Celebrity Trainer Turned CrossFitter Ron Mathews Steps Away From Sports And Gets Into Dungeons And Dragons

Credit: Men’s Health UK (@menshealthuk)

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When Ron Mathews isn’t coaching celebrities or training, you can find him at the table… well, a Dungeon & Dragons table.

The former crossfitter said he is stepping away from the sport for now and diving headfirst into the popular role-playing game, informally known as D&D, alongside household names like Joe Manganiello and Vince Vaughn.

Call me back: Mathews, a former college football player, started CrossFit at age 41. He went on to become a five-time CrossFit Games Master Athlete, his best year being in 2016 when he won the 45-49 split.

  • “My experience with CrossFit was a little weird because I came in with a weird skill set,” Mathews said.
  • “There were things I was incredibly good at from day one, as already regional level / games on the first day. And there were things I was an absolute beginner on day one. So my journey has always been how can I maintain what I’m good at and elevate all these other pieces.
  • “I like having a goal to train for. I was always creating goals for myself, so the CrossFit Games were the perfect thing to aim for.

Mathews is 6’3 and weighs approximately 245 pounds. He says he would lose weight to compete in CrossFit, but he was still 50 to 70 pounds heavier than the next heaviest and taller than most competitor.

His concerns over an uneven playing field and two torn labrums eventually caused Mathews to step back from the sport and focus on his coaching career in Hollywood and other interests.

  • “I could do what I had to do. I was never going to be the best clean and jerk person. But I could do 295 any day with very little warm-up. I could do this every day and it was good enough for what I needed,” Mathews said.

Another big factor in moving away from CrossFit is how split the athlete group is within the sport or lack thereof, according to Mathews, who considers himself somewhat of an outlier given his height and weight. .

  • “I arrived when there were a lot of verses. It would be box jumps, pull-ups, power cleans, you know, that kind of classic CrossFit and it just started to get into something else,” he said.
  • “And I see intellectually, especially with my training in kinesiology and my training in physical conditioning, I understand how it happened. But I think there was a way to prevent this from happening, and no one even thought to fix it. And the catch is that it’s just, in my opinion, you can’t have a competition that’s trying to find the fittest person in the world that’s open to all skill levels and all people at the same time.
  • Mathews uses a thruster as an example of a movement where if you’re a tall athlete, “they physically can’t move fast enough because they’re going twice as far and people under a certain weight can’t compete because they cannot shift the weight. ”
  • “So now you’ve removed the background and the top and now you get this homogenized athlete. It’s the CrossFit athlete.

Mathews’ day job of a Hollywood trainer is very different from CrossFit – preparing actors for shirtless love scenes, which is a very different task than going to the CrossFit Games.

  • “My niche in training has always been to get people to look ready for the camera, which has nothing to do with fitness at all. What you look like and what you can actually do are two completely different things,” Mathews said.

Manganiello is one of Mathews’ clients and friends in part because of their shared love of D&D. Mathews adds that he was a “grandfather” to Manganiello’s team of Hollywood’s “who’s who” who meet quite frequently for games.

  • “It’s funny because these, especially the actors, I love it because in many ways he acts, he solves problems as another character,” he added.

Although he’s decided to take a step back from CrossFit for now, Mathews isn’t ruling out a comeback season. And while he has expressed concerns about the playing field, he says his love for the sport continues.

  • “I think CrossFit has so many wonderful things about it; community, group training, encouragement.
  • “Most people are afraid to push. Everyone wants to stay in their comfort zone and CrossFit is good at getting you out of your comfort zone, which can be beneficial in many ways.
  • “There are so many great things about it. It’s just about making sure you’re dealing with those that don’t overtrain and overextend yourself, where you risk injury and that can be amazing.

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