Love Island’s Matthew Zukowski has shared a surprising insight into what it’s really like being a contestant on the popular reality show.
The season two runner-up, who was an international model before appearing on the series in 2019, tells Yahoo Lifestyle he definitely felt pressure to have the ‘perfect body’ while filming in Fiji.
“You've got to think about it, Love Island is gonna be watched by millions of people around the world judging you on the way you look because you're shirtless literally the whole time,” he shares.
“If you had a shirt on, producers would ask you, ‘Are you feeling okay?’. You have to have your shirt off, so there's obviously a lot of pressure around that.
“But I think it's not right to set that expectation to the general public because obviously people who go on there are training very hard and they're doing those fad diets and they're not in a healthy headspace because what they're doing is they’re skipping meals and starving themselves to get there.”
While Matthew admits he tried his best during filming to forget that the public was watching, he still felt pressure to look a certain way for the other Islanders.
“You’ve got to remember, at the end of the day it is a competition and you're competing with other guys to look good so girls pick you and stay with you,” he says. “So we were training in the makeshift gym that they had there to try and stay lean.
“The prep [to get on the show] is probably the easier part. Once you get there there's not a good gym and you can't go for a run or anything like that. They're giving you your meals as well, so you don't really get to have the luxury of getting the right portion size and the right nutrition.”
'Summer body balance'
Following his appearance on Love Island and years of living an “unhealthy” lifestyle in the modelling world, Matthew has now teamed up with Youfoodz to encourage Aussies to forget about getting ‘summer body ready’ and instead prioritise ‘summer body balance’.
“Back when I was modelling, it was obviously a very competitive industry,” he details. “I modelled overseas in Milan and London and you’re versing people from all around the world, and essentially, they want you to be skinny. Like, they want you to be really skinny.
“I just felt like I was in a s**t headspace back then and I wasn't looking after myself. I wasn't staying on a balanced diet, I was doing these fad diets that wouldn't last, and I would splurge and eat unhealthy stuff and beat myself up. So I feel like having that balance really is better for my mental health now that I'm doing it.
“Youfoodz offers you the right portion size with the right nutrition so you can just get it right then and there. They even deliver to your door so it takes all the stress away. I'm also a busy guy, so it saves me from cooking my meals and I can just heat them up in three minutes.”
Matthew adds that his biggest tip for achieving a balanced approach to fitness and health is to not beat yourself up if you slip up, skip a training day or eat a block of chocolate.
“Once you get into the headspace of trying to be so strict on yourself, that's when you're going to break, so it's about balance,” he says. “It's about looking after yourself and doing the right amount of things, then you’ll get the best result.”
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