Matt Jansen Reflects on the Start of RAW Endurance 


The Start

"I was reminded this morning of a memory from last year, and as I reflected on it, I couldn't be more thankful for it all. 


Post Father’s Day last year, while Jordan (Jordan Jansen, Matt Jansen's wife) was visiting family with the boys (their sons), I came back down alone for the work week. Having the whole week to myself, I felt myself wanting to commit to a goal again. One that I could work towards daily—something I haven't had for myself as a competitive outlet since my bodybuilding days. It had been years since I had something to motivate and push me further than I thought I could go.


That week to myself started with me watching more CrossFit videos than I can remember. Watching all these incredible athletes do what they loved and move so strongly - it made me think. I had some knee issues (ones that I'm still working through as you're reading this) that prevented me from training as intensely as I once did. I knew I wouldn’t be able to train as I desired but I wasn't going to let it stop me.


The week transitioned into me watching and learning everything I could about triathlons. From the preparation that goes into training for one of these grueling competitions to the recovery your body needs afterwards. I grew up being on a swim team and I loved every second of it. I figured that was something I could do quite easily, especially considering my experience (or so I thought). I had never had been on a road bike and I hadn't run more than a 1/4 mile at a time. No more than 3 miles total in 13 years! But I told myself - I was committed and wanted to do this. 


First Moves

My next call was to Dom Iacovone. Dom and I had always met up in the morning to train together. So the next morning, I filled him in on what I was thinking and obsessing over the past few days. Without hesitation, he said "I'm in". We bonded over this new passion of ours. Dom is a very logical and methodical person, so the next words he said were that we should probably hire a coach so we don’t spin our wheels for months.


Something else that makes this story so cool is as I was going through the week researching all about the training required and the high level coaches in the sport. Three different people I was in talks with, all from various walks of life & not knowing each other, all directed me to reach out to Natasha Van Der Merwe for coaching. The Saturday of that same week, I had my onboarding call with her. Dom had his on Sunday. 


Coaching aside, at this point, Natasha is someone I consider a true friend. It’s been so nice for me to have a friend who coaches athletes in an arena different than mine, so that she and I can level on in so many aspects- outside of the X’s and O’s of the plans themselves. My plans and hers vastly differ, but from a high-level coaching perspective, we share so many commonalities that it’s been so nice and rewarding to have gained this friendship with her. 


Growing Pains

With Natasha leading the way in our coaching, us having the resources we do in manufacturing, and this passion we all share for endurance sports- we are committed to fully developing an endurance division within RAW. Now with Natasha coming on as an official member of the company, this dream is on its way. 


It feels like so much has happened between then and now. The Endurance division of RAW has been like launching an all-new brand. Unforeseen challenges, manufacturing hurdles, missed timelines, risks almost in some ways, feeling like we were starting from scratch…From The Ground Up all over again.  


Over this past month, the work that we’ve committed to has really started to pay off, and it’s been so rewarding to see and be a part of it. The endurance community is an awesome group of people, and I’m just thankful to have found it and to be a part of it with the entire team around us.


Monumental Additions

Another pivotal piece of the team has been added over the past month, again through Natasha Van Der Merwe. Chris Lieto has been working in the background to help establish and build the brand in ways that we couldn't do without his help. Chris, again, an incredible person, has dove right in. Ultimately, this entire message is about not being afraid to try something new, having proper relationships, and working tirelessly toward a goal. 


Seeing the team being built in front of our eyes and the athletes on our team having the success they are having has been such a rewarding process. Even more so when you consider all the work that has gone into this. We’ve had top podium placings in the pro ranks on both the men’s and women’s sides in the past few weeks; we have a world record holder in an ultra marathon, and we have three top 10 ranked women worldwide!


I’m not saying any of this to boast or brag. If any of you have even made it this far, the point of all this is to follow your heart. Don’t be afraid to start over, try something new, or commit to something you know you will suck at. Whether it’s work, relationships, a passion or all of the above and stick to your commitments no matter how hard it might get. 


My Gratitude

To our team, Dom and Chris, thanks for allowing me to see this through and trusting me enough to give me the wings to attempt it in an unknown space. To the rest of our team, thanks for giving this your best, Dan, Jack, Ryan, and our entire content team for being transitional, themselves attempting and trying new things. I appreciate it all so much.


I am going through a few speed bumps myself in my own development in the sport, which has seemed to be a theme this year for me. All the more reason why I’m pointing this out. Because of all this, I’ve been able to invest and pour my heart & attention into something that otherwise could be seen as pretty negative due to my circumstances.

Thank you for reading! I and everyone here at RAW Nutrition is very excited for the future of RAW Endurance, we have a lot on the way for you guys and can't wait for you all to see."




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