Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify | Listen on YouTube

In this episode, I interview Ann and Lo (also known as the Minny Hustlers on Instagram), who read Thinner Leaner Stronger and used what they learned to dramatically change their physiques and lives.

Before finding TLS, Ann and Lo focused on what many women do–lots of cardio and lifting light weights. While they managed to prevent weight gain (the dreaded “freshman 15”…or 20…or 30), they didn’t know how to build the bodies they really wanted with toned arms and glorious glutes.

Ever since they read the book in 2015 and learned what really moves the needle in terms of body composition, they’ve totally transformed their physiques, adding muscle in all the right places while stripping away fat, and building their strength to levels they had never seen before.

And the best part is by working together, Ann and Lo were able to keep each other accountable and motivate one another to push through the tough times. They also used what they learned in the book to become Legion Athletes and launch their own Instagram page, which they use to educate and motivate other women to finally get their dream bodies and improve their own lives.

In this interview, we talk about . . .

  • The struggles of bulking
  • Dealing with body image issues
  • Tips that helped them transition to cutting while staying satisfied
  • How flexible dieting changed the game for them
  • How gyms shutting down affected their cut
  • And more . . .

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


5:01 – What does your before and after look like?

6:13 – What results did you get from mostly cardio and low intensity weightlifting?

12:47 – What has changed in the past couple years? Where are you currently in your fitness journey?

14:48 – What were the bulking struggles that you experienced?

17:16 – How did you deal with body image and bulking?

25:51 – How did your first cut go?

32:35 – Where do you want to go from here?

37:10 – Any advice on supplements?

Mentioned on the Show:

Thinner Leaner Stronger

Shop Legion Supplements Here

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


Mike: Hello, my lovelies. Welcome to another episode of Most For Life. I’m Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today to hear a thinner, leaner, stronger success story. I love hearing thinner, leaner, stronger success stories. In this episode, I interview Anne and Low, who are also known as the mini hustlers on Instagram, and they read my book, Thinner, Leaner, Stronger, and they used what they learned to get into great shape themselves.

And then they wanted to pay it forward and help other people get into great shape, and they wanted to share what was working for them because they knew that it would work for other people. And now they are the mini hustlers. That’s their Instagram handle, and they have a growing following. They share a lot of great information, and they do it in a very upbeat, fun way, because that is, Personalities.

And so in this interview, you’re gonna meet Anne Lowe and you’re gonna learn about what they were doing before they found me in my work. They were doing what many women do you know? Lots of cardio and lots of light weightlifting, and that helped them not gain weight, which was what they want to do Initially.

They didn’t want the dreaded freshman 15 or 20 or 30 or whatever, but they didn’t know how to get the bodies that they. Wanted. They wanted muscle definition. They wanted muscle mass in the right places without looking bulky or blocky. And they came across thin, stronger back in 2015, and they learned a lot about how to improve their body composition, eating foods that they like, and doing workouts that they enjoy, and they were able to.

What they wanted out of fitness, get the physique that they wanted and they worked together and they had fun together. They kept each other accountable and now they are fitness influencers in their own right. They’re helping other people follow in their footsteps. And they also work with my sports nutrition company, Legion.

They are sponsored athletes, which is pretty cool. And so in this interview I talked to Anne and Lowe about the struggle. Bulking, and particularly with women, because women generally respond differently to even the word bulking than men. They talk about body image issues that they’ve had to deal with, and they share some tips that have helped them cut while staying satisfied.

So less hunger, fewer cravings, and. 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. We’re on top because every ingredient and 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 dies, which may not be as dangerous as some people would have you believe. But there is good evidence to suggest that 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 that can help you lose fat, build muscle, and get healthy faster, and you will find the best of them in legion’s product. 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 by That’s B U I 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. Hey Anne. Hello. Hey, this is fun. This is the first three way success. That sounds wrong, but , the first success interview I’ve done with two people instead of one.

Really exciting. Yeah. We’re happy to be here. Yeah. Yeah. I appreciate you taking the time. So how I like to start these discussions is with a snapshot of kind of a before and after, before you found me and my work and what was going on at that time. And then a quick, fast forward to now, and if you want to share any relevant numbers.

It could be body composition stuff, it could be performance stuff, it could be both. And then as well as any kind of qualitative things as well, because as you well know, getting. Fit impacts many areas of your life. It’s not just about losing fat and gaining muscle and looking the way you wanna look.

There are a lot of other and sometimes not so obvious benefits, yeah. Yeah. So I’m curious to just hear the overview of where you were at, where you’re at now, and then we’ll rewind and begin. Before you had found me, and I’d love to hear what you were doing at that time and what was working, what was not, and then just roll forward to present.


Anne: I’m trying to think before we even started following you, cuz 

Lo: that was all the way back in 2015. Yeah, so prior to that, This is Ann and I was doing, I did sports all my life and we would do weight lifting for my sports, but nothing like I do now. Nothing with 

Anne: progressive overloading, and it was a 

Lo: lot more cardio I would do.

Anne: And then low before, Yeah, I was in sports as well. But before we found you, and honestly, your book more or less. , A lot of cardio. We were heading into, Freshman year in college together. And all I did truly and honestly was run, I didn’t wanna gain the freshman 15 . So every day I would go to the gym and run and do maybe light weights and still lower reps and like just core, probably Core, Yeah.

Because that’s what I thought was right. 

Mike: . And if I could just jump in quickly, I’m. So when you were doing just mostly cardio and you, I guess you could call it, it sounds like low intensity weightlifting, what results was that producing or not producing? Were you struggling with any, were you trying to lose fat at that time, or what were you trying to do?

Or were you just focusing on your performance? 

Anne: No, not performance at all. It was strictly, I didn’t like going every college kid. You don’t wanna gain the freshman 15 is what they call it. So I. Didn’t really notice anything. , the thing, I wasn’t gaining weight, . I was still like, I was still doing cardio, I was still eating well, but there’s no intention behind it.

, I wasn’t, I wanted to look good and I wanted to continue to fit into my pants and not gain that 15, but at the same time, I wasn’t. Gaining muscle in areas now that I know I would want, like for example, glutes or toned arms, things like that. I was just thin and , thin is beautiful.

It’s not even the body image that I wanted to go for, but then I was doing it all wrong. Yeah. And even back 

Lo: then, we wanted the muscles, We wanted to look lean. But we didn’t know how to achieve that 

Anne: before your book. We thought we were doing it right. 

Mike: Yeah. It’s ironic then that the book is called Thinner, Leaner, Stronger.

That’s not even what you were going for, which you I’ve gotten a little bit of static over the years from some women about that. Ironically, I actually wanted to call the book Fitter Leader Stronger. But I surveyed at that time, I already had a lot of female followers and readers of my other stuff, so I surveyed a few.

I had thinner and fitter and maybe one or two others, and I surveyed just a simple like Likert scale. I believe it’s called a one to five. One. I hate it. Five. I love it. Which is useful for just gauging people’s first reactions to things, and that matters a lot. Especi. Books and Thinner, leaner, Stronger. I can see it one by, yeah, it wasn’t even close.

I don’t remember the exact numbers, but it was probably something between, It was probably something like fitter averaged to two and a half, which is pretty meh, no more than a three and thinner averaged at least a four, if not higher, which is very hard to do with those types of surveys, which just means that a lot of.

They were saying they loved or really liked thinner and a lot of those women were saying, Eh, nah, it’s okay. Like fitters. And I guess I’m not entirely surprised because a lot of women who get into fitness, at least in my experience, want to lose weight initially. Want to lose fat initially. Yeah. And you do have of course, outliers and women.

Exactly. So anyway, I always have to explain that when I’ll gets Yeah. That’s interesting sometimes where women, they think that, I’m trying to like push. My idea of women should just be thinner. Not at all. I actually, if I didn’t do that survey, I would’ve went with fitter, but it would’ve resulted probably in fewer book sales, because if we’re talking online, it’s the title, it’s the cover, and it’s the reviews.

That’s what sells a book, So 

Anne: for sure. Yeah, and I think that the book and just to go off of where we started after reading it and following it. Why we’re here today is because of the book. , now we preach your book to thousands of people, like we call it our Fitness Bible because we truly do follow it to a T and have seen honestly almost perfect results from it.

. So I think that shows where we’ve come, you know where we were. . Where we went and then now holding, We can get into this story, but we held each other accountable through the book, and now we are where we are today. We’re able to share this book with thousands of people to change their lives the way it 

Mike: changed ours.

Yeah, I love that. I love that about books is they’re just so accessible because they’re inexpensive. And I’ve also, because it’s a self-published book, I’ve been able to update it several times over the years. I’m actually working on another round of updates based on a lot of work that I did for what is gonna be my next book, which is called Muscle for Life, coming out next year.

Specifically for the 40, you could even probably say 30 plus. Cause a lot of 30 plus people think of themselves as middle aged. But 

Anne: regardless, I’m waiting for. You said this a long time ago. I told my parents, honestly, I feel like you talked about it three years ago. I know it’s, And that’s my parents.

I’m like, Wait for this book. You’re gonna read this book and you’re gonna love it. So we’re ready for that. 

Mike: Yeah. Yeah. I’m excited for it as well. And so with the work I did on that book, I liked some of the, and this, and I can give credit to the editors to women I worked with who were great, who had some good ideas about organizing the information a little bit differently and.

Explaining things in slightly different ways. And so I was like, Ooh. I think it would make sense actually to go back through bigger, leaner, stronger and thinner, leaner stronger, and look at it through the same prism, so to speak. And so the core information’s not gonna change, and the core programming is.

Probably not gonna change, but I think I can now organize it a little bit better. And I’m also a better writer. I continue to write, I continue to read, I continue to work on that. So every so often I think it makes sense to upgrade the books, and that’s fun for me to be able to do because with a traditionally published book, it doesn’t work like that.

If a book does really well, and it’s been some time than you can get a deal for a second edition, but it’s a process it’s essentially treated like a new book deal. Whereas with a self-published book, I can do whatever I want. I like being able to do that because I’m a perfectionist and it actually bothers me once I realize that I can make enough meaningful changes to make a book of mine significantly better not doing it, it just bothers me a lot.

And so anyway, I’m excited to get that out and again I’m, I really appreciate you spreading the word about the book. I’ve always. Books and reading and I came truly like writing, but books are pretty cool just for the reason you just gave is if it’s good and it contains enough good information, it just makes for such easy word of mouth and it helps.

I’ve heard from a lot of people over the years who get asked a lot of questions. It’s useful for them too, to be like, Just read this book, trust me. Like it’ll answer all these questions. Exactly. 

Anne: Yeah. That’s what we do when they have questions. We say, Can you just get this book? That’s really what we say to people.

Totally. Even if they 

Lo: don’t have the book, never read it or miss our posts on it. I don’t know how they could, but even if they do, they 

Anne: are, If they’re following our programs and our posts, they’re following a thin, 

Lo: leaner, stronger program. Yeah. And without even knowing it, because that’s what we live by and that’s what we typically come across as.

Mike: But yeah, I don’t wanna hijack your conversation so we can just get back to, I’m curious though, before we go back to the beginning, so in terms of your after, what has changed now over the last couple of years, where are you currently at in your fitness? And again, that could be the more quantitative stuff.

It could be the qualitative of both. Yeah, 

Lo: So we are currently in our. Second cut. Following all your calculations, We’re in a maintaining stage beforehand where our first cut was actually after a 

Anne: bulking, and those are 

Lo: the before and after pictures that 

Anne: we sent you. Oh, 

Mike: good. Okay. I like it. You had the nerve to bulk early.

A lot of women I’ve spoken with over the years. Yeah, Which I understand they’re reluctant to go into a surplus because they get to a certain body fat level and they really like being that way and they like how their clothes fit and they don’t wanna give that up even if they know that they can get back to it fairly easily.

Lo: To be honest, it took us. Five years to officially say 

Anne: we’re doing this to get the courage. It was really hard. I would never have done it. And that’s why Anne and I are so good together, is because I would’ve never bulked on my own. fact that we had each other and the fact that we could go through another pair of jeans don’t fit me, but we’re lifting heavier and and Oh, I guess we’re not doing this.

Or, Oh my gosh, I’m eating till. Sick full, but and need the macros, we need each other. 

Lo: Oh, I’m so full. But you gotta do it. You gotta get all your protein in or carbs in. And knowing that we had that cut at the end was 

Anne: also really exciting to see how our bodies could 

Lo: change. Because at that point we hadn’t done much of a change.

Technically our first cut was, technically when we started 

Anne: reading thinner, leaner, stronger back in 

Lo: 2015, and then we maintained and just lived the lifestyle. And 

Anne: then once. 

Lo: 19 came. Yeah. Was when we 

Anne: did the bulk and that was hard. That was really hard. I honestly think that was almost harder for me than cutting.

To be honest. Challenges, Yeah. . They’re both so 

Mike: hard, but, And why? What were the bulking struggles? I’m sure it’s the same stuff that a lot of guys are used to hearing, but again, a lot of women I’ve spoken with over the years, they are either not interested in bulking at all because they’re still cutting or they’re maintaining and they’re thinking about bulking.

Anne: Yeah. I think our biggest struggles with bulking came from one life is busy and there’s things, and we’re young, so we have weddings and we have bachelorette parties and gaining weight. People see it as gaining weight, right? We knew we were gaining muscle and doing it for the right reason. That’s hard, right?

Cuz you’re going to all these events and you’re like, I’m not my most fit self. . So I think that was a struggle. Number two was, , honestly feeling uncomfortable. We are so used to being so active and doing at least hit like 20 minutes of sprints two times a week, and we really did reduce that and that was almost hard for, I would say that was really hard.

 Taking that away and like what we’ve always done in the past five years, I. and just being okay with reducing it and doing a little bit more less, if any lower intensity. So I think that was weird. And then lastly, It was probably, I would say eating was hard. It was sad. It wasn’t almost fun.

Like I love eating a lot. Yeah. And again, I think it goes back to that busy 

Lo: lifestyle for on going from thing to thing. It’s like we had to prepare, which we do for a cut too, but 

Anne: you had to bring all that stuff to make 

Lo: sure that you’re not having to do it all at night when you get 

Anne: home. Yeah. Get to make sure that you’re getting yours in to that we have normal.

Office job, so I would seriously bring a cooler to work and have to eat all day. My coworkers were like, Yeah, therefore, 

Mike: just confused what is going on right now? Confused. You’re like eating more than half of the guys in the 

Anne: office. We were, no we truly were. And it was interesting to see how much our bodies.

Actually gained. . we tell people we were end of 15 pounds above our normal, they’re like, You’re kidding. You’re five three. You’re five three. How? But then all of a sudden they saw us cut and then all of a sudden we were so muscular yet. Dropped weight. They were like, Wait a second. Something you’re doing is right.

And we’re like, yeah, that’s right. I’ve been telling you guys, so 

Mike: we just had to prove it. But it’s mysterious though. It’s like alchemy or something. It is. How did you deal with the body image stuff? Because again, just thinking back to a lot of the conversations I’ve had with. Women over the years, that is a major point of why they are reluctant to bulk even women who want to gain more muscle in certain places.

And they do understand that after their first year and a half or so, the recomp days are. Or over. And if you stay in maintenance , you’re not gonna, and you train hard, you will make progress, but you’re gonna make a lot faster progress doing what you’re doing. Yeah. . And I know though that one of the big obstacles, one of the big hurdles that many of these women were just not able to force themselves over was just that they didn’t want to go to social functions.

And Yeah. Cuz at this. They fitness has become part of their identity and a lot of people now have seen, Oh wow. Especially when they go through a, an initial round of cutting where they lose a bunch of fat and they gain some muscle. And some of these women, they haven’t seen people in a while who come up, literally say, I didn’t even recognize you.

Oh my God, what are you doing? And then the next time it’s oh, did. Are you still doing the they’ll get asked Are you, Oh, are you still working out? And people don’t mean it, They’re not trying to allude to anything really. They’re actually genuinely Whoa, wait a minute. I, when I saw you last time, you were like, super fit and now you’re not.

What’s going on? 

Lo: Yeah. I think the mindset really helped us going into it. Know, Our goal and having each other throughout the way was really helpful. Also, the fact we did it in a Minnesota winter. Yeah. We had those weddings. 

Anne: That’s a good call. . Yeah. No, 

Lo: it is. It was that like we always are wearing jackets in multiple layers.

It sounds silly, but. I think that helped a lot compared to doing it if we ever did it in the summertime or when there were, 

Mike: Did you do the same thing in the gym? Did you just keep your baggy stuff on? No. Yeah, we did. 

Anne: So yeah, 

Lo: we never, no, we never would wear 

Anne: sports bras or anything like that in the gym.

Mike: No, and that makes sense. I think that’s totally reasonable when I hear that. I don’t think that’s a weird, that’s one of those simple little things you can do that helps if you don’t have to see. Yourself in the mirror. Not that’s a, But if you don’t have to, like again, there is a point, I understand.

When you get toward the end of the bulk, you actually feel just gross and you don’t look gross. You just feel gross because you are force feeding yourself. You are over feeding. Yeah. And after months of it, you do not want to eat food anymore. And you don’t obviously look the way you wanna look and it’s not a big deal.

I think it depends on the person, but if seeing your rounder quote unquote fluffy yourself in the mirror all the time at the gym, if it’s just gonna make you not feel good, then it makes sense. Keep the sweater on, who cares? And like you said, you know what you’re working toward, you know you can get there.

Lo: Yeah. We always hype each other up and so our confidence is also really high. Having one another, being like, But look at how much you lifted this morning and stuff like that. Yeah. To each other’s cheerleaders also 

Anne: is surrounding yourself around people who are gonna lift you up through it, I feel is actually a bigger deal than people make it, right?

. So if you’re doing it alone, I get that’s hard. It sounds dumb, but surround yourself with, follow people on Instagram that are going through a bulk, follow things that are like, Oh, other people are doing this when you’re doing it. So alone, that gets hard and we’re lucky to have each other, but there are other ways.

You can surround yourself around people that can keep you accountable and happy with your progress, even though it may look different than society’s 

Mike: progress. Totally. And if somebody has the budget and the inclination, getting a coach can also be a big help because that person can do that. And then they also can, of course, hold you accountable just to, to do the work, and it gives that extra certainty.

You have things set up correctly, things are moving in the right direction. You have an expert you can go to who’s on call to answer any questions and so forth. Yeah. I feel 

Anne: like the biggest that we hear from people about bulking is they’re like what if I can’t lose the weight once I gain it? And for us, we just cleared our mindset of that.

We’re like, We’re gonna lose it. Yeah. Kinda a know, it’s. Excuses. And so I think people getting over that hump is really hard. It’s okay, you could gain all that weight, but will I have the motivation at the end to lose it all or will I just stay this big? And I think that’s really the hump we’ve heard people come to us about.

And it just clear your mind of can’t, like you’re gonna do it. And like you said, at 

Lo: the end of it, you just feel 

Mike: so sick and great. I was gonna say that. You already said . Anybody who has gone through it knows that Yeah, it’s bad. By the end of a book, you couldn’t. Continue. It’s almost like you couldn’t, you could if you had to, but you are so done that you look forward to cutting.

Oh, we were so excited 

Anne: and we 

Mike: were, And not strictly because, Oh, I wanna lose the fat. No, just the idea of cutting your calories in half is so appealing. Challenging 

Anne: too. And it, we, so now we’ve gone from bulking to cutting and now we’ve gone from maintenance to cutting. . we’re notice.

Honestly, truly going from bulking to cutting, like I’m not gonna sugarcoat it. That was really hard. It was so hard. I think I cried. I was like, this is hard. But going from maintaining now to cutting a lot easier. Yeah. I thought, I was like, Here we go. Buckle up. But I’m okay. I’m like, I’m pretty, I’m still full.

I’m okay. I’m eating. And we were 

Lo: prepared after going through it once already 

Anne: with the cut. Yeah. 

Lo: That, I think it just helped. It was so hard for us the first time that our mindset was like, Okay, this is gonna be so tough. 

Anne: Where now 

Lo: It’s not as bad as we thought 

Anne: it would be. Thanks to your meal plan, Mike.

You did. We put that on the first one. The first one to figure out how to do a cut was 

Lo: very helpful on ways like the amount of veggies and having your serving sizes was so helpful. And with fruits, making sure the more carb fruits we don’t have as much. Where we weren’t too familiar with serving sizes 

Anne: on that was.

So that taught us a ton. 

Lo: Really 

Mike: helpful. Yeah, that’s a great tip just for anybody. Listening. If you’re not thinking. Those factors when cutting, which is really just trying to get as much volume in your meals for as few calories as you can. And what’s cool about that is very nutritious foods.

That is the best way to do it. So you also then, get in enough micronutrients as well, which can be more difficult when your calories are restricted if you’re not paying attention. 

Anne: Yeah, you have to. And you don’t realize that people, I think people are always like, Okay, so you’re just eating less.

And it’s No, we’re actually more watching. Like how we’re getting the right macro nutrients in our bodies versus like blueberries versus strawberries, like things like that, that your program really helped us. Wow, we can have a lot more strawberries than we can blueberries. You only can have five of those.


Mike: Yeah. I love strawberries. Just they’re delicious and they’re big, and you can eat a lot for a small number of calories. They’re great. 

Anne: Yeah. Yeah. So thank you for the help on that. Good one. We always direct people to that too. Yep. We’re like, Do you need help? Go to this meal plan versus trying on your own.

Cuz it can be a little overwhelming. 

Lo: It’s, Yeah, it’s challenging for us and we’ve done it for years, 

Mike: yeah. No, I understand. Something else, I don’t remember which of one of you, but one of you mentioned when bulking is also paying attention to performance and, Okay, so body comp isn’t exactly what we want and we know why we’re doing it.

It’s not a big deal, It’s fine, but. If you’re doing your lean bolt correctly, you’re probably having a lot of really good workouts. I remember, I haven’t done it in a while, but I remember consistently finishing pretty hard workouts with, where I felt I could do all of that again. 

Anne: Energy. Yeah, you had way 

Mike: more energy.

Yep. More energy. And then again, one of you had mentioned performance and just patting yourself on the back and taking a moment to just recognize Oh, look at that. I’m, over the last month or so. Put five pounds on the bar, 10 pounds on the bar, and I’m consistently gaining reps, consistently gaining strength and acknowledging that means that you’re also gain.

Muscle once your newbie gains are over, the correlation between strength and muscle building becomes very close in that it’s very hard to continue gaining muscle if you are not continually gaining strength, regardless of what other types of techniques you’re trying. If progressive overload isn’t in there, you’re probably just gonna get stuck in muscle building.

So that’s also just a good tip when Lean bulking is taking just, the focus off the body comp and putting it more on some of these other factors. . Tell me then how that first cut went and how did that compare to maybe things you had tried in the past? Had you ever tried to lose fat in the past?

Yeah, no, 

Anne: we definitely tried to lose fat. You go, Yeah, coming off a bulk was very different. Yeah. Because when I. Like I said, when I first 

Lo: read the book in 2015, that was when we were doing like our low weight lifting and mostly cardio, so we weren’t how we were on the bulk back in the day. But when I read your book, then I started following mackerels, and so I’d say 

Anne: I did my first cut 

Lo: then in 2015 and learning all of that routine, but it wasn’t much of a change from that bulk to 

Anne: cut.

Yeah. That was the bulk to cut. It’s holy crap. When we went from Oh, we read your book started. We technically said we cut back in the day, but it wasn’t as big of a change to now. And I think the biggest thing that we learned on our cut is that. And this is my favorite of the book is diets are fake.

We love flexible dieting and we still eat candy on our cut, like we still eat candy because we can fit it in. So I think that is so important for people to understand is that flexible dieting, like we will probably go to eat and have. Ice cream tomorrow, but we’ll fit it in and work backwards. . So I think that was, that’s really fun.

I love your book and how it talks about flexible diet, because I think that’s so important for burnout. 

Mike: Totally. It’s just necessary for sustainability because unless you’re, maybe it would have to be money, right? Unless you’re getting paid a lot of money to be completely neurotic about your diet, it’s just not worth it.

Food is a source of. Pleasure and enjoyment as well, and that matters even to those of us who aren’t very hedonistic by nature. It’s still nice to eat foods you like, and it’s not nice to not be able to eat stuff that you enjoy. It’s not nice to follow boring, bland, bodybuilder diets. When you wish you could just have some candy or you wish you could just have some ice cream.

And of course there’s no reason to. Not at all. There are people out there who obviously, I think of some professional athletes have come by who have just gotten weird. Advice from weird people and who think that they can’t have certain foods because it’s going to cause inflammation and that’s going to cause problems in their joints, or it’s gonna cause performance problems or body comp problems.

And in their cases, of course, their entire livelihood revolves around their ability to perform. So they’re very reluctant to do anything that might imperil that, but it can, They don’t enjoy that It’s. They feel like they don’t have any other choice, because if they can’t continue in their career, what are they gonna do?

That’s all they know how to do is play the sport well. You know what I mean? 

Lo: But something to note on our cut after the bulk, we started our cut January of 2020, so three months into our cut in January, 2023 months into our cut was Covid and Jim 

Anne: shut down. Yeah, that’s an interesting one. 

Lo: We had to figure out how do we do this at home and how do we progressive overload at home with only 

Anne: 12 pound weights?

Yeah, that was 

Lo: interesting in our bodies, of course, but we just did more reps than normal and progressively overloaded with reps 

Anne: over time, compound movements, which was very 

Lo: different than what we were used to and what we were planning on. So it was a little defeating at first, of course, realizing, oh no, we’ve we’re three.

in and having to change that plan. The 

Anne: last 

Mike: part. Yeah. And how did that go? Because that is just to comment, that is one way to progress. Of course. It’s just generally not as effective as being able to increase load, but you can make it work. 

Lo: Yeah. And I think we are just overall moving our bodies more too.

Getting out of the house, 

Anne: going on walks, incorporating a list. I feel like that’s one of. Things that we learned in your book is, and we really took into account when we started our cut, we incorporated lists and we challenged ourselves to okay, this part of our cut, we’re doing 10 case steps, and the last part we’re doing 12 case steps a day.

And I think that’s a missed key for a lot of. People in our age, it’s like older people go on walks and it’s no, we should all be going on walks, doing low intensity on top of whatever you’re doing here and there, moving your body. So we did that a lot during our cut and I feel like that was a really big key for us.

Yes. And that was the first time we had ever done it. Ever. Yeah. So that was a big change. Uhhuh , 

Lo: It’ll be interesting to see right now on our cut with the gym and all the access to all these different weights of. We’ll look at the end of it 

Anne: compared to the last cut. Yeah. Will be very 

Mike: interesting. Yeah, that’s a great point.

Walking in particular, I’ve written and I’ve spoken about walking, it’s, I think it’s very underrated. It is because you can burn a fair amount of calories and it puts no stress or strain on the body, so it doesn’t cut into recovery at all. And it’s nice to go outside, especially during covid. And if you can get outside in nature, it’s even nicer if there’s just even like a park, you can go walk.

If you wanna make it even harder, an easy thing is you can turn it into rocking. You could put stuff in a backpack, add weight and walk around, or if you wanna be fancy, get an actual ruck sack with the weight plates. But you can dramatically increase the calorie burning and just the difficulty of it.

And for people who are fitter, they often like to do that just cause Why not? It doesn’t get so hard that you are now grinding through it or that you can’t do your phone call, for example, which is something. I’ve talked about is I did the same thing during Covid. Cause I was no longer driving to the office, to the gym, and I was like, Eh, I have some extra time.

I guess I’ll, I have an upright bike here in my basement and I’ll hop on that. I was normally doing an hour and a half per week and I was like, I’ll do 30 minutes of just moderate intensity every day and I’ll just not change my calories. And so I lost eight pounds over covid.

There’s just like a very simple cut, basically. I’ve kept that in and I often. Plan for if I have calls that I have to do, then I just hop on the bike. And so I’m not even taking away from my day, so to speak, because I have to be on the phone anyway. 

Anne: Absolutely.

Mike: 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 brand of all natural sports supplements in the. Where do you want to go from here? We’re definitely gonna bulk 

Anne: again at some point, and this is the excuse that probably everyone has when bulking, it’s like, Okay, we have this wedding that we’re in this year.

We have this. Do we really wanna be at our top weight in our bridesmaid dress? It’s gonna ch, so it’s all about full of excuses. So I think right now we’re just talking about let’s stop with the excuses. , think we’ll maintain for a while through summer, I’m guessing.

I don’t know yet. We wanna bulk. So if you have any recommendations. We’ll, my bulk, again, 

Lo: I think that this kind is gonna be shorter than our last, just because we’re coming off maintaining and not bulking. So hopefully, 

Anne: yeah, like 10 weeks, 10 to twelves 

Lo: might be 12. Then then maintaining from there and knowing.

We’ll just figure out, we’ll sit down and figure out when would be best for the both of us to do our bulk together because we 


Anne: each, I cannot do it alone. That’s why we’re 

Mike: here. . That makes sense. And my comments there would be thinking with your year and your social events. And so just working around that makes perfect sense, of course.

And picking your period. And then you could also consider trying. What I talk about in Beyond Bigger, Leaner, Stronger, which I would recommend that you read, because the fundamentals, the information applies equally to women as it does to men. It’s just I will create a female version of that book. Again, a lot of the fundamentals are not gonna change.

I’ll give new examples and there will be other alterations that I’ll make knowing that I’m speaking to women. But the programming will certainly change because currently the program has more upper body volume. Than most women would want, and less lower body volume than most women would want, simply because for men it takes them, generally a lot more upper body work to get the upper body that they want versus the lower body.

But given your experience in what you know, you probably would find it very easy to change up and be like, Oh, okay, so instead of this. Upper body workout here, we could actually just turn that into a lower body, or you could turn it into a full body, be like, Hey, we’re gonna take out two of these upper body exercises and put some more lower body in there if that’s what you wanted to do.

And I think given where you’re at in your fitness, you’ll really enjoy the program. You’ll find it challenging, but not. Overburdening and I think, again, given the results you’ve gotten, you’ll respond really well to it. So yeah. That’s fun. That’s another, yeah. That could be fun for, particularly for the next Lean Bull.

Cool. Okay. 

Anne: I honestly thought it was for only 

Mike: men. I know. Obviously the title, 

Anne: the ties with the men, the bigger lean 

Mike: are stronger. I know. And I, I will, It what will obviously be beyond thinner, leaner, stronger. It’s just unfortunately we’re gonna freak out. . I’m looking forward to it.

It’ll be fun, but unfortunately it’ll be some time because, So I have this Simon and Schuster book coming out next. I don’t think they’ve chosen a month, actually, sometime in the first quarter of next year. And then the agreement is I can’t self-publish another book for, I believe it’s six months after that, and then I have to wait another six months after.

Six. Six, and then I’m off the hook and I can do whatever I want. Ooh, okay. Yeah, so I just have a few manuscripts like in the works or in one case, almost done. And I have those four slots I can use basically for self-publishing over the course of the next two years. And I have to decide what to use them on.

  1. If Muscle for Life does very well, I can probably ask Simon and Schuster make an exception, but that’s currently how the agreement stands. And so that’s the only caveat is it’s we’ll be waiting, We’ll be waiting , unfortunately, it’s gonna, there’s gonna be a bit of a wait, but in the meantime, if you’re inclined, you could check out the men’s book and just understand that the fundamentals apply just as much to you as to guys.

There just are gonna be a lot of. Examples and then the programming is gonna be probably too much upper body for your tastes. Okay. Okay. We 

Anne: actually prefer upper body. We love upper 

Mike: body. Oh, okay. Good. Then I made the wrong assumption. Just only because having spoken and worked with so many women over the years, the girls like the booty.

Anne: That’s what we 

Mike: know. Yeah. Yeah. I hear. So much of it, enough 

Anne: to have strong legs. We have sports, so we got good, maybe good legs, good genetics. So we’ve been able to keep up so we don’t have to work as hard. Yeah. 

Mike: Then you may like it exactly as it is then, actually. 

Anne: We’ll get it tonight.


Mike: Cool. Yeah, let me know what you think when you check it out. Oh, we will. 

Anne: Awesome. We’re looking at it right now, actually. We have it in front of us. We just haven’t read it. 

Mike: Oh, cool. Let me know if you have any questions. Of course. Yeah. Is there anything else that you had. On your own outline, so to speak, that we haven’t touched on, 

Anne: It’s actually outta left field, but 

Lo: it’s your Phoenix supplement.

We are hoping to start and if you have any advice on that, we’re, We’ve never done 

Anne: any fat burner Yeah. Supplements and if you have any advice. Yeah, let’s hear your spiel. 

Mike: Yeah, of course it’s not necessary like any supplement and it’s just supplementary by definition. And I like the new formulation a lot.

I can’t take credit for it. Curtis, who heads up the research and development and then we have a scientific advisory board who also weigh in on everything. So of course they get the credit for the creation of it, but I like that it is, Almost quote unquote on the cutting edge in terms of, and they’re not new ingredients.

They’re ingredients that now have enough good evidence to warrant their use. Whereas years ago there were a few of these ingredients, like Grains of Paradise, for example, that looked promising, but it was a bit early to say. And then so enough evidence accumulates to where then Curtis and others go, We can.

Sell this honestly and be able to promise some benefits that matter as opposed to hedging maybe it appears that it could possibly, where you can then say, Hey, this is what it looks like. This is what it’s gonna do in most people. And so obviously primarily what the new formulation is going for is STEM free.

We do have a. STEM containing we have, so people now can choose, do you want caffeine or not? Yeah, 

Anne: we did non caffeine cuz we, we dry scoop your pulse every single morning, . So we need to chill 

Mike: on the Yeah. And I understand, and I also always preferred. Caffeine free because I wanna get my caffeine from espresso or pre-workout.

But there are people who don’t do either, they don’t do coffee and they don’t do pre-workout, and it’s real easy for them. They like the convenience of caffeine in the fat burner. So with this fat burner, what we’re going for is increasing calorie burning and without stimulants, which is cool, and reducing hunger.

And then also he could say improving some of the body’s. Some elements of the body’s kind of fat burning machinery. I know that sounds strange, but without getting too technical, helping your body better mobilize fat. And there are a couple of ingredients that, again, they’re not stimulants, but they have been shown to help with fat loss, like for Scholin.

And it’s not a stimulant, but it appears to increase fat burning to a slight degree. And that’s the case with a lot of these ingredients. But when you look at the cumulative effect, I think that it is very, Bowl to say that it can help you burn, let’s say an extra 150 or so calories per day. It may be a little bit less in some people, a little bit more in other people, and reduce hunger, and is that going to completely change the game?

No, of course not, but that’s fairly significant. If you’re getting it an extra 150 to 200 calories burned per day and you’re less hungry and it’s a safe product, there are no. Gray ingredients in it. There are no, for example, harsh stimulants in it that some people don’t do well with. And if that sounds good to you, then that’s really the reason to use it.

And for people who hear that and they go, Eh, I would rather just do a little bit more cardio or just lose fat a little bit slower and not bother with it. Then that I understand that as well. And of course, that’s the case with any supplement with most. Maybe there are a couple health related supplements that I would be more adamant about, or I would recommend more strongly, because if you’re not getting enough vitamin K, for example, that’s not good.

If you’re a woman and you’re not getting enough iron, that’s really not good. If you’re not getting enough zinc, not good. Whereas not getting enough for skull or grains of paradise when you’re. That’s fine. Or tie G saying is another one. That’s okay. So that’s just kind of me rambling a about the product.

Again, I really like the new formulation and it can certainly help, but it is the remaining kind of. You have the basics, the fundamentals, that 20%, that gives you 80%. That’s your diet, that’s your exercise, that’s your sleep hygiene. And then that remaining 20% if you want to go after it, that’s where supplementation comes in.

Anne: Okay. That makes sense. That’s interesting. Oh, another question I had it made, maybe we’re wrong, but I. Swear. Our last cut we used, I think it was, it must have been the first version of thinner, leaner, stronger. I think the macros were different. I thought they, Yes. 40, 30, 20. Now is it at 40? 40. 20, 

Mike: Yeah. So in an earlier edition of the book, there was a little bit less fat and.

Actually, I’m probably gonna change that again in this new update. Tell us . Yeah, I just want people to know that I wanna make it clear if I haven’t made it clear that it’s okay if, for example, and this is particularly a thing with women, simply because they have fewer calories than men, and sometimes it’s quite a few fewer calories, right?

And so it can be easier for a guy to get 20% of his calories from fat when he is cutting in many cases. It’s not an imposition at all. He’s Ah, I’ll just eat a little bit less of the things I normally eat. That’s fine. Whereas depending on the size of the woman, for example, if you have a smaller woman who’s gonna be cutting and then her calories are even less now, and for her it can be trickier.

Not necessarily, aren’t there any major health implications? Cuz again, this is a temporary thing. I would not recommend 15 20% of calories from. Forever. But if you’re doing it for a short period of time, let’s say it’s the last month of your cut, or it’s even a two month cut or whatever, yeah, it’s gonna have some negative short term, completely reversible effects on your hormones, for example.

Also in men’s, slight differences, nothing major And it does allow you to eat more carbs though. And some people, especially when cutting like that, they can have much better workouts with more carbs. So there is a trade off there. And what I will make it clear though, is just. For cutting. I want women, particularly to know that there’s a range of a big range of carbs and fats that you’ll wanna get your protein.

We want that somewhere around 40% of daily calories or about a gram. We want that, but the carbs and the fats are completely negotiable and. If you’re making your meal plan and you’re like, Eh, this 35 grams or 40 grams of fat per day is annoying to me because of how I like to eat. I would rather, if I could get to 50 or 60 grams a day, I could eat a lot of the things that I like to eat.

That’s totally fine. Yeah. That’s 

Anne: interesting. That makes sense because when we, even when we’re maintaining, obviously it’s a lot. Flexible, but when we hit our protein goal, like carbs and fat or whatever, cuz we still eat healthy, but when we hit our protein goal, we see change so much faster. So that’s like our number one.

Yeah. Every day it’s whatever to carbs and fat. It’s like the protein. Yeah. Which we learned from you. We did learn 

Mike: from you . Yeah. That’s smart. That’s exactly. I just wanna make sure that is completely clear in the book and I don’t want women to think. They have to get 20% of their calories from fat.

It can’t be 30, it can’t be 40. Whereas I do think that protein is important enough to ultimately, people, if they want to eat less protein, that’s fine. They’re still gonna get results, but it deserves the stress and the emphasis, whereas carbon fat, Do not deserve nearly as much. Again, those are very negotiable.

You have a lot of leeway to just figure out what works well for you and you’re just trying to balance the foods you like to eat and performance in the gym, really, because what will happen if somebody, and this is again usually a bigger issue with women because of the absolute amount of food and how it’s a lot less than with men.

If a woman. Prefers a high fat diet simply because the foods she likes to eat the most tend to be fatty, and then she brings her carbs down accordingly. If her carbs get too low, her workouts are, especially as she gets deeper into a cut, and especially if she’s like training early in the morning or fasted.

It’s not fun. It’s not fun. You can do it, but, and. Yeah, it’s not very motivating, I guess you could say. You just you get in there and you do your chores and you get out and that’s how it feels. Whereas if that woman were willing to trade some of those higher fat foods for some higher carb foods, she might.

Prefer that simply because she generally has more energy. She’s generally fuller. She generally has better workouts. Even if that means quote unquote, giving up a few of those foods that she likes and just knowing that I’ve replaced it with some carbs, stuff that I like and that’s fine. And when I get back to maintenance, I’ll probably switch this up again, you know 

Anne: for sure.

Cool. That was interesting to me cuz when I was redoing the calculations for our cut, I texted Anne. Something’s off. I was like, This doesn’t feel right. I was like, I think it’s different. We gotta ask. So thanks for explaining that. That was interesting. 

Mike: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. 

Lo: I was just gonna say a couple things we wanted to share with you regarding how much we look up to you and everything that we’ve been showing our 

Anne: followers.

A couple fun 

Lo: things is we’ve been doing the Myth Mondays from Michael Matthews. We tag you and it literally 

Mike: says Myth. Yeah, I see them 

Anne: that’s been really fun. In one of our workout programs, 

Lo: we have a core 

Anne: exercise named after you as well, . 

Mike: I did not know that. 

Anne: It’s called the Michael. It’s called the Michael Matthew.

Hilarious. Now that we think about it, I think it’s 

Mike: funny that it’s a core exercise 

Anne: too. Honestly in transparency, people like we don’t really do that much corn anymore because we do so many compounds. Cause you don’t need to. Yeah, you don’t. But when you do and people ask for it every day, it’s like we do the weighted core and we talk about how your abs are muscles too.

You don’t do body weight on legs every day. So the workout is like, Weighted, it’s three weighted exercises and finished with the burnout of body weight. I think until failure. Until failure. You learned from your book. So that’s why it’s named after you. And then we have all in the, our free program that we like launched because learning about you and that’s when we were encouraged.

There’s a page about that. Leaders stronger and you and how you like. Impacted us and if you wanna know more about our journey, we recommend following you in this book. So we had to tell you that cuz it’s a full section in our workout guide. Yeah, 

Mike: that’s awesome. I’m flattered. 

Anne: That’s great. We just, we have to thank you for it because we always tell, I know, Miles and.

Jessica from Legion, we always are like, We love and we call you Michael Matthews, cuz that’s what the book is. Yeah. So Yeah. Mike we’re like, No, You mean Michael ? , 

Mike: Yeah. Actually it was like what’s I maybe Michael sounds more authoritative or authorial or something. Even though I’m a very informal person, is, I would not introduce myself as, Oh, Michael. I am Michael. Yeah, Michael Matthew. 

Anne: We always call him Michael. We’re like, Oh, we have to podcast with Michael. And then we’re like, I don’t think anyone calls him that but us, but we’re gonna continue to call you that . 

Mike: I like it. I like it. So thank you. Yeah. Absolutely.

Again, I love these types of interactions just because this to me is, this is the real payoff and with so much of my work, it’s pretty lonely. I just sit in. Cave and researching, or if I’m writing and I can go days without many social interactions outside of like my family, and checking in on with some people at work. But, so it’s always nice to hear the personal, impact of the work. So I appreciate you giving me a chance to help and it’s great to see that you’re putting in the work and 

Anne: A lot of our success and. Physical and mental.

 From you. So thank you. 

Mike: Lots more to come too. Always working on the next thing Oh, we’re ready. Excited. Yep. . So let’s quickly just wrap up where people can find you and if you wanna tell ’em anything about your work. Anything new and exciting that you have or just something that you think they may be interested 

Anne: in.

Yeah. So because of Thinner, Leaner, Stronger, we actually launched our fir, our Instagram. Where we thought it was just our friends and family would wanna follow along on our journey. It’s called mini hustlers. It’s m i n y cuz we’re from Minnesota hustlers. And we really just share kind of our journey through bulking cutting.

And then really what helped us grow was that guide that we talked to you about, and that’s free. So we did a free. Guide when Covid shut down and we really truly thought two people would want it and it’s blown up since November. So that’s something that’s really interesting and that’s where we talk a lot about you on Instagram.

It’s many hustlers and we have another guide that is more extensive. And then coming soon we have a gym guide, which is gonna be probably our favorite one yet because it’s going to. In the gym, which is where we lift heavy and showing people that you don’t have to get muscle confusion, you don’t have to do all this crazy stuff.

So really learning what we’ve learned from you truly, and putting it into a guide and it’s gonna be awesome. That’s great. It’s about happen. Yeah. And hoping to get that 

Lo: out there for when gyms and everything is back to normal so 

Anne: people can have. As a 

Mike: resource. Where are gyms at over there? They’re 

Anne: not full capacity.

I think they’re about 50 to 75% and you have to wear a mask, which we 


Mike: go cause we’re like, yeah, I mean I still, I, I did my first masked workout ever actually. Cause I was in LA and that was my only option. So I’m like, sure, fine. Whatever. I don’t like wearing a mask simply because it’s obnoxious.

It is just obnoxious. Of course, I’m happy to do it if I need to and it’s not a big deal. I don’t feel, I. Very strongly about it, but if I don’t have to, Yeah, I don’t want to because I don’t like it. And particularly with working out, I was like, Yeah, I could do without this, but hey, if that’s what I had to do, I’d be doing it.


Anne: a lot of people say the same thing too, is, and a lot of people are at home right now, which is why we launched two home guides. . But when things open up and go back to normal, we’re planning ahead. We hear a mask mandate ends on X, y, and z day, we’ll launch it the week before. So people have an opportunity to have something, a program to stick and follow too, when they go back. So fun things to, for the hustlers, 

Mike: And something to consider though is gyms are a lot of gyms around the country, depending on which state and even which county. A lot of gyms are fully open already. I’ve seen it. Book sales. I’ve seen it in legion’s. Sales definitely correlated with Jim.

Starting with the back. Oh, the scene. Just throwing that out there. That it may make sense for you to just move ahead because you have a lot of people now who are getting back in the gym and you have a lot of people who are getting into fitness. For the first time or for the first time in a while because of, Yeah, gaining weight during covid.

And then also now with the information we have, according to a recent study I saw, they had looked at thousands, if not hundreds of thousands. It was a retrospective study of covid patients, and I believe it was about 78% were overweight or obese. And it was like 27, sorry, 78% to be clear.

Hospitalizations, ventilations, and deaths. So 70%. 78 and it was about 27% were overweight in a full 50% were obese. So you have a lot of people who have heard about that and who themselves are overweight or obese, and that has given them the impetus to. Get serious this, Okay, that’s it. I do not wanna be overweight or obese.

I wanna get to a healthy body weight, healthy body composition. What do I have to do that? Go looking for information, come across my stuff, and then they go, Okay, so gyms, they’re open. Let’s start. Let’s do this. 

Anne: Yeah. That’s, Yeah. Maybe. Yeah. Yeah. We should, We forget that we’re. We have people outside of Minnesota that follow us.

Yeah, follow min hustlers. So good point. Yeah, we’re stuck in our bubble. We need to expand, so thank you for the push.  

Mike: Yeah. Go take a trip to Florida if you want to see the opposite end of the spectrum, .  

Anne: Yeah. We have a couple times, actually this year, , and it’s been different and Arizona too has been very open.

Mike: Great. Thanks again for taking the time to do this. I really appreciate it. 

Lo: Yeah, thank you so much for having us. 

Anne: Yeah. It was honestly a dream come true that we never thought we would ever have the opportunity to do to talk to you. Yeah, , that’s awesome.

Mike: Yeah, it was my pleasure. And keep up the good work. Definitely keep me posted. 

Lo: We will. Thanks Michael.

Mike: All right. That’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting and helpful. And if you did, and you don’t mind doing me a favor, please do leave a quick review on iTunes or. Wherever you’re listening to me from in whichever app you’re listening to me in, because that not only convinces people that they should check out the show, it also increases search visibility and thus it helps more people find their way to me and learn how to get.

Fitter, leaner, stronger, healthier, and happier as well. And of course, if you want to be notified when the next episode goes live, then simply subscribe to the podcast and you won’t miss out on any new stuff. And if you didn’t like something about the show, please do shoot me an email at [email protected].

Just muscle f o r and share your thoughts on how I can do this. I read everything myself and I’m always looking for constructive feedback. Even if it is criticism, I’m open to it. And of course you can email me if you have positive feedback as well, or if you have questions really relating to anything that you think I could help you with, definitely send me an email.

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

View Complete Transcript