Amateur Bodybuilder Of The Week: Matt Smith

Matt Smith inherited a basement gym full of vintage equipment from his uncle. During late nights after school, he learned how to lift big and grow bigger.

Name: Matt "Skylar" Smith
BodySpace: matthewskylar
Age: 22  Height: 5' 10"  Weight: 180 lbs
Location: West Chester, PA

How Did You Get Started?

I began lifting weights when I was 17. My father owned a second home, which was unoccupied, on our property that was located off in the woods. The home was an old icehouse from the 1700s and it was converted into a home many years later through extensive renovations etc. The original 1700s structure remained the cellar of the house. A 20-foot deep circular room with walls made of stone laid the resting place for my uncle's old weight lifting equipment.

My uncle, in his fifties, played football in high school and had built a gym in the cellar of the house, which he once occupied; once he moved he left the equipment to me. I now had over 500lbs of plates, every type of Olympic size barbell, full squat rack, and old school adjustable dumbbell you could possibly think of.

For the next 2 years I would lift in the cellar of this house off in the woods at all hours of the night. I often worked out for 3 hours at a time; I would rest at the half way point to drink 8 raw egg whites and allow 25 minutes for digestion (I now know this takes a lot longer).

Lifting weights became something I looked forward to, I lifted two hours before my 8am high school classes and when I came home I would lift for 2 hours before bed (This was before I learned the importance of a proper night's sleep.) I was eating red meat 4 times a day along with brown rice and 12 raw egg whites. Summer time meant more time for lifting, slowly I began to push friends, girlfriend, family, and everything else aside. Nothing else mattered at this point.

Once college started I broke up with my girlfriend and picked up rugby in my spare time. I adopted a 7 meals a day program and began learning everything I could about proper diet\fitness. Through the use of and coaches at school I created a fitness plan for myself that now would take me to the levels I wanted to reach.

However, later that same year I crashed my motorcycle on the highway and had to have surgery on my left wrist. I was unable to lift for 8 months. My body fat % got higher, my muscles slowly started to become smaller and depression set in. Over the course of the 8 months I was left unable to lift or play rugby I did more research and dug deeper into various training and dieting methods.

Once my wrist was healed I began a new leaf. Now enter Ryan Harford of Springfield, PA a very inspirational figure in the future of my weight training. With Ryan I learned the importance of a naturally lean diet, the correct way to incorporate cardio training into an already strenuous weight training regimen, the value of nutritional timing, and a new approach to building quality muscle.

I began the road of 8 meals a day, cardio 5 times a week, 1.5 hours a day of weights, and I hit each muscle group twice a week. I have had the best results of my life so far off of this newfound style of training and dieting and I continue to see quality results through this training style.

Why Do You Love Fitness/Bodybuilding?

I would love to sit here and write down what I love the most about bodybuilding or why I love the sport but Arnold has said it the best already and as much as I prefer to be original and come up with my own why fix something that's not broken?

Arnold explained my love for bodybuilding in one passage in his "Pumping Iron" movie, I'm sure you all know what scene I am speaking about. "The greatest feeling you can get in the gym is the's a satisfying as..." (If you've seen pumping iron you know what Arnold says next.) My love for bodybuilding is the feeling I get from accomplishing the little goals in pursuit of accomplishing my bigger goals.

What Motivates You To Follow A Healthy Lifestyle?

1. Internal Drive
2. Friends I've made & met along the way:
    a. Ryan Harford (Springfield, PA)
    b. Josh Halladay (Broomall, PA)
    c. Dan Iacovella (Broomall, PA)
3. Arnold Schwarzenegger
4. Flex Lewis
5. Tim Tebow

What Made You Want To Achieve Your Goals?

Growing up I have always had a "problem" with proving myself to myself. I have always been my own worst enemy. I am never satisfied and I am never content with my own personal achievements. I will continue to push myself and purse my goals to the best of my abilities and this is what drives me to reach my goals.

What Are Your Future Fitness/Bodybuilding Plans?

I would like to enter an all natural competition. I also plan to eventually get my feet wet with fitness modeling. Those are two goals\plans of mine. I have also begun creating a website where college athletes and natural lifters can show their support for all aspects of "natural" fitness. I am for free choice if you know what I mean but I give credit to all of the athletes that choose to take the natural road to's a longer route with less shortcuts, but there are less tolls along the way!

What One Tip Would You Give Other Fitness Competitors?

Knowledge is the true power in this sport. Learn everything you can! Take pride in your decisions and always follow the path that best suits your ultimate goal. "How great is greatness if you can reach it by tomorrow? The true greatness is the road you follow to reach it, not the title received once you get there." - I should copyright that.

Who Are Your Favorite Fitness Competitors/Bodybuilders?

Close friend Josh Halladay followed by Arnold and Flex Lewis.

What Features Do You Use On

I absolutely always use the informational section of It has the best workout advice anywhere on the net. The nutrition information provided on the site is also top notch and always up to date. I always recommend the site to clients and friends I meet out and around campus.