mattmalibu1I would like to introduce you to my own personal experience in health and fitness.  I was never really athletically gifted.  In fact, I was picked last in gym class quite a bit.  Instead of letting those years of downfalls get the best of me, they prompted me to aspire and prove people wrong.  I did have one athletic inclination I knew about around the time of middle school, and that was running.  I was a fast runner, but not a sprinter.  I did not make the track team, because it was only based on 100M and 200M dashes.  However, in gym class, I finished in first place every time we ran the 1 mile run.  Nobody could figure out how, even myself.  I ended up pursuing cross-country and long distance track in high school.  I finished last place in my first 5K race because I ran way too fast for my first mile, not knowing how to pace myself.  However, I improved greatly freshman year, and eventually became one of the top runners in Western Pennsylvania, with my crowning achievement being that I ran 4:50 in the 1600M at an invitational.  I learned speed techniques, proper frontside and backside mechanics, stretches, core workouts, as well as the importance of warm ups and cool downs.  It took an IT band injury to help me realize I ALWAYS needed to warm up and cool down.  I was at the same height I am now, 5’8, and I was around 115 pounds.  Yes, my arms were about as skinny as my wrists.

I decided not to pursue long distance running when I began my time at Penn State.  Instead, I opted for a weight training routine.  I took a great weight training class for gym my freshman year of college.  It taught me the basics for resistance training with each major muscle group.  For the first time, I was starting to develop muscles, and you can bet anything I was getting excited.   I continued working out at the local YMCA, but instead of just running on the indoor track and swimming, I began using the weight equipment.  At times, I did feel intimidated by the meat head crowd, since I was benching about 85 pounds, and many of them were putting up 250 – 350 pounds.  I’ll never forget when I first benched 135 pounds, and felt accomplished because I could finally lift the bar with 45 pound weights on each side.  I pretty much maintained a slow gain my first two years of school.



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Then, I transferred to Penn State’s main campus from their Beaver campus.  I started going at odd times of the day since there were lines to get into the gym between 4 and 7 PM.  Then, I began to slip up.  I stopped doing cardio workouts.  I only lifted weights a couple times a week.  I began eating a terrible diet.  I overate everyday at the school cafeterias since they were set up in a buffet style and I could not control myself.  I also began partying pretty much on any day that ended in a “Y”.  My alcohol tolerance increased, allowing me to consume lots more beers and shots than I used to be able to do.  Along with that, my stomach and my weight increased.  I started off my first semester at Penn State’s main campus at 150 pounds.  I ended the semester at 190 pounds.  Sure, I got a little stronger, because I didn’t completely stop working out, but little did I know I was opening myself up to injuries and postural imbalances.  I was barely working out my core, and I had no endurance.  I was always hungover, and I had that feeling like I was “washed up” at age 21.  I was not obese by any stretch of the imagination, and some of my friends will say I carried my extra weight pretty well.  However, I wore baggy clothes to partly not show how heavy I was.  I wore a shirt when I went to an indoor pool.  I also was afraid to return home and run into people who would then say, “Wow, Matt went from a cross country runner to this?”.  Emotionally, my weight was really starting to get to me.  I knew I had to do something.  I wanted to lose weight, but I had no idea how.  I knew with a family history of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, if I did not do something, I would suffer the same fate.

So, I came back from break and it was also a new year.  I stood in line with the other resolution folks in hopes to lose weight.  I did change a few things in my lifestyle.  I quit eating greasy foods and limited my sugary desserts.  I went to the gym four days a week, and jogged 2 – 3 miles on the treadmill for two of those days.  I didn’t party as much, but when I did, I would still consume about 2,000 liquid calories per night at least three times a week.  I was under the misconception that if you eat a low fat diet, you would lose weight.  I started eating baked lays chips, but I ate half the bag in one sitting.  I still ate way too many simple carbohydrates that did not fill me up.  I still consumed more calories that I expended.  I did not gain anymore weight that second semester, but I did not lose any weight either.  The only thing that improved was my strength and my ability to run further again.  I often walked instead of opting for the bus unless it was really cold outside.

However, that following summer, I went back to Cedar Point Amusement Park to work for my second summer.  During the summer I typically worked 12 – 14 hours a day, six days a week.  I joined a gym about two miles from the dorms I lived in.  I had no car, but I was determined to stay in shape all summer.  The park shuttles did not go out there, so there was only one option on how I got to the gym.  I ran to the gym.  Then, I did my workout.  Then, I ran two miles back.  I did that routine four days a week.  I slept maybe four hours a night most of that summer.  While I worked those long hours outside, food barely crossed my mind.  I wanted to lose 15 – 20 pounds that summer.  However, I lost 20 pounds in my first three weeks there.  I was eating a dangerously low estimate of 800-1000 calories a day.  I relied on No-Doz to get my through my fatigue, although it is not recommended to consume the amount of caffeine I did on a daily basis.  Overall, I dropped 45 pounds that summer.  I weighed 145 pounds after my summer employment was done.   I was so happy to lose the weight, but I looked anorexic.  An average person should lose two to three pounds a week.  I consumed far less calories than I expended, causing the rapid weight loss.  However, I wanted to only pack on lean muscle to get my first ever six pack, not counting the six packs of Natty Ice I consumed on a regular basis.

From there, I have fined tuned my diet.  I learned about all the things I was doing wrong.  I only opted for whole grain bread (now I only eat the Ezekiel low glycemic bread), I cut sodas completely from my diet, I cut alcohol to only where it’s a treat, I eat plenty of fruits and vegetables every day (They fill you up very quickly).  I eat lean meats, and I often opt for a vegetarian diet with Pea Protein as my main protein source for my post-workout.  I do not count calories, but I have a great estimate of where I am at on a daily basis.  I eat whole foods to keep me fuller for a longer amount of time for far less calories.  My exercise routines are pretty vigorous for at least four of the five or six days I work out per week.  Diet is so important.  Calories are not “calories” as some people say.  300 calories of vegetables and lean protein will fill you up way more than 300 calories from sodas or processed foods, causing you to eat well over 300 calories.

I have also dealt with serious injuries.  I dealt with a nagging lower back injury for almost two years.  It was very painful and it set me back professionally and physically.  Quitting your workout is not an option.  I got medical clearance and I adopted a flexibility routine, a core routine, a balance routine, and a high rep resistance training routine. For the first time, I had a core (not just six pack abs), which enabled me to put up greater amounts of weight in a shorter amount of time.  I currently bench 240 pounds, I weigh 155 pounds, I can do 15-20 pull ups in one set, I can do 75 dips in one set, and my cardiovascular efficiency is almost as good as it was during my active long distance running competition.

With my personal experience, setbacks, and triumphs in the world of fitness, along with my NASM CPT Certification, and my passion in the fitness industry, I look forward to helping people be in the best shape of their lives, which has so many positive effects beyond having a great looking body.  I also look forward to helping people prevent injuries caused in a lot of instances, by YOUR WORKPLACE!  Your body cannot wait until next month or next year, being healthy is critical now.  It doesn’t matter if you’re 42 or 22.  Do you want to be Chuck Norris’ s age and still be in better shape than most people half your age?   Your road can begin with me today! For fitness inquiries, contact me at mattbiblefitness@gmail.com.