Relentless problem solving to unlock your potential.
I help others navigate through the health struggles mentioned below. I have felt the pain, the desperation and the confusion. I have gone to great lengths to understand them.
I am finally able to share this story because I’m clear on my exercise, nutrition and motivational philosophies. And most importantly, I understand how exercises, diet, and yoga should fit into an indulgent culture (New Orleans)! We don't eat and drink like everyone else so we shouldn't exercise like everyone else!
Ever heard of burning the candle at both ends? I torched the candle with a flamethrower for 10 years. My health was destroyed. And I finally fixed it.
This is the story of why I do what I do.
Back in my 20's, I was aggressive, intense, and arrogant. Even worse, I was blind to it. I was 23. I thought I was on top of the world! I had no idea I was about to be in so much pain, for such a long time.
I had just started a dream job in personal training working for my idol, Mackie Shilstone.
This job was in a hospital. We used the most advanced testing. I had access to DEXA scans, metabolic breath testing, VO2 max stress tests, heart rate monitoring and world class pedometers. This was 2007. We tracked everything. We used all of this data to create custom programs for each client.
I had such a privileged opportunity at such a young age. I got to read medical journals that Mackie had already underlined. I got to see all of the programs he had developed for over 30 years. I soaked up the information like a sponge.
People were telling me I was the next Mackie! I thought I knew everything. I worked with this data for 5 years.
They say that youth is wasted on the young, and like a lot of young people, I thought I was invincible, until things began to fall apart.
I'll fast forward to age 26, the lowest point of my life. I was walking out of the doctor’s office with my mother, after just testing negative for Lupus, she turned to me and said,
“Matt, maybe it’s all in your head.”
This was the rock bottom of my life. Everyone thought I was crazy, and rightfully so. I had all of these symptoms without a clear diagnosis.
I had several muscle and joint problems.
- A partial labral tear in my left hip socket.
- A wrist injury that needed surgery.
- A pain in my side.
- A stress fracture in my lower back
- Cracked ribs, twisted ankles.
- Large knots in my upper back.
- My muscles were so imbalanced that I could not roll over from one side to the other.
- My eyes were dry and itchy.
- My bladder was frequently in pain and I urinated frequently.
- I couldn't sleep. I was sweating all night.
- I was emotionally volatile.
- I was mentally spent. I couldn’t train more than two clients without being exhausted. I couldn’t focus.
- I was not digesting food well.
- Everything was inflamed.
- I felt lethargic and irritable all the time.
- I couldn’t travel without a bag of pills or devices.
- I had a very bad memory
You literally couldn’t write a better training program on how to slowly destroy the human body with a variety of stresses. Then, I followed this program with the tenacity of a professional athlete.
How did I get to this point!?
I call this:
The “blueprint for early death.”
- I was hospitalized and nearly died before age 1.
- At age 7, I was put under anesthesia for an ear operation.
- I always took a lot of asthma medications, prednisone and albuterol, on a daily basis. I remained on them through my mid 20s.
- I started binge drinking at age 15.
- I took BOTTLES of Tylenol and Ibuprofen to manage pain from playing soccer, bladder pain and headaches (from hangovers).
-I’d consume massive amounts of caffeine on a daily basis.
One point at age 16, I had a foot injury. I was taking Vicodin, lifting weights, taking supplements, taking Acutane (for acne) and asthma meds. I was up all night binge drinking, smoking, and never sleeping regularly.
Then I kept partying as I played soccer in college. Three hours of practice every day, six days a week. I lifted weights five times a week. I kept partying. I was studying for school. I wasn’t sleeping much. I smoked as I kept up with the party animals all night and the athletes all day.
These habits persisted through my 20s. I was out late, binge drinking and my pockets were filled with pain relievers and a variety of other pills to mask my pain. I did this for a decade!
It all tipped with an emotional breakup. With the added stress, my bad habits worsened and all of my issues magnified. Intuitively, I knew I needed to make changes or I was going to die.
A lot of people party this hard, especially in New Orleans. And a lot of people train this hard, but I was one of the few that committed to both! And I over medicated the entire process.
Every doctor I saw said my blood work came back in a healthy range. There wasn’t a clear diagnosis that could be treated. I tried plenty of medications – blood tests, MRIs and CT scans didn’t reveal much.
At Age 27, I had to quit my dream job at the hospital. Nobody there could help me and I must admit, I was an exceptional case.
Running on fumes, I kept reading, questioning assumptions and experimenting with everything health and healing related. I become fanatical about diets and paranoid about what I put in my body. I experimented with alternative treatments, reiki, ice baths, parasite cleanses, and every diet and every cleanse.
The massage therapists, physical therapists, chiropractors and acupuncturists couldn’t fix my chronic joint problems. I read dense physical therapy textbooks, which I NEVER would have read had I not been in so much pain. I repeatedly put myself through movement screens and physical therapy evaluations. I was amazed to see how effective these strategies helped my clients. Yet, MY BODY would not adapt.
After my job with the hospital, I spent a year working with physical therapists. I had a lot of things in common with their patients. I learned to carefully screen their movement. I noticed some could adapt and heal while others, like me, could not. I gathered feedback on their lifestyles and started to make some connections.
I had to approach things differently. There had to be a better way to fix things.
I started to realize that the entire body is fully integrated, each system dependent on the others. And my joint pain could actually be related to what I ate. The two are clearly connected.
I needed to take control of my life. At age 29, I opened up my own personal training studio. Because I had limited focus, I only trained clients for 30 or 45 minutes. This also forced me to be efficient with my programs. I used less and less exercise equipment as my strategies improved.
With no boss, no employees, no girlfriend, no pets and no roommates, there was very little stress or responsibility in my life. I noticed a jump in my energy with this newly acquired freedom.
I tracked data so I could measure my progress objectively. I tested blood, I tested hair, I tested saliva, I tested urine and I tested feces. I tested for food intolerances, metal toxicity and parasites. I tested my cortisol levels. I put myself through protocols and retested everything.
To date, I have spent over $120,000 on doctors, health professionals, supplements, various treatments, testing, research books, seminars and immersions abroad. I had a budget reserved for healing. None of this was covered by insurance because it was considered “alternative.” This healing experimentation became more than a hobby. It was a real education. It was the study of healing.
I did this not just to become better at what I do, but to fix myself and get my life back!
After all of this testing and research, what did I learn?
Each diet, cleanse, or healing protocol requires planning, organization, and disciplined execution. This taught me how each diet has a unique effect and shifts the body in different directions.
Four key systems needed to be improved.
My digestive system
My endocrine system (adrenal glands/ horomones)
My detox system (liver, kidneys, gall bladder, and bladder)
My physical alignment
After years of sacrifices, adjustments, and supplemental experimentation, by age 30, I was much happier.
Even with all this self-experimentation my health was not fully restored. I knew what my next option was. Unfortunately, it was very expensive. I found a Functional Medicine doctor and we tested everything. I spent thousands of dollars on testing, consultations, supplements and IV treatments.
These were deep issues a decade in the making. To reverse my damage I needed QUALITY supplementation directed at PRECISE problems over a LONG period of time, executed with world class DISCIPLINE. It’s also necessary to make sure things are on track by retesting.
Don't worry, unless you’ve followed my “blueprint for early death” program, you won’t need a fraction of this treatment.
After all the supplementing and retesting I continued to feel better. At age 33, my health was safely on track.
- I felt lighter.
- I recovered quicker.
- I could focus on training clients for six hours straight without a cup of coffee.
- I didn’t need melatonin to sleep at night. I naturally fell asleep at the right time. I slept deep and I had dreams.
- My dry eyes were non-existent.
- I could work on the computer for hours on end.
- I could go see movies and attend yoga class without needing to use the restroom.
- I am incredibly flexible, for a former athlete.
- My body doesn’t hurt.
- I can exercise six days a week. (2-3 days are yoga)
- I’m generally MUCH happier.
I began exercising aggressively. I became very aware of the exact dosage of exercise I needed to stimulate health benefits without over stressing my system – the minimum effective dose of exercise.
These health issues were still nagging. I was thankful they were no longer paralyzing. With strategic discipline, I could continue to make some progress.
I started lifting more weights. I was getting stronger and feeling better.
At age 30, my brother and I decided to enter an extreme adventure race. I severely injured my back just training for the event! I knew better than to continue, but my ego got the better of me.
I was done with these injuries! At the same time, I had just read a book on courage and met a girl that inspired me to face my fear of traveling across the world.
So my travels began! Below is a list of places I've traveled and the things I learned over the last few years:
I started with a 2 week warmup yoga retreat in Columbia. Next, I headed to Bali, Indonesia, to study yoga for six weeks. Surely this would heal my back injury and help other issues.
Through practicing yoga I became in tune with which foods were causing tightness in my body. As I trained, I began to notice similarities with my clients. Medications were stressing the body. I noticed a lot of people were dehydrated from daily doses of caffeine, exercise, nicotine, and alcohol. Simply hydrating and lubricating my clients, and myself, seemed to have a great impact.
After Bali, my back injury was fully healed and I had an even better understanding of ground-based movement and with my movement screening experience from my past, I was consistently progressing my clients. We were getting rapid results in all areas! Injuries were vanishing.
Four months later, at age 32, I found myself fasting for a week on an island in Thailand. I read all about fasting. I talked to mentors with experience and I practiced smaller fasts to adapt my body. I was amazed at what detoxed out of my body over that eight-day period!
When fasting, the body enters a state of ketosis. This is a general state of healing. I noticed there was a massive reduction in inflammation while intermittent fasting or in the state of ketosis. For years I practiced Ketogenic dieting. (high fat, very low carb)
My life was normal again, but I still had some issues. Mainly, the bladder pain.
At age 34, in addition to my private personal training studio, I decided to start Pure Fitness and Yoga, a class based fitness and yoga facility. I knew my energy had to be 100% and I couldn’t rely of the volatility of the Ketogenic diet. For one strict month, I switched to an alkaline/vegan diet. I was surprised at the results! I felt light and my energy seemed limitless. Most memorably, the chronic wrist pain I’d had for nearly a decade COMPLETELY disappeared and hasn’t returned! But we closed the yoga studio a year later.
A girl I met in Bali bright me to a retreat center in Costa Rica to try Iboga, THE African plant medicine. The iboga experience in Costa Rica was so mind blowing that I went all the way to the African jungle (the bush) to see the Shaman work with the medicine. I was initiated into the Bwiti tradition! A truthful spiritual experience.
While was there, I met a Yogi there that suggested I begin Gall bladder flushes. The huge knot in the upper right side of my back nearly disappeared from these flushes!
I knew my discipline had to be better if I was going to fix the persistent bladder problem. I traveled to Portugal for a breathing and meditation training. There, after 50 hours of focused breathing and mediation, I gained a deeper level of sensitivity. I practiced Qi Gong everyday for 3 months with a local Asian master. I learned to feel subtle energy moving through my body.
I’m still healing my bladder issue. I won't quit until it's normal. I've come this far, I might as well see it through!
By continuing to experiment and update my supplement protocol I learned that Acutane (taken at age 16) may have shrunk my oil glands permanently. I noticed I felt much better when I took oil supplements- Fish oil, CBD oil, Black currant oil, Phosphatydlcholine, Ghee, olive oil, and other unsaturated fats in my diet. According to Ayurvedic medicine my body was "hot" and "dry,"this related to my bladder problem. I just didn't know what that was...YET.
Next, I experimented with natural stem cell production through combined fasting and supplementation with peptide supplements. Significant costs WITHOUT significant results. I don't think science is there yet.
Currently, I am working with an Ayurvedic Doctor to heal my bladder. Ayurvedic medicine evaluates your patterns. Hot/Cold-- Damp/Dry-- Windy/ Grounded. After a THOROUGH evaluation, this doctor has given me the best explanation so far! I am a Pitta Dosha type. We are mostly the FIRE element. Intense, aggressive, and I tend to burn out.
Over the years, my body has become HOT and DRY. My current diet prescription is very WET; broths, soups, stews, Kitchari, oatmeal, and some fruit- among many other herbs, teas, topical lubricants, and other Ayurvedic protocols. I meditate, a lot, to "chill out." I quit alcohol and all stimulants for a year. (2020) I now pee 12 times a day instead of 25!
Because I finally had some success healing my bladder with Ayurvedic medicine. I went to Austin for Pancha Karma.
“Pancha Karma” is the Ayurvedic cleanse --7 days filled with treatments, specifically sequenced. 4 hours a day.
It was similar, in effect, to a 7 day fast, but MUCH SMOOTHER. After PK, I noticed several parts of my body were functioning much better. My joints, my stamina, and my bladder improved a bit. I even passed a parasite!
PK used lots of warm oil to loosen the tissues all over and bring my body back into balance. It got the crap out. The warm oil seemed to wake and and reset organs, even the eyes!
My bladder has been the hardest problem to solve. And that's what's made me great at my job. I help people solve problems.
As I heal and strengthen, my body becomes more resilient to stress. I recover faster from workouts. I become less inflamed from inflammatory foods and substances.
To put our lifestyles in perspective. Consider this:
In the history of time, the human species is more obese than it’s ever been; our country has the highest obesity rates, especially in the south. Depression, anxiety, and suicide rates are at all time highs. It seems that what is "normal," is not healthy. Our medical system is very confusing. We typically need alternative solutions to solve these problems. Currently, our medical system does not have the time nor the tools to help those who are committed to solving their problems.
That's why I have a job and a purpose. To guide people through this process.
I'm very familiar with the dosage of exercise and sacrifices needed to get results. Of course, with my client's input, I’m always tweaking programs to make them more effective and more customized. I train clients in the privacy of my own studio. I share my network of experts. Seeing my clients make progress everyday is what excites me!
My programs are based on my personal experience and the experiences of hundreds of clients I have closely worked with.
I can help you unlock your potential.
I love sharing my experiences and if there’s anything I can do to help, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I would be honored to work with you.
Thanks for reading all that,
Thanks for taking the time to read my story. Please mention that you read it and remind me to give you a $50 discount off of your initial evaluation. :)
Division 1 college soccer scholarship and Olympic development Program
Matt begins personal training
Graduates from LSU with a BA with focus in Kinesiology, Nutrition, Business, Sociology
@ The Fitness Principle at East Jefferson General Hospital with Mackie Shilstone
Routinely used metabolic testing to measure calorie expenditure, VO2 testing to determine heart rate training zones, and Dexa scans to accurately measure changes in muscle and fat while working with a team facilitating weight-loss programs in a hospital setting, helping several clients lose 100+ pounds. Understanding the benefits and limitations to working inside a hospital setting. Worked with some professional athletes.
Worked with physical therapists transitioning injured clients into fitness programs. Gained a greater understanding of rehabilitation.
Traveled to Bali, Indonesia to complete 300 Hour Yoga teacher training program.
Matt is a yoga instructor. Click to watch his Bali Trip
Todd Durkin's Fitness Business Mentorship Program in San Diego
Traveled to Portugal for a Pranayama (breathing) and Meditation training.
Traveled to Cancun for a yoga retreat and sweat lodge.
Practiced Level 1 Chi Kung with Sifu Tommy.
Quit drinking for a year.
Became a licensed Real Estate Agent.
Got engaged to Nina Shelby! The most adorable creature on the planet.