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Ever been baffled by uneven abs? Do you feel weaker during your period? 

Can you enhance fat loss in your legs? What’re the pros and cons of fat grips?

In this Q&A episode, we delve into a medley of topics including hypertrophy versus strength training for fat loss, deloading, squatting with long femurs, and much more.

As always, these questions come directly from my Instagram followers, who take advantage of my weekly Q&As in my stories. If you have a burning question, follow me on Instagram (@muscleforlifefitness) and keep an eye out for these Q&A opportunities. Your question might just make it into a podcast episode!

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 – Please leave a review of the show wherever you listen to podcasts and make sure to subscribe!

2:00 – What are you most afraid of?

2:27 – What is your opinion on fat grips?

3:49 – My core feels weak around the monthly. Is that normal?

4:25 – My abs are finally here but they are not symmetrical what can I do?

9:48 – Best source of information for current events?

10:58 – Do you enjoy eating a bunch of protein and then dutch ovening yourself?

11:10 – My free quiz to answer all your diet questions:

11:57 – How do you typically deload?

13:28 – What is your new year resolution for 2023?

14:15 – What book are you reading right now?

15:47 – What did you think about the US and Russia’s prisoners exchange?

16:19 – Is hypertrophy training better for fat loss than strength training?

16:49 – Tricep pushdown underhand or overhand grip?

17:11 – Heels lift forward lean when squatting due to long femurs what is the best solution?

17:46 – Can I combine Legion’s Genesis with Legion’s Whey?

19:07 – How to lose fat from the legs?

19:34 – Is every session planned?

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!


Hey there. This is Mike Matthews, and this is actually Mike Matthews actually speaking into a microphone in my daughter’s closet because the acoustics are good here because I’m surrounded by clothing and yes, this is me. This is not ai. Although I suspect in the next, can’t be more than a year, there will be no way to tell the difference, which is an interesting thought, but, That’s not what we’re here to talk about today.

Today’s episode is another installment in my q and a series where I answer questions that people ask me over on Instagram. What I do is post a story usually every week or every other week, asking people to ask me questions. I go through all of the questions, and I pick ones that are topical or interesting, and I answer them briefly there on Instagram, and then I bring everything over here to the podcast and answer the questions in more detail.

And so if you want me to answer your questions, follow me on Instagram at Muscle Life Fitness and look for that story that I post again, usually every week or every other week. Submit your questions and I will see them. Now, I get many, many questions, so I have to skip over most of them. Please don’t take that personally, but I will see them.

And if any of your questions catch my fancy, Then I will answer at least one of them, and I will then talk about it here on the podcast as well. Now, if you have been submitting questions and I haven’t answered your questions, again, please don’t take it personally. I am mostly trying to pick questions.

That I know my audience will like, including my podcast audience. And so in today’s episode, I am going to be answering questions about physical performance and ovulation. What’s the relationship if we can do anything to make our ab muscles more symmetrical? My favorite sources of information on current events, how I like to deload some of my New Year’s resolutions for this year and more.

Said physical asks, what are you most afraid of? Well, sometimes I think about the future and I envision a scenario where I’m on the 15th Covid 26 booster. I’m watching Tiger King, nine. Ellen is president. The camps of course, are for our own good and I’m excited because our day of sun is coming up next week.

And you know, on balance, everything is pretty good. Caesar Beante asks your opinion on fat grips, do they really improve forearm growth? Well, I haven’t looked at fat grips in a while. I haven’t looked at their marketing. I haven’t used their product in a while. I did use it many years ago, but the last time I did look at how they were selling it in the last time I did use it, my conclusion was it was overblown.

You are not going to get jacked faster with rubber. Grips, but I did like them for improving grip strength, especially on pressing exercises. On pulling exercises. They didn’t work so well because it limited the amount that you could pull, but on pressing it was nice because you could just squeeze them as hard as you possibly can and thereby do almost like what felt like sets of plate holds while you are.

Bench pressing or overhead pressing, and so the fat grips can be used like that with some exercises, cannot be used with others. That said, personally, and this is why I stopped using ’em, if I really wanted to increase my grip, I would just include some grip training in my program. I would do some plate holds or some farmer walks.

Good for general preparedness as well, just. The ability to do work, or I would get some captains of crush grippers and just work on them. Chrissy. Maria asks, my core feels weak around the monthly. Is that normal? I feel off balance when I am working out. Yes, that is normal. At least having your core feel weak or just feeling weak in general, and then that in turn can make you feel off balance during certain exercises.

And the reason. That is normal is thanks mostly to fluctuations in estrogen. Women generally perform best in their workouts and experience less hunger during the follicular phase of their cycle, and they notice a dropoff in performance and an increase in hunger as they ovulate and move into the ludial phase.

Next up, we have a question from Daniel Mufti one, and they ask my abs are finally here. Probably a guy then, but they’re not symmetrical. I’m sure I can’t do anything right. Unfortunately, no, we cannot change the arrangement of our abs. We can only make our abs bigger and more developed by adding some direct training into our regimen, which by the way, is not necessary for most people.

For most people just doing heavy squats, heavy deadlifts, heavy overhead presses, uh, as well as other exercises that engage the core is enough to develop. Their abdominals and their other core muscles to a satisfactory degree. And then it’s mostly just a matter of finding the body fat level that they like the most, that allows them to see the level of abdominal definition that they want to see.

However, some people do start weightlifting with very underdeveloped cores, very underdeveloped abdominal muscles. And while they probably can get to the place they want to be with just heavy compound. Weightlifting if they include some direct training for their abs, and it’s usually the rectus abdominal muscles, the abs, quote unquote, that most people think of and look for in the mirror.

If they add some direct training for those muscles, they will develop faster. And some people find that motivating and worth the effort. So if you want to include some direct training for your abs, In your workouts, you can do that. But again, coming back to the question, unfortunately, if you have asymmetrical abs like I do, my abs are not symmetrical and I can’t even get a proper six pack.

I can get something closer, like a four or five pack, because unfortunately that’s just my anatomy. That’s how my muscles formed and my body formed, and all I can do is take what I have and make it. Bigger, more developed and more defined. But I can’t add on my left side, for example. I can’t add the third abdominal muscle that should be there if I had perfect abs.

Perfect abs are perfectly symmetrical. You have six or even. Eight. Perfectly aligned in two rows. I don’t have that, and there’s no way for me to get that. And generally, by the way, the same thing goes for any major muscle group. We can make it bigger, we can make it more defined, but we can’t change the inherent shape or the inherent structure of the.

Muscle group. And so practically speaking, when I talk to guys about this kind of thing, it’s usually about their chest. They want their pecs to have that kind of cool armor plated look, which can be partly a function of body fat. If you have a lot of body fat, your pecks are going to be rounder, and if you get leaner, you will find that your pecks get less round.

They get flatter. But your peck muscles have formed in a certain way and they attach to your skeleton in certain ways, and they integrate with other muscles in certain ways. And the same thing goes for biceps. Many guys ask if they can increase their biceps peak. Yes, to some degree. You can make your biceps bigger.

You can do hammer curls to make  a smaller little muscle called the brachialis a little bit bigger, and that can help push your biceps peak up. But unfortunately, most of your biceps peak is going to come from your genetics. It’s going to come from how your biceps are actually structured and how they attach to your skeleton.

And all of that also applies to women, of course. But when I have women asking about this, it is usually more related to lower body glutes and quads and hamstrings. And again, all women can have a great lower body. They can have a great butt, they can have great legs, but waist sizes are going to vary from woman to woman.

Pelvic structure varies from woman to woman. Muscle insertions vary from woman. To woman. And ultimately that means that there are variations in how those butts are going to look and how those legs are going to look. And some women really like a specific look that they don’t have the anatomy for, and I hope you don’t find any of that discouraging.

And just to put it into perspective, the reality is while you might not have the anatomy or the genetics to be a top level competitive physique, Athlete or bikini athlete or bodybuilder, like I don’t, for example, maybe I could do some physique stuff, but certainly not bodybuilding. I just don’t have the the body for it.

You absolutely can get into fantastic shape by anyone’s standards. You can love what you see in the mirror and really not care at all. What might be judged as. Physical shortcomings if you were stepping on stage. I mean, think of it this way, to use a financial analogy. What I’m saying is with enough work and enough patience and enough consistency, you can absolutely become a multi multimillionaire, but you probably can’t become a billionaire.

And if anyone were to find that discouraging, I probably would suggest that they do a bit of soul searching because the satisfaction that they think they’re gonna find. And going from the multi multimillionaire to the billionaire is a mirage is never going to materialize. Okay, Dr. Doug mc asks best source of info for current events.

Well, I like to use news aggregator sites. I spend probably on average 15 minutes a day just looking through headlines. And reading, or at least skimming an article or two that catches my eye and the places I go are drudge, retort, not report, but retort for hard left to propaganda. Drudge report for, I guess it’s kind of centrist ish, never Trumper News.

And then Zero Hedge is great for fascist hate speech. But I suspect that in the near future I will be using some sort of great AI driven product that does a great job summarizing stories from different outlets and according to political bias, I think it could be very interesting to be able to quickly see news.

Stories summarized according to specific outlets that tend to align one way or the other. Inked and bearded asks, do you enjoy eating a bunch of protein and then Dutch oven yourself? Only when it’s Legion way. Plus because angel farts, man, I’m telling you. 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 why? 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 healthy.

Jessica Williams Black asks, how do you typically deload? Well, what I usually do is I keep the weights heavy, so high intensity, but I reduce the reps per set by a few reps per set. So if I’m working in the four to six rep range on an exercise with a given weight, and I’m going to deload and I’m, let’s say, getting fives and sixes, I’m gonna drop that down to threes and then I reduce the number of hard.

Sets that I’m doing per exercise by about one third or one fourth. So if I’m doing four sets per exercise, I’ll drop that down to three. If I’m doing three, I’ll drop that down to two. And so really what I’m going for is a reduction in volume, because that’s what drives a lot of the fatigue that accumulates in our training.

It’s the volume, it’s the number of hard sets, it’s the number of hard reps taken right up close to muscular failure. Rather than the absolute amount of weight that we’re lifting, that makes us feel more and more run down. Now, the amount of weight that we’re lifting the load is harder on our joints than the volume.

So heavy weights beat up our joints faster than lighter weights, but it’s the volume that beats us up systemically. And so then what I’m doing in my D loads is I’m keeping the weights heavy just. To keep my muscles acquainted with my normal working weights, but I am reducing my volume quite a bit. I’m doing fewer reps per set.

I’m doing fewer sets per workout and that allows my body to catch up in recovery. Josh Gonzalez, m w s asks, what is your new year resolution for 2023? And this was asked probably a couple of months ago because I do one of these Q and A’s every week usually, but I only. Post them every other week or every three weeks here on the podcast.

And so anyway, new Year resolution for 2023. Number one, forget past mistakes and make even bigger ones. Two, stop worrying about what could go wrong and just focus on getting bigger biceps. Of course, three, stop wearing pants because screw pants, four, read more takeout menus than books. Five, save more money by buying more stuff that’s on sale.

I learned that one from my wife. And six, don’t let anything get in the way of eating more cheese and ice cream. Another one from Josh Gonzalez. M w s. What book are you reading right now? So, at the time I was reading Die With Zero, which I liked. I thought it made some very good points about the stupidity of spending 40 plus years of accumulating wealth.

To the exclusion of all the other things that you could do with your time only to die with a lot of money. Dying Rich makes no sense to me, and that really is the theme of the book. It explores that idea in a few different ways, but great title because it gives you the premise of the book and it gets your attention.

Of course, it’s controversial, but I think that philosophy makes a lot. More sense, I think it makes sense to strive to die with zero. Or like a friend of mine says, no, no, die with debt because they can’t discriminate against you because of your age. So when you’re 85 and you want that boat, get the biggest, most expensive boat you can possibly finance because when you’re gone, all they can do is repossess the boat.

They can’t come after your kids or grandkids. And you know, he kind of has a point. But anyway, coming back to the book, I think it makes a lot more sense to use your money for whatever you want to use it for. And that can include stuff like philanthropy and helping your kids out doesn’t have to be just conspicuous consumption, but do that while you are.

Here. And so then by the time you cash in your chips, ideally you’ve used most, if not all of your money. I really don’t see the logic in trying to die Rich. Lyndon Sep asks, what did you think about the US and Russia Prisoners Exchange? This is referring to Griner. Was it Britney, the basketball player? And so my th.

Thought at the time was, you know, I wonder if Griner took a knee when she landed in America. And interestingly, I just saw a headline a couple of days ago where she wasn’t taking a knee at a basketball game. Isn’t that interesting how a little sojourn in Moscow can change your perspective a little bit?

Another question from Linden Sep, and they ask, is hypertrophy training better for fat loss than strength training? Well, technically it’s. At least a little bit better because hypertrophy training will burn more calories. But the difference is negligible when you consider it in the context of the calorie deficit that’s required to drive fat loss.

So do whichever style of training you like the most or do, uh, a mixture of hypertrophy and strength training if you prefer that. Sharia Soleimani asks triceps, push down, underhand or overhand grip. Both you can alternate really on whatever schedule makes sense to you, but doing both is a good idea because the underhand grip places emphasis on the inner portion of the triceps, so, uh, the portion that’s closest to your body, whereas the overhand grip emphasizes the outer portion.

Tedesco Fitness asks heels lift forward, lean when squatting due to long femurs best solutions. Couple things if you are listening or having this issue. One is to look into your ankle mobility because you might need to improve it. Many people do. Two is get a pair of squat shoes and that’s going to elevate your heels a little bit when you squat.

And it’s going to alleviate some of that issue. And three is turn your toes out a little more than standard that can help. And four is try the low bar squat. Train with Keith asks, can I mix Genesis? So that’s legion’s greens supplement, but it’s not your typical greens. I just don’t know what else to call it.

Really it’s green because it has spirulina, not because it has powdered vegetables in it, and I don’t believe in powdered vegetable products. Powdered fruit products. You should eat fruit. And you should eat vegetables and you cannot substitute them with powdered fruit and vegetables and get the same nutrition.

So anyway, Legion Genesis, can I combine it with Legion’s Way? That’s the question. If so, what’s the best flavor combo? Yes, you can. That’s what I do personally, because I don’t love the taste of Genesis. And we are working on a reformulation and we’ll see how it comes together. Maybe we can get the flavoring a bit better, but.

It’s hard because spirulina, that’s gonna stay and that stuff does not taste good. Reishi mushroom probably gonna stay, does not taste good, and we’ll see what we can do. But anyway, my favorite combination is the asa e berry flavor of Genesis with a vanilla based protein powder. So it could be a whe if you do whe.

I think it’s even better with our plant plus our plant derived protein powder. It’s rice and pea protein. And so I do the ASCE Genesis with the vanilla plant Plus, and I think that it’s pretty good actually, but I am weird, so you might not agree with me. Vilma V asks how to lose fat from the legs. All right, so let’s answer this one.

Like a meme them. How do I lose one face fat? Two. Belly fat. Three under arm fat, four thigh fat, five lower back fat six love handle fat seven. But fat eight add infinitum. Me ketosis. No, I’m just kidding. Detoxing. Nah, that’s not it. Oh, that’s right. It’s just a calorie deficit. ER 22 asks, every session is planned, or is it sometimes just a session better than no session?

Well, when you are considering skipping a workout because you don’t have time to do a full session or to do the session that you planned, remember that compromising, like doing fewer exercises or fewer sets, or maybe taking less rest in between sets, that always beats surrendering. Great workouts are not always the ones that you asked for.

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 soon.

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