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How Mitchel Used Bigger Leaner Stronger to Lose 20 Pounds and 10% Body Fat

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"I'm jazzed about inspiring others through my ongoing BLS journey as I prepare to embark on my first lean bulk."

Mitchel's Progress

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How many months’ progress do your pictures represent? What were your stats for each picture?

These pictures represent 4 months progress.

Before: 159 pounds, 19% body fat.

After: 139 pounds, 9% body fat.

What has happened so far on the program?

After 3 years of excessive, grueling high-intensity interval (HIIT) cardio, I was not impressed with what I saw in the mirror for how hard I was working and how much I was spending. Also, I was usually the only dude sweating my face off in a group of over 20 women.

After cracking the cover of Bigger Leaner Stronger, 4 months of cutting resulted in 20 pounds of fat loss. At 9% body fat, both my wife and I can see my abs. Hooray!

Body fat percentage was measured using the AccuCheck 3000 caliper at the Suprailiac, you know the spot, just above the iliac crest of the hip bone. This millennial had to accept a fundamental truth of the universe, there are no shortcuts to cutting.

Those 20 pounds of body fat took four years of binging on cheap beer and cheesy pizza, they’re going to take 4 months, not 4 days, to shred. In October, I plan to start my first lean bulk of a 10% calorie surplus while carrying the Legion duffel, a gym bag of superlative accommodation.

My strength has progressed from being a guy scared to go near the squat rack to deadlifting and squatting my body weight (140 lbs) once a week, tracking my workouts on the Stacked App while I wait for Mike to take his sweet time working with Apple to release the updated version.

What workout split from the book did you use?

5-day full body split, you know, the “push-pull-legs” routine while paging through Bigger Leaner Stronger for a second time on the Kindle App.

What, if anything, almost kept you from buying the book or starting the program?

Resistance to change, I liked the cardio I was doing, heck, exercise was exercise, so I thought, but all my working out was not, well, working. Mike’s Muscle For Life Podcast hooked me while I was out working in the field. His abs spoke to my emerging mid 30s gut.

He came across like a straight-shooter with upper management written all over him. His commitment to evidence-based science, no-nonsense straight talk, and moral integrity were alarmingly rare in the fitness space.

Bigger Leaner Stronger was cheap compared to the $100/mo. I was shelling out for unfruitful cardio and $130/month for tasty water worthlessness from a local supplement shop.

Mike’s whey protein isolate comes from small dairy farms in Ireland, so you know the top shelf stuff from “spiked” imposter proteins. If Legion were sold in stores, you’d have to ask the manager to open the cabinet with a key.

What do you like most about the program?

Following the Bigger Leaner Stronger program took longer than expected. But this says more about my unrealistic expectations. As a millennial, I expected “body recomposition” to take two, maybe three weeks at most.

Quick promises produce just as quick failures. After a few months staying the course, getting serious about energy balance and macronutrients, and cooking recipes out of The Shredded Chef, I finally started seeing results slower than expected but better than I could have imagined. Oh yeah, my wife had a baby daughter in those 4 months heavily impacting our sleep hygiene.

How does this program compare with others you’ve tried?

Mike is the first to equip me with a basic understanding of the diet side of building your best body ever. Abs are seriously built in the kitchen. Four months of conscious dieting and resistance training with Bigger Leaner Stronger blew three years of eating whatever I fancy and high-intensity cardio out of the water.

Four months ago, I had never seriously lifted weights ever in my life, my physical activity was limited to expensive cardio, scuba diving, skateboarding, and riding a rusty bicycle once a year when my car needed a clutch replacement.

How has what you’ve achieved with your body changed other areas of your life?

Spiritually I have not noticed much of a difference, although I find myself being more mindful in decision-making throughout the day, particularly pertaining to food. In my family, my wife is inspired to try strength training and compliments my physical appearance when I disrobe before bed, causing me to feel like a superhero.

My baby daughter enjoys looking at trees pass from her stroller on daddy’s fat-burning walks after work. Vocationally, my focus has improved in the office where I need to be able to give three hours of undivided attention every morning and afternoon to professional writing, ensuring premises support conclusions, and synthesizing environmental data.

Socially, my friends have yet to un-friend me but my best friend did move to Missouri but not because of Bigger Leaner Stronger. Financially, I’m saving fistfuls of dollars on fruitless HIIT cardio and overhyped supplements, the Legion duffel even has a spare compartment for a Health Savings Account.

Personally, I’m jazzed about inspiring others through my ongoing Bigger Leaner Stronger journey as I prepare to embark on my first lean bulk.

Who would you recommend this program to and why?

Anyone looking to get into the best shape of their lives. This is because four months ago I didn’t know “come ‘ere” from “sick ‘em” ’bout diet, nutrition, resistance training, what macros were, energy balance, physiology, or duffel bags.

Now, I’m 20 pounds, of fat, not muscle, lighter, and looking forward to Mexican Meatloaf from the Shredded Chef for dinner.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

If you’re a few months in and thinking about throwing in the towel, grab a spare towel from your Legion duffel bag and stay the course. Those twenty pounds of body fat took several years to put on, they’ll take several months to shed off. For the fellas, abdominal fat will hang on for dear life.

Abdominal fat is as stubborn as a mule but stay the course, keep moving, and running a daily calorie deficit. The first pounds go off quick but the last few take time and you become lethargic. Be as patient with yourself as you would be with a dear friend.

Remember, the #1 regret of the dying, from Bronnie Ware’s The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, is “I wish I had lived a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” Rome was not built in a day; Roman bodies aren’t either.

Did you use any Legion supplements?

Whey+ Protein (dutch chocolate, mint chocolate, peanut butter chocolate, mocha cappuccino are my favorites.)
Phoenix fat burner
Forge pre-workout fat burner
Pulse pre-workout

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Want to become a success story too? Here's how he did it

The program that made this transformation possible:

The meal plan that makes building muscle and losing fat easy and enjoyable:

Mike Matthews is the founder and CEO of Legion as well as a bestselling fitness author of several books, including Bigger Leaner Stronger, Thinner Leaner Stronger, and The Shredded Chef.

His simple and science-based approach to building muscle, losing fat, and getting healthy has sold over a million books and helped thousands of people build their best bodies ever, and his work has been featured in many popular outlets including Esquire, Men’s Health, Elle, Women’s Health, Muscle & Strength, and more, as well as on FOX and ABC.

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