For the past 15 years, Matus Valent of Orange County, Calif., has maintained a perfectly chiseled, ripped physique and yes, six-pack abs. At 38, he hasn’t slowed down a bit. He trains two to two and a half hours a day, five days a week, and he takes his supplementation very seriously.
Matus, a fitness model, personal trainer, and massage therapist with a master’s degree in physical education, got into weight lifting in his teens thanks to his father, Jozef, who lives in Slovakia. According to Matus, his dad is now 70 years old and still works out six days a week and swims on Sundays. “He works out more than me!” Matus said, adding that he fully intends to work out and stay ripped into his golden years just like his father.
Matus, who played soccer before discovering his love for competitive volleyball, moved to the United States from Slovakia in 2003, and within a year, he won a California beach volleyball competition. A year later, he began competing in fitness modeling events and bodybuilding shows.
Matus graced his first magazine cover in September 2007 for Fitness RX and has since appeared on 50-plus more across the globe. He didn’t sit around waiting for the magazines to come to him either. He reached out to editors, photographers, and art directors. He worked hard, and he’s proud of the outcome.
“It’s a fantastic feeling,” said Matus, whose next cover will come out in July for an Italian fitness magazine. “When I started my fitness modeling journey, my big dream was to be IN a fitness magazine – landing a cover was more of a science fiction idea. I am really proud of all my covers, and it feels nice when magazines appreciate all my hard work and award me with the front page of their publications.”
We asked Matus to share some insight into his training, supplementation, and success. He also offered one of his favorite chest workouts. Warning: It’s not for the faint of heart.
What supplements do you take?
MV: Everything. The more the better. That’s my theory. I’m the supplement king. No one else takes supplements like I do. I’ve been taking supplements since I was 15/16. When I was a kid, the only book I read … was the Vitamin Bible. I was reading it every single day.
I take protein, aminos, glutamine, pre-workouts, vitamins, minerals, fat burners – everything you can name. …. So yes, I’m a big advocate for supplementation.
Supplements you can’t live without?
MV: Pre-workout. Without it, I would not even go to the gym. I would be like, ‘Yeah, it’s going to suck.’ That is my 100% must. Also, protein. My workouts are two to two and a half hours long so if I don’t do protein, then the workout was a waste because I didn’t have my protein afterward. Those are my two essentials.
What is your workout schedule like?
MV: I work out five days a week and take the weekends off. I do abs every day at the end of my workouts. Here is my schedule:
How is it different for you training today versus 15 years ago?
MV: I don’t really change my workouts too much. I don’t need to invent anything fancy or any new training methods. I just do it the ‘old-school Arnold’ way: weight training, hitting all the body parts and just being smart about it. For me, my thinking is, ‘If this is working, why change it?’ The only thing different is when I was 24-26, I was trying to hit my max weight. My max is 345 pounds on bench press. Now I can barely do 300. Today, I know that a really good workout and pump are what’s important, not, ‘Hey, I have three plates on each side.’
What is your secret to success?
MV: Consistency, that is for sure. I was told many times that I’m known in the industry for always being in shape and always photo-ready. So that brings a lot of heat to the success. When people need a project, I’m always on the radar because of that.
What advice would you give other men who want to have a photo-shoot ready physique?
MV: It takes time. Do a lot of research. Study other guys who have been successful. Even if you don’t see results after the first 2-3 months, it’s going to come. Just keep going.
Gym pet peeve?
MV: My number one pet peeve is when people don’t re-rack their weights correctly. There are days when I am organizing the dumbbells. That’s my OCD. When you see someone put a 5 lb. where the 100 lb. goes, that just drives me crazy.
Favorite cheat meal?
MV: Pizza, burgers, donuts … I don’t think I have a single fave.
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