Matt Christianer grew a desire for an active lifestyle from an early age. He started taking part in competitive sports throughout his high school years – ranging from cross country and track running, to playing basketball.
But one day, he wanted to take his fitness journey to the next level. When he relocated from Ohio to Arizona at the age of 15, Matt became highly impressed by the incredible physique of one of his neighbors. From then on, Matt set out to build a great physique – just like his neighbor Bill.
However, by the time he reached the age of 17, Matt’s bodybuilding ambitions came to a sudden end – suffering from traumatic injuries in a car accident that almost took his life.
Despite this, Matt fought back to recover from his injuries. With the aid of his close friends, Matt was able to resume his love for fitness. In the process, he was able to build a great physique. By the age of 26, he started competing on the bodybuilding stage. Since then, he’s placed his name in the history books – becoming the first ever IFBB Men’s Physique Pro competitor in 2011.
Here’s his story:
|Full Name: Matt Christianer|
|Weight||Height||Age||Date of Birth|
|155 - 165lbs (70.3 - 74.8kg)||5'9" (175cm)||36||October 15, 1983|
|American||IFBB Professional Bodybuilder, Personal Trainer, Sponsored Athlete||2010|
|Weight||155 - 165lbs (70.3 - 74.8kg)|
|Date of Birth||October 15, 1983|
|Profession||IFBB Professional Bodybuilder, Personal Trainer, Sponsored Athlete|
- IFBB Pro Men’s Physique Bodybuilder
- Personal Trainer
- Sponsored Athlete
- Dennis James Classic (IFBB): Men’s Physique – 6th place
- Felicia Romero Pro (IFBB): Men’s Physique – 8th place
- Europa Phoenix (IFBB): Men’s Physique – 9th place
- Mr. Olympia (IFBB): Men’s Physique – 16th place
- Dallas Pro and Wheelchair Pro (IFBB): Men’s Physique – 5th place
- Grand Prix (IFBB): Men’s Physique – 4th place
- Titans Grand Prix (IFBB): Men’s Physique – 2nd place
- Mr. Olympia (IFBB): Men’s Physique – 13th place
- Pro Grand Prix (IFBB): Men’s Physique – 1st place
- Orange County Muscle Classic Pro (IFBB): Men’s Physique – 1st place
- Pro Grand Prix (IFBB): Men’s Physique – 8th place
- Governors Cup (IFBB): Men’s Physique – 1st place
- Junior USA Championships (NPC): Men’s Physique Class A – 1st place – Earned Pro Card
- Natural Western Regional: Men’s Physique Class A – 2nd Place
- USA National Championship – Competed as a Middleweight
- Arizona Western Regional (NPC): Novice Middleweight – 1st place, 1st place Open Middleweight
Matt’s passion for competitive sports all started when he was in high school. Born in October 1983, his love for athletics ranged from cross country, track running and playing basketball – forming the perfect foundation for his fitness journey.
At the age of 15, Matt relocated to from Ohio to Arizona with his parents. Shortly after moving there, Matt was blown away by the incredible physique of Bill – one of his neighbors. Because of this, Matt decided that he wanted to follow Bill’s example to create a great physique of his own.
Soon enough, Bill got Matt a job working alongside him in a local gym. However, because Matt failed to pay attention to his diet, in addition to jumping from one workout machine to another, Matt initially hindered his progress in the gym. It was at this point, Bill began to take notice – guiding Matt on the right path.
From then on, Matt quickly began to build lean muscle mass after being taught the fundamentals of weight training by Bill. Because of this, Matt knowledge of fitness excelled quickly. However after a while, Matt’s days in the gym ended abruptly – bringing his bodybuilding ambitions to a grinding halt.
Serious Car Accident
At the age of 17, Matt was involved in a near-fatal car accident, resulting in serious injuries including a broken hip, broken thighbone, and head trauma. Consequently, Matt had to spend a lengthy period of time recovering in hospital. Recalling this traumatic event, Matt stated:
“At 17, I was involved in a near fatal car accident. My friends and I rolled a 79’ Chevy three and a half times. I wasn’t wearing a seat belt and after being bounced around, I came away with a broken hip, femur and head trauma. It was one of those moments in your life where you don’t just remember the event, but you remember how it felt”.
In the aftermath of the accident, Matt was shocked after he looked at himself in the mirror, seeing the extent of his injuries. However, he felt incredibly lucky to be alive due to the severity of the car crash he was in.
During this period, Matt was forced to live his life in wheelchair for several months to aid his recovery. Despite this, Matt didn’t want to let this stop him from reaching his fitness goals. Just weeks after his accident, Matt returned to the gym he previously worked at.
Guided by his close friends in the gym, Matt was able to start weight training again. However, Matt was left frustrated. All of the hard work he put in before the accident had been laid to waste. Because Matt had to spend months in a wheelchair, he went back to square one in terms of his fitness levels. In spite of this, Matt stayed motivated, with the intention of picking up where he left off.
Reaching the Bodybuilding Stage
After he kept pushing forward to rebuild his levels of fitness, Matt made considerable progress with his training in the gym – building a substantial amount of muscle in the process. Despite undergoing two leg surgeries to repair the damage he sustained, Matt was able to start building his strength in just over a year after his accident.
It was at this point, Matt set his sights on becoming a Men’s Physique bodybuilder. However, Matt had to play ‘catch-up’ to bring his legs up to the standard of the rest of his body. As a result, he had to put his bodybuilding ambitions on hold for a while.
By the age of 26, Matt was able to build a shredded, proportionate, and defined physique. As a result of this, he was able to start preparing for his first appearance on the bodybuilding stage. Matt entered the 2009 NPC Arizona Western Regional for his first competition – finishing in 1st place.
Ever since his first triumph on the bodybuilding stage, Matt has made his mark in the Men’s Physique bodybuilding category. In 2011, Matt reached his peak when he became the first ever professional Men’s Physique competitor in the IFBB – the proudest moment in his competitive bodybuilding career.
Matt Christianer Now
Matt’s fitness career took a different direction after appearing in several competitions as a Men’s Physique Pro bodybuilder. After 2015, Matt took some time away from the bodybuilding stage, in order to focus on his personal training company.
Since he began his career as a personal trainer, Matt’s been helping others realize their full potential in fitness. Matt now aims in assisting others to believe in themselves, so they can accomplish all of their fitness goals – just like Matt.
Matt’s fitness lifestyle isn’t just limited to the weights room. Relishing a constant challenge, he often takes part in CrossFit workouts with one of his friends – allowing him to constantly improve his muscular and shredded physique.
As for his typical gym routine, his favorite muscle group to train is legs. Due to this, he dedicates two training sessions per week in order to keep his physique proportional and conditioned. As a result of his injuries earlier in his life, training legs isn’t easy for Matt. Despite this, he finds training his legs challenging yet rewarding.
Additionally, Matt’s preferred method of cardio is HIIT (high intensity interval training), whether training indoors or outdoors. He likes to go for a run or a hike, or play a game of volleyball on the beach when the weather is sunny.
Some of Matt’s favorite exercises includes compound lifts, such as squats and deadlifts, along with the chest press. When compound lifting, he lifts heavy with a low repetition range, which enables him to consistently build lean muscle. Some of the exercises Matt performs for each muscle group are listed below:
Matt’s Frequent Exercises
- Leg Press
- Hack Squat
- Hamstring Curls
- Quad Extensions
- Straight Leg Deadlifts
- Super Wide Plie Squat
- Walking Lunges
- Glute Kick Backs
- Incline Barbell Press
- Cable Fly High
- Flat Dumbbell Press
- Low Cables (Scoops)
- Seated Chest Press Sideways on Machine for Mid and Upper Chest
- Flying Dumbbell Pullover
- Wide Pull Ups
- Wide Lat Pulldowns
- Standing One Arm Cable Rows Light
- Wide Pull-Throughs
- Hyper Extensions No Weight
- Shrugs Very Light Weight
Biceps and Triceps
- Bicep Seated Incline Curl
- Standing Hammer
- Cable Spider Curl for Peak
- Tricep 12-20 (Light 3-4 Sets)
- Reverse Skullcrushers
- Rope Extensions
- Cable (No Handle) Extensions
- Behind the Head Military Press
- Rear Delt Dumbbell Flyes
- One Arm Barbell Laterals
- Front Raise (Drive the Bus)
- Upright Row Smith Machine
Matt’s hectic schedule means that he’s often on the road, whether appearing in competitions or training his clients. He prepares his meals 4-5 days in advance, meaning, he’s able to keep his nutrition and body fat levels in check.
Matt’s aim is to stay under 6% body fat all year round, steering clear of dieting phases such as ‘bulking‘ and ‘cutting‘, which Matt previously followed until he realized it wasn’t a method of eating that suited him. To keep his body lean, the majority of Matt’s food choices are lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, in addition to fresh fruit and vegetables.
Because of his strict nutrition principles, Matt is always one step ahead, should he need to attend a last minute photo shoot, or compete on the bodybuilding stage with little preparation time. A common healthy meal plan, which Matt follows on a daily basis looks something like this:
Matt’s Lean Nutrition Plan
- 5 Egg Whites, 1 Whole Egg, 1/2 Cup of Oats and 1/2 a Cup of Berries or 1/2 a Grapefruit
- 4 oz of Lean Meat, 1/2 Cup of Quinoa, 1/2 cup of Green Vegetables
- 1/2 a Sweet Potato, 4 oz of White Fish, 1/2 Cup of Green Vegetables
- 1.5 Cups of Green Vegetables, 4 oz of White Fish, 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil
- 4 oz of White Fish, 1.5 Cups of Green Vegetables, 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil
- 4 oz of White Fish, 1.5 Cups of Green Vegetables, 1/2 an Avocado
Idols and Influences
During his early days in fitness, Matt copied the training and nutrition methods of the fitness icon Frank Zane, one of his bodybuilding idols. As a result, he was able to form the foundation for his great physique from an early age.
Matt also thanks his former neighbor Bill for his achievements in the weights room throughout his late teens. Because of Bill’s inspiration, Matt was able to build a wealth of knowledge and passion for fitness from an early age.
The likes of Clark Bartram, James Ellis, and Rachel Elizabeth Murray are some of Matt’s biggest influences in the fitness modeling world. Their achievements in fitness are something that Matt greatly admires. Because of their influence on him, Matt aims to follow in their footsteps to inspire people across the world – just like his idols.
What we can learn from Matt Christianer
If there’s one thing we can take from Matt Christianer’s story it would be this; his passion for fitness allowed him to quickly move on from his injuries. By taking influence from those around him in the gym, he stopped at nothing to build a great physique.
Matt’s success in his fitness career didn’t come easy. He had to work hard to overcome his setbacks, but soon enough he was able to prove himself on the bodybuilding stage.
Because of his burning desire to become a success within fitness, Matt was able to make a name for himself in his bodybuilding career – going down in history as the first ever Men’s Physique professional bodybuilder in the IFBB.
If you’re aiming to build a great physique of your own, follow Matt’s example. By having the same mindset, you too could push past adversities and climb the hill of success.