The Face of Mental Health Focused Fitness
My journey has been full of ups and downs, positives and negatives. I have had to overcome a lot of obstacles to get where I am today. It wasn’t until I addressed my mental health that I truly found a sense of freedom in my life.
That day came on June 18th, 2019. After 35 years of dealing with mental health and addiction issues, I was finally able to love myself. All aspects of my life improved. I decided to reopen Downtown Fitness and focus on helping people, not only with physical wellness but mental wellness, too.
This notion of overall wellness seems like a deep concept, but it really isn’t when put into context. The human body operates on physical, mental, and emotional levels. My goal is to include all aspects into my training programs. These are all things I had to address on my own journey, and I now incorporate these into my everyday life. I challenge myself every day to do hard things and put myself in uncomfortable situations. It is my dedication to my overall wellness that helps me manage the challenges of everyday life.
It was this process of seeking my own wellness that helped lead to the creation of the Jared Palmer Memorial Capital City Race in May of 2023. This annual race consists of a 5k, 10k, and Half Marathon (the only race of its kind in Jefferson City) and starts and finishes at the State Capitol. The race is dedicated to mental health awareness and memorializes Jared Palmer, my pledge brother, who lost his mental health battle on November 1, 2021. Prior to the loss of Jared, I committed to run 20 miles per day in February 2021 to raise money for Jared’s medical care. In total, I ran 569.4 miles and raised $10,800 for Jared to seek treatment. When Jared passed away, I knew I had to share Jared’s story. I wanted others to know it’s okay to seek help. The race benefits Jared’s kids, George and Ellen, and the Cole County Treatment courts.
In sharing my story, I hope to start some open dialogue about mental health. Mental health matters. You are not alone.
Matt Chinn, AFAA, ACE, is a certified trainer/fitness instructor with over 15 years of experience in personal and group training. He founded both Downtown Fitness in 2014 and the Jared Palmer Memorial Capital City Race in 2023 after 10 years as a high school wresting, strength, and conditioning coach.
Downtown Fitness: 525 E. McCarty St., JCMO | (573) 619-1660