D.I.Y. Fitness Q&A with Evan Mathews.: Tri-athlete Extraordinaire!

I’m so excited that Evan agreed to share his story. I’ll let Evan handle the details of his journey but I can tell you it’s one that inspires. I’ve personally known Evan since High School and he’s one of those friends that to this day I consider more like a brother. One thing we’ve shared over last year is an incredible weight loss story. It was amazing to have someone going through the exact same pains, emotions, highs and lows as I was. It’s completely different  story than my own which is what makes it so amazing.

Tell us a little about yourself. How you got to your heaviest weight?

 Well, I am a 27-year-old male, born and raised in Tallahassee FL, grew up in a good home with a great family. I grew up eating a fair amount of meals at home, but my family liked to go out to eat a lot. As early as elementary school, I remember being chubby and bigger than the rest of my friends. By high school, when my food choices were more of an option (with pizza hut, taco bell, etc in the lunch room and going off campus), I frequently made poor decisions with my eating habits. By middle school I was no longer involved with city league sports like flag football or baseball. Exercising regularly wasn’t really part of routine. After high school I would try fad diets every now and then (among them was the Atkins Diet), but they usually didn’t last very long and neither did the results. I didn’t know it at the time, but I eventually realized that my eating habits were very closely tied to my emotions. After going through some challenging times in my life I found myself at my heaviest weight of 290 pounds (at 26 years old). I had also been suffering from some major knee issues (had ACL reconstruction on my right knee Dec 1st 2009) which was also a huge factor in my weight gain.


When did you make the decision to change your life? (was there a moment where it hit you that this HAD to happen?)

Before having the knee surgery, I thought about my life and activity level and wanted to make a change. I wasn’t happy with my appearance, my diet, and with the fact that I wasn’t able to be as active as I wanted to be. I decided after the physical therapy was done that things would be different.


What have been the keys to your weight loss? (Nutrition? what did you eat? apps for your phone? personal trainer? What type of exercises? etc)

Initially when I made the decision to change my around, I knew that it was going to be difficult and the thought of failing was really scary for me. As a Christian and follower of Christ, I knew that my faith and trust in Him would be the greatest source of strength that I would be able to find. So I made that my first and primary foundation. I also knew that I needed a way to keep myself accountable. I found an app for the iPhone called LoseIt and it help me keep track of my daily calorie intake and output. This really helped me stay on track and also helped me keep a close eye on my progress. Each month for the last year I have been taking a photo of myself to track the progress as well.

Overall, my lifestyle was changing fairly quickly by what I was eating, my level of exercise going up, and I kept my focus on glorifying God with my body.


What made you decide to become a “Tri-athlete”?

I would much rather be active outside in the real world as opposed to being in a gym on a treadmill or weight bench. I initially started cycling because it was easier on my knees and it blasted some calories. Then I started jogging more and then trained for my first running race this past Thanksgiving at the Turkey Trot (running a 10K). I also found out I could get into the Truesdale pool for free with my TCC ID card and started doing more swimming drills. I thought to myself, I should do a freakin triathlon! So I recently just registered for my very first triathlon (Red Hills Tri on April 9th 2011).


What kind of advice can you give to a person who’s looking to start training for long distance running or marathons?

 Start off slow if you’re a beginner to running. You’re less likely to injure yourself. Make sure to rest so your body has time to recover. Make sure your diet is in the right place (it’s crazy how much this will affect your runs). Incorporate weight training into your weekly routines. I found a great website which includes training for all different kinds of running races and definitely suggest you check it out as well: http://www.halhigdon.com/


What was the crowning achievement for you?

 Finishing the Turkey Trot 10K and giving my dad a big hug at the finish line was by far one of the greatest moments of my life! It was such a big challenge for me and was so amazing to have him there with me at the very end.


What are your future goals?

Finish a half marathon (happening this Sunday!), finish a full marathon, finish a triathlon, and finish a 50K. 


When was the last time you ate at China First? (China First was our old stoppin ground WAY back in the day)

 LOL! Oh I love me some Chinese food! I seriously can’t remember the last time I ate there, but…the last time I ate at a Chinese buffet was at the Bamboo House after I ran the 10 mile challenge last December. Was sooo delicious! I also plan on tearing up some Stevie B’s pizza buffet after I finish the half marathon this Sunday!

(lyell-China First was our old stoppin ground WAY back in the day) Many a pound was gained at that place :)


There’s a couple of things I’d like to add. Like Evan said, he started out at 290 pounds just last year and has trimmed all the way down to 200! That’s just amazing. Added to this is he’s currently at 17% body fat and his plan is to eventually get to around 15%. Craziest thing? He started out at a 40 inch waist and now is a 32. Again, simply amazing. Anyone who has struggled with weight loss knows how tough it is to lose 20 lbs let alone 90.

Hopefully Evans story has inspired you (as it did me) to achieve whatever goals you’ve set for yourself. No matter your ailments (knee surgery’s and all) you can achieve whatever you put your mind to. All it takes is making that first step.

I want to thank Evan for taking the time to share his story. If you have any further questions for Evan just leave them in the comments below and I know he’d love to answer them.

Be well,




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