Matt Bickel: Cultivating Change

I just did a fucking pull-up, bitch! That’s my first-ever pull-up, swear to God. I was about six months into my health and fitness journey, hiking every day and eating healthy, when I finally was brave enough to buy a scale. I bought a 450-pound scale because I wasn’t quite sure how much I needed it to go up to, and I literally used every bit of it. There’s a lot of stories inside of this thing that are brand new to me and I think as an adult you can metaphorically take a lot out of them and apply them to your life. And whether you read the whole Bible front to back or whether you read just a couple chapters, there’s always a really cool message in there, you know, that sure opens my eyes to things. My folks got divorced when I was probably four or five years old and I moved in with my mom and sister. I grew up overweight and not very tough. The world wasn’t doing me a whole lot of favors. Poor, not very confident, not very proud of who I was. One thing that I could always turn to that never really turned me down or said anything bad was food. Being obese, you had to have something to bring to the table for kids, because kids are tough man, kids are mean, and so I used my personality and tried to be a bright light in people’s lives and tried to relentlessly give in hopes to one day receive. Something that shaped me as a person for sure, but it was probably, in hindsight, out of an insecurity of being so overweight. You know, girls weren’t really interested in me, getting food was. And so I just kept turning to it. You know, my friends would go out and drink beer and go home with their girlfriends, and I’d go home and eat food. It was just something that, you know, became a pattern in my life, that became so cyclical and so ingrained in my brain that it was just how I thought and lived, all the way to a psychological addiction. I didn’t really understand that or realize that until very recently in my life, but back then I was completely, fully psychologically addicted to food. I was kind of at a rock-bottom moment because it was starting to really get to me, like having a hard time tying my shoes, I had to use the extension belt on the airplane. Ironically, I had been in denial up to that point and thought that the world was just getting smaller or clothes were just the wrong sizes. I was a 4X-tall at that point. I was a 54-inch waist. I was eating one of my normal 2,000 to 3,000-calorie meals that I would have 3-4 times a day and I couldn’t think of any decadent food, like I was saying, I couldn’t think of one meal that would ignite my interest, something that would make me go “yummy, delicious.” I literally burned myself out on every type of junk food and every type of comfort food I could think of and I believe, in hindsight, that’s the moment that I admitted it. I said to myself, “Wow, if you can’t think of one fat food, one bad yummy comfort food to make yourself feel happy, then we’re at a problem here.” And I literally thought, maybe I should try vegetables. I went to my wife at the time and said, “Gretchen, I’d like to try to be healthy,” and she was like, “Cool, let’s do it.” Two years ago, I walked into this gym and was absolutely terrified of the thought of doing CrossFit. About a year before, I saw Froning win his last Games on TV on ESPN and it was like, “Holy shit.” Within like, even like a month, I was already starting to be like, “All right, there’s something going on here.” I could tell just the community was different. Being an old athlete and having a group of people to suffer with is huge, dude I was 450 in 2011. And then I started losing weight and by 2013 I was 325, but then by 2015, 2014, I had crept back up to 375. Thank God for CrossFit, no joke. I’d walk in the door and They were doing burpees the very first day, when it was a free workout. I was horrified. Total badass roomful of people doing burpees and I was like, “Get me the fuck out of here!” I don’t go to the gym to get fit. I don’t go to the gym because I have to. I go to the gym because I get to. You could literally tie me to the wall and I would rip the freaking wall down to get to the gym. There’s nothing that will stop me from getting fit. All right, Mr. Bickel. Yes. What do you do for a living? What do I do for a living? It became something I was really passionate about from a young age. You know, probably like 20 years old, right out of high school, was when I first realized it was something more than just like I wanted to get stoned. I wanted to grow the plant, I wanted to learn about it, I wanted to know about it. I wanted to go to Amsterdam where it was legal and you could go discover, you know, more things about it, how it was cultivated, go to places where it was grown and see how that happened. So it became a passion of mine that really kind of outweighed all my other passions. With the newer facilities, I’m gonna go in and design a new facility, help the architects and the contractors build the most efficient way. We’re gonna look at workflow and production, also help folks with new markets, try and find, you know, try and find niches in their market, and try and find the right real estate, the right building. In an older facility like this, something I would do is come in and kind of assess all their equipment, check out the plant health, look at the medium they’re using, look at the way they’re manicuring the plants, where they’re topping the plants, and we’re gonna just start trying to find ways to improve little things here. We don’t want to always have to spend a million dollars to improve what we need inside of a grow. Sometimes we can do it with no money at all. So i’ll come in and I’ll just help these guys assess little bitty ways to increase margins, as well as to increase the quality of the product and make things better for everybody. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, even in your space, the best harvest you’ve ever had in your life will usually be followed within a few harvests of one of the worst harvests you’ve ever had. It is an art. It is not a science. There’s science involved, but it is truly an art, and that’s what makes this so special and so cool. This plant is so fascinating. Whether you’re a fan or not of the plant, I feel like it’s one of the most gorgeous creations that God’s ever put on this Earth and this is His, man. We’re just trying not to mess it up. I always tell people when they hire me, you’re hiring like 10 to 20,000 mistakes. Like I can promise you I know 20,000 ways not to do it because I’ve tried them all and failed at them all. And so people always want to try a lot of the things that I tried and when they can bounce it off me and they’re like, “Hey, is that a good idea?” “Oh no, that’s a terrible idea,” and that’s literally what I do for a living because so many people invest so much money into this space and so much attention, but recklessly do it and don’t quite know what they’re about to do themselves. Jeremy and I have always watched people just flush millions and millions of dollars down the toilet. I truly believe that if you don’t love this plant passionately, you’ll never know how to grow it. And then it goes, gets sold in the store. Smoke it. The end. I think the best way to discover God is to try and surrender end of self. If you can be like, OK, I’ve come as far as I can go on my own and I’d like to go further than that, then I think it’s a really good opportunity to explore God. Because, like, I have hit, maxed out, I can only back squat 405. Well, maybe you can back squat 500 in a few months, you know what I mean? That’s kind of to me what faith has been so far. To help with my back squat. My passion has always been to help people, to change people’s lives, to leave a big mark on this earth. With marijuana we were at a forefront 10 years ago, where I could see a black and white problem in society culturally that was not correct. Now when I take a look into my fitness world and what I’ve learned, I see this other epidemic that’s just so black and white. It is obesity, it’s diabetes, it is complex carbs killing people and I see the lack of movement shutting people’s bodies down. Coach Glassman said one of the coolest things I’ve ever heard. He said that modern medicine can actually extend our lives to be 150 within the next 10 to 20 years, and that we’ll still be sending people to nursing homes when they’re 70 because they lacked the posterior chain strength to sit on a toilet or to pick up a pen if they drop it on the floor. Potentially my own children, my own family members, my father, my mother will end up completely incapacitated due to the fact that they weren’t squatting. Like man, we can change that. This is like, this is just, this is why my passion has just left me. Man, I was so successful in weed as far as relaying my passion and explaining my thoughts and my reasoning to people, and I don’t know a tenth of what I’ve learned through this journey, you know what I mean? And I never suffered in the weed industry, I never lost over and over and over. It was all just a kind of game. This has been an ass-kicking for 37 years. It’s like I’m finally getting on top of right now for the first time ever and got a little momentum and I’ve got a bunch of cool people behind me and we’re gonna see how far we can go with it.

25 Replies to “Matt Bickel: Cultivating Change”

  1. This dude is an inspiration. I’m a 300+ pound
    Crossfitter and have been fighting for four years now to loose weight. It’s a process and different for everyone. Respect!

  2. Love Crossfit! Point blank changes life’s and gives results! Literally have never met a person yet that hasn’t had a physical and metal change from doing this type of exercise!

  3. Crosfit HQ should not be promoting marijuana – Marijuana affects brain development etc etc..Apart from the drugs, great guy and great story..

  4. Crossfit and dug use, not something I thought I'd see paired together. Compared to other videos, there is a major amount of time spent showcasing the community / profession of this fellow (growing pot). Half the video. Not one mention of any of the risks or draw backs. The demonstration of use of the drug was also a bit… out of the norm for what I expect from Crossfit.

  5. CF against Coke/Pepsi, but with Weed. LOL!!!
    This guy has a passion for life. No denial. But, a drug is a drug. With that passion for life, no one should ever need drugs. There is no reason for it. However, good on you bro…

  6. The weed just through me off so much. I'm a Christian, I lost weight, I do crossfit, I LOVE WEED, I'm a Christian. I was like what the hell is going on here.

  7. I reached to his job, & thought, wtf? Really? Its not the right way to make a relation between crossfit & weed in this sort of videos, just my opinion :/

  8. Matt is a friend of mine and he is the real deal. A truly genuine and excited person about people and life. You want to feel awesome about yourself? Spend 5 minutes with this guy and he will show you something so cool about yourself that you won’t forget it ever. Miss you dude!

  9. Bunch of haters here on weed. Personally I’ve never done it but I’ve also never smoked and drink once a year. Those are just as toxic, but I don’t judge. Keep up the good work. Do what you love.

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