Matthew is an authority on fitness competition; if you’re considering taking those first steps and entering a competition, Matthew is the man to whom you should be listening. He is quick to point out that having experienced other fitness associations, there is none better than UFE for a vast multitude of competitor-friendly benefits.
Ultimate Fitness Events (UFE): Thanks for joining us today, Matthew. Can you tell us a little about your background growing up, including any early inclination toward fitness?
Matthew Good (MG): I grew up in Michigan in a rural area outside Flint. In school, I was very involved in sports and played baseball, soccer, basketball, and wrestled. I was a state champion in both wrestling and soccer. However, my school had no weight room, and I did not learn anything about proper weightlifting in school despite playing all these different sports.
My dad bought a Joe Weider weight set when I was about 13, and I would perform some very basic lifts (bench press, curls, leg extensions) throughout my teenage years while dreaming of looking like Arnold (in Commando) or Stallone (in Rambo). I would continue to dabble with basic weightlifting on and off until I was 28 years old, when I finally received real guidance on Olympic lifts, isolation weight training, nutrition, and much more.
I typically stayed fit by being active, however that all changed when I moved to Chicago in late 2008 with my wife, Kelly Good, and I took my first office/desk job in sales. After living in the city for a year, eating all the different restaurant foods and sitting at a desk, I quickly realized that I had lost any muscle size/tone that I had been accustomed to, and I was gaining bodyfat quickly.
In March 2010, my life changed when I made a deal with Michael Wisdom who was prepping for an NPC bodybuilding competition that November. He didn’t have access to a car at that time and wanted to go to the famous Quads Gym in Chicago, so I would drive him to Quads after work, and he taught me the fundamentals of weightlifting and nutrition. After about six months training with Michael and learning the fundamentals, Michael competed in the NPC competition as planned, and we pretty much stopped working out together after that point.
However, I never stopped! Fast forward to the spring of 2012, by then I had built some muscle and was about the leanest I have ever been in my life. A good friend of mine from the gym, John Pangan, had decided to compete in a new local competition called UFE Fury, and he challenged me to do it with him. We both competed in the Bodybuilding category, and we both ended up in the showdown for the Overall, where he would take home the title.
In 2013, I returned to compete at UFE Fury and was joined by Kelly who decided to try her hand in the Bikini category. We’ve been competing with UFE every year since! We both earned our Pro cards in 2015 and have both been competing at the Pro level for the past four years. While I may have started the fitness journey, Kelly has carried us to the next level through her passion for the sport. In 2016, I won the UFE World Championship title in the Muscle Model category, and Kelly has won the World Championship Fitness Model title back-to-back in 2017 and 2018. She has been a major influence in helping me continue to learn and grow in the sport.
UFE: What was the most significant driving force behind your decision to commit to fitness competition?
MG: Definitely when John challenged me to join him in his first competition at UFE Fury. The famous line he used that finally got me to pull the trigger was: “What have you got to be afraid of? Being in the best shape of your life?” John used this same mantra on Kelly, and even now she still quotes him to this day.
UFE: What have you found to be the keys to your success and how would an aspiring athlete follow in your steps?
MG: I would consider a huge key to my success was letting go of my ego when I had the opportunity to train with Michael Wisdom. My mindset was “I know nothing, so I will listen to everything”. I had to let my ego go, because I had to use literally half the amount of weight that Michael was working with, to be able to perform reps in good form. I absorbed the information like a sponge, and I applied every bit of information he gave me about lifting or nutrition to form a routine. Since I had no formal training, I did not try to challenge or question his methods like people will often do with their trainer.
Routine is another key to my success. I just celebrated my ninth anniversary of that routine. When I say routine, I am referring to the age-old adage, “fitness is a lifestyle”. I set my routine to include foods that fit my goals, and always included gym time. If I didn’t go to the gym, it was only because there was something preventing me from being able to go. Those were my rest days. I looked at every meal as a decision and tried to make the best decisions the vast majority of the time. When I went to a restaurant, I was always looking for the best option to fit my nutritional needs. So, when I had ‘cheat meals’ or enjoyed something off menu, it wasn’t going to derail me. I use three hashtags on my posts that sum up the keys to my success: #dedication, #consistency, #perseverance.
To be truly successful in fitness, you have to be consistent, because your progress can be lost much faster than it can be achieved.
UFE: What are the most significant challenges you faced / still face and how do you go about managing them?
MG: I was born with a club foot, meaning my left foot was completely disfigured and warped so that the bottom of my foot and my toes were actually curled up against my leg. While this was corrected through a series of procedures just after I was born, this left me with a short Achilles tendon and a significant loss in the range of motion in my left foot and ankle; roughly 60 percent less range. I thank God for the fact that modern medicine allowed for this to be corrected, or I would have been disabled for life.
The side-effects of the lack in range of motion are most evident on leg day. To perform a squat correctly, you must keep your heels on the ground which requires the specific flexibility that I lack. This makes a heavy barbell squat especially dangerous for me, so I have been forced to utilize various methods to work around my issues. A side-effect of the limited flexibility is the fact that certain muscles in the lower and upper leg cannot be properly activated, making it much more difficult to build muscle and maintain some level of symmetry between the left and right legs. I’ve spent years trying to rehabilitate my left foot/ankle to increase my flexibility and range of motion and have made some progress, although it is still very limited in relation to my ‘normal’ foot.
UFE: What are your favourite forms of specialty techniques and what are the advantages of them, relative to other training protocols?
MG: I utilize a variety of training protocols that I have learned over the years, and I am open to including different methods in my regimen. I utilize a combination of heavier lifts, drop sets, super sets, giant sets, higher rep volume sets, partial range of motion (that’s right, I said partial reps), time under tension (TUT), etc. Some of these methods allow me to actually get my ‘cardio’ through my weight training. I am not quick to criticize other training protocols, but I would rather see what each can contribute to my routine to help make me more successful and efficient.
UFE: How do you manage to preserve your level of motivation, having been so successful already?
MG: Early on, the results were enough to keep me motivated. I honestly never expected to see the results that I achieved since I was not using PEDs (steroids, growth hormones, etc.), so when my body began to transform, I couldn’t get enough. After a few years, the results came much slower, so I found that competing every year helped keep that fire going.
UFE: What does the future have in store for Matthew Good; any plans to compete again?
MG: Of course, the 2019 World Championships! I still have a Classic Physique World Championship title to win!
UFE: In your opinion, what makes UFE unique and why did you choose it as your competition platform?
MG: UFE has been a great organization to compete with. After attending other competitions, it was clear that UFE was a far more competitor-focused organization. UFE actually takes the effort to get bio information for each competitor that is announced while they are on stage. Other organizations will say the competitor’s name and maybe where they are from, but that’s it. Not only does it make the competition much less entertaining, it really doesn’t show any concern for building up or supporting the competitors that are supporting them!
Aside from that, we really fell in love with the people who make up the UFE organization, both staff and competitors. I know I’m not the first to say it by any means, but UFE really is a big family of beautiful people (inside and out)!
Birthplace: Flint, Michigan
Residence: Chicago, Illinois
Height: 6 foot 2
Weight (Competition): 195 pounds
Weight (Off-Season): 205 pounds
Years Competing: 8
Significant Placings: 2016 UFE Muscle Model World Champion
Favourite Muscle Groups: Chest and quads
Favourite Cheat Meal: Pizza and donuts
College or University: The University of Michigan and Roosevelt University (Chicago)
Major: Business Administration – Finance
Facebook Page: matthew.good.3192
Instagram Page: NaturallyGood9