In this episode, I interview Sara, who read Thinner Leaner Stronger and used what she learned to go from obese (with a BMI of 32) to ripped at 18% body fat, while getting significantly stronger in the process.
Before finding TLS, Sara was 190 pounds and a size 16 after having 4 kids, and was at her heaviest. She wanted to get in shape, but didn’t know the best way to go about it.
She started to learn about calories and tracking her food intake through Noom, and the weight started to come off. Once a friend introduced her to TLS, though, she deepened her understanding of nutrition and most importantly, started to learn how to train.
She stopped doing heaps of cardio, learned about progressive overload, and actually started to gain muscle and improve her body composition.
Now she’s 135 pounds at 18% body fat, and significantly stronger than before with visible abs for the first time in her life.
In this interview, Sara and I chat about her story, and the obstacles she navigated along the way, including how she changed her training and learned proper form, dealing with gym intimidation, why she reduced her cardio, 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.
Lastly, if you want to support the show, please drop a quick review of it over on iTunes. It really helps!
5:19 – Where were you before you found me and my work?
9:06 – What were some of those behavioral changes that you experienced with NuMe?
15:15 – How did it go at the beginning of the program?
19:09 – How was your first few months in the gym?
35:43 – Were there any unforeseen obstacles that I didn’t mention in the book?
41:14 – Where do you want to go from here?
Mentioned on the show:
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 Muscle for Life. Thank you for joining me today for another episode, a Success Story episode. These are always fun for me because I get to connect with fans and followers and readers and hear about how my work has helped them. And I know that sounds self-serving and I guess it is a little bit.
However, a lot of other people like to listen to these episodes as well, and they find them motivating and inspiring, so that’s also why I keep doing them. And so in this episode, I interview Sarah. Casey who read Thinner, Leaner, Stronger, my book for women. And then she used what she learned to go from a high body fat level, a high bmi or BMI was 32, so she was technically obese to super fit 18% body fat, which in my experience is.
Around where most women want to be. Somewhere between probably 18 and 22%, just depending on their preference. 18, you look a bit more ripped, you could say, than you do at 22. At 22, you still look very fit and athletic, but you’re a little bit smoother and you have a little bit, maybe bigger bud and bigger boobs, and a little bit less muscle definition than you’d have at 18%.
Just a matter of personal pre. 18% is perfectly healthy, 20 is perfectly healthy, 22 is perfectly healthy. But for Sarah, the look that she likes is that very athletic look and she got there and she gained a lot of muscle and she gained a lot of strength before she found me in my work. She was 190 pounds and she was a size 16 and she has four kids, and she didn’t want to look that way and feel that way anymore.
She wanted to get. Shape and she just didn’t really know what to do and she learned about calories and tracking her food through the weight loss service noom. And then she started to lose weight and then her friend told her about thinly stronger and how in thinly stronger I talk about the same types of things.
And that of course, made her interested because she already was experiencing how energy balance and macronutrient balance works. So she figured, hey, if this MIC guy is teaching energy balance, macronutrient balance, not fad diet. Maybe there are other, some other good things in this book. So she checked it out and she stopped doing tons of cardio.
She started lifting weights and lifting heavy weights, strength training, progressive overload. She started to gain muscle in all the right places on her body and really see her body compositions start to come together. Whereas in the past she was always focused on body weight scale.
And so now she’s a. 35 pounds, but 18% body fat. She’s strong. She has abs for the first time in her life, and like many women who have transformed their bodies, Sarah was surprised at how, quote, unquote heavy she was at an ideal. Physique. She never would’ve thought that 135 pounds could look so good because previously before she found me in my work, she was really just focused on doing a lot of cardio to bring the number on the scale down as low as she could go.
And that’s one of those scenarios where you have to be careful what you wish for because it works. Of course, you can restrict your calories and do a lot of cardio, and you can lose a lot of weight and you can get down to a very low body. But you are probably not going to have the physique that you want.
You are not going to have much muscle definition. You may even look skinny fat or just look very small and weak and even malnourished. So body composition is the key, and Sarah is going to talk about that and other things in this interview. Also, if you like what I am doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports nutrition company Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you, is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the world, and we’re on top.
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Hey Sarah, thanks for coming on my podcast to share your story. Hey, thanks. Thanks for having me. Yeah, sure thing. So where I like to start these discussions is with a kind of a snapshot before and after. So before you found me and my work, and then after now, where you’re at currently, and most people, they share.
Numbers. They’ll say, Oh, they’re gonna, of course they lost weight or lost fat and gained muscle and gained strength. So anything in the way of that is always nice to hear. But then if there are other benefits that you’ve gotten from getting into good shape that really mean something to you, those are always fun to hear as well.
Sara: never been athletic. I have to start off with that. I’ve never been athletic, I’ve never been muscular or gotten in shape. I was like skinny fat in college. I have four kids now, and so after our fourth kid, The most I’d ever weighed. And I was at like 180 9, 1 90, and I was like, Oh I’ll lose the weight after her.
And then, it got, she was six, seven months old and I was like, Yeah, I don’t think I’ve I don’t think I’ve started trying to lose the weight. So I decided, before my friend who introduced me to Thinly or Stronger, her husband is super into it. His name’s Josh and he. Loves all the workouts.
So he had one for her and we did it, but I was like, halfhearted then. And this was three years ago and she’d never read the book. I’d never read the book. So last January was when I was at the most I’d ever weighed and I was like a size 14, 16, and. Only five, four. 180 9 on a short frame is not really good.
And I saw a ad for Noom on Facebook. Of course Facebook reading all my thoughts, so I was like go ahead and try it out. And it actually really worked for me. They have a lot of cognitive behavioral therapy type articles and little things to change your habits. It was super beneficial. I was losing weight consistently.
So by August of 2020 during, having the home and all that, I was just doing by diet and I had reached my goal weight of 1 35. And so I was like the gym’s opened up again here in Tennessee. So I decided well go back to the gym, started working out, but I had no what to do and so I was like maybe I’ll try that Thinly nurse stronger.
I remember Mike Matthews and all the workouts that Josh had us doing. Go look at that. So I went and got the book and I read it and I was like, Mind blown, a lot of the, same kind of concepts of, changing your habits and the workouts were, the way you worded everything got to me because I was like I never really thought about progressive overload.
I was just like I’ll just try to lift whatever I can and that’ll be that, and that’s a workout and. That’s not exactly how it works, which I figured out the hard way, obviously, of years of being overweight. And so
Mike: that counts as exercise. I like to make a distinction between exercise and training, right?
So exercise is movement of some kind that burns some calories, but it’s not quite training. That’s the systematic, more methodological
Sara: approach. Yes, exactly. And like I’d stuck to, hiphop classes and dance classes and stuff at the gym before. . And so I read the book and I was like, all right.
And I started to implement it and I think the first week of November, cause I downloaded the stack app, which I love. So I started lifting then and I took progress pictures at the gym and at home. And then I started getting shoulder muscles and biceps and my arms were, leaning up and getting more muscular And I was like, What is going on?
It was crazy to me. It’s nuts. It’s still nuts to me that I actually am like in such good shape. ,
Mike: that’s. Question before we continue, just before I forget. So with Nom, what were some of those behavioral changes that made a big difference? I’m just curious cause I’m actually, of course I’ve seen Nom, I’ve seen ads and maybe even TV commercials, I don’t know.
But I haven’t signed up for their service, so I’m just curious. Oh yeah. Yeah.
Sara: Start, they have articles every day, so five to 10 minutes you read articles and it’s it tells you, basically gets it into your head that losing weight is a basically a marathon, not a sprint. And that you can have days where you mess up and you overeat or you indulge in, cookies too much and that’s okay.
You just need to reel it back in. That no foods are off limits, that you just need to stick within. A caloric range and it goes, it starts off with the example of grapes versus raisins. So you know, 200 calories of grapes versus 200 calories of raisins, which one’s gonna keep you fuller longer? So they really try to keep you in what they call green foods.
Green, yellow, and red. And so green is more like carbs, it’s a lot of fruits and veggies, whole grains, whole wheat, stuff like that. The yellow is a lot of your proteins. So that’s, your chicken. And then the red foods are like high fat, so peanut butter. So they really have you more in carbs.
And then, the next little level would be protein and then smaller range of fats. So similar to macros, but not exactly. Cause not everything totally lines up. So they try to emphasize, eating to keep full. And that there are times when you can eat just to eat because you enjoy it, but that’s not all the time.
Mike: sense. So it’s like an easy on ramp to what you find in thinner, Leaner, stronger actually. Cause you’ll find a lot of the same ideas. It’s just the implementation is a bit more detailed in thinner, lean stronger. Oh yeah. Funny, I’m working on, I’m at the end of what is going to be my next.
It’s called Muscle for Life, and it’s gonna be out next spring and it’s going to be particularly for the 40 plus crowd, it’s probably gonna appeal also to that, say people in their thirties, a lot of people in their thirties, they think of themselves as having passed, some sort of threshold after which everything just gets worse.
Which is, doesn’t have to be the case, right? Yes. If you don’t do anything to preserve muscle and strength and health generally does decline, but in that book, I have a similar, more intuitive method. Meal planning, I guess you could say, or choosing which foods to eat, just to give people something that will work that allows them to control their calories and their macros without having to make an Excel spreadsheet or a written version of one, or without having to track or plan anything.
I’d say maybe not track. I’m gonna, I’m gonna walk that back. Not anything, but certainly not having to break out like. Utensils and the food scale, Not that there’s anything wrong with that, and I think that actually is a useful exercise for anybody to go through because as you have probably experienced, it really teaches you portions and it gives you a lot of experience with correlating certain amounts of food with certain amounts of calories and macros, and so it makes for a really good foundation for effective intuitive eating.
But anyway, back to what you were. No,
Sara: that’s awesome. That’s another thing that I really, that’s why I really ThinLine stronger is because a lot of the sources you cite in your book are also in throughout the whole program must be weeks and weeks long. But the starvation experiment was the one that stuck out to most, is that’s one they cite there too.
And I was like, see? Exactly. People like, there’s sides to back up that you aren’t undereating. If you’re eating 15, 1600 calories or whatever exercising, you’re not going to starve your metabolism and slow it down to nothing. Like it’s, that’s not how it works. Listen to my keynotes interest.
Mike: I inspired them a little bit. That’d be cool actually. If somebody is listening who works at Noom or that would be flattering. Actually, check it
Sara: out because it’s so crazy because that’s why I liked been really stronger so much cuz I liked all the. And all the articles that I read and I was like, I trust science.
I trust everything that’s cited here and the reasons why. So it’s interesting
Mike: enough, and you’d already experienced it. You, it aligned with what has already worked. You’re like, Oh, this
Sara: is familiar. That’s why I think it, it helps so much is that I. I had such success with Noom and then reading the book and seeing all the science cited and all mechanics behind lifting and, the step-by-step processes and lifting like the dead list and the barbell squat.
I was just like, I love, I can go from this program which helped me with my diet alone and then into thin lean or stronger, which helped me with my diet and working out and, breaking it down. Cuz I would’ve considered myself a beginner. I hurt myself, three or four years ago lifting because I was trying to lift too much.
I was lifting in with very bad form. So I was like, I was a little worried getting into my barbell spots. But, I watched videos and. I’m an Allegion Facebook group and people are on there always giving ad advice and stuff. So yeah, I think it really helps, especially having, the little
Mike: drop, That’s not something I hear very often from women.
Oh yeah, Really?
Sara: What? That’s
Mike: crazy. No, that’s usually more the trying to lift too hard and too heavy. That’s usually the guys, That’s usually the guys who, they’re looking over their shoulder, what the other guy’s doing, and they’re adding plates to the ball.
Sara: Oh yeah. No Meia. I would add like my two and a half.
All right. I’m kidding. I. But
Mike: Oh yeah. As long as it’s five pounds
Sara: more than hers. Yeah, exactly. No, there’s a plank competition at our gym right now and we have a monthly competition and so it’s planks this month. And so some guy that worked at night who I don’t know Oh, I bet you can get a minute in 37 seconds.
And I was like excuse me. So I went and I did five minutes and I was like, There you go. Five minute plan. There you go. That minute, 37 seconds, it’s no. So thin, lean, stronger has me wanting to be real competitive and show up my muscles and stuff. He
Mike: underestimates your core
Sara: strength. Exactly.
I was like sir, all of these core exercises are helping everything I, the barbell, the deadlift, all of that. It helps this too. So don’t underestimate
Mike: it. So you start the program and how was it in the. Were you intimidated at all? It sounds like that’s not really your personality, but that is something that people who are new to this, men and women, I’ve heard that quite often.
Sara: I’ve noticed. I was nervous a little bit going into the free weights area, I’d gone in before. Some of my friends, so this time I was working out solo and so it was fine. I started just with the bar at first for the barbell squats and bench press and stuff, and I just worked my way up.
I was, did progressive overload. I made sure I got my three hard sets and did all my warmups, and it was a lot easier than I thought. Now I did think. I have to say I didn’t totally trust you, Mike, even after reading Thinly or Stronger, cuz I was trying to do so much cardio still like even into December and I was like, so run down at the end of the day and I was talking to my friend Valerie, who’s how much cardio I’m
Sara: I’d never been a runner, so I thought, oh I start running, so it would be like three miles after each workout. It was terrible. There’s so much running. So
Mike: was that three or five a week or more?
Sara: Oh, it was more than, it was three per workout and I worked five days a week still then, so it was quite a bit.
I got 85 miles in one month and I was like, So run down. So tired and then I would eat back all my calories and so it was not working. So then in January I stopped with the millions of miles of cardio and guess what? It totally works. , I, I do my cardio just like in the book. And I do probably twice a week I try to do at least a mile or so, but.
I walk after workouts too, but I don’t get, I don’t get crazy about it like I was .
Mike: Yeah. That’s great. And you probably found that your appetite naturally came down and, Oh yeah. That’s a pitfall that many people fall into men and women is with the mindset of exercise is for burning calories. A lot of people fall into this routine then of doing a lot of exercise to try to keep pace with all.
Eating. And in my experience, the best case scenario is often maintenance, basically, where they do eat more or less the amount of calories they’re burning, but they’re working very hard to just stay the same. They don’t realize that. To a point, more exercise is better. But especially if you’re doing a lot of heavy weight lifting, you do have to pay attention to the amount of cardio you’re doing.
You certainly can do too much now if all you are doing is walking, for example, and it’s gonna be hard to do too much walking. So that’s one of the reasons why I think I talk about this. I think it’s thinly or stronger. If not, it’s certainly gonna be in the. Update that I’m working on for both bigger than your Stronger and thin when you’re stronger, but I like to reframe what diet and exercise.
Your diet and training are most good for it, and you use your workouts to drive your muscle growth and your strength gain and your muscle. Preservation. When you’re cutting and you use your diet to drive your fat loss, that you don’t really care too much, especially with your resistance training workouts, with your strength training workouts.
You don’t care too much about the calories that you’re burning. Of course, you want to account for them, but that’s not the purpose, right? It’s not to try to burn. 900 calories so you can go and eat a bunch of food.
Sara: Yeah, exactly. It was a vicious cycle. It was so bad, it really did. My appetite came down naturally, so then I, started my macros and stuff, and so it helped not to be running a million miles a week.
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 world. And so now you’re in the gym and you’re a little bit intimidated to begin with.
And how was your first Several months?
Sara: So the first couple weeks, it was interesting cause I was like, Okay, am I been doing this right? And I’d go back and I had the. Addition of the book on my phone. So I’d go back and I’d look and I’d be like, All right, that look okay, let me reread that.
Looks fine. So then I would, watch a video and then I would do my squats and made sure, And there’s mirrors of course, everywhere. never had any man come up to me and say, Oh, you should do it this way. So I felt like that was pretty reassuring. First few weeks I started adding more. I think, oh gosh, I have to go check the Stack app.
The one rep Max on the Stack app, by the way, is totally accurate. It’s crazy how accurate that is for me at
Mike: least. Yeah. Particularly the math, that method works well, particularly for sets under 10 reps, and especially if you’re using sets in the range of, let’s say, four to eight reps to, to calculate, it’s gonna be pretty.
and it’s gonna be pretty accurate for the rep maxes too. As you progress, eventually you’re gonna want to if you want to keep progressing, you’re gonna have to make your workouts a bit harder. And that’s what I have. A book Beyond Bigger Leaners, Stronger, which is the sequel to Bigger Leaners Stronger.
And I’m gonna take that book and I’m gonna make a female version of it. So that will be for people like you who have been doing thinner, leaner, stronger for a while, and who basically are now not progressing on it anymore simply because the primary reason. You just have to work harder. And the primary change in the next program is more volume.
So instead of, for example, doing three sets per exercise, it becomes four sets per exercise. And then on the big exercises, instead of using that double progression method, It uses a percentage of one rep max and it prescribes reps. And your goal is just to get your prescribed number of reps with the prescribed amount of weight.
And you’ll see when you get to that style of training, that again, it works pretty well where you’re taking a one, an estimated, a calculated one rep max number, and then you are extrapolating sets of 10, 8, 6, 4 2 as a percentage of that one rep max. And more often than not, what you’ll find. That is just hard enough.
Like when you put 85% on the bar of that one rep and you’re going for a set of four, you maybe could get five or six, which is exactly what you want, right? You wanna be ending your hard sets, generally with one or two reps left. And anyway, just to interject there for a little bit of context on one rep max calculation.
Sara: One of my friends, the ones that even introduced me to Thinner, Stronger, I was telling her about the app and she and her husband hadn’t used it, and so now they’re using it and she goes, Oh my gosh, I love it. I was like, I know it’s amazing, and I don’t have to do the math with the bar bells. But anyway, I started out with, Squatting, just the bar and it was, I think it’s like 45 pounds now.
I can squat, my weight do 1 25, which is awesome. Nice. I know. I’m super proud of myself. I’m finally getting booty games, which is totally important to the women. You’re totally correct about
Mike: that in the book. It takes time. You have to get pretty strong. You have to get pretty strong.
Sara: It takes so much time.
But I was like, I’m getting there. I’m gonna get there. Now my bench press is my weakest. I really like my upper body. My shoulders and my arms look really, they look great, but I still working on bench press. I can only do 75 without feeling like I’m gonna
Mike: die. That’s still pretty good. So put that in into perspective.
The last woman I interviewed who was very strong, I believe she was squatting 2 25. That was like her one rep max, somewhere in the. To mid to hundreds and her bench was right around 1 35. And that’s very strong for a woman. So you’re getting there.
Sara: Oh man. I hope so. Cause that is so cool. My husband is like 5 8, 5 9 and he weighs one 40 and I was like, Can I see if I can pick you up?
What? And so I picked him up and held him in my arms and it was the coolest thing cuz I could walk holding him and I was like, Oh my gosh, I’m so strong. . That’s
Mike: great. I
Sara: like that. It was hilarious. I really like doing deadlifts. It said on the app, my one rep Max was 180 5 and I can totally deadlift that exactly one time before I’m like, okay, maybe not more.
But yeah. And so now we can’t have people until recently we couldn’t. Spotters at the gym. So that’s why I’ve also been nervous on bench press. But it’s getting there. It’s getting there.
Mike: Because of Covid, they nobody can Even if it were your husband coming to work out with you or something?
Sara: probably my husband, I go to the gym whenever he’s at work, so that would probably fine.
Mike: Oh, I see. Asking some random person would know.
Sara: Yeah. And they probably wouldn’t have said anything either, but they had that, like they had to put the signs up and they recently lifted our mask mandate, so now things feel more normal.
I’m like, Oh good. Just in time for summer. I needed that. But I’ve been going to the gym. I went a little bit this summer, but they didn’t have regular childcare hours. But we’ve been, I’ve been going to the gym pretty regularly, like the whole time. It’s been fine. We don’t have to wear a million masks, so that’s
Mike: Plus, Yeah.
I did it for my first time in the gym cuz I was in LA and Oh, I had to And it’s obnoxious. Yeah. If I had to, if I was living in LA I don’t know why I would be living in la but if I somehow found myself living in LA then I guess, I would not boycott the gym over wearing a mask, but it definitely would become something that I.
Resent a lot .
Sara: It would take your focus away from your workout. I feel like if you had to wear the mask like during the workout.
Mike: Yeah, it’s just the breathing, like when you’re breathing heavily, it’s not
Sara: helpful. I have a funny story. I was actually on the news on our local news. I went to a park with my kids and a few friends that our kids go to school toge and we weren’t wearing masks cuz we’re outside.
This was a couple months ago and I saw a news camera come up and I was like, Oh, it’s a new park. They’re probably just. The park. And so we, we all said our goodbyes. We didn’t, want people to be all judgey because we were all to park together, not wearing masks, but hardly anyone was.
Mike: I never understood the reasoning, which was very thin for wearing masks outside. I always thought that was stupid. It would, and I never did it. I refused to do
Sara: that. Yeah. I was like, if you wanna stick by the cdc, they say you don’t have to wear a mask outside, so calm it down, news.
So a few days later someone says, I saw you on the news and. Mean you saw me on the news cuz I was there for 10 minutes while this camera was, and she did a story about would covid numbers go up higher because people weren’t wearing masks. And I was like, and it was a still shot of me and my kids and my friends all saying goodbye.
And I was like, Are he serious? And so a couple months criminals. I know. I was like, someone messaged me and said, Ugh, so you’re the one spreading Covid . I was like, Yep. Apparently. So somebody, actually, one of my friends messaged the lady cuz she was mad about, And so then the lady was like, Oh, she knew I was recording for a video or news footage.
And I was like, But how would I know that? Why would I know that? Cause she was walking around, I thought there’d be a camera per whatever. It was crazy. So shes Oh, I’m sorry you feel that way. And I was like that’s not an apology, but whatever. You suck.
Mike: Yeah. Yeah. I’m sorry that you make such bad life decisions and you hate science and you hate grandmas.
I’m sorry. I know.
Sara: I can’t believe I take my kids. Work for fresh Air. It was like finally a nice warm day too. I was like, Whatever. Judge me all you want. I’m coming back to this park. Massless. Ugh. Anyway, sorry, .
Mike: think a lot of people listening at this point, even, it has become so politicized, obviously, but I live in northern Virginia, very liberal area and even some of the.
Hyper liberal neighbors of mine are just getting sick of all of it, and they’re seeing that take masking, for example, is, it’s almost like becoming a performative thing. This point of wearing masks outside in DC for example, you’ll find a lot of people wearing masks outside and people online in DC in their little communities thanking each other and telling each other how brave they are for sacrificing their.
What are you even sacrificing? I guess a mild comfort by wearing a mask outside when again, the CDC has come out and said, I think it’s actually specifically for people who have received the vaccine. But again, the reasoning for anyone wearing a mask outside never really made sense to me for wearing it inside made sense.
The effect has been, Disputed. And if you look, there have been quite a few meta analyses now, probably six or seven, looking at the effects of masking and the weight of the evidence seems to be that they may make a slight difference, that they’re probably not completely worthless, but they are probably not making as big of a difference as many people think or want to believe.
But anyway, it’s just interesting seeing how some of the people around. How their behavior has changed and how their attitudes have changed. When in the beginning and for the first six months, eight months, whatever the TV said, they believed, they didn’t question anything and they didn’t complain about anything.
Now seemed to be just ready to. At least experience a little bit of life of normalcy. I’m moving to Florida and I’ve made my position very clear on Covid and I actually have it will be out by the time I think this goes live, where I update my position on, basically I’ve explained why I’m.
I was not worried about it for my own personal health. I didn’t want to give it to others. And I wasn’t trying to be flippant or en sufficient about the overall situation, but just as far as my personal health goes. And then I ended up getting covid and it was nothing. I was mildly congested for a few days, so now I just have antibodies for a while and that’s cool.
But I think it’s gonna be interesting to see going forward people are gonna sort. Themselves into communities of people who just do not care at all about Covid and they collectively agree that let’s say you have a lot of people who are not at risk at all. And for anyone listening, if you want to hear some data, go back and find, It’s a says you episode and the title has cd and I don’t remember what I.
Titled it, but it has covid in it. And I share some information regarding the infection fatality ratio and regarding the risk of hospitalization. And again, explaining why I’m not worried about it for my personal health. I’m not worried about it for my kids. I’m not worried about it for my wife. And if I were.
75 years old and obese, then I would be worried about it. Or if I were even younger and obese, then I would be actually concerned about it. If I had heart disease, I would be concerned about it. If I had lung disease, renal disease, cancer, diabetes, yes, I would be concerned about it. But I don’t have any of those things.
And if I look at the statistical risk objectively, I think it’s irrational for me to be worried about it. And many other people feel this way. And so I think it’ll just be interesting to. How we already see kind of migration around the country and things are becoming more and more divided along political lines.
And as this has been politicized, I’m curious to see, for example, in places like New York and California, if a year from now you’re gonna have pockets, especially the metro areas. Where they are still wearing masks outside, maybe there are no mandates or even recommendations, but you have people who are very afraid of covid still and they maybe even have already been vaccinated, but they know there’s a slight chance that they may get it again.
And so they’re thinking is they’re just gonna continue doing everything they can to not get covid. And on the flip side, you’re gonna have communities in like Florida of people who haven’t worn a mask in a long time and haven’t really even thought much about Covid as far as their personal health is concerned.
Sara: how this past year worked out because January, 2020, I was, I mean my BMI whatever was 32. I was considered obese, and so then I lost the weight and everything got crazy with the pandemic and I was like, Hey I’m not in an at risk category anymore. This is pretty amazing. That’s pretty awesome.
That’s a big plus.
Mike: Yeah. That is awesome. That’s good timing. Yeah.
Sara: was like hey, this all worked out really well.
Mike: Yeah, totally. According to one study that I cited in this episode, just to give you an idea of how much body weight matters. In the context of Covid, if I remember correctly, this was hospitalizations, ventilations, and deaths.
So put those things together and it was high twenties, maybe about 27% of those people were overweight. And 50% here in the United States, hospitalizations, ventilations and deaths. 50% were obese. Oh yeah, I. Yeah, so it’s good timing. Did you get Covid? No, actually, do you know, you may have gotten in, you didn’t know.
Yeah, I could have been asymptomatic, but you would only know if you got an anti, but yeah,
Sara: we didn’t get it. My husband was having to work from home for a while and he’s still from home three days a week, but he gets to escape from his basement office cuz that’s where the kids don’t bother him every couple days.
So that’s nice. But yeah, we never got it. We knew people that did get. and some people were mild, some people had, more serious cases. But I was surprised cuz I was going to the gym so often I was like, surely I’ll probably end up getting it. Nope. Nothing. It was crazy. I could’ve, like you said, been asymptomatic, but as far as I know, I didn’t run into anybody like in personal contact that had it and then, maybe gave it to me.
So that was lucky, I
Mike: think. Yeah, there were a couple studies done that I saw that concluded that gyms are just, A significant vector for the disease, which I’m actually not surprised by because asymptomatic people are less infectious, right? So if you have symptoms and you’re going to the gym during the whole thing, all right, you’re just asshole.
Sure that probably happened, but probably not that common. So you can assume that you’re not gonna be around symptomatic people in the gym. And if your gym was like my gym, people were socially distanced. So if you have asymptomatic people in there, that the likelihood is just much lower, right?
Because if I remember correctly, according to one study the chances of being asymptomatic, if you get it, I think it was about 17%. Most people develop at least mild symptoms. It’s unlikely that you’re gonna run into asymptomatic people in the gym. And then again, I don’t know about your gym, but my gym was cleaning the place a lot more often.
Each person in the gym actually had their own little crate and a little rag and a little bottle of disinfectant and everybody would spray down the stuff that they use. So in my gym at least, it would’ve been hard to get infected. That would’ve been really
Sara: unlucky. My gym too. Cuz I go to a Y M C A here in my town in they did a phenomenal job cleaning, making sure the equipment was spaced out so you could feel comfortable using it.
Treadmills out and spaced ’em out pretty far. And the freeways area was already pretty spaced out, but they were like constantly cleaning. And even in the childcare area, I mean they’re fabulous there. They a limit of kids and at first you had to sign up to have your kids in there cause you get two hours a day of childcare.
They were phenomenal. My kids haven’t even gotten sick from there. So something’s going at least well in that area. Cause my kids are always sick before. So maybe people actually washing their hands has helped a little bit. I don’t know, maybe a general hygiene has picked up .
Mike: Look to the flu numbers
Sara: right in that crazy Kobe killed the flu.
Hey. Hey, something good.
Mike: Fauci commented that maybe mask wearing will just become seasonal thing to prevent the spread of flu. I think once this is, Most people are not gonna wanna touch a mask for a long time, dude, But washing hands and some of the other precautions, like when you are symptomatic, just staying home and not going out and getting other people sick, let’s hope some of the things stay in place.
Even the enhanced cleaning. I wouldn’t mind if that continued to be a thing, so long as it’s not a major burden to the gyms. Like I, I don’t mind taking my little crate and wiping down stuff because, Yeah, it’s nicer to not be sitting in other people’s funk,
Sara: yeah. And their sweat everywhere and all the sneezing into their hands and then picking up the dumbbells.
I’m like oh, could you not? Although, I’ve seen people sneeze, but like moving outta their way to sneeze and I’m like, I think that defeats the purpose there, but okay. You’re doing
Mike: it wrong. So you’re doing the program. Were there any obstacles, any unforeseen obstacles that you ran into?
Things that I didn’t talk about in the book and that you had to figure your way around? No, not
Sara: really. Any questions I would’ve had were pretty much answered with barbell squats and deadlifts. No, I don’t think so. Cause I’m trying to think. Maybe, but you do have a couple videos on body fat or you know how to do skin cas and stuff cuz I’d always try to figure out my body fat cuz it was a concern for me just cuz I’d lost all the weight and if I’m similar to one of my sibling.
She was about the same weight I was when I started losing weight, and she’s similar height and her body fat was like 40% maybe. So I feel like maybe that’s where I was before. I have no idea. I didn’t do any like measurements or anything when I started losing weight, but now I’m at like 18% body fat. So I feel like maybe, I don’t know, and this is probably just me cuz I’m a novice.
I would try to use the skin calipers, but I feel like maybe I’m just doing it wrong still. I had to go to the gym and I got a trainer to do it for me. . I was like, Thanks. I feel like you might know how to do this. But I feel like every kind of question I would’ve had was answered. Everything was cited.
That doesn’t, I don’t have any complaints or questions. Everything in the book was, it was. I guess like a next step about, you’re already working on that. The next step will be nice, but beyond thinner, lean or stronger. That would be awesome. That would be something I look
Mike: forward to. Yeah, same.
I’m looking forward to getting that out. I just won’t be able to do it until later next year because I have an agreement with Simon Schuster that I will not publish any more, self publish any books until their book is out, and then I will not. Publish a book until six months after that, I think is the agreement.
And then I have to wait another six months after that, six months after that, six months after that. So it’ll happen. It’s just not gonna be as soon as I, cuz otherwise I probably would finish this update. Round of updates I’m doing to bigger than stronger and thinner. Leaner, stronger. And, I think I would probably jump right into Beyond Thinly Stronger.
Actually. I think there are a lot of women. Thinly Stronger, has been out long enough and it has sold enough copies. There are a lot of women I think, who would appreciate the next thing and who would like the change in the programming. It’s similar, but it’s different enough to feel new and it’s certainly a bit more challenging.
The first couple of months are a bit difficult. I think in a fun way and in a way that’s manageable. And so anyway what you could do, and any other woman listening, if you are, once again, once you get to the point where Thinner, Leaner, stronger is basically a maintenance program where you are doing all the major things mostly right.
You are controlling your calories and your macros as you should. You’re getting enough rest and recovery. You’re pushing yourself in your workouts, but you’re really just struggling to continue to add weight to the bar, to the dumbbells. What you could do is read beyond bigger, leaner, stronger if the women’s version’s not out yet.
Because a lot of the fundamentals apply equally to women as they do men, and they will be in the female book. I’m just gonna change some of the wording and some of the examples and make them very female specific. But then when it comes to the programming, the mechanics will be the same. It’s. The volume is gonna be distributed a little bit differently, and there’ll probably be some exercise changes.
So in the beyond bigger, leaner, stronger program, there is more upper body volume than most women will probably want, and not enough lower body volume. That’s what most guys are concerned with. It takes them a lot more work to get the upper body they want than the lower body, whereas. With most women, it’s the other way around.
And so that’ll be the major change. But if you need help with that, you could always just email me and I, at this point I have a copy paste, reply cuz women are reading the book and asking, Hey, how do I make this more in line with my goals? And so that’s also an option. Okay. Yeah, I’ll
Sara: have to check it out cuz I feel like I’m ready to graduate.
I feel like I’m there. I did buy the workbook, but I bought it after I read Thinner, Stronger. And I was like, Oh, I don’t need the workbook cuz I’ve been using the app and I’ve been using, I’ve, read the book. But my sister, who just bought the book, I was like here you go. Here’s the workbook.
Happy workbook day. But yeah, I have actually a couple other female friends at the gym who started Thinner, leaner, stronger, one of whom is watching my kiddos right now, so that I could have some peace and quiet. She’s doing the same workout, and I always see her. We’re not doing the same days at the same time that I’m like, Hey, what day are you doing?
She’s Oh, I’m doing this. What day are you doing? It’s pretty funny. But she enjoyed the book as well, so I feel like there’s just some good info. I actually have AB muscles, so I’m doing something right. I’ve never had abs. I’ve had AB obviously my whole life, but I’ve never had visible ads , at any point in my.
And I feel like that’s pretty awesome considering. Yeah. You never met them formally. Yes. Before they were flas cuz they were underneath the layer of fat, but now they’re coming out. But I never thought actually, after having kids that I would have abs. I could see that’s, It’s pretty funny. I actually had one of my friends, her husband didn’t recognize me at a birthday party because, We were outside and this was a few months ago and we weren’t wearing our masks or anything, but he didn’t recognize me because I’d lost so much weight and gotten such like in such good shape since I’ve seen him last.
And he is Oh my God, I didn’t even recognize you. I was like, Oh, cool. Thanks. He’s You look amazing. I was like, Oh, thanks. I’m doing this program. Told him all about it. So it’s pretty exciting. It’s pretty funny. Probably not what he
Mike: expected. Oh, I’m doing a lot of heavy weight lifting, actually.
Sara: Yeah, I’m actually lifting heavy things. I’m putting them down again and doing that over and over. So yeah, it’s pretty funny. But I try to tell all the
Mike: ladies, So where do you want
Sara: to go from here? I really, I’m. Still working on booty games, like pany in that region. Not as much now as I was before, but my husband and I have been married seven years.
At five years. I was like, Are you. Bud guy or a boob guy and he goes, Bud Guy. And I was like, Oh, that’s disappointing for you, . So I’m working on booty gains. Cause that’s what you want as a lady. And so it’s, I’m making progress. I have, pretty deep dips, I guess naturally.
So working on that, what’s good
Mike: about that answer though is that’s something you can do something about. If he’s a boob guy and you naturally have smaller boobs or just whatev, maybe not the type of boobs he thinks are the best or whatever, then what options do you have? This only surgery, that’s not me endorsing surgery or guys, I know some guys who have pressured their wives in one case of girlfriend into getting breast implants, and I’m like, that’s a.
Too much for me personally. Yeah, but the, but hey, that you just, it’s just muscles and you’ll just keep growing ’em.
Sara: That’s why I was like, yes that I can do something about. I don’t have to go get surgery for that, thank goodness. Cause there’s info out there, there’s info, thin, leaner, stronger.
You can get it. You just gotta work on it. Just takes some time. And
Mike: so that’s your physical goal. And for that, have you done any lean gaining yet? Have you consistently been in a calorie surplus at all?
Sara: I was in a calorie deficit. I was cutting for a while and I got down to 1 22 because while I was running, in that vicious cycle of eating back my calories, I was stuck at 1 28.
Cuz I, I started at 1 35 and when I started doing thinner, leaner, stronger, and I got down to one 20. I was stuck there for a month and a half, and so February to March is when I got down to 1 22, and I was very lean and my muscles were also lean. So now I’ve gotten a little back up a little bit higher.
I was at like 1 25, but I am definitely still losing fat. And gaining muscle because my, I’m in a smaller size pants now, even though I’m bigger than I was like a month ago. So it’s really weird. Oh yeah. So
Mike: you might as well just keep riding that then.
Sara: Yeah. Oh yeah. I was like, Oh my gosh, this is amazing.
Last time I weighed this, I was in college and I was in. By six. So definitely like the body composition that’s been happening. But yeah, my biceps are bigger now that I’ve been eating a little bit more. I watch my macros. I try to get all my protein, but it’s hard, you need your protein shakes, cuz there’s only so many egg whites I can eat before I’m like, oh okay.
That’s a lot of egg wipes, a lot of chicken, so always need those protein drinks. They’re
Mike: convenient. That is really the biggest value from protein powder is just convenience. I’ve talked about that. There’s nothing. Special per se. Drinking whe protein shake versus having some egg whites or chicken or whatever kind of whole food protein you want.
It’s just very easy to mix it with some water and move on with your
Sara: day. Exactly. Especially having four kids, like I’m always running around doing some. So like my gym time is my quiet time. It’s my only time to myself really. So I’m getting like just like a protein drink and just going right now, let’s go to Carline, let’s go to the park, let’s go grocery shopping, let’s do everything else we have to do.
Mike: convenient. That’s great. This was a fun talk. I appreciate you taking the time and congratulations again on everything that you’ve done. I love hearing stories. These, and definitely keep me posted on your progress. I can always reach out. If you have any questions and anyone listening, if you have any questions, just email me, [email protected] and let me know if you end up reading Beyond Bigger, Leaner, Stronger, and if you need any help changing the programming.
If you don’t, and oh, what I’ll do is instead of doing the extra bench pressing here, I’ll just do some extra hip thrusts, or I’ll do some extra type of squatting motion or whatever. Then feel free to go with what you know. But if you need help, you can always.
Sara: Oh yeah, I will. Thanks for having that thinner, lean, or stronger.
I never would’ve thought I could get in such good shape. Women’s bodies are amazing. They can, do anything. And so anytime anybody starts reading this and think, Oh, I can’t get that size, I can’t get muscular, I’m a woman. No, women’s bodies are absolutely amazing. You can go from size 14 to a size two, and all you have to do is.
Actually work at it and read the book and follow the program.
Mike: Very true. And a couple comments on that is while men can, Research shows that men looks like they can lose fat a little bit faster than women, that’s really our only advantage as far as fat loss goes. Maybe we can lose fat a little bit faster.
It’s not entirely clear, but that is probably more right than. And we start with more muscle and strength, and we have larger skeletons generally, which allows us to gain more total muscle and strength. But as far as a percentage of body weight, research shows that women can gain muscle just about as effectively as men.
If we’re talking about the rate and if we’re talking about relative to where they are starting, so it is not true that women can’t gain muscle or any muscle, any amount of muscle to speak of or can barely gain muscle. They can gain a lot of muscle, certainly. Enough to achieve the look that most women are after, which I’ve said many times, but for anybody who hasn’t heard it.
In my experience, most women are very happy when they go from a starting point of not having much muscle, just normal, whether they have. A lot of body fat or a little body fat. They don’t have much muscle and strength. They add 15 to 20, maybe 25 pounds of muscle depending on where, like if they’re starting underweight, they may need to add a bit more, but let’s just say around 20 pounds of muscle to the right place is on their body and bring their body fat level down to where you’re at, 18 to 20%.
Some women like to be a little bit, they look fuller, so they actually like the look of 22%, for example, over where you’re at. And that’s just a matter of personal pre. Every woman can do that, and even women who are starting completely out of shape, never done any of this before, and let’s say middle aged, let’s say 50 years old, she can do it, even 60 years old.
She can do it. And there are certainly 70 year old women out there who could do it. I can’t say all. Depends on where their body’s at. But I’ve emailed with people in their seventies and even eighties who started fit ish in decent shape. They weren’t really into strength training. They just had taken care of themselves.
They got into strength training and even they were able to gain a significant amount of muscle and strength and make an impressive change to their body and to their health. So everyone can do it. What everyone can’t do is compete. I step on a body building stage or a physique stage, most people don’t want to do that, so that’s okay.
Sara: That’s pretty grueling process. Yeah. Just getting in shape and being able to run and run around with my kids. That’s meant a lot to me. So I really do, I recommend Center Strong to everybody that I see at the gym, Whether they wanna know or not, I tell ’em about it. , ,
Mike: It reminds me, my mom.
I feel bad for some people. Every single person. Has to hear about thinner, leaner, stronger. Or if they’re a guy bigger than you, stronger every single person. .
Sara: Hey, she’s proud that she should be. Yeah.
Mike: I don’t blame. No, I know. I know. It’s, I know. It’s just funny. Like sometimes I, I have to look the other way.
Sara: Oh, that’s
Mike: hilarious. But anyway, thanks again for taking the time. Keep up the good work. I love it. Awesome. Thank. 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.
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New stuff and if you didn’t like something about the show, please do shoot me an email at mike muscle for life.com. Just muscle o r life.com and share your thoughts on how I can do this better. I read everything myself and I’m always looking for constructive feedback, even if it is criticism, I’m. 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, [email protected]. And that’s it. Thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.