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Road to Tough Mudder paved with hard work

Matt Bove, right, and friend Andrew Donner warm up for the Tough Mudder by flipping tractor tires. The hard driving obstacle race comes to Western New York for the first time this weekend. (John Hickey/Buffalo News)

Matt Bove, 20, of Wheatfield, a senior at SUNY Buffalo State and summer intern at WKBW-TV, and some of his buddies have spent part of the past few weeks pulling cars. Literally.

It’s been part of their preparation for the first Tough Mudder competition to be held in Western New York.

The 10-plus mile obstacle course – a British Special Forces-inspired contest in which contestants run, climb walls, do pull-ups and climb ropes, while slogging through mud – takes place Saturday and Sunday at Tall Pines ATV Park in Andover, Allegany County. (See video from a Tough Mudder by clicking here)

Bove – who is the subject of the "What are you eating?" segment Saturday in WNY Refresh, promised his friend, Ryan Hulub, that he’d run a Tough Mudder someday if Hulub helped him lose weight.

He and another friend, Andrew Donner, talked about the race and his diet in a video interview this week. Meanwhile, here are excerpts from my interview with Bove by phone earlier this week:

You and several friends are running the Tough Mudder. How are you pushing yourselves?

We wanted to do some obscure workouts to try to break the norm a little bit because we knew that would help us because the race is so different than any of us have ever seen before. We’ve been flipping big tractor tires, doing short sprints. Running on pavement is one thing but running on mud and in water (as they will do this weekend) is another thing, so we made sure we got a lot of practice with that.

And we did other strength training, lots of pull-ups and push-ups. (They also had a harness and old car) We strapped it up, we put it in neutral, we had someone steer and then we pulled.

How has your diet changed in recent weeks?

It hasn’t changed too much. I’ve been trying to eat right for a couple of years ...

When I started dieting about three years ago, I was 279 pounds. Now I’m 176. Ryan Hulub and I, we did P90X. We always talked about it when we were working out. He’d say, ‘If you lose 100 pounds, we’re doing the Tough Mudder.’ I had no intention of doing it, but the day finally came when I lost 100 pounds and the Tough Mudder happened to be in Buffalo the following summer, so I’m a man of my word.

He did so much for me and doing this by himself wouldn’t have been as fun. Friends are encouraged to participate. For him, this race won’t be a challenge at all. For me, it’ll be a challenge.

Your eating philosophy?



Limit the sugar, limit the fats. Anything that’s out of a package normally isn’t very good for you. Try to limit eating out as much as possible. Make healthy decisions. You can still eat. You don’t have to starve yourself or anything. Instead of a burger, you get a chicken sandwich. Instead of getting pizza, you get a salad.

The staples of your diet?



For breakfast, I’m a big oatmeal freak. There’s a lot of oatmeals out there like apple cinnamon and cinnamon sugar, but at that point, they’re dumping sugar in them. They’re not really healthy anymore. So I eat plain oatmeal every morning and a I have a Greek yogurt to get some protein in. For lunch, I try go lean, turkey sandwich on wheat bread with some fruit, maybe some plain popcorn. For dinner, whatever mom’s cooking up, but with the weight loss she’s kind of shaped her cooking around that because everyone’s trying to eat healthy. So a lot of fish, a lot of salmon, a lot of grilled tilapia. There’s always a vegetable. And I pick here and there during the day. I’m a big advocate of dried cereal. I measure out a cup of Cheerios and I’ll snack on that.

It’s nothing too crazy because I have been working out a fair amount and I’ve found that if you do work out you can kind of beat everything as long as you don’t splurge too much. Everything in moderation. But you can give yourself a cheat day. You can make sure you enjoy the foods you eat. No one wants to starve. No one’s going to be happy in that.

-- Scott Scanlon



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About The Refresh Buffalo Blog

Scott Scanlon

Scott Scanlon

Scott Scanlon is an award-winning reporter and editor who has covered various topics in his quarter-century as a journalist in South Florida, Syracuse and Buffalo. He is aiming to pass along what he is learning these days about health, fitness, nutrition and family life.

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