Rye Y Story Project: Matvey

MatveyI weighed 296 pounds when I joined four years ago. My wife bought me a Rye Y membership for my birthday. I had high cholesterol and diabetes and didn’t feel good. This place is so supportive. I became friends with everyone. I fell in love with this place.

In Russia I was a professional wrestler. We competed as amateurs because officially I was assigned to work in a tractor plant. But my job was wrestling. I have shoulder problems from those years and had a back operation a couple of years ago. After that I started to swim. Five days a week, I spend 1 ½ hours in the pool doing Yoga, Tai Chi and running in the water. I follow my own routine and it is excellent. Plus I use the sauna – the Russian way with peppermint. It opens everything up. A lot of people go in with me and tell me they have freer breathing afterwards.

First I lost 20 pounds, then when I started exercising in the water, I lost 40 more. Now I’m down to 222 pounds. The water is healing. I used to have pains everywhere. Now I’m energetic and feel younger than 67. The people at the Y are excellent – caring, smiling, lighting up this place. That’s why the Y has become my second home.