VandyMania Interview: Matt Freije (Part 1)

While some of his teammates are trying to shed a few pounds in the offseason, Commodore senior forward Matt Freije is desperately trying to put a few more on. In this exclusive interview, Vandy's All-America candidate talks about his diet and conditioning program, and catches fans up on what's been happening with the team this summer. (Part 1 of 2)

VandyMania: Tell us about how the summer's been going, from the end of the season until now.

Matt Freije: From the end of the season to now, I've just been lifting weights and playing pickup games in the gym four days a week. Only me, Scott [Hundley], Mario [Moore] and Julian [Terrell] were here in May.  Then everybody was here in June, and almost all of us will be here in July, including Dan Cage [freshman from Indianapolis]. He just got here last Sunday. We're just lifting weights and playing.

VM: Do you try to lift together as a team?

Matt: Yeah, we try to, but with summer school classes, you either have a morning class or an afternoon class. So the team's kind of divided on that, so half of us lift in the morning, and half in the afternoon. Whenever we can get a day where we can all lift together, we do that, but for the most part, it's in two different groups.

But everybody's been working really hard in the weight room. Julian's put on over 20 pounds. I've put on over 20 pounds.

VM: What are you up to now?

Matt: 240.

VM: What were you when you came in?

Matt: When I came in, I was probably 205. We're all setting goals for each other before we go to Spain. My goal is to be up to 250 by the time we leave for Spain, so I've got a little over a month to put on ten pounds. Julian's the same.

VM: To 250?

Matt: Yeah. I mean, with like me and Julian, our weight's not fat, either. It's been muscle. I think our body fats are about the same as they were when we started this summer, and our weight's increased because we've been adding mass.

So, so far it's been a good summer. Everybody's been working really hard and been pretty focused, so it's been going pretty good.

VM: You say you lift four days a week. You do pickup four days a week also?

Matt: We lift Monday and Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and we play pickup games Monday through Thursday.

VM: Are the pickup games the main conditioning that you do, other than lifting?

Matt: Right now, that's the main conditioning that we're doing. We're not really running like sprints or anything to stay in shape. Coach has put a big emphasis on us getting bigger and stronger, and he feels that with the weight and how hard we're working in the weight room, that if we did extra sprints right now, that would take away from it. We'd be more tired in the weight room and therefore wouldn't lift as much weights. So we're trying to maximize what we get out of the weight room right now.

VM: What do you actually do when you're trying to put on weight?

Matt: Things I've been trying to do-- first, I try to eat before I come in to lift. And I try to eat within an hour after lifting. And I mean big, big meals.

VM: Do they plan meals for you specifically?

Matt: During the summer, they can't do any of that. During the summer, it's kind of up to us. During the school year, they usually get us dinner at McGugin, and also our student center is open, so it's a lot easier to some food. During the summer, it's a little tougher, but if you find ways, you can do it. I eat every night before I go to bed. I try to have at least four big meals -- breakfast, before I lift, after I lift, and dinner.

VM: What does a "big meal" consist of for you?

Matt: Um, well, it depends. It depends on what I have in my room and how much money I have in my wallet. (Laughs.)

VM: Well, what's your ideal big meal?

Matt: Okay, well, today Martin [Schnedlitz] and I went to Chili's before we came and lifted, and I had boneless buffalo wings and fries, and we had queso with the chips. That was a pretty decent meal before I came and lifted. When I go home, I'll probably make some pasta, because noodles are pretty easy to make, you can make them in the microwave pretty easy. So I try to eat a lot of that. I don't know, you just try to watch what you eat.

It's kind of funny, because some of the guys on the team, like Scott and Jason [Holwerda] and Corey [Smith], their body fats were higher than what our coaches wanted them to be, so they've been working really hard on watching what they eat to bring their body fat down, and yet keep going up in the weight that they're lifting in the weight room. They've done a very good job of it. Jason and Scott have both gone from like 14% body fat down to like 11%, in just a matter of a month and a half, because they're watching what they eat, and they're lifting more weight than they have before. They both look really good. They both look quicker. I think it's helping their game out, both of them.

And it's funny, because when they're watching what they eat, it's kind of like they've got in the back of their minds, "OK, I can't eat this," and it's like the opposite for me and Julian. In the back of my mind, I'm thinking, "I HAVE to eat this, I might not be hungry right now, but I've gotta eat this!" And so it's funny. We've got half the guys on our team thinking one way, and half the guys thinking the other way. But we're doing a pretty decent job. We're encouraging each other pretty well and making sure we're staying on top of what we need to do.

VM: It's funny because if you look at it one way, it's like you're doing two different things, but on the other hand, it's all the same thing, which is to become better.

Matt: Yeah... to get better. It's fun.


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