When Levittown native Matt Acton began weight training as a junior in high school, he never imagined it would lead to a full-blown career.
Acton traveled to New Orleans this past weekend to compete in the Greater Gulf States Bodybuilding, Figure, Bikini and Physique Championship where he took third place overall. In the last year, Acton has competed in several major contests across the country that helped prepare him for the trip to New Orleans.
“I trained a little differently for this show in New Orleans because I was told to put on a little size from my critique in the Orlando Europa,” said Acton, a ’06 graduate of Island Trees High School. “I toned down my cardio intensity, repartitioned more carbohydrates and lifted in a hypertrophy range of eight to 12 reps with power movements.”
“Considering I only had three weeks time to prepare, I reevaluated my carb load,” he added. “With the execution of these two plans, I definitely appeared bigger and slightly leaner than the last show.”
Though health and fitness is what his life is based around now, Acton said it started as a simple hobby with high school friends. He fell in love from the start and slowly immersed himself in training and bioscience.
“I have always been involved in fitness but I decided to make this a lifestyle when I started training for my first show in 2008,” Acton explained. “My friend, Matt Gelormino, had just competed the year before and pushed me. I applied my learnings to the human body in my performance and aesthetics. I embarked on a great journey of finding myself.”
While running a gym and going to school, Acton’s routine consisted of sleep, weight training, class and studying.
“I had a lot of alone time and a lot of time to think,” he said. “With extreme focus on my goals, I was able to do extremely well in school that semester and place second in my first natural bodybuilding competition, but the greatest goal of all was the ability to bring that knowledge with me.”
From there, Acton was scouted as a fitness model and began training even harder to remain in constant shape for photo shoots and time on the stage. With time, he was professionally signed to Red NYC for fashion work while modeling for various fitness campaigns.
“Over the past few years, I have learned that knowledge and hard work are key,” said Acton. “You need to be persistent and believe in yourself. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told ‘no,’ but the only thing that stayed the same was the belief in myself. I’m having fun with all that I do, but it is still work at the end of the day.”
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