The Weight is Over – Week 37: Matthew Answers Your Questions (See Our Video)

doni and matthew at align aug 24 2016

Doni and Matthew first answered the questions in a rough-draft video (key word, “rough”).

As promised last week, we selected some of your questions – submitted via comments and email – for Matthew R. Lister from Align Private Training to answer today.

I’ll tell you a secret: Matthew and I actually created a video conversation where Matthew answered some questions. It’s at the bottom of this column. We know it’s rough. It’s our first. It’s totally unedited (watch for the AC guy who walks in behind us). We didn’t wear mics, so the sound quality is lousy. But you can get an idea of who Matthew is, and his philosophies that have helped so many people lose weight, get fit and manage pain.

Until then, here are your questions, all of which were fantastic, by the way, though we didn’t have room to anwer them all. Thanks for asking. Here are Matthew’s answers.

Q: What is it about this (Align Private Training) program that works for so many of us, when every other workout we’ve ever tried has failed? – AJ

AJ, my dear! This program works because it is specifically built for people in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond. The individualized approach — the culture, exercises, nutrition, strategy and coaching — it’s all specifically built for your success. We evaluate your root problem, whether it’s mindset, logistical, or movement/mechanical pain. We don’t chase or avoid symptoms. We go directly at the root problem. I think that’s really important.

doni erin and andrea at align

These three Align workout buddies represent three decades: 40s, 50s and 60s, all focused on health and fitness to ensure strength and an optimum quality of life, now and in the future.

Q: Could Matthew clone himself and open Align Too in the the InterMountain area?  Or is it possible to benefit from just one day a week working with Matthew in Redding then promising to follow his torture instructions with at-home equipment?- Eastern County

Phenomenal questions. Can I clone myself? I’ve been trying for going on seven years now.

Would you benefit from one day per week? This goes back to the critical question: What’s the root cause of your problem? If your problem is weight loss, and you need me to be a strategist to change critical health mindsets, then one day per week isn’t a good solution. You need more time.

If you have chronic pain and need your posture redesigned, and your health and wellness practices optimized, one day per week would be perfect.

The take-away, my dear, is this: Everyone is different. You are unique and your solution to health and wellness should be unique, too. ?

Matthew R. Lister. Photo by Diane Hill.

Can we clone this guy?

Q: WHY does my husband have such an easy time losing weight, when I work harder at it and it takes me forever? Every time!! It’s NOT FAIR! — Annie

Oh, Annie, It sucks; right? It’s not fair. I agree.

You didn’t think I would just leave you with that, did you? Here’s the thing: He loses weight faster for two reasons. First, his hormone profile is more conducive to a fast metabolism. More testosterone. More growth hormone. It just makes it easier.  Secondly, he probably tries to lose weight once a decade. You, my dear — and I am making an assumption here — have tried more times than you can count. Every-day dieting slows down your metabolism.

You have literally – but unintentionally – created this slowed-down metabolism scenario for yourself with years of chronic yo-yo dieting. You need to stop dieting, once and for all, and get on a plan to not only get the weight off, but then to rehab your metabolism afterward.

You have to think long-term. Spend six months just exercising hard and eating as much food as you can while maintaining your weight. Your metabolism is going to rev up like a 20-year-old. Then try to lose weight. It will be easy, like it was when you were 20.

Your metabolism is what you’re truly contending with; not your gender. It’s harder because you’re a woman; no doubt about it. But your metabolism is four times the bigger variable. Control your metabolism and you control your lifestyle.
doni july 19 2016 weight lifts

Q: OK- For Matthew: How would you advise someone who was interested in pursuing a career in nutrition/fitness – specifically nutrition/fitness in an aging population? Thanks! – Erin Friedman.

Great question! If you truly want to make a difference in people’s lives, you have to stay in a more specialized environment. Big-box gyms and health clubs are traps because they are incentivized monetarily to get people to sign up and then NOT SHOW UP! That’s when they make the most money; not when their customers get great results, but when they fail.

That’s a broken business model that won’t be around much longer. Create a smaller, more specialized studio where you will have more deep connections with each person. That’s where true results and relationships come from. It’s rewarding for the customer, and for you. Win/win. That’s a good scenario.

Now that you know “the where” – let’s talk about what you will need to know. People of the age group in which you are interested have highly unique bodies. They have a lifetime of tweaks, twinges, injuries and a bundle of past experiences that can make life transformations challenging.

You’re going to have to go beyond the traditional personal-trainer certification or bachelors in exercise physiology. You need practical knowledge. Here is my advice, my dear: If you are really interested, then go and ask chiropractors, massage therapists, physical therapists, and good trainers if you can shadow them, and find out what works and what doesn’t in the real world. Get a baseline of education about nutrition and fitness. Then find experts in the application of that knowledge and learn everything you can from them. I hope this helps!

Q: Matthew, I know today’s column is supposed to be for readers’ questions, but hey, I’m a reader, too. 😉 So here goes: You work with all different kinds of people at Align who have a wide range of needs and problems, from weight issues and pain to posture and mobility. Even so, is there one exercise or piece of diet advice that you give everyone? Doni Chamberlain

Weights are just one fitness tool.

Weights are just one fitness tool.

I should have known; you couldn’t not ask a question, could you? 🙂 But the answer to your question is this: self-awareness. I know that’s a very odd answer to a “give me exercise advice” question, but it’s the truth. You need to look at the person in the mirror and truly audit your situation and mindset.

If you have bad posture, back pain, knee pain, poor habits and are caring for an aging parent, you not only don’t have the technical expertise to select an exercise that is safe and productive for yourself, but you also have too many demands on you for you to realistically be able to prioritize yourself among the many roles you are carrying.

The scenario of the over-extended, physically depleted person I just described needs expert help to succeed. And this area of your life is too important to not succeed. If you are injury-free and have all the time in the world, you have much more room for error on your program. Self-awareness is the key.

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
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15 Responses

  1. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    Thanks, Doni and Matthew.  Self-awareness, my new mantra.

  2. AJ AJ says:

    I like the phrase, SELF BALANCED, too. Because, for most folks,  those various rolls (not talking about the waist line here, folks) are not going to go away. Allowing the self awareness to take a line in that list of rolls becomes not selfish but immperitive.

  3. Avatar Sally Ruiz says:

    This is easier said than done, especially for the working guys and gals, who for some reason find it really easy to go out to lunch, or have someone bring some fast food in to the office.  I am guilty of that due to the time constraints of my job.  Learning to eat a balanced diet is really difficult with all the small issues that await at home after work.

    I have found this program that seems to be working though, I will post it when I have achieved MY weight goal.

    • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

      Sally, my husband is a retired pharmacist.  One would think that those in the health care field would be given consideration for such health essentials as eating, but in many of the pharmacies where he worked, there was no such thing as a lunch break.  Eating was truly catch as catch can.  We packed lunches that could be eaten on the run:  sandwiches cut in quarters, celery, carrots, radishes, V-8 juice, apple slices, cookies.  He was astonished when he did some relief work for Costco:  not only was he “forced” to go to the lunch room to eat, but he was also “forced” to take morning and afternoon breaks.  Unheard of in other pharmacies.  And by the way, the pharmacy staff at Costco was a happy lot, no doubt partly because of something as fundamental as being allowed time to eat.

      So to keep your eating in control at the office, you may have to resort to packing lunches and snacks.  We both did it for nearly all of our working lives.  Now that many grocery stores are offering nutritious foods already cut up plus the availability of reasonably healthful snacks, it would be much easier to take lunches now than it was 40 years ago.  Single serving sizes seem expensive until compared to the price of eating out.

      • Avatar Matthew R says:

        nice feedback Beverly! I see a couple things here that I love. 1) the mindset of “I am going to make it happen no matter what is thrown at me. Health is a standard that you won’t compromise on”. 2) a very tactical answer around how to eat healthy in a chaotic situation.  I would love to add another little tip to the community. 10 out of 10 times you’re not the only one who doesn’t want the junk food in the break room. Talk to the people in the office. Open up to them and tell them you really want to minimize the amount of NOs you have to muster every day and that you want to have healthy food in the office. They will want the same thing as you. I’ve watched that play out so many times. Your discipline is a muscle that fatigues with use. If you use up your discipline saying no 15 times a day at work to the platter of cookies, when you get home fatigued and with low blood sugar you WILL go off the rails and eat junk food. Then most people shame themselves then eat more because they feel terrible. And so begins the cycle.

    • Well, Matthew’s the first to say that whatever works for you, and what you feel comfortable with, is what you should do.

  4. Thank you, Matthew, for answering my question.  A lot to think about!

  5. Avatar Viv says:

    The video was great, AC man and all!  Now you’re both ready to take this show on the road. 🙂 Loved it.

    • Avatar Matthew R says:

      Well hey thanks Viv! I think we might need a couple more runs before we book on Broadway. Hahaha. Maybe 1 or 2. I appreciate your support so much!

  6. Avatar Hollis says:

    The charge per week for Matthew’s training?

    • Hollis, he’s responded to that question here before, but I can repeat it and tell you the cost varies from person to person, need to need. The best way to get an idea of the price is to meet with him and get an assessment.