My name is Matt Chesley. I am 31 years old and a certified personal trainer. Five years ago I wouldn’t have imagined that I’d be a personal trainer. I didn’t even imagine I’d be in the shape I’m in now. To get to that, I’ll go back to the beginning…
Growing up, I was always overweight. I was always active, but the sugary drinks and snacks were straight up ridiculous. Baseball, basketball, football, and skiing were no match for Famous Amos cookies and multiple Cokes every day. In 3rd grade I began wrestling and was in the heavy weight weight class. This meant I was wrestling older, bigger, stronger kids. It wasn’t fun for me.
As I got a little older, I started playing football. Being under 5 feet tall and over 150 lbs throughout middle school, I was practically useless on the team but I stuck with it. So going into high school, we had summer conditioning practices. We would do 111 down-ups on Monday, hit the sleds on Tuesday, run a couple miles on Wednesday, and so on. This particular summer of 2000, I happened to grow 5 inches to be a whopping 5’3″ by August. That wasn’t all that happened though. I dropped from 155 pounds to 125 pounds. I was a new man!
I was such a new man that family members that saw me in early July did not recognize me in September. So new that people I grew up with thought I was a new kid when school started. So new that I started getting attention from girls that used to saw “ew” about the short fat kid with braces. New (still short) height, less weight, no braces, and a popular hair style did a lot for me. So throughout high school, I got up to 5’6 and built muscle and had essentially re-created myself. It was incredible!
Then college came and the game changed again. We’ve all heard of the Freshman 15, but have you heard of the Sophomore 10, and the Junior 10, and the Senior 10, and the Post-Grad 25? Boy, things certainly changed in no-time at all. To add to the matter, I had started to go bald, my voice (with which I sing) was getting worse, and I developed stretch marks like I was pregnant, or mauled by a bear.
Well come to find out, the baldness and voice were due to a massive tumor growing in my throat. It was benign, got it removed, I’m basically back to normal… except for the hair. The weight and stretch marks were all my own fault. I ballooned up to 230 pounds. At 5’6″, this is a lot. I went from a BMI of 25 to a BMI of 37.2 (Obesity Level 2). At Obesity Level 2, your health risks and risk of death are significantly increased. In 2011, I got a physical and found out that my cholesterol and blood pressure were abnormally high for someone only 25 years old.
Yet, I began working out in 2009 before my wedding. I dropped about 40 pounds, but quickly put it back on. This happened EVERY SINGLE YEAR until I got a job at University of Detroit Mercy. When I started working at the fitness center, I started the university’s annual Biggest Loser contest. In that first year, I went from 230 to 185 and my team won! The following year, I had gone back to 205, but dropped back down to 185. Then 180 to 170. At 170 I thought I was done, but I kept working hard and improving my knowledge and regimen. I eventually got to 157 lbs around Labor Day 2015. Since then, I have hovered around 160 lbs with exception of thew 4 months after my son was born.
But this is where I am now. Last week I weighed 162 pounds when I began an 8 week challenge that I created. More in that in future posts. This blog is dedicated to telling my story, your stories, and just to encourage others to get/stay fit. It’s a better life when you know you’ll be around to enjoy it!
Until next time,