Natural Muscle Freak Matt Acton Talks To M&S

How often do you perform cardio?​

I without a doubt prefer HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) or anything high-intensity for cardio. I always make sure I am properly supplemented to combat muscle fatigue and catabolism because I understand how intense I can be. I will either do intervals from a minimum interval to anywhere from 85% to 100% of the stairs or treadmills maximum capability for about 10-20 minutes post workout. Personally I need faster cardio machines not heavier dumbbells!

I also sometimes combine a little bit of CrossFit to bodybuilding to achieve both my cardio/conditioning and my workout at once. I am working on my own cardio routine which is a cool concept! I also use the sauna daily; I run through a small stretching and calisthenics routine which usually last me 10-15 minutes.

Matt Acton

What does your current training and split look like, and what do you like most about it?​

SINCE most of us neglect stretching and warming up, what I do is for the first set of each movement use a lighter weight and achieve 30 reps. This will force vaso-expansion, further warm up your body for the movement, increase your density and boost your heart rate for the rest of the exercise.

Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 4  
Dumbbell Lunge 3 10-15
Barbell Hack Squat 3 8-12
Leg Extension (End w/Triple Drop Set) 2 10-15
Donkey Calf Raise 4 8-12
Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 4 4-10
Machine or Dumbbell Bench Press 4 6-10
Dumbbell Pullover 3 8-12
Dumbbell Flye superset with light Bench Press    
Cable Crossover (Low supersetted with High) 1 15
Exercise Sets Reps
Pull Ups Any 100
Wide Grip Bent Over Row 3 6-10
One Arm Hammer Strength Row 6 2-3-4-3-2-1 Plates
Low Cable Row 3 10-14
Triset – Upper Back, Lay and Lower Upper Back Exercise 2 10-25
Hamstrings and Calves
Exercise Sets Reps
Standing Leg Curl 4 10-15
Romanian Deadlift 4 8-12
Leg Abduction 4 10-20
Leg Adduction 4 10-20
Standing Calf Raise 3 6-10
Donkey Calf Raise 3 8-12
Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell or Military Press 4 6-10
Wide Grip Upright Row superset w/Side Lateral   8-12
Front Plate Raise 3 8-12
Bent Over Dumbbell Reverse Flyes 4 8-12
Side Delt Machine (30 seconds rest between sets) 7 12
Exercise Sets Reps
Following 3 Exercises are a Triset. After 3 sets rest 60-90 seconds before doing the next Triset    
Barbell Curl 4 6-10
Light Tricep Extension 4 10-15
Close Grip Preacher Curl 3 8-12
Following 3 Exercises are a Triset. After 3 sets rest 60-90 seconds before doing the next Triset    
Two Arm Seated Dumbbell Extension 3 6-10
Hammer Curl 3 8-12
Dumbbell Tricep Skullcrusher 3 4-8
Overhead Cable Curl superset w/Dips 6 15

Matt ActonWhat keeps you motivated?​

I stay motivated by the people around me. The reason why I say this is because I’m in contact with so many people whether they’re an extreme athlete, regular gym advocate or just a person who want to be fit or healthy. I run a specialized sports supplement store; Shredded Sports, where most of these people are my clients for supplemental programs and diet and training advice and when I see them progressing with extreme happiness and faith, it gives me the motivation and the sense self worth to keep on doing what I’m doing. I can also add some deep bass in good headphones and the atmosphere in Bev Francis’s Powerhouse Gym definitely gets me ready and motivated to take on the gym.

What is your athletic background, and how did you get involved with bodybuilding, and what do you love most and least about it?

My athletic resume is pretty extensive. I basically grew up playing almost every sport until I was unable to be able to play every sport competitively. I excelled in baseball, wrestling and basketball. I have County awards from the sports I participated in and from there I decided if I wasn’t going to get a scholarship to a D1 school and have a real chance at making it then why keep playing? I assessed my situation and continued on with my education and picked up a job at a gym!

From there I stayed athletic by working out and still played sports but for more enjoyment now. I began training in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and really excelled quickly due to my wrestling background. I began to cut weight and properly learn how to cut weight given my new position at the gym and began sculpting my body for the sport. Unfortunately before my first fight I badly bruised a rib and was out for some time.

Considering I already lost the weight I further began to build my body. At that time a good friend of mine and fellow athlete Matt Gelormino said “dude, you should compete”; he took the teen class and overall at his first teen show the year before. So instead of training for another fight I began my training for my first natural bodybuilding show.

Matt Acton

Through this intense training period I ran the gym and was studying Bioscience so everything I was doing began to coincide in a sense. After placing 2nd at the show I was recognized by an athletic photographer Alpha Design’s James Murtagh. He saw a talent in me and helped set up a portfolio which was predominately ruled by fitness however, I was also able to pull of fashion and print despite my height.

Subsequently, this landed me at a top agency in NYC. I was instructed to lose a little size so I began to learn more about a healthier lifestyle, making sure I was keeping fit in and outside the gym trying to use the skills I learned from the classroom to help. I also came to run a superior sports supplement and nutrition store – Shredded Sports. My understanding of macro and micronutrients helped me to add another layer of personal experiences to my resume. As it seemed everything was going well. After the first year at my agency I did not resign and a milestone that I had reached was now fading away. Although I liked it, my heart was always with fitness.

Matt ActonI began training for my first NPC show. Keep in mind I’ve been non-stop dieting since my competition without any significant rest. Coming from a light-weight bodybuilder and now kind of stringy athletic frame, I needed to train through the course of 7 weeks to compete in a total of 6 shows. After placing 3rd at my first show, which was an impressive class, I took a week of and came up with a plan. I wanted to show some sort of dominance and get a feel for the sport and the stage.

I set up a string of shows which ran 5 weeks starting in New Hampshire to Boston to New Jersey to New York; ending in South Beach, Miami, Florida. The pinnacle of my story is what happened in South Beach. I stepped on stage and won my class and the overall and became the First National Champion in the Men’s Physique division, making history aside more than 170 nationally qualified amazing athletes.

Do you believe recomping is possible (gaining muscle while losing fat), and if so, is it as difficult as most people think it is?

I believe there is a possibility of growing lean. Number one genetics has to be taken into account. Especially with a body type such as an ectomorph which is normally a hardgainer. Furthermore once figuring out your own genetic make up cooped with the right diet plan timing as well as supplementing and supplement timing. I’m a big believer in using bodybuilding as my number one principle however I am HUGE into athletic conditioning calisthenics, cross training even down to triathlon style training.

Due to the extensively of my training regiment my diet is a complete adaptation each day depending how my work load even going a little into feel. Once lean I feel as if it is not as hard as people might think it is to grow lean it just isn’t a fast process like most think it is. And then there must be some time out of a year where you give yourself a complete break!

Matt Acton

What does your current supplementation program look like?

My current supplementation plan is pretty simple but effective. I’m huge into Quest protein bars. These I call my supplemented snack. I say this because you get a fat source equal to that of a handful of nuts from almonds and peanuts, 15-18 grams of Prebiotic dietary fiber (which helps feel probiotic bacteria) and 20 grams of high quality protein. They do this all while having no preservatives and running a natural line that is flavored with Stevia.

I’m also huge into glycocarn. This is clinically proven to increase nitric oxide levels. It’s also is an extreme antioxidant that delays onset muscle fatigue enabling you to perform longer workouts with a higher performance output. It also is a carnitine based product so you are getting the extreme fat oxidation and transport of traditional carnitine.

Matt ActonFrom here I’m a common user of Alayn-L-glutamine for it is double peptide bonded and is used predominantly where I need it (muscles). HMB as another proven anti-catabolic, BCAAs, sometimes a metabolic boost (fat burner) when I need and creatine for certain times of the year for increased performance output.

Last but not least is Gener8’s Vitargo. This is an extremely high glycemic yet dense heavy molecular weight carbohydrate that is proven and effective! I usually pre intra and or post my workouts depending on what kind of workout or activity I’m doing for that day!

If someone wants to connect with you, where can you be found?

Photo Credits:

Luis Rafael Photography


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