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Are home saunas worth it? Should you wear a glucose monitor? What are my thoughts on the Liver King scandal? Tips on reducing muscle soreness and beating a strength plateau. Why am I not more jacked? Do hip thrusts live up to the hype? All of that and more in this Q&A podcast.

Over on Instagram, I’ve started doing weekly Q&As in the stories, and it occurred to me that many podcast listeners might enjoy hearing these questions and my short answers. So, instead of talking about one thing in an episode, I’m going to cover a variety of questions. And keep in mind some of these questions are just for fun. 🙂

So if you want to ask me questions in my Instagram stories, follow me on Instagram (@muscleforlifefitness), and if I answer your question there, it might just make it onto an episode of the podcast!

If you like this type of episode, let me know. Send me an email ([email protected]) or direct message me on Instagram. And if you don’t like it, let me know that too or how you think it could be better.


0:00 – Find the Perfect Strength Training Program for You:

2:34 – What do you and your wife use for birth control?

6:15 – Is a home sauna worth it?

10:40 – What tips do you have for busting through strength plateaus?

12:10 – I love working out but struggle with calorie intake. Do you have any tips?

15:42 – Are hip thrusts overrated or are they worth the hype?

17:04 – What are your thoughts on the Liver King?

20:28 – What does science say about NAC and glycine supplementation?

21:34 – Will you make bug protein powder?

23:12 – How do I determine the amount of fish oil I need to take?

26:08 – Squats hurt my lower back, is it my form or am I lifting too heavy?

27:57 – Why are you not more jacked?

35:05 – Are morning workouts better than evening workouts?

35:41 – Why are you doing 3 sets vs 4 sets?

37:47 – Does a Green supplement cover all my micro nutrient needs?

38:19 – What are your thoughts on glucose monitors?

40:11 – What is the maximum number of squats and deadlift sets you should do in a week to allow rest in the lower back?

40:35 – Are regular dips better than the dip machine?

41:48 – Is fast food two times a week bad?

42:31 – How can I reduce muscle soreness?

Mentioned on the Show:

Find the Perfect Strength Training Program for You in Just 60 Seconds:

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


Hello. Hello, this is Muscle for Life. I am Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today for another episode where I’m going to be answering questions that people ask me. So what I do is every week, usually Tuesday, Wednesday, maybe Thursday, I will post an Instagram story. Come follow me at Muscle Life Fitness, asking for questions, and then I get a bunch of questions and then I go through the questions and I pick ones that are topical or interesting or just things that I haven’t already answered a million times before publicly.

And then I answer them briefly there on Instagram and then bring everything over here to the podcast to answer them in. Detail. And so if you want me to answer your questions again, follow me on Instagram at Mus Fly Fitness. Look for that story that I post every week. Submit your questions, and if they meet any of the criteria that I just gave, then there’s a good chance I will answer at least one of them.

And so in this episode, I am answering questions regarding saunas, particularly home saunas. Uh, is it worth it? Strength plateaus. How do you break through a strength plateau? The hip thrust exercise, does it live up to the hype? My thoughts on the Liver King scandal, how much fish oil you should consider taking and much more.

Before we get into it, have you ever wondered what strength training split you should follow, what rep ranges you should work in, how many sets you should do per workout or per week? Well, I created a free 62nd training quiz that will answer those questions for you. And others, including how frequently you should train each major muscle group, which exercises you should do, what supplements you should consider, uh, which ones are at least worth taking and more.

To take this quiz and to get your free personalized training plan, go to Muscle For Muscle o r Life show slash training quiz, answer the questions and learn exactly what to do in the. To gain more muscle and strength. All right. The first question comes from anonymous because I don’t have any information on who asked the questions this time around because Instagram was being a bit wonky at the time.

I wasn’t able to get proper screenshots. But the first question is, What you and your wife use for birth control? Sorry for the intrusive question. No worries. I grew up on the internet, so I am essentially unoffended. It is basically impossible to offend me, so no questions are too invasive. Ask away.

Anyway, the answer is, I got vasectomies after the birth of our daughter. Our. Kid that seemed like the obvious move given that we were done having kids, not necessarily because we didn’t want more, but that second pregnancy was pretty tough on my wife, Sarah, and she was, I wanna say thirty four, thirty three when Romi was born, and she.

Wanted to call it quits just because she was concerned that another pregnancy would be a real problem. And I understood. So we decided to call it quits at two, even though we did kind of want a third, but two. It is. And then as for birth control, I didn’t. Want to ask her to get on birth control pills because they can screw with hormones and female health and IUDs can also be an issue and condoms just suck and et cetera, et cetera.

And so I got snipped. And for any guys listening and for any gals listening who want their guys to get vasectomies, it really wasn’t that bad. I think the whole procedure was maybe 20 minutes. 10 minutes per ball, I think, if I remember correctly. And it was a little bit uncomfortable because there is local anesthetic that has to be injected into your nuts.

So I didn’t get knocked out for it. I didn’t want to do that. I just got needle into my ball sack over and over. That was a little bit uncomfortable, but again, not too bad. It’s a small needle. and there was a little bit of pain when he was doing the the cutting, and that was only because I needed some more and aesthetic.

So he stopped and then did that. Cuz basically what he did, I’m assuming this is standard even now, he uses almost like a hole puncher to punch a hole in the. Ballsack and then pulls the little tube out and then snips, uh, a little portion of it, and then cauterizes the two ends of the tube that the sperm flows through.

And you have to do that on each side. So again, let’s say 20 minutes for the whole procedure. And I was in the gym the next day training legs, which he cleared me for. He said, so long as. I was up to it so long as I didn’t have extreme pain before or during training. Sure, go ahead. And I would say it was probably like maybe a six or seven out of 10 in terms of pain slash discomfort that first day.

I definitely felt like I had just gotten a little operation on my balls, but it really wasn’t that bad. Don’t think I even took an Advil maybe. Maybe I took like an Advil or a Tylenol on that first day. But then each successive day was like one point less of pain slash discomfort. So within a week I really didn’t feel anything anymore.

And. For the next, let’s say, year or so. Every so often I would get a little bit of discomfort. I’m talking about like two out of 10, and that would go away within a day or so. And ever since then, it’s been years now, I’ve had absolutely no discomfort whatsoever. And so if you are done having kids and if you want to enjoy sex as much as possible whenever you want to enjoy it, no having to worry about timing or pulling out, then I highly recommend getting VAs victimized.

10 out of. Next question. Is a home sauna worth it? Uh, yeah, I think so. Especially an infrared sauna. I had one in Virginia and I’m gonna put one into the house that I’m building. Well, not the house itself. I’m actually building what I’m calling a fun house on the property as well, that’s gonna have a gym.

I’m gonna put an IR sauna in there, probably a board game slash card table, TV kind of hangout area. A home theater, a storage room, it’s gonna be a fun house, and I’m looking forward to having an infrared sauna again, because in Virginia I was going into it for 30 to 60 minutes a day. I would do it first thing in the morning for probably, man, I guess it was 30 to 60 minutes, and I would just read, which I.

Liked to do first thing in the morning anyway, so I’d get in the sauna. I would read for a bit. Sometimes I would go in later, like after dinner and do a little bit more reading or just hang out with my wife. And by consistently doing that, let’s say on average probably six or seven days per week, I was noticing less joint pains.

Aches, you know, the stuff that kind of just naturally happens when you do a lot of weightlifting, but I noticed less of it when I was going in the sauna every day, which is in line with research on infrared light therapy. Studies have shown that it can reduce joint inflammation and joint pain and joint stiffness, and so I noticed that research also shows that it can improve mood.

It can also support cardiovascular health, blood flow in particular. I can’t say that I explicitly noticed either of those things, mood or cardiovascular health. However, I would get a little bit of a pump when I was in there, which indicates blood flow. There’s also some research that shows that it may enhance post-workout recovery, which I also may have experienced to some degree.

I’m just not sure because I didn’t really track. Scientifically or even remotely, scientifically. For example, I didn’t wear a whoop band or any of these other wearables that track your heart rate variability and assign. I think they also, they take into account your average resting heart rate to assign your a recovery percentage, so I wasn’t bothering with that.

Another way that you can track your recovery without using tech is to simply. Grade your workouts on a scale of, let’s say A to D and an a workout is one that you finished easily. You had a lot of energy, you kind of felt like Superman or superwoman. You could have kept going. You had to kind of force yourself to leave the gym because you really felt good, whereas a D is not even training because you felt so bad, maybe so fatigued or maybe sick or.

Tired, didn’t sleep well at all. Couldn’t train, or maybe you make that an f and d is a workout that you had to cut short because it really did not feel good. You were not having a good time. And so if you grade your workouts, let’s say in your workout journal or whatever you use to track your workouts, if you, at the end of those workouts, assign them a letter.

You can see how that letter trends over time. So if you are seeing a lot of A’s and B’s, so maybe a B is a workout that you finished and you felt good and you did everything that you needed to do, but you didn’t feel like you had that extra gear. That extra gear is the A, right? But if you see a lot of A’s and B’s, you’re probably recovering just fine.

However, if you’re seeing. Cs Ds and then the occasional F. You are probably not fully recovering from your training and it is probably time to deload or stop cutting for a bit. Maybe take a diet break, or maybe it’s time to train a little bit less. Maybe you are really pushing it. You are going five, six days a week, training an hour, an hour and a half per session, really pushing yourself, and you’ve been doing that for some time.

Maybe it’s time to dial that back. Go to three or four days. Bring that volume down. Still train with heavy weights, but just give your body a little bit of a break. Anyway, coming back to infrared saunas. If you want to learn more about infrared saunas, and if you want to look at some of the research that I mentioned, head over legion, search for Sauna, and you’ll find an article on it.

Okay, next question. What tips do you have for busting through strength plateaus? My bench always stalls at a hundred and. Pounds. Well, my best advice here is let’s go for the easy win. Let’s see if there’s low hanging fruit. Before we try to get fancy, just increase the frequency and possibly the volume of the exercise.

So this would apply to the bench press, but any other exercise that you just are stuck on? Usually it’s a big exercise. It’s some sort of squat. It’s some sort of vertical press. It’s some sort of. Horizontal press or deadlift, hip hinge movement, right? So, uh, in the case here, the guy’s talking about his bench press, I would suspect that he’s benching once max twice per week.

He’s probably not doing any more than six to eight total sets per week on the bench press. So if that were true, what I would ask him to do is bench three times per week at least. I would probably start with a Monday, Wednesday, Friday approach or some other variation of that, depending on his schedule.

But three bench sessions per week, and we would do three to four sets per session. And oftentimes that is enough to break through a strength plateau on a specific exercise. Now whole body strength plateaus are, are something a little bit different. And if you wanna learn more about that, head over to legion, search for Plateau, and you’ll find an article pretty in-depth article I wrote on breaking through weightlifting plateaus.

And that’s more like whole body plateaus. Next question is, I love working out and do it consistently, but I struggle to control my calorie intake any. Tips. Well, something many fitness fanatics don’t talk about is how after a point more exercise makes it markedly harder to control your calories because your body needs a calorie surplus to consistently be able to recover from all the training.

And that’s one reason why high volume and high frequency training is not optimal for maintaining a. Physique. You simply have to eat too much food to be able to do it. If you want to train, let’s say, five, six, even seven days per week, I would basically never recommend seven days per week, but some people do it.

If you want to do even a five day per week program, that’s pretty intense. High volume, heavy weights like my Beyond bigger, leaner, stronger program for intermediate and advanced weightlifters. There’s a three day version in the book Four and five, but if you wanna follow the five day version of that program, and I say this in the book that explains everything about the program, why I designed it, the way I designed it, how it works.

I say in the book, don’t do it when you’re cutting. And if you are maintaining a lean physique, which means you already have low body fat levels, which isn’t great for hormone and recovery, it’s not necessarily bad. It depends how lean you are. . Generally speaking, our body is going to feel and perform the best with a little bit more body fat than Instagram would like us to have.

For men, that’s probably closer to 15% rather than 10% or under 10%. In women, it’s probably closer to 25% rather than 20 or below that. And so if you already are lean, you are not going to be able to take as much of a beating as you would if you had a bit more body fat, unless you’re just a genetic freak.

Or maybe you are very young and invincible, you’re 20 years old, but wait until you’re 30 or 40. And if you’re staying that way, that means that you are more consistently in a calorie deficit than a calorie surplus, because that’s what it takes to stay very lean. Done it many times for extended periods.

There’s just no way around that, and that further cuts into recovery. And so as I say in the book, beyond bigger than or Stronger, I do not recommend that the Five Day program, and I don’t recommend really pushing to try to make. Progress on that program, unless you are consistently in at least a slight calorie surplus.

Now, you could be in a slight calorie surplus, five days per week and a bit of a deficit two days per week. If you wanna offset some of that fat gain. So let’s say you’re training Monday through Friday, five days per week, you’re in a slight surplus. And then on the weekends you are in not a, not a huge deficit, but a maybe like a 20, 25% deficit as if you were cutting.

And you do that on the weekends, just. Lose a bit of the fat, if not all of the fat that you gain during the week. In my experience, that can work well. But what does not work well is the reverse of that being in a slight deficit, let’s say Monday through Friday, and then eating a bunch on the weekends, even if it’s controlled.

So you just maintain your body composition. That unfortunately does not work well for recovery and for gaining muscle and strength. And so all that is to say if you are struggling to control your calories, are you exercising too much? Are you pushing too hard in your training? Maybe you need to do a bit less and you might find it easier to control your calories.

Next question. Are hip thrusts overrated or are they worth the hype? Well, the hip thrust is good glued exercise, no question, but it is not the end all, be all that some people claim it is. The squat, for example, is still superior for training the glutes. A number of studies have shown that. So unless you don’t want to train your quads and your hamstrings, Calves and you really just want to isolate your glutes.

I would not recommend neglecting the squat or any variation of the squat. It doesn’t have to be a barbell back squat or even a barbell front squat. I would not recommend not squatting and only doing a bunch of hip thrusts. Again, unless you want that look. I guess there is a look on social media. You see some of these girls whose legs are small and often kind.

Shapeless and then they have these huge butts. Now, a lot of those butts are fake, but in some cases they’re probably not fake. It’s hard to know. If you want that kind of look, then you do want to minimize your squatting because that’s going to grow the muscles in your legs. And again, I guess some women, they don’t want muscular legs.

They don’t really even want defined legs. They just want skinny legs and big butt. Anyway. Next question, liver king question mark. So when I did this q and A on Instagram, this was before Liver King’s lame fake apology. And at the time I simply said, it’s kind of embarrassing to say that I work in the same industry as someone like him.

And, uh, yeah, that’s still true. Of course. Now, most of us, at least most people listening to this, knew that he was on a shitload of steroids, and it’s impossible to look like that without being on a shitload of steroids for a long time. That doesn’t come quickly either. E, even with enough drugs. So, A lot of us knew that, but there are many other people out there, especially younger guys, who are not necessarily stupid, just ignorant.

And we were all ignorant at one point in our fitness journey who simply didn’t realize that you can’t look like that naturally. It’s just not possible. It. Was not obvious to them simply because they had no frame of reference and they hadn’t educated themselves a little bit on what really is attainable naturally.

Like if you look into the F F M I index fat-free mass. Index. And if you wanna learn more about that, head over to legion, search for naturally and check out an article I wrote on how much muscle you can gain naturally. But that is good information to have if you want to judge your own potential for muscularity.

And if you want to get an idea of who might be natural. And who is almost certainly not natural. And so anyway, you have a lot of young guys out there who didn’t know about that or they didn’t know again about how much of a difference steroids really make and how much more muscle and strength you can gain when you are taking the right drugs.

And so they were misled by, uh, liver King, whatever his name is, Brian, or so. I’ll just call him the liver king. And of course that was a big part of his brand in that that’s what got the attention. If he did not look the way that he looks, I doubt the liver king would’ve went very far. And so anyway, his, I’m sorry, I got caught.

Speech was pretty cringe. Whoever wrote that script is really bad at lying. And he probably would’ve just been better off ignoring it altogether or denying it, just saying, I never wrote that email. That’s fake. And just putting the burden of proof back on them and then no matter what they came up with, simply deny that.

Just deny it, and then move on and pretend like it never happened, probably would’ve been a better move because his Sam Bankman freed. Or should I say scam bank run fraud inspired. Confession was, uh, less than convincing. That said, I doubt this will harm his business much. It might even help his business actually, because sometimes there is no such thing as bad publicity, as they say.

And I think the only way that this will take him down, as some people are hoping is if he willing. Quits, which I don’t think he’s going to. And so I don’t think Liver King is going anywhere. I would suspect that his business is, and his personal brand will just continue to grow so long as he keeps up the charade.

Next question. What. Does science say about N A C and glycine supplementation? Unfortunately, N a C appears to be highly overrated, especially when you compare the research to some of the more bombastic marketing claims made by some of the companies that sell these n AAC supplements. I wish they were not the case, or I would be selling one myself and I would be taking one every day, but that’s my understanding of the current weight of the evidence.

Now glycine, on the other hand, it can help your hair, it can help your skin, it can help your nails. In fact, research suggests that some of the beautifying effects of collagen might actually be specifically from the glycine that it contains. So you can also just supplement with glycine specifically for that two or three grams per day.

It can also improve your sleep, and it has an interesting effect in. It can help mitigate the negative effects associated with unders sleeping, although that benefit does seem to disappear after a relatively short period of use, but it’s kind of interesting. Next question, will you make bug protein powder?

Hmm. Something to consider. Well, do you want to eat the bugs? Own nothing, have no privacy, and be happy to paraphrase the World Economic Forum, the vaunted Wek? Or would you rather just eat Klaus Schwab instead? Well, I actually ran a poll on this on Instagram and there were three options. I dream of fruit, fly patties, and meal worm nuggets.

That was one. The second option, if I. The chickens that eat the bugs, does that count? And then the third and final option was just eating Klaus Schwab. Can I just eat Klaus Schwab instead? And 49% of people preferred to just eat the bond villain. And 34% of people went in for the chicken loophole. I think it’s a pretty good one.

And 17% of people want the fruit fly patties in meal worm nuggets, which are coming. Don’t worry, you will be able to eat the bugs. 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. All right. Next question. How do I determine the amount of fish oil? I need to take? Pretty simple 500 migs to one gram of omega three s per day, and the amount of fish oil that is going to be required to get there will depend on the quality of the product and the concentration of the omega three s in it.

But 500 mgs to one gram. Of omega3 S per day is sufficient for general health, and if you want to reduce inflammation in joints, research shows that you need probably around three grams of omega3 s per day. And if you don’t have a fish oil or if you do have one and it is not mine and you have not checked mine out, go check it [email protected].

Bui, that’s what it’s called. It is a reified triglyceride oil. And I explain on the product page what that means and why it matters. It is also sustainably sourced from fisheries that are approved by Friends of the Sea. These are Peruvian deep water fish that are being used to create this fish oil, and it contains very few toxins and pollutants, like extremely, extremely low levels.

I mean, basically what I did when I created the product was go to the market and find the most expensive, highest quality fish oil available. There were a few options, and I chose this one for a few reasons. I liked this one the most. Out of the three to five products on the market that are generally considered the absolute.

Fast, and I did the same thing with my Whey Protein Whey Plus, which is my most popular product, legion’s most popular product. If you look at it in terms of return customers, over 50% of people who buy whey plus for the first time buy it. At least once again, and if you look at total amount of reorders of any individual product way, plus is at the top.

The number two in both of those metrics is my pre-workout pulse, but way plus basically has a cult. Following and one of the reasons why is the material is just extraordinary. When I was sourcing whey protein isolates, it came down to a handful. There was the one I chose, which comes from Ireland. Small dairy farms, family owned, truly grass fed animals like multi-generational farms, great soil, blah, blah, blah.

And then there was a product from New Zealand that was also really. And had similar characteristics. And I believe there was one from Europe, I wanna say Holland, somewhere in Europe. And I chose the Irish because it tasted the best and it had the best mouth feel. And so if you want to check that out, that’s also [email protected], B y

Anyway, that’s enough pitching. Let’s move on to the next question. Is it my form or am I going too heavy? If squats hurt my lower back? I use the Smith. The Smith machine might be part of the problem. It depends on the range of motions. Some Smith machines have an awkward track, like the angle of it is awkward, especially if your anatomy doesn’t play nicely with it.

But you usually can fix that by moving your feet around, moving them a little bit forward, a little bit back. So if that’s not the case, I’m gonna say it’s probably form. And one thing to look for is butt wink. Make sure you are not. Winking at the bottom of the squat, and if you’re not sure what that is or how to fix it, you can just search.

I actually don’t have an article on that. I checked and was disappointed in myself. I am disappointed, but there’s a lot of good material out there. It’s a pretty. Common phenomenon and the fixes are also pretty standardized and easy, so make sure that you are not doing that. Another problem that people run into that causes back issues is when they’re at the bottom of the squat and they’re starting to come outta the hole, as you would say.

They shoot their hips up first, so their hips shoot up. Faster than their shoulders can keep up. And so that puts a lot of stress in the back because it kind of turns the squat into almost like a mixture between a good morning and a squat. If you were doing good mornings though, you’d be using a lot less weight.

And one other thing to check is the bar position. If you. Having back issues or lower back issues. When you’re squatting and you are using the low bar position, try the high bar position because it’s a little bit more back friendly. Next question. With all respect and admiration, why are you not more jacked?

Uh, good question. Good question. Well, I would say that I’ve gained about the most muscle that most natural weightlifters can hope for. So I’ve gained about 45 pounds of muscle. When I started lifting, I was 17. I weighed 155, no more than 160 pounds, which sounds kind of grotesque , but I, I looked normal because my weight’s always.

Oddly low, I’ve always looked probably about 10 pounds heavier than I actually am. It might have to do with small bones. I don’t have a big skeleton, which also means I was not made to be really big and strong. And so that was the beginning. Let’s say 1 55 slash one 60. So I weighed this morning 2 0 2, and I have a bit less body fat now, so I probably started with, call it 12, 13% body fat and now I have probably around 10, maybe 11% body fat.

So I’m even a bit leaner now than when I started and weigh a good. Let’s just say 40 to 45 pounds more. And you know, this goes back to what I was commenting on regarding Liver King. Many people don’t realize that gaining 40 to 50 pounds of muscle as a natural weightlifter, I mean, as a woman, it’s basically impossible.

But as a guy, women can gain about half of that amount. Most swimming can gain about half, let’s call it 25 to max 30 pounds of muscle given their anatomy and their genetics. And for a guy though, to gain 40 to 50 pounds of muscle naturally, that is really good actually. Uh, it’s not outstanding. I don’t have amazing muscle building genetics, but I probably have above average.

I’ve done well and to gain. Any significant amount over that for me would require steroids, period. It would at least require a big, super physiological dose of testosterone. If I did that, I could probably easily put on another 10 to 15 pounds, maybe 20 pounds. It would take a little bit of time, and some of that would be fluid.

Of course, it wouldn’t be all like contractile tissue, but I could. More jacked if I got on steroids, but I don’t want to get on steroids one day, I probably will have to get on testosterone replacement therapy. Maybe not. I mean, I guess I haven’t looked into the research with older men, but there is a point when even the healthiest older men need to supplement their testosterone because it just gets too low as they get older, and there’s a point where it becomes a matter of.

And quality of life. It really has nothing to do with body composition or vanity. It is unhealthy to live with low testosterone levels as a man, like it has actual health ramifications. The risk of various types of disease goes up. And then there’s the quality of life, mood sours, energy sours, sex drive, sours.

When you speak to men who have gone through clinically low, Levels of testosterone you feel for them. It is not fun. And so until then I’m gonna stay natural. And when I guess I say when there is an if, but I’m assuming at some point I’m going to have to get on T R t if that happens sooner rather than later, I would simply tell everybody I wouldn’t pull a liver king, although I wouldn’t get on other drugs.

And I would actually do t r t. I would bring my testosterone up to the level of probably 500 to 700 nanograms per deciliter of blood, which is, that’s normal. That’s normal. Maybe toward high, but not high. The high end of natural is, Probably 900 to a thousand N G D L. That’s about as high as total testosterone ever gets.

Naturally, there are exceptions, but that’s the rule. And oftentimes when you see higher levels of total testosterone, you have. Lower levels of free testosterone than you would expect. And free testosterone is what is free to be used. And uh, my brother had that when he got blood work done in his early twenties.

I think he tested it, about 1200 to 1300 nanograms per deciliter of. Total testosterone. And I know for a fact he was not on steroids. He was actually like pretty small. He wasn’t very strong. He was working out. But his free testosterone was quite low. I don’t remember the exact number, but it was a lot less than it normally is.

Normally, I think it’s around research shows it’s around 3% of total testosterone. I wanna say his was like one, one and a half, certainly no higher than two. So the net effect was not what you’d expect. What immediately jumps to mind is there was a. Maybe he is, maybe he still fights. Uh, I think he was a fighter.

Alistar. Ovre, I believe. Go look that dude up. And he got busted. They say for using steroids because his total testosterone was around the same as my brother. 12, you know, 1300, something like that. And so you have Alistar, Ovre, and my brother. At the time, he probably weighed 160 pounds, maybe 165 pounds, and he had been lifting for maybe a year, and he could squat like 2 75.

Not bad considering his weight, but certainly no allar, overing. Anyway, coming back to the question then. That’s about it. That’s all I’ve got for total muscle. If I have low testosterone, I actually sent off a hormone test today because I’d never done one before. I have no idea where my hormone levels are.

I don’t have any explicit symptoms of low testosterone, although my sleep has been, I mean, it’s been kind of an issue for five or six years. I have trouble staying asleep, and it’s been even worse over the last several months, but that was after my last exposure to Covid and my wife also experienced.

After effects. And so one of the most common covid after effects is sleep disruption. Sleep problems. So I might just be dealing with that. However, I’m just genuinely curious where my, where my hormones are at. So we’ll see where that comes back. And if I do have low testosterone and there’s nothing I can do to naturally bring it up, and I were to get.

T R t I probably would gain, uh, at least a little bit of additional muscle. It wouldn’t be a large amount, though. It might only be a few pounds, so you wouldn’t see much of a difference in my physique and otherwise. Then how jacked I look and how jacked most natural weightlifters look. It really comes down to body fat and pumps.

So as a natural weightlifter, I mean, I guess this applies to drug users too, but drug users generally have bigger muscles that are generally. Pumped all the time, and they can maintain much lower levels of body fat, much easier for long periods of time. So, you know, as a natural weightlifter, you have these periods where you get really lean and then you get all pumped in the gym and you look really good.

And then you put your normal clothes on like a long sleeved shirt and then you look like you don’t even lift and. People ask if you’re sick and what happened. Anyway, next question. 6:00 AM versus 6:00 PM workouts. Most people are gonna find that they’re stronger in the afternoon than the morning, and that’s mostly due to the sleep wake, body temperature, and testosterone cycles.

But when you like to train matters, research shows that working out when you like to train. Affect your performance. You will perform better training when you like to train than let’s say that’s in the morning than training. At times when you don’t like to train, that may be the afternoon. So that’s my best advice is work out when you like to work out.

Next question. I’ve noticed that you’re doing three sets versus four still on beyond bigger, lean or stronger. Did you switch it up? So in my training right now, I am going to the gym. Four days per week, and I have reduced my volume in those workouts by 25%. So instead of doing four sets per exercise, I’m doing three sets per exercise.

In most cases, there are a couple of exercises, shoulders and some pulling, not deadlifting, but some other pulling where I will do four. But that’s mostly what I’m doing right now and I’m doing it for a couple of reasons. One, I was curious to see if it would improve my sleep. I thought maybe I’m doing a bit too much for my body.

Maybe I’m falling behind in recovery and I need to settle down a little bit, and it, it has not affected it at all. Unfortunately. There was maybe a slight improvement initially and then, My sleep went back to, uh, again, having trouble staying asleep. I suspect that it’s related to Covid, unfortunately, so I might just have to wait it out.

So that’s one reason I did it. And then two is I wanna spend a little bit less time in the gym just because I want a little bit more time for work and other things that I have to do. And as I’m only trying to maintain my physique, I’m not trying to gain any more muscle and strength because I have so little left that I can gain.

And if I really wanted to go after it, I’d have to lean bulk. And I don’t really want to get fatter and force feeded myself for months at a time just to gain a small amount of muscle, relatively speaking, and a small amount of strength or, or even a significant amount of strength. And then have. Cut back down and then get back to maintaining what is going to be more or less the same physique.

Like why bother? Why not just maintain what I’m happy with? And that does not require five sessions per week, even though I do like working out. But you know, I continue to do my cardio workouts and I’m taking more walks now with my dogs just because. You know, spending a little bit less time lifting weights and it’s plenty to, to maintain and to kind of keep up the routine.

Yeah, that’s it. That’s what I’m doing right now. Next question. Does a Greens supplement cover all my micronutrient needs? No. Absolutely not, and do not buy a Greens supplement or anything else from that matter, from a company that claims that theirs does because it’s total horseshit. You need to eat fruits and vegetables every single day, not supplement with them.

Powdered fruits and powdered vegetables and powdered fiber are not the same for your body as eating whole foods actual fruit. Actual vegetables that have fiber. Next question is thoughts on insulin monitor person is not diabetic. Okay, so they’re talking about the continuous glucose monitors. This is kind of a trend, I think particularly among the the biohackers, and I think it’s a bad idea.

  1. Do not know of any good reason why you should watch your blood sugar levels like you would watch your calories or watch your steps. If you are healthy and if you are active and if you eat well, your blood sugar levels are gonna remain within normal ranges, basically always. And trying to alter your diet or your lifestyle to manipulate that to maybe lower it or to tighten the range.

That’s what some people recommend offers. No health benefits and can actually become an unhealthy obsession. And you know, the same can go for sleep tracking devices. It’s okay to use a sleep tracking device or to use one now and then just to see how your sleep is looking. It can be kind of interesting too to see how much deep sleep or r e m or light sleep you’re getting, but if you get too attached to the metrics, you can start to.

Anxiety about your sleep. It can make your sleep worse because you are worried about your score, your recovery score, or uh, exactly how much deep sleep are you getting. A lot of people fixate on deep sleep as if that’s all that really matters, and they’re afraid that that’s not enough deep sleep, and that’s not true.

Light sleep matters too. And r e m sleep matters as well. Or maybe you are struggling to fall asleep one night and then you feel extra anxiety because you know you’re wearing this little sleep tracker and you’ve been on a run of really good sleep and really good scores, and this is gonna mess your score up and now you really have to fall asleep.

Come on, come on. Fall asleep, fall asleep. So just keep that in mind. Next question is, what is the maximum number of squat and deadlift sets that you should do in a week to allow rest for your lower back? I would say probably eight to 10. Total sets between those two exercises, working sets for most people, and you have to work up to that too.

And you don’t have to do that many. I would say that that’s, that’s a ceiling for most people. Next question. Dip machine or regular dips? Um, I generally prefer just regular dips because machines usually feel at least a little bit awkward to me because they all have different ranges of motion. Have your body in different positions, but the gym I go to has one.

I’ve showed it on my Instagram and my stories. Feels pretty good. There’s a gym that my condo building. I have a, a condo, uh, in Florida and they have a machine. I can’t remember the name of the company off of the top of my head. And oddly, that’s one of my favorite dip machines I’ve used just because the position it has my body and it feels really good on my shoulders.

I can really feel it in my chest. I can really feel it in my triceps, in my anterior deltoid. And so it really depends on the machine. You know, it’s kind of like hamstring curl machines. Some of them feel great, some of them do not feel great. Leg extension machines the same. And so if you are doing a program that calls for machine dips and.

Your gym’s machine really does not work for you. Just do regular old dips. You can add weight with a dip belt if you need to. And next question. I love fast food. Do it two times per week. Do you think this is a bad thing for progress? No. Nope, totally fine. So long as you are controlling your calories and your macros properly, it doesn’t mean necessarily weighing and tracking everything, but so long as your energy balance suits your body composition and your goals and your macronutrient balance also is appropriate.

And so long as you are eating plenty of nutritious foods, aside from the the junk food. It’s totally fine. I’m assuming that those are not like blowout meals where you’re eating 6,000 calories of fast food twice a week. That would be a problem, but if it’s moderate, I don’t see any reason why you can’t do it.

Next question, final question. How to avoid muscle soreness. Well, The easiest way is to reduce the volume in individual sessions for the muscle groups. You don’t want sore. So I hear, for example, sometimes from athletes who need to train their lower body or want to train their lower body while they also need to perform, and muscle soreness gets in the way of performance.

And so of course we have to reduce their volume when they’re wanting to perform. They’re not gonna train as intensely as they. In an off season. However, if we reduce the volume and the volume in the individual sessions, that can greatly reduce soreness, so you can take the same weekly volume. For example, let’s say if you do three to six hard sets for a muscle group in a single session.

You are probably not gonna get very sore. Now, six sets for your lower body probably will produce a bit of soreness, but three to four sets. Most people who are well trained can do that and feel basically no soreness the next day, and so they could do that. Two or maybe even three times per week and experience little soreness.

Three might be pushing it, but two should be an is not an issue for most people. And so those six to eight hard sets per week, for example, is plenty to maintain muscle and strength. You can even gain muscle and strength on that volume and. It minimizes and can even eliminate soreness. And so you can take the same approach again with any muscle group that you just don’t want to make sore.

Or if you are dealing with a lot of soreness all over your body, because maybe you’re new to training and you are doing workouts that are calling for anywhere from let’s say, Eight to 10 hard sets for an individual muscle group in a workout, and that’s making you very sore. You can rework that. So maybe you’re only doing, let’s say, four hard sets for that muscle group in that workout, and then you’re doing those remaining, call it four hard sets in another workout.

And I know that. Requires some programming knowledge, but if you have read a book of mine, like Muscle for Life or Bigger Lean or Stronger or Thinner, leaner, stronger, you should know enough based on what you learned in that book to kind of rejigger your program to minimize muscle soreness. 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 have. 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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