An in-demand Los Angeles-based trainer, many people first learned about Don Brooks -- better known worldwide as Don-A-Matrix -- when he began training members of the Kardashian family. Don-A-Matrix has also been responsible for training other celebrities, including The Black Eyed Peas' Fergie, and a variety of popular athletes.
I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with Don-A-Matrix about his history with the professional sports world, his work with BODYARMOR Sports Drink, and what else the forward-thinking trainer has going on. More on Don-A-Matrix can be found by following him on Instagram via @donamatrixtraining.
As a trainer, who was the first professional athlete you trained?
Don-A-Matrix: Terrell Fletcher was the first professional athlete I trained. He was a running back for the San Diego Chargers.
Is training a professional athlete much different than training a non-professional athlete?
Don-A-Matrix: Yes. When I worked with professional athletes, depending on their sport, we had different workout routines and techniques to ensure that we were hitting certain muscle groups and working on specific movements. Pro athletes usually have a specific goal in mind -- explosiveness, agility, etc. -- as compared to non-pros.
Is it much different to train an MLB player than an NFL player?
Don-A-Matrix: Yes and no. There are similar workouts that I’ll use with both pro athletes that work on a variety of skills that apply to both sports. However, their sports are vastly different, so they are workouts/techniques that are more important to an NFL player versus an MLB player and vice versa.
How do you feel about the theory of different body types being better for different exercises?
Don-A-Matrix: Some exercises can be more of a challenge for others, but with the right coaching anything is possible, and any body type can adjust.
Did you yourself ever have aspirations of being a professional athlete?
Don-A-Matrix: I am a professional athlete. (laughs) I don’t just train athletes, I compete with the exercises I instruct them to do.
Which sport do you feel that you are the most naturally talented at?
Don-A-Matrix: Basketball has always been my main sport. I excelled as a collegiate athlete before turning my attention to be a trainer.
Do you have a favorite NFL team?
Don-A-Matrix: I grew up a Dallas Cowboys fan, but now that I work with so many athletes I just follow the individual, not the teams.
How often do you attend live sporting events?
Don-A-Matrix: Pretty often. I’m a big sports fan and I love watching the athletes that I train in the off-season compete throughout their season. Being in L.A., I try to catch their games as often as I can.
Sports aside, what is coming up for you career-wise?
Don-A-Matrix: It’s been an exciting last few years. I have my own studio in Los Angeles where I host daily workout classes and recently, I launched my own “Don-A-Matrix” app – it allows you to check my workout class schedule, lets you know about upcoming events in your area and gives instructions to try out fitness routines from home.
I’ve also been working lately with BODYARMOR Sports Drink, which is a better-for-you hydration option for all athletes. It contains natural flavors and sweeteners, potassium-packed electrolytes, coconut water, vitamins and nothing artificial, so it’s been perfect for keeping me hydrated and feeling my best throughout the day. They also have BODYARMOR LYTE, which contains all the same nutrients but has only 20 calories and 3 grams of sugar per serving.
Finally, when you don't have to spend your time exercising, what does a successful trainer like to do in his free time?
Don-A-Matrix: Free time is certainly limited! I try to work-out once-a-day on my own time in the early morning – for about an hour – before the actual day starts and I start my workouts with clients. Normally I’ll be in workouts with clients throughout the day, but when I do get free time, I try to rest and recuperate a little.