Body Transformation: Patience Powers Progress!

Weeks of disappointing progress photos pushed Mathew to the brink, but he stayed strong, battled a nasty flu, and got absolutely shredded!

Why I Decided to Transform

I was a chubby kid when I started working out at age 13. I worked hard for years and had a solid body by age 17. I started to cut weight for summer in February because I wanted to look good and continued this trend for many years. I attended the Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2007 and stuck to my same routine of lifting hard through the winter to gain mass and cutting for the summer. During my years at IUP, I studied exercise science and received a bachelor's degree. I also got certified by the American College of Sports Medicine as a certified health fitness specialist.

In December 2011, I met my beautiful girlfriend and weighed 190 pounds. After a year, together, I fell into a trap and got comfortable and lazy. I was also making the transition to the real world and figuring out how to live. Burdened with school loans and trying to afford life, I didn't have the drive to train hard.

In March 2012, I started my job as a personal trainer at the Indiana County YMCA and weighed 248 pounds (my heaviest ever). While working at the YMCA, I was introduced to a program called the "Y's Loser Program." The class included about 50 individuals whose main goal was to lose weight.

After working with these people and my clients, I become motivated to be in better shape. I had the tools to show them it's possible to lose weight and completely transform, so I started to work out hard. I love to eat and it was very difficult to get my diet right. By the end of summer, I lost about 15 pounds.

I was on buying supplements in January and saw the $100,000 Transformation Challenge. That was my ticket. When I started the challenge, I weighed between 228-230 pounds. My goal weight for the end was 198 pounds. I knew it took a perfect diet and training routine to achieve my goals. Aside from my transformation, the money was a large part of my motivation so I wouldn't have to worry about school loans and other bills.

At the beginning of the challenge, I weighed 230 pounds with 20-22 percent body fat. My lean weight was 183 pounds and I had 45 pounds of fat. At the end of the challenge, I weighed 195 with seven percent body fat. My lean mass stayed at 183 pounds, but my fat dropped to 12 pounds.

How I Accomplished My Goals

Every personal trainer at the YMCA had to get their picture taken for display on the wall so members could recognize us. When I saw my picture, it was the first time realized how bad I let myself go. This was the real start to my transformation. It took a while to get my diet down, but I got there and became a strong lifter, which was motivating, and the "addiction" came back.

When I started the 100k Transformation Challenge, there was no turning back. From that point, every workout and meal was extremely important to the goal I wanted to achieve. As I took progress pictures, they weren't as good as I expected, but I kept a positive mindset and knew the work would pay off. I never thought about quitting. By week 11, I was very happy with my progress photo.

On Monday of the last week of the challenge, I got the flu (I thought I was exhausted from the lowered carbohydrates). I was supposed to take my final pictures that Friday, so for four days leading up to Friday, I made myself workout at the same intensity for the 12 weeks prior. On top of that, I had to work and keep my energy up to motivate my clients. It was a miserable week. When Friday morning came, I was still extremely sick and sweated badly when my girlfriend took my final pictures.

After the contest, I was happy with my transformation and relieved to see my hard work and dedication pay off. It was the longest and strictest 12 weeks of my life, but the most rewarding. Because of the transformation, I'm in the best shape of my life.

What Aspect Challenged Me the Most

The worst part was looking at my first progress pictures. I took new photos every two weeks and my first four pictures didn't make me happy, so I started to second guess myself. I kept a positive attitude and stayed confident in my plan.

There are always ways to improve. Every meal and workout is extremely important. I don't want to be the person who looks back and says "If I wouldn't have cheated on my diet I would be better off." I want to be the person who pushed it to the limit every day and didn't cheat on my diet.

My Future Fitness Plans

I plan to continue working as hard as possible to achieve a better physique. I planned to compete two weeks after the challenge ended, but the flu really through me off schedule. Hopefully I will enter my first bodybuilding competition soon.

Suggestions for Aspiring Transformers
  • Transform for you and make it a lifestyle change that lasts for life.
  • Set short and long-term realistic goals that motivate you to work hard.
  • If you don't meet goals, use it as motivation to work harder and get back on track.
  • It takes time to lose weight. It wasn't put on overnight, so it won't come off overnight.
  • Most importantly, don't give up!
How Helped Me Reach My Goals was the most important tool I had for my transformation. I buy my supplements from the site and intake the endless amount of information about exercise and nutrition. BodySpace is also a huge motivation. It's inspirational to see what others do and say. I spend hours researching everything I can on and feel like I haven't touched the surface of information on the site.