Athlete of the Month: Matt Hargrave

For the Athlete Afteword’s inaugural interview, I would ask my fiancé to do the honors. 🙂 Ain’t he cute?

Matt Hargrave as a Sophomore at Olympia High, 2001
Matt Hargrave as a Sophomore at Olympia High, 2001

Name: Matt Hargrave
Hometown/Currently Living: Olympia, WA
Age: 29
Main Sport, How Long Competed: Basketball, 21 years
Where Played: Olympia High School (4A), Whatcom Community College (NWAACC), Saint Martin’s University (NCAA II)
College & Degree: Degree from Western Washington, BA in Operational Management
Current Occupation: Residential Loan Officer at Timberland Bank
Favorite Healthy Food: Celery and Peanut Butter
Favorite Physical Activity: Pick up basketball
Biggest Sport Honor: Becoming a scholarship athlete

How old were you when you started playing sports or exercising?
7 years old.

How old were you when you started playing your main sport?
7 years old. Other sports I played were soccer, baseball, and football.

Did you have support from friends and family throughout your journey?

How do you view your health throughout your athletic career?
I grew up eating a healthy diet, and once I got to college… not so much.

What qualities did your favorite coach have?
One that I wanted to succeed for out of respect for their work ethic, one that raised my level of play by pushing me to get better and better.

What issues did you have with your least favorite coach?
One that was selfish and fake. He didn’t care about putting work in outside of the regular season, but then would pretend care so much when we would win.

Were you ever provided with nutritional information during your athletic career (childhood, high school, college)?
Never growing up or in high school. In college, we had a suggested calorie intake. It was a packet, but pretty much no one followed it. I ate whatever I wanted and didn’t worry about it.

Were you ever provided with exercise information, other than for your sport, during your athletic career (childhood, high school, college)?
I started weight training in the middle of high school with my dad, and had an official weight training program at Whatcom and Saint Martin’s that the coaches and assistant coaches lead. We also followed a weight program in the off-season in college. It was harder weight training in the off-season to build muscle for the next season.

Do you feel like this information helped you after you finished competing in your sport?
Especially the discipline. My discipline from sports early on has helped me to work in multiple jobs at once. The exercise information has helped because I’m familiar with workouts and how to make a workout schedule.

How did you feel about your sport immediately after you were no longer competing?
Mixed emotions. I was sad and happy. Happy because I was finally having free time. Sad because I had too much free time! And that I wouldn’t be competing like that with these guys again.

How do you feel about your sport now?
I didn’t care as much up to a year out of my sport. I stopped following it and playing as much. But now, I’m a bigger fan than when I was playing. You see games through a specific view, and it is much different than when you are playing. Now I can see the whole picture, and enjoy that aspect of it.

How did you feel about your overall health immediately after you were no longer competing?
I wasn’t really thinking about it. I was in my best shape at the time. At that point I had never had knee or ankle problems but was battling Plantar Fasciitis.

How do you feel about your overall health now?
It could be better. Definitely more nutritionally aware than when I was playing in college.

What is your current exercise regiment? Are there any activities you can no longer do?
Play basketball three times per week, and try to get weight lifting and cardio in two days per week.

Did you sustain any serious injuries during your career that greatly affected your life then, and may affect you now?
During my time at Saint Martin’s, I got Plantar Fasciitis that ended up cutting my last year short. At that point I had always had good knees and ankles. It wasn’t until playing after college in different leagues and pick up when the smaller, nagging injuries started to catch up with me. Part of that was not having a trainer and facilities available. Working an 8-hour day, rushing to the gym to play and not properly stretching also contributed.

How would you describe your current diet?
I have definitely changed my diet recently in the last six to nine months. I’ve cut back on red meat and I’m moving toward cutting meat out of dinner. It is harder to digest meat. However, I think it is important to have meat in your diet for energy purposes and overall health. Do I think people eat way too much of it, and could I go days without eating it? Yes. There are other sources of protein.

Do you include anything in your routine for “mental” health? (i.e. meditation, affirmations, playing logic games)
I’m currently dealing with Achilles Tendinitis and I do an additional 5-10 minutes of stretching before going to bed. While laying in bed, I go over my to do list at work. I feel more prepared for the next day, and it helps me not to forget anything. I never forget things when it comes to work.

Do you feel like your job allows you to have a good work/life balance?
My current job does. It helps enjoying what you do. Putting in extra hours to finish something that you enjoy doing isn’t all that bad.

If you could give advice to your younger self about your sport, what would you say?
Have more confidence. Age is just a number and doesn’t mean you can’t compete with guys older than you.

Matt in the Galapagos Islands, standing next to a Nazca Boobie, 2013
Matt in the Galapagos Islands, standing next to a Nazca Boobie, 2013

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