Matt Stevens – Fighter


March 4, 2020

In the lead up to the New Year, most people sit down with…

In the lead up to the New Year, most people sit down with a pen and paper to jot down resolutions, goals and intentions for the next 12 months – from health and fitness pursuits to professional and personal milestones.

For The Gym Glenelg member Matt Stevens, the aim for 2019 was to win three interstate and one international kickboxing fights while catching the eye promoters to open the doors to global shows the following year.

Matt managed to achieve all three. He earned a number of wins throughout the year and reached his lifelong dream of being signed with the world’s biggest kickboxing show, GLORY – debuting a year earlier than he had hoped.

The road to success wasn’t easy. It required a lot of brutal training sessions, investment in internal and external health, time and energy, and the support from his sporting mentors, coaches, friends and family. But it was worth it.

“If you look at the goal you want to achieve and make that the reward then it can be hard at times to stay committed to the work,” Matt said.

“Instead, if you can reframe the goal so that (at least part of) the reward is the training itself, then it’s easier to do it on the hard days.

“I absolutely love training, in part because I enjoy the exercise, but also because I am surrounded by so many people I care about. That’s a huge past of what keeps me in the gym. The goals seem to take care of themselves when you enjoy the process.”

Outside of kickboxing, Matt had also set a goal to publish another research paper as part of his candidature for a PhD in Psychology, and purchase his first house with his partner, Brittany – both of which he also achieved.

Matt admits there were times during the past 12 months when things didn’t always go to plan and he wanted to give up. But his support network saw him through.

“I would be lying if I said everything went to plan last year went to plan. There were times, especially after a loss, where the going got tough and I wasn’t sure I was cut out for it anymore,” Matt said.

“The thing about this sport is that you pour your heart and soul into it for months in the lead-up to a fight. Every waking second from 12 weeks out until fight night is laser-focused on the fight, and then in a matter of minutes it’s all over. All of that work and preparation is done and you are in limbo essentially until the next one.

“Then you have to start planning for the next fight, which is relatively easy to do when you win. But when you lose, and especially if you get badly hurt, then it’s challenging emotionally to pick yourself up and start again.

“I guess what got me through, and what always gets me through in those times are the people around me. I’ve been very fortunate in my life to be surrounded by so many loving and ultimately levelheaded people that support me through all of this.”

Reflecting back on the year that was, Matt said while it would be convenient to say he always believed he could achieve what he set out to, the reality was he was less optimistic. He had to convince himself every day that he was capable and to push through the doubt.

When asked what his motivation was, Matt said: “Initially, it was always wanting to prove people wrong, but nowadays my motivation stems from wanting to make those that I love proud. I’ve had so many people invest so much time, energy and money into me and repaying that faith is one of the most powerful motivators.”

In 2020, Matt plans to have four fights with GLORY and rounding out in the Top 10. And within the next decade, he hopes to move into coaching and one day open a combat sports centre with the aim of giving back to his community.

His advice for others looking to achieve big things is to:

The Gym Glenelg family is incredibly proud of all that Matt has achieved during the past 12 months with the help of our Personal Trainer Ollie Peak and resident massage therapist Jaak De Koning. We can’t wait to watch his next chapter unfold.

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