Matthew Gray

Software Engineer. Powerlifter.

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Diving In and Running Away

Many of the problems I deal with in life are the same across the disciplines I pursue and the hobbies I have. Diving into things that excite me and then running away as soon as they overwhelm me is something that I have struggled with for as long as I’ve had some authority over how I spend my time.

It’s not a chicken and egg problem; the diving in portion has to come first. When I see something that I think is intrinsically good/cool/right, my monkey brain starts racing. I will think about how the hell I can do this thing just right so that I can be better; however, after getting into whatever it is I have an equal and opposite reaction: this thing is giving me anxiety and I need to back-off. How can I do this thing so that it doesn’t feel like I’m just doing it for the aesthetic? How can I find a healthier balance with this thing? How can I just do the minimum to effect a change and...

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On Attention (Originally posted September 24th, 2018)


Since I started at NC State in August of 2015, I have thought a lot about what conditions allow me to perform the best mentally. That includes everything from my personal schedule, to what I commit myself to doing, to what’s on my phone and what I do in my “free time.” In these years, a dominating aspect of these considerations has been the apps and websites that I frequent: reddit, instagram, snapchat, facebook, twitter, etc. The primary focus of these thoughts has been this: does using these websites change the way I interact with the world? If so, is it for the worse? The answer seems obvious to me (spoiler: no), but it’s hard to come to terms with.

Here are some links to a few things that have made me think even more about this aspect of life.

  1. Recent podcast that reinvigorated my thinking about this: Hello Internet 108
  2. Straw that broke the camel’s back getting me to...

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Thoughts on Getting Things Done (Originally posted July 8th, 2018)

Getting Things Done made me roll my eyes quite a few times, but damn, am I glad I read through this book. I genuinely think the ideas laid out by Allen, especially because of how clearly he worded them, will significantly change my life for the better by making thoughts about productivity that have flickered through my mind into concrete ideas. I’m not going to give an in-depth review or anything like that, but I will list some of the key take-aways that I found useful from the book. In order, I list the important concepts I gathered from the book that everyone could use (not everything obviously), more points I really enjoyed reading about, and also some ideas I had about my own productivity systems along the way.

In short, this post can’t convey how helpful this book is. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in working better.

Primary points:

  • Capture EVERYTHING in your head...

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An Approach to Mobility (Originally posted May 20th, 2018)


I started from a trashcan level of mobility and have reached full front splits, full pancake, a deep german hang, and calves to the ground in middle splits over a period of about 3 years. While I’m far from an expert, I’ve learned a decent bit over the past few years and the goal of this post is to summarize what I have learned, describe my current approach from an abstract perspective, and then also talk about how I am applying it. If you have any questions or criticisms, feel free to comment them below. I’m still learning and it’s entirely possible to get something wrong. On a similar note, if you know something doesn’t work for you, or it feels like it hurts, don’t do it blindly. Either consult a medical professional or find something else. You only have one body, don’t screw it up.

This approach isn’t any one concept. I’ve learned a lot from Jordan Garcia, Emmet Louis...

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On Productivity and Pursuing Goals (Originally posted April 10th, 2018)

The Problem

Most of my self-improvement currently comes from physical activities. Side-projects and learning outside of school used to be important but it has fallen by the wayside. I would like to find more of a balance between all kinds of self-improvement and meaningful relaxation.


Seriously pursuing physical training has changed my life for the better in a great number of ways - self-confidence, how I feel on a daily basis, I could list many different things. It has become a consistent hobby I can work towards and further my abilities with and that’s so rewarding in its own right even looking past what it does for the body.

However, where time and energy has been invested in my schooling and physical activities, it has been taken from other avenues of self-improvement. Five years ago, I couldn’t keep myself out of picking up side projects, reading another book, or...

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Weighted Bodyweight Training (Originally posted February 24th, 2018)

Originally posted on February 24th, 2018.

Update February 27th, 2018:

  • For beginner/intermediate/advanced benchmarks, I highly recommend the overcoming gravity progression charts found at that link (google sheet). If that link becomes out-dated for some reason, check out /r/overcominggravity and you should be able to find the link on there in the side-bar or by asking.
  • Here is a reddit/bodyweightfitness thread I posted for this write-up and there was some good discussion in the comments. I’ll follow up on some points mentioned here.
  • This post is written assuming a full-body routine with 3x per week frequency. You could also do it with some other kind of split, but that’s outside the scope of this post. A 3x per week full-body routine is what I’m recommending around. You’d need to add skill work, horizontal plane movements, leg movements, accessory work, and mobility to this routine to...

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Reflecting on Four Years of Training (Originally posted November 11th, 2018)

Intro and Training History

I’ll begin with an overview of my successes, mistakes, and overall principles I have learned over the past four years. Following that I have included a brief and detailed training history that includes links to videos of the respective accomplishments. Feel free to read any or all parts of this post, I tried to section it up so that it’s digestible in pieces. This isn’t scientific or exact, it’s just a collection of thoughts and realizations I’ve had over these past four years and my experiences in training the multiple disciplines I choose to pursue. To be precise, the first year or so of training weren’t purposely focused on powerlifting or gymnastics, but I included elements of each from the beginning.

I could’ve made better progress on one discipline if I chose it exclusively, but would I have been as happy with my overall strength or overall mobility...

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Intermediate/Advanced Gymnastics Strength (Originally posted July 27th, 2017)


A few people on instagram and youtube have requested me to make a video covering my training program that I use. Haven’t had time to make the video yet and I wanted to go ahead and get it out in written form so I will go over the general plan here which you can apply to your own training and I will also cover how I use it myself. I originally made this routine using information I learned through reading Overcoming Gravity, and polished it by consulting with the book’s author, Steven Low.

This is focused on progression for intermediate gymnastics strength trainees who are on the larger side (>180lbs, >6’). Those are not hard limits, but the further you are below them, I’d only say this would be helpful if you were closer to the advanced/elite skills.


I will first preface by saying that I am not a licensed personal trainer, nor am I a medical professional, so by using...

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Hello Svbtle

Hey! I’m Matt Gray. This is my personal blog. I’m a software engineer working on iOS apps at WillowTree. I’m also a powerlifter. I’ve had a blog before for the main reason of having somewhere to share long-form thoughts (something that feels very cathartic). I used to post at, but I got tired of dealing with the publishing process of a static-site generator. I decided to come back to svbtle after having seen it years ago because I like its simplicity in regards to publishing and reading as well as its forever promise.

If you have any questions feel free to say hi. Also, for what it’s worth, grysvn = gray seven.

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