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Matt Kirkham Bellhouse CrossFit Transformation

Who are you? Be sure to include something that most people don’t know about you.

My actual name is Philip Matthew Kirkham. In the 70s, my grandfather loved watching Gunsmoke. His favorite character was Matt Dillon. I have not gone by Philip my whole life. 

I started CrossFit when Chris opened the gym. He used to work with us at Baytown Ace. My step son, Josh, who worked with me was also doing CrossFit at the time. At first, I was not interested in joining because I did not want to pay for a gym. I thought I could do it myself. When I learned about the founder rate and opportunity to help a new business in town and get in shape myself, I decided to join.

Joining the gym and becoming something bigger than myself aligned with my goals. The genesis of everything began in 2018. I had decided for my 50th birthday I would be fit and walk around a cruise ship without a big fat gut. Being one of the first people here in the facility was my entry into the whole thing. Josh started coming soon after, then other coworkers came. It was a lot of cameradie seeing my associates coming into the gym!

Why do you keep coming back to Bellhouse CrossFit?

My goal is to be under 200lbs by my 50th birthday. I am nearly there. I have lost 50 pounds since October 2019. I love the people here! Even in a full class of fourteen other members, the coach makes you feel like you are the only one. I am not just a number working out. The coach actually takes interest in me as a person and an athlete. If I am told to do something different, I trust Blair or Chris, and change the way I am moving. I feel safe.

What are you proud of physically, mentally, and emotionally since joining the gym?

Physically, I love the fact going from a XXL shirt to a L, and a size 38 pant to a size 31! To me that is just mind boggling. I used to not be able to even hold myself off a pull up bar. I thought I was so far gone that I could not possibly get back into shape. I have tried all sorts of exercise programs in the past. None of them worked. Here at the gym, the coaches, specifically Chris has been helping me with my mindset. I can get better and I have gotten better!

Mentally I feel like I can do anything. Before, anytime I needed to move I got tired quickly, I would get sore, I would run out of breath. Now I am not afraid of anything. I can run without getting tired. I played racquetball this past Sunday. It was the first time I played since 1992. I want my wife to get on track with everything as well. I hope that she will get on the healthy track just like me. 

Emotionally, I have no fear. I have confidence. What makes me feel good is seeing somebody who has not seen me in several months or years, and they hardly recognize me. My body has changed a lot. I still have some body dysmorphia and see myself as a fat guy. It is something I will be able to get over. My kids were blown away by seeing me in this kind of shape. 

How did you overcome some of the obstacles in starting your health journey?

My biggest obstacles are doughnuts and pizza at work. They are always feeding us there. One of the ways to get around it is not being to the kitchen where the food is. I fight the food battle every day. This 800g challenge has helped me tremendously. I feel full eating the fruits and vegetables. And eating doughnuts has nothing to do with being full. 

The hardest part is the mind game. I go to the gym, run everyday, do all this work. I think sometimes I deserve it. I would lose 10lbs, then I would go and have a doughnut. I would fluctuate my weight so much. I am committed to my goal. I want to walk around the cruise ship confidently with my shirt off. 

What is your current focus or goal on the gym?

Right now my goal is to get under 200lbs and do a muscle up. To go from not being able to support my own body weight, to being able to do a pull up is one thing. Now to do a muscle up I feel like I will be more aligned with what a CrossFitter does. I don’t know what will happen afterwards. The 200lbs is an arbitrary number. I wouldn’t mind if I was 215lbs of muscle. It is just mentally that when I am under 200lbs, I think of it as being in shape. My initial goal was to be under 220lbs because I want to go skydiving. I am going this Saturday. 

Tell me a joke.

There are two biscuits laying in the oven and the first biscuit says, “Man, it is hot in here!” The second biscuit says, “Holy crap!!! A talking biscuit!!!”

When was the last time you felt embarrassed?

In 2016, I was a truck driver leaving Kansas coming back to Houston. There was nowhere to stop during a certain stretch and I needed the bathroom. Eventually I made it to the rest stop and ran in to use the john… then it dawned on me I had not seen any urinals. I was in the women’s bathroom! Walking out, there was someone coming in. I looked her dead in the eye and said that she was in the wrong bathroom. 

What do you want to do when you retire?


Mountains or Ocean


Last show you binge watched

Polar Opposites. A show about aliens that crash land on Earth. It is quite the commentary on our social society. 

Favorite stretch position

Child Pose 


Sleep vs. Exercise: Which is more important?

Hello and welcome to our first “Ask Me Anything“ blog post! We will be publishing these every other Friday. Be sure to check in on those other weeks to see a Member Transformation article! These questions can be submitted to Bellhouse CrossFit via email, our Prayer Requests and Comments box at the gym, or during the story that we post on Wednesdays. Now… lets get to answering the question for this week.

When we workout, we are tearing and breaking down our muscles. Think of the body as a hard boiled egg that is cracking throughout the day. When you go to the gym, go to work, experience the day’s stressors, up until we fall asleep the egg shell is cracking. Once we sleep and wake the next day, however, the egg shell has put itself back together. It is now a whole egg again. 

The questions to ask is how do I choose what is best for my body? Should I sleep or go to the gym?

Imagine that you are consistently pushing your body in the gym. Let’s say you have a goal of improving your metcons. In order to see results, you have to exercise. Here at Bellhouse CrossFit we believe that results from exercise are going to come from your hard work and smart recovery. Smart recovery includes getting enough sleep. How much is enough? Studies have shown that 7-9 hours of sleep is adequate for adults that are exercising regularly. 

It can be difficult to prioritize sleep. It is really important to make time for it. Here is the clincher. They are both important. If you are not sleeping enough to recover from your workouts, then you are putting your body in a fatigued state and a risk of injury. Here at Bellhouse CrossFit, it is our goal for you to see results. Our focus is not just on the workouts in the gym, but your overall health. Sometimes you may need to get in a nap, or take a couple more hours to snooze so that your body gets the adequate recovery needed to take full advantage of the previous day’s workout. 

Let us help you keep your body from cracking and build a strong egg shell. Next steps? Schedule a time to come in, see our gym, and meet a coach. If you are wanting a change in your life and do not know where to begin, click here.


Justin Christmas Bellhouse CrossFit Transformation

Who are you? Be sure to include something that most people don’t know about you.

I have a beautiful wife of 9 years and 2 kids. I attended the University of Houston. I am an absolute gearhead. Anything about cars. I grew up working with cars alongside my dad and grandpa. My family has been drag racing since the 70’s. I started at 18, and hope to pass to my kids one day. Of the cars I’ve owned, my favorite was a 1976 Camaro. I love working with my hands.

Why do you keep coming back to Bellhouse CrossFit?

It helps if I break it down into four categories… commitment, community, coaching, and health. I did not think of myself as a gym rat growing up. As a young person I played sports, and continued to play basketball and volleyball recreationally as an adult. Once the kids entered my picture, I stopped playing. I used to hate lifting weights. I would quit my team in high school when the off season came around. 

The commitment to start CrossFit for me needed to be a daily practice. CrossFit has become a sport for me. If i didn’t commit to coming every single day, then I would have quit just like those other sports. 

Community is incredible at Bellhouse CrossFit. My life felt upside down when I joined the gym. My priorities were out of whack. I’ve met new friends here at the gym. I can lean on other people for support. They cheer me on when I achieve a PR.

Coaching is most important for sticking with exercise. When I look at the board and see movements that I don’t understand… it is intimidating. I love being coached from the ground up. The last time I lifted weights was doing a barbell bench press in high school. Now that I’ve been here for 5 months, I’m still getting taught. The coach celebrates my accomplishments too! 

I was diagnosed at 26 years old with high cholesterol, a dysfunctional heart valve, and was surprised by this condition. After 6 years of living with this I got tired and needed a change. My doctor recently took me off of my medications. He said I was in an ideal health range. That made me feel so excited and proud of the effort I have put into the gym and my health. 

What are you proud of physically, mentally, and spiritually since joining the gym?

Physically would be my improved health. There is really hard evidence on paper that CrossFit is improving my health. Exercise has improved my heart condition. The coach talks about healthy eating at the whiteboard. I was considered a string bean by my peers. Now I can see my muscles! Gaining strength has been very cool. My biggest physical goal is to play sports with my kids as they grow up. I am excited I’ll be able to beon the field with them instead of sitting on the sidelines.

Mentally, I’ve realized anything is possible. Once you have seen success, the next time there is a challenge, you know there will be a path through. As long as you find and execute a strategy, you can make your way through.

Spiritually, it is the community. For me it is making new friends. It is amazing working out with my wife everyday. It has been a tremendous value and life giving activity for me. It is so uplifting to my spirit and our relationship. Having a joint hobby is really cool. 

How did you overcome some of the obstacles in starting your health journey?

I didn’t do anything about my condition when I learned about it. I did not hang out with the right people. They put me on medication and that’s about it. I went the opposite direction after the diagnosis. Fast forward to joining CrossFit and being committed to this journey of health. I knew that I needed to plan. I would have to change my schedule in order to attend. As well as figure out the cost of the gym to attend month after month. I sat down with my wife, Hannah, to figure out the schedule that would allow us to come day after day. I want to get my money’s worth for anything that I pay for. I bought the unlimited membership. I saw it as another layer of accountability for myself. I also experienced a mental struggle being in a new setting with new people and not understanding some of the movements. The coach’s advice has helped a lot with performing the movements.

At the end of the day, my goal is to get stronger and faster. I want to continue to improve my health. Some days I come in to push myself really hard. Some days I come in to just move. I scale.I know that however I workout, I am becoming a healthier version of myself. 

How do you tie your shoes? 

I always tie my right shoe first. Tighten the laces then bunny ear. 

Where do you want to go for next anniversary

For our 10 year anniversary I want to go to a Caribbean Resort and renew our wedding vows.

Favorite book

Becoming a Better You. Life is about self reflection and self evaluation.

Enneagram Type

Type 8, the challenger.

Tacos or Burritos

Tacos. You can eat them faster, so you can eat more.