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In this podcast, I interview Fernando, who read my book Bigger Leaner Stronger and joined my one-on-one coaching program to take his health into his own hands, lose over 55 pounds, and get leaner and stronger than ever before. The improvements to his physique are obvious, but more importantly, Fernando built a more resilient body that made him capable of not only playing with his kids, but taking up mountain biking and avoiding injury. And what he learned about nutrition not only fixed his relationship with food, but allows him to adjust his diet to his needs and get results on command. This is his story.

Before finding my work, Fernando was over 230 pounds, sedentary, and so out of shape that he couldn’t play with his kids. That was the trigger that motivated him to finally make a change. He read my book Bigger Leaner Stronger and joined my coaching program, and over the next year, made dramatic improvements to his physique, health, and mindset.

In this interview, Fernando and I chat about . . . 

  • How he fixed his relationship with food
  • How he strategized cheat meals to not derail his progress
  • became in control of his health
  • How he used his fitness not only to avoid previous everyday pains, but avoid future injuries
  • How he used fitness to take up a new, active hobby, not just to look good
  • Trusting the process, enjoying the journey, and learning to be good enough (not perfect)
  • And more . . .

So if you’re looking for a jolt of inspiration and like motivational stories, definitely listen to this episode.


0:00 – Legion VIP One-on-One Coaching:

12:29 – When did you decide to make a change? 

14:29 – What were your numbers after following Bigger Leaner Stronger and joining our coaching program? 

20:11 – What’s your weekly workout routine? 

22:46 – How did my program change your relationship with food? 

32:20 – How did you avoid hunger when you were cutting?

39:13 – Did you have any cheat meals?

42:22 – Did anything surprise you with your transformation? 

51:42 – Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

Mentioned on the Show:

Legion VIP One-on-One Coaching:

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


Mike: Hello, hello, and welcome to another episode of Muscle for Life. I am your host, Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today for another installment in my Success story series of episodes where I talk to people who have used my work. Sometimes they have read a book, sometimes they have signed up for my one-on-one coaching.

Sometimes they’ve just read articles and listen. To podcasts and used a book or an article podcast, coaching to drastically improve their fitness and their health, and in many cases, many aspects of their life. As anyone who has gone through a transformation of their own, knows that once you start improving your fitness, improving your health, once you start improving your body composition, you start exercising regularly, eating well.

You can’t help but also improve your mental health and your ambition and your relationships and your work and so on and so on. And so in this episode, I talked with Fernando who read my book Bigger Leer, stronger, and then signed up for my one-on-one coaching program, and he lost over 55 pounds and he fixed his relationship with food.

Which is a huge achievement for not just improving your body composition and improving your health, but maintaining it. Because of course, the goal is not to just achieve a certain body composition or a certain level of health it is then to maintain that or something like that indefinitely, and developing a healthy relationship with food is, Is really an underrated form of self-mastery, I think.

But maybe that’s, uh, fodder for another episode. And anyway, coming back to Fernando, he made a lot of very obvious improvements to his physique, but he also was then able to enjoy playing with his kids more. He took up mountain biking, something that he. Always wanted to do or, or wanted to do for some time, but just wasn’t fit enough to do it.

So he started doing that and he has avoided injury. He has taken some falls in his mountain biking that he did not get hurt because of his fitness, because he’s strong. If he. Did not do his strength training. He is certain that he would’ve had some pretty bad injuries, and the strength training has prevented that.

And he has also, again, found a way to eat the foods that he likes on a schedule that he likes, that allows him to maintain the body composition and the health that he likes. And before Fernando found my work, he was over 230 pounds. He was sed. He couldn’t even play with his kids. And so it’s a pretty cool story.

Uh, at least I find it fulfilling because this is the kind of stuff that got me into the fitness racket in the first place. I started with writing books and I’ve continued to do that and I’ve continued to write articles and record podcasts. Because this is the work that I do that matters the most. It’s even why I started Legion.

I started Legion not just to sell supplements and to make money, but actually to create high quality supplements that do work, uh, exactly as they are promoted. So that’s. Creating good formulations, you know, science backed ingredients, science backed doses, natural ingredients, nor artificial ingredients that might impair health, especially if you eat them every day forever.

Also though, to create good educational material and to get. People who are initially only interested in supplements to get interested in learning, reading articles, listening to podcasts, reading books, because what they do in the kitchen, in the gym of course, is far more important than what pills, powders, or potions they swallow.

No matter how effective those pills, powders, and potions are, because natural supplements are just supplementary by nature, you don’t need any to achieve your health and fitness goals, although, Can help. And if you have the budget and the inclination, I think it’s worth considering at least taking some, like a protein powder, a good multivitamin of fish oil.

And so on. But again, you don’t have to, and so I, I started Legion primarily to just find a way to get more people into my educational work. Some people are out there looking for books and articles and podcasts. Okay. I have stuff that they can find and. . They can read my books and articles and listen to my podcasts, but there are many people out there who are not looking for educational material.

They’re just looking for quick fixes. Sometimes they’re just looking for a supplement, something they can take that they hope will help them lose fat faster, for example. Okay. I have a couple of product. Can help you lose fat at least a little bit faster. But of course, what is most important is that you understand energy balance, and macronutrient balance Well, how do you get that person who just wants the supplement to care about energy, balance, and macronutrient balance?

You have to get ’em into your orbit. And then you have to educate them. You have to show them, and you have to get them to understand that supplements are supplementary. And so anyway, I’m, I’m kind of just rambling here, but, uh, I, I like these episodes. I, I like hearing the, the impact that my work is having, and I like sharing them with you, the.

Listener, because I hear from many people who find, they get inspiration from these episodes because they often see a little bit of themselves in this case, Fernando, and they think, Hey, Fernando sounds kind of like me. I, I’m, I’m, I’m outta shape. And you know, I, I resonate with this guy. He seems to think like me, and if he can do it, why can’t I do it?

So anyway, I hope you like this episode and thanks again for, But first, how would you like to know a little secret that will help you get into the best shape of your life? Here it is. The business model for my v i p coaching service sucks. Boom, mic drop. And what in the fiddly frack am I talking about?

Well, while most coaching businesses try to keep their clients around for as long as possible. I take a different approach. You see, my team and I, we don’t just help you build your best body ever. I mean, we do that. We figure out your calories and macros, and we create custom diet and training plans based on your.

Goals and your circumstances, and we make adjustments depending on how your body responds, and we help you ingrain the right eating and exercise habits so you can develop a healthy and a sustainable relationship with food and training and more. But then there’s the kicker because once you are thrilled with your results, we ask you to fire us seriously.

You’ve heard the phrase give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. Well, that summarizes how my one-on-one coaching service works, and that’s why it doesn’t make nearly as much coin as it. But I’m okay with that because my mission is not to just help you gain muscle and lose fat.

It’s to give you the tools and to give you the know-how that you need to forge ahead in your fitness without need. So dig this when you sign up for my coaching, we don’t just take you by the hand and walk you through the entire process of building a body you can be proud of. We also teach you the all important wise behind the hows the key principles and the key techniques you need to understand to become your own coach and the best.

It only takes 90 days. So instead of going it alone this year, why not try something different? Head over to Muscle For That is Muscle O R Life Show slash vip and schedule your free consultation. Call now and let’s see if my one-on-one coaching service is right for. Hello, Fernando, nice to meet you.


Fernando: to be here. 

Mike: Thank you for having me. Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for taking the time to come and share your story. A good follow up. Enrique, your buddy is the last one of these episodes that I recorded. So here we are, small world. Yeah, 

Fernando: it’s awesome. Manrique is, uh, amazing friend of mine. I’m grateful to him for having introduced me to your book and to your stuff.

And, uh, he’s been, uh, a great, uh, partner in this, in this journey. We live in different countries, so we kind of had our own, our own journeys, different stories, but, but in the end, your book and your method really is, is, is at the bottom of it. grateful to you and to him? Yeah, 

Mike: absolutely. And for, for people listening who like me in my work, sometimes people will ask, Hey, what can I do to, is there anything I can do to, to thank you or, you know, support you?

And, and just, just this word of mouth, that’s what I always say, like that helps the most. Just telling somebody about how my work has helped. Or if somebody, you know, with fitness a lot of times, People in our orbits, they, they see the changes happening and, and they want to know, what are you doing? And it’s also easy to say, I’m basically just doing this.

If you just read this book, like, this will give you everything that you need. So I appreciate any and all word of mouth. It, it really is the most valuable type of promotion that any sort of product and service can get. Yeah, of course. 

Fernando: You know, and, and I recommended your stuff to a lot of people. Some people have taken it to heart and, and have it be helpful as it was to me, and others know, you know, so I think at the bottom of it, it’s, it’s kind of like where you are mentally and your, your, your attitude and your motivation, your, your kind of, uh, Willingness to make, uh, to make changes in your life.

And, and different people are in different stages in their lives. So to me, this really came at the right time and, and, and the right advice, and it was just transformational. So, 

Mike: yeah. Yeah, and that’s a great point on, on the timing. It can be discouraging. To try to help people and then see them just ignore your advice and then fall flat on their face and then change nothing.

It can be hard to understand, especially if you’ve already done what they say they want to do or are trying to do, and yet they won’t just follow. Your instructions, so I get it. I get the frustration, but to just your comment, a lot of the times it is just timing. They’re just not ready for what you have to, to offer.

They’re not ready for your advice yet. And so it can, it can. , especially if this is somebody who’s close to you, it can be hard to stay patient when again, the problem seems so simple to you because you’ve already solved it and you’re like, why don’t you just press this button and then press this button and then this one and the problem goes away?

Do I don’t get it? Do you want the problem or do you not want the problem? And I’ve seen this now, you know, I’ve been doing this, uh, for, for 10 years now. 10 years ago is when I wrote the first edition of Bigger Than or Stronger. And you know, my, my email inbox is, I think 200,000 emails sent and received and uh, I guess some of that’s probably spam, but a lot.

But a lot of those are actual conversations. And so I’ve seen though with people if they even stayed kind of loosely connected, or if at least they got some good advice, maybe they didn’t really follow it, then there’s a time and sometimes it. Is because of something bad happens in their life, but there’s a point where then they really decide it’s just not acceptable to have this problem anymore.

It’s not acceptable to not achieve this goal anymore. And then maybe it was like two years ago, somebody recommended uh, one of my books or something and then they decide. I remember Fernando, he did really well and he said I should read this book. I never really did or I did and I didn’t, you know, really do anything with it.

Now I’m gonna take it seriously and so that stuff happens, even though we might not be aware of it. So, you know, that’s something at least that I remind myself. Yeah, for 

Fernando: sure. For sure. For me, that moment was. You know, when I had my, uh, my kids, I have three kids now. They’re, my daughter is nine, and my, my twin boys are eight.

And when they were about two years old, two, three years old, I had gotten to the point where I was really fat. I was, I was about 240 pounds, probably upwards of 30% body fat. By the end, you know, my best numbers, I was able to get down to one 70 at around nine, 10% body fat. When I wasn’t really able to keep up with my kids and play with my kids, and then I knew there was a, you know, there was an issue because in my family, you know, a lot of my family members.

Battle with, with being overweight and with, you know, a really toxic relationship with food. You know, I realized that there was that, that, that I needed to make, to make a change. And also I was, you know, back in my college days, I was an athlete. I, I played, uh, college sports, I played high school sports competitively.

I was a squash player. You know, I knew that eventually I had to get my act together and so I really had to hit. Certain catalysts, obviously with the kids, uh, pictures that I saw of myself, you know. But, you know, I also have to mention, you know, my cousin, uh, who went through similar transformation, uh, he first started talking to me about, this was before I read your book, so when I read your book, It really made a click.

Started talking to me about, about macros and the energy balance, you know, the, the virtue also of, of strength training and building muscle. The whole idea of body recomp rather than, than just fat loss, right. And so when I, when Enrique gave me your book, it just immediately, immediately made, made sense and it struck a chord.

And, and I was in the right moment of my life to, uh, to really make a change. And so I did the program just from the book by myself for about a year. You know, I didn’t really keep track of numbers, but, you know, visually I had a lot of progress. Probably lost 20, 30 pounds doing that, and, uh, brought my strength numbers.

Up from pretty much, uh, zero to, to being able to do some decent squat numbers, some decent bed lifts and, uh, bench press. So, and then when, when the pandemic came around, I started kind of losing my, uh, discipline again. And we got locked. We got locked up. And I started gaining weight again, and that’s when I decided, you know, after two months of, of, you know, going in the wrong direction, I said, you know, this is the right moment to pull the trigger on, on the coaching program.

And so I, uh, I signed up, I went online and I bought my first piece of a home gym equipment, which was pretty much a bench. And one of these like, uh, like, uh, department store. Benches with, with a small barbell and up to, I think it’s, I still have it, about 105 pounds of, of plates. And, and that’s what I, and that’s what I started with.

And that was, that was enough to get me to a place. And then eventually I started buying more. I got a real barbell, I got a, a better squat rack with, with some bigger plate. And some dumbbells. And that’s pretty much my, uh, my go-to setup that I still, I still do. And for me, one of my main goals was to get back in shape so that I could go back to enjoying playing sports.

And um, you know, I knew that that lifting weights and strength training was, was not my end game. It was getting in shape so that I could, you know, enjoy. Just obviously the health benefits and being healthier and looking better, but also getting back onto, uh, onto squash specifically. And so I started en enjoying that again, and I wouldn’t do the, the, the, the high intensity part of the program.

I would play squash instead. And that really helped me, um, sort of catalyze the weight loss and the, the fat loss. And, you know, fast forward to today. I, uh, you know, interestingly enough, I went on a vacation. Maybe a year and a half ago to Colorado and I picked up a, uh, a mountain bike and I fell in love with mountain biking.

And now everything that I did with, uh, with Legion and, you know, these last three years, three, four years, just gave me an amazing base. And I’m really, really enjoying mountain biking and I’m, my training has kind of shifts towards a more cycling focused training. I wouldn’t be enjoying it as much as I am now if I didn’t have the, you know, the base and the, the fitness that I gained through your program.

Mike: And the understanding of how these things work too. How body composition works and how muscle growth works and how strength gain works. And it’s fun to, to hear people that started with just pure strength training and then were able to kind of, uh, parlay that into. Other activities that are more fun. And I understand like even, even myself, strength training is something that, you know, I enjoy training, but I don’t enjoy it as much as some of the people in the gym.

I wish, like they love it. It is every workout I see them there, you know, I have four days a week, I see them there all the time and they are really. For the most part, having fun in their training and for, for me, I, I don’t get the same level of enjoyment out of strength training. It’s something that I will always do for my own personal health and wellbeing.

And it’s also part of my job. But I understand, let’s say, let’s say it weren’t part of my job and you know, I could definitely, although I suppose actually if I think about it, if there was another activity, say it was mountain biking, something physical that I wanted to get into that is gonna put a lot of demand on my body.

I would have no problem bringing my strength training down to one or two workouts per week, and for people listening, you should know. You can maintain all of your muscle and a lot of your strength, certainly with two workouts per week. It could be two full body workouts, it could be an upper, lower, probably be one of those.

Uh, it doesn’t really matter, I guess. Uh, just be personal preference, even, even possibly one. Like full body workout per week. It might be a 60 or 70 minute prob, probably no more than an 80 or 90 minute, but it might be a little bit of a longer workout, but, but just one strength training workout per week is enough to change your physique markedly if you’re new or to maintain.

A really good physique maintain a, a very above average amount of muscle and strength, just one workout per week. And now you have a lot more time. And you could say like recovery capacity to give to squash or to give to mountain biking. And then maybe there’s a point in the future where you’re like, you know, maybe you’re not mountain biking as much anymore for whatever reason.

And then you’re like, all right, I want to go. My one or two strength training workouts, so I wanna go back up to four or five just cause or three or whatever. And you know, so I think that that personal process of learning for you, what is the optimal approach is, is important. And don’t get sucked into just what you see on Instagram.

People training seven days per week and you know, two hour workouts and thinking. If you’re not doing that, you’re not really trying or you’re barely trying, if you’re not training six days per week, that mentality’s ridiculous. 

Fernando: So that’s where, that’s kind of where I’m at right now. The, you know what you said, I’m doing two, I try to get in two good weight workouts, and then I’m doing three, four, sometimes even five.

You know, ride. Or cycling workouts in the week, cuz I’m, you know, with a couple friends, we sign up to these like marathon. We just did one in Guatemala. That’s a three day, a three day stage race. Like these, these challenges that I never, you know, visualize myself being able to do like endurance challenges and obviously changing kind of the priority of the fitness side of things.

One of my priorities is I don’t want to lose kind of the physique that I, that I. Through, um, the work that I. 

Mike: You don’t, you don’t want to probably look like a cyclist, at least what most people and they think of cyclist . 

Fernando: Yeah. Yeah, that’s exactly right. I don’t wanna look like a cy, I don’t care, you know, because I’m not doing this professionally.

I do this for fun, so I don’t wanna look like a cyclist. I like how I look before, so I, I’m doing those two workouts a week and, and, and really I’m keeping my, uh, I’ve dropped a little bit in numbers. 

Mike: Which is to be expected. I mean, there’s the, the reduction in training volume. Um, but then there also is the addition of all of the, the mountain biking and there’s a lot of recovery and there’s a specificity to training that’s important.

Like if, if you are now putting a lot of endurance demands on your, on your muscles, it’s gonna drive adaptations more in that direction as opposed to. Power. The strength and power that maybe you were used to previously. Exactly. 

Fernando: And also on the nutrition side, you know, I think what you teach in your book and in in your content, I really think it should.

Cuz for me it was really like nutrition 1 0 1. I really think with my kids, I’m trying to teach them about, about macros and about energy balance in the house. Cause obviously they’re not, they’re not being taught that in school, but I think it should be of school curriculums. And I’ve had this discussion with friends, um, and it’s really, um, We dedicate so much time in learning different things throughout our lives and something so important as nutritions, what we put in our body, the energy, you know, that our body needs and how, how it works and the science behind it, like the, it should be a, I think, a reprioritization of that in, in the way the school systems work.

Number one, I think it changed my relationship with food, you know, because I know. And, and measuring, I think measuring your food for a certain period of time. I tell people when, when they, either they’ve asked me or, or they’ve seen me, you know, like, they’re like, what are you doing? Like, that’s ridiculous.

And you know, first of all, I don’t do this all the time. It goes in phases and in periods there’s an expression in business that I translate to this. It’s like you don’t manage what you don’t measure. And just taking the time, the TED of, you know, measuring your food and going back to your original question like, what was I eating most of the time I was cutting, right?

I was pretty much using your method. To kind of hack my hunger because, and I heard you talk with Enrique in your pro podcast, and I’ve heard you say this before and I am the opposite as you. My relationship with food was like, I joke around with my wife and, and, and friends. I’ll always be a fat soul.

Like I love to eat and I have, I, you know, I, I’ve always hungry and so. Knowing what the different foods that you put on your plate or that you get served at a restaurant or that come in a bag and you can read a nutrition label and know exactly and know what it’s telling you. It, it really made me change and for the better my relationship with food, like I can now enjoy food guilt free and I can have a nice meal and I know I’m gonna have it and I can, you know, organize myself around it.

Or even on a vacation I can just. Let loose and I know. Exactly what I need to do to kind of go back in the right path. So, and you know, for me, I didn’t have like a set meal plan. Like, especially when I was in the co when a coaching program and doing and doing uh, uh, a cut, I was, you know, managing 15, 20% deficit with some, uh, macro targets.

It also kind of taught me how to cook. I use your, uh, your, your, your book, your, um, shredded chef book, which has some really cool ideas in there. If, if you know people who, who like to cook, I would see my plate. And for some, sometimes I have a little coffee, uh, coffee scale cause I like to drink pour over coffee.

My method was, Sit at the lunch table or dinner table with my wife and my kids with my scale, and I would just take things and weigh it. Obviously, whomever cooked it, I asked not to cook with fats with like butter or too much olive oil if they did, to let me know. That’s actually one of the most important things that I, that I.

Try to explain to people, and it just, and it’s still mind boggling to me, like how, how much misinformation there is around olive oil and fats in general. Like just the idea of like, you know, one gram of fat having nine calories and one gram of carb versus protein, having between three and four calories and understanding which foods had fat and which not like that to.

When I really understood that, that really helped me hack, you know, nutrition because I was never hungry. You know, I was cutting and because of this reshifting of the priorities in your plate to higher protein, lower fat, and, and good amount of carbs, like I was able to. Prolong my caloric deficit and not be hungry.

And that for me was, was, was the biggest, the number one, probably biggest game changer in my journey. More than the, the workouts and everything. It’s just, you know, learning nutrition and, and being able to really understand it and have. You know, help me transform my relationship 

Mike: with food. And, and some people might be surprised to hear that, that, cause you’re talking about weighing food and there’s some people will, I’m thinking of some interactions I’ve had on Twitter, right?

Where I’ve even made jokes like, okay, people will say, if you’re baking and you’re weighing all the ingredients in the recipe, like yeah, of course that’s, that’s smart baking. Otherwise you don. The result you want. But if you’re cutting and you’re weighing your foods to get the result you want, oh, no, no, that’s, that’s disordered eating.

No, just because some people with eating disorders are very neurotic about their calories and weighing everything, and they have weird rituals that they go through a day. That doesn’t mean that weighing your food equals eating disorder, or even that weighing your food is going to give you an eating disorder now.

Commenting on kids. It, it’s not something I would recommend that you have your kids do. I’ve even, I even wrote a little essay on this recently, like research shows that that’s not a, not a good idea to encourage kids to get into weighing food for obvious reasons. Also, with kids, uh, calories and macros, it’s, it’s fine to understand these.

Things, but it’s better to, to just encourage kids to eat a lot of nutritious foods and to eat to the point of satisfaction. Cuz especially with teenagers, I’ll get teenagers reaching out to me, usually girls, but sometimes guys who like teenage boys who want abs and they think maybe they can look like a 20 year old at 15.

They don’t realize that it doesn’t work like that. Um, but you know, I don’t recommend teenagers get into counting calories. And again, focus on, to your point, focus on. Creating a, a healthy relationship with food when you’re young and then hopefully you don’t run into a lot of the problems that people run 

Fernando: into.

Yeah, and just to be clear, I don’t encourage my kids to, uh, to weigh their food. And I explained to them, this is a phase that I’m going through. I’m on this challenge because I did the 90 days, so I told ’em I’m on this 90 day challenge. . And um, what I do teach them is, you know, the composition of the nutrients.

So about, you know, I asked them, what are the three macronutrients in food? 

Mike: No. And that’s, I mean, to your point, that’s just basic education stuff they should be learning in school because as, as we know, I mean, I remember back when I first learned about energy balance and. I had a hard time believing it initially cuz I had read so many things in body building magazines and heard so many things about what drives fat loss, what does not drive fat loss, what you have to do to lose fat.

And once I understood a true axiom, here we have energy balance and then saw it. Actually inaction. I mean, you remember, it’s like, uh, it’s like an epiphany. You, you realize that, oh, it really act actually is this simple that that’s all there is to it. And the same thing with macronutrients, when you understand that, oh, okay, not all calories are equal.

These calories from protein do different things in the body than carbs and fat. These principles form the bedrock of nutrition. And so when you don’t understand that, or worse is when you, uh, have been. Uh, incorrect principles. And so now your assumptions about how your metabolism works and how body composition works are all wrong.

It makes it very difficult, if not impossible to achieve the results you want and maintain them because the goal is not just to reach a body composition one time, it’s to reach it and then maintain your optimal, whatever that is, but maintain your desired body composition for the rest of your life. 

Fernando: and that’s exactly why, you know, I’m so grateful for, for the work that you do because it really teaches you to fish in a way.

It makes it sustainable. Like I know now that I can easily take. A month off, even if I go on a long trip and I know exactly what, what to do to get back on, on a, on, on a healthy, cuz the way I see it is just like you wanna be in a, an a tendency and an ascending tendency towards better habits. And you might have some bumps in the road, some ups and downs.

That’s, that’s what I’m after. And I think you know what you sell on, like, you know, people, and I stuck to the program longer than the three months just because also like Enrique, I like the accountability side of things with the coach, but it’s not because I had to, and now I don’t, now I, I’m not in the program.

And I know exactly what to do to, uh, if, like you said, if I stop, if I stop cycling, if I wanna, you know, I just know how to, how to build my, my plan, my, my plan around nutrition and nutrition on cycling is completely different. And the basis you gave me, this is a parenthesis, is like really. Help me understand why it’s different.

Also, it’s, you know, you’re burning a lot more calories and, and cuz your body’s constantly on. And so my rate goes up substantially. But yeah, it, it’s sustainable and it gives you control over your, uh, your lifestyle. 

Mike: Hey there. If you are hearing this, you are still listening, which is awesome. Thank you. And if you are enjoying this podcast, or if you just like my podcast in general and you are getting at least something out of it, would you mind sharing it with a friend or a loved one or a not so loved one even who might want to learn something new?

Word of mouth helps really big. In growing the show. So if you think of someone who might like this episode or another one, please do tell them about it. You mentioned when you were cutting that you, you were able to work it out so you weren’t hungry. I wanted to come back to that and get specifically what.

You were eating when you were eating, when you were eating your larger meals versus smaller meals, just because honestly, that’s probably like 80% of succeeding in cutting is just not being hungry, , because the more hunger somebody experiences, the less successful they are. Even people who are gritty and who are disciplined, hunger is.

Primal urge that we can only say no to so many times before we just have to start saying yes. And so I’m curious what you did. So 

Fernando: for me it was really easy to, to not have breakfast. I really enjoy. My coffee in the morning and I have a coffee routine where I make my pour over Salvadorian some specialty Salvadorian beans, and it’s not hard not to eat in the morning.

I don’t get hungry in the morning, so I can just kind of go. All the way to lunch. So lunch is really my, my biggest meal of the day. So my 20% cut was at around 19 hun. 1800, 1900 calories approx. And so I would leave those for, for lunch, for lunch and dinner. So my. Call it 40, 50 grams of fat that were, that were in that meal plan were like super sacred to me because I know like fat is kind of what makes food so savory.

So whether it’s from a protein source or elsewhere, you know, I would. Uh, make sure I was, I was really hitting those, hitting those numbers. And also work throws, you know, challenges in the meal plan. I also knew when I was out of the house, cause when I’m in the house it’s much easier because I can, I can meal plan, I have my scale and I, I can really.

Uh, be very disciplined around that, but also having your kind of go-tos when you’re out of the house. When I had to have lunch outside a nice rotisserie chicken meal, like that was a go-to meal, that really made me feel like I was having a, a nice full meal. I would, you know, clock it in at. 900 calories thousand calories with, with some side of veggies, like a half a chicken, right?

Like a half a rotisserie chicken. So that’s, that’s really full. And then like Subway, for example, I knew exactly. What sub I could, you know, I could eat in the size, I could even eat the, the big one, right. As long as I constructed it properly. And that would fit in, in my, uh, in my meal plan. So understanding the concepts and also knowing the ingredients made me be able to be flexible, right.

And, and, and deal with, uh, with life. But yeah, in. I skip breakfast and just my entire budget would be lunch and dinner, and I would leave a little bit of a, of a, of a space for, for a snack, like a, like a late night snack. I would budget my, uh, my chocolate at night, right? Like a, like, like a couple of, a couple of, uh, of, of bites out of a, out of a chocolate bar.

Right. Or, or, or a little ball of, uh, of ice cream just to kind of get that craving, craving out. So that’s really what, what I was doing in January. Probably gonna do a two month cut. I want to get back down to, uh, to 10%, get my power to weight ratio for cycling up. It’s tough when you’re, when you’re cycling because you don’t wanna, you know, when you’re on the bike, you don’t want to be on a diet because you also need to be fueled for the rides and for the, for the training.

Uh, so that’s gonna be an interesting c. 

Mike: Yeah. And then the wild fluctuations, the energy expenditure, make it a little bit trickier too, as you know, where you’re bur you’re burning thousands of calories on one day and then thousands of calories lasts, uh, the next day because you’re not biking on that day, as you know.

You just have to get a little bit more detailed with your meal plan. You have to. No. Okay. On your cycling days, where are you gonna get those extra couple thousand calories? Cuz you don’t want to end the day in a 2000 calorie deficit. You’re not gonna be feeling good if you’re doing that too often. Yeah, 

Fernando: exactly.

The timing of it, the timing of it is, is, is important. And also, you know, considering. When, when you do those two, three hour rides, I have to be taking in carbs while on the ride. Right. Um, fueling those rides, because if not, you’ll just, you can just bon and not have a good time. That’ll be interesting. But yeah, I feel like, like all the work that I did with, uh, with the coaches at Legion and, you know, the.

The knowledge that I gained through through your books is, is, is really, um, a fantastic base obviously for having a healthier, healthier lifestyle. But in my case, I view myself as an amateur athlete, so it also works for that. 

Mike: You’ll have to play around with a couple of approaches and see what works best for you.

But something that I know does work well for, for many people who are really into endurance training is on those really high calorie days. Those are usually around maintenance calories. Like they’re not really actually even trying to be in a deficit on those days. And then, and then on rest days is when they’re in.

And sometimes, sometimes they’ll even be a little bit aggressive on, so let’s say they have like two rest days in a row. On one of those rest days, they might eat only a thousand calories, just basically protein on that rest day and then, and then a smaller deficit maybe on the next rest day. You’d have to see how your body responds.

But generally, I will say if you were to shoot for probably maintenance calories on your tough rides, you know, especially if you’re ha if you’re eating while you’re on the bike and then you save the deficit for lower energy expenditure days. And then you also can use a smaller deficit too. It requires a little bit more precision with your intake.

You’re willing to weigh things and you know what that looks like. And so instead of trying to average a 20 or 25% deficit, you might find that a 10% deficit works better for you. And then when you’re feeling really good, occasionally you throw in the large deficit day here and there just to. Just to get three days of fat loss in one day.

You know what I mean? And, and what about, what about, uh, cheat meals or as I like to call ’em, treat meals? Was that a thing for you? That’s a good 

Fernando: point. That’s a good point. Yeah. Those were so important for me. Uh, that one meal a week with my coach, he would tell me, Planet plan ahead. You know, write it down and really think what you’re gonna have for that, uh, and enjoy it.

And, and that really worked for me. It would, it would work for me. It would really kind of free me up on the weekends, you know, on the weekends here, uh, we usually head out to the beach or, or, or somewhere outside of the city. It was fun to, to, to have that cheat meal. It was important because it would just be one day to, to really enjoy the foods that, that i, that I like.

So I would plan around it. I would either, you know, have some, some really good barbecue or the, the burger and fries or even, you know, the pizza nights or, or whatever. So the cheat meal. The cheat meal, the once, once a week cheat meal was, Uh, was important, but I also had to kind of not go overboard because when you have a, you know, a, a sustainable but relatively small deficit.

There was a couple of weeks where my, I wasn’t hitting my numbers because I think I, I went overboard on, on the weekend and maybe it wasn’t just a cheat meal, but it was a cheap. 

Mike: And so yeah, if it, if it’s two or three days of a lot of food and then you add in alcohol, unfortunately yeah. The alcohol 

Fernando: is the killer.

Mike: Yeah. And not, not the, as you know, I’m sure you’ve experienced, you can have alcohol and, and still lose weight and get healthy and stay healthy, but, Correct. Yeah. And, and you just have to understand that mixing alcohol with a very high calorie, high fat meal, if you do that too often, what ends up happening is your body ends up storing maximum.

There’s maximum fat storage occurring basically. So like as an individual meal, that’s about as fattening as you can get high fat and, and alcohol. And, and as you had commented earlier, it’s not. High fat meals. Who drinks olive oil or just eats avocados? No, no, no. It’s always a lot of fat and a lot of carbs and very little protein.

You have that combination you add in alcohol, and again, it’s okay if you understand that you, you just can’t end the day in like a 3000 calorie surplus with a bunch of alcohol on top of it. Or if you do that, it needs to be every once in a while it can’t be every Friday. . 

Fernando: Yeah, for sure. For. And honestly, Mike, you know, I did that a couple of times and I found myself trying to catch up, but it would just, it would just kind of derail the program, but in the end, like it wasn’t even that big of a deal because in that moment, because you, you’re kind of trying to hit.

Targets and be disciplined. It’s like, but in the long run, like the tendency was just again, uh, in the right, in the right direction. So no, 

Mike: you don’t have to be even close to perfect with any of this stuff. You just have to be good enough most of the time. Exactly. Looking, looking back on your transformation, does anything stand out as like, particularly surprising to you?

Fernando: Not to be redundant with, with Enrique, but. When you get the hang of it, just how easy it is, and obviously it requires some discipline and what we discussed in the beginning, like just the willingness to, to change and, and to be ready mentally. But once you’re over that, like, and, and sort of the cloud of all the noise around health and weight loss kind of, you lift it up through all this knowledge, you know, it’s just, it’s really simple, you know?

It’s, it’s incredibly, to me liberating because like I said, in my family, we, you know, I’m extremely grateful for, for my family, but in the eating respect and in the food relationship side, Definitely, definitely needed some outside help with that. And, and once, once I got the hang of it and once I understood it and I started seeing results, you know, realized that it’s empowering, right?

It’s empowering and it’s liberating and it’s not that that complicated because like you said, you know, you don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to be perfect all the time. And it’s also. Flexible and there’s, there’s tricks and things that you, that you can use to, to enjoy food, to enjoy working out and, and yeah, it was surprising after a while how, how easy it got.

Right. That’s fantastic because at any time in your life, you can, you can just be sort of in control of, of your health, things you can control in your health, right? There’s, there’s obviously a lot of things that we can’t control in our health. Genetic things, uh, environmental things and pandemics or whatever, but the things that you can control, it’s really, it’s really liberating and, and it’s not that complicated if, if you dedicate some time, effort, and discipline to, to understanding these, these things that you know are part of our 

Mike: humanity.

Yeah. Yeah, so true. And there are also a permanent improvements too that we’re making to our body strength training. It likely. Produces permanent enhancements, just even at a, at a muscular level. And there’s probably a lot that that scientists don’t understand about what else might be either improved for a long period of time or again, permanently like so for example, muscle memory.

People have heard of that. That’s a thing. If you’ve built muscle at one point and then you stop training, you’re completely detrained. You have lost everything that you gained. You’re going to regain that muscle a lot faster it took to gain it the first time around. And again, scientists think that is probably because there are permanent changes that are occurring at a cellular level.

And so even if you fall out of it, let’s just say on with, with a physique, right? Even if you fall out of it and you lose it completely, You can get it back a lot faster. You not only have the knowledge and so you, you already have the confidence. You already did it Once you know exactly what it takes and, and then you also now have a physiological advantage.

And the same thing goes with, with dieting and fat loss. The fact that you know how it works and you’ve already done it, it just makes that, once you decide to do it again, in your mind it’s almost a, a fa it’s almost a, it’s almost done. Like cuz you know? Yep. I’m committing to. I already know how this works.

I know exactly where my calories need to be. I know exactly the foods that I need to eat. I know exactly how I like to eat them. And two months later you mentioned, okay, I wanna do a two month cut, 10%. In your mind, there’s nothing intimidating about that. You’re just like, yeah, I think I’m gonna do that.

This is why. Okay, this is how I’ll do it. And, and now it’s just a matter of going through the motions until you’re there. That’s. 

Fernando: Yeah, a hundred percent. And to add to that, another benefit for me, and this is purely anecdotal, and I’m sure there’s science around this, but for me, being an amateur athlete and with squash and with, uh, with cycling, having muscle, just from an injury prevention standpoint, I feel that my body is a lot more durable.

You know, I’ve taken falls and I’ve, and I’ve, and. Had situations if, if it were my old me on the bike or on the court, like I would’ve gotten totally injured, I would’ve gotten, you know, uh, dislocation or, uh, it really, it really just strengthens your, your skeleton right. 

Mike: Yeah, I mean your bones, I mean your bones actually get stronger as well.

Your bones 

Fernando: get stronger, but then around your bones there’s more, there’s more structure and so that’s one of the perks for me. Yet it’s nice to look good and everything, but for me it was also always about using that fitness for something and, and so there’s so many benefit. To, uh, you know, strength training and, and I think that’s, that’s one that shouldn’t be overlooked for sure.

I haven’t, I haven’t gotten injured. The last, you know, the last three or four years seriously injured. I used to suffer also from just like lower back aches or like, Like I would have, um, stiff neck for three days because I slept in the wrong position because there was no muscle around my, my frame. And I haven’t suffered any of that, any of that in the last, you know, three, four years.

Mike: Yeah, I mean, it’s a little bit counterintuitive because, you know, I, I’ve heard from many people over the years who have had these issues and the idea of like going in the gym and straining their body even more, the idea that that’s going to make aches and pains go away seems a little bit counterintuitive.

Like think of lower back issues. Is it intuitive to, to think that deadlifting can improve, like your lower back, uh, situation? I understand why many people are like, no, my back, my lower back already bothers me enough and I’m not gonna deadlift, but we, we know that. That is, is an example of an exercise that is great for, for not just strengthening, well really ev your entire body, but but also for helping resolve back issues, particularly lower back issues.

Some of that is a little bit of the mystery of pain. There’s a lot about. Pain that scientists still don’t understand. And so I know that one prevailing theory is that by doing regular strength training workouts, we’re raising our physical pain threshold. So we might still have pains, but we’re actually just not aware of them anymore because of our regular.

Training. And so that could also help explain why you might have experienced this. I’ve experienced this where if we stop training for, uh, a week, two weeks for whatever reason, we might notice some odd aches and pains that we don’t normally have. I’ve experienced that before. And then we get back in the gym, back into our routine up and it’s gone and it doesn’t come back.

And so again, counterintuitively strength training can help. Aches and pains away, even though it does sometimes produce aches and pains. , 

Fernando: no, a hundred percent can, uh, can relate to that. 

Mike: Well, yeah, I mean, uh, just, uh, and then on the durability point, of course that makes perfect sense, right? Uh, having stronger muscles and having stronger tendons and having stronger bones.

Yeah. All of that means less injury or fewer injuries, less severe injuries. And so for all those reasons, strength training, there’s probably not a sport out there that strength training. Benefit. Uh, even, I don’t know, even people who are like, I think, what do they call it? Curling, you know, where they’re, they like run along and they’re like sweeping the little disc.

Like even curlers probably are doing strength training and uh, ping pong, you know, whatever, uh, pros are, are probably doing strength training. So no matter what sport, what athletic activity you might wanna do, strength training can help. You know, I, I, I’ve been into, in and out of golf over the last number of years and.

It’s starting to become more of a thing in golf, but for a long time, strength training was not a thing in golf. And finally, some younger players got the idea that maybe I should get strong. Maybe that’s gonna help me and, um, help them a lot. It helped them with their performance and their durability.

Aches and pains started to go away and they were able to then practice and play more and not have to take as much time off or not run into, cuz golf’s a weird asymmetrical puts, you know, weird strains on the body. Um, so, so anyway, uh, you know, the, it’s all, all great information and, uh, I’m excited to, for you.

To get into your, to your cut, to improve your weight to power ratio, I think you said, and before we wrap up here, is, is there anything else that, uh, you know, I haven’t asked that, that I should have asked or anything else kind of bouncing around in your head that you wanna say? 

Fernando: I think it’s been a great, a great conversation, Mike, and, and I appreciate you guys, uh, reaching out and, and everything you do and.

And, uh, honestly I was, I was a little hesitant. I’m very private with, with my life and, and you know, I realized that if my story can, can help somebody really transform and, and be healthier and, and motivate or whatever it is that gets them. Gets them going, you know, I, I’m grateful for, for the opportunity to do that.

And so, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s been quite a journey actually. That’s one thing that, that I think we haven’t talked about that you, that you always talk about, it’s the process, right? Like enjoying enjoying the process, you know, focusing on. Progressively getting better and enjoying that. The process, uh, whether it’s on the nutrition, whether you’re on a cutting or a bulking phase or in strength training in, in whatever phase you are in your health journey.

You know, I think it’s really, really, uh, one of the things that, that I learned through the program was to, to see it as a process. Yes, we wanna see results in the end. If you trust the process, the results are gonna, 

Mike: Yep. Yeah, you can’t be too results focused or it, you get impatient and you can get demotivated, but if you focus on specifically what that process looks like, so you focus on hitting your calories for the day, hitting your macros for the day, close enough, good enough, getting your workouts done, and just focus on, you know, I think of what the Jerry Seinfeld approach, I think it came from him of like, every day that you do what you need to do, you, you.

You make an X on the calendar, and so you get this string of Xs going and then you don’t wanna, you don’t wanna break your string, and you just focus on those things that are right in front of you and just executing on few key tasks that you have. And then you understand that the results come always.

They always come so long as you just focus. On putting the next X on that calendar, you know, that’s of course a lesson that applies to, to, to any activity that takes time and takes effort. And that requires just that consistency, right? Being great at being consistent. I mean, I think that’s what a lot of people who are great at things consistently.

Nobody’s consistently great by their standards. Like people who are really good at things, we might look, even think of like athletes. We might look at a professional athlete. We might watch them every day practicing and playing and we think, oh wow, that’s just, that’s non-stop greatness. No, it’s not actually, not at their level.

And they could. They could explain to you if they had footage, they’d be like, all right, this day was garbage. I was actually, I was so bad on this day. Let me show you now. You might not know it until they show you and you’re like, I don’t know. It still looks pretty good to me. But objectively speaking, at their level, it’s not consistent greatness.

It’s just great at being consistent. They, they show up, they do what they need to do, and they understand that some days are bad than others. But so long as they are following a plan that is well designed and that is based on workable principles, eventually. They will get to where they want to be. And so, you know, fitness is a, it’s, it’s a good exercise, uh, in that it’s a good lesson to to experience because it’s something you can take to other areas of your 

Fernando: life.

Oh, a hundred percent. A hundred percent. I love what you just said. I wrote it down and I like that. Great at being consistent. 

Mike: Yeah. Who did I steal that from? That might have been from, Peak, uh, peak Performance, A good book by Magnus and Stohlberg. Um, somebody else said that and it stuck in my mind, and so now I say it sometimes, but, you know, and, and to be fair, I guess they probably, somebody else probably who knows who originally said it.

But it’s a good, it’s a good concept. 

Fernando: It’s a great concept. It’s a great concept. 

Mike: But, um, but hey, this was a great, great conversation, great story. Again, I really appreciate you taking the time and you know, I always hear from people who listen to these episodes and get that inspiration to start or to restart.

Fernando: I was one of them. You know, I, I, I listened, you know, I listened to a lot of your podcasts. I hadn’t listened to it for a while, to be honest. Cause you know, I went on this, on this, uh, cycling tangent, but I did, I’ve listened to so many of your, you know, probably 2018, 19, that, that phase, and yeah, so, so I’m super happy that, that we got to do this and, and grateful for, for everything you do. Keep doing what you’re doing. And, uh, thank you so much for having me. 

Mike: Yeah, thank you. Lots more to come from, from my end. Well, I hope you liked this episode. I hope you found it helpful, and if you did subscribe to the show because it makes sure that you don’t miss new episodes. And it also helps me because it increases the rankings of the show a little bit, which of course then makes it a little bit more easily found by other people who may like it just as much as you.

And if you didn’t like something about this episode or about the show in general, or if you. Uh, ideas or suggestions or just feedback to share. Shoot me an email, mike muscle for, muscle f o r and let me know what I could do better or just, uh, what your thoughts are about maybe what you’d like to see me do in the future.

I read everything myself. I’m always looking for new ideas and constructive feedback. So thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you.

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