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Fit4race: the Origins

Every superhero, brand and business has an origin story that defines its mission and values. We talked to Zsolt Matics, the father of Fit4Race, about his beginnings.

How did motorsport become a matter of your heart, and what are your defining experiences in this regard?

I was a huge Formula 1 fan from a very young age. Senna was my favourite driver and I cried for hours when I found out he had been involved in a fatal accident. Strangely enough, from that moment on, I felt that I had to race too. I then raced karting for several years , which further strengthened my commitment to racing cars and sports.

Realistically, I couldn't really dream of a racing career, so relatively soon I became oriented towards the human side of sports performance. At the College of Physical Education I found the right disciplines and my very first mentor, Dr. Máté Petrekanits, with whom we worked until his death last year. His knowledge will always be part of Fit4Race's DNA.

How did a college project become Hungary’s most successful performance coaching business?

I wrote my thesis about an amateur racing driver who was a full-time businessman. He persuaded me to start a company, saying that there was no such program in the area. For almost 10 years Fit4race was my "one man show": a huge sports bag with all kinds of equipment inside – and me with all my enthusiasm. It was a great opportunity to work with key figures of Hungarian motorsport: Tamás Pál Kis, Norbi Herczig and Norbi Michelisz. Together we proved that to be successful on an international leve you need to be in the best condition both physically and mentally.

How long did this 'one man show' period last?

I met Dr. Mátyás Magyar and Tibor Eiles in 2015 and it turned out to be a defining moment in Fit4race’s history. It was refreshing that we spoke the same language from the very first minute, they believed in me and my idea, and instead of making promises, they gave me immediate access to hundreds of millions of forints worth of labs and equipment at Fájdalom Ambulancia and F&M Fitness&More . From then on, Csörsz utca 14-16 became the home of Fit4Race. This is where we started to grow nicely and consciously, because there was an increasing demand in motorsport for the holistic preparation of drivers.

How is Fit4Race similar to international performance companies?

In the holistic approach of performance dimensions. We are all heading in the same direction in this, and it is not worth it otherwise. By now, we have also managed to assemble an experienced, well-trained expert staff operating with tools used at the highest level. I dare say (as this has been confirmed several times at the highest level of motorsport): Fit4race provides the internationally expected level of service in terms of preparation and on-track support.

You have already managed to prove yourselves in other sports, e.g. by preparing Olympic silver medalist sailor Zsombor Berecz. What was the extent of the contribution of Fit4Race to this outstanding result?

It came out from the first tests that Zsombi is the best performing athlete who has ever visited us. But we already saw areas for improvement as well. In addition to training planning, nutrition optimization, physical therapy and later regeneration were also carried out according to our guidance. During the Olympics year, Fit4Race topped all areas related to performance, so much so that he spent its last 10 days here – instead of a training camp in Portugal. Everyday we examined him, the work was optimized for the workload that awaits him at the Olympics. We paid enormous attention to mental preparation, addressing the challenges posed by travel, jetlag and environmental change based on a precisely planned scenario.

After all this, we also considered it a huge success that a Hungarian athlete won a silver medal ahead of the competitors of the great maritime powers in sailing. In addition to Zsombi's attitude and professionalism, this also required the expertise of Fit4race.

You were there for Zsombi during the competition. What was your role?

Classic performance coach: supporting the competitor in everything in order to win. To this end, I tried to learn from everyone in the team the most important things that might be needed during the race. HereI talk about physiotherapy, physiology, physical performance diagnostics and nutrition to be as prepared as possible in all areas. I alsohad to find my own 'Best of You' to provide the best support to Zsombi. Even in the Spartan conditions, we both performed at our best. When Zsombi threw me into the water with clothes amidst tears of joy, it was one of the greatest moments of my life as a person. The result further strengthened my professional commitment.

The Fit4Race system has already been proven to work for elite athletes. How did the idea of opening up to the business sector came about?

There are many similarities between an elite athlete and a business decision-maker. Just as athletes focus on reaching the top and increasing physical performance, decision-makers focus on sustainable performance and resilience. For the latter, you have to perform at a high level and under pressure for 365 days a year, for an athlete it is a few dozen days of competition. The goal is different, but in both cases the key to success is the holistic development of the same performance habits.

A staff of extensive professional knowledge and experience provides a stable basis for the successful operation of Fit4Race. How does 'Best of You' appear in your daily lives?

We always try to pay attention to the basics within the Fit4Race team: how much and how we sleep, how much and in what quality we train, what and in what quantity we eat. These are the basic building blocks that allow us to feel good in our skin and perform at a high level.

We live the "best of you", the principle of Fit4Race, so we can bring out their potential more effectively in our customers be they athletes, racing drivers, Olympians, managers, decision-makers. We want to set an example that unique top performance combined with teamwork can really work wonders.

Progress and change have been constantly present in the life of Fit4Race so far. How do you envision Fit4Race in 5 years' time?

I would like to open some small foreign locations, by which I mean Austria, Slovakia, possibly Czech Republic and Poland. But if I want to be very bold, the Middle East might as well come into play.

Of course, a lot of things have to come together in the next 2 years, until the next Olympics... 😉


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