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Porter erases past with Mr. Oregon win

Bodybuilder 'never gives up' in his quest for state's top title
by: COURTESY OF Mark Mason, 
Matt Porter became

Tens of thousands of men pack Oregon gyms every day, building their bodies. A few dozen wolves emerge from the sheep. Those tanned, oiled giants took the stage at Parkrose High School for the Oregon State Championships bodybuilding contest.

And Matt Porter, featured in the Tribune in December, rose to the occasion, becoming 'Mr. Oregon' when he won the overall competition, competing against the best bodybuilders in every weight class.

After taking second place the previous three years, wining the title was something special for Porter.

'It was getting a chip off my shoulder,' he says. 'I was ecstatic.'

Porter was able to finally win the show by putting on eight pounds of pure muscle since last year while keeping his 'trademark tight, dry conditioning.'

After spending the winter bulking up, Porter began dieting a few months before the show. The last three weeks he pulled the carbohydrates and fat from his diet while continuing his grueling workouts.

'At that point your hunger is pretty much nonstop,' Porter says. 'You go from good conditioning to extreme conditioning. It's hard to function whenever you don't have those essential nutrients.'

The day before the show Porter weighed 229 pounds. That night he flooded his body with water, then shut it off. Completely dehydrated, he spent the day of the show eating kettle chips, chocolate chip cookies, bacon burgers, fries and French toast to pull any remaining water away from his skin. At the night show, he had dropped 13 pounds of water, weighing in at 216 pounds.

We live in an age when even the most beloved athletes are unveiled as cheaters for using steroids and human growth hormone. And it might seem inconceivable, to some, that the Westview High grad transformed himself from a 5-foot-10, 135-pound inline skater to the 216 pound beast he is now.

Has he ever used steroids or human growth hormone? 'Absolutely not,' Porter says.

Instead, he says, it was a matter of pushing around the unforgiving iron in the gym and what can be even more difficult to control, a knife and fork.

'People are quick to judge when they see someone who looks out of the ordinary,' Porter says. 'They don't understand the dedication and nonstop discipline it takes to do what you have to do to be that way.'

Porter followed up his Mr. Oregon title by placing sixth in a prestigious event in Los Angeles. He will compete in his last show of the year at the Northern Classic in Tacoma on Aug. 7.

Whatever happens as Porter, now 25, continues his career as a body builder, he will forever know that in 2010 he became Mr. Oregon.

'I do like the name,' Porter says, laughing. 'I never gave up. I never threw in the towel. And I accomplished something I wanted to accomplish for a long time.'