From Drinking All Night To Lifting All Day

Matt sank deep into a hole of self-destructive behavior, but finally saw the light. He threw the booze away, and embraced serious training and nutrition as his new way of life!

Matt Childs lost control of his health when an alcohol addiction took over his life. By his mid-20s, Matt was a full-fledged alcoholic. He was in and out of rehabilitation programs, detoxes, hospitals, jails, and courtrooms.

"Once the alcohol took over, I lost myself," he remembers. "It didn't matter how long I spent in rehab. I was trying to drink myself to death, and that was all that mattered to me. My health was the last thing on my mind. When I was drinking all night, I wasn't getting up and going to work out— that's for sure."

His tale could have ended horribly on many different occasions, but it didn't. After years of addiction, Matt had had enough. He decided to beat his alcoholism, and after he was clean, he quickly found a new path to health and fitness.

This is Matt's story.

Q

Do you remember the moment you decided to change?

I remember a lot of people saying, "He'll never make it." For a long time, I wondered if they were right. I'd try and stop drinking on my own, make it a month or two, and then relapse. I remember buying a 12-pack of Bud Ice and drinking every single can in about 10 minutes. I blacked out, so I don't remember much, but somebody had called the police. They picked me up in an ambulance and took me to get a mental evaluation.

Before 236 lbs.
After 181 lbs.
Age: 38
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 236 lbs.
Body Fat: 19%
Age: 39
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 181 lbs.
Body Fat: 6%

When I got to the emergency room, there was an officer there whom I'd come to know pretty well. He told me to go to detox, then he added "Man, just take a week off, and then come back." Inside I felt like I wanted to die, but his doubt in me also helped fuel change. I told that officer that this time I was going to do it. When I got back from detox, I was going to stop drinking, once and for all.

I spent five days in detox. When I got back home, I went straight to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. I finally took my last drink on December 17, 2014. I was finally ready.

What happened after you returned home from detox?

For the first 90 days, I was a wreck. I was constantly shaking. I started journaling about how I felt each day.

That naturally transitioned into journaling about the steps I was taking to improve myself. After those 90 days, when my body was acclimated to going without alcohol, I started going to the gym.

Was your weight a concern for you at that point?

I wasn't really that overweight, but I was out of shape and extremely unhealthy. When it came down to it, I wasn't necessarily trying to lose weight. I just wanted to get into my best physical shape.

I was also very angry, and going to the gym was my outlet—my form of therapy. There were days when I'd wake up so angry, not only about what I'd done to myself, but about what I did to my family for all those years. The gym gave me a way to relieve myself of that anger. After I got done lifting, I wasn't that mad anymore.

When I started seeing results, I decided I wasn't going to stop. No, I didn't just change addictions. I love working out, but I wouldn't say I'm addicted to it. I just love how I feel now. It's a night-and-day difference, going from being a broken alcoholic to a fit, healthy person.

How did you train when you started?

The first few months in the gym, I was just going in and hitting my major body parts, like chest one day and arms the next. I had some basic knowledge about working out because I'd intermittently worked out years before. I just couldn't stick with it because of the drinking.

When I got back in the habit, I combined past knowledge with new things I learned from people at the gym, like when some kids there showed me how to do plyometrics. I looked to professional bodybuilders for inspiration and thought about what it would take to look like them.


A video posted by Matt Childs (@childs.matt) on



I knew that if I hit it from every angle, doing weights, stretching, some CrossFit, some plyometrics, and cardio, I'd guarantee myself success. I knew it would work, but it took a long time to build up to that.

What do your workouts look like now?

Day 1: Chest and Back
1

Incline Bench Press

6 sets of 12 reps
Barbell Incline Bench Press Medium-Grip Barbell Incline Bench Press Medium-Grip

2

Pull-up

4 sets to failure
Pullups Pullups

3

Dumbbell Incline Row

7 sets of 10 reps
Dumbbell Incline Row Dumbbell Incline Row

4

Dumbbell Row

4 sets of 10 reps
One-Arm Dumbbell Row One-Arm Dumbbell Row

5

Flat dumbbell row

4 sets of 10 reps
Lying Cambered Barbell Row Lying Cambered Barbell Row

6

Bent-Over Barbell Row

4 sets of 8 reps
Bent Over Barbell Row Bent Over Barbell Row

7

Wide-grip cable fly

5 sets of 12 reps
Flat Bench Cable Flyes Flat Bench Cable Flyes

8
Pullups Pullups

9

Box Jump

3 sets of 30 reps
Box Jump (Multiple Response) Box Jump (Multiple Response)

10

Lateral Jump

3 sets of 30 reps
Lateral Bound Lateral Bound

11

Sledgehammer Swings

4 sets to failure
Sledgehammer Swings Sledgehammer Swings

12

Ab Crunch Machine

3 sets of 30 reps
Ab Crunch Machine Ab Crunch Machine

Day 2: Calves
1

Squat

4 sets of 12, 10, 8, 4 reps, adding weight with each set
Barbell Squat Barbell Squat

2

Leg Press

4 sets of 12, 10, 8, 6 reps, adding weight with each set
Leg Press Leg Press

3

Lunge

4 sets of 12-16 reps
Bodyweight Walking Lunge Bodyweight Walking Lunge

4

Leg Curl

10 sets of 10 reps
Seated Leg Curl Seated Leg Curl

5

Leg Extension

10 sets of 10 reps
Leg Extensions Leg Extensions

6

Calf Raise

6 sets of 8 reps
Standing Barbell Calf Raise Standing Barbell Calf Raise

Day 3: Shoulders, triceps and biceps
1

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

8 sets of 10 reps
Dumbbell Shoulder Press Dumbbell Shoulder Press

2

Upright Row

4 sets of 10 reps
Upright Barbell Row Upright Barbell Row

3

Lateral Raise

4 sets of 10 reps
Side Lateral Raise Side Lateral Raise

4

Rear-delt row

4 sets of 10 reps
Barbell Rear Delt Row Barbell Rear Delt Row

5

Shrug

4 sets of 10 reps
Barbell Shrug Barbell Shrug

6

Reverse Peck Deck

4 sets of 12 reps
Reverse Machine Flyes Reverse Machine Flyes

7

Skullcrusher

5 sets of 8 reps
Lying Triceps Press Lying Triceps Press

8

Rope press-down

4 sets of 12 reps
Triceps Pushdown - Rope Attachment Triceps Pushdown - Rope Attachment

9

V-bar press-down

5 sets of 10 reps
Triceps Pushdown - V-Bar Attachment Triceps Pushdown - V-Bar Attachment

10

Barbell Curl

5 sets of 8 reps
Barbell Curl Barbell Curl

11

Preacher Curl

4 sets of 10 reps
Preacher Curl Preacher Curl

12

Standing Cable Curl

5 sets of 12 reps
Standing Biceps Cable Curl Standing Biceps Cable Curl

Day 4: Plyometrics and cardio
1

Box Jump

3 sets of 50 reps
Box Jump (Multiple Response) Box Jump (Multiple Response)

2

Lateral Jump

3 sets of 50 reps
Lateral Bound Lateral Bound

3

Tire Flip

4 sets of 50 reps
Tire Flip Tire Flip

4

Sledgehammer Swing

4 sets of 50 reps
Sledgehammer Swings Sledgehammer Swings

5

Rope Jumping

4 sets of 1 min.
Rope Jumping Rope Jumping

6

Ab Crunch Machine

4 sets of 30 reps
Ab Crunch Machine Ab Crunch Machine


When did you get as serious about your nutrition as you were about your training?

I looked more seriously into nutrition around the six-month mark. At the time, I was doing a lot of research about how diet affects fitness. I knew I needed to increase my protein and incorporate healthy fats and carbohydrates into my diet if I wanted to get lean.

Well-rounded nutrition is a key to building a lean, healthy physique.

What does your diet look like?

Meal 1

Bananas 2



Flax seeds 30 g


Meal 2

Tilapia 2 oz.


Egg whites 4


Asparagus 112 g


Meal 3

Tuna 2.5 oz.


Egg whites 4


Asparagus 112 g


Meal 4

Tilapia 2 oz.


Egg whites 4


Asparagus 112 g


Meal 5

Tilapia 2 oz.


Egg whites 4


Asparagus 112 g


Meal 6

Bananas 2


Meal 7

Tilapia 2 oz.


Egg whites 4


Meal 8

Tuna 5 oz.


Egg whites 4



What supplements helped you along the way?


Was sticking to such a restrictive diet difficult for you?

Sticking to that diet was by far the hardest part of my transformation, but the longer I did it, the more it became routine. It sucked at first, but seeing the results eventually makes it worth it.

I definitely "cheated" at times. I stuck to my diet, but made sure it was maintainable and fit my lifestyle. I'd have a chocolate bar once in a while, for example, but I made sure not to ever beat myself up about it.

I don't believe in sticking to eating only fish, asparagus, and egg whites for months on end. That's just not realistic.

What kept you motivated throughout your transformation?

I'm not going back to that guy I was in that hospital bed. That's enough motivation for me.

I know that if I stay busy, I won't fall off this lifestyle. If I'm tired enough to go to bed by day's end, I know I'm not at risk. That means working out, going to meetings, and volunteering to answer phones for an alcoholism crisis line, which allows me to help people who are where I once was. That in itself is motivating for me. Being reminded of where I came from helps keep me on track.


A video posted by Matt Childs (@childs.matt) on



What challenges did you have to overcome along the way?

I've had to give up some time with my family. Sometimes I'm not able to go to the movies or go out to dinner because I need to spend that time in the gym.

Still, my mom is my biggest supporter. My wife and daughter stay behind me, too. They know that I'm making the right decisions now.

What are your future fitness goals?

I'm planning to do my first [physique] show in March. For me, it's a great way to show off my hard work and prove the naysayers wrong. It's also a way to prove to myself that that alcoholic guy is gone. The new me is here to stay.

How did you learn about Bodybuilding.com?

I actually learned about it through a bunch of kids at the gym. They saw me taking a few different supplements and told me I could get them cheaper on Bodybuilding.com.

Once I got on the site, it really motivated me. I created a BodySpace account, and people follow me, which draws me back into it. It's a way for me to learn new workouts, pick up diet tips, and find motivation all while inspiring others.

Matt's Favorite Gym Tracks

Pantera
"It Makes Them Disappear"
Katy Perry
"Firework"
Eminem
"White America"
Outkast
"The Way You Move"
Pantera
"It Makes Them Disappear"
Katy Perry
"Firework"
Eminem
"White America"
Outkast
"The Way You Move"


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