Bodybuilder gives his all for contest

Morris Dalla Costa -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 6:37 AM ET

There are no half measures for bodybuilders. You either give yourself to the activity completely or you don't bother.

Chuck Matton has given himself completely to the sport and Oct. 1, he will find out just how much of a return he will get on the investment.

The soon-to-be 54-year-old Londoner is heading to the Czech Republic to participate in the International Federation of Body Building world championship, in the grand masters division. He qualified by winning a tournament in London in July. His goal is to finish in the top 15 in a division where he may face more than 50 competitors.

Matton is five-foot-six and weighs 160 pounds. He has a body-fat percentage of four. The veins in his body pop out like a road map in relief.

He has paid a price to look this way. Matton began bodybuilding in 1979. It consumed him to the point where nothing would come before his time in the gym. With stress on his family life, he decided he would give up competing and become a judge, something he still does.

"But every show I judged, I looked at the people on stage and always had this burning desire, 'Man, I wish I was up there too,' " Matton said.

That desire drove him back to the gym in 2003. With his marriage ended and "nothing on my plate and wanting to look a little better," he opted to return to competitive bodybuilding.

The result, in little more than a year, is astonishing.

"My physique within the last year is totally different than what it was a year ago. Lifting the weights is the easy part. I've been dieting since April 19 and I've only taken two weeks off from the diet. It's physically and mentally one of the most draining undertakings I've ever been involved in."

Matton's daily diet includes 16 to 24 egg whites, 500 to 600 grams of chicken, 200 grams of green vegetables, shredded wheat, maybe a protein shake once in a while, a big salad, green tea and lots of supplements.

Matton works out at the Athletic Club every day as early as 4 a.m. He does 40 minutes of cardio training and 15 to 25 minutes of abdominal work, including sit-ups and leg raises. After work, he returns to the gym at 4.30 p.m. He works out for 1 1/2 hours before having supper, then heads for the tanning bed and then home.

There is an enjoyable part to all this. Three days before the competition, Matton gets to go crazy on food.

"We fat load. We eat hamburgers, cheesecake, peanut butter and jam. Your metabolism is already booming. When you load your body with all these fats, your metabolism takes off.

"You'll still look lean, but your muscles will fill up large. One meal, I'll eat four plain rice cakes with an inch worth of peanut butter and jam. I'll eat eggs with the yolks, danish and more chocolate bars."

But on the day before the competition, the competitor cuts out water.

"You want your skin to thin out so you can see every aspect of your muscle. In order to take my supplements, I have to take them with baby food."

Matton competes in natural competitions with drug testing done by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport.

After his win, it took four bottles of water and two of apple juice before he could give it up for the testers.

Why put your body and mind through it all?

"It's fun. I like the way I look. Ever since I was a little kid, the thought of not being able to avoid the inevitable always scared me. The thought of getting old scared me. I'm going to fight Old Man Time as long as I can."


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