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Matt Lloyd brings the ruckus.

As an owner of the Denver-based Mountain Strong gym, he's building a community centered around outdoor activities like climbing, skiing, and biking.

As a climber, he's pushing the limits of the sport and exploring legendary climbing destinations with some of the world's most talented athletes.

As a mortal human... well, he's just plain savage.

Now he's (figuratively of course) juggling it all with a new kid and publishing a training manual for mountain athletes, and frankly, we think he's earned a high five. So we sat down with Matt as part of our new Creator Series and did our best to catch up with him. 


MTN: Tell me about Mountain Strong… What's your role at the gym?
ML: I'm an owner and coach at Mountain Strong Denver, a training gym that caters to mountain athletes. I founded the gym back in 2015 with my then climbing partner turned business maestro, Will Gordon. I try my hardest to get everyone at the gym to refer to me as "The Lord of Climbing" but it's not catching on.

MTN: What's an average day behind the scenes at Mountain Strong look like?
ML: An average day at the gym usually looks like this - for years, I coached the 6 am class, something that has shaped my morning routine to this day (for the better). After that class, I feel excited to train since I have just spent the last hour watching other people spill their guts out in the pursuit of athletic performance - this makes me jealous, and I don't like being jealous. When I wrap up my morning training session, which usually consists of some weightlifting and metabolic conditioning, I sneak out the door as fast as possible for a short climbing session in Eldorado canyon or the Flatirons - I climb outside about 4 days a week almost without exception. I'm back in the gym by 4 pm, for the afternoon session, which involves typically coaching the climbing-specific crew. Besides that, I'm writing a training book for mountain athletes based on my experience owning the gym.


MTN: What's your favorite part of a day at work?
ML: I love seeing people do something they didn't think they could do - this happens often, so often in fact that it now bothers me when people tell me they can't do something. Pay attention to how often you say that very phrase to yourself or hear others say it - it's fucking contagious and often a lie. It gets under my skin because I can generally get them to do that very thing that they thought was impossible with just a little technique and mental coaching.

MTN: How did you first decide you wanted to start the gym? Who/what/where was an essential part of your life that inspired you to start this business?
ML: I have always wanted to own my own business, so it felt natural; luckily for me, I'm instinctual, which I sometimes suppose verges on impulsive; either way, it allows me to charge ahead and give things my best shot.


MTN: What do you love to do with your free time outside of the gym?
ML: Climb, and then climb some more.

MTN: What's one bit of advice you have for building a badass athlete?
ML: Consistency is everything. I believe in inertia. People talk a lot about overtraining, it's not a thing, maybe under recovering is a thing, but that's not the point. Every professional athlete I know "over-trains "by laymen's standards, if you want to get good at something, it takes time, lots of time. One hour of training, a couple of times a week, may do the trick if you could do it for 100 years.


MTN: What's the most underrated self-isolation exercise?
ML: Training to failure - pick a movement: pushups, air squats, sprinting, then do as many as you can in a row until you reach real, actually, painful muscle failure ( not quitting because your brain says your tired). This drill is about mental toughness... you want to know a secret? You probably already possess the physical prerequisites to perform at whatever sport your training for at a professional level. The best athletes in this world are not that physically different from you; you simply give up too early and don't try hard enough (I know it hurts to hear but it's the truth... sorry not sorry). This drill teaches you to smash your thoughts and push through negative self-talk.

MTN: Best self-isolation drink?
ML: Coffee, I drink lots of coffee, mmmmh coffee.

MTN: What's something that you want to work on or achieve this year?
ML: I'm publishing a book - you should buy it - pretty please?


Matt Lloyd is an owner of Mountain Strong Denver, and author of the upcoming outdoor training manual, Mountain Strength. You can help support the publication by contributing on Kickstarter. Beyond that, he's always chasing new routes and stories in the outdoors. Keep up with him and his work:


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Mountain Standard is a proud outfitter of the Mountain Strong staff. Stop by the gym for a free workout and you're likely to see some of these products on their awesome trainers: