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Success Story: From Scrawny to Bodybuilder

Matt Corso went from 110-lb. scrawny kid to having a competition-ready physique.
J.J. Miller

Matt Corso didn’t always sport the ripped body you see now. Far from it. In fact, as a high school junior, he was a scrawny 110 pounds—far too small to get noticed by his peers or coaches. “I didn’t really know many people in high school,” he explains. “I tried out for football and didn’t make it. I tried out for basketball—didn’t make it. I got overlooked.”

Getting cut and being told he was too small took its toll mentally. “I never had confidence,” Corso says. “I was always just trying to find my identity.” But rather than park himself in front of the TV, Corso headed to the gym with the hope that a few more pounds of muscle would help him turn things around. Unfortunately, he went in without a plan.

“When I first started lifting, it was biceps every single day. Biceps, abs, biceps, abs,” he says. After a few months of trial and error, he stumbled upon a solid program and began making steady gains. It was also during his time in the gym that he finally found a sport he thought he might have a knack for: bodybuilding.

“I said, ‘Hey, why do I need to make a team?’ I can do something I’m good at on my own.”

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Set Your Goals

“A lot of people try to rush their gains and wind up injured. You have to be patient.”

While he trained hard in high school, it wasn’t until his freshman year at Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island that Corso truly got serious about the sport. “I started going to the gym religiously, six days a week,” Corso says. “I was eating boiled chicken and whatever I could find that was healthy, while everybody around me was eating all this crap.” Before long, Corso had outgrown his school’s small gym. Instead of cutting back on his training, he dove in further, transferring to Salem State University in Massachusetts. It was closer to home, but the real draw was a fully-stocked weight room. “That’s when everything really changed,” he says with a laugh. “That’s when training became an obsession.”

Today, Corso has completely immersed himself in bodybuilding. “I wake up at 4 AM every day. I jot down every single food I eat from then until bedtime,” he explains. “And I have a full six meals a day, which I couldn’t get while living on campus.” Corso’s lifting schedule is just as rigorous. “I drive 30 minutes to get to my gym, and I work out for two to four hours, six days a week.” Combine that with additional cardio every other day, a full load of college courses, and a part-time job, and Corso’s schedule is jam-packed. But he wouldn’t have it any other way. Five years after he first set foot in a gym, the 22-year-old Corso is a completely different person, both mentally and physically. He’s packed on 30 pounds of lean muscle, enough to earn him two top finishes in his first three bodybuilding competitions, and his confidence is through the roof.

“The more results I saw, the more social I became and the more confident I was,” he says. “For guys out there that are looking for a source of confidence, there is no better way than the gym.” The best part? He’s looking back on those awkward high school days as a blessing, not a curse. “If I had been popular, maybe I wouldn’t have gotten into fitness,” he says. “Everything happens for a reason.”

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