“The Matt State Story”
Written by Matt State
Where does a former out-of-shape, overweight guy like me start? How about I start with a little background back to my HS years and then roll up through college and married life? So, back in the day (early 90’s) I was a 3-sport athlete at Henry Sibley High School in Mendota Heights, MN. I played football, basketball, and baseball from 1st and 2nd grade all the way through varsity at Sibley (except for baseball – quit after 10th grade season). I was an OLB and FB in football and played 2-guard in B-ball. I had a football coach that was a big weight lifting guy and I even partook in a lifting class my junior and senior years. We did all sorts of exercises; bench press, dips, lat pulls, preacher curls, upright rows, leg press, squats, etc. I learned early how to lift and what hard work could result in. I graduated high school at a whopping 175 lbs and I was in pretty good shape. I was never super strong, but I was pretty lean and cut with around 10% body fat.
After high school I headed off to good old UW-Stout (when in doubt right?) and started drinking way too much beer. I continued to lift a lot through my sophomore year and got up to about 190-195 lbs and I was pretty strong and had some good definition and bulk. I ended up breaking my finger that year during intramural B-ball and that event began a big spiral of what I call “fatness” on my end. I think I got up to 215 or so before my senior year. I got back in to the gym, but mainly with cardio. I got back down to 169 lbs (too darn skinny) with no real muscle before graduation. I did way too much work on the Stairmaster and it lead to some serious plantar fasciitis issues. That really hampered my ability to play softball, basketball, and do anything cardio-based like jogging. I simply stopped thinking I could be very active anymore. Then I entered into the real world, got married, and had children. YIKES! That led to a lot of McDonalds, limited working out, and the release of “THE LARDWAGON!!!” Holy smokes…working in Chaska and living in Apple Valley led to a lot of two McChicken and two Double Cheeseburger rides home and sometimes culminated in a dinner at home too. I ate 4-6 terrible meals a day. I had let myself get as high as 260+ lbs (yep…you read it right…260+ lbs). I got so damn fat and out of shape that I even got stretch marks on my gut (yep…you read that right too…stretch marks). What a waste of a former athlete’s discipline and hard work. But, it happened and I hated myself for letting it happen. I went up and down like a perfect sine wave or Valley Fair roller-coaster for a number of years following. I would get back down to 210-220 in the summer and then let myself balloon back up in the winter. I just never found something I had passion and love for.
I heard about CrossFit and CrossFit Northstar from my sister a few years back and saw how much she enjoyed it. However, I was fat and worried that I would never be able to do it with my plantar fasciitis. I had neighbors like Mike L. and Dave R. corner me all the time to start, as well as my sister, but I was scared that I would start and not be able to continue. So, I procrastinated and let the roller coaster ride continue. Finally, I got sick and tired of being sick and tired. No person in their 30’s should have to lose their breath tying their damn shoes…right? I joined the newly formed Templar gym in September 2012 and was scared to death, but just said enough was enough. I checked my ego at the door on day one and just starting working. I also took Sean’s advice (with some solid coaching from the “nutritionist” Paul Nobles Jr.) and started Paleo right out of the gate. I started CrossFit at 3-days a week and within a month moved to unlimited and eventually a 5-day a week routine.
In October, I hopped on the 90-day Paleo challenge and went balls-to-the-wall and virtually followed the Whole 30 all the way through the month of December. I had a few cheats during the 90 day period, but stayed to a pretty strict 90-95% Paleo. With hard work and some dedicated eating, I went from 220 lbs when I started to 214 lbs with 25% body fat when the challenge started and I weighed in at 199 lbs and 16% body fat 90 days later while adding 6 lbs of muscle. I grew some man-cans and muscles I never knew I could have…even though I always wanted them. I even have some abs coming in (not Andrew, Tim S. or Matt D abs, but abs all the same) and that is cool as hell. I couldn’t do a kipping pull-up and only a couple of dead hangs when I started to now I’m doing 25 straight pull-ups after I am done with workouts and feeling like I could rip of 40+ if need be. I could barely do toes-to-bar, no parallette pass-thru’s, no hand-stand push-ups, and no Rx deck squats to being able to do all of them easily now (but limited reps with the HSPU’s). My strength and speed during workouts has improved to where I am not just happy to complete, I am actually competing to some extent. I am totally addicted and try to push CrossFit on all of my friends because I believe in it and feel I am an example of what you can do with CrossFit, some dietary discipline, and some dedication.
I am sharing some embarrassing pics of me before, but if they can motivate someone like the Jason Ball, Matt Dean, Spider, and Beanie stories inspired me, it is well worth it. I have found a new passion in life and as long as my body cooperates, I will be a CrossFitter for life! I cannot wait to see what the rest of year one looks like and does to me. It is super exciting and drives me to work harder and continue my Paleo dedication. Thanks to the awesome staff, the excellent fraternity of members that support each other, and to the Flaherty family for creating such an awesome place to grow physically and mentally.