THE RECOVERY LAB STORY.
When former AFL umpire Matt James
developed the Recovery Lab concept, he
envisaged a community of like-minded people
who were not only looking to improve their
athletic or work performance, but also relieve
physical and mental fatigue from sport, work or
Matt umpired over 200 AFL games in 11 years, including three grand finals, but the seeds of Recovery Lab were sown when a few years after retirement he was appointed head of women’s football at Collingwood. It was the early days of Women’s AFL and Matt’s own players worked without an effective recovery program because the tools weren’t available to them. He witnessed the results – more injuries and tired players.
Earlier in his own career, a series of leg injuries
pushed him to learn more about the advantages
of recovery. After experiencing the benefits, Matt
was focused on helping and educating others.
Recognising the need for a recovery-specific
environment, he set about building the idea of a
convenient, relaxing studio space with a suite
of scientifically tested recovery modalities,
all housed under one roof.
Just months after resigning from his role at Collingwood, Matt opened the first Recovery Lab in Melbourne. He reconnected with former AFL colleague Daniel Harford, now the Carlton AFLW head coach. Impressed with the treatments, the model and the values of the company, Daniel soon joined Matt in the business.
In the early days of the lab, Matt’s friendship with Melbourne Rebels centre Billy Meakes grew and led to the rugby union pro becoming a Recovery Lab ambassador.
Billy introduced Matt to Western Force and Waratahs fly-half Ben Seymour, himself a leading figure in the fitness arena. An endurance athlete, Ben understood more than most just how vital effective recovery was to any training program and he quickly invested in the company.
"RECOVERY ISN'T JUST FOR ATHLETES. IT'S FOR ANYONE WHO WANTS TO IMPROVE HOW THEY FEEL AND PERFORM."
Matt credits leading business strategist, now Recovery Lab partner, Archie Fraser, with defining the business’s strategic direction, after meeting the ex St Kilda CEO and former head of soccer’s A-League through their shared love of distance cycling. Archie’s background and strategic know-how has completed the skill set of a team whose combined experience and energies now drive the company confidently into the future.
THE PEOPLE BEHIND RECOVERY LAB.
MATT JAMES - FOUNDER
Matt began umpiring in 1991 and joined the AFL umpire panel in 1999,
before going on to notch 206 games
in an eleven-year stint at the top.
In just his third year, he umpired his first AFL Grand Final, adding the 2002
and 2004 deciders to his impressive
Popular among players, Matt was also named the All-Australian Umpire in 2004. In 2010, a calf injury forced his retirement from the game, but he soon returned, this time as a technical consultant at Hawthorn.
He later became involved in the women’s game, spending two and a half years at Collingwood as operations manager for their AFLW side.
DANIEL HARFORD - CO-FOUNDER
A former professional AFL player who
enjoyed a distinguished career with
Hawthorn and Carlton, playing over 160
top flight games and scoring 69 goals
between 1995 and 2004.
Daniel was selected in the 1997 Victorian State of Origin side and came both 2nd and 3rd in Hawthorn’s best
and fairest awards.
In 2018 he was appointed as Collingwood’s AFLW assistant coach, before taking on the head AFLW coach
role at Carlton where he won AFLW Coach of the Year in 2019. He is also a prominent, well-established media personality and commentator in Melbourne, having hosted many radio and television shows.
ARCHIE FRASER - PARTNER
Archie is a business strategy
consultant with a successful history
of adding value to high profile public and private sector organisations in
the in Australian and Asian markets.
He has held leadership positions at many international companies, including Adecco, Inchcape PLC, Cendant Inc and Optiscan Ltd, where he salvaged and reshaped the company, taking the market cap from $4m to $45m in just 18 months.
Archie was appointed as St Kilda CEO in 2006, before shifting codes to take the reins as head of soccer’s
A-League competition in 2009.
BEN SEYMOUR - PARTNER
A former professional rugby union
player with Agen and Western Force,
Ben is now fitness entrepreneur,
personal trainer, health advocate and
As the co-owner of Revl Training in Victoria, Ben’s personal training business is all about helping people make significant lifestyle changes that bring about new levels of fitness, health and wellbeing.
A regular in many endurance fitness events, Ben is well versed in the need and benefits of an effective recovery
program that complements and supports training regimes.
To be regarded as the pre-eminent, most effective recovery and self-care studios in Australia.
We aim to redefine how you recover, refresh and revitalise your body and mind after physical training programs or the demands of everyday life. We give you the tools and know-how to perform at your peak, feel better and cope better in your athletic pursuits, career and personal life.
Recovery isn’t just for athletes. We want to make the benefits of self-care, recovery and wellbeing accessible to everyone, regardless of age, gender, ability or cultural background.
Recovery Lab’s tribe of like-minded people are connected by the knowledge that regular recovery is a vital ritual. They share stories and help one another achieve their goals.
We want our clients to feel good and get the most out of life by taking time to recharge at their pace, in their way, in one convenient space where all their recovery needs are catered for.
When you know more, you can do more, so recovery education is central to what we do. We demystify recovery by sharing our knowledge, experiences and resources with every client.
As we care for ourselves, we care for our environment. We’re considerate and environmentally responsible in our corporate decision-making and treat our natural resources with respect.