Not all 27-year-olds have a resumé quite like his. At this young age, Brandon Matson has already compiled an impressive list of achievements. After a distinguished career leading soldiers in the Infantry, the conventional U.S. Army’s most physically demanding branch, Matson was honorably discharged from active duty service this past March. He recently got married, moved to a new home in Torrance and began a job in government affairs for the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce.
Although transitioning to a new lifestyle, Matson continues to challenge himself physically. Every day he either takes a jiu-jitsu class at UFC Gym in Torrance or runs with a group of friends at North Torrance High School (this all before heading to work). After work he lifts weights three days a week; he even installed a full Olympic lifting gym in his garage. And he’s no stranger to beachside training: he often runs the stairs at Avenue C on the Esplanade in Redondo Beach.
His military background helped Matson to become disciplined—the character trait he credits most for his ability to stay healthy. “I enjoy feeling physically healthy, but what I enjoy even more is being in control of my human nature, so to speak, by being disciplined. That’s what a healthy lifestyle is really all about for me.”
PULSE: What’s your favorite exercise?
BM: Deadlifts because I feel it is a true test of strength since you literally just pick up as much weight as you can and lift it off the ground.
PULSE: What is your most challenging workout?
BM: Hard interval training on the track.
PULSE: Is there any exercise/workout you’ve tried and will never do again?
BM: Running long distances (8+ miles). Long, slow runs are terrible for my body. I prefer interval workouts or tempo runs at the beach (two to
PULSE: Are you an adventure seeker?
BM: Yes, to a certain degree. I have jumped out of an airplane on multiple occasions in the Army. I attended Airborne School to be certified to do that. I also fast roped out of helicopters on multiple occasions. I also rode my bicycle from Torrance to the Oregon border when I was 20. I rode along the coast and stayed at beach parks along the way.
PULSE: What’s the scariest training exercise you ever had to perform in the military?
BM: Rappelling/rock climbing in Nepal. As I was getting ready to rappel down a 250-foot cliff face, I noticed the rope I was using was a bit frayed. The course was very safe looking back, just a bit more gut-wrenching at times because I was out of my comfort zone and I was only one of four English speakers in the course.
PULSE: With all the exercise, your diet must be important to you. How strict are you with your eating habits?
BM: My diet consists of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats; however, I do not count calories or count grams of protein, etc. I simply try to eat fresh and healthy food during three meals a day. Following a workout, I eat fruit with chocolate milk. My wife and I enjoy eating out at the many great restaurants in Torrance and throughout the South Bay. Our favorite “cheat meal” is going out for boba after dinner.
PULSE: Any other guilty pleasures?
BM: I love getting popcorn at the movies.
PULSE: What about your youth helped shape healthy habits for you?
BM: Growing up in the South Bay, my parents encouraged me to be active and supported my participation in sports. In high school I was fortunate to have great coaches at North Torrance High, who developed me both on and off the playing field. My experience playing basketball, football and track/field at North really developed my understanding of fitness in general and set the conditions for me to go on to play basketball at Los Angeles Harbor College, later graduate from the UCLA Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program and become a leader of soldiers in the conventional Army’s most physically demanding branch of service, the Infantry.
PULSE: Do you work out with friends or do you prefer to work out alone?
BM: Both. I work out with my friends for the camaraderie and to see what they do that helps them get bigger, faster and stronger. I also work out alone because I don’t want to ever need to have someone else push me or need music to motivate me. I like having the discipline to need no one but myself.
PULSE: How did your time in the military shape your healthy lifestyle?
BM: The military trained my body to endure some pretty extreme physical tests of endurance. Military fitness is focused on training your body to be functional, meaning being self-sufficient to not just survive but fight in various conditions. A lot of the fitness I became accustomed to was walking long distances (20+ miles) tactically, while carrying sustainment to last for a few days, including ammunition, equipment, food and shelter (weighing about 55 pounds). We also did a lot of functional fitness, focusing on training the body as a whole, to build a balance of strength, endurance, speed and agility. The military kept me in shape well into adulthood. I feel that I am in better shape now at 27 than I was at 17.
PULSE: How have you transitioned from such an active job to a more sedentary, “everyday” work schedule?
BM: I do sit a bit more than I am used to, but my job is actually quite active and I am able to be out in the community often. I have adapted to the time schedule by waking up earlier to work out.
PULSE: What does summer remind you of or mean to you?
BM: It’s the American Dream. Working hard, reaping the benefits of your hard work, being with friends and family, BBQs and the beach.