Here is one of the posters that the photographer sent Matt Luke from this past weekend!
Matt just recently finished up my 6 week online training program. His hard work has paid off in more ways than one and I'm VERY proud of him! His battles he's had to deal with are a huge inspiration to me. It really touches my heart to know that I was able to help him.
TYLER - Brief Bio - Explain what got you got you into living the fitness lifestyle and how long you have been training for?
MATT - Growing up I was always the small and scrawny kid. I started working out in high school with friends. Once out of school and the friends moved away, I stopped. Fast forward to 2008 when I woke up one day with a knot on the back of my head. I went to the doctor a few days later. It turned out to be a type of lymphoma. Luckily, it was the only tumor and I have been clear at every checkup since then. However, that scared me enough that I lost a bunch of weight. 2009, I had one ruptured disk and one herniated disk (c5/C6) in my neck and had to have surgery, including a disk replacement, bone fusion and plating. I also had lower back pain. During all this, I got depressed, lost more weight (which I couldn't afford to lose as I'm 5'10" and was weighing 125-130 lbs). I began to eat junk constantly, I would feel guilty afterwards but I couldn't stop. Everyone was telling me "you look sick, you've lost too much weight, you need to gain some weight!" I woke up one day in March of 2010, decided I was tired of not liking myself on the inside or out. I started working out at home as I was way too embarrassed to go to a gym. In July 2010, I finally got up the courage to join a gym and I haven't looked back. Its working, I am liking myself way more these days! Working out helps to relieve the stiffness and pain in my neck, back and shoulders. I feel way more relaxed most days, I sleep better, I wake up more rested. Basically, I decided it was time to be in better shape and health so I decided to finally take control of it. I consider myself to be lucky and I'm determined not to take that for granted. I now weigh 163 lbs. and I feel awesome!
TYLER - Can you use what you learned with my online training program for the rest of your life? Explain why?
MATT - I can definitely use what I've learned with Tyler's online training program. Tyler takes a virtual but very definite hands on approach. Tyler's training has taught me the importance of healthy eating and balancing my diet where I can still have a normal life. This is something I never thought would impact my training as much as it has, until I tried it. My body has changed in ways I never imagined it would. The workouts are intense to say the least...but very rewarding. I thought at one point that I couldn't do it. I just didn't think I could. Tyler continually reassured me that I was not to be defeated by that little red guy sitting on my left shoulder. Tyler was in the other ear telling me "YES YOU CAN"! To be honest, I don't think I could have come this far with another trainer, whether they be online or in person. There were days I would text Tyler with "Dude, I look like crap today, I don't know what is going on". Tyler would come back with "Matt, what did you do in the past couple of days that you shouldn't have? Have you been sticking to the diet?" Of course, I would have to confess that I had a few (like 15 I mean), chips and some queso dip. Tyler would tell me "well, that's what's wrong". But he never made me feel bad about that. He stuck by me. If he didn't hear from me, he'd text me and asked what was going on, and how I was doing. By the end of the 6 weeks, there was no question as to what I should be eating if I wanted to see the results I was after. The diet was specific to my goals and specific to my progress which Tyler held me accountable for EVERY Sunday morning when he REQUIRED me to send my updated progress shots.
The workouts gradually gained intensity as the program drew closer to that 6 week mark, ultimately training me for what I now KNOW I can do! THAT. Is something I know I can use for the rest of my life. Beyond that, I feel like he's become a friend.
TYLER - You just had a competition, explain what is was and the outcome
MATT - I recently competed in the Transformation Challenge in the REAL Deep South bodybuilding competition as part of the REAL World Tour. My before and after shots were impressive enough and my story was touching enough to the organization that I was selected to be a part of the nationwide "I Decide" campaign started by professional photographer Michael-David Reilly (michaeldavidphoto.com). As part of this campaign, he will be sharing my story with as many people as possible. My transformation has landed a photoshoot with Michael-David where we selected a shot for a poster (where I am the athlete and the only one shown) which will be distributed whereever he is able. Never in a million years would have expected to be considered an "Athlete" by the likes of a photographer who shoots for Nike, Muscular Development, Under Armor, 944 Magazine, Diesel Denim, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Zink Magazine, Cadillac and more... But I did and I am. This was a life changing experience. All of the things I told Tyler I wanted when we began this journey are now becoming a reality! I always wanted to be worthy of being selected for a poster in a campaign such as the "I DECIDE" campaign. Who knows what will happen next! I am finally in charge of my future in that aspect. It all depends on my dedication and my use of what I now know.
Never allow someone's perception of you to decide your role or define you. You are the only one who can create your reality, unless you give up your power, so don't give your power away and TELL YOUR STORY! - Matt Luke
I will be posting his "I Decide" campaign picture up later this week!