The UK’s biggest pro-sporno goes primetime
A few years back, I wrote about YouTube ‘pro-spornos’such as Jeff Seid and David Laid – self-objectifying and self-monetising shredded young men whose aesthetically impressive, under-dressed bodies arouse fascination, envy, and desire on social media, helping convert others to the sexy cult.
And thus, into loads of filthy lucre.
Matt Morsia, the most successful UK pro sporno – or ‘fitness vlogger’ – was criminally missing from that line-up. His channel Matt Does Fitness now has 2.21M subscribers. He has endorsement contracts with several companies, including Gymshark and MyProtein. He makes in a few weeks what he made in a year as a PE teacher.
A former Olympic triple jumper, then powerlifter, then – the real hero of our times – aesthetic bodybuilder, Morsia, 36, has an intensely social-media friendly physique and face. He also has – and I confess this has been the fulcrum of my interest – a phenomenal muscle bubble butt that he loves to show off and make jokes about, dubbing himself ‘Gym Kardashian’.
Married (to a woman), he has a very knowing, flirtatious relationship with his audience, not a few of whom are gay and bisexual males who aren’t at all inhibited about showing their fulsome appreciation in comments on his Instagram.
But of course, being a spornosexual, his body is democratically available for everyone’s pleasure, regardless of gender or sexuality.
He is, in other words, like all spornosexuals a shameless tart. Or, in his own words: “I’m the biggest exhibitionist.” This is of course exactly what you need to be to become a successful YouTube ‘fitness’ star. (Though it could be argued that Matt – I feel I’ve watched enough of his videos to call him by his first name – is one of the biggest Only Fans stars who isn’t on Only Fans – though this clip does look like it totally belongs on OF.)
The same obsessiveness, exhibitionism and attention to detail that has created his gob-smackingly sculpted body is applied in his videos – there are now over 1300 of them – and in the many hours he spends personally editing them, rather than hiring someone to do it for him. Matt is an auteur sporno.
But his very British self-mocking sense of humour about his self-objectification and his exhibitionism makes him relatable and likeable, despite the other-worldly body. He also knows that he is first and foremost in the business of entertainment and makes his videos as entertaining as possible. (Even if he does use the word ‘sick’ far too much.)
He is also not just an unfeasibly pumped and pretty pair of buttocks, he has a degree in Sports Therapy and Exercise Physiology, and cuts through a lot of the faddish bs spouted by influencers when it comes to diet and tells the unpalatable truth that if you take in more calories than you burn you will put on weight. That the only way to lose weight – or rather, fat – is to be in calorific deficit.
His 2020 book The 24/7 Body is very readable and conversational, but also packed with sensible advice along those lines, and contains the important admission that he is not like most other humans. That he is a genetic freak. He has, like most pro spornos and fitness ‘influencers’, a metabolism like the sun. Hence all those eating challenges, when he eats nothing but boxes of donuts for a day.
And hence why you should be careful when listening to fitness influencers’ advice about diet.
‘The sad truth of social media is that, when it comes to selling training programmes or ebooks, no amount of client testimonials, years of experience or even PhDs can make up for an aesthetic physique. There are seventeen-year-olds selling training plans on social media, plans which thousands of people are buying, all because they have a six pack…’
He knows of course that no one would be listening to him if he wasn’t hench and shredded, in part because of the accident of his genetics.
Lately, he has brought his big little brother into the topless workout business, which is perhaps a riff on the stereo-sporno appeal of male fitness model duos like the Harrison twins. His brother is blessed with the same genes, and is certainly a nice-looking lad, but it’s clear that he doesn’t present any threat to Matt’s charisma or limelight.
Why am I finally getting around to writing about him? Well, he’s been in the news lately, because he’s part of the latest reboot of the naff 1990s proto-sporno ITV show Gladiators – now moved to BBC1– in which bodybuilders in shiny dayglo spandex tried to knock members of the public, or ‘contenders’, off raised platforms with giant ear buds. Presented as family entertainment, it was as much about voyeurism as Baywatch, which came after it on a Saturday night.
Gladiators had a big impact on young Matt at the time, who posted on his Insta, announcing his ‘Legend’ persona on the relaunch:
‘The 9-year-old me would absolutely lose his mind and I can’t believe I’m writing about this but Saturday nights on BBC One are about to get wild because… I’M GONNA BE A GLADIATOR. I watched every single episode of the original Gladiators as a kid back in the 90s (had a life size poster of Wolf on my wall for like 5 years) but I can finally announce that LEGEND is about to become the sickest Gladiator the world has ever seen.’
So, it seems entirely apt that Matt should end up on a (no doubt sexed-up) reboot of a TV show that helped turn him into the highly successful pro sporno he is today.
It’s also further testament, if it were needed, to the pulling power of self-made social me-dear stars – and how so-called mainstream media now needs them to attract younger viewers its lost to… YouTube.
Matt appearing on This Morning in character as Legend.