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How can you break the habit of eating sweets? Should you sacrifice sleep to workout? Why haven’t I started taking steroids? Is training 6 days per week too much? What’s my business motivation and how would I deal with a huge financial failure? 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 – My free quiz to answer all your diet questions:

3:35 – What would you do if all of your money went into a project you worked on and failed?

15:05 – Is there anything in Thinner Leaner Stronger that you feel differently about now?

18:15 – How should I schedule my workouts as a beginner?

21:19 – What are your thoughts on upper and lower workouts six days a week?

23:33 – Can we consume creatine when not working out for a week?

25:39 – What are your thoughts on a post lifting 10 minute cardio finisher, 3 times per week?

26:48 – Who do you think will win, Russia or Ukraine?

27:10 – Who shot first, Han or Greedo?

28:21 – Besides your business, how do you invest your money?

31:48 – Should you reduce volume and weight during your sets by 20% to preserve strength in a cut?

34:07 – Why haven’t you used steroids if you have reached your peak strength?

38:13 – What is some advice to stop eating sweets?

38:55 – As a mom, is it better to sacrifice sleep to workout?

40:29 – Why don’t your calves grow despite your training?

42:46 – Besides your family, what is your motivation in business?

Mentioned on the Show:

Take this free quiz to get science-based answers to all of your diet questions:

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


Hello there and welcome to Muscle for Life. I am Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today for another q and a episode where I answer. I have quite a few on this one. I think I have like 20 or 25 questions that I answer from people over on Instagram who have asked me questions in my stories. So what I do.

Once a week, I believe right now it’s on Wednesdays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays, I put up a story of an image of me working out, or a video of me working out or whatever with a little ask me a question sticker and I then collect up a bunch of questions and I answer them there on Instagram in my stories. And then I bring everything over here to the podcast and answer them usually in more.

Detail because I can do that here. Whereas on Instagram, I’m limited to one slide of text. And so if you want to ask me questions, if you want to participate in my q and a activity, follow me over on Instagram at Muscle Life Fitness and then look for that story once a week, usually Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, something like that.

And, uh, submit your questions and I pick questions that are just interesting to me or that are topical. Or that I haven’t already answered a million times before. So what are we getting into today? Well, I am answering questions on what I would do if I put a bunch of money into a project and it failed.

How would I. Analyze what happened and how would I try to prevent that from happening again. I’m answering questions about the new fourth editions of my bigger, leaner, stronger, and thin, leaner, stronger books that are in the process of coming out. Like for example, the ebook and audiobook of the fourth edition of Bigger, leaner, stronger is already live, but the hard copy is not, and I explain why.

And then TLS 4.0 is still in production. All of my work is done on it. So we’re getting there. We’re getting there. I talk about frequency, workout frequency. As a newbie, should you be going three days per week or five days per week as a newbie? And why? What about six days per week? Does that ever make sense?

Like let’s say an upper, lower, six day per week or a push pull leg, six day per week. Who should be doing that and why? Talk about creatine. Is it okay to take it? On your training weeks, and then maybe once every couple of months, just not take it for a week because you’re not training. Maybe you’re deloading or maybe you’re on vacation, or is that going to reduce its efficacy?

And more. Before we get started, how many calories should you eat to reach your fitness goals faster? What about your macros? What types of food should you eat, and how many meals should you eat every day? Well, I created a free 62nd diet quiz that’ll answer those questions for you and others, including how much alcohol you should drink, whether you should eat more fatty fish to get enough omega-3 fatty acids.

What supplements are worth taking and. And more to take the quiz and get your free personalized diet plan. Go to Muscle for Quiz muscle, f o r life show slash diet quiz. Now answer the questions and learn what you need to do in the kitchen to lose fat, build muscle, and get. The first question, and all of the questions will be coming from anonymous, unfortunately, because this was during a period on Instagram when I wasn’t able to easily capture screenshots of who was asking what, so, Let’s get to the question, and it is, what would you do if all your money went into a project you worked on and failed?

Well, I would get very interested in figuring out where I went wrong, and particularly in the assumptions that I made about the project at the outset that were clearly incorrect. And then the next time I’d figure out how to inexpensively. The assumptions before investing large amounts of time or money into them.

That little bets approach, as some people refer to it, is extremely powerful. It’s not very sexy, it’s not as fun and as exciting as just going all in, pushing all of your chips into the middle, but it does allow you to take a lot of the risk out of. Taking, some people will say that the number one factor that separates entrepreneurial type people from non-entrepreneurial type people is risk tolerance.

That entrepreneurial people have a much higher risk tolerance than non-entrepreneurial people, and that entrepreneurial people generally take much bigger risks than non-entrepreneurial people, and there might be some truth. entrepreneurs probably are a little bit less risk averse than the average person, but I don’t think that that is a major factor in determining whether somebody succeeds or not as an entrepreneur.

Risk taking. In fact, many successful entrepreneurs that I know and have known did. Take major risks, especially not in the beginning. They didn’t quit their day job to force themselves to make the side hustle work. No, they started the side hustle. They started it small in terms of investment of time and money.

They often. Iterated on it on the side for some time. They made little bets until they found a bet that paid off, and then they followed that up with a slightly larger bet. And when that paid off a slightly larger bet, and so on and so on, until the side hustle was clearly a bigger opportunity or even was.

Providing more income was doing more for them than their day job. And for what it’s worth, that’s exactly what I did. That’s how I approached my entrepreneurial activities. 10 years ago, I wrote a book called Bigger, leaner, stronger. I did it as a nights and weekends little side project. I had a day job that paid me well enough money to cover all of my expenses a little bit more.

I didn’t have any real savings or investments at the time because I had credit card debt that I was paying down, but I was able to at least pay that down Chip. And I was working on the side on this little book, bigger, leaner, stronger, and I approached it as a minimum viable product to use a lean startup concept, or at least that’s where I came across that concept initially.

The book by Eric Reese, which I would recommend, and I didn’t have any master plan. I wanted to put the book out there. I thought there was an opportunity. I thought there was a gap in the marketplace. It was a book that I wished somebody else would’ve written and just given to me many years ago. So I wrote it, published it, and that was the beginning of 2012.

And then by the end of 2012, that book was selling quite well, several thousand copies per month. So I was now making probably about as much money just from that book, maybe even a little bit more money from that book than I was from my day job. And I had already published one or two other books. I don’t remember the exact sequence.

The shredded chef might have come next, or it might have been thinner, lean, or stronger, but I had a few books now, which all together were producing more money than my day job. So bigger, leaner, stronger alone, if I remember correctly, was producing about the same amount of money as I was getting from my day job.

And then when you factored in the others, it was probably close to double. Let’s. 70 to a hundred percent of my day job, salary I was making from my books. And I didn’t quit my day job until I reached that point and had put together now a bit of a, a business plan of where I wanted to go with writing more books and starting a blog.

There was an opportunity there. It was a lot easier at that time to rank on Google with health and fitness content than it is now. So March of 2013 is when I launched Muscle for. Dot com and I was writing a couple of long form articles per week there. By the end of 2013, that website was getting about 700,000 visits a month.

That is probably impossible to do now with Google. They are much less generous to new health and fitness. Content than they were back then. But again, good timing. There was an opportunity, so it wasn’t until the beginning of 2013 that I went full-time as an entrepreneur for that first year. It was just, again, it was nights and weekends, just extra blocks of time.

I would work on my fitness stuff. And so in that way, Didn’t take big risks. All I risked was my time, my free time. It didn’t even risk my job time, just my free time, which otherwise would’ve been given over to just pleasurable activities, reading books, hanging out with friends, doing stuff with my wife, playing golf.

All fine activities and. Those types of things should be included in one’s life, but sometimes it makes sense to do very little of that stuff when you have an opportunity like I had. At least that’s how I looked at it. And so I didn’t risk very much. And if we fast forward now a little bit to. Let’s say we’re now in 2013, muscle for is growing very quickly, and there was a section on that website called recommendations, which I actually am gonna bring back maybe at Legion’s website, or maybe I need to create a separate website.

Just kinda like a Mike Matthews website for this that I wanna bring back and some other stuff that isn’t really legion related. It’s just kind of personal things that I want to do and, and some people like. But anyways, this recommendation section of Muscle for Life, it just had stuff that I like. It was a lot of fitness stuff.

Here are the squat shoes that I am wearing or that I’m using. Here’s what I like about them. Here are the straps that I use. I’ve tried a lot of different straps and I’ve settled on these. Here’s why. And there was a section for supplements, and at the time I wasn’t using many supplements, a protein powder, a pre-workout, I’m not even sure, a creatine and a multivitamin, maybe a fish oil, and I wasn’t very excited about what I was using.

It was just the best stuff. Could find it was the best stuff that was available, and my endorsements were pretty lukewarm. I wasn’t paid by any of these companies. I wasn’t interested in being an influencer for them because I didn’t really like their stuff. I thought it was okay, and that’s how I endorsed the products on the website.

This is an okay multivitamin. Here’s what I like about it. Here’s what I don’t like about it. Like if I had my own multivitamin, here’s what I would do differently. I don’t. This is the best I could find. If you know of a better multivitamin, please do let me know. Same thing for the protein powder, pre-workout, creatine and so forth.

So that was [email protected] recommendations section. Something that I didn’t promote on my social media, I didn’t email about it. It just existed on the website. People found their way to it. I was linking out to Amazon for people to buy those products, and I was participating in Amazon’s affiliate program, not because it ever made that much money, but only because I wanted to know if people cared about my recommendations, would they buy things simply because I was using them and would they buy them if I were not puffing them up?

If I were not lying. The quality of the products or my opinions about them, if I were saying, yeah, good enough, they’re good enough. They’re not great, but they’re good enough. That’s why I spend my money on them, and I am spending my money on them. I’m not getting them for free. They’re not paying me to say this.

And so the answer was yes. A lot of people were buying supplements through those links. Amazon has 24 hour cookies, so there’s a just a 24 hour window to see if somebody is buying based on the click that came from my website, and I don’t remember the exact numbers, but I wanna say it got up to 50 to $70,000 of trackable sales every month.

So there were more sales that were occurring, but because of Amazon’s cookies, I just wasn’t aware of it. And uh, actually I just had like a flashbulb memory of, of Amazon’s reporting. I believe they actually did report sales that were outside of that 24 hour period. And you didn’t get paid on them, but they did report them.

And so that might have been the 50 to $70,000. . I don’t remember exactly if that was the number I was getting paid on or the total, I wanna say it was the number I was getting paid on. The total sales were higher than that, but you get the idea. And so then what that told me is if I put the time and money into making my own supplements, things that I actually could get excited about, and I could promote more enthusiastically honestly, but more enthusiastically, then I don’t know if I could build a big successful business.

But there’s. Much risk in that activity. I’m not going to just lose my money. It is not going to just fail. And so even before I pursued Legion, pursued a sports nutrition company, I explicitly tried to de-risk the activity and many other people would’ve been. Probably less risk averse than I was and just skipped that and figured, Hey, I have a website that is growing quickly.

Get six figures of visitors every month. I have a hundred thousand people on my email list. I have a social media following people like supplements. Let’s just do it. But that’s not how I approached it. I wanted to take as much risk out of it as I could, and that’s generally how I approach big decisions, big changes, big initiatives in business and otherwise, I like to try to figure out how to minimize risk, how to minimize difficulties, how to maximize chances of success before making major commit.

And the ability to do that effectively, I think is what mostly sets apart entrepreneurial say. So successful entrepreneurial people from non-entrepreneurial or unsuccessful entrepreneurial people. These successful ones are very good at problem solving. They’re very good at big picture thinking. They’re very good at posing what if scenarios and.

Predictions about what will happen, cause and effect relationships, creating hypotheses. If I do this by doing these exact actions, this will happen because, blah. And these people are also very good at exposing root causes, understanding why things work the way they do. And yes, risk tolerance is in the mix as well.

That’s part of. the recipe, but I think it is not nearly as important as those other factors. Okay. Long answer. I hope you liked it though. Next question. Anything from thinner, leaner, stronger that you feel differently about now? Yeah, there are some things, mostly minor, mostly explanations like I think I’ve gotten better at explaining some of the information in that book and a couple of minor programming.

Things that I would tweak, and I actually have tweaked and I’ve really actually gone through the book and reorganized it and basically rewrote it from scratch. Again, no major changes to the core of the book and the program and the. Fundamental principles. The bedrock of thinner, lean, or stronger of course, will never change.

Like energy, balance will never change. Progressive overload will never change. Exercise hierarchy will never change, et cetera, et cetera. But again, I think I have improved the user experience by reorganizing the book to make it a little bit more practical if you want to get right into the program itself.

And I’ve also, I think, Done an even better job explaining all of the information. And so all of that work has culminated in a new fourth edition of the book that is currently in production. So my work on it is done. I’m waiting on one or two illustrations from an artist and the audiobook recorder, the professional I hired because I did not do a good job on recording the third edit.

I read it like a robot. I’m really surprised I didn’t catch that. But anyways, this time I just hired a professional to do it. He is wrapping up and I do think that we will have at least the ebook and the audiobook live. Let’s say sometime in the next couple of months, and the hard copy will be a couple of months after that simply because there is, I believe it’s like a 10 to 12 week lead time on hard copies.

So when I place an order with my printer, I have to wait a couple of months until I get them, and in the meantime I have to sell through the existing third editions. And so anyway, that’s coming. Of course, they did the same thing for Bigelow and Stronger as well, and the digitals. Ebook and the audiobook of BLS 4.0 are live.

They’ve been live for a couple of months now, and the hard copies, the paperbacks have been ordered and those will start selling in the next, let’s just say, eight weeks or so. And I may do a hard cover as well with a nice jacket. Um, just looking into the economics of it, the Amazon economics in in particular, does it really make sense to do that?

I may do it though. I’ll say again that these new fourth editions, I think are the absolute best renditions of that content that I am currently capable of and should hold me over for some time. I don’t plan on doing fifth editions anytime soon because I don’t. Know what else to do at this point. I’m gonna have to get the four point OHS out there probably for a couple of years, and gather up a lot of feedback from people to just get some new ideas about how I could improve those books further.

Okay. Next question. How to schedule your first month of workouts as a beginner. Three or five days a week? Well, I would say that you can start with whichever of those frequencies appeals the most to you, but three times per week is plenty for a newbie that’s going to deliver, let’s just say 80% of your possible gains you can get from three.

One-ish, let’s just say 45 to 60 minute strength training workouts per week. You do not need to do four or five days per week, so don’t feel obligated to do that if you don’t want to. Now, if you do want to, just because you like it, you like teen and you want to get 95% of your potential, let’s say year one gains.

Then Sure bump up to five days per week. And that’s why, for example, my Muscle for Life book and programs, which are intended for men and women, 40 plus, who are relatively new to all of this fitness stuff, they’re relatively new to proper strength training, flexible diet and so forth. And that’s why. The programs in that book are just three day, there are no four or five day programs and in bigger Than You’re Stronger, which is intended for men who are, let’s say, in the age range of the sweet spot is 25 to 45, and who are looking to train a bit.

More intensely than what you find in Muscle for Life. Like Muscle for Life has beginner programs that start with body weight, and then you add some bands. Then you move into dumbbells, and then you move into the intermediate program, which is, or programs for men and women, which are more dumbbells and some machines and a trap bar deadlift, not even a conventional deadlift yet.

And then in Muscle Life, you move into the advanced programs, which are kind of like bigger, leaner, stronger slash thinner, leaner, stronger light. They’re similar to those programs, they’re just not as difficult. And then you would upgrade from there, from Muscle For Life Advanced, you would upgrade into bigger lean, or stronger or thinly or stronger.

So that’s how it would work for somebody who, let’s say is 45, 50, 55, just starting out in all of this stuff. That’s the progression I would recommend. However, if you have a 25 year old guy or gal who doesn’t have. Major health issues or injuries, they’re, and they’re ready to go. I would recommend they just jump right into big, leaner, stronger slash thin.

Leaner stronger because they can, they’re gonna do well. And the same thing would go for even a 45 or 55, let’s say, year old guy or gout who’s pretty fit. Whereas a 45 or 55 year old guy, or who is obese and who currently doesn’t even go for walks and who has never lifted weights before needs. Start with something easier than bigger, lean or stronger slash thin.

Leaner stronger. If I were training this person one-on-one, I would not take them to the gym day one and start them with heavy squats and deadlifts. Of course, we would have to work up to that and it would take some time, and so that’s why I wrote Bigger, leaner, stronger, and created those programs because.

I wanted to have a, a range of options for people based on where they are at. Okay, next question. Views on upper slash lower workouts six times per week. Well, as you can guess, that’s overkill for most people. Also, you’ll see some people going to the gym doing six strength training workouts per week.

They’ll do push pull legs and then rest one day and repeat. That’s another way of getting to six days per week is pretty. And that’s overkill for most everyone, unless three of those workouts maybe are pump sessions. So maybe you have like three hard workouts, and then three of those workouts are lighter weights and sub max sets, meaning that you are ending well shy of failure and you’re really, you’re really just in there to get a pump.

It’s almost like. Cardio with a pump that I guess can make sense if you want to do that. Is that going to be more effective than three or four just intense strength training workouts per week? I don’t know. Probably not, but some people do just like it. They like getting in the gym six days per week and, and they understand they can’t crush themselves six days per week.

So when training’s intense, then four to five times per week is really the most that I would recommend. And. Two to max three. Intense strength training workouts per week is the most that’s needed to maintain muscle and strength. And with three days per week, you might even be able to continue making progress even if you are an intermediate weightlifter.

Maybe an advanced, but be less likely if you’re advanced. But if you’re intermediate, you might even be able to make slow, but make progress with just three workouts per week. 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?

Who might want to learn something new. Word of mouth helps really bigly in growing the show. So if you think of someone who might like this episode or another one, please do tell them about it. Next question. Can we consume creatine when off workout for a week? Yes. But you don’t have to if you don’t want to.

You’d also don’t have to consume creatine every day. Creatine stores don’t really start to dive until you stop supplementing it for about two weeks or so. That’s what research shows, so take it every day if you want to take it every day. But if you miss a day or two, like let’s say you just average four or five days per week, totally fine.

And if. You don’t take it for one week every couple of months when you’re off or you’re deloading, that’s totally fine as well if you wanna just like save some money. Next question. Why do you work out in a public gym and not at home or in a private gym? Because without the gym, without my public gym where I’ve made some friends, I would basically never leave my home and.

Basically never interact with anyone, like aside from my family and, you know, work calls, some private calls, zoom calls that said I am building a house and that is gonna have a home gym not in the house. It’s actually gonna be in another building on the property. And so in a year or so, I guess I’m gonna be a, a whole hog hermit unless I make it a, a point of socializing.

And I, I really am going to have to do. I don’t recommend living the way I’ve been living for some time now, which is basically nothing but work and then a little bit of time here and there for family, but no time for hobbies, basically, no time for friends, no time for fun. It’s not a great way to live.

It’s been very productive and it’s been great for my net worth, and it’s been great for people who, like my work, who have commented. They don’t understand how I produce so much content, so many articles, and there’s always the next book, and always the next podcast and blah, blah, blah. Well, that’s, that’s it.

And the, the secret is not, is not very sexy. You know, it’s not something I would, I would recommend for most people and something I’m not probably gonna be doing forever. Just because it does take its toll. All right. Thoughts on a post lifting, 10 minute cardio finisher? Three times per week? Yeah, sure. Not a big deal.

If it were me, I would probably do some high intensity, like some sprint intervals, maybe on an air bike or a rower. I would avoid sprinting. So, uh, I can avoid the impact and the extra recovery that that demands. But if it’s just 10 minutes, maybe 15 minutes, and you do some. Sprint training, like on an air bike, you can, you can burn quite a bit more calories that way than like 10 or 15 minutes of walking on an incline treadmill or just moderate intensity cardio and it’s not going to beat you up.

Those sprints are, are not going to cut much into your recovery and they’re not. Mentally daunting, either like it’s, it’s a bit daunting to commit to doing, let’s say a 30 or 45 minute sprint interval workout, right? Different ways you could program that. It could be like one minute sprints with 30 to 62nd rest intervals, or it could be four minute sprints with three minute rest intervals.

That’s pretty hard, but 10 minutes. Is pretty easy to commit to. Next question, Ukraine versus Russia, who wins? I don’t follow this too closely, but from what I’ve seen at this point, it would appear the only way for Ukraine to, uh, quote unquote win would be for NATO to step in and start World War ii. So, Let’s hope that, uh, there’s another way forward.

Next question. Who shot first? Han or Guido? You know, Lucas made so many bad creative moves after the original. Pet trilogy, that it really makes you wonder how much he even had to do with the ideas that made them so popular or who he had advising him that he lost and he did not have for his later projects.

But anyway, as a side note, I did enjoy and or that was the first Star Wars show. Star Wars, anything that I’ve enjoyed in a long time. The first half. Of that season, I thought was quite a bit better than the second half, but I guess the expectations, my expectations were so low based on all the other Star Wars stuff that Disney has done, that I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, and that probably is the secret to entertainment watching.

Shows, movies, reading, entertaining books, low expectations. Some people would say that’s the secret to life. , uh, I don’t quite agree, but it is a strong argument that high expectations, they just set you up for disappointment so often. Next question. Beside your business, how do you invest your money? Well, the vast majority of my net worth is in my businesses.

That’s not a great thing and something that I will be changing in the next couple of years by bringing in some strategic partners who can simultaneously let me take some chips off the table, as they say, and help the businesses and Legion in particular grow. Even faster than it currently is. That’s where I’m at right now.

And otherwise, over the last number of years, I’ve invested mostly in T and vx, US simple ETF stocks, smaller amounts of money, just kind of gamble money just for fun. Have gone into Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Light Coin. That was in 2017, so I’m still up. I don’t really care. I’m just holding. More or less forever, just for fun.

It was up quite a bit. It was up about eight times what I put into it at the peak, and I could have cashed out, but then I didn’t really have anything important to do with that money, and it wasn’t an amount of money that really mattered. Like, you know, I’m building this house. I could have put it into the house project, but it.

Wasn’t an amount again that really mattered and I have that to put into it anyway, so I just kind of leave it and just watch the line go up and down and go wee. I’ve also invested in a couple of mobile home parks. Those projects have done well, good cash flow, good appreciation. I. Would be interested in doing more of that probably in the near future, in the next couple of years.

And that’s about it. I mean, I really haven’t cared to get fancy with my finances because my primary financial focus has been to build my businesses, and particularly to build Legion because I own a hundred percent of Legion. And so my plan has been to bring a strategic partner into Legion at the right point, which will probably.

Next year. And that will be a significant liquidity event for me and a big win for Legion because again, the right partner is going to help Legion grow even faster, reach more people faster, expand internationally, expand into retail, et cetera, et cetera. And at that point, I’m gonna get more serious.

Investing because then I’ll have a chunk of money that I am going to have to deploy, and I don’t see a scenario where I would want to become a full-time or near full-time investor, even if that meant I could earn big returns. Let’s say I could get 20 to 25%, uh, per year. But it would take a lot of my time.

I’d have to be very involved in investments, maybe almo, almost as like a private equity person who is coming in and helping the businesses grow faster, helping with their marketing. It’s probably what I’m best at and it would make the most sense for me to be involved in. I don’t really want to do that.

And so if I could earn, let’s say 10% per year and put no time into that, no time into managing that money, that’s more attractive to me at. Right now, and according to people I’ve spoken with who have already done this or who are doing this, who live this right now, apparently that is a reasonable expectation, 10% per year with no cognitive overhead, so to speak.

No time, no thought going into it. It’s, it’s somebody else’s problem. You just provided the capital, and that, of course, then allows me to spend my time doing things that I do want to do. Next question, should you reduce volume? And weight during your sets by 20% to preserve strength in a cut. No. To preserve strength, you may want to reduce volume when you’re cutting just to reduce stress and to accommodate a reduction in your recovery capacity.

And. So if you are cutting and you notice that you have more aches and pains than usual, that you have a lower energy level than usual, your workouts are feeling a lot harder than usual. Your sleep is getting disrupted. You might be doing a bit too much, so you might want to dial your volume back a little bit, which would just be your number of hard sets that you’re doing.

So to keep it simple, let’s say most of your workouts are four sets of four exercises. Go down to three sets of four exercises. And so that’s where you would want to reduce volume, and you don’t have to reduce volume when you’re cutting. If your workouts are still good, you generally have good energy levels, you’re sleeping fine.

You don’t have to reduce volume. You can, if you just wanna spend less time in the gym when you’re cutting because you know you’re not gonna gain much muscle and strength to speak of, especially if you are an experienced weightlifter and you just figure. Hey, I’m just here to maintain what I have when I’m cutting.

I don’t need to do as much as I do when I’m trying to make progress. Okay? You can reduce your volume, but if you just like your workouts, you like your routine, you don’t really care to change it, then don’t reduce volume unless you are falling behind in recovery. Now, as far as. Preserving strength, you wanna make sure that you keep lifting heavy weights.

A common cutting mistake that many people make is they switch from doing a lot of heavier weightlifting force five sixes, sevens, eights to lighter. Higher rep sets 15 reps per set, 2025 reps per set. And they often do this because they think, or they’ve been told that the higher rep training is better when you’re cutting.

It helps better bring out your muscle definition or it burns more calories and yet it does burn more calories to some degree, but not to a meaningful. Degree, and if you want to preserve strength, you have to keep lifting heavy weights. That’s very important. The specificity is important, so I recommend lifting those heavy weights and reducing volume if you need to.

Next question is why have you never went on the juice? If you have reached. Peak Natty never tempted. Well, it’s a few things. One, I am personally against recreational drug use, kind of on principle. It’s not a good habit and it’s not a habit that I would want to take up. And I’m also not interested in competitive body building or power lifting.

And you know, I’m really not even interested in getting all that much bigger. Like, yeah, I would like a little bit more in my cal. Which is why I’m training them four days per week, four sets per session. By the way, Mike calves maybe smaller than yours, but I train mine harder than yours making me the victor.

But generally speaking, I don’t want to be all that much bigger. For me, the cutoff would probably be. 10 more pounds of muscle. I mean, I couldn’t gain that naturally, I don’t think. And if I could, it would probably take 10 years, but 10 pounds of muscle added onto my frame, that’s probably about as much as I would want.

Beyond that, I would start to feel uncomfortable in my body. I would really start to look like a bodybuilder. That’s not really the look that I want, and it starts to become, Kind of unfunctional actually. Like you start to struggle to like wipe your ass and you can’t even like scratch parts of your back and it’s just not what I want.

And if I were to just get on testosterone, which of course is the base of any well designed steroid cycle is usually a a pretty big dose of testosterone. That alone would probably blow me up bigger than I would want. To be, at least with my current training routine. So if I were training four days per week or five days per week and I got on a big dose of testosterone, I would not be surprised if over the course of a couple of months I gained 20 ish pounds and it would register probably mostly as muscle, even though it wouldn’t all be like lean contractile tissue.

Some of it would be. Into the muscles, but I would still look about 20 pounds heavier, 20 pounds bigger, and that would bother me. And so then how would I counteract that? Well, if I had to stay on the steroids, what I would have to do then is I would’ve to train maybe once or twice per week. And that might not even be enough actually, to bring my size down to something that I liked to look at and live.

Those are the big reasons why I’ve never done steroids and I don’t see a scenario where I will do them. At some point, maybe I will do testosterone replacement therapy if I have to. If my testosterone is just clinically low and there’s nothing I can do naturally to improve that, then at that point, yeah, I’m gonna be doing testosterone replacement therapy.

Because it’s a matter of quality of life. It’s unhealthy as a man to live with low testosterone and your dick doesn’t work and you’re moody and you don’t have any energy and you don’t have any motivation. It’s not a great way to live. Oh, and by the way, with t r t, if that day comes, I will be open about it.

Of course, I will tell everybody, Hey, this is what’s going on. Here’s my blood work. Here’s what I’ve done to try to improve this. Naturally. I’ve tried every supplement that has even a little bit of evidence of efficacy. I have addressed diet I’ve addressed. Training I’ve addressed lifestyle, everything.

And here I’m at. So this is what I’m doing. This is how much testosterone I’m taking. Here’s my blood work again, here’s, you know, where we are keeping my testosterone. It would be in the range of 500 to 800 nanograms per deciliter. That is t r t dose. You go beyond that, that is now steroid dose and so on and so on.

And then I would report what has happened since starting t R T because many. Probably find that interesting. What has happened in the gym, in my workouts, my strength, my performance, my body composition, my energy, blah, blah, blah. So we’ll see. We’ll see when that day comes. Next question. Tips on how to stop eating sweets.

A simple tip is, well, the best tip of course, is to stop buying them, but if you are going to keep buying them, put them somewhere inconvenient. Put them at the top of the pantry or the back of a cabinet. You don’t open every day because out of sight often means out of stomach. It often is that simple. And if that really doesn’t work, then again I have to implore you to stop buying them or stop buying them.

So frequently make it kind of a treat that you have to drive to the store to get, for example, so maybe it’s Friday, you want your treat, you have to drive to the store to get it, and then you can have. And then you don’t have it the rest of the week. Many people find that helpful as well. Next question, as a mom, is it better to sacrifice sleep so I can work out?

Not as a habit, no. But if you’re doing it occasionally, let’s say once or twice per week, then you should be fine. And research shows that doing just that can actually help a lot with the metabolism that occurs with sleep deficiency. Sleep insufficiency. So when you don’t get enough sleep, research shows that your body’s muscle building machinery really.

Work well, that protein synthesis rates can drop off a cliff if it’s bad enough, especially if it’s several nights in a row. But research shows that intense workouts can counteract that. It’s hard to do intense workouts when you have not slept enough, but you can do them here and there and you can perform pretty well.

Research shows that as well. If it’s been several nights of little or very bad sleep, no, you’re not gonna perform well. But if it’s just one night, you probably actually will. Fairly well, and that training is very effective at maintaining the muscle that you have and the strength that you have. Again, even if you’re not feeling good and the workouts don’t feel good, and you just get ’em done, and another little tip is napping.

Napping can help a lot, even if it’s just like 30 minutes. That’s all you have, and it’s 30 minutes on a timer that can help a. If you just kind of get into that semi-conscious, you’re just getting into light sleep, and maybe it’s only for 10 or 15 minutes, you might be surprised at how big of a difference that can make.

Alright, the next question is, why don’t your calves grow despite your training? Maybe change your approach. Well, I have changed my approach. Thank you very much since this person asked this question and at the time what the problem was. Was volume. I just wasn’t doing enough volume for my cats direct training volume every week.

And I knew that because I was doing maybe on average nine hard sets per week. Some weeks it might have been six, let’s just say average nine, and now I’m averaging, let’s say, 16. I’m doing four sets, four days per week for the most part. I think I’ve missed one or two days here and there because of holiday and whatever.

But that’s my normal now is four sets every day I’m in the gym and I’ve known that that is what it is going to take. And it might even take more than that to really get my calves to start growing because they’re just very stubborn. Muscles. So I’ve now been doing four sets four times a week for a couple of months, and it just occurred to me that maybe I should have measured my calves, but I have not measured them like did it before and after measurement.

But I can tell you that. They’ve grown. I can see the difference. I even have video footage of me doing my, my various exercises going back now a couple of months and, and you can see the change just in a couple of months in the video. And so I’ll just keep doing that until I’m happy with the size of my cabs and getting there might even require more.

Might even have to do 20 sets. Like do you know, five sets four times a week, or if I go back to five days per week, do four sets per workout. Um, but I suspect that, uh, maybe in sometime in the next year or so, I’ll be happy with the size of my calves. They will be proportionate to my biceps. That’s usually what you compare them to as well as my upper legs.

And at that point I can drop to a maintenance volume if I want to. Well, that’s probably what I’ll do. Yeah. Once I get them as big as I want, then I’ll just drop to probably six to nine direct sets per week, plus the squatting, plus the deadlifting, and that will be plenty to maintain my new And finally, Big-ish calves.

Next question. Besides your family, what is your motivation in business? Well, business in and of itself, I’ve commented in previous podcasts that I don’t love the game of business as much as many entrepreneurs do, but there are some things that I do. About business. I like marketing. I think it’s very interesting.

It is a creative activity. I like creative work where you have to come up with good ideas, new ideas, and you have to follow your curiosities and you have to generate hypotheses and you have to experiment and figure out what works. I also like human psychology. I like persuasion. I just think it’s interesting to understand how.

We get persuaded and how we can go about persuading others, selling others on our ideas, so that’s pretty cool. I also like selling high quality products and services that people really enjoy. It’s nice to see the effect that creates in other people. There are different elements of that. So there are the products and services themselves where they are presented and they’re sold in a certain way.

You’re making certain promises, and then it’s nice for people to experience those benefits the way that you said they would, and for them to realize that they didn’t get ripped off even a little bit. In fact, I try to underpromise and over-deliver because that’s an even nicer effect that creates that wow effect where people’s expectations were here and then you exceeded them.

There aren’t many companies that do that. That’s pretty rare with their products and services. And then there’s the customer experience side of things, where in my businesses and Legion is really the main business with like, Interacts with customers. I have a publishing business for my books, but that’s a little bit different.

So with Legion, we have a high volume of customer interactions, and our policies internally are all geared toward wowing people, making people really enjoy their interactions with us. And that also is just a nice. To create, and a lot of people will reach out to us or just comment, you know, in their interactions and just say that we have the best customer service that they’ve ever experienced, and that’s been kind of engineered intentionally with all the different touchpoints that we have with customers and all the different kind of scenarios that we deal with.

We’re always trying to do more for the customer than they expect, and so that’s cool. And finally, uh, I do enjoy making money to a degree. I enjoy making enough money to have the freedom to spend my time, how I want to spend it. So do the work that I want to do, work out when I want to work out, take time off when I want to take time off.

And also to have enough money to. Provide a good quality of life for my family, for the rest of our lives, and to not have financial problems or stresses. And I guess one other thing is being able to offer a lot of opportunity and a lot of flexibility to my kids to find work that is going to be fulfilling to them without necessarily having to worry about the financial component.

Of it. Now, that isn’t to say I’m going to raise little trust fund kids who have fake jobs working for daddy’s company, but I would support my kids if, for example, they wanted to work in, let’s say the public sector, or they wanted to work for a philanthropic organization. They wanted to go help little kids in Africa do something that that either doesn’t pay well or doesn’t pay at all.

But really means something to them and is a positive activity is a net gain to society. Well, that’s something I would support. I would fully subsidize their life if that’s what they really wanted to do. 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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