About Us & Our Bios

The Muscle Project is an Exercise based facility that was developed out of a passion to help others function better and participate in life to their fullest potential. Fueled by an understanding of how important an optimally contracting muscular system is to participation, The Muscle Project was born.

Core Beliefs:

  1. A properly contracting muscular system is vital to optimal health.
  2. Optimal contraction is vital to a properly functioning muscular system.
  3. Having a systematic approach to assessing proper contraction is vital to improving this function.
  4. Without proper function the system will eventually break down and participation will become less and less efficient leading to less than optimal health.
  5. Maintaining this system over time is vital to long term health gains.
  6. Proper progression over time is vital to reaching the systems optimal potential.
  7. Education of the inner working of the system is vital honoring how to progress this system.
  8. Education is vital to understanding how to maintain this system overtime.
  9. A solid understanding of physics is vital to understanding how force affects the system.
  10. Properly applying forces is vital to achieving, progressing and maintaining a healthy muscular system.

Matthew James Bernier 

Matthew has been a Health & Exercise Professional since 1994. Graduating from George Mason University as an Academic All American and a Division 1 Wrestler/Athlete with a BS in Education certified to teach Health & Physical Education. Matthew became a Personal Trainer and attended the Potomac Massage Training Institute. After graduating from the Potomac Massage Training Institute (PMTI). Matthew opened a private massage practice and worked for Arlington County, VA as Personal Trainer. Matthew moved on to become Lead Trainer at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center and prepared the training staff to work with the participants and helped to grow the program to one of the largest and most successful in the area. At the same time he returned to The Potomac Massage Training Institute to become an instructor in the final portion of their deep tissue program where he worked for 4 years educating many massage professionals and building his knowledge of the muscular system. Also at this time he continued to take as many continuing education courses as possible at PMTI including Neuro Muscular Therapy, Rolfing, Reiki, Cranio Sacral, Myo Facial Release, Trigger Point Therapy and Massage as a Medical Intervention.

After leaving Arlington County and continuing his private massage practice, Matthew became the Director of Education for Arington, VA based Fit One Personal Training, again educating the staff to provide the best exercise services possible. Around this same time Matthew met Tom Purvis the creator of The Resistance Training Specialist Program (RTS). Matthew had a passion for exercise and strength training and quickly gained his Mastery Level Status in this physics based program. He excelled in his understanding of exercise mechanics and became one of RTS’s first instructors helping Tom Purvis educate exercise professionals in understand the importance of a physics based training model and decision making process.

In 2001 Tom Purvis met and introduced the RTS Instructor group to Greg Roskopf the creator of Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT). It was at this point that the blend of body work/massage and personal training, two separate businesses started to come together. Greg shared his concepts of bringing stability/contractile ability back to the body through a process of range of motion, muscle testing and origin and insertion work. At this point Greg decided to teach a 10 month 8 weekend specialist program to train others in MAT. Matthew was in the first group of students to complete the program in 2002 and the first MAT Certified Specialist in the country. It was at this point that Greg asked Matthew to move to Denver and work at the MAT Corporate HQ seeing clients and educating fitness professionals about MAT by teaching the first phase of MAT, the JumpStart Program. For the next three years Matthew traveled the country on the weekends helping to grow the MAT & RTS communities teaching the MAT JumpStart Programs and the RTS 123 courses. During the week Matthew built a thriving private practice at MAT HQ and helped Greg evolve the MAT program. While at HQ along side Greg and the instructor core Matthew helped to develop the MAT Mastery program and also became the first MAT Mastery Level Specialist. In 2005 Matthew became the Lead Instructor for the MAT Specialist Program. Over the last 10+ years Matthew has taught over 45 10 month 8 weekend Specialists courses that accounts for over 2000 students. These courses have covered the U.S. and International locations including New York, Miami, Columbus, Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, Barcelona, London & Mexico City.

In 2015 Matthew decided it was time for a change and decided to move his private practice closer to home in an effort to create more time for his family due to the busy travel schedule of teaching. This has created an ability to spend a lot more time with his wife Jennifer also an MAT Certified Specialist and RTS Mastery Level Trainer, daughter Rhys and son Ryker. This is when THE MUSCLE PROJECT was created. With 20+ years of experience & education in the health, fitness, exercise & body work industries.


Nikki Gallen

Raised in Telluride, Colorado, Nikki found the outdoors and a healthy active lifestyle extremely important parts of her life. As a young lady she became an avid skier and hiker, and played soccer and volleyball. She also helped to start a women’s hockey team, which she later lead to win a state championship. After graduating at the top of her class, Nikki was awarded a merit scholarship to Colorado College. There, she was an active member of the campus community, playing on the women’s club hockey team, and volunteering with local youths. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biology in the spring of 2012. After moving to Denver, she completed an intensive yoga teacher training, and became eager to find a path that would allow her to work with people in enhancing their physical well being.

Nikki was then turned on to a program called Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT). Here, she learned in-depth musculoskeletal anatomy and mechanics from her instructor (and future coworker) Matthew Bernier. The MAT curriculum also introduced Nikki to manual muscle testing. Nikki became a certified Muscle Activation Specialist in 2014 and continues to grow her knowledge of the muscular system and the human body as she has begun the Muscle Activation Techniques Mastery (MATm) program, Resistance Training Specialist Mastery (RTSm) program, and ACE Certified Medical Exercise Specialist (CMES) program. She also continues to further her knowledge and understanding of manual muscle testing, qualitative assessment of motor control, exercise mechanics and applying force to the nervous system through classes held by the Muscle System Consortia (MSC). With this knowledge, Nikki is excited by a holistic and personalized approach to human mechanics.

Today, she works with her mentor, Matthew Bernier, at The Muscle Project in Denver, CO. Matthew has been in the field for over twenty years. He is a longtime, highly respected educator; ranging from lead instructor of The Potomac Massage Training Institute, to one of the first Resistance Training Specialist instructors, and the lead instructor for the Muscle Activation Techniques programs for over ten years. To Nikki, Matthew serves as an invaluable source of information, a role model, a soundboard, and a dear friend. She helped Matthew as he opened his private practice, The Muscle Project, in 2015.

Nikki enjoys helping clients in Denver reach their goals, and looks forward to building a strong community around The Muscle Project. She is excited by the opportunity to involve people in the process of their health and educate them about their bodies. After all, it is the most important thing we can invest in- we only get one!