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Matt Peaco, founder and president, That Fitness Guy, Old Orchard Beach, Maine

| 02.03.2014 |

There have been numerous studies that confirm the health problems related to extended periods of sitting at a desk. Well, if you are going to be at desk for long, long stretches, perhaps you should check out That Fitness Guy, a health and wellness site that is based on the motto "Educate. Entertain. Get fit."


Matt Peaco, the driving force behind That Fitness Guy, recognizes that many people need an extra dose of motivation to get up and get healthy. Using a distinctive blend of mature fitness advice and wacky sketch comedy - including a gallery of off-kilter original characters played by Peaco - That Fitness Guy offers amusing inspiration aimed at serious results.


We spoke with Peaco about this distinctive blending of fitness and Net-based entertainment.


Q: What was the inspiration for That Fitness Guy, and was this the first time that you created a fitness-related production?


Matt Peaco: The inspiration for That Fitness Guy came from the desire to promote fitness in a unique way while combining two of my favorite passions: fitness and entertainment. I wanted to create something that appeals to more people than the standard health and fitness article, which can often be dry and not very engaging. I thought that if I were to incorporate humor into the website and videos, then it would potentially attract more people to the world of fitness and health. The style also fits perfectly with my natural personality. I love to both help people improve their health as well as improve the positive vibes in people's lives through humor. This is where the catch-line of “Educate. Entertain. Get fit” comes from.


A major inspiration that I have to mention is that of professional erestling. I have always loved professional wrestling for its high entertainment value. It's one of the only professions in which combines athleticism, comedy, and drama in order to create the spectacle that it is. At one point, everything I did in my daily life was catered towards my goal of becoming a professional wrestler. This included all my workouts, what I would read and study, and the ideas I would spontaneously come up with. It was my motivation for every day life.


Eventually, I went to school for wrestling, but didn't stick with it. The primary reason I didn't was because of a lack of time to work on developing what has become my primary passion, ThatFitnessGuy.com, which combines both fitness/athletic concepts with comedic entertainment.


Almost two years before wrestling school, I came up with the original idea for That Fitness Guy after brainstorming many different names. I followed my instincts and gut feeling as I most always do, and thus the name was born. The idea came immediately before what was to be a very trying period in my life. I had just graduated college, moved to Boston and was working crazy hours in a high-end personal training facility. This left me little time to put any work into the site. I decided this wasn't for me and started my next adventure in Providence, Rhode Island. Progress was made on the site during this period, but the timing just wasn't right.


During this period of my life, I was at my highest weight of 235 pounds. I had been “bulking up” the last several months, which to me at that time meant “lift weights and eat like crap.” I was so out of shape that even my boss at the personal training studio told me that it might be a good idea to lose some fat. So finally, I decided to stop “bulking” and start shedding some fat. Initially I went from 235 to 185, losing 50 pounds in less than six months, just in time for a trip to Mexico with the family. (See the photo below.)

Matt Peaco's "Before and After" photo


Soon after, I moved back to Maine and began a new life down in Old Orchard Beach. I look back on the two years after college as a time of major life lessons in both my personal life and my outlook on fitness and nutrition. Fast forward to about a year later, and That Fitness Guy was ready for it's initial launch.


Q: When did That Fitness Guy officially launch, and how long did it take to get this started?


Matt Peaco: That Fitness Guy officially launched on 11-12-13. It had been about two years since the original idea came about. It was just never the right time or place until that date. Despite the desire to have much more content available on the site at launch, I decided it was important to start as simple as possible and add new features as I go. It has been a very overwhelming and difficult project to undertake since I am mostly a one man workforce. I have two of my best friends “Lazy Louis”, and “Tyler P” who became part of the project, but primarily in a performance role, since they are indeed phenomenal comedic performers.


Aside from using fiverr.com for a few graphics, promotion, and miscellaneous projects (such as the vocals for Lazy Lou's theme song) I do everything from website design, filming, video editing, blog writing, music composition, producing, and constant researching. This is all balanced with weekly workouts, a full time personal training position, a part time position, and somewhat of a social life.


At some point when the time is right, I'd love to get some other people involved in contributing to the site, preferably people who share the same passion and direction I'd like to go in. Nevertheless, I have an extreme passion for That Fitness Guy and what it represents. I will do everything required for it to succeed in a manner that positively helps improve the lives of others through humor and health education.


Q: Why are so many people lacking in motivation when it comes to getting and staying in shape?


Matt Peaco: I believe the primary reason for lack of motivation is lack of consistent results. This can be attributed to many different factors including some of which stem from the individual, and some that can be blamed on our current society.


Some of the difficult obstacles society tends to influence include the promotion of lazy habits and instantaneous results, the addiction to foods rich in sugar and processed carbohydrates, and an abundance of falsified nutritional and exercise information.


The following statement may be a little controversial, but it's something that needs to be addressed. It's well known that our society is focused almost entirely around money. Because of this factor, many people are motivated to make that extra dollar by any means necessary. This includes providing falsified health information to the general public, using addicting chemical ingredients instead of natural ingredients in foods, and by promoting those “get a flat tummy in 10 days” type products. Despite the fact that these factors negatively affect the health of the people, they are still extremely prevalent since they generate significant income.


Some ways you can get past these societal factors include:


1. Get your health information from sources backed by research studies and real life results. Don't only depend on one single source either. By researching from multiple sources, you will find that you will encounter the same working concepts that have been tried and tested. Chances are, if you find similar information in multiple sources, there is going to be some truth to it. Use your best judgment, and try the strategies that appeal to you and make sense from a health stand point.


2. Stay away from those TV infomercials and Internet campaigns offering a product that will get you fit in an unrealistic amount of time. If it's too good to be true, it probably is. Companies promoting these products scam many folks out of a lot of money. No product will get you to your goals. Only your effort of making positive lifestyle changes will get you there.


3. Avoid foods with lots of sugar and chemical ingredients. Sometimes this can be difficult to do. Companies will often add these ingredients purposely to keep you addicted and coming back for more. Sugar itself, though not an added chemical, can be as addicting as cigarettes. There are other methods to making sweet foods with alternative natural ingredients, such as with stevia or erythritol sweeteners.


Addiction stems from an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. Eating these types of foods over time, among other potential factors, can further imbalance these brain chemicals causing you to crave these foods even more. There are ways to stop these cravings and restore the chemical balance with temporary herbal supplementation. ThatFitnessGuy.com will have a great deal of information on this in the near future. I suggest reading the book called “The Diet Cure”by Julia Ross. It's the most comprehensive, informative, and research backed book I've ever come across on addiction. (And, no, I don't get paid for recommending it!)


Not all factors working against motivation stem from society. There are many characteristics and habits an individual should develop in order to stay motivated.


Some ways you can self motivate yourself include:


1. Setting specific goals. “If you don't know your destination, how will you know which road to take?” This is why setting specific goals is very important to stay motivated. Figure out what you want to achieve, write it down, find pictures of your goals or ideal body, and post these where you'll always see them. This way, you will always be reminded of your motivating factors.


2. Maintain a positive attitude. Attitude is everything. If you find yourself constantly having negative thoughts, you're setting yourself up for failure. Whatever you think about will eventually manifest itself in your reality. So if you're thinking positively, you will manifest more positive happenings in your life. Always try to stay positive. Remember that there is always someone else in the world in a much worse situation then you are. I highly recommend reading the book “The Secret”. It delves into this topic in much more detail and may even change the way you think about things for the better.


3. Take persistent action. Be sure that your daily activities reflect what you want to accomplish and that you always have your end goal in mind. Take persistent daily action towards your goal and avoid frequent habits of procrastination. This could include going straight to work out following your job or preparing your meals at the beginning of the week. Do at least one task daily that will help you get closer to your end goal.


4. Seek support when you feel you need it. Striving for a major goal is not an easy task. Everyone needs help staying motivated at some point. Seeking help from a mentor, family, or peers, may be just what you need.


We also have an e-book on this topic available for free on the website titled “The Most Challenging Barriers to Your Goals and How to Overcome Them." Visit ThatFitnessGuy.com to pick up a free copy.


Q: How are you promoting That Fitness Guy, and what feedback have you gotten so far?


Matt Peaco: That Fitness Guy is still in its very early stages to the point where the site hasn't even been completely optimized for search engines, but yet there has still been thousands of viewers on YouTube and a tremendously positive response already! I have been promoting That Fitness Guy mostly through social media, articles, and videos. I have created YouTube videos, posts on Facebook,Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, Reddit, other blog sites, and even Vine. (Be sure to look for us!)


The feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive. I believe there is always going to be at least a few people who dislike or disagree with some topics being promoted especially in the fitness industry where almost every single person has a different opinion. Our often “over the top” humor is sure to cause controversy in some of the “overly sensitive” public as well.


However, that is simply the nature of putting yourself out there, standing up for what you believe in, and doing what you love. Most people appreciate all of the fitness, nutrition, and entertainment content and are eager to see more. Our goal is to always provide the most truthful, up to date, science-based content available to everyone who takes the time to view the website.(While entertaining them at the same time) I am always looking for constructive feedback whether it is positive or something that could be improved upon. I believe that you can never stop learning or improving. After all, that's what we're on this earth for. Is it not?


Q: What are your ultimate goals for That Fitness Guy?


Matt Peaco: My ultimate goal for That Fitness Guy is to create a world wide unique educational and entertaining experience for each person by delivering high quality, science backed, information presented in an entertaining and comedic style. I want to accomplish this by solely promoting truthful and helpful content and refuse to knowingly present false information just to make that extra dollar. (Unfortunately, this concept is way too prevalent in the health and fitness industry)


Although some day, I would love to make That Fitness Guy my primary career focus, I wouldn't be willing to do that while knowingly giving false information to make more money. I've always been a genuine person. My desire is and will continue to be, to help improve the world in as many different ways as I can. That's one goal and outlook on life that I will never look upon differently. That Fitness Guy will always reflect these beliefs.


Aside from the website itself, I would love to perhaps some day open a fitness and nutrition “gym” which would have everything the general public would need to get themselves healthy. This would potentially include fitness training, nutrition counseling, guidance with alternative herbal medications, and possibly even a restaurant with a menu based primarily from healthy foods that are low in sugar. The goal would be to offer all of these aspects together in a way that is affordable to everyone.


Since my ultimate goal is to turn this obesity epidemic around, I would add that fitness talks, conferences, and charity events are also in my plans for the future. I want to reach out to as many people as possible to help them truly learn to take care of their health. I also want to be able to give back to the community and help those in need. I currently work as part of a charitable research study which has given mental health patients, who often struggle with addictions and weight issues, the opportunity to receive a free gym membership, free nutritional guidance, and free personal training for up to two years. I would like to help provide more programs like this in the future as part of the mission for That Fitness Guy.


In addition to the fitness aspects of the site, I also plan on continuing the comedic skit aspect and possibly even branching out with another site that is purely entertainment. Some will find that many of the comedic videos we have yet to release only loosely relate to fitness. “Lazy Lou”, “Tyler P” and I have used our skills of creativity and passion for entertainment to come up with many different characters, spoofs, and compelling skits which are yet to come. I believe this is what will continue to make That Fitness Guy unique and will influence people who love to laugh, to also be educated with improving their health and lives for the better.


Matt Peaco's That Fitness Guy is online at www.thatfitnessguy.com. That Fitness Guy is also on YouTube at www.youtube.com/thatfitnessguy, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thatfitnessguy, on Twitter at @thatfitness_guy and on Vine at @thatfitnessmatt.