How did you get started with bodybuilding?
I began lifting weights during some preseason conditioning for basketball in my senior year of high school. When I gained 15 lbs rather quickly, I realized my body responded well to weight training, and I was hooked. I had an extremely basic regimen of about 5 or 6 exercises that I did two days per week. I continued this through my first couple years of college, then began reading bodybuilding magazines and learning more. I saw a local show, and decided to compete. In 2008 I did my first show, winning the novice and the overall.
When it sunk in that I was pretty good at this, I set my sights on becoming a pro one day.
What gets you motivated?
My dad is the hardest working person I know, and I view my dedication to training and diet as my parallel to what he does. He put in years to be regarded as the best at what he does, and I’m currently doing the same. Also, I’m from a very small town in West Virginia where you’re not really taught to shoot for the stars. The nearest gym was 30 mins away. As far as I know, I’m the only person from there to ever play NCAA Div II basketball and run Div II track, and I’m sure I’m the only one who’s ever competed in a bodybuilding competition. I just can’t stand to be mediocre and “fall in line” like everyone else.
I’m one of the most competitive people you’ll ever meet, no matter what it is, I want to win bad. And I carry that over to bodybuilding. Right now my motivation is to win a pro show in due time.
Comparing quads in the Overall posedown with reigning natural Mr. Olympia Kiyoshi Moody.
What workout routine has worked best for you?
I’ve found that more does not always equal better in regards to weight training, and I therefore am not a big volume trainer. I just make what I do count with no wasted effort. This is my current offseason split, precontest I’ll train 5 days per week.
- Seated Calves 3 x 20
- Squats 5 x 15-6
- Hack Squats 3 x 12
- SLDL 3 x 15
- Leg Press 3 x 20
- Leg Ext 3 x 50-25
- Leg Press Calf 3 x 20
- Incline DB Press 4 x 8-12
- Pec Deck 3 x 12-15
- HS Chest Press 3 x 10-12
- Cable Crossovers 3 x 12-15
- Rope Pressdowns 3 x 15-20
- DB Skullcrushers 2 x 12
- 1-Arm Reverse Grip Pressdowns 3 x 15
- Thursday: Back/Biceps
- Pull-Ups 3 x 8-10
- Bent Over Row 3 x 8-12
- Deadlift 3 x 6-10
- Reverse Grip Pulldowns 3 x 12-15
- Straight Bar Curl 3 x 8-12
- Alt DB Hammer Curl 3 x 8-10
- 1-Arm Preacher Curl 3 x 10
Friday: Shoulders, Legs
- Lying Hamstring Curl 5 x 12-20
- Seated Hamstring Curl 3 x 10-15
- Walking Lunges 2 x 30 steps
- Standing Calf Raise 3 x 50
- DB Lateral Raise 3 x 10-15
- DB Shoulder Press 3 x 8-10
- Bent Over DB Rear Delt Flye 3 x 12-15
- DB Front Raise, Hammer Grip 3 x 10
- Barbell Shrugs 3 x 15-20
If you have to pick only 3 exercises, what would they be and why?
- Squats – By far the best leg exercise, and the biggest mental challenge in the gym. It takes years to completely master the form on squats, and that challenge in itself is enticing.
- Deadlifts – The key to upper body thickness, and the key to me being successful onstage in the future!
- Incline DB Press – It’s been proven that developing the upper pecs is the key to a perfect chest, and I’ve found that the non-restrictive dumbbells (as opposed to barbells) works to give you a much more effective “squeeze” that is necessary to optimal contraction.
What is your diet like?
I’m offseason right now, so calories are relatively high.
- Meal 1: 6 egg whites, 2 whole eggs, 3/4 cup oats, banana
- Meal 2: 1 serving Scivation Solution 5, 1 scoop Scivation Whey, 3/4 cup oats
- Meal 3: 8oz extra lean ground beef, 7oz sweet potato, green beans
- Meal 4: 8oz chicken breast, 1 cup rice, 1/2 avocado, green beans
- Meal 5: 8oz chicken breast, 50g (uncooked) w.w. pasta, 1 piece Ezekiel bread, 1 Tbsp natural PB, banana
- Meal 6: 2 scoops Scivation Whey, 1 cup oats
- Meal 7: 8 egg whites, 2 Tbsp natural PB
Matthew Liller Squat Drop Set
They say that the pre and post-workout meals are the most vital meals for the day, what do yours consist of?
My pre-workout meal is the most calorically dense of the day, consisting of chicken, pasta, Ezekiel bread, natural PB, and fruit. Post-workout I rely on high quality Scivation Whey and 1 cup of oats to replenish my nutrients.
When trying to cut down do you prefer to use HIIT or just normal cardio?
I rely on fairly slow, steady pace cardio that is usually walking on an incline treadmill first thing in the morning. In fact, I get made fun of for how slow I walk, only about 2.8 mph!
Once a week I’ll run about 15 hill sprints for some extra cardio, and to bring in the glutes/hams a bit more.
What is your supplementation like?
I’m fortunate enough to be sponsored by Scivation, so I use their full line. Xtend is hands down the best BCAA product on the market, and I haven’t missed drinking it during a workout since day one. Their whey protein tastes incredible, and their preworkout supplement, Quake 10.0 is unreal.
I also take their Essential EFA for high quality fish oil, and I use their thermogenic Dialene 4x when dieting for a show.
Matthew Liller DB Shoulder Press
Aside from all the top IFBB pros that have truly amazing physiques, I have to say Doug Miller, Kiyoshi Moody, Pat Banya, and my coach Kurt Weidner all have physiques that I’m in awe of. Also, look out for an up-and-comer Lamar Byrd, Jr in the next few years.
“Don’t fall victim to the plaque of mediocrity.”