Dad bods like those of Hollywood heartthrobs Channing Tatum, Zac Efron and Bradley Cooper might float some people’s boats, but for personal trainer Erie Matic (@eriematic on Instagram), a lean and toned physique is one he has long aspired for.
The 41-year-old former professional ramp model is now a husband and father who can give men half his age a run for their money. Earlier this month, he bagged the first runner-up spot in the Century Tuna Superbods competition and won the special “Ageless” award.
His motto? “Age is not a choice, but fitness is.”
It’s hard to believe, but Matic didn’t always have this chiseled build. He started working out at 17 because “I was lanky and ‘skinny fat’ and honestly, a bit insecure, so I decided to change that.”
The internet was not as readily available for everyone then, so he spent hours reading fitness books and magazines. “I wanted to learn how to achieve the best and most healthy body. I even shifted my college course from medical technology to physical therapy to gain greater insight into human anatomy, physiology and kinesiology,” Matic told Lifestyle in an email interview.
“At 21, I achieved my goal to gain a fit-looking body,” he said. “In my late 20s I stopped working out due to work. I had long shifts, and the weekly changing schedules in a casino left me exhausted and led me to abandon my normal healthy routines. I started a very unhealthy lifestyle, which made me slightly obese and resulted in hypertension and high cholesterol levels.”
His turning point came when his wife gave birth to their son. That’s when he knew he had to get back on track if he wanted to stay fit for his family.
“It took me three years to get back into shape, and since then I have maintained my weight within a certain range that I am happy with. Being overweight gave me insights into the obstacles and self-doubt one experiences. I am grateful, as it helped me in my daily work as a personal trainer.”
Matic works out five to six times a week, always starting with 20 minutes fasted cardio before breakfast. From Monday to Saturday he focuses on different parts of the body, including legs, chest and triceps, back and biceps, shoulders and core. Sunday is his rest day.
In one of his Instagram posts days before placing in the competition, he wrote: “One day, these 5AMs will make you a legend.”
His journey to get into the best shape of his life, however, was not a stress-free one. He admitted getting negative comments even from those closest to him. “They don’t understand that this is my passion and lifestyle. I wanted to prove them wrong. In the end, their comments made me more focused and motivated,” Matic said.
“If we commit, we have the power to get healthy and get in shape. It is hard work, but we can do what we set our minds to,” he added.