These two friends share more in common than just having the same name. Matt Halsted and Matt Gray are two upcoming juniors and members of the NC State Club Gymnastics team. Their individual histories with gymnastics brought them together as friends through club gymnastics. The Matts would end up joining forces and creating an Instagram account with more than 2,000 followers showing their incredible gymnastic skills. We have noticed the work these two have put into mastering their craft and others have noticed too. Their Instagram page, mghm.fitness, has been gaining momentum and popularity.
So where did this success all begin? Halsted started gymnastics when he was 5-years old through a trial run studio class in Charlotte. He has since been doing gymnastics for the past 15 years. Gray found discovered gymnastics as a baseball player looking for extra ways to get in better shape for the sport through bodyweight and calisthenics training. Gray, who is from the Outer Banks, only started doing gymnastics two years ago and spent this past year competing for the first time.
Halsted, sporting a #PACKINACTION T-shirt, noticed gymnastics was a passion for him after realizing just how big gymnastics was in his life during high school. “I’d been doing it for so long and I kind of lost track of what all I was doing. Since I had been competing I really was like desensitized to it, but then I kind of took a step back and realized what all gym was and realized how big of a part of my life it was for me,” he said.
Gray found gymnastics as a passion for him from learning about all the effort put into the professionalism of the sport. Seeing that made Matt want to be better and develop himself to that next level.
Halsted and Gray both have had their fair share of challenges through doing this sport. While they are setting up their equipment and stretching in the gym, both begin to express how they have injured several parts of their body. Like any committed athlete, they emphasize, it’s just a matter of when you will get injured, not if. For Halsted and Gray, their challenges also came when they each contemplated quitting. Nevertheless, Matt and Matt offered value lessons through their testimonies on getting past breaking points. “If you make a commitment stick to it,” says Halsted. When challenges arise, focus on the reason why you are doing what you are doing, not on the situation.
Matt Gray, who started with no skills in gymnastics, plans to continue his efforts in gymnastics and has a very ambitious goal to place at nationals in the still rings category. After school, he plans to continue doing gymnastics to maintain fitness and strength. Similarly, Matt Halsted plans to keep up the sport after college as way to stay in shape but at a less intense level. Both Matts feel that club gymnastics have helped them find a support system for achieving their goals. Gray adds that with gymnastics you don’t have to start from a specific skill level. “There’s so much of a base you can build so many progressions, so [there are] many easy ways to start,” Gray says. Halsted talks about his favorite move being Iron Cross on the rings. “It really is taxing on the body but it uses most of your upper body including chest, shoulder, arms and back.” he says. Gray, ironically wearing a defying gravity T-shirt, enjoys handstands because the difficulty level can progress endlessly. Gray states, “it’s been a skill I’ve been working on since I started gym. I was originally scared to go upside down and now I’ve gotten a 50 second handstand. There is never a place to stop practicing; you can always do more.”
Matt Halsted and Matt Gray have both found purpose through gymnastics and it has sculpted to become a passion for them and something that will always be a part of their lifestyle. That passion has also gotten the attention of many people online and has allowed them to share their gifts and talents with others in a fun and inspiring way.