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I’ve written and recorded a lot of evidence-based content over the years on just about everything you can imagine related to building muscle, losing fat, and getting healthy.

I’ve also worked with thousands of men and women of all ages and circumstances and helped them get into the best shape of their lives.

That doesn’t mean you should blindly swallow everything I say, though, because let’s face it—nobody is always right about everything. And especially in fields like diet and exercise, which are constantly evolving thanks to the efforts of honest and hardworking researchers and thought leaders.

This is why I’m always happy to hear from people who disagree with me, especially when they have good arguments and evidence to back up their assertions.

Sometimes I can’t get on board with their positions, but sometimes I end up learning something, and either way, I always appreciate the discussion.

That gave me the idea for this series of podcast episodes: publicly addressing things people disagree with me on and sharing my perspective.

Think of it like a spicier version of a Q&A.

So, here’s what I’m doing:

Every couple of weeks, I’m asking my Instagram followers what they disagree with me on, and then picking the more common or interesting contentions to address here on the podcast.

And in this episode, I’ll be tackling the following . . .

  • You’re downplaying the pandemic and being insensitive.

Mentioned on the Show:

Books by Mike Matthews

What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!


Hello and welcome to Muscle for Life. I’m your host, Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today. Now, I’ve written and recorded a lot of evidence-based stuff over the years on just about everything you can imagine relating to building muscle, losing fat, and getting healthy. I’ve also worked with thousands and thousands of men and women.

All ages and circumstances and helped them get into the best shape of their life. But that does not mean you should just blindly swallow everything I say, because let’s face it, nobody is always right about everything, and especially in fields like diet and exercise, which are always evolving thanks to the efforts of honest and hardworking researchers and thought leaders.

That’s why I’m always happy to hear from people who disagree with me, especially when they have good arguments and evidence to back up their assertions. Sometimes I can’t quite get on board with their positions, but sometimes I end up learning something and either way, I always appreciate the discussion and that gave me the idea for this series of podcast episodes, which I call says You, where I publicly address things that people disagree with.

And I share my perspective. It’s kind of like a spicier q and A. So what I do is every couple of weeks I ask people who follow me on Instagram at Muscle Life Fitness, please follow me what they disagree with me on, and then I pick a few of the more common or interesting contentions to address here on the podcast.

So if there’s something that you disagree with me on, and it could be related to diet, exercise. Supplementation business, lifestyle. I don’t care anything. Go follow me on Instagram at Muscle for Life Fitness and look for my saysyou story that I put up every couple of weeks where I solicit content for these episodes.

Or just shoot me an email, [email protected]. And in this episode, I’m going to tackle your take on Covid Suck. Why that? Well, recently I shared my personal experience with Covid. I got it a month or so ago, and I got mildly congested for a few days and that’s it. And I explained on the podcast here several episodes ago why I wasn’t surprised that it was.

So mild that that was the most likely outcome given my age and given my health status and why I now subsequently care even less about Covid as far as my personal health is concerned. I said that many months ago when the data. Made it clear when there was enough data for me to, I believe, not worry about it.

Again, for my personal health, not talking about giving it to others or not talking about the impacts it has had in the world, just my personal health. I was explaining why I was not worried. About getting covid and then I ended, I ended up getting it and it didn’t do anything, and so I shared that as well.

And I talked about, for example, that if I were going to worry about what Covid could do to me, this is before I got it, I’d also have to worry about something like a daily commute of 10 to 80 miles or a daily 30 to 45 minute walk in a busy city if I lived in a busy city. And other similarly mundane activities that have more or.

The OR that carry more or less the same statistical risk as covid if we’re talking about putting me in the hospital or killing me. Another way to look at that is. If I told you that I was scared of driving every day to work 20 or 30 miles, let’s say, or if I told you that I was scared going for a walk every day if I lived in Washington DC and I went and walked around for 30 to 45 minutes in Georgetown maybe, and that that scared me, that I was afraid of dying during either of those Activit.

How would you respond? You probably feel bad for me. Right? And maybe you try to explain how the risk posed by those activities is so small that it doesn’t really warrant much concern or any concern at all. While I was applying the same logic to Covid and my own personal health and most people, based on the feedback I.

Took my point, but I did also receive some pushback. So I thought I’d address the disagreements in, or the themes, I guess, of some of the disagreements in a says you episode. Also, if you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my health and fitness books. Including the number one best selling weightlifting books for men and women in the world.

Bigger, leaner, stronger, and thinner. Leaner, stronger, as well as the leading flexible dieting cookbook, the Shredded Chef. Now, these books have sold well over 1 million copies and have helped thousands of people build their best body ever, and you can find them on all major online retailers like Audible.

iTunes, Cobo and Google Play, as well as in select Barnes and Noble stores. And I should also mention that you can get any of the audiobooks 100% free when you sign up for an Audible account. And this is a great way to make those pockets of downtime like commuting, meal prepping, and cleaning more interesting, entertaining, and productive.

And so if you want to take Audible up on this offer, and if you want to get one of my audiobooks for free, just go to Legion. That’s b u. and sign up for your account. So again, if you appreciate my work and if you wanna see more of it, and if you wanna learn time proven and evidence-based strategies for losing fat, building muscle and getting healthy, and strategies that work for anyone and everyone, regardless of age or circumstances, please do consider picking up one of my best selling books.

Bigger, leaner, stronger for Men, thinner, leaner, stronger for. And the shredded chef for my favorite fitness friendly recipe. Okay, so one criticism that I’ve heard from some people is that I am downplaying the pandemic and I’m being insensitive to the plight of millions. Uh, this to me is just a non-sequitur ad hominem attack that really doesn’t deserve much of a response because I explicitly state.

Previously that my flippant attitude wasn’t toward Covid generally, but only to the risk that it posed to me personally. Just me personally. And I wasn’t saying that to brag either. I was just sharing my position because many people over the last year or so have asked me, am I personally worried about Covid?

What is my personal position on it? And I also will always continue. To take precautions to not get others sick, including good personal hygiene, including avoiding contact with sick people whenever I can, uh, quarantining when I’m sick. That’s something that I did before Covid, for example, if I had clear symptoms of a cold, I wouldn’t go to the gym because one, I don’t wanna get others sick.

And two, I know that it’s just gonna. My illness worse, so it’s a lose. Lose. Why bother? And I also would quarantine in my house away from my family. So I would sleep downstairs in the basement and I’d basically just kind of stay in the basement because I don’t want to get my kids or my wife sick, even though it’s just a cold.

Getting sick is annoying. So I agree with those. Simple things that we can do to stay well ourselves and help others stay well in the past, I never wore a mask when I was sick, but I would consider that as well, especially if I’m sneezing, because it may help reduce the chances of my kids and my wife getting sick if I’m sick.

Right. And. So specifically when I had covid, a couple of people had commented. I guess they had assumed that I just treated it like nothing, and I just went about my normal daily life because I was mildly congested. No. What I did is once I had symptoms and I learned that I was in contact with somebody who had covid and I was around them, they were coughing.

So I. It, I’m probably tainted at this point. I went and got tested right away and tested positive for antibodies, and then I quarantined. So I went and, uh, I was in Florida staying with my parents as well, and they are in their sixties and they’re healthy. So statistically the risk is, it’s not very high for them either.

But again, uh, I don’t want to get them sick with Covid or anything else. So I, I have a condo in Florida, so I went and stayed in my condo just by myself, and then waited for my symptoms to go away. That was three or four days, and then waited nine days after that, nine or 10, uh, before really doing anything.

Like, didn’t go to, I didn’t have a home gym to work out in, unfortunately. And I didn’t use the gym in the building, and I ordered groceries on an app, which I would do any anyway. And I would go outside for a. Uh, twice a day, but I wasn’t around anybody and I was happy to do that. I didn’t see that as an infringement on my freedoms, on my rights to go out and get other people sick.

No, it’s just good manners. It’s just the right thing to do. But anyway, coming back to this criticism of me not. Taking this thing seriously enough, let’s reframe it real quick. Flu and pneumonia have been killing hundreds of thousands of people per year for decades. And if I were to say that’s terrible, but I myself am not concerned about getting flu and then having it, getting the flu and having it turn into pneumonia, and then having that hospitalized me or kill me because the data says that it’s very unlike.

To happen. If I were to say that, would you think that I was being callous? Of course not. You would probably feel the same way yourself. Now, COVID is worse than the flu, of course, but you have to understand how worse and for whom, and let’s get into that because some of the other static that I received indicated that some people, many people.

Have not looked very much into the data we have on who is most impacted by Covid. And so these people mistakenly think that this disease is more universally dangerous than it really is. For example, according to research that was published in July of last year, so at that time the average Britain thought that 7% of the population of the United Kingdom had already been.

By the RONA, and it was 10% for the average Scott. Now, today, nearly a year later, the official number of deaths in the UK is 128,000, or about 0.2% of the population. Many people also don’t seem to understand that the infection fatality. Ratio I F R of 0.5 to 1% does not apply equally to all age groups and health statuses.

For instance, according to the latest c’s, current best estimate scenario for people aged zero to 17, the I F R is 20 over 1 million or about. 0.02% and for people aged 18 to 45, it’s 500 over 1 million or about 0.05%. The risk of death then jumps sharply for people who are aged. 52, 64. That is 6,000, over 1 million or zero point.

6% and then it grows by a factor of 15 for those over 65, and that’s estimated at 90,000 over 1 million or 0.9%. And if you dig into that data even further, you’ll learn that the average age of death by Covid is 82.4 years old in countries where the average life expectancy is in the low eighties. And according to a new report from the CDC, about 70.

Percent of the people who were hospitalized placed on a ventilator or died from Covid were overweight. That’s 27.8% or obese, 50.2%. What’s more? 41% of people under 65 who were underweight. Had a 41% higher risk for hospitalization than those with a healthy weight. And all of this is why David Spiegel halter interesting name, but he is the chair of the Winston Center for Risk and Evidence.

Communication at Cambridge University said it’s very difficult to estimate mortality risk when you have something that varies by at least over 1000 fold. Depending on your age or risk factors, the average is pretty pointless. Last year, professor Spiegel halter crunched the actuarial numbers and he determined that the chance you have of dying from covid, if you catch it, is roughly the same as your risk of dying over the coming 12 months anyway.

And because the Covid death rate appears to have fallen since then due to a number of factors, including better hospital treatment and also possibly people getting. Viral loads because of the various measures that are in place. Professor Spiegel halter reckoned in November of last year that Coronavirus gives you about six or nine months worth of risk of dying rather than a whole year’s worth.

He also tweeted last year in November, two charts with data from March and October from last year that showed an incredibly close correlation between covid fatality risk and overall mortality risk. And this was just based on age, so it was not including other comorbidities. And the data suggested that getting C O V D doubled the risk of dying that you would normally have in the coming six to nine months.

Now, depending on. Old or unwell you are. That might make the risk of death in an absolute sense, a lot more significant, but it also may not, for instance, an increased risk of death from, let’s say 0.01 to 0.02% is a 100% increase. But is it meaningful? Do you even. Now some people have said, well, okay, fine, if we’re talking about serious illness or death, I take your point, but what about long covid?

Isn’t that a reason to be afraid of the virus? Isn’t that a much larger concern if you’re not? In a high risk group, and yes, that is a larger concern for sure. Recent data suggests that as many as one third of people who get covid experienced symptoms for longer than the usual two weeks. Don’t confuse that though.

You may have seen that headline. Don’t confuse that. For the risk of becoming a long hauler, though, they’re calling them. These are people who have persistent long-term symptoms like persistent. Fatigue, brain fog, trouble breathing, and so on. Just as with the infection fatality ratios, the details matter here.

According to a study conducted by scientists at Kings College London, only 13% of Covid patients observed. Had symptoms lasting for at least four weeks and four and a half percent stayed ill for eight weeks, and merely 2.3% suffered for longer than 12 weeks. And to put those numbers in context, according to 2015, research about 10%.

Of people who get the flu are still sick after about 14 days. So again, COVID poses bigger risks than the flu, but it helps to understand how much bigger in real numbers. Now, continuing on long Covid researchers also found that older people are much more likely to get long covid than younger people. And as expected body weight comes into play with people who developed long covid, having a higher average b m.

Than those with short covid. So if you are a young or relatively young, even healthy person at a healthy body weight, what are your chances of becoming a long hauler? They’re quite low and. Oh, what’s that? Oh, you also work out, you also exercise at least 150 minutes per week. Well, shit, that’s even better because in a study conducted by scientists at Kaiser Permanente, patients with Covid who were consistently in act.

Were 226% more likely to be hospitalized. 173% more likely to be admitted to an intensive care unit, and 149% more likely to die than those who exercised at least 150 minutes per week. And just as a quick aside, if you are someone who exercises a few hours per week, your personal risk of hospitalization or worse from Covid is going to be lower than the statistics that I.

Shared with you, because those are population level statistics. Those don’t take into account the details of your lifestyle. The data also doesn’t tease out comorbidities, other health conditions, which can make a big difference if we’re talking about mortality, right? A 65 year old healthy person who has no major disease or dysfunction is in a very different place as far as their statistical risk from Covid is concerned than a 65 year old person.

Lung disease or heart disease, or renal disease, or cancer or obesity. As I’ve mentioned,

if you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my health and fitness books, including the number one best selling weightlifting books for men and women in the world, bigger, leaner, stronger, and thinner. Leaner, stronger, as well as the leading flexible dieting cookbook, the shredded.

Now, one other point that has been mentioned in the feedback that I got on this earlier episode was the situation where you have low risk people living with high risk people. And in that case, of course, I would recommend behaving differently than a low risk person would behave if they lived by themselves or maybe lived with one or more low.

People. But it is an interesting exercise to do a little bit of math to see the risk profile that a household faces when you have low risk people living with high risk people. Let’s run through it quickly. So first we have to understand the prob. That a member of the household gets covid, right? So there’s a percentage chance that they’re gonna get covid based on how they’re living.

Then we have to calculate the probability of them getting covid and being asymptomatic. And you would do that by first multiplying the probability of getting the disease in the first place by the probability of being asymptomatic, which is about 17% according to a recent meta-analysis. Next we have to calculate a bit further to estimate the chances of a household member getting covid, being asymptomatic, and then giving it to someone else in the household.

And we would do that by taking the probability that we just calculated and multiplying it by the chances of giving it to someone else in your household. And a data point that could be useful for that is from a recent study that was conducted by scientists at the University of. And elsewhere in the world, and they estimated that probability to be about 16%.

So when you multiply all those things together, that gives you a data based approximation of the risk profile that this household is faced with. And just so you understand how this works, let’s say that given the current lifestyle of the people in the household, one individual, we’ll just pick. One of them has a 5% chance of catching covid sometime in the next year.

Now, given what I just laid out, what do you think the chances of that person becoming an asymptomatic spreader and then giving it to someone in the household are? Well, it is quite low. It is 0.1%, and that math works like this. Point zero. That is the probability of this person getting covid in the first place times 0.17.

That is the probability of them being asymptomatic times 16. That is the probability of them then giving it to someone else in the household and 0.1%. Is one in 1000. So if we viewed that differently, that means that this person could live that year 1000 times in a row, just again and again, like a, a Montecarlo simulation, and they would only become an asymptomatic spreader and give covid to someone in the household.

Once. Now, if you wanted to fully understand the risk profile for this household, you’d have to go through the same process with each member of the household, right? And some people may have a slightly higher chance of getting covid over the next year. Maybe one of the people works in a hospital, for example, or works in a grocery store where there are lots of people or works somewhere else where the risk of infection is higher than the 5% number that I just made up.

And for some people, the risk may be even lower than. Anyway. My point with that little exercise was just to show how I tend to view things like this, and this is how I have been viewing covid for myself and for my household, for my family, for my kids. For example, the data that we have on Covid indicates that, ironically, the flu appears to be more dangerous to children than.

And if you don’t believe me, here, I will quote from The risk of complications for healthy children is higher for flu compared to covid 19. So anyway, to wrap up here, if you are someone who is at risk, if you are older and you have. Health problems, or maybe you are very overweight and maybe you’re not that old.

You’re just very overweight and you are taking measures to avoid covid. And you are asking people who live with you to do the same thing, to be careful and to wear a mask and to wash their hands and maybe to get vaccinated. And maybe you are considering getting vaccinated as well, or maybe you already have been vaccinated because you.

That the risks of vaccination are much lower than the risks of Covid, then I totally understand if I were in a high risk group or if the risk that Covid posed to me were at least significant enough to be concerning to me, then I also would be extra careful about not getting it. And if the problem were obesity, I probably would work on that.

That’d probably be my top priority is to not be obese or even just overweight. Not be overweight, get to a healthy body weight, and that would mean restricting calories, of course, but I also would be exercising regularly. One, because of course that’s better for losing fat and losing weight, especially if you spend most of your time training your muscles, because then you’re gonna gain muscle and gain strength and lose fat.

But then two, remember I mentioned earlier in this podcast that exercising at least 150 minutes per week appears to greatly reduce your chances of getting messed up by Covid. And so what I would hope to be able to do through losing fat and gaining muscle and gaining strength and getting fit is lower my personal risk enough to where I no longer had to worry about it again for my own personal health.

And you know, for what it’s. Through my work. I do help a lot of people lose a lot of fat and gain a lot of muscle and gain a lot of strength and get in there at least 150 minutes of exercise per week. And so I feel good that I’m able to contribute to a solution or at least part of a solution to this problem in a meaningful way.

The more people I can help get fit, the fewer people we are likely to lose to Covid. Going forward, and as much as I would like to believe that one day Covid will be fully in the rear view mirror, I don’t know. The consensus among the virologists and other experts I’ve checked out and I’ve read from and heard from is that this virus is never going away.

That this type of virus mutates too much to eliminate through vaccination. It’s going to be with us forever, so we’re gonna have to learn how to live with it. And some people are hoping that they can just get vaccinated every six to 12 months for the rest of their lives and that will keep them protected.

While others don’t quite like the sound of that, including many people I’ve spoken with who have already gotten the vaccine, they are not planning as it stands right now. To get it every six to 12 months forever. They are very much hoping that is not going to be necessary, and that there are going to be other options and we will have to see, I guess we’ll have to see how all of this plays out.

For example, are we going to have an effective treatment? That would be a game changer, but regardless of where things go from, What we already know is having a healthy fit body that you train regularly helps, and it can help a lot. All right. Well, that’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting and helpful.

And if you did, and you don’t mind doing me a favor, please do leave a quick review on iTunes or. Wherever you’re listening to me from, in whichever app you’re listening to me in, because that not only convinces people that they should check out the show, it also increases search visibility, and thus, it helps more people find their way to me and learn how to get fitter, leaner, stronger, healthier, and happier as well.

And of course, if you want to be notified when the next episode goes live, then simply subscribe to the podcast and you won’t miss out on any new stuff. And if you didn’t like something about the show, please do shoot me an email at mike muscle for Just muscle f o r and share your thoughts on how I can do this.

I read everything myself and I’m always looking for constructive feedback. Even if it is criticism, I’m open to it. And of course you can email me if you have positive feedback as well, or if you have questions really relating to anything that you think I could help you with, definitely send me an email.

That is the best way to get ahold of me, mike muscle And that’s it. Thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you.

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