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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:

Mark Rippetoe on the Right (and Wrong) Ways to Deadlift

(Originally published June 29th, 2018)

How Long Does It Take to Get Six-Pack Abs?

(Originally published Jan 14th, 2019)

Motivation Monday: The #1 Unspoken Rule of Success

(Originally published July 2nd, 2018)

And we’ll be starting with number one, Mark Rippetoe on the Right (and Wrong) Ways to Deadlift.


5:05 – Mark Rippetoe on the Right (and Wrong) Ways to Deadlift

11:33 – How Long Does It Take to Get Six-Pack Abs?

18:31 – Motivation Monday: The #1 Unspoken Rule of Success

Mentioned on The Show:

Mark Rippetoe on the Right (and Wrong) Ways to Deadlift

(Published 6/29/18)

How Long Does It Take to Get Six-Pack Abs?

(Published 1/14/19)

Motivation Monday: The #1 Unspoken Rule of Success

(Published 7/2/18)

Shop Legion Supplements Here

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.

The first is an interview I did with. One and only my favorite prickly Texan. Mark Rippetoe on the right and wrong ways to deadlift. Then we’re gonna move on to a few key takeaways from a monologue I recorded called How Long does it Take to Get Six Pack Abs? And Last it’ll be. Another monologue, a motivational monologue called the number one Unspoken Rule of Success.

Also, if you like what I am doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports Nutrition company Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you, is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the world, and we’re on top because every ingredient. Dose in every product is backed by peer-reviewed scientific research.

Every formulation is 100% transparent. There are no proprietary blends, for example, and everything is naturally sweetened and flavored. So that means no artificial sweeteners, no artificial food dyes, which may not be as dangerous as some people would have you believe. But there is good evidence to suggest.

Having many servings of artificial sweeteners in particular every day for long periods of time may not be the best for your health. So while you don’t need pills, powders, and potions to get into great shape, and frankly, most of them are virtually useless, there are natural ingredients. So they can help you lose fat, build muscle, and get healthy faster.

And you will find the best of them in legion’s products to check out everything we have to offer, including protein powders and bars, pre-workout and post-workout supplements, fat burners, multivitamins, joint support, and more. Head over to buy That’s B U Y L E G I O And just to show you how much I appreciate my podcast peeps, use the coupon code M F L checkout and you will save 20% on your entire first order.

Alright, let’s start with the featured highlights from Mark Reito on the right and Wrong Ways to Dead. Uh, what do you think about? Uh, I, I think of, um, Martin Burhan as an example of this, but there are other people that, that have a lot of rounding in their upper back when they pull. Have, have you seen Burhans pull?

No, but I’ve seen Stanton knobs pull and he does the same thing. A lot of, uh, very good lifters have, have learned how to pull with that, uh, with a certain degree or at least tolerate a certain degree of thoracic flex. . And the reason for this is because it improves pulling mechanics quite substantially.

It makes the pull easier if you can come back at the top and actually lock the pull out at the top according to the rules, and you know, lift the chest. Out of that thoracic flexion. But doing it that way is, uh, there’s a very good reason for doing it that way. If you shorten the spinal segment by putting a curve in it, shortening the effective length of the moment arm between the hip and the gravity vector, the barbell, the lever, you have to.

To pull the bar is shorter. It does several other things. It extends the knees. Your knees are in a more open angle. Your hips are, are in a more open angle. While the range of motion of the barbell remains the same, the pull off the floor starts in a much more mechanically advantageous position. If you can do that now, we don’t teach it that.

Because I’m not gonna ever tell a novice to pull with any position other than absolute spinal extension. Normal anatomical position is the, is the safest way to load the spine. But if you’re an 800 pound dead lifter, you’ve already made up your mind about that. It’s our observation that a lot of people are, are naturally rather typh.

and pull that way just as a matter of their default anatomical position. But if you can learn to not hurt yourself and pull with a upper back inflection, certainly not the lumbar but the upper back inflection, it’s to your mechanical advantage to do so. If you have got a double overhand hook grip, you’re all probably at least as secure as you are with a.

Especially with practice with an alternate grip. The problem with the alternate grip is that it produces, since it is two different positions of of humoral rotation, it produces different amounts of tension in the la right, because the LA insertion is medial, anterior, and proximal, if you rotate one for.

And humorous out, and you rotate the other one in. Uh, your lad is in a different position of, of stretch, and this may have something to do with the observe phenomenon of the bar drifting forward away from the supai in site. It could have something to do with bicep tension on that site. Uh, what we do see is that almost every time and, and without any exceptions, that I’m familiar with, all bicep tendon injur.

Occur on the supine side of an alternate grip deadlift. So if you’re in fact, buddy of mine, Andy Baker, the, uh, my co-author with, uh, in, in Practical Programming for Strength Training third edition, and the co-author of, uh, the Barbell Pres. Just ruptured his distal bicep tendon a couple of weeks ago doing speed that deadlifts ruptured his supine side distally.

It’s hard to think of everything you need to think about when, when you’re trying to do fast deadlifts off the floor. Uh, what about belts? What about a belt? Well, I’ve got a big, long article on belt mechanics that explains hoop tension and the primary function of the belt, which is to. increase the function of Valsalva maneuver, your big held breath to increase spinal stability.

Uh, the increase in spinal stability enables you to lift more weight. It does not shut down. And you, I know you’ve heard this too well, wearing a belt shuts down the amps. Who said that? Someone who’s never deadlifted. Do you, do you know how to understand that under a 600 pound deadlift, there aren’t any muscles that are shut down?

What is wrong with you? You know, the, the belt gives you something to push harder against now, and, and, and if you’re really interested in that argument, My article, the Belt and the deadlift is available on my website starting under the article section. But here’s the critical point about the deadlift.

In my opinion, and it’s been my experience since I’ve been thinking about this a little bit harder for the past several years, I’m really of the opinion that very, very few people have any business deadlifting in a four inch belt. I think a three inch. is a much more efficient belt for most people of normal height.

Now, if you’re six five, sure four inch belt’s probably gonna work for you because your waist is commensurately long. But for most people, a three inch belt allows you to get a much better setup. At the bottom start position of a deadlift and a four inch belt, and the reason for that is the four inch belt.

It’s so wide, it touches you at the top of the hip flexors. This is a bit of inefficient proprioceptive feedback in that it may tell you that contact may tell you that your low back is fully squeezed into the arch that we talked about earlier, when in fact it’s. When in fact it is a little bit still inflection.

In other words, you don’t wanna have to fight the belt for an efficient start position. So I mean, in that way it could, it could encourage poor form then if you weren’t cognizant of what’s going on. Absolutely. A three inch belt is plenty of width for good support. All right. Those are the snippets I wanted to share from that episode.

And if you want to listen to the whole thing, it was published in June at the end of June of 2018, so you can just go find it and check it out. All right, let’s move on now to the featured bits from, how long does it take to get six Pack Abs? How long does it take to get six pack abs? Now let’s start this discussion with some good news.

The good news is that getting six pack abs is far easier than many people would have you believe. You don’t have to do a billion crunches, you don’t have to do a billion hours of cardio. You don’t have to swallow a billion handfuls of supplements, and you don’t have to follow weird. Overly restrictive diets.

All you have to do is lose belly fat, lose enough belly fat until your abdominal and your core muscles are clearly visible. And if you are like most people, your core muscles are not going to be quite as developed as you’d like unless you have a lot of weightlifting experience. And so if that’s the case, You have to do a couple other steps.

So the first step is you have to lose the belly fat, and then if you are not quite happy with how your core looks, when you are lean enough, you then should be doing a lot of compound weightlifting, heavy compound weightlifting in particular, and doing the right core exercises. So now let’s get to the real point of this video podcast, and that is answering the question, how long will it take you to get six pack abs?

And depending on your body composition, it may take anywhere from. Eight weeks up to 52 weeks. And to show you exactly why that is and help you get an accurate estimate of how long it is going to take you, I am going to put an image up on the screen that you can also download by clicking the link in the description below.

And if you are listening to this podcast, head over to Muscle for and search for six pack abs and look for an article titled. How long does it take to get six pack apps? I believe that’s the title. Something like that, and you will find this image in that article. Again, you can download it and follow along with my instructions, which I will give, just explaining what this image is showing and how to use it to find out how long it’s going to take you to get six pack apps.

Okay, so this chart assumes that you are gonna be losing about one pound of fat per week that is healthy and safe and relatively easy and straightforward for everyone to accomplish. So with that assumption, here’s how to use the chart. So the first thing is you want to locate the. Column, the vertical division at the top with your current body fat percentage.

Now, if you are not sure what your body fat percentage currently is, head over to Muscle for Life or Lesion Athletics and search for body fat percentage, and you will find an article I wrote on how to do that. Okay, so. Step two. If you are a woman, you want to follow the column down until you hit an orange cell.

And if you’re a man, you follow that column down until you hit a yellow cell. Then trace that row the horizontal division on the chart to the left hand margin and look at the number. And that is approximately how many weeks it will take you to get six pack ab. Now, one other thing we should touch on briefly if we are going to talk six packs is stubborn fat.

You have probably heard about stubborn fat in connection with, you know, belly fat and getting six pack abs and there is some truth to that. Some fat stores in your body are harder to get rid of than others. And for guys in particular, it does tend to be in the abdominal region, particularly in the lower abdominal region.

And for women, it. Usually more hips, thighs, and. There are physiological reasons for this. I won’t go into them here because I have written about and discussed them, uh, in detail elsewhere. If you are interested in that, if you search my podcast feed, I’m sure if search for Stubborn Fat, I’m almost positive I’ve recorded at least one episode, if not more than one on the, on the, uh, the subject.

And if you wanna read head over to Muscle Life or Legion Athletics and Search for Stubborn Fat, because I’ve written articles on both of those sites. The bottom line though, what you need to know is that there is nothing particularly special about getting rid of stubborn fat. There are a couple supplements that can help sevrine yohimbine, um, caffeine as well.

Caffeine can just help you lose fat. Uh, uh, faster period. But when you combine it with Synephrine and Yohimbe, it can, they can work together to accelerate stubborn fat loss. But in the end, all you really need to do is just keep getting leaner and keep trusting the process, so to speak. So in the beginning, you are going to be a bit dismayed when you are cutting because you’re gonna see certain parts of your body that you probably care a bit less about.

Aesthetically, you’re gonna see those getting leaned very quickly. While the parts that you do care more about are going to seem to not change at all. So for us skies, for example, especially in the beginning of a cut, we are going to see our arms, our shoulders, our chests, our legs. Sometimes our faces get noticeably leaner week after week, especially if we’re taking pictures.

But our abs are more or less looking the same. And this can be discouraging. And for women it’s usually similar areas. Uh, it’s usually upper body getting lean first. The lower body not changing much again, just know that if you keep going, you will get rid of the, the fat that you want to get rid of the most.

It just takes its sweet time. The fat stores that are easiest to mobilize and burn are the ones that go first and the ones that are more stubborn, more resistant to your body’s. Um, it’s really, it’s really resistant to chemicals. Mobilize fat so it can be burned. They do eventually give way. It just can take time.

And that’s it for the highlight reel from how long does it take to get six pack abs? And if your interest has been peaked and you want to learn more about it and hear the whole episode, it was published in January of 2019, so you can go find it and listen to it. If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports nutrition company Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you is the leading.

Of all natural sports supplements in the world. Let’s move on to the third episode featured in this episode, and that is a motivational monologue called the Number One Unspoken Rule of Success. I’ve asked a lot of very successful people that I’ve met throughout my life, how they did it. Some of them regaled me with stories about their brilliant strategic moves and uncanny intuitions and superhuman endurance and so on.

But the truly great ones, especially the people that I’ve known that have had repeated successes, not one hit wonders, not people who just were at the right. Place at the right time, and who simply caught a big wave of people who achieved great things multiple times and, and usually in multiple different arenas, building different companies, creating different products and so forth.

These people often had a much simpler and deeper explanation for why they were doing so well. They didn’t attribute their success to just hard work. Like you might expect. Yes, of course it takes hard work. Uh, but I think we know that hard work alone doesn’t guarantee anything. We can look around us in every direction and find people that work plenty hard, but don’t have that much to show for it.

These people didn’t chalk their success up to extraordinary luck either. Sure. There often was serendip. But there were also plenty of difficulties and misfortunes and often great misfortunes that almost took them down. So if it’s not hard work or luck, what is it? Well, these people said that there was one primary factor that made all the difference in their journeys, and it’s something that a guy named Albert Ian Gray actually wrote.

Decades ago in an essay called The Common Denominator of Success. I believe that’s the name of it. You can Google it to check it out, but it, it’s simply this. It is the habit of doing the things that other people simply don’t want to do. You know, the things that most of us instinctively dislike that go against our natural preferences and our natural prejudices.

The hard things, the uncomfortable things, the complicated things, the unexciting things, the exhausting things. These very successful people that I’ve known, they did these things. They did them all. They did them every day. They did them every week, every month, every year without fail. And in many cases, they didn’t necessarily learn to like these things.

They just had a strong enough purpose to. Their feelings and do them anyway. These people just cared more about achieving satisfactory results than doing things they innately liked to do. Learn to do the things that failures don’t like to do, because. Once we can do that, we can do a lot more than build a great body.

We can build a great life as well. And one of the reasons I wanted to share this message is because it accounts for a lot of my own success as a writer and entrepreneur. My life is far less glorious than you might think. If all you heard were big numbers, if all you heard were Legion doing millions of dollars of sales per year and.

Selling hundreds of thousands of books per year and getting millions of visits to the websites per year and so forth, like, yeah, that all sounds good and it is good, and yes, it is satisfying, but what has it taken to create all that though? And what does it take to continue to create that and continue to keep things going in the right direction?

Well, part of it is doing a lot of work that many people don’t want to. I was reading an article in, I think it was Inc, or Entrepreneur one one of these magazines, and they were talking about a survey that was done with everyday people as to their opinions on CEOs in particular. And what they found is that, Many normal, everyday people thought that CEOs don’t really do anything, that they just kind of sit around and shop for new things online and tell their assistants to, to do personal errands for them and, you know, just kick their feet up, have a good time, make 500 times as much money as, uh, you know, the, the average lower echelon worker in their business head out early most days to the country club to hang out with.

Rich white people and so on. And the reality is so, so different. Even, even in the corporate world. Uh, it is not like that. Corporate CEOs are some of the hardest working people that you’d ever want to meet and also have to carry tremendous amounts of responsibility and play some pretty high stakes games that are very unforgiving if you mess up badly.

In that world, you may not get a job again for a very long time. You know, truth be told, building a business isn’t that interesting to me. It’s not something that I feel all that drawn to personally. What I most like to do is research, write, and record podcasts and videos. I like to create content, like to research and create content, and beyond that I also.

Enjoy and am interested in marketing and persuasion. The psychology of it is just very interesting to me, and the application of it is fun, but that’s about it. Everything else that I do is, uh, in service of a, of a greater purpose than my own desires and my feelings, and I really don’t think that’s gonna change, and I’m okay with that.

We can liken it to the gym, right? Some of our workouts, some of the stuff that we do in the. Not very enjoyable, but we do it anyway because we are more interested in what we get out of it in the long run, in the bigger picture than how it makes us feel in the moment. And you can apply that lesson really to any activity or any endeavor in life.

I think really any area of life. I really do believe that if you want extraordinary results, In anything that you are putting your time and attention into, uh, a large part of that is going to be simply forcing yourself to do things that you don’t really want to do, but that move the needle that really get you closer to your goal.

Alright, that’s it for the preview of the number one Unspoken Rule of Success, and if you wanna listen to the whole episode, it was published in July of 2018. And that’s it for this episode. That’s it for this installment of the Best of Muscle for Life. Thanks again for joining me today and make sure to tune in tomorrow for.

Q and a where I’m gonna be talking about neck training trainer certifications. Are they worth getting, which ones are better than others and unilateral versus bilateral exercises? 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 visibil.

And help more people find their way to me and to the podcast, and learn how to build their best body ever 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 and share your thoughts. Let me know how you think I could do this better. I read 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.

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