Exercise Program

People who meet me today generally don't realize that I used to weigh 230 pounds and wear size 44 pants. I'm a little bit smaller and lighter now thanks to a little bit of positive self-image psychology, diet, and exercise. My exercise program is centered around the DigiWalker pedometer, and I plot my progress on the DigiWalker Pedometer Count page. I am very pleased with my exercise program progress, and I can now participate in activities that I couldn't do just a few years ago!

Precontemplation: The Old Me

Matthew sitting in a chair in front of a computer 26 May 1997 640x480
Matthew with a mango May 1997 640x480

Back when I was in high school, I decided that I was going to be a mega-nerd so I wouldn't really have to deal with any people. I didn't participate in any sports, didn't exercise at all, and ate more than the rest of my family combined. I spent almost all of my time focusing on schoolwork and playing around on the computer. I drank a lot of sugary soda beverages while putzing on the computer -- and this was back when the Internet was new and very slow. I was on my way to looking like Dennis Nedry, my favorite character from Jurassic Park. These two pictures are from right before and right after my high school graduation in 1997.


Matthew eating cake January 1998 640x480
Matthew at Yellowstone in 1998 August 1998 640x480

I got even bigger during my first year at the Rochester Institute of Technology, thanks to the wonderful world of Gracie's All You Can Eat Dining three times per day! I remember one pivotal moment quite vividly -- I was very happy when my father got me a pair of size 44 pants as an Easter present in 1998 because they fit around my 235 pound posterior. That summer, I went with Mom and the family to Yellowstone, but I could barely make the short hike down to Inspiration Point.


Matthew at the Tetons in 1999 August 1999 640x480

When I moved to Long Island for my first co-op job, I realized that I wanted to change. Sure, it was fun being a sedentary obese computer geek, but it wasn't that fun. I started out with the Old Westbury Walk, and then started to do the 12-mile Manhattan Walk regularly. They're two of my favorite metropolitan walks. Within a few months, I started to get smaller. When I went home for the annual Yellowstone trip, I was able to walk and hike a little bit more than before. I then knew what I needed. I needed a regular exercise program.

Action: Introducing the Mettenbaucher Transitional Authority

Matthew on Pikes Peak Ascent in 2000 25 August 2000 640x480

On Saturday 5 February 2000, I played paintball for the first time. This was definitely an important motivational event! I wasn't such of a hopeless unathletic nerd after all... with a paintball mask and paint shooter, I looked cool!

I went back to Long Island on 27 February 2003 for my second co-op job with Imperial Software. I started to walk every morning and every evening, and I played paintball at least twice per week: high-action speedball on Friday evenings at High Velocity Paintball, and outdoor long-distance woodsball at Paintball Long Island on Saturday or Sunday. It was during this time that I started joking about me and change and established the Mettenbaucher Transitional Authority as my personal web presence. (That web presence was retired in 2010 in favor of something a bit less quirky, but its concept and importance definitely lives on.) By the time I went back to school in May, I had dropped to 170 pounds and went from 42" pants to 38" pants. I was able to fly into Denver and immediately hike the Pike's Peak Ascent, one of my favorite special event walks, with no preparation.

Action: Leaving RIT and Looking Good!

Matthew graduating from RIT in 2002 25 May 2002 640x480
Matthew's publicity shot for RIT Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar award
3 January 2001 240x320

My next two years at RIT were very busy, but I made walking an important part of my daily routine. During this time, I felt great! I had a fantastic time working with Bob and Shawn on our senior project, The Institutional Weather Machine. I also found out that I had friends! I ended up spending a lot of time with Bob, Ani, Josie, and Fred, and I still try to get back to New York to visit them every once and a while. I kept active with paintball at Ground Control Paintball in Buffalo, playing right up until the weekend I left to move to Colorado.

Maintenance: Boulder Exercise Program

Matthew with Steve and Melissa before the Pawnee Pass hike 6 September 2003 640x480

I'm now able to keep up with most of the typical Boulder outdoor activities. Of course, since it's been seven years, my fitness level hasn't been constant; rather, I've had a few ups and downs that last about a year or two.

One of my best high-fitness periods was the summer and fall of 2003. During that time, I really prioritized getting in shape and did so by hiking up Bear Peak once or twice every week, all the way through the winter, and going on longer special event walks, such as Pawnee Peak, with my friends. I even walked the Bolder Boulder. I also took up higher-intensity cardio and swimming lessons, leading to my best fitness level of the decade.

As I graduated with my Ph.D., I had a bit of a drop in my fitness level and put on some weight... back up to 215 pounds. But, as I neared the end of my first NCAR appointment review, working out with Guy Cobb and eating right has helped me get back on track and stay under 200lb. Now I'm hoping that with another semester or two of work, I can get back to 185lb-190lb!