Over 40 Amateur Of The Week: 52 And Growing Strong!

A girl once told Matt she wouldn't date him because he was too skinny. That turned one man's quest into a crusade. His grandchildren call him Super Grandpa because he's not normal!

Name: Matt Atwood
Email: attmandu@yahoo.com
BodySpace: attmandu
Location: Spokane, WA
Age: 52  Height: 6'2"  Weight: 230 lbs
Years Bodybuilding: 30-plus

Q
How Did Your Fitness Journey Begin?

I was actually inspired by watching Tarzan movies as a kid. When I was about 10 years old I saw an ad in a Boys Life magazine for Charles Atlas. When I sent away for the info, my dad made fun of me for being interested in bodybuilding. I guess I wanted to show him. I always did lots of push-ups and messed around with weights in high school, but never got serious.

In college, I dated a girl who said I was too skinny to ever think about having a serious relationship with. If that's not motivation for a young guy, I don't know what is. At age 21, I joined a gym the next day and kicked it into gear.

What Workout Regimen Delivered the Best Results?

During the last 30-plus years I've done an untold number of programs. I think that's the secret. Everything works and nothing works forever. It's all about adaptation and consistency. They all work for about 12-16 weeks and after that most people plateau. I have three programs that I like really well.

  1. Concentrate on compound movements and push lots of weight for 6-8 reps. Each body part gets hit once every four days and the fifth day is rest.
  2. Hit one body part during every workout for 8-10 reps. Do 4-5 exercises for 4-5 sets.
  3. Morning aerobics (biking or sprint interval training) and afternoon lifting with high reps supersets, and giant sets with no rest in between.

I change my tempo often by doing rest-pause, concentrations, peak contractions, and negatives. I also change the exercise order. If someone is on a machine or bench that I need, I always move to something I haven't done in a while. This doesn't upset the flow of my workout by waiting for someone to get their rear in gear.

All my workouts are BBB (Brief, But Brutal). I never work out more than an hour at any given time. I don't talk when I'm in the gym. Talk is for the locker room and/or unmotivated individuals in the weight room. "Time Wasters" is what I call them.

Day 1: Chest/Arms

Superset



Day 2: Legs


Day 3: Back/Shoulders

Giant Set

Resume regular exercises



Day 4: Legs


Day 5: Chest/Arms

Superset



Day 6: Back/Shoulders

Giant Set

Resume regular exercises



Day 7: Legs



What Nutrition Plan Fueled Your Body?

I was surprised the first time I wrote down all the food I was putting in my mouth; surprised at how little protein I was eating and all the carbs. Write it down, learn, and change.

I basically eat a high protein and very low carb diet. Rice and oats are my carbs of choice. Included in my intake are plenty of healthy fats like fish oil and nuts. I eat all the leafy green salad I want with only low-fat Italian or vinegar and oil.

I have the occasional diet tonic and vodka on the rocks. No beer, wine, fried food, white food, or sauces ever. If I'm going to blow my diet on some extra calories, I always have waffles with fresh strawberries and low-fat whip cream or pizza. I bulk every once in awhile and gain 20-30 pounds, but I don't like being 280. It's hard on chairs and certainly makes some of life's little pleasures a lot more difficult to enjoy.

It takes one hour in the gym (4 percent of your day), which is necessary, but it's the other 23 hours (96 percent of your day) in the kitchen that really count. That's where most people miss the boat. I know you've heard it before, but it's absolutely true: Great bodies are made in the kitchen. Make no mistake.

Meal 1: 5 a.m.
Meal 2: 7 a.m.
Meal 3: 9:30 a.m.
Meal 4: 11:30 a.m.
Meal 5: 1:30 p.m.
Meal 6: Pre-Workout 3:30 p.m.
Meal 7: Post-Workout 6:40 p.m.
Meal 8: 7:15 p.m.
Meal 9: 8:30 p.m.
Meal 10: 10 p.m.

What Supplement Schedule Gave You the Greatest Gains?

How Did Your Passion for Fitness Emerge?

Bodybuilding makes me feel good physically and mentally. I can unwind from my day at the gym with my iPhone and my favorite jams. Working hard and really sweating is one of the best feelings in the world.

What/Who Motivated You?

When I first started lifting I was really surprised that complete strangers would come up and comment about my physique. As a younger person I was quite private and modest. At first, I was a little embarrassed by all the attention my new body was attracting, but now I consider it an appreciation for all my hard work. It's nice being complimented for your achievements. I motivate people to have a better physique, which makes me proud. My kids and grandkids think it's funnier then hell. They always notice people staring at me when I'm not looking in their direction. My youngest grandson refers to me as "Super Grandpa."

Where Did You Go for Inspiration?

My kids have always been a huge inspiration for me. I want to show them a healthy way to live. Additionally, I met my best friends at the gym. Some of my friendships have spanned more than 30 years. It's easy to achieve your goals when you're hanging around others who understand your discipline and direction.

I'll never forget the time I was at my folk's house for dinner with my kids. I was about four weeks out for a big show and my mom made some beer batter bread, which I enjoyed eating as a kid like it was going out of style. My mom pestered me to have some and my daughter said "Go ahead daddy. Second or third place isn't so bad. Someone will really appreciate the sacrifice you made so they can have that first place trophy." It helps to have good people in your corner who help you remember why you do what you do.

What Are Your Future Fitness Plans?

I got three first place trophies this year and qualified for nationals in 2013. I plan to compete until I'm 60 or longer. I'll keep going if I'm still having fun and enjoying myself. I was at a show a few years ago and a really old gentleman strolled out on stage. He had red posing trunks on and I couldn't tell what was on underneath (there was something white showing). Then it hit me: Depends. Okay, that's where I'll be drawing the line, folks.

What Is the Most Important Fitness Tip?

For competitors: have fun, enjoy your hard work, but remember you're the one competing, not your family or significant other. It can be hard on your family, especially if you're crabby and irritable all the time. Simplify your life during this 3-4 month period. Don't get involved in special events or take on new projects. Find competitions that fit with you and your family's schedule. Start your diet early so you don't freak out the last 2-3 weeks. I prefer early spring shows because I have plenty of time to spend with the family (there's not a lot going when it's cold and the days are short). I've also found that dieting gets easier every time, which is a good thing.

Everything works, but nothing works forever. Mix it up once in a while. I have four basic routines that I cycle throughout the year, which helps to prevent plateaus.

Who Is Your Favorite Bodybuilder/Fitness Athlete?

Frank Zane, Bob Paris, Ava Cowan, and Tanji Johnson.

How Did Bodybuilding.com Help You Reach Your Goals?

I like reading Bodybuilding.com articles. I find that keeping current with my interest motivates me to work harder in the gym. I like looking at profile pictures also. When I check out a profile on BodySpace that I admire, I'm inspired to work hard. I order supplements and show supplies from the Bodybuilding.com Store and love the service. My order always gets to my doorstep in just a few days.

I went to the Bodybuilding.com Fitness Expo in Boise, Idaho, this summer and had a great time. I met Jamie Eason and got a ton of swag.

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