Matt Wratten, exercise physiologist, made a big impression on
the crowd and Diabetes Queensland health professionals when he
presented at the Gold Coast EXPOsing Diabetes (now Live Your Life)
late last year on the Gold Coast.
He makes an even bigger impression when you speak to him
one-on-one. Friendly, easy going, and with an easy laugh. That's
"A lot of people came into the gym after EXPOsing," said Matt.
"There was one lady in particular who's had great success in the
past four months.
"She's over the moon about what she's achieved with her fitness
levels, and the difference being fitter and stronger has made to
"If she can do it, so can other people with diabetes."
Matt completed his Human Movement degree, majoring in Exercise
Management, at the University of Queensland in 1996.
He's been employed as a consultant exercise physiologist since
then, and currently works at the Milon Premium Health Club in Main
Beach on the Gold Coast.
"The name of the gym sounds expensive but for $17.50 a week you
can get unlimited access to a full-service gym. It's not very much
to invest in good health," Matt said.
"I see clients with diabetes, who are overweight, with high
cholesterol and blood pressure, plus various injuries."
"If you exercise when you have diabetes, exercise causes your
muscles to use more glucose. It lowers your BGLs. It's as
simple as that."
Matt has always been sporty, playing cricket, football and
anything else that was possible in the backyard. He and his brother
would jump over backyard fences to get to neighbourhood friends,
wherever the next game was on.
"It was a different era," Matt said. "I can't imagine letting my
kids walk on fences to get to someone else's house today!"
Matt is refreshingly honest when asked about his own exercise
"I'm not doing very much at the moment," he admitted with a
laugh. "I've got a two-year-old and a seven-month-old. We're sleep
deprived at my house, and I'm falling asleep in my chair at
Matt sees this period as typical of one of life's curveballs
that throws people off their exercise routine.
"Everyone has times when exercise falls off the radar. It's just
a part of life. I know I'll get back to it and I'll feel better
when I do.
"I'm 43. I don't want to look like I'm the kids' grandad, or
walk like an old man when they're teenagers."
Matt's usual routine is daily cycling, doing a gym session three
or more times a week, surfing, and walking.
"I think the most important thing for people to understand who
are starting exercise or trying to get back into it is that you
have to establish a habit.
"Find something that you enjoy. Look forward to it. Commit to
doing it for a realistic time period that you know you'll
"If someone tells me they want to do a moderate walk for 20
minutes three times a week, that's a great place to start. It's
much better than telling themselves they'll walk for 40 minutes six
times a week and keep disappointing themselves.
"Establish the habit of exercise first with something you enjoy
and will achieve. Then we'll focus on building intensity and
increased frequency. It will happen."
Matt regularly sees people start out with high ambitions for
their fitness levels who try to get there at a sprint.
"I see a lot of people burn out and give up after three weeks
because they go out too hard," he said.
"It's about establishing a new routine you enjoy that becomes
part of your lifestyle.
"Look at me. Exercise and being fit is part of my life so even
though I'm not on track at the moment, I know I'll get back to
"It's part of my life."