It’s the start of a new month and you know what that means? A new edition of Force Feeds! For the March edition I wanted to bring to you a good friend of mine who has done it all but found his niche in the Highland Games. Not only is Matt a professional highland games athlete, but he is also the defending World Champ in the sport and is not showing any signs of slowing down. Check out our latest installment of Force Feeds to get an inside look at one the most versatile strength athletes out there. Enjoy!
1.Thanks for chatting with us. Can you tell me a little bit about your sport/background? What did you do first? How many sports did have you participated in? How did you get to where you are now?
Well I started like most with playing everything growing up. I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t competing in something. I guess I took to throwing in middle school and became more focused on it in high school. At that age it was just Football and Track. I was fortunate enough to be recruited by LSU for a track scholarship and spent 5 years on that team throwing shotput, discus, and hammer.
Post collegiate I have dabbled in lots of areas. My love of training began to come back and the compass has always pointed to strength sports. My 1st endeavor back was with strongman and after about 3 years, I moved on. Powerlifting was next and I lifted in the APF in multi ply going (900-700-700 @275). That was a learning experience. Lots of people hate on gear but honestly it is a different discipline. In that time I really feel I learned how to perform the main lifts properly. After Powerlifting I have made my way back to throwing and competing in the Highland Games.
2.How important do you believe food/nutrition is to being a better athlete? Any philosophies or trains of thought you follow?
I think it is all part of the big puzzle. I have done the eat everything big fat powerlifter model and I am much happier now watching what I eat. One of the things I always have to remember is that I wanted to become the best Strength Athlete I could. The key there was Athlete. I believe being an athlete it is important to fuel yourself properly. Figure out what works for you diet wise, to accomplish the goals you want.
I know that if I eat shitty foods all the time I will end up being a big pile of shit. So I try and keep it pretty basic. Once a week I will eat whatever I want to please the fat kid lurking inside me. Other than that I stick to pretty basic stuff like meats, nuts, veg, and fat. This seems to work better for me than chicken and rice or some of the other things I have experimented with.
Philosophy wise I have tried to keep things simple so I can’t screw them up or convince myself of a loop hole. If there is something I am doing diet wise (or in life) that makes me a piece of shit, don’t do it. If something makes me Awesome I do it. An example of this for diet would be eating an entire cheesecake makes me a piece of shit, but having dinner of Turf and Turf makes me Awesome.
3.What recovery techniques do you use if any? What have you found works best and what have you found useless/less effective?
For me I get lots out of contrast showers. Ice baths are great as well after heavy lower training. The main thing I have found is that if I am going to do something it has to be consistent, which the same is for any training principal. So if I am going to foam roll and properly warm up I have to do it every day. Nothing works magically one time. You can’t kick the shit out of your body for 15 years and then take one ice bath and think everything is going to be amazing. It is all part of the game.
I also get a lot out of Chiropractic care and Massage. During the HG season we compete a lot (21 times last season March – Sept). So recovering week to week and still training like you need to takes some planning and thought.
At this point in my training career I spent as much time warming up and doing recovery as I do actually training. My biggest goal is staying healthy. If I am not healthy I can’t compete or train.
4.Walk us through a day in your life: what do you eat? When and how long do you train?
6:30 wake up and make coffee
7:00 coffee- shake (low carb) and supplements
9:30 Meal eggs and bacon
11:30 Meal usually on road, meat and veggies
3:00 Pre workout Shake (if hungry)
4:00 Pre workout supplements
6:30 Post workout Shake with Fiber
7:00 Dinner Meat and Veggies
9:00 in bed
5.What’s the best piece of advice someone has ever given you in regards to training and getting stronger? Anything you would like pass on to someone trying to get where you are?
I have had the chance to talk to lots of people and spend time with people I respect in the strength game. Of all of it the most important thing with training, is keep it simple and consistent. It is not about how strong you are tomorrow it is long term I will take adding 5 pounds to each of my lifts every 3 months consistently rather than thinking some magic training plan is going to add 50 pounds.
Squats make you strong. They work for everyone, do them often and heavy. If you are an Athlete, then be an athlete and do some conditioning 3 times a week.
6. What is the most impressive feat of strength you have accomplished to date?
This is a weird question for me. I am happy with all the lifts I have since I have busted ass to earn them. I am also able to keep it all in perspective. Guys that are really strong kill me in the main lifts. Olympic lifting guys and girls embarrass my lifts there. Olympic throwers throw to the potential of the human body.
But to answer I guess I did a Turkish Get Up with a 175# person on my arm. I am also very proud of my North American Record in the 28# weight for distance (94’ 2.25”) and tying Brain Oldfield’s Open Stone Record in the HG (63’1”).
Thanks Tom good Talk. Stay Healthy mate.
As you can tell Matt is that guy that will tell it like it is. For more information on Matt, his competition schedule, and his new E-Book The Throwing Lab check out his website here. If you are in the area check out Matt take on the top professional athletes in the Highland Games at the Inaugural Highland Games at the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, OH on March 3.