I’ve recorded hundreds of episodes of Muscle for Life on a huge variety of things related to health, fitness, and lifestyle, ranging from the basics of diet and exercise like energy and macronutrient balance and progressive overload and training frequency and volume to fads like the ketogenic and carnivore diet and collagen protein to more unfamiliar territories like body weight set point and fasted cardio.
Some episodes resonate with my crowd more than others, but all of them contain at least a few key takeaways that just about anyone can benefit from (that’s what I tell myself at least).
And as cool as that is, it poses a problem for you, my dear listener:
Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Well okay, some people do make the time to listen to most or even all of my podcasts, but my wizbang analytics tell me that while many listeners tune in on a regular basis, they don’t catch every installment of Muscle for Life and thus miss out on insights that could help them get a little better inside and outside the gym.
People have also been saying they’d like me to do more shorter, multi-topic episodes, like my Q&As.
And so I got an idea: how about a “best of” series of podcasts that contains a few of the most practical and compelling ideas, tips, and moments from my most popular episodes?
This way, people who are new to the show can quickly determine if it’s for them or not, and those who enjoy what I’m doing but don’t have the time or inclination to listen to all of my stuff can still benefit from the discussions and find new episodes to listen to.
So, in this installment of The Best of Muscle for Life, you’ll be hearing hand-picked morsels from three episodes:
And we’ll be starting with number one, My Interview on Mind Pump Media
5:51 – My Interview on Mind Pump Media
14:28 – The Ultimate Fitness Plan for Women
23:19 – Book Club: My Top 5 Takeaways from Principles by Ray Dalio
Mentioned on the show:
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Hello, and welcome to the latest and greatest episode of Muscle for Life. I’m Mike Matthews and thank you for joining me today. Now, I have recorded hundreds of episodes of Muscle for Life, and I’ve talked. To about a huge variety of things related to health, fitness, lifestyle, mindsets, ranging from the basics of diet and exercise, like energy and macronutrient, balance and progressive overload, and training frequency and volume to.
Fads like the ketogenic and carnivore diet and collagen protein to more unfamiliar territories like body weight, set point and fasted cardio, and some episodes resonate with my crowd more than others, but all of them contain at least a few key takeaways that just about anyone can benefit from. At least that’s what I tell myself.
That’s what helps me sit down in the chair every day and do this, and as cool as that. It poses a problem for you, my dear listener, especially if you are new here, and that is, ain’t nobody got time for that. We’re talking about probably a thousand plus hours of content at this point. And while some people actually do make the time to listen to most or even.
All of my podcasts, my Whizbang analytics tell me that while many listeners tune in on a regular basis, they don’t catch every installment of Muscle for Life. Thus, they miss out on insights that could help them get even just a little bit better inside and outside the gym. Because if you just get a little bit better, consistently enough, that can add up to big results in the long.
And people have also been telling me that they would like me to do more shorter multi topic episodes like my q and Ass and says You episodes. And so I got an idea. How about a best of series of podcasts that contains a few of the most practical and compelling ideas, tips, and moments from my most.
Episodes going all the way back to the beginning. This way, people who are new in particular can quickly determine if this is the droid they’re looking for, if this podcast is for them or not. And then those who are regulars and enjoy what I’m doing, but just don’t have the time or inclination to listen to all of my stuff.
And I do understand that I don’t take it personally. , you can also then benefit from the discussions and the episodes that you are not listening to. And you can also find new episodes to listen to without having to give an hour of your time to determine whether it was worth it or not. So here we are with the best of Muscle for Life, and in this episode you’ll be hearing hand-picked morsels from three episodes.
One was titled My Interview On Mind Pump Media. Very creative, Mike. Good job. And this was published back in August of 2017. And then the other is a monologue that was published back in November of 2018 called The Ultimate Fitness Plan for Women. And then the third and final episode that is going to be featured in this episode.
Is a book club episode published back in October of 2018, and that was my top five takeaways from Principles by Ray Dalio. Also, if you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my v i p one-on-one coaching service because my team and I have helped people of all ages and all circumstances lose fat, build muscle, and get into the best shape of their life faster.
Than they ever thought possible, and we can do the same for you. We make getting fitter, leaner, and stronger. Paint by numbers simple by carefully managing every aspect of your training and your diet for you. Basically, we take out all of the guesswork, so all you have to do is follow the plan and watch your body changed day after day, week after week and month after month.
What’s more, we’ve. That people are often missing just one or two crucial pieces of the puzzle. And I bet a shiny shackle, it’s the same with you. You’re probably doing a lot of things right, but dollars to donuts, there’s something you’re not doing correctly or at all that’s giving you the most grief.
Maybe it’s your calories or your macros. Maybe it’s your. Selection. Maybe it’s your food choices. Maybe you’re not progressively overloading your muscles, or maybe it’s something else, and whatever it is, here’s what’s important. Once you identify those one or two things you’re missing, once you figure it out, that’s when everything finally clicks.
That’s when you start making serious progress. And that’s exactly what we do for our clients. To learn more, head over to www.buy legion.com. That’s bu uy legion.com/vip and schedule your free consultation call, which by the way is not a high pressure sales call. It’s really just a discovery call where we get to know you better and see if you’re a good fit for the service.
And if you’re not for any reason, we will be able to share resources that’ll point you in. Direction. So again, if you appreciate my work and if you want to see more of it, and if you also want to finally stop spinning your wheels and make more progress in the next few months than you did in the last few years, check out my v i p coaching [email protected] legion.com/vip.
Okay, so let’s start with the highlights from. First interview, I’ve done a couple of appearances over, uh, at Mind Pump, but this was my first interview on the Mind Pump Podcast. By the end of the year, by the end of 2012, um, I believe I’d written one or two other books, shorter kind of trial balloons, just some other ideas to kind of see like, hey, this one’s doing well.
Um, one of the next one that did really well was a cookbook actually, which still does very well. Oh, interesting. And, um, and I’ve, I’ve also subsequently revamped my book several times, which is a smart business strategy. Um, not saying, not like puffing myself up, I’m just saying for as a, just a, a, so like when you have something that works.
Re iterating on it and making it, making it better. Mm-hmm. , you know what I mean? Mm-hmm. . Um, and so I’ve done that several times and worked, actually took quite a bit of work. Like Now were you writing blogs or anything at this time or along the way? Well, Not really. No. So I had posted like one or two little things on this Build Healthy Muscle website.
Um, but otherwise, no. I had really just kind of like, uh, by the end of 2012, I don’t remember the exact timeline, but I had maybe two max three books, uh, uh, so Bigly or Stronger, and then a couple shorter other ones. I believe the, the cookbook was in 2013. I don’t remember exactly. Um, but at the end of the year, bigger than.
Gregory and Strong was selling a few thousand copies a month and Oh, organically at this point? Yeah. Yeah. Wow. That’s Texas’s mouth. And I’ll say also a big, a big takeaway from, and it’s something I’ve kept in up until now, is, um, being, being rece, like being helpful to people. So when people. Write emails when they, when they message me on social media, if they d me on Instagram, like they will hear back, uh, you’re still like that?
Yeah. It’s, I messaged you and you messaged me. You know, right away. Exactly. That’s why. Yeah. Cause and that was me. It’s not like an assistant or something, right? Mm-hmm. and I have a couple people that help, like my email gets hammered and so I have a couple people that help, uh, with sometimes they’re very filtering it, right?
Yeah. Very simple questions like, but everyone always gets an answer though. You know what I mean? Where it’s like a lot of them actually. Fairly simple questions that I’ve already answered in an article that I’ve written or a podcast. So it’s kind of just like, oh, that’s a good question. Go check this out.
This will answer your question. Let me know if you have any, you know, let me know if it doesn’t, and then, you know, but I think this is gonna take care of you. Mm-hmm. . But it’s just that point of taking care of really taking care of people. So up until, um, you know, maybe the last year or so, I mean, I was spending four-ish hours a day.
every day, and then probably six hours, seven hours on the weekends as well. It was usually on Sunday, like I would be off on Saturday and then, and then Sunday just answering people’s communication. Um, and, and that, I mean, does tremendous things as far as word of mouth goes, because I mean, that’s pretty cool if you just look at it like you just, you bought some book in Amazon, you read it and you’re like, oh, it’s a good book.
And you have a question. You actually heard back and got a really good answer. What a lost art. That is such a lost art nowadays. Totally. To be able to do that because, and that’s, and those are old school. It’s big. Absolutely. Yeah, that’s, that’s old school business advice is to be able to do that kind of stuff.
And, uh, I think people forget it doesn’t scale, but it’s, it’s, it’s huge. And that’s one of the reasons why it’s huge. And it’s one of the things that, again, like people, a lot of people don’t want to do that, right? Because it’s not, it’s not sexy. What do you do for fun? Besides work. Um, so like, if you’re like, you and your, like, what?
You’re like, okay, I got some time. Like I’m gonna, I’m gonna do what I really wanna fucking do and have a good time. Um, so I haven’t been in, in Virginia, I’ve been, so in Florida I had like my routine was I would golf on like Sunday afternoons. Okay. And so I was into that. And, uh, but I was funny because like, The first probably 500 hours of golf or so was working on a building, a swing.
Cause I don’t like to be bad at things like, I don’t like to do things that I’m bad at. So if I’m gonna do something, I’m gonna get good at it or I’m not gonna do it, basically. And so to get good at golf and I’d read, you know, 20, that’s also what I’ll do. I’ll, if I’m gonna get into something, I’m like, I’ll find 20 books to read on it.
Oh my, my God. How did that go? That is such a complicated sport. I mean, actually, so, so it went well. But just because I, you know, I’m such a. OCD Nazi about how I’m going about it, right? Mm-hmm. . So like, I write a bunch of books and, uh, to first, so one of the first things was a book called Every Stroke Counts, a really good book.
If anyone was into golf, you haven’t read it, read it, read it, right? This is a guy, he’s a professor of statistics at Brown University, I believe. Um, and he is, uh, business statistics, but also happens to be a golf aficionado. And so anyways, the dude, um, he, because of who he was, he got access to the PGA’s. Uh, they have a database going back, I think a couple decades now of every.
Shot, uh, accurate to within a yard in every putt, accurate, within an inch. And, um, so they gave him access to all of their data and basically allowed him to just go have fun and see what kind of correlations there were. And so basically he kind of debunked his similar to like, it was, it was, it’s like the, I don’t, I won’t say it’s my book, but it, it was a, it was a book that like overturned a lot of.
Things that people assumed about golf and what made for good golf, you know what I mean? Hmm. And one of the big things was, one of the big takeaways was that, um, if you wanna be a great golfer, you have to have a good long game. Meaning like you, you know, getting to the green where you’re putting mm-hmm.
you have to, especially off the t so like your, your Dr. Your drives and then your approach shots. That’s where you, that’s where great. Is, that’s where it happens. And there are different reasons for that, and it’s backed up with data. And so anyways, this dude, his, I mean his work, um, he, he came up with a statistic that the PGA tour now uses.
Um, so I mean, he’s completely legit, right? And so that, that’s why I was like, okay, so I wanna get good. I don’t wanna just be like, okay, so I need to have a good long game, which means I need to have a good swing. And that’s what a lot of people going back to doing what people don’t, most people don’t want to do.
They don’t wanna work on building a swing cause it’s a pain in the fucking ass. So now as a father, , you’re in the fitness, uh, uh, you know, space. This is, uh, a big part of your expertise. You have kids now, how do you, your oldest is what? Four you said? Mm-hmm. four. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . How do you tackle food? with kids, we get this question all the time.
Uh, because this is, it’s very different. It’s one thing being an adult, it’s a reoccurring theme for sure. Yeah. It’s one thing being an adult and eating red or whatever, but then when you’re dealing with a kid and then they go to birthdays or they start going to school mm-hmm. , you know, what are some takeaways that you’ve, that you can maybe give our audience that you’ve found with your kids?
Or how do you handle that so, so far, um, so Lennox has, uh, he’s been going to school for about a year now. Um, and they’re. , I would say that he, he doesn’t, he’s not a big fan of sweets and like the normal junk food stuff maybe that kids go to. And I also don’t, I don’t like, uh, , uh, not completely, not allow him to have some, like now is it cuz you created good habits around the house of just you guys eat that way.
Exactly. And he also sees, so like when, you know, he sees how Sarah and I eat, which is generally very clean, so to speak, and not for, not because I have, you know, uh, weird ideas about clean eating, but no, like, I’m talking about eating nutritious foods. Right. Whole foods. Exactly. Whole foods ate a lot of fruits, a lot of vegetables, a lot of whole grains.
Mm-hmm. . Um, and, and, and I myself am. , um, an indulgent person when it comes to food? Um, I don’t, uh, I think I probably, I, I think I have a good relationship with food where I can go out and I can eat random stuff and enjoy it or not, you know what I mean? Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. and generally, um, you know, my diet is, I, I prefer to eat that way, and so like my little thing is I like dark chocolate, so I’ll have maybe 150 calories of dark chocolate every day, and that’s enough.
That’s satis. I like that. You know what I mean? Mm-hmm. . Um, and so, so Lennox from the beginning. Um, Sarah also did a good job in the beginning exposing him to different foods when he was a baby. So like, um, blending up different stuff, vegetables, fruits. Mm-hmm. And, uh, just kind of, I guess maybe conditioning his palate in that way as opposed to giving him, um, very, you know, sugar ladden stuff.
Right, right off the bat. I’m glad you said conditioning is pate. Yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s something that’s real important there because You’re welcome. Do. If you do understand that you’re conditioning, uh, your child’s palate Yes. You know that in the beginning, like any kind of conditioning, it’s crucial.
Yeah. It’s gonna suck. You know, if you have a kid and you’re all of a sudden like, oh, okay, we need to clean up their diet, it’s gonna take you all the Eden is like, you know Yeah. Candy and like fast food. Uh, it’s gonna take you a second. Go back from there. Yeah. Yeah. It’s gonna take you a second and it you, you’re gonna have to recondition them.
New foods and it’s a slow process. Yes. So, cause I’ve had people message me and they’re like, oh, I tried what you said and my kid just didn’t want to eat, so that’s not gonna work for us. And it’s like, well it’s gonna take some time. Yeah. Like you get to change the way they perceive the taste of these foods and associate it.
Absolutely. I mean, there’s research on both that point of, uh, exposing the, when they’re, when they’re, especially when they’re infants exposing them. And I. Believe, if I remember correctly. Mm-hmm. , I read this, I read it a bit ago, but I believe it also, you can even start with breastfeeding, if I remember correctly.
It starts on the womb, it’s boom. We have studies now. We got, was it Dr. Nicole ak? We had on the show that got into that. She was talking about that. All right, well that’s it for the highlight reel from my first interview that I’ve done with the boys over at Mind Pump. And if you wanna listen to the full interview, you can find it on my podcast feed.
You can go back and find it on theirs sometime around August, 2017. But, That’s when I published it on mine. They probably published it earlier than that. I would guess. They probably published it in June or something like that of 2017, but then I republished it to my crowd in August of 2017. Okay. Let’s move on to the key takeaways from the Ultimate Fitness Plan for Women.
Let’s start with the absolute worst fitness plan for women. Now, really what this comes down to is just the bulk of the mainstream fitness advice for women, which is guaranteed to. Really just make you skinny fat. So here’s what I’m talking about. One thing is eating very little food starvation, dieting, and very little protein in carbs in particular.
The second point would be to develop a clean eating monomania obsessing over eating only quote unquote clean foods, which of course change depending on who you’re listening to. Third point would be doing an excessive amount of cardio one to two hours per day. A fourth point would be very little weightlifting.
And if you’re gonna do any weightlifting or resistance training, make sure it’s not heavy. And the fifth and final point would be very long workouts. You know, two plus hours in the gym, six or seven days per week. All that probably sounds familiar. And what do you get? When you subject yourself to this prescription, you get misery.
You’re tired all the time. You’re hungry all the time. You are dreading your workouts. You are daydreaming, essentially about binging on carbs, and you are simply counting the days until you can finally live again. It sucks, and I’ve done the male version of that. It’s not quite the same. The male version sucks as well, but I have worked one-on-one with many, many women who have gone through that, and it is no fun.
And that’s not all that sucks about it. Even worse is what happens to your physique. As I mentioned earlier, it is a one-way street to skinny fat. Now, if you do all that, you lose weight. Of course you starve yourself, do a bunch of exercise, you are going to lose weight, but you are also going to lose a considerable amount of muscle, and the more muscle that you lose, the worse your body will begin to look even at a low body fat percentage.
You see, what most women don’t know is just how different low body fat levels can look with and without good muscle develop. Many, many women who I have spoken with and worked with over the years have been shocked to learn the body weight of some of the women whose bodies they admired the most, their dream bodies.
And the reason is body composition. The women with the model physiques often. Quite a bit more muscle than the average woman. There still are many women in many gyms who are pretty into weightlifting, who don’t look super jacked necessarily, but are big or bulky or blocky enough to give you pause and here’s what you need to know about that.
Heavy weightlifting is not what is making them bulky, and that’s not what could ever make you bulky. Being too fat is what makes them look bulky, and that’s the only way that you could look too bulky. And I know that might sound a little bit harsh, but let me explain. So if you took a super fit fitness model, Woman who is on the cover of magazines and who has fantastic muscle definition, where she looks muscular, but also lean, defined, toned, not bulky.
If you took her. And just added 10 to 15 pounds of fat on her body. You just had her overeat for a bit until she had gained 10 to 15 pounds of fat. She would look very different. Her legs would lose those sleek lines. Her core would bulge and grow. Her arms would fill out like sausages. And the reason for that is very simple.
When you gain fat, the majority of it accumulates inside and on top of your muscles. So the more you have of both, the more you have of both muscle and fat, the larger and more formless your entire body begins to look. Therefore, a simple rule of thumb for women who want to be lean, toned and defined is the more muscle you.
The leaner you have to be to avoid looking bulk. For example, a woman with very little muscle might feel raw boned at 18% body fat and comfortable at 25%, whereas a woman with a bit more muscle than average 10 pounds, let’s say, would probably love how she looks at 18% body fat, but feel downright huge.
at 25%, and this is why I’ve mentioned that many of the women who I have spoken with and worked with seem to be happiest after gaining 10 to 15 pounds of muscle and dropping their body fat percentage down to about 18 to 20%. The muscle gives the shape. And the relatively low level of body fat really lets it shine.
That brings out the definition. Okay, so let’s move on now to the mistake of starvation dieting. So imagine for a minute you have the lean, sexy body that you want and you maintain it by eating foods that you like every day, including treats that are normally considered off limits. Yes. Even ones that contain sugar.
You are never feeling starved. You are never feeling deprived, and so you rarely feel the urge to binge or even overeat. You do this every day, every week, every month for the rest of your life, and you live happily ever after. What a great story, right? The end, . Okay. I am not a storyteller, but that isn’t a pipe dream.
Millions of women and men for that matter, are living that fantasy right now. And you can too. You do not need to develop an eating disorder or a tapeworm to get and stay lean. You can eat more than you probably think, and you can enjoy your diet and your lifestyle. That said, you do have to follow a few.
Rules. There are a few non-negotiables and they mostly revolve around energy, balance, and macronutrient balance. So energy balance is the relationship between the amount of calories that you are eating and burning and macronutrient balance is how those calories break down into protein, carbohydrate, and.
Fat. And so what that means is if you want to get leaner, you are going to have to eat fewer calories than you are burning no matter how you get there. No matter what foods you eat, no matter how often you eat, no matter what type of diet you follow, it’s going to have to produce a calorie deficit to produce.
Fat loss, and if you want to retain as much muscle or gain as much muscle as possible while you are losing fat, you are going to have to eat a fair amount of protein. Once you have those things taped, though, everything else really becomes negotiable and. In many ways, the best diet for you is going to be the one that you can stick to so long as it stays within some pretty loose boundaries.
And that’s it for some of my favorite parts of the Ultimate Fitness Plan for women. And again, that was published back in November of 2018. In case you want to go back and listen to the whole episode. If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my v i p one-on-one coaching service because my team and I have helped people of all ages and circumstances lose fat, build muscle, and get into the best shape of their life faster than they ever thought possible.
And we can do the same for. Alright, let’s move on to the featured snippets from the third and final episode in this installment of Best of Muscle Life. And that is my top five takeaways from Principles by Ray Dalio. Okay, let’s get to the featured book, which is Principles by Ray Dalio, who is the founder of one of the world’s largest hedge funds Bridgewater Associates.
Now, it is rare for a billionaire legend to take his or her time to. Carefully outline their own personal operating systems, so to speak, for achieving success and fulfillment in both work and life. And that is exactly what Ray Dalio has done with his book Principles inside this book. You are going to find many of his ideas and procedures for many different aspects of both his professional and his personal life, ranging from his definition of meaningful work to his recipe for turning pain into pleasure.
His prerequisites for deep relationships. Fierce intolerance of badness of any kind and much, much more. Now, unlike similar books, principles doesn’t try to entertain you with anecdotes or fancy Ps or sell you with references to science or history instead. It simply presents Dalio’s thoughts, experiences, and practices in a very clear and highly organized manner, which is something that I appreciated because it allowed him to share an almost overwhelming amount of high value information in the book.
By the end of this book, I had made a ridiculous, truly ridiculous amount of highlights and notes. I extract all of my highlights and notes into a single Google document after I’m done with a book, and this is one of the longer Google documents I’ve ever made for a book, if not the longest. Anyways, I also appreciated that Dalio is not one, two mince words.
He professes an unwavering fidelity to discovering, facing, and embracing. The truth, and he communicates in this way as well. His goal is not to make you feel better about yourself or help you justify your shortcomings, but to challenge you to change your core beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. For the better.
So let’s hit to my five key S from this book. The first is this quote, reality is optimizing for the whole, not for you. Contribute to the whole and you will likely be rewarded. Now, my note here is, For me, this is a simple reminder that all the various marketplaces that we participate in life, whether intellectual, commercial, or interpersonal, operate according to some form of natural selection that strives to retain and pass along positive and desirable qualities and squash negative and undesirable one.
Not to satisfy, validate, or improve any of us individually. In other words, reality could care less about our intentions, our efforts, our struggles, and only cares about the quality of our. Results. And so whenever I am faced with a failure of any kind in my life, I choose not to blame others or bemoan my circumstances, but to assume that I should have and could have done better, that there is a lesson to be learned that will help.
Prevent similar failures in the future. Takeaway number four quote, it seems to me that if you look back on yourself a year ago and aren’t shocked by how stupid you were, you haven’t learned much. And my note here is, Things either get better or they get worse. And if we are not continually educating and improving ourselves, it is very safe to assume that we are continually getting dumber, lazier, and quite frankly, less valuable as people.
Even if by small degrees, therefore a simple but very effective way to assess which direction we are generally heading in, is to periodically check ourselves against this benchmark of dalios. Okay, my fifth and final takeaway quote, the courage that’s needed. The most isn’t the kind that drives you to prevail over others, but the kind that allows you to be true to your truest self no matter what other people want you to be.
And my note here is we live in a society that is full of now you are supposed tos that stretch from the very beginning of our lives to the very end. . I have a lot of respect for people who are willing to reject the expectations of the status quo and go discover and pursue what is truly meaningful to them.
I’ve also noticed that almost one for one, the most fulfilled and satisfied people that I know have done just that regardless of their level of material success. Well so much for that sneak peek of my top five takeaways from Ray Dalio’s book Principles, and if you liked what you heard and you want to hear the rest of the episode, you can find it in my feedback in October of 2018 and so much for this episode of Muscle.
Thanks again for joining me. I hope you liked it, and definitely tune in tomorrow to check out another installment of my q and a series where I’m gonna be talking about ExOne bug royds, basically fasting and muscle loss and lessons to teach my children. And then next week I have a motivational monologue coming called Think Big, do Big, win Big.
I have an interview coming with Nick Shaw, who is the co-founder of Renaissance Periodization. Another says You is coming, and another q and a. Please leave a quick review for the podcast on iTunes or wherever you are listening from. Because those reviews not only convince people that they should check out the show, they also increase the search visibility and help more people find their way to me and to the podcast and learn how to build their best body.
As well. And of course, if you wanna be notified when the next episode goes live, then simply subscribe to the podcast in whatever app you’re using to listen and you will not miss out on any of the new stuff that I have coming. And last, if you didn’t like something about the show, then definitely shoot me an email at mike muscle for life.com and share your thoughts.
Let me know how you think I could do this better. I. Every email myself, and I’m always looking for constructive feedback. All right, thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.