You are an amateur footballer and that means discipline, frustration tolerance, the ability to suffer and ankle-high dirty water.
Also Jan Mathis from TSV Meckenbeuren is a soccer player through and through. In the Bodensee district league he fights for more than just three points week after week. And he has a football vita that unites many players: he gives everything, sometimes too much, for his club. In a preparatory game his knee went on strike - diagnosis: torn cruciate ligament. But he fought his way back, trained first with the Comeback program and then with the Gamechanger. Now he is in the shape of his life and for the first time in his career he is playing in his dream position in the central midfield.
Here is his story.
"There wasn't actually any time without football"
Jan, what role does football play in your life?
A very big role. I've played soccer since I was four years old. Back then I was taken to his bambini group via a friend in kindergarten whose father was a football coach. I was passionate about soccer from day one. I didn't want to miss one more training session and when it happened, I was really sad.
How do you live out this passion today? What does soccer give you?
There has never been a time without football in my life. The only time I was kept from it was during my injury. I simply enjoy this sport immensely. And that joy is always the focus of attention. And my home club, TSV Meckenbeuren, is the perfect environment for me. I'm very honest and I played for other teams for a while in my youth. In the end, I've always remained loyal to my club because I feel incredibly comfortable there.
B42 has accompanied you on a part of this way. Can you still say where the first contact point was?
I first read about Soccer-Fit-You (former company name) on social media in 2018. It was about the prevention of torn cruciate ligaments and knee injuries. I didn't take it seriously and was convinced that it wouldn't happen to me anyway.
Torn cruciate ligament - it was a brutal shock
After the injury was before the comeback program. This is how Jan Mathis' road to recovery went:
Until it happened to yourself?
Yes, one week before the start of the season I tore my cruciate ligament in a preparation game. It was a brutal shock at the time. For me there was always just football, four or five times a week. All of a sudden it was no longer possible. And then I came into contact with B42 again and came across the rehab guide.
What was your reason for going with the Rehab Guide?
The health insurance company had paid for 30 minutes of treatment with a physiotherapist. But it felt like nothing had been done for months; I felt bad. At some point I was at a point where my physio wanted to send me back to the field. But I was sceptical and got a second opinion from a knee specialist. He clearly advised against it and at the same time told me that I could get fit again faster and more lastingly with the exercises of B42. From then on I trained with the app (download link to our Android or IOS version) every day.
Did you have a specific goal in mind?
Yes, our local derby against VFL Brochenzell, which was to take place ten months after the operation.
Conclusion of the app: absolutely positive
What was your experience with the app?
Absolutely positive. I was able to put more and more weight on the knee, was able to do endurance runs at some point and had the feeling that the work was paying off. When I went back to the physiotherapist in Munich three months later, he was delighted with the progress. And he then gave me the green light for the derby.
So you were fit again, but then you started training with B42 to get in even better shape? Can you tell us about your experiences here?
There were two points: Firstly, I always had a lot of questions for the fellas working at B42, who always answered me in no time on Instagram or Facebook, which I thought was very good. It also showed me that the team is passionate about what they do and everyone knows what they are talking about.
And the second point?
I simply wanted to do more. I had played one more game in the season that was coming to an end and it was summer break. I wanted to use the time to attack fully and start the new season in top shape.
In fact, after that I was in the shape of my life as the app promises. I came back stronger after a 10-month injury phase and played 26 games between August and the Corona forced break, almost all of them over 90 minutes. Before that, I had heard over and over again that you would never be as strong as before after such an injury. My teammates would also confirm that I have never been so fit. I also never had any muscular problems again.
Getting physically fit for central midfield
12 weeks of hard and intensive work. This is what Jan Mathis looks like today:
How exactly did you train?
At the beginning very variable. I always went through individual weekly programs or chose the exercises myself according to my daily form. When I was tired from team training, I rather did mobility exercises, on other days rather demanding workouts. And later came the Gamechanger of course, where I mainly focused on muscle building.
We often get the feedback that the Gamechanger is effective, but also incredibly exhausting. What motivated you personally to carry out the program for 12 weeks?
After my injury break, I basically had the claim to become fitter than everyone else and was willing to do more for that. And soccer had one big goal: to play in the center. But for many years I was denied that because I was physically too weak. The Gamechanger has changed that. I have gained a lot of muscle mass. The dark side was: I didn't eat well. Unfortunately I did not only gain muscle mass.
But also in fat?
Exactly, I wanted to be more athletic and defined so I changed my diet later. I read up on the subject in the Nutrition Guide – you can find for free in the app (download link to our Android or IOS version) - and calculated my calorie requirements. Using another app I tracked my diet accordingly.
What does that mean in kilograms?
I started in January with 83 kilos and in May I still had 75 - without noticeably losing muscle mass.
"A lifestyle I can maintain in the long term"
I can see that. Do you have any personal tips on how to stay disciplined this long? We know the traps: Pizza, ice cream, candy, booze, everywhere. Are you immune?
No, I feel the same way. When I'm at the Italian restaurant, I don't order a salad (laughs). So I tried to find a middle ground. My motto: The whole week counts. During the week, I ran a significant calorie deficit and had a very disciplined diet: few carbohydrates, a lot of protein and as a balance a significant calorie deficit. On the other hand, I can treat myself to a pizza or a kebab at the weekend without a guilty conscience. In this way, I have developed a lifestyle that I can maintain in the long term and that really does me good.
Finally a question, without direct reference to training. B42 consciously stands up for more respect and a fair cooperation - against racism, homophobia and other forms of inhuman behaviour. Does that play a role for you?
Yes, absolutely. Of course I became aware of B42 primarily because I wanted to improve my athletic performance. But I think the personal contact with the B42 team and the values that are lived out are great and I can absolutely support them.
Thank you very much for the interview, Jan!