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Enjoy San Joaquin Valley Living

Dr. Matt’s V-fit Premier Fitness and Wellness Institute in Tulare

Dec 26, 2019 11:00AM ● By Kayla Anderson

Care For Yourself

January 2020
Story by Kayla Anderson
Photos courtesy of V-Fit by Dr. Matt

IN JUST A FEW MINUTES of communicating with Dr. Matt Gaston Villanueva, one gets an overwhelming sense of hard work, passion and expertise that he brings to the table in the health and fitness world. And fortunately for the people of Tulare and beyond, Villanueva has opened the V-Fit Premier Fitness and Wellness Institute as a conduit to share what he has learned to help improve the lives of others. Now a successful fitness trainer, athlete and highly regarded entrepreneur, Villanueva has helped transform the habits and lifestyles of hundreds of people through his tailored fitness training programs that allow people to age gracefully, healthily and happily. 

Born and raised in Visalia, Villanueva developed his positive outlook from his supportive parents who he says instilled values that encouraged him to pursue his dreams. A bit competitive in nature, Villanueva began his health and fitness career in high school playing basketball, baseball and football. As he got older, he shifted his focus to take on more self-imposed challenges in the gym. However, Villanueva’s first real foray into the fitness world was when he was 19 years old and took on entry level jobs at a wellness center acting as a weight room and group exercise instructor. Concurrently, Villanueva attended Fresno State University and later the University of Southern California, eventually earning his PhD in biokinesiology with an emphasis in applied clinical exercise physiology. 

Now after a decade of high-level education and hands-on experience, Villanueva uses his talent to transfer his elevated quality of life to others through V-Fit. 

“One of my daily affirmations is I don’t ‘have to’ do what I do, I ‘get to’ do what I do, and it’s a beautiful, unique and irreplaceable chance to transform and evolve, to serve and help others and to give back,” he says. Villanueva works with all types of personalities, from Olympic athletes to those looking to reverse life-altering conditions or simply get thinner. 

One of the keys to healthy aging that Villanueva thinks is overlooked in the fitness industry is sustainability, which he believes is imperative to short-term and long-term success. Villanueva emboldens people to take a holistic approach to their health that they can maintain all year long, conjuring up a plan that includes preventing injury and staying healthy. 

Creating a solid, comprehensive and sustainable fitness plan takes some work, and it took Villanueva awhile to get there, but now he’s at a point in his life where he’s able to pour an immense amount of energy into his work and personal life and recover well in the process.

“Making fitness a true lifestyle means you come to unconditionally value the hard work, dedication, sacrifice and perseverance that it takes to make it to the top,” Villanueva says. “And better yet, you come to feel an unconditional and constant sense of gratitude for the opportunities to pursue your passions and to attain goals that bring out the very best in you.”  

For those looking for an immediate change, “Dr. Matt” doesn’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to fitness or that people need to spend an inordinate amount of training; they just need to take some time to clearly define their goals and why they want to achieve them. Then Villanueva works with them by prioritizing time efficiency, individualization, progressive overload and execution. 

“For most, it’s simply a matter of accountability, receiving proper instruction, attention and guidance, reinforcing a ‘sustainability over everything’ mindset, and making their fitness, health and wellness a priority,” Villanueva says. 

“Along everyone’s fitness and wellness journey there comes at least one moment when you need to decide. You’re a bit drained from work, you have errands to run, you have a family that you constantly think about caring for, etc. Still, no matter what your life demands are, the need to take care of your health, body and mind will never go away. And we cannot take care of others unless first we take care of ourselves,” he adds. •

V-Fit Premier Fitness and Wellness Institute
1030 E. Walnut Avenue, Tulare • (559) 786-5749
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 Kayla Anderson is a freelance writer, marketer and action sports enthusiast who grew up wakeboarding on Lake Shasta and learning to ski at Mt. Lassen. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Chico State University.