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Matt’s Success Story: Before and After Pictures


Posted on May 17th, 2011 by Matt Schoeneberger

I’ve been helping people lose weight and get in shape for many years. Now I’ve decided to share my story. It starts when I was young, maybe 4 or 5 years old, when I was first involved in sports. I played soccer, then baseball, wrestling, football and started working out in the gym when I was 13 or so at the local YMCA in Nazareth, PA. I stopped sports through high school but stayed active in the gym throughout college and pretty much ever since, taking short hiatuses along the way. A few years ago I went through a rough patch and blew up to my heaviest ever, near 200 lbs. For a 5’8″ guy with a small frame, that was not a flattering weight. While writing SPEED with Jeff I got inspired and re-committed. After all, how could I tell people how to do it if I had never done it myself? Wouldn’t I feel like a hypocrite?

So, below are some pictures of me before and after:

Before you comment, I want to tell you something. Testimonials like the above are rampant in this industry, on websites, TV, magazines, anywhere you can sell something to someone. The truth is, that paragraph up there is completely true up until “A few years ago…” That’s where the fabrication begins. See, I was actually purposely gaining weight at that time and was not worried about how I looked, but only how strong I could be by a certain deadline. I was stronger than I’d ever been. I’m not 5’8″, I’m about 5’10″. I did lose weight rather quickly after that deadline because my goals changed and I didn’t need to be carrying around that extra weight.

The pictures above were taken about 5 minutes apart just last week, in preparation for this post. They’re bullshit. To a trained eye that shouldn’t come as a surprise. In the “before” pic you can still see some definition in my arms and upper torso. I’m just sticking my belly out as much as possible. I also messed up my hair, made sure my underwear was showing, stood with a slouch and arranged the lighting to accent the gut and not the muscles. In the after picture, I did just the opposite: sucked the gut in and held everything tight, kept my shorts low but tucked the underoos out of the way, stood up straight, shoulders back, and switched up the lighting a little. Oh, and I smiled and fixed my hair – the latter surprisingly easy to do since my natural hair grease is in full effect after not using soap or shampoo since November – more on this in another post later.

So, what’s the point Matt? You just basically lied to your readers. Why?

Well, the point is that you have to be careful when surfing the web because you never know what you’ll find on this crazy series of tubes. Same goes for TV infomercials. I’ve seen top-name products use ridiculous before and afters of a “doctor” who not only recommends the product, but also use it… know which one I’m talking about? You’ll see ads for muscle-building and fat-blasting products on Facebook that use these tactics all the time. Brad Pilon of Eat-Stop-Eat once found someone else using his before and after pics for their product – a product he’d never heard of, let alone used. And I don’t mean before and after pics of his clients he used for marketing, I mean his personal before and after pics. It’s funny if you don’t think about how dishonest that is.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not pissing on before and after pictures from websites where people come together to give each other support or show-off their newly acquired hot bods. I’m all for that. Sometimes seeing that other people have accomplished what we’re trying to do is just what we need. Jimmy Moore at livinlavidalowcarb.com, Hank Garner at mylowcarbjourney.com, Richard Nikoley and others over at FreeTheAnimal.com (Real Results section, in particular)… they all use authentic before and afters to motivate and inspire. Cool!

So, in conclusion; Beware of the a-holes who use shady marketing tactics and support those who kick you the real deal.

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33 Responses to “Matt’s Success Story: Before and After Pictures”

  1. Caitlin says:

    You should watch Bigger Faster Stronger (it’s on netflix watch instantly). There’s a part where they address exactly what you’re talking about. They take the before picture, then wax the guy’s chest, give him a spray tan, do his hair, and take a second picture. They then photoshop the second picture a little bit, and suddenly, it looks like he has completely transformed.

    • Matt Schoeneberger M.S. says:

      Funny, a guy named Donny Payworth just told me about this movie last week. I had watched it just a few days prior to that. I had been thinking about doing a post like this for a long time and was reminded by Bigger Faster Stronger. They did a much better job of photoshopping, which makes the transitions even more ridiculous. I didn’t spend that much time on my photos.

    • Lakesha says:

      Plansieg to find someone who can think like that

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  2. Sue says:

    You would have had me – you definitely look bigger in the so called before.

  3. Sarah_Jane says:

    Just curious if the Insanity Workouts are actually worth purchasing? His workouts do seem to be pretty intense…

  4. Matt Schoeneberger says:

    I’ve heard good things about Insanity. If you want something new, I say go for it. Just make sure you know your limits and don’t push too far, especially in the beginning.

  5. Sarah_Jane says:

    Thanks Matt, change is definately what I am seeking. I am about 25 lbs overweight and have been that way since the birth of my 1st. Motivation is key for me and consistancy, if I could master those two things, I would be solid :) I’ll make sure I start out with a walk/jog. I’ve always been physically fit until my pregnancies, then I found out I had asthma, which scared me for awhile not to do anything aerobic. However, I have found a new reason for motivation and keep an inhaler in my pocket. Its just the consistancy I’m having difficulty with. Thanks for the advice Matt, Love your website.

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    • It’s a pleasure to find such rationality in an answer. Welcome to the debate.

    • That’s really shrewd! Good to see the logic set out so well.

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  6. Matt Schoeneberger says:

    Thanks, SJ.

    You’ll be up to Insanity in no time, just keep progressing :)

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