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In this episode, I discuss whether you should prioritize sleep or training when sleep-deprived, shoulder impingement fixes, strategies to make stubborn muscles grow, and lots 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 question you’re dying to have answered, make sure you follow me on Instagram (@muscleforlifefitness) and look out for the Q&A posts. 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.


(3:41) Should I work out on 5-to-6 hours of sleep or prioritize sleep and do fewer workouts per week?

(9:28) Why is Thinner Leaner Stronger recommended for women under 40?

(10:20) I’ve been drinking salt water during my workouts. What are the signs I’m consuming too much salt?

(11:18) How can I grow stubborn muscles?

(17:40) What are your thoughts on training calves unilaterally?

(22:36) Can using an air fryer help control calorie intake?

(24:47) What’s the best way to fix shoulder impingement?

(25:52) Do you do AMRAP sets for most of your main exercises?

(28:15) I just had ACL surgery and will be sidelined for a bit. How do I maintain my muscle?

(29:00) Do you have any book recommendations on time management?

(29:35) Is it bad to do sauna after heavy lifting phases for lean gaining?

(31:31) The bar isn’t touching my shins during deadlifts. Is that a problem?

(33:13) What’s the best way to boost my immune system to avoid catching colds from my kids?

(35:24) Since we shouldn’t eat ultra-processed foods, how healthy are whey protein and other supplements?

(40:55) Any thoughts on natural tea supplements that use ingredients like tongkat ali, boron, and magnesium?

Mentioned on the Show:

Buy Legion Pulse

Buy Legion Phoenix

Bigger Leaner Stronger

Thinner Leaner Stronger

Legion One-on-One Coaching


Hello and welcome to muscle for life. I’m Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today for another Q and A episode where I answer a bunch of questions that people have asked me over on Instagram. So what I do is every couple of weeks, put up a story with the little question sticker and get a bunch of questions, go through them, find ones that are topical, interesting, new, at least new-ish.

And I answer them briefly there on Instagram. And then I bring everything over here to the podcast and answer them in more depth and detail. So if you want to ask me your questions, just follow me on Instagram at muscle for life fitness, watch my stories, look for that questions story every couple of weeks and submit your questions.

So in today’s episode, I am answering. All types of questions per usual. For example, I have one here on prioritizing workouts versus sleep. What if you can’t get enough sleep on a regular basis? What should you do? I answer a question about how to grow stubborn muscle groups. My thoughts on air frying food.

Including what type of oil to use, the best way to cure slash fix shoulder impingement and pain, some of my favorite time management books, whether you should go in the sauna after a workout or do a cold plunge, and more. But first You definitely don’t need supplements to lose fat, and no fat loss supplements are going to make a major difference in your bottom line results.

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Calico asks, should I work out on five to six hours of sleep or should I prioritize sleep and do fewer workouts per week? If we’re talking about the occasional night of too little sleep, five, six hours, even maybe less than that, that’s not an issue. You can go train. You should be able to perform fairly well.

Research shows that a single night of too little sleep doesn’t have to negatively impact performance. Now it can make the workout that follows feel more difficult. Your perceived effort, your perceived exertion in that workout. can be higher, but your performance should be just fine. So go train. However, if you are regularly getting too little sleep, if you are regularly getting five to six hours of sleep, it’s going to become a problem, especially if it’s closer to five hours than six.

There is a significant physiological difference between five hours and six hours of sleep because research shows. that our core sleep needs, as sleep researchers call it, are about five and a half hours per night. Now, it’s not to say that five and a half hours of sleep is sufficient or anywhere close to optimum, but that is referred to as our core sleep.

that allows us to get enough deep sleep to avoid some of the more extreme negative side effects associated with under sleeping. So four and a half, five hours is actually significantly worse physiologically than six to six and a half hours. And so if you are regularly sleeping closer to five, even if it’s right around six for most people, You can get by on six-ish hours of sleep, and research shows that that may not be as harmful to your health as some people would have you believe.

Some people who say that if you are not consistently, at least 80 percent of the time, getting at least 8 hours, if not 9 hours of sleep per night, you are significantly impairing your physical performance. Your mental performance, your health, that’s not true. Research shows that something around seven hours per night is more than enough for most everyone.

And some research shows that many people actually do better on about seven hours Versus eight hours and certainly versus nine plus hours and so anyway, if though you are regularly not sleeping enough and it’s not something that you can simply change, it’s not because you’re just watching too much TV, for example, maybe you have young Children and they wake you up a lot and that just is what it is, right?

In that case, I’d recommend fewer workouts and I’d recommend more sleep. And remember that if you do just two to three strength training workouts per week, that is enough to gain muscle and strength. If you are new to strength training, and that is enough to maintain muscle and strength. If you are a veteran lifter, if you are Much bigger than the average guy or gal, much stronger than the average guy or gal.

You can maintain more or less everything that you have on just two to three workouts per week. And so what often works well for people who tend to sleep too little, for one reason or another, is they just pick a couple days per week where they know they can get enough sleep or Where they can more often than not get enough sleep going into that day.

So the night before and those are their workout days. And sometimes those days change week to week and sometimes they are on the weekends. So sometimes it’s only Saturday and Sunday that they really can count on being able to get enough sleep. And that’s totally fine. And again, those days can change every week and you can even do two workouts in one day if that works better for you.

So if you have a day, maybe it’s a Saturday and you can get in there in the morning and you can do your upper body workout and then you can go later in the day and you can do your lower body workout. That works as well. Now, is that optimum for maximizing muscle and strength gain? No, of course not. But we’re in maintenance mode here.

And then if your sleep hygiene improves, if you’re able to sleep enough consistently, and if you have the time and you have the inclination, you can switch from a maintenance routine to a progression routine. You can start training harder, you can increase your volume, you can increase your intensity, you can really start pushing for progressive overload.

Now, I would say that you should. Train hard, even when you are just looking to maintain, you should be pushing close to failure in most sets. You should be doing a lot of compound weightlifting, probably. There are reasons why maybe that wouldn’t fit for you, but for most people, you’re going to want to focus on those multi joint exercises.

And you’re going to want to use relatively heavy weights. Anything generally, probably around 80 percent of one rep max and up. And you want to at least try to make progress, but practically speaking, it’s going to be hard if not impossible to make any significant progress if you are an experienced weightlifter and you’re only training a couple hours per week.

But that’s plenty for maintaining. So in that case though, you’re sleeping better, you want to spend more time in the gym, you want to train harder, you want to gain muscle and strength. Well, then you can enjoy a progression phase and if, for whatever reason, you can no longer consistently get enough sleep, well, then you just switch back to the maintenance phase.

Shannon 9585 asks, I saw you recommend Thinner Stronger for women under 40, wondering why not over 40? Thinner Stronger can work well for women of all ages, but on average, my Muscle for a Life program, which is laid out in my book, muscle for life, I think is a better starting point for women who are over 40 as well as men.

There’s a men’s program in there as well, and people who are new to strength training. So again, if somebody is 40 plus brand new to strength training, Can they do well with thinner leaner stronger? Absolutely. Thousands and thousands of women have. Can they do well with bigger leaner stronger if they’re a man?

Absolutely. Thousands and thousands of men have. But I would say that muscle for life is going to be more optimized specifically For them, and especially if they have a lot of weight to lose. Seventeen Scorpio asks, I’ve been drinking salt water during my workout. What are signs that I have too much salt in me?

Well, a few common signs of too much sodium in your diet are high blood pressure. That’s easy to check at home. You can just buy a device 40 bucks, and is something that is worth keeping an eye on. So that’s one point, high blood pressure. Another point is a high amount of water retention if you are aware of an increased amount of water retention compared to maybe when you were not drinking salt water.

Or maybe when you were salting your food less, then you may be eating too much sodium and drinking too much sodium. If you are frequently thirsty, that’s also a sign that you might have too much salt and sodium in your diet. And if you are getting headaches, when you typically don’t get headaches, especially if you’re not prone to headaches.

Alker Bean asks, how to grow stubborn muscles? Well, if you’re an experienced weightlifter, if you’ve been lifting weights for at least a couple of years, you’ve gained a fair amount of muscle and strength. Unfortunately, it’s mostly brute force and patience. There are not many qualitative factors that come into play unless you’re doing things really wrong, unless your form on the exercises that you’re doing for those stubborn muscles is just atrocious.

Then yeah, maybe if you were to correct that you would get a lot more results out of the volume that you’re doing, but assuming that your form is pretty good, unfortunately, it’s not simply a matter of switching up the exercises or adding advanced, more sophisticated training techniques like drop sets or, uh, lengthened partials or eccentrics or, or, or again, it’s mostly just.

You gotta work harder and you gotta stay patient and to be specific there, if you have a stubborn muscle group and you’re not brand new to this. It’s probably going to take upward of 15 to 20 hard sets per week with at least half of those sets directly training that muscle group rather than indirectly.

So, for example, if you have stubborn triceps, we’re looking at 15 to 20 hard sets, meaning sets taken, I would say, Most of them just take them to failure with a smaller muscle group like triceps, but minimally taking those sets to within one to two reps of failure. So pushing hard sets 15 to 20 per week and at least half of them triceps exercises that are specifically training your triceps as opposed to the triceps volume provided by the bench press, which is legitimate triceps volume.

And I think one set of bench press can be counted for just looking at volume as one set of triceps. But again, if we’re talking about a stubborn muscle group, you are going to want to train it with a lot of direct volume. Again, I would recommend at least half of your total weekly sets direct volume for that muscle group.

Now, another training tip that is particularly useful with stubborn muscle groups is to use a variety of rep ranges. And that could be anything from, let’s say, 2 to 12, and you could envision that spectrum as a bell curve, as a normal distribution. So, you’re going to want most of that volume. In the middle of that.

So let’s say anywhere between six to eight or five to seven, five to eight, a lot of the sets in that rep range, and then a minority of sets even heavier. So those would be your twos and threes and a minority of your sets lighter. Those might be your tens or your twelves. And lastly, just to quickly comment on nutrition, it is very important that you are consistently in a calorie surplus, especially when you are an experienced weightlifter and you’re dealing with stubborn muscle groups.

A big mistake that many people make, I’ve made it myself because I like to stay lean, is that, is staying too lean and trying to rely solely on your training to produce the muscle growth and to produce the strength gain. If you’re trying to get stronger, it’s hard to understate just how important it is to maintain a steady calorie surplus when you’re trying to get bigger and stronger, especially when you’ve already gained a fair amount of muscle and strength.

It makes a huge difference, even though it feels like a minor change to your diet. If you’re eating maintenance calories, I’m only talking about consistently eating five to 10 percent more than your maintenance calories. And practically speaking, what you would probably do is just take your meal plan, whether you have a formal meal plan or an informal one, where you just tend to eat the same types of things, most meals, and you make little substitutions here and there.

What you will probably end up doing, just because it’s easy, is you’ll take what you’re eating and you’ll just eat a bit more. You’ll just make your portions a little bit bigger, specifically your carb portions, and that’s it. So it doesn’t feel like much, but it makes a huge Difference in your performance in the gym and in your recovery, and you won’t feel it probably for the first couple of weeks, and I’m not sure why this is physiologically.

I remember Lyle McDonald writing about this many years ago, and at that time he wasn’t sure either, but he had observed the same thing, and that is after a couple of weeks, 2 to 3 max 4 weeks of consistently being in a calorie surplus. There just is a A switch that flips in your body, your, your body’s muscle building machinery, so to speak, just, it just shifts into this higher gear and you, you notice it one day, you’re in the gym and you’re starting your workout.

It’s more or less the same workout probably as you did the previous week because you don’t wanna be changing your workouts too often. But this time. Not only is your performance better, you might even just be adding weight to exercises all of a sudden. Your perceived exertion is significantly lower, the fatigue is lower.

You finish that workout and you feel like you could do it all over again. And From that point forward, you really start to make progress. Your working weights start feeling lighter, so you start gaining reps, and then you’re able to cash that in for heavier weights. And so you’re gaining strength, and of course that’s driving hypertrophy, and you’re sleeping better, and you’re feeling more recovered.

It really is a fun experience. If you’ve never done a proper lean bulking phase, I recommend it. I understand. Staying lean. I like staying lean as well. And I do prefer it over lean bulking, generally speaking, if we’re talking about lifestyle. But as a, as an intervention, as an acute experience, a lean bulking phase is very enjoyable because the fat gain is minimal.

It accumulates slowly and you have great workouts. You sleep better, you feel better and so on. Coach Gregory Groves asks, What are your thoughts on training calves unilaterally? Is it worth it? Yeah. Yeah, it is. Especially if you have an imbalance in your calves like I do, my right calf is larger than my left calf.

And even if you don’t have an imbalance, I think it’s smart to include some unilateral training, especially in your lower body. Because it can help you get better results than only doing bilateral training, because with that unilateral training, you can fully focus on one limb at a time, and it can also help prevent imbalances from developing.

Because if you only do bilateral training, inevitably, you’re going to favor one side a little bit more than the other, especially as you get stronger, the weights get heavier, you’re pushing hard in your training, you’re getting deep into those sets of heavy squats, and it’s hard to focus on really much of anything other than just standing up.

Just you have one cue, maybe it’s Throwing the weight off of your back. Some people like that cue, the feeling right when they’re, they’re down in the hole and now they’re trying to stand up and they, they imagine they are throwing that bar off of their back. They’re standing up and, and throwing it backward.

Right. And when you’re deep in a set and it’s hard, you can only really focus on just one thing. And it’s, it’s the fight or flight response. You’re just trying to survive the set. So you’re not going to notice that you are subtly shifting your weight, for example, to your right side. That’s a mistake that I made for many years.

And I didn’t realize it until there was a clear imbalance. between, I mean, you could see it. It wasn’t egregious, but, but I could see it between the quads on my right leg versus my left leg. And so then I used unilateral training to help balance that out as well as I focused particularly on that when I was doing my bilateral training.

And I would really try to get that feeling of favoring my left side. I was exaggerating to correct because that’s what I had to do at least initially to press evenly. And that’s always how it goes with correcting any sort of incorrect movement patterns. You almost always have to exaggerate what you need to be doing just to get it barely right.

So again, for me to, to correct a slight shift to my right, I had to feel like I was consciously favoring my left just to maintain even pressure. Do you sometimes lack the energy and the motivation to get into the gym? Do you sometimes want to hit the snooze button instead of the squat rack? And are you sometimes just not able to give 100 percent in your workouts?

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com slash pulse, order now, use the coupon code muscle, save 20%, try pulse risk free and see what you think. H Med he asks, can we use an air fryer to control calories because of the use of lesser oil? Uh, yes, absolutely. That’s a great tip for making delicious, fitness friendly fried food. Now, I wouldn’t recommend that as the primary method of cooking everything that you eat.

I wouldn’t recommend air frying every serving of chicken and every serving of vegetables and so forth. But if you want to include some air fried chicken, Breast or chicken tenders here and there. Maybe do some homemade french fries or you want to do an air fried baked potato. That can be good. Even some vegetables like eggplant sticks can be good.

A butternut squash can be good in the air fryer. It’s a great option. And as for the oil, Don’t be afraid to use a vegetable oil, a seed oil because that’s what you like to use. For example, grape seed oil is a popular air fryer oil because it has a high smoke point and it has a neutral flavor and a neutral aroma.

Seed oils are not going to harm you. What can harm you is a diet rich in seed oils. And what’s the difference there? A diet rich in seed oils is almost always a diet rich in highly processed, relatively non nutritious food. That is the problem. It’s a problem of correlation. Not causation, but if you’re eating well, if you’re eating a lot of relatively unprocessed, highly nutritious food, you don’t have to be concerned about seed oil.

Period. So again, with the air fryer, if you want to go Peanut oil, sure, that works. If you want to go with an avocado oil, you can do that as well. But again, don’t be afraid to use the sunflower oil or the grapeseed oil or just vegetable oil. And if you want to learn more about this seed oil topic, head over to Legion Athletics.

com, search for refined oils, and check out the article I wrote, Are Refined Oils Unhealthy? What Science Says. KK Drix asks, what’s the best way to cure slash fix shoulder impingement slash pain? I can’t really say for sure without knowing more about somebody’s individual circumstances. However, dead hangs can be surprisingly helpful with this and other shoulder issues.

And even if you don’t have shoulder issues and you just want to Keep your shoulders healthy. Dead hangs are a highly underrated mobility exercise, if you can call it an exercise. And as for a routine, if you just do a few sets, let’s say anywhere between three and certainly not more than nine sets, but three and six sets per week, work up to, let’s say, two minutes per hang, it can go a long way in resolving current issues and preventing them.

Issues from occurring and it’s something you can just do while you’re resting in between sets Unless you’re training back, then I wouldn’t do it because it’s going to impair performance But any other muscle group when you’re resting you can just go get your dead hangs in Philosopher Noel asks, do you do AMRAP for the majority of your main lifts?

Not currently, but when I was running my beyond bigger, leaner, stronger program, which you can learn about and get in my book, beyond the bigger, leaner, stronger. Yeah. I was doing AMRAPs once every four months as it is programmed in that routine. And I don’t recommend doing it too often. I think more often than once every four months is probably too often, especially if you are an experienced weightlifter because it’s, yeah.

It’s hard. It is very stressful on your body when you are doing relatively heavy AMRAPs on the squat, on the deadlift, even on the bench press. And by that I mean you are doing certainly no more than eight reps, probably closer to four to six reps with zero, maybe one good rep left. But by doing it once every few months, it does allow you to more objectively measure your progress.

It allows you to adjust loads to fit desired rep ranges, and it allows you to push for PRs. And that’s important when you’re an experienced weightlifter and you’re trying to get bigger and stronger. You should be hitting PRs every so often. It’s not going to be a regular occurrence, but over time, you should See your one rep maxes.

Not that you have to test your one rep maxes with actual weight, but your calculated one rep maxes, and you would use your amrap sets to calculate those one rep maxes. And so it’s going to be pretty accurate for most people, especially because they are going to be heavier sets. They’re going to be sets probably three, four, five, six reps where one rep max calculators can get less reliable is when you’re using higher rep sets to calculate.

Let’s say 10 plus reps, but when you’re lifting heavy and you’re pushing close to failure, that will give you a pretty good estimate of your 1RM on that exercise. And so you should see that your 1RMs just on an upward trajectory over time, just getting a little bit higher. Maybe every six months or so, you’ve made a little bit of progress and AMRAP sets can help you achieve that if they are part of a well designed training program.

Raymond Tawil asks, just had ACL surgery will be sidelined for a bit. How do I maintain one of the most effective things that you can do when a limb is injured aside from eating maintenance calories, make sure you’re not in a consistent deficit. Of course, you didn’t have protein, blah, blah, blah. Aside from that, it’s to keep training the other limb, which sounds odd, but thanks to something called the crossover effect, which is a scientifically studied phenomenon, training the non injured limb will help you maintain muscle in the injured limb.

It sounds mystical, but there are physiological reasons for this. Again, crossover effect, you can go read about it. Rita 0368 asks, Do you have any suggestions for books on time management? Uh, well, I’ve read a number of time management books over the years, and a few that I’ve liked are Getting Things Done, classic, but good information.

I never implemented his system fully, but I did take pieces of it that I like, and I still use them today. Uh, Essentialism was good, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Managing Oneself. The effective executive, the one thing and atomic habits, Seban 93 asks, is it bad to do sauna after heavy lifting phases for lean gaining?

Uh, no. No, it’s not bad. Uh, it’s actually better than cold exposure, even though cold plunging is still the biohack Azure. The sauna is going to be more effective because the cold plunging can blunt the productive post workout inflammation that you want that it occurs, uh, inevitably, but, but you want that.

And you want your body to be able to use that because that contributes to your recovery and therefore your gains. And so, if you train and then you go jump in a tub of freezing water for five minutes, you are bringing down inflammation levels, which can be good depending on the circumstances. If you’re an NFL player, you just played a game and your body is a raging inferno of inflammation.

You have to get back to training as soon as possible, then you need to bring those inflammation levels down. So yeah, great. Go sit in an ice bath for five or six or seven minutes and full exposure all the way up to your neck. But if you are a lifestyle bodybuilder and you just did an hour, maybe an hour and a half of training, And you have much lower levels of inflammation, and they’re also more localized, more specific to the muscles that you just trained.

And, as I mentioned, they are the beginning of a cascade of physiological mechanisms that result in more muscle and strength. You don’t want to interfere with that because, again, that inflammation that results from the training is positive in this context and leads to the adaptations that produce more muscle and strength.

Shahriar Soleimani asks, The bar is not touching my shins during the deadlift. Is that a big deal? No, not necessarily, but it does depend on your anatomy. So what’s important is at the bottom of the deadlift, so you’re getting ready to pull, you’re getting ready to stand up. You’re deep into your hips, so your butt is pushed backward.

Your hamstrings are tight and engaged and maybe even to a point where it’s slightly uncomfortable. They are very tight. They are very engaged. And your lower back is neutral. Then when you pull the bar, it should move straight up. It shouldn’t move towards you. It shouldn’t move away from you. And if you’re not sure how the bar path is looking, just set up a, your phone or set up a camera next to you and video the set, and then look in an ideal scenario.

That bar is moving straight up and down. And And another simple little cue to pay attention to is your shins. Ideally, your shins are as close to perpendicular to the ground, straight up and down perpendicular to the ground as you can get them. But again, anatomy does matter here. Depending on how your limbs are configured, you may not be able to get your shins to perfectly perpendicular to the ground.

while also keeping your lower back neutral while also getting that high level of engagement in your hamstrings and getting deep into your hips but for most people when they’re at the bottom getting ready to pull a good position has their shins Perpendicular to the ground or almost perpendicular to the ground.

Speck Hunter asks, best way to boost immune system to avoid one year old giving me constant colds and flus. Well, it is the basics really. You got to eat well, you got to get enough sleep. You should probably be taking one to two grams of vitamin C every day. You should pay attention to your hygiene, you know, keep your hands clean, keep surfaces clean, keep your food and your drinks away from sneezes and coughs.

Uh, you should ventilate rooms, teach your kid to sneeze or cough into their elbow, which they’re probably not going to do no matter how many times you try to remind them, but you keep trying. And another tip that is not fun, that requires discipline, is when you’re on the brink of getting sick, you feel your body fighting something off, you haven’t reached that point of no return yet, don’t do your workout if it’s a workout day.

Take a nap if you can, and if it’s not a workout day, take a nap if you can. Just 30 to 45 minutes can make a big difference. I did not follow this advice for many years because I didn’t want to. More often than not, going and doing my normal workout when my body was not sick yet, but it was getting there, pushed it over the edge.

However, over the last several years, I have resolved to change that habit, and now, when I’m feeling off, it’s often because one of my kids is sick, and I can just tell. That I may or may not get sick. There’s a little bit of extra mucus. My immune system just seems to be working harder than it normally does.

If that is a lifting day or even if it’s a cardio day, I don’t do the workout and I take a nap instead 30 to 45 minutes and now more often than not, I don’t end up getting sick. And finally, I mentioned vitamin C, 1 to 2 grams a day. As a supplement and if you want to add to that you could also check out my sports nutrition company legions immune supplement It’s called immune.

You can find it over at LegionAthletics. com It has some other goodies in there in addition to the vitamin c sports circus Asks, we shouldn’t eat ultra processed foods. How healthy is whey and other supplements then? Well, the proverbial devil is in the details or god is in the details if you prefer Food processing is not bad per se, right?

Because cut and frozen vegetables. Yeah, those are processed and they’re also great. They are convenient. They have a lot of nutrition. They taste good. However, there are certain types of food processing that can be a problem, especially when they’re combined, and they are highly refined grains. So those are grains that have been highly processed to allow for the creation of different types of food products.

The grain that goes into the final food product is in a very different form than it is in nature. Another method that’s, that’s a problem is adding hydrogenated oils, adding trans fat, that one can cause a lot of problems, adding sugar, adding high fructose corn syrup can be a problem if you are over consuming Added sugars, adding salt and sodium can be a problem.

If you’re over consuming salt and sodium, adding artificial food dyes, preservatives and other chemicals can cause various problems and sensitivities can can vary from individual to individual. Some people can respond very dyes in particular, while other people can have much higher amounts without any.

Negative consequences. And finally, heavy pre cooking or pre frying often means it’s low quality food. Now, in the case of whey and other supplements, they often don’t check many, if any, of those boxes. So they often don’t have any highly refined grains. They don’t have any added hydrogenated oils or other trans fats.

They have Little or no added sugars, little or no added salt or sodium. And now the artificial food dyes, preservatives, and other chemicals can be significant, depending on what supplements you’re using. My sports nutrition company, Legion, does not use any of those things. We also don’t use artificial sweeteners, not that I’m an alarmist about artificial sweeteners or artificial food dyes and preservatives and other things.

However, I do not think it is optimum for someone’s health to be having several. And in many cases, it could be 8 to 10 plus servings of those things every day because of the several scoops of protein powder, the pre workout. The post workout, maybe the amino acid supplement and whatever other supplements that they’re taking that are sweetened with artificial sweeteners, they’re colored with artificial food dyes.

They have other artificial preservatives and other chemicals in them. If you were to have such things occasionally, Would it matter? So long as you’re doing everything else that is most important, mostly right, most of the time? No, it wouldn’t matter. But, if you’re having a pretty significant amount of those chemicals, if you’re ingesting them basically every day forever, I don’t think that’s a good idea.

And that is one of the Biggest reasons why my sports nutrition company, Legion, does not use any of that stuff. I, first and foremost, I mean, I wanted to use my products. I wanted to be able to use all of my products, and I didn’t want to do that. And then, of course, I didn’t want to inflict that on anyone else.

Because that would be hypocritical and that would be immoral and it wouldn’t just be a handful of people either legion is going to sell I don’t know two million bottles of Supplements this year that would weigh on my conscience. And so I decided to go with naturally derived ingredients natural sweeteners natural flavorings natural coloring obtained from fruit for example Even though it costs a lot more money to do it that way, and the products generally don’t taste as good as they could if I were to use artificial ingredients, except in the case of our whey, I would say that our whey, our whey plus product, which is a whey isolate protein powder, That on average that stands up taste wise to anything that’s artificially sweetened and artificially flavored on the market.

And in many cases, people think that our 100 percent naturally sweetened and flavored way isolate tastes even better. But, in the case of our pre workout pulse, I think, objectively, it tastes good. A few of the flavors I think taste great. A few of the flavors taste less than great, at least to me, but those are not my flavors.

They’re not the flavors I would typically buy. On average, though, the artificially sweetened and flavored pre workouts taste better than mine. And a major reason for that is you take something like sucralose, not only is it super sweet, but it also is fantastic at cutting bitterness. And many ingredients, particularly amino acids that go into pre workouts, taste extremely bad.

Caffeine tastes extremely bad. And it is very difficult to bring down that bitterness with natural ingredients, and it’s very easy to basically erase it with artificial ingredients. But anyway, I digress. Tyler Cornelius asks, Any thoughts on natural tea supplements that use ingredients like Tongkat Ali, Boron, Magnesium, etc.?

Generally, these types of supplements are only going to help you if you have a vitamin or mineral deficiency. You’re not getting enough vitamin D, you’re not getting enough zinc, you’re not getting enough magnesium, maybe boron, not clear there, maybe. Or they may raise your T levels if they’re low. So in the case of tonkat Ali, in the case of DHEA, if you have low testosterone, there is some research to show that they may help.

But if you are a healthy man with no. Vitamin or mineral insufficiencies. There are no true evidence based testosterone boosters that will reliably work. And by work, I mean do enough to matter for long enough to matter. So raise your testosterone levels enough to provide some noticeable benefit. Even if it’s just a little bit more energy, a little bit better sleep, maybe a little bit more sex drive, it’s not going to be.

More muscle and strength gain. I promise you that because to do that, you have to really exceed the physiological ceiling of testosterone. You have to get well into the thousand plus nanogram per deciliter range of total testosterone, at least with, let’s just say, normal levels of free testosterone to really start to notice the difference in muscle and strength gain compared to just a normal middle, normal, especially a high normal.

So if you’re a guy with, let’s say, 7 to 800 NGDL, and then you bump that up to a thousand, you are not going to gain muscle or strength faster. You are going to have to at least double your testosterone levels, which you can only do with exogenous hormones, and I don’t recommend that. How would you like to know a little secret that will help you get into the best shape of your life.

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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 ideas or suggestions or just feedback to share shoot me an email mike at muscle for life. com muscleforlife. com 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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