Meet Matthew, a former elementary school teacher who lives life by the motto “good, better, (sometimes) best.” He believes in making better choices, and not being too hard on your self (#balance). This former teach is the owner of Fort Worth’s Bellhaus Fitness. Read on to learn more about Matthew and the ABCs of living a better you.

Why do you teach fitness?
I got into fitness after having been an elementary teacher for a couple of years. At that time, I was teaching 5th grade, and I was also at my heaviest. I started working out and felt so much better. Everything about my life was just better, so I changed careers and began coaching. I love being able to help others feel that same way.

What’s the best health/wellness advice you’ve ever received that has actually helped?
Make the “better” choice. A lot of times, people always strive for the “best” choice or decision, and sometimes it just doesn’t happen. It is very easy to beat yourself up when that occurs, so rather than holding yourself to some unattainable standard, try instead to always make a better choice. Doing so consistently will pay back in spades.

What’s your favorite workout to do when you’re not teaching?
If I’m not teaching, I love to load up a barbell and squat. Heavy back squats are by far my favorite power lift. While I also enjoy deadlifts, it just feels cooler to be able to have all that weight on my back when squatting. Pair those up with a kettlebell bent press, and I am a happy camper. The bent press is an awesome hybrid of strength and mobility all packed in one movement, and you get to put heavy sh*t overhead. That’ll put a smile on my face.

What’s the last song you listened to on Spotify?
“Get Better” by Frank Turner

Best thing in your fridge right now?
I mean, if we’re talking best as in delicious and enjoyable, I’ve got some real sharp cheddar cheese and some Guinness beer. Balance, right?

Go-to pre or post-workout snack?
I actually often work out while in a fasted state. I practice intermittent fasting, operating on a 16-hour fast and 8-hour eating window. I will take some BCAA powder before working out but generally no food.

Go-to beverage?
Water, but I also love a diet wild cherry Pepsi or a Guinness at night with dinner.

Favorite splurge meal/dessert?
Pasta. Cheesy, gooey pasta. Usually a cream sauce of some kind, loaded with garlic, shallots, chicken, parmesan. I enjoy cooking.

Where do you get your health/wellness information? (blog, website, podcast, etc.)
Honestly, kind of all over. I am fortunate in the fitness community in Fort Worth to have good friends across multiple disciplines, from running to yoga to weight training. I also belong to many different organizations and have held a variety of certifications, including CrossFit, Olympic Weightlifting, Myofascial Techniques, Natural Movements, Pose Running, and StrongFirst.

StrongFirst is where most of our ideology comes from. I belong to a large international organization of StrongFirst instructors, and we share information all the time.

Favorite way to unwind after a long day/week?
A long walk. I used to run a lot, doing marathons and half marathons. Unfortunately, after years of competitive soccer growing up, long distance running just doesn’t work for my joints anymore. But a long hour or two walk along the Trinity River with Lauren and Pekkala, my girlfriend and dog respectively, puts me at ease.

Best part of your job?
I get to do something I love. That moment when people first get a small taste of strength… that look on their face. That realization that they indeed are a badass. That’s the reason I wake up every day at 4am and finish long after sundown.