We are proud to have a community who is passionate about training, motivating, and inspiring the health and fitness of others. We asked Dr. Matt Barle to share his expert voice with the HYLETE community.

For people in the HYLETE community that don’t know you, what are your certifications?

I have my Doctorate in Physical Therapy and a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science. As for certifications, I am a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Level 1 Performance Coach (USA-W), TPI-1 Certified Golf Fitness Instructor, and a Graston Technique Specialist (GTS).

What made you want to pursue a career in the health and fitness world?

I played baseball in college so being active has always been a major aspect of my life. I started working out in 9th grade in order to build muscle for baseball and I haven’t stopped working out since. When my baseball career ended, I still wanted to stay involved in sports somehow. Being a physical therapist has allowed me to do that. I get to work with athletes and the active community every single day to help them reach their goals and stay active for the long haul.

Why are you passionate about health and fitness?

One of my favorite things as a physical therapist is seeing a patient not only crush their goals, but completely surpass what they thought was attainable. Most people don’t know what their true potential is. My passion is unlocking someone's true potential.

How do you define health?

Health to me is all about longevity. The longevity to do the things you love to do for as long as you want to do them. I want to be able to play with my son as he grows up. To be able to have a baseball catch with him and not have to deal with shoulder pain or whatever else it might be. It all comes down to quality of life. We only have one body so why wouldn’t you do everything in your power to stay healthy and enjoy life to the fullest?

How will you know when your health efforts are successful?

I think this is where goal setting comes in. It’s important to set long term goals for what you want your health and fitness to look like, BUT you also need to have short term goals along the way that keep you consistent. Set metrics that are quantifiable. “I want to work out more” and “I want to work out 2-3 times a week for 30-60 minutes” are two very different goals. One is broad and leaves a lot up for discussion while the other is concrete and precise. If you aren’t sure how to go about setting health goals, it might not be a bad idea to work with a healthcare or fitness professional who can create a detailed program for you.

Why do you think it is important to be mindful of your health?

I think if more people were more self-aware about their health, a lot of health risks could be avoided entirely. As a physical therapist, I will often hear from a patient during their evaluation that they were experiencing symptoms for months before they did anything about it. If they had listened to their body and saw a physical therapist sooner, maybe their injury could have been avoided. When it comes to an injury and working out, I like to use a traffic light as an analogy. A green light means you are pain free and have no issues throughout the day with all activities. A yellow light means you have occasional pain here and there with certain movements, but it goes away after you stop doing that movement or activity. These incidences tend to come and go. A red light is an injury that you are aware of constantly and prevents you from performing daily activities. Most people wait until they are at a red light to go to physical therapy. If they listened to their body at the yellow light, maybe those symptoms could have been nipped in the bud before they had the time to progress into something more. Listen to your body!

What is something you would tell someone that is first starting their health journey?

Invest in yourself. Not everyone loves going to the gym and lifting weights and that’s ok! Some people struggle with motivating themselves to get to the gym and that’s ok too! BUT that doesn’t mean you give up. You need to find what strategy works best for you. For example, I hate stretching so I pay for a membership at a yoga studio because it keeps me accountable and forces me to work on stretching. Also, you need to enjoy what you are doing because that is the only way you’re going to stay consistent.

What is the #1 thing to know when actively trying to better oneself?

Ask questions. I love when my patients ask questions because it shows me that they are not only in it physically, but mentally as well. Those patients tend to see results sooner because they are students of the game. My goal from day one is to promote independence so that when a patient is done with me, they are set up for success. Use every resource possible to better yourself.

What is one thing you wish people knew about physical therapy?

Just because you had a bad experience with a physical therapist, doesn’t mean that physical therapy didn’t work. Maybe you didn’t find the physical therapist that works best for you. I believe physical therapy should be one-on-one, tailored to the individual, and progressed weekly. If you find that you aren’t seeing the progress you’re looking for, but you’re scheduled with 3-4 other patients and doing the same exercises for weeks at a time, it may be time to look elsewhere. This goes back to investing in yourself and getting the care you deserve. Don’t be surprised if you see results quicker too!

What style of training do you do?

I like to train movements, not body parts. My workouts consist of some form of a squat, a pushing movement, a pulling movement, some form of a hip hinge, and a loaded carry. From there, I typically end with a few exercises targeting the smaller stabilizing muscles that often get forgotten (Ex. glutes, lower traps, rotator cuff musculature).

What do you train for?

It used to be for baseball. Now, I train for life. I train so that I can play with my son. I train so that I can jump into a pick up basketball game and not have to worry about an injury. Life is too short not to live it to the fullest.

Anything else you want to share with the HYLETE community?

You are the product of the people you spend the most time with so make sure you surround yourself with motivated individuals that are going to push you to be the best form of yourself.