For Jennifer and Matt Goyak, weight training and bodybuilding is not just a way to stay in shape, but a way of life.
Even so, they are taking that bar to new heights.
The Tega Cay couple is competing Saturday in the Victory Classic in Albemarle, N.C., to try to qualify for national competition earn their pro card. The event is sanctioned by the National Physique Committee and will feature competitions in the bodybuilding, figure, and bikini classes. Matt, 43, competing in the bodybuilding competition in the super heavyweight class and Jennifer, 40 in the bikini classification. Both say performing well is more important to them earning pro cards.
While the couple has always enjoyed staying fit, — Matt is a former powerlifter — it was a challenge to one other that helped them to get serious about taking their work at the gym to another level and possibly competing.
“We are novices,” Jennifer said. “But we have always been fitness buffs.”
Matt added it was a challenge they both wanted to tackle together.
“I wanted to think of a positive goal, something that was challenging, but not impossible,” he said.
While the task hasn’t been impossible, it has been difficult juggling work, training and raising six children, including five who are elementary school age.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Matt has been in the area since 2006. Jennifer, a South Carolina native, since 2000. They have been married two years.
With a background in powerlifting, Matt said the hardest thing for him was the time commitment. He weighs 281 now after losing 30 pounds. By showtime, he wants to get down to 270. At 6’2” he is considered on the taller side for a competitive bodybuilder. He had to cut his calorie intake from between 5,000 and 6,000 calories a day down to 2,000 to 2,200.
“The first three weeks, it wasn’t that fun,” he said.
Matt is usually in the gym at Club Fitness in South Charlotte where he works out about three hours a day. Being able to work mostly from home allows him that time, but he still has to travel for his job, which makes training more challenging.
“I have always been competitive,” he said. “I know I have trained as hard as I can.”
For Jennifer, the road to competition has presented more twists, including her on-going battle with Type I Diabetes. Sometimes she has to eat something she would ordinarily avoid just to regulate her blood sugar. She takes in about 1,100 calories a day.
“My training has been going on for about six months,” she said. “It has helped my diabetes, but I have had to make some compensation with my meals.”
They both joke about how much they looking forward to ditching their strict diets when the competition is over.
Mac Banks: email@example.com, @MacBanksFM