man smiling

Since making a commitment to a healthier life, Central City Y member Matthew Smith has lost 45 pounds.

Matthew Smith calls the Bob Gilbertson Central City Family YMCA the heartbeat of the community. “This is the heart of the community because it’s the people of the community. I know people personally that come here with successful jobs. I see people who come in here who may live out of their gym bag. I see 5 year olds here. I see 80 year olds here. White, black, old, young—this is the community. It’s all right here,” says Matthew. “I think if you wanted to get a snapshot of the Heights—this is what it is.” 

Matthew says working out has never been the problem. “The eating part has been my lifelong struggle. I terrorize the kitchen,” he shares. Sweets are his weakness and Matthew recalls the moment he decided to make a change. “I remember on Christmas day my mom brought a cake and I was eating it with my hands. I was like, ‘this is so gross’ and I went in the bathroom and took a photo and I said, ‘I’m going to do something different this year.’”

So, he got a nutritionist in addition to working out at the Y and lost 45 pounds. “It sounds so cliché but you really do feel a lot better,” shares Matthew. “Once you get locked in and are motivated, you just feel like a machine. It’s awesome."

Matthew lives a mile from the Central City Y but splits his time between three Tampa Ys. “I have a three-Y rotation,” explains Matthew. He tried the Spurlino Family YMCA at Big Bend Road after driving by it for work and uses the Downtown YMCA for its sauna once a week. He does triathlons and likes using the Central City Y for its one stop shopping.

“I can go there and I can swim on certain days. I can bike on certain days. I can actually train at the Y. I shoot basketball to get started and warmed up, so there is a little bit of everything I can do here,” he says.

For the first time, Matthew says he’s consistent, looking good in photos and finally fitting into clothes. “It went from ‘I can’t fit into this’ to ‘I can’t wear it because it’s too big,’” he says. “There’s a (Y staff member) who always asks, ‘Are you ready to have a good work out?’ It seems almost cheesy but I love it. It’s that little extra like, ‘yeah, I am ready!’”

Are you ready? Take the first step in your journey to a healthier you by joining the Tampa Y.