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In this episode, I interview Anna, who read Thinner Leaner Stronger and used what she learned to lose over 85 pounds of fat while gaining 20 pounds of muscle and getting significantly stronger.

Before finding TLS, Anna was 200 pounds, in pain from being overweight, displaying symptoms of pre-diabetes, and didn’t know how to lose fat. 

She wanted to make a change, but didn’t know where to start. Luckily, her brother was familiar with my work and convinced her to read TLS. That’s when she learned all about what to do in the gym, how to eat properly, and most importantly for her, flexible dieting. 

Now she knew what to do, but she was filled with self-doubt and didn’t know if she could accomplish her goals. She smartly set a smaller, attainable goal of getting down to 170 pounds as a benchmark. 

Once she started applying what she learned and saw progress, she gained confidence. She started to feel like she was in control and could actually set even bigger goals and reach those too. 

Now, Anna is 135 pounds, having gained 20 pounds of muscle while losing 85 pounds of fat, and more than tripled her strength on many lifts. This process has not only transformed her body, but her whole mindset. As you’ll hear in the interview, Anna is confident and fearless. 🙂

In this interview, Anna and I chat about her story and the important lessons she’s learned along the way, including her childhood and how she became overweight, what convinced her to start going to the gym, how she’s incorporating cardio and diet breaks, what she’s working toward now, and more.

So if you’re looking for a jolt of inspiration and like motivational stories, definitely listen to this episode.


6:57 – What does your before and after look like?

10:42 – How did you find me and my work?

12:56 – How did you deal with being overweight as a child?

17:37 – What did your meal plan look like?

22:25 – What did your training look like?

29:26 – Have you done any cardio?

31:54 – How have you set up your deficit periods and diet breaks?

Mentioned on the Show:

Thinner Leaner Stronger

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


Mike: Hey, I’m Mike Matthews and this is Most For Life. Thank you for joining me today to hear from Anna who read my book Thinner, stronger, and then followed the program. Used what she learned in the book to lose over 85 pounds. While also gaining about 20 pounds of muscle and getting seriously strong, her numbers are impressive, as you’ll hear in this podcast.

And before finding me and my work before finding thinner, leaner, stronger, Anna was about 200 pounds. She had pain all over her body. From being overweight, she had symptoms of pre-diabetes and she didn’t know what to do. She had tried various fad diets and fat exercise routines, and obviously wasn’t getting the results she wanted, and fortunately she still wanted to make a change.

She just didn’t really know what to do. But then her brother read Bigger, leaner, stronger, and started following the program and getting great results. And so her brother then told her, Hey, you should either read Bigger, leaner, stronger, or Mike has a version of it for women called Thinner, leaner, stronger.

Maybe you should check that out. And that’s what she did. And then of course, she learned. About energy balance and macronutrient balance and progressive overload in the gym and why it’s important for women to train similarly to men and why that doesn’t make women bulky, and so on and so on. And she was inspired by the information.

The plan made sense to her. She did have self-doubt. She didn’t know if she could really do it, but she decided that she would start with working toward 170 pounds, that if she could achieve that first milestone of. About 30 pounds of weight loss, then she could probably go to the next level as well. And so that’s what she set out to do with thinner, leaner, stronger.

And of course, she applied the principles well enough to see real progress right away that gave her. Confidence. And she realized that her body composition was in her control, and now it was only just a matter of time. And that, of course led her to accomplishing the first goal and then setting the next goal.

And she continued to make progress toward that. And now Anna is a hundred and. 35 pounds. And again, she has gained about 20 pounds of lean muscle in the right places on her body. And she’s lost about 85 pounds of fat and more than tripled her strength on the big lifts. And she also has a whole new mindset, and you’ll hear about that in the interview.

You’ll hear about how Anna’s fitness journey has made her a lot more confident in general and a lot more fearless in general to pursue other goals that she has. And so that’s what this interview is. It’s Anna and I chatting about her story, where she shares some of the important lessons she’s learned along the way, including stuff related to her childhood and how she became overweight in the first place, and how she will never go back.

To that place now that she understands what was happening and understands how to prevent it mechanically. Again, just learning about energy balance and macronutrient balance and how to train correctly. Those are epiphanies really when you first learn about them. I don’t know if you remember that. I clearly do.

I remember. First learning about energy balance in particular, and it was like a revelation. All I have to do is eat enough protein. And I mean that’s macronutrients, but it was combined with that. So you’re saying, I just have to eat this many calories per day and just eat enough protein and carbs and fats don’t really matter.

And if I want to quote unquote be good, eat enough nutritious foods, that’s all I have to do. And I can get as lean as I want to get, and I can prevent fat gain if that’s what I want to do. And I couldn’t believe it at first that it really was that simple considering how much disinformation and misinformation is out there.

And so it’s always fun for me to hear other people relate their experiences with those key aha moments that unlock the quote unquote secrets of losing fat and gaining muscle and maintaining the body composition that we really want. Because I remember those moments vividly, and I’m sure you do as well.

Also, if you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my health and fitness books, including the number one best selling weightlifting books for men and women in the world. Bigger, leaner, stronger, and thinner. Leaner, stronger. As well as the leading flexible dieting cookbook, the Shredded Chef.

Now, these books have sold well over 1 million copies and have helped thousands of people build their best body ever, and you can find them on all major online retailers like Audible, Amazon. iTunes, Cobo and Google Play, as well as in select Barnes and Noble stores. And I should also mention that you can get any of the audiobooks 100% free when you sign up for an Audible account.

And this is a great way to make those pockets of downtime like commuting, meal prepping, and cleaning more interesting, entertaining, and productive. And so if you want to take Audible up on this offer, and if you want to get one of my audiobooks for free, just go to Legion. That’s b u y. and sign up for your account. So again, if you appreciate my work and if you wanna see more of it, and if you wanna learn time proven and evidence-based strategies for losing fat, building muscle and getting healthy, and strategies that work for anyone and everyone, regardless of age or circumstances, please do consider picking up one of my best selling books.

Bigger, leaner, stronger for Men, thinner, leaner, stronger for Women. And the shredded chef for my favorite fitness friendly recipes. Hey 

Anna: Anna. Hi Mike. 

Mike: How are you? I’m doing well, thanks. How you doing? 

Anna: I’m doing great. Thank you for 

Mike: asking. Cool. So here we are to talk about your story. These episodes are fun for me.

I do one every few weeks or so, and it’s nice to hear. Just personally from someone, how I would say, I mean there’s my work, but then just how fitness, how big of a difference it can make in people’s lives. It is a lot more than just the physical aspect of like, okay, now I like how I look more like, sure, that’s cool, but there’s a lot more to it.

So it’s always fun to hear how it has impacted different people in different ways. And so where I think. It would make sense. I like to start these discussions with maybe just a quick snapshot of what you have accomplished so far, kind of like your before and after, and then we will. Rewind, and we’ll start at before you found me and my work, what was going on?

What issues were you dealing with? What were you trying to accomplish? What was working for you? What was not working for you? And then kind of just move forward to how you found me and my stuff, and then how things changed after that. Mm-hmm. So, yeah, let’s start with again, just a quick kind of snapshot of your before and after, like what have you accomplished so far?

And that can be, of course, the, the simple maybe numbers of things like, oh, I lost this amount of weight and I gained this amount of strength, but also can be other maybe wins that you’ve had that aren’t strictly just. The, I like the numbers that I see more now, you know? Mm-hmm. 

Anna: Okay. So thus far I have lost 85 pounds of fat.

I have gained 20 pounds of muscle. I have gotten incredibly strong. Um, my conventional deadlift is at 2 75 for four reps. My bench press is at 1 35 for 3.5 reps. My squat is at 2 25 for four reps. My hip thrust is at four 20 pounds for five reps. And my character has changed a lot too. I used to be very anxious.

I used to be afraid, and now the barbell has taught me how to be fearless, how to be a doer, not just a dreamer, and how to seek after my dreams and believe in myself more. 

Mike: I love that. And how specifically has that manifested? Like what are some of those goals that you have? It sounds like there are some things that maybe you were procrastinating on or debating whether you actually wanted to do.

Anna: Yeah, so in the beginning I just didn’t know what to do, but after reading your book, I trusted everything you said and. Without seeing the rewards in the beginning, I just said, I am going to take baby steps forward. So I started. Lifting and I was very weak. My lower back was not flexible at all. My body was hurting every single day, but I kept trying and I kept trying and I kept trying until I started getting stronger and I started getting leaner.

And my goal then was to get to 170 pounds because I started at 201 day I got to 170 pounds and I was incredibly strong. And I said, okay, well, What is stopping me now from going forward and that one 70 pounds? I already knew that if I put my mind into something and I just pushed forward without knowing where I was going, but just envisioning that my goals could become true, that they eventually would.

So now I am at 135 pounds. And yeah, 

Mike: this is where we are. That’s great. And it makes me think of just how powerful making some progress toward a goal is. It makes me think of the Tiny Habits concept that, I believe it’s BJ Fogg is his name. He’s a professor. I think he Yay. Has a book. Tiny habits and then there was a previous book by another author.

I think it was Mini Habits, but this is just this idea of if you have a goal and you just start moving toward it and you start with something that is small enough for you, that there’s really no doubt in your mind that you can continue with it. It, it’s just interesting cuz having heard from so many people over the years who started off in a similar place to you.

Where they had a lot of self-doubt and they were not very confident in their abilities to. Do many things or to strive toward things that they wanted, whether it’s a certain type of body or level of fitness, or maybe something in the work sphere or whatever. And then by just starting on often, obviously it’s just it’s fitness is the first thing, and just picking something that they can do and then doing it consistently.

It’s cool. Mm-hmm. How quickly you can progress as a person as well, you know, like it helps build character as well as muscle and strength, I guess you could say. Yes, 100%. I’m curious, how did you even find me in my stuff? 

Anna: Oh, okay. So I was overweight my whole entire life. Ever since I could remember at nine years old, I started my first diet.

It was horrible. 

Mike: Wow. I’m curious, at nine years old, what does that 

Anna: look like? Oh my gosh. I wasn’t allowed to eat any carbs. I wasn’t allowed to have any sweets. So I am from Bolivia in South America and there was this company that was advertising that they were helping people lose a lot, a ton of weight and.

My mom seen that I was the only person overweight in my family, was very concerned about me, and she paid tons of money for me to be working with these trainers and dieticians. So the diet was zero sugar, zero carbs, pure protein, and in the morning I would have vegetable broth with saltines. I couldn’t eat more than four saltines.

This is 

Mike: like out of a, a bad movie. 

Anna: Yes, and I was only nine years old. I know. It’s wild. So I was very diligent because I wanted to make my mom proud, so I lost the 20 pounds that I needed to lose in like one month or two months. And as a reward, my whole family took me out to eat hamburgers and french fries, and I gained 40 pounds after that.

Wow. And then I just kept gaining more and more weight over time because I just didn’t know how to 

Mike: eat. I’m curious, at that age, how are you getting access to enough calories to gain that much weight? Was that just the type of oh, food that you had at home or were so 

Anna: at home, my mom was a very good cook.

You know, she made breakfast, lunch, and dinner, always choosing vegetables and fruits and everything. But I would eat out a lot with my dad. Okay. So he would give me whatever I wanted, you know, if I was like, oh, I want McDonald’s today, even though I already had dinner, he would go and buy me McDonald’s. And also there was a lot of pressure in my household with my parents’ relationship at the time.

So I think I created an emotional relationship with food. I see. So whenever I was nervous or I had to take care of my siblings, I would eat whatever it was on site 

Mike: in time. That resulted in a lot of weight gain. And then where’d it go from there? So 

Anna: then when I was in high school, I started learning more about dieting and.

I said, you know, I, I, I wanna get skinny for once. So I started doing the chicken, rice and broccoli diet, um, 1,200 calories. I lost the weight, and as soon as I started eating like I normally did, I gained even more weight. And college made it even worse because in college my mom wasn’t there to cook for me anymore.

So I was eating out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And in college I lived. Weighing 200 pounds for six years. And then one day I, I just wanted to know like why I had body pains, because my doctor couldn’t really tell me what was 

Mike: wrong with me. I was just gonna say, your doctor didn’t even suggest like, Hey, maybe if we just take some weight off, you know, you’ll, they’ll be less, uh, pressure on your joints and things will feel better.

Yeah. Like 

Anna: I was 200 pounds and I was crying from all the pain that I was feeling in my body. I would lay in my bed. Sometimes through the night, just feeling so much pain in my lower back, my knees, my shoulders, and I would tell my doctor about it. And she prescribed me medication that I had to take every single day 

Mike: for the pain.

Like pain meds? Yeah. 

Anna: But she wasn’t even guaranteed that my pain would go away. So that’s when I said, okay, I need to put a stop to how much I weigh and I need to do something about it. So I started doing. Research on my health background and you know, when it came to cholesterol, everything was good, blood pressure, everything was good.

And then I see this little chart in red saying obesity type two. I was like, what? I thought I was pretty healthy. What is obesity? Type two, what is that and why is it red? So I started looking into it and it said that you are more prone to heart disease, that you can get diabetes. And I remember that I also had some rashes on the back of my neck and under my armpits, and I looked that up and it said, That that’s a sign of early diabetes.

And that’s when I said, no, I need to do something about this. I need to change my lifestyle. And I remembered. That my brother was a pretty athletic person, so I called my brother and I said, Hey, can I join you at the gym? Can I just go to the gym with you once and can you teach me one thing or two about dieting?

So I joined him at the gym and I was very inspired to get stronger then and. As I started weightlifting, I would ask him tons of questions about food because social media always has something to say about dieting and food and everything. And his response was always get thinner, leaners, stronger because he had read bigger, leaners stronger, and that has had helped him.

And so I would go up to him again. I always say, Hey, Is sugar and an apple the same as sugar and ice cream, if they’re both the same calories. And he would say, get thinner, stronger. So I got to the point where I was like, okay, he’s not gonna answer any of my questions, so I am going to buy that darn book that he’s telling me to get every single day.

Tough Love. I bought it. Yeah, I know. I bought the book. Uh, I came here in two days and I started reading it. And I started reading about progressive overload and flexible dieting and all these things that didn’t sound horrible for once. I was looking at food differently, and I love hearing everything that you had to say about how.

It is possible to lose weight eating pizza if you want, right? But if you wanna feel more satiated, you can eat potatoes and better proteins and, and more nutritious foods so you feel more full. So I started looking into that on in my own. And I started looking for foods that would make me feel more full, and I started adding volume to my food.

So I started eating more quantity, but less calories while doing progressive overload at the same 

Mike: time. What were some of your, and they’re probably still foods you liked to eat, I’m sure, but those types of foods, finding the ones that work for you and that the really, it’s like the ones that you like are particularly useful, right?

When you’re cutting, just cuz you have fewer calories to work with. But what were those foods for you? Like what were your go-tos? What did your meal plan tend to look like? 

Anna: So my gums are always changing. I always get obsessed with one thing, but what I do is, let’s say if I am craving. Hamburgers this week, I am not going out and getting a hamburger from, I don’t know, um, founding farmers where the hamburger is going to have over a thousand calories.

I am going to the store and I am looking behind every single box until I find whatever has the best ingredients, the lowest calories, and now I am able to make two hamburgers with potatoes in the air fryer that taste amazing. And the whole meal is under 600 calories. So I am eating two plus a bunch of potatoes.

If I am still hungry, I am adding any type of vegetable that I like, and that’s how I stay on track, and that’s how I also don’t feel cravings anymore 

Mike: because you know that really, regardless of what it is, You can eat it, you can make it work. And if so, if the craving were specifically for pizza, for example, then you would know like, all right, how many calories do I want?

Like, what are we looking at here? Okay, how do I wanna make that work? And many, many people have told me over the years that just this process that you went through has allowed them because they know that. There are no restrictions. There are no arbitrary restrictions that it has just improved their relationship with food, where now they are, sometimes if they really want, like you’re saying like, you know, I really would like to have some hamburgers this week, and so they do it.

And then other times, let’s say they’re dieting and they’re like, I’d really like to have pizza for dinner. But they know, like, you know, I don’t really get satisfied with like one or two slices. I really like to eat like the whole thing or half of the, the pizza and you know, I could do that. And I look at the numbers and is there something else?

Maybe like, oh yeah, maybe, um, pasta. Oh yeah, let’s do some good pasta and I can work with. The the calories a little bit better and it allows me to get some extra carbs in. And just like you said, then the quote unquote cravings are just not a problem anymore because they’re in control of them, you know?


Anna: And also, whenever I used to eat the whole entire large pizza and the milkshake, I would still be hungry later, but now, Since I’m nourishing my body so well, from the carbs to the healthy fats, to the protein, to the vegetables and the fruits, my body doesn’t feel cravings anymore. To the point where I can choose what I want to eat based on what I want to put in my body.

It’s not my body dictating what it means. It’s not my body telling me You need sugar now and you need to go get it now. And that’s. It’s the best feeling ever. Just feeling that I am in control of my body. It’s not my body controlling me. 

Mike: Yeah. Yeah, that, that’s a great point. And I think it’s something that I’ve experienced everyone listening has experienced if they’ve gone through the process.

Enough if they have eaten this way. I can’t say that. I’m trying to think. With a lot of the people over the years, probably within the first couple of months of doing it consistently, they experience that shift from the more emotional, yeah. Just emotionally driven eating to, mm-hmm. The more. You could say intellectually driven or, or rationally driven eating, and the emotional component may not go away entirely, but it becomes like the volume goes down from like 95% to 10%, and so it’s not hard to ignore a whisper, for example.

It’s a lot easier than a scream. Yes, 

Anna: yes, 100%. Then at the same time, like you said, rationalizing it and knowing what’s in your food. Makes you not even want to eat the bad stuff, right? Yeah. Yeah. Because right now I could be creating a milkshake, for example. And I know that if I go get a milkshake at Chick-fil-A, it will have tons of sugar in there.

Not a lot of nutrients. I will, I will still be hungry, but I know that I can grab my plant plus downstairs in the kitchen, make it with. PB two, half a banana, it will be bigger than the milkshake that I would get at Chick-fil-A. It will have less calories. It will taste just as great, and I will feel great because it has everything that I need in it.

Mike: If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my health and fitness books, including the number one best selling weightlifting books for men and women in the world, bigger, leaner, stronger, and thinner. Leaner, stronger, as well as the leading flexible dieting cookbook, the Shredded Chef.

So let’s talk now about your training. How had that process gone? Yeah, 

Anna: so at first I started incredibly weak. I was the weakest and heaviest girl at my 

Mike: gym. And to be fair, that’s very common for women starting out with weightlifting for the first time. For example, I’ve heard from many women over the years who are not able to bench the bar at first and then, After working at it for a bit, you know, being able to get in the high, in the low 100 s for one and stuff.

So it is very common. That’s actually one of the reasons why one of the early additions of Thin, leaner, stronger had the barbell bench press as one of the early exercises in the one year plan. And I changed that based on feedback I was getting from women that a lot of women were struggling with the bar initially.

And so it made more sense to start with dumbbells, for example, there, and then build up your strength so you can move over to the bar. But 

Anna: Yeah. Well, for me, I started with the 25 pound bar on every single compound exercise, and I quickly build it up to. 45 pounds. And then I just followed progressive overload, like you said.

I started adding 2.5 plates on each side. Every time I got six reps, I was getting four reps. I kept trying with the same weight. If I was getting five reps, I, I kept trying with the same weight and up to date, two years later, I am still getting stronger every 

Mike: single week. That’s awesome. And. During that process, were you surprised?

Maybe not, because obviously I talk about it, but hearing a dude talk about it can be different than experiencing it firsthand. But were you surprised that you didn’t get quote unquote bulkier and that getting very strong, it didn’t make you look like a Minecraft character? 

Anna: Yeah, 100% yes, because.

Everything people preach is you need to do higher rep. You need to do cardio like a beast, and I just chose to trust you and you are right. So whomever sees me if they think that I don’t have the ideal body is because I’m, I am still on a caloric deficit. I am still losing fat. And I tell them, if you think I’m bulky, it’s because I have fat in my body.

But aside from that, I am the leanest. I have been the past 10 years of my life, and I have been able to keep it off too, which is. A great accomplishment 

Mike: for myself. Yeah, that’s awesome. And bulky that it’s a very subjective thing as well. It could be less so in the case of like, sure, there are some really jacked female athletes out there, like some strength athletes who, yeah, probably by anyone’s standards could be considered as bulky and.

To them, that wouldn’t even be a criticism. They’d be like, yeah, I’m fucking huge and I love it. You know what I mean? But if we’re talking about more everyday women who are maybe at most, uh, uh, quote unquote a lifestyle bodybuilder, which is what I would consider myself, I’m not a competitive bodybuilder, but you know, I’m, I’m into this and it’s part of my lifestyle.

And so the look that maybe some women, they might go, oh, that’s a little bit too quote unquote bulky for me. Uh, whereas other women, They prefer that, and it’s similar to body fat levels. Some women, the look they want is, I don’t know, let’s say 18% body fat. That’s just the look that they want. Mm-hmm. Other women.

Mm-hmm. The look they want might be more like 23% body fat because they want to have bigger boobs and they want to have a little bit more in their butt and they, they want to be a little bit squishier. They don’t want to be so, Quote unquote toned, and they don’t wanna necessarily have like vascularity in their arms and stuff.

And so that’s just a matter of personal preference. Mm-hmm. And so I just, something I’ve, I’ve also told women is you get to decide for yourself as you work toward your ideal body. It’s, it’s just gonna be a combination of a certain amount of muscle gained at a certain body fat. Level. And yes, the nature of muscle gain being what it is, is a slow process.

And although women can gain muscle more or less at the same rate, well maybe not the same, but they can gain muscle about as effectively for talking about percentage of body weight. As men, they just start out with a lot less, and they’re skeletons are smaller, so they can’t gain as much over the long term as men can.

But because that process is slow, you get to decide you’re never gonna wake up one day and realize with horror that. You’ve gained way too much muscle and now you have to. You have to now like, yeah, now my arms are bigger 

Anna: than my boyfriend’s. 

Mike: Oh shit. Now I have to cut my protein in half and I have to stop lifting and do a bunch of cardio.

I mean, you could if you needed to, but it just doesn’t work like that. 

Anna: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And guys will know that because guys know the struggle of trying to gain muscle 

Mike: and the male problem’s the other way around. Yeah. Yeah. The guy is ne he feels never big enough, so, Yeah, hence the title. I mean, the title of Bigger, leaner, stronger.

It’s just, it really is the perfect title for a fitness book for men, because that’s the infinite struggle. You’re never big enough, you’re never lean enough and you’re never strong enough. With women, it’s a little bit different. I actually preferred the title Fitter, leaner, stronger, because there are women out there who don’t want to get thinner and just getting progre like forever thinner is not the plan.

Of course, and, and sometimes I get some shit from women. For that title. I explain. You know, I personally preferred fitter, but I surveyed a lot of women who were following me just to get there. A very simple, I think you call it a Likert scale, a one through a one to five, like one I hate it. Five. I love it.

Fitter, leaner, stronger versus thinner. Leaner, stronger, and I don’t remember now is a long time ago, but I don’t remember like the exact scores, but I remember that thinner, leaner, stronger was preferred by a large margin. It might have been like fitter. Scored an average of two or two and a half and thinner scored an average of like four to four and a half or something.

And I was like, okay, I guess the market has spoken. Uh, I’m gonna go with the one that more women are saying they like, you know, I 

Anna: mean, and even then you should never judge a book by its cover, but, 

Mike: but you know, funny enough, we all do it though, and even I do it when I’m browsing the books bookstore. I like to go to the bookstore maybe once a month and just see.

I don’t often find things that I want to read. I’m usually finding those in other ways. Sometimes I do, but I like to look at just more from a marketing perspective. I’d like to look for cool covers and clever titles, and. The cover though is from a marketing perspective, cover and title are hugely important.

Cover, title, subtitle, they are. It’s hard for me to just pick a number in terms of how responsible those three factors are for sales, but, I think it’s at least 50%. It may even be more than that actually. So yeah, it just, 

Anna: well, I mean, we buy with our eyes too, so 

Mike: that makes sense. Totally, totally. And then, yeah, with books.

Mm-hmm. I mean, a lot of people buy based on recommendations, but if you haven’t been recommended something, it’s something we instinctively assume that if the cover sucks, the book probably sucks. Or if the title sucks and it doesn’t resonate with us at all, why are we even gonna pick it up, you know?

Mm-hmm. But, uh, but anyways, getting back on track, so. Okay, great. And have you done any cardio or is it just lifting? I’ve 

Anna: done barely any cardio and whenever I’ve done cardio, it’s been the StairMaster. I did a little bit of cardio running outside when Covid hit and the gyms were closed because I wanted to get some exercise.

But aside from that, Nope. 

Mike: Nice. I mean, you don’t have to do cardio as you are experiencing, and I’ve written and spoken about this, there are some good reasons to include cardio in your routine, not even just, mm-hmm. Body composition, calorie burning reasons, but also some health, particularly cardiovascular health.

But out of the two, strength training and cardio strength training is far more important. And what you’ll probably find is as you continue. It just really depends on how lean you want to get. If you want to get very lean, what you’ll find is no cardio will get you so far. You will get to a point where you do need to include some to continue losing fat, but you have a lot of options there.

I mean, that could just be at first going for a walk every day or every other day, just 30 to 45 minutes of walking. A few times per week might be where you start. And then from there you may wanna, you could move to something else, or if you’re liking the walking, you could turn it into Rucking. I recently recorded a podcast on that.

You can add weight, like literally just throw stuff in a backpack and put on the backpack and you can actually burn quite a few calories doing that. So yeah, 

Anna: I mean, I do want a lot of walks and now I’ll go on hikes. I just don’t jump on the treadmill and start running or. 

Mike: Yeah. Yeah. You’re, it’s kind of like it is cardio, but it’s not formal cardio.


Anna: Yeah, because for me, one of the, the biggest things I was scared about with my weight loss was having loose skin, and I remember reading one of your podcasts. Where you were talking about it and saying how weightlifting could prevent that. And so I have been taking my weight loss very slowly. I cut and then I do maintenance and I focus on getting as strong as I can, and then I cut again, keeping my strength, and thus far I don’t have any loose skin and I have been losing a pound a week sometimes I.

Stay the same, but I know I’m doing things right and my gene size starts going down still. So my priorities are getting my food straight, doing my progressive overload, then doing abs. And then if I still have time, then I’ll. Make some room for a little bit of cardio here and there. 

Mike: Nice. And how are you setting up your deficit periods and then your diet breaks?

I’m sure some people who are also in the process of or about to start the process of losing a lot of weight will be interested because of course that’s a common concern with people who are Yeah. Gonna lose a lot 

Anna: of weight. So I have been going on deficit for every 10 pounds. Okay. So after I lose 10 pounds, Then I.

Am making sure that everything I am doing is becoming a lifestyle and I am making sure that I am liking everything that I am eating and that I am enjoying it through the process, and if I am still enjoying my progressive overload exercises. And when I see that the scale is staying the same and I am feeling great, then I am okay.

It’s time to do it again. And then I lose 10 pounds again and we repeat the same 

Mike: cycle. And how long are those diet breaks generally? Is it a one week thing? Generally a two week thing longer. Sometimes 

Anna: I’ve taken a month of a break. Mm-hmm. Just a whole month. Making sure that my mind is in the right place that.

Like I said, that I am liking the food that I’m eating because for me, the most important thing is to never go back, to just keep moving forward, to just keep becoming the best version of myself. Little by little. I am not in a rush to lose 20 pounds tomorrow or for the summer. I am just taking my baby steps forward because now at this point in my life, I know that if it takes me a whole year to lose 10 pounds, That’s still 10 pounds lost, and if I am keeping it off, then that is what matters 

Mike: to me.

Yeah, yeah, it totally makes sense. I mean, it, it is the looking at the, the bigger picture and playing the long game, so to speak, because you’re looking at it as a lifestyle. This is something you probably plan on doing for the rest of your life, and so how quickly you get to. Your bigger goal or maybe your bigger milestone you’re working to, yeah, it matters.

But if we’re talking about getting there in, let’s just pick an arbitrary, no. Let’s say it’s a year or a year and a few months. Does that really matter if a year and a few months is a lot more enjoyable? No, of course not. You actually, if you even had it nailed down to specific numbers like that, You probably would still choose, like, yeah, I’ll just stay with it a little bit longer and enjoy that process more because I know that this is something I’m gonna continue doing for a long time.

Mm-hmm. Where are you? So 

Anna: right now I, I am at 28% body fat and I want to get to that 18 to 20%. So I started cutting again last week and head is in the game. I am still. Doing my compound exercises, I might be adding a little bit of more the master in there. But yeah, I’m ready to lose those 8% of body fat.

Mike: Nice. That’s great. And you know, something else, just considering how strong you are, cuz you are very strong for a woman. There aren’t many women who I, I wrote and spoke about this recently. That’s for most women, probably gonna be about as strong as they will ever. Get, just regardless of how long they work at it for and for men, for example, I’ve mentioned this quite a few times, that 3, 4, 5 is a good, it’s just a, it’s a good target to work toward.

Most men can get that strong, which is three plates, one rep max, three plates on the bench, four plates on the squat, and five plates on the deadlift. There are of course men who can get stronger than that, and I’m talking about naturally and are men who can get a lot stronger, but for women, It’s around your numbers, actually where you’re at right now, which is pretty impressive.

And you may, if you haven’t checked out beyond bigger, leaner, stronger, which of course, given the title is more geared toward men. But if you were to read that book, a lot of the information and fundamentals, of course, would apply just as much to you as it would apply to a dude. And the programming could work really well for you.

You’d probably want to change it a little bit. In that you’ll probably want to bring the upper body volume down a little bit and increase the lower body volume. Most women, that’s what they wanna do, but just throwing that out there, you might, you might find that program fun just because of how quickly you’ve progressed in your strength.

Oh, thank you. 

Anna: Thank you. I really appreciate that. I, my brother has bigger, leaner, stronger. 

Mike: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then, so there’s a sequel to that called Beyond Bigger Than or Stronger, which is really meant for Oh yeah. It’s meant for intermediate and advanced weightlifters. And again, the title it’s geared in the book is geared toward men.

It’s kind of written to men, and I will create a a female version of it. But in the meantime, for women listening, who I would say it applies to, any woman who has gained, let’s just say she’s gained probably at least her first. 10 to 15 pounds of muscle and she has achieved. Intermediate strength standards, which if you’re curious what that is, head over to legion and search for, I believe you can search for strength standards and you’ll find an article that has some charts and you can see how you stack up.

But if you’re a woman who has gained a bit of muscle and who’s pretty strong now, then I would say that. Book is gonna be useful again, even though it is not specifically tailored to you, to females, but the information, a lot of it is just, it is just the fundamentals of like, okay, how do you go from your newbie gains are over and.

Everything progress has slowed down. How do you continue to make progress and approach your genetic potential basically for muscle and strength? So, uh, I will create a, a version of that book for women, but the biggest changes will probably just be in the programming. Again, most women are gonna want something like hip thrusts in the workouts, whereas most guys don’t really care about that.

Most women are going to want to train their lower body with a bit more volume than their upper body. They’re gonna want to. Basically max out probably their lower body volume that they can do safely and effectively every week at the expense of not being able to max out their upper body. Whereas most guys are the other way around, you know?

Yeah. But, um, yeah, a little tip. If you end up checking it out and trying it, let me know how it goes. I. Oh yeah, 100%. I appreciate you again, taking the time to share your story. I think it’s awesome. Great job on everything you’ve done so far. Definitely keep up the good work. Keep me posted. You can always, as you know, shoot me an email and if you read, by the way, if you do read Beyond Bigger Leader Stronger and you are not sure how to change the programming, you can also email me and I can, and for any woman listening, you can just email me, mike, at most

And at this point I have a copy paste reply. Cause I’ve gotten asked many times, but it breaks it out and. Here, here’s what I would do if I were like working with you. Here’s where we would start kind of thing. Thank you so much. Yeah, yeah. I appreciate it. Again. All right. Well, that’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting and helpful.

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That is the best way to get ahold of me, mike muscle And that’s it. Thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.

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