegetables, and a tablespoon of MCT oil. Twice a week I have a meal that I did not cook, cheat meal. I love my cheat meal! Mostly eating is like a job for me so planning ahead is important.

CFD:  Favorite Movement?  Why?

THE BATMAN:  Wall Balls, because I hate them. I was just told recently that they are my favorite. So I will make them so.

CFD:  Least?

THE BATMAN:  Wall balls, because I really hate them. So hard to breath on them!

CFD:  Favorite WoD and why?

THE BATMAN:  I think it just changed the other day because of Muscle ups. HERO wod “Johnson”.

CFD:  Worst WoD?

THE BATMAN:  Fran! Easy answer. She hurts so good!

CFD:  More Favorite:  Lifting PR or Benchmark WoD PR?


CFD:  What’s your next short-term goal?

THE BATMAN:  To kick ass in the CrossFit Open, in 5 months, btw.

CFD:  Long term?


CFD:  What’s the biggest difference you’ve seen here since joining?

THE BATMAN:  My mindset. That anything is possible. It’s all about the people in your corner.

CFD:  What would you say is your biggest accomplishment since joining CFD?

THE BATMAN:  Running the Olympic Lifting Program. For me that was a game changer.

CFD:  We just gave you two weeks off from coaching (fat chance).  Where would you go? What would you do?

THE BATMAN: Travel to Europe with the Wife and enjoy the world of CrossFit in as many country’s as I could.

CFD:  Quick, what’s your most memorable moment at CFD?

THE BATMAN:  First time at Dynamo during the Open when everyone congratulated me when I finished the wod, this was a totally new experience.  I didn’t know that you could cheer for someone trying to beat your score. CrossFit is one of only a few sports in where everyone cheers for everyone. That day I learned that you can only get stronger by those around you. This has been one of the most valuable lessons that I have learned in life.

CFD:  Funniest moment you can remember?

THE BATMAN: Its only funny now, but Drew counting down the wod: 3,2,1 GO and all the people outside started pushing the sled. The sleds were so loud no one could hear me stay stop.

CFD:  Thanks for your time!  Anything you want to add?

THE BATMAN:  CrossFit is Fun. It should always be a place to let loose and see what are bodies are made of. It doesn’t matter if you comp scale or B scale. Work is work. It’s all about what you can do, what you have in the tank that day, what you are trying to achieve and how you feel when you are done. You have a family at Dynamo that has your back; know that we will battle with you and for you, we all do it together and at the end of the day you get to look in the mirror and be proud of YOU because YOU are part of US!

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