To Top

Meet Matthew Didier of Heart & Soul Strong in Covina

Today we’d like to introduce you to Matthew Didier.

Matthew, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
A fundamental thing I’ve learned, through many trials and tribulations, is – Don’t delude yourself with the easy path. Eventually, it becomes the hard path. Take the required path.

Welcome to the human condition.

As humans, we tend to do that which is easiest, which often makes us allergic to that which is best. Our natural impulse is to take the easy route almost all the time until you are forced to think and act otherwise.

As I sit here in reflection, writing my story, I’m right in the thick of it… Right in the middle of chasing down my dreams. It has taken so much effort, struggle, sweat, tears, failure, and many moments of asking myself, “Why am I doing this?,” “Is this going to pay off?” There have been many moments of doubt to get to this point, wanting to throw in the towel and quit. All of which has molded me, and my character into the person that I am today & has impacted all that do and all that I strive to share with others.

After embracing my own struggles and coming out of it on the other side stronger, I seek to help each of my clients overcome their limiting beliefs. This helps to build them up, and cultivate a sense of accomplishment within themselves through embracing the gift of the struggle! I want to gift each of my clients with internal and external resilience and strength — to feel physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally empowered. All while developing, and cultivating their personal true north — the internal compass that guides each of us through life!

As a coach, I’ve launched Heart & Soul Strong Apparel!LightsOut! Circuit Training, Primal 7 Strength Training, and Online Training. As a powerlifter, I’ve finished 2nd overall in the USPA California State Championships when just a year earlier at the same powerlifting meet, I fell straight on my face (figuratively of course!) finishing 9th out of 10 overall.

I start with this because I’d like to take you on a little journey, MY journey.

I started out my personal training journey at the typical corporate gym that valued closing the sale and hitting numbers much more than making a long-lasting impact on an individual’s life. I stuck there for a little over a year, learning both what to do as well as what NOT to do & also learning from others above me that I looked up to.

Early on, I knew in order to create long-lasting change it required a switch to be flipped psychologically, neurologically, and neuromuscularly which would allow others to realize just what they are capable of, I just had no clue what that entailed. I quickly came to understand that I wanted to offer more. I felt like the fitness industry was missing something… an all-encompassing option that focused on optimizing not just the physical aspect of things, but the mindset and mentality of it, so I sought to create it.

It was then that I discovered the ‘what’ of my mission, the ‘how’ or the ‘why’ hadn’t even begun to get started.

Deciding to make the leap from big corporations to small independent was difficult. I knew I wanted to have a different type of impact but had no idea what that actually entailed. At this point, I had yet to challenge myself physically, mentally, or even my belief system. EVERYTHING that I was focused on was training related — cutting my teeth and refining my craft. I didn’t stand for much. I was just a trainer.

This was about the time everything shifted for me personally, which in turn would really define the direction of my business. Little did I know, by making the switch from strength training to powerlifting, I would be indirectly empowering myself by facing and overcoming my struggles, and challenging my perceived limitations.

So much of my fuel at the beginning of my powerlifting journey was fueled by doubt — Doubt that had been stockpiled throughout my lifetime from how others perceived me as early as high school, what I was capable of, what my trajectory in life would be, and where my glass ceiling was set.

I had let so much of this define me. I believed it and bought into the story that I was destined for mediocrity. I got comfortable sitting in cruise control, just getting by, hardly making a living, without goals or aspirations, not standing for much, just surviving. It weighed me down heavily, to the point where I had become a shell of myself. I didn’t know it then, but powerlifting would become the external vessel in which my internal philosophy, mission, and business, Heart & Soul Strong, would be birthed through.

Over the next three years, I would largely spend my time sitting in discomfort, facing adversity, making progress, and discovering what I was made of, which reinforced belief in myself and my abilities. This is where I began to chip away at the big stone slab that was me. Every strike that I would take at my own self-doubt, every uncomfortable action that I committed to take, every book that I read, every fear faced, and every obstacle overcome would serve as a strike towards my stone slab, chipping away and refining my mind, my heart, and my soul. Big bits of insecurity, and chinks of armor that was no longer needed fell to the wayside.

By gaining external physical strength, it allowed me to cultivate a belief in myself that I could face, deal with, and overcome anything that may stand in my way. Physical strength led to identifying my true north — cultivating what I stand for and fortifying my internal strength and belief within myself.

Personal growth isn’t comfortable or easy. Nor is it fast or convenient. It took me 26 years to come to this realization. I am now 32 years young and only gaining momentum.

I am forever grateful for my journey and what it has taught me despite how challenging and difficult it may have been at times. I have gained self-awareness, resilience, and strength physically, mentally, and emotionally. I have learned that I don’t have to play the role of the victim, that I can fight back. I have discovered that real strength lies in the control of emotions. I have developed the skill of discovering the root cause of challenges and the courage to face and deal with them. I now choose to do the hard thing, the uncomfortable thing because it builds strength, resilience, further understanding, and skill.

Learning these lessons has changed my life, been pivotal for my growth, and serves as a foundation for the philosophy in which I train my clients.

Has it been a smooth road?
Ohhh, obstacles and challenges!

If there is anything that I’ve learned throughout this journey as a whole, it is this… “You have to go wholeheartedly into ANYTHING in order to achieve anything worth having. For anything worth having one must pay the price; and the price is always work, patience, love, self-sacrifice.” – Frank Lloyd Wright

I learned this the hard way. Early on, I would always seek out the easy way. There had to be a way to get what you want without much discomfort or challenge.. right? WRONG!

What I’ve come to learn is that almost everything that you want to accomplish will start out easy, but at some point you will run into difficult times. The further you progress, the steeper the hill will become. Each obstacle will require a new solution, and with each solution solved, a new tool will be added to your tool belt.

This is where the real work begins, and you find out how bad you really want it. Are you willing to embrace the struggle, will you rise to the occasion in order to add to your tool belt?

Little did I know at the time that this lesson would resonate deeply within my personal training philosophy for all of my clients, as well as projects that I would take on down the road (Lightsout Circuit Training, Primal 7, Heart And Soul Strong Apparel.)

It’s so important to know that the discomfort, the obstacles don’t last forever and that these things are always paving the way towards what you want — Your goals, your dreams, your aspirations. They are hidden within your own unique personal challenges waiting to be unlocked through your effort, your striving, your struggle.

Some of my personal obstacles include:

1) Questioning and believing if I’m capable of achieving my vision.

I’ve never really been the “smart” person, but I’ve always been the person who refuses to give up. Some might say this is just being stubborn, but I’ve come to realize that this is an actual skill that must be trained. When you are dedicated to something that you believe in with all of your heart, you’re going to run into trials and tribulations. It’s in those obstacles that you will uncover exactly what you’re made of, who you are, what you stand for, and what traits and characteristics you have that differentiate you from the rest.

2) Taking Action

I initially had the idea for my !LightsOut! Class about two and a half years ago, but finally started it in February of this year.

The idea was to create a welcoming space for individuals to come together as a community that was supportive of each other’s goals while breaking down the walls of self-perceived limitations & utilizing the ‘athletes edge’ regardless of whether or not someone had ever been an athlete in their life.

In my heart, I knew this idea to be something that others needed because it was the same strategy and approach that I used with so many of my one-on-one personal training clients, as well as, with myself through my Powerlifting journey, in order to break through and blow past self-limiting beliefs.

For a long time, I just wasn’t ready to be vulnerable in my efforts. I made up reasons and excuses in my head as to why it wouldn’t work like not having the space to make it happen, not having the clientele, not knowing how to approach it as a whole. Until I decided to get out of my own way and finally make it happen for the people I knew who were desperately searching for this.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Heart & Soul Strong – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Under the umbrella of Heart & Soul Strong, I offer one-on-one personal training and two classes: !LightsOut! Circuit Training and Primal 7 Strength Training, as well as, the Heart & Soul Strong apparel line.

!LightsOut! Circuit Training is my signature class that I began leading in February of this year. What makes it unique is that the class is done with the lights off, but with deep red lights projected that illuminates the whole room. The idea behind using the color red is that it tends to create the feeling of angst, but when under the right conditions, it can be harnessed in a healthy way by channeling that energy via movement. Through this process, it allows individuals who may have gym anxiety, lack work-out experience, confidence in their own ability an avenue to tap into the ‘athletes edge.’ to really dig deep, go within themselves for this hour and unload. Over time these efforts will be refined, the energy will be directed with a purpose of building on these efforts from session to session with a direct intent of becoming better. Your training doesn’t define you, but it does refine you and reaffirm that your best self is fully engaged every day.

The Heart & Soul Strong Apparel line features shirts that carry one of three messages (HeartXSoul, Strong, and Destroy The Doubt) in the hangtag on the shirt. Each message has played an important role in my own life and has influenced what I seek to offer for others. What makes them unique is that they aren’t just random shirts to throw on to go to the gym, but the person wearing it embodies the message found on the shirt and embraces the ‘Destroy the Doubt’ mentality which has now become a Heart & Soul moniker.

HeartXSoul: To have one foot planted firmly in order and security, the other in chaos, possibility, adventure, and growth. This is the path of proper being, and where true meaning is to be found. Through chaos is where your heart, soul, strength, pride, and courage is fortified. Take one step at a time, one day at a time. With each new step awaits a new skill, a new strength, a new muscle. Even when you don’t see the result. You MUST continue to believe, you MUST continue to fight! Cultivating the heart of a warrior, and giving every ounce of your soul! That is what it’s all about, THIS is Heart & Soul!

STRONG: The capacity of an object or substance to withstand great force or pressure. Whatever you are physically… Male or Female, strong or weak, ill or healthy… All of these things matter less than what your heart contains. If you have the soul of a warrior, you are a warrior. All of those other things, they are the glass that contains the lamp, but YOU are the light inside!

Destroy The Doubt: If you’re not having doubt, you’re not pushing the boundaries far enough. Expressing your power, doing good work that you find meaningful, serving others, surrounding yourself with your people, and continuously pursuing growth empowers you and your performance. You must actively feed and strengthen your body, mind, heart, and soul. While we’re alive, it is so important that we see each day as a precious opportunity to spread our unique gifts into this world. If we do so we will serve the world and raise others around us. Choose to derive your power from within, dream big, act now, DESTROY THE DOUBT!

The Heart & Soul Strong brand has been six years in the making. In that time, I have created a brand and experience that encourages others to pursue progress and flirt with their personal line of discomfort. Through all of the lessons I’ve learned, the experiences I’ve gained, and mistakes I’ve learned along the way, it has inadvertently laid down the foundation for Heart and Soul Strong & created a culture that reflects my story & my heart and soul.

If you had to start over, what would you have done differently? 
One thing that really stands out to me is right out of school, I went through the hiring process for a luxury fitness club and was eventually hired to be a personal trainer. It was a great opportunity to start my career at a very highly touted gym that offered non-stop continuing education for all employees. At the time I was very timid, lacking belief in myself, and what I was personally capable of achieving. I was completely intimidated, so I decided to go to a different gym of a lower caliber. At the time, I didn’t believe that I was worthy of accepting the position so I felt like I needed to take baby steps and “earn” the right to train at such a high caliber gym.

I now know that you rise to the occasion of whatever demands are placed on you & wish that I would have stayed there to give myself that opportunity. With that being said, I wouldn’t have done anything differently because I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and retrospect can give invaluable information into patterns and habits that need to be broken.


  • !LightsOut! Circuit Training $250 a month (4x a week) 20 dollar drop in session
  • Primal 7 Lifting program and $250 a month (4x a week)

Contact Info:

Suggest a story: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in