He trained for Olympics, beat depression and now wants to help YOU get fit
HE trained for the Olympics, beat an eating disorder and overcame depression.
But Matt Morsia reveals his biggest achievement is having 67million more fitness viewers than Joe Wicks.
In an exclusive interview Matt, 34, says: “It’s healthy competition, I don’t have a Joe Wicks voodoo doll. But in terms of views I’m No1. He has 232million views on YouTube and I have 269million.”
The former PE teacher from Folkestone, Kent, now earns more in a month than he did in a year.
His legions of fans around the globe watch his workouts and weightlifting challenges as well as footage of his pregnant wife Sarah, 35, and their four-year-old son Luca.
Matt says: “Lots of YouTube fitness involves people driving Ferraris and doing crazy things.
“I live a relatively normal life, I’m married, I have a beautiful kid and I shop in Aldi.”
Now he has published The 24/7 Body, a book based on cutting-edge science which, he says, dispels the myths about fad diets and workouts.
Matt reckons you need to lose weight slowly to be sustainable as it takes a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose a pound of fat.
He recommends shifting no more than a pound or two a week.
It is recommended that an adult man has an intake of 2,000 to 3,000 calories a day.
He adds: “If you want to lose fat, get more active — even a ten-minute walk is better than nothing — and cut your calories slowly over time.
“Eating McDonald’s doesn’t make you fat. Eating a salad won’t make you skinny. Doing loads of sit-ups won’t get rid of your belly fat and losing loads of weight in a few weeks isn’t a good thing.
“So many of the things we’ve been brought up to believe are false and this is one of the major reasons why people struggle to change their bodies and achieve their fitness goals.
“If you want to eat a pizza, then do it, just not all the time. The worst thing you can say is, ‘I’m never eating it again’. At some point you are going to eat it and you’ll binge.
Matt’s ten fitness tips
- By doing resistance training (such as lifting weights or your own body weight) alongside a period of fat loss you’ll end up looking strong and healthy rather than weak and frail.
- If you are starting squats and weightlifting for the first time, for week one have no weights at all, simply using your bodyweight for resistance. Week two just the bar, then each week build up with the smallest possible weight.
- The benefits of slotting some cardio training into your plan are huge. If you are a complete beginner in your 40s start with running for one minute in, say, a 30-minute walk. Build up in 30 second increments weekly once you can do it comfortably.
- What makes you stronger and fitter is something called “progressive overload” – that means making your training more challenging over a period of time by increasing weight and running further. It gets results.
- Don’t absolutely kill yourself. You won’t want to go back.
- Try to pick an activity that you enjoy. But remember, even if you do not enjoy every second, you will feel good afterwards.
- Stick with it. Even if you have a few aches, ride it out. It will get easier.
- Measure your training and progression. Write down what you did. Looking back on how far you have come will motivate you.
- Do not do more than you have to. Start with three or four exercises and build from there. It is quality over quantity.
- No one is interested in you when you walk in the gym. It can be daunting but they are trying to get fit too.
“I eat doughnuts, pizza and McDonald’s but I’m also fit.”
Matt was once one of the UK’s top three triple jumpers, his sights set on the London 2012 Olympics.
But he reveals: “I was competing while suffering from an eating disorder.
As a triple jumper, the lighter you are the further you are going to jump.
“I would halve my calories and eat very little. I’d then compete, run to my car, drive to Tesco and get absolute s**t — doughnuts, pizza, cakes, you name it — and eat as much as I could for the whole weekend. I’d consume around 10,000 calories a day. I’d even dream about doughnuts.
“Then I’d get up Monday morning, think, ‘Oh st, I’ve eaten way too much’, and starve myself.
“I didn’t enjoy it. It was compulsive, an absolute loss of control.
“I have a healthy relationship with food now and talk about what I was like to help others.”
Matt’s ten diet tips
- If you lose weight too quickly you are losing muscle mass and water. It’s not sustainable.
- Do not obsess over the weighing scales – focus on reducing your calorie intake and increasing levels of activity.
- Sugar isn’t bad. You can still eat doughnuts and pizza, but just not all the time.
- It takes a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose a pound of fat.
- Eat protein, as it will help the body retain muscle and lose fat and stop you feeling hungry.
- The time you eat is irrelevant, it makes no difference. It’s what you are putting in your mouth that counts.
- Eating fast food doesn’t make you fat, just as eating salad doesn’t make you thin. Count calories.
- Don’t deprive yourself of certain foods as it can lead to binge eating.
- Whether it’s Atkins, vegan or keto, there is no food combination to lose weight. You need a calorie deficit.
- Foods that are high in fibre, such as fruit and veg, lentils, brown bread and pasta, will fill you up and help minimise cravings.
His Olympic career was cut short by a back injury shortly before qualifying for the Games.
He says: “I became depressed. I’d spent 13 years training, starving myself, eating until I threw up and avoiding my friends like an absolute hermit so I could focus on competing.
“Without wanting to sound like one of those people at an X Factor audition — you know, when they play the whole sob-story video — it felt a bit like all of that work had essentially come to nothing.”
When he was able to get back in the gym, his new obsession became lifting weights and Sarah suggested Matt put his workouts on YouTube.
For the next three years he shot videos after coming home from his teaching job at Folkestone Academy.
He was building an audience but making no money from them.
Then he noticed eating challenges were trending on YouTube, so he made a video of himself eating 25,000 calories of junk food in a day, which got hundreds of thousands of views.
Thanks to that video, and the lucrative adverts that ran with it, he earned more than he ever made in 18 months teaching.
In January 2018 he packed in his job and now films himself daily doing everything from working out, eating, having fun with his son and taking on some of the world’s craziest fitness challenges.
Matt earns money from ads, an app with personal training programmes and sponsorship videos with fitness firms such as Gymshark and MyProtein.
He says: “I’ve done lots of military tests. The toughest was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s when he was in his prime. The funniest I did was pole dancing. I’m not built for it.
“I get recognised now, and I get some outrageous messages. One fan offered me £5,000 to send them my underwear.
“I didn’t. But when I was scraping by as a teacher, I’d have posted them the next day!
“I get propositions from women and men. One fan asked me to stand on them.”
But the majority are ordinary people looking for advice.
He says: “The most common question I get is, ‘How do I get a body like yours?’
“I think they’re expecting to be told they need to drink maple syrup eight times a day while reading Shakespeare to their auntie’s hamster. There is an abundance of absolute s**t being promoted by many ‘fitness influencers’. All I am doing is trying to shatter those myths.”
You can try out some of Matt’s advice for yourself. See his diet and fitness tips on the left.
- The 24/7 Body: Everyday Diet And Training Advice For Permanent Results by Matt Morsia, published by Century, is out now, price £16.99.
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