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

This podcast is a Q&A, but it’s a bit different from the kind you’ll typically find here on Muscle For Life.

In my usual Q&A episodes, I take a question from email or Instagram and then fully answer it in an episode of the podcast every week.

However, over on Instagram, I’ve started doing weekly Q&As in the stories, and it occurred to me that many podcast listeners might enjoy hearing these questions and my short answers. So, instead of talking about one thing in an episode, I’m going to cover a variety of questions. And keep in mind some of these questions are just for fun. 🙂

So if you want to ask me questions in my Instagram stories, follow me on Instagram (@muscleforlifefitness), and if I answer your question there, it might just make it onto an episode of the podcast!

If you like this type of episode, let me know. Send me an email ([email protected]) or direct message me on Instagram. And if you don’t like it, let me know that too or how you think it could be better.


0:00 – Pre-order my new fitness book now for a chance to win over $13,000 in splendid swag:

2:53 – My partner just had a baby and I’m getting 3 hours of sleep a day. Should I deload for a few weeks?

4:11 – Does amending the order of your split majorly affect progress?

6:47 – Do you own NFTs? What’s your take on them?

7:14 – Do you drink alcohol or smoke weed?

8:00 – Do you spend much time on mobility outside of weight training?

8:42 – How to get Yuge thicc boi veins? My veins look like angel hair pasta.

9:10 – What’s your favorite Pulse flavor?

9:31 – Is it effective to alternate push/pull exercises in super sets to save recovery and total workout time?

10:46 – How do you personally de-stress after a rough day besides working out?

12:30 – What was the last video game you played/enjoyed?

13:12 – What are the 3 best movements to do when traveling with no gym access for equipment?

13:50 – Why do you change between different types of pull ups in your workouts?

16:12 – What should my RPE be before moving up in weight?

19:28 – Post and pre meal for cardio? 

19:57 – What’s your favorite soup?

20:54 – What keeps you disciplined to keep prioritizing your physical health?

21:37 – Do you have any good baked oatmeal recipes?

22:11 – Any insight as to why sumo deadlifts anger my lower back vs conventional?

23:11 – By the time it’s 5pm and gym time on bad work days I want chocolate and my blanket. Wtd

23:34 – How to deal with rejection?

24:47 –  Will specific muscles stop growing when they hit a certain size? Ie quads etc.

Mentioned on the Show:

Pre-order my new fitness book now for a chance to win over $13,000 in splendid swag:

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


Hey, if you haven’t ordered a copy of my new fitness book for Men and Women, Muscle for Life yet over at Muscle for Life, you really gotta get your meison cloth together, which is French for. I need this stuff because your chance to claim a bunch of bonus gifts. And get entered to win over $13,000 in primo prizes.

Real stuff that has real value, not PDFs that I say are worth a hundred dollars each. Well, all of that is about to disappear faster than a fart in a fan factory. So don’t make me make you okay. Just go over to Muscle for Life now Muscle, f o r life Now order a copy of the book and get entered into the giveaway.

Which includes a $1,000 bike from Boflex. Uh, a private consultation with me. Signed books, access to exclusive live q and as with me. Bonus chapters that were not included in the book, adjustable dumbbells. Which are really nice. I actually would like them myself. Uh, kitchen appliances, including an air fryer and cookware, and a lot more.

Just go over to muscle for now and check it out. Hello and welcome to Muscle for Life. I’m Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today. If you haven’t already, please do take a moment right now to subscribe to the show in whatever app you are listening to me in so you don’t miss new episodes.

And it helps me by boosting the ranking of the show in the various charts. And in this episode, I’m going to be answering questions succinctly. I’m gonna get through 21 questions in this episode, and I’m gonna do it in, I’m gonna try to do it in under 30 minutes. That’s my goal. And these are questions that I have fielded from Instagram at Muscle for Life Fitness.

Come check me out every Monday or Tuesday, I put up a. With the little, ask me anything or ask me a question sticker and I choose various questions to answer there on Instagram, and then I also come and answer them here on the podcast. So if you want to participate, if you want me to answer your questions, follow me.

Over at at most Life fitness and look every Monday or Tuesday for the Ask Me a question story post. So in this episode, I’m going to be answering questions about what to do when you are not getting enough sleep, particularly with your training, how the order of your workouts every week can affect your progress.

Whether you should use super sets to get through your workouts faster. The three best exercises you can do when you don’t have access to a gym. Why I use different hand positions, different grip positions with my pulling and a lot more. Okay, so this first question comes from Wardy DJ or warded Jay. And he or she says that they just had a baby and they are only getting three hours of sleep a day.

And the question is, should they deload for a few weeks? And my recommendation is to take naps instead of. Even going to the gym to do de-load workouts, so prioritize getting more sleep and then see if you can do one or two full body workouts per week on days where you feel rested. That is going to be far more effective and enjoyable than trying to slog through 3, 4, 5 de-load workouts per week.

And if you’re not sure how to set up full body workouts or a full body workout routine, head over to legion, search for full body, two separate words, and you’ll find several articles specifically on full body training. So anyway, the key takeaway here is do not try to train hard when you are consistently not getting enough sleep.

Instead, try to get more. And then try to get in just enough training to at least maintain your current level of fitness and then stay patient. And once you are consistently getting enough sleep and getting better sleep, you can get back to your more rigorous routine. Okay, the next question comes from Jake.

Elion and he asks if amending the order of your split majorly affects progress. So generally, your first few workouts of the week, they tend to be your best workouts because soreness and fatigue that builds up as you continue to train. Then of course, spills over into your sub. Training sessions, but your first workouts of the week are usually when you are freshest.

Most of us train during the week and don’t do any sort of resistance training, at least on the weekends, so we catch up a little bit in recovery, muscle soreness goes away. Any systemic fatigue that we might have accumulated. Also tends to go away. So a good tip for ordering your workouts every week is to train the muscle groups you most want to improve in your first couple of workouts.

If you’re training five days per week, for example, you are probably gonna have more to. Give to your first two or three workouts than your last two or three workouts. And that’s not to say that the last couple workouts of the week are unproductive or that you should go in with the mentality of just walking through them.

No. So long as you are following a well-designed workout program, five workouts per week is going to be more effective than three, for example. But again, those first couple of workouts are when you are just going to be able to perform at your best. So if you want to see progress most in, let’s say, your push muscles, then it would make sense to do a push workout first thing in the week.

Make that your first workout, and if it’s your pull muscles, then pull on day one. If it’s your lower body, then do a lower body session on day one. and if everything is your priority, if you just want everything to be more developed, then you could decide based on which workouts you like to do the most and whether you like to start your week with your favorite workouts or end your week with your favorite workouts.

Most people fall into one of those camps. There is the occasional person who likes to do their favorite workouts in the middle of the. , but I’ve found that most people either like to start their week with their favorite workout because they’re coming off of a couple day break and they like the jolt of motivation to get back in the gym.

And other people though, they like to end their weeks with their favorite workout because it’s something to look forward to and it puts them in a good mood as they go into the. The next question comes from Jordy Cannito and he or she asks if I own NFTs and what my take is on them. And I don’t own any NFTs.

It’s just a bit too iffy for me. It does seem like a pretty good way to launder Ill-gotten crypto though, so if I ever start plumping for NFTs, chances are I have found a very illegal way to make very large amounts of. The next question comes from James Jordan real estate, and he asks if I drink alcohol or smoke weed.

No, I do not. I have had a couple of drinks in my life, like a couple of shots I can remember. One shot at a wedding. Well, I remember that one. I do think I’ve had more than one shot of alcohol, but that’s the only one that’s coming to mind. And I’ve never finished a beer because I have never liked the taste of beer and I never got into drinking when I was younger, basically.

And as I got older, I figured it’s not a habit worth taking up. And I’ve never tried weed. I’ve never tried any drug, actually was just never interested in drugs, and that’s not gonna change at this point. I have too good of a streak going to even want to consider break. The next question comes from Acar Razo 12, and he or she asks if I spend much time on mobility outside of weight training, and I do a little bit of stretching every day or every other day, let’s say five to seven days per week.

And if you want to see what I do, it is [email protected]. If you search for yoga, you’ll see an article that I put up showing a handful of yoga stretches that I, or yoga poses, I guess you would say, that I do every. It takes no more than 10 minutes, probably seven or eight minutes, and it has been helpful and I explain why in that article.

I talk about the issues I was running into before I started doing it and how it has helped resolve those issues. Moving on to a question from anonymous. I guess I didn’t catch the username here, but the question is how to get huge, thick boy veins because assuming this is a guy, his veins look like angel hair pasta.

Well, fortunately vascularity is pretty simple. The first step. Is get big muscles. The second step is get lean. The third step is question marks, and the fourth step is of course, profit. Next is a question from Anna Iss with three S’s. What’s my favorite pulse flavor? And these days it’s sour candy, but strawberry kiwi is also super good.

Oh, and in case you don’t know what Pulse is, it is my pre-workout supplement. You can check it [email protected]. B U Y L E G I Alright, next we have a question from Clara or Clara Ard. Sorry if I’m not getting your last name right. But she asks, is it effective to alternate push pull exercises in super sets to save recovery in total workout?

And super setting is most effective. It does work best when you pair opposite muscle groups, like a push muscle. Maybe that could be a, a chest exercise and a pull muscle, like a biceps exercise or a back exercise. But it also works best when you’re not pairing two. Difficult, you know, to compound exercises like let’s say a bench press and a barbell row, but a bench press and a seated cable row, that is probably fine.

You’re gonna have to see for yourself though, because some people find that even pairing those two exercises together will. Impair performance on both. And ideally, when you are super setting, you are pairing two muscle groups in a way that allows you to perform more or less the same on both of those exercises, perform more or less as well as when you are not super setting and if you want to learn more.

About all of that and how to do that correctly. Go over to legion, search for Superset, and check out the article that I wrote on it. Next we have a question from Mullen Tech and they ask how I de-stress after a rough day besides working out, and for me, being by myself and having. Quiet time helps.

So I will sit outside, I will read. I will listen to classical music. That also helps, particularly Beethoven for some reason. I also like to write to Beethoven, and I’ve tried writing to many different types of music. I’ve ruled out all lyrical music because it’s too distracting, even if I’ve heard it. A thousand times before, it’s still too distracting, but I’ve found a lot of non lyrical music can be distracting as well, especially if it’s new.

If it’s non lyrical and I’ve heard it a lot, then that can be at least neutral. But for whatever reason, I find that Beethoven, helps me get into a, a state of flow faster. And I’m not gonna say I’ve been overly scientific about it, but I have tried many different types of music and paid attention to how they have affected my work quality and my focus quality.

And there’s something about Beethoven for me. I don’t know, particularly his first symphony, but what I don’t like, I’ll say if I’ve had. A tough day. I don’t like most conversation, especially conversation that requires thinking and emotional investment. If it’s just light talk, if it’s just chit chat, then it doesn’t help me relax, but it doesn’t hurt either.

I don’t like noise. I have two kids. It’s nice when they’re asleep and there is no more noise. Again, if I’m trying to relax, I mostly just want to be left. Next we have Patrick Labban who asks the last video game that I’ve played slash enjoyed, and I haven’t played a video game in years. I think the last was probably this shooting game called Overwatch, which I liked for a few days, and then I lost interest in it.

And before that, I have to go back several years to League of Legends back. First came out or early-ish when it came out? Probably within the first year or two. I’m trying, how old was I then? This might have been, uh, 10 years ago, and that was fun. I had a couple of friends to play with. I didn’t put too much time into it.

Maybe a handful of hours per week, but it was fun. Next we have Mark and Co and he asks what the three best movements are, if. , you are traveling and you don’t have access to a gym or any equipment, and the first would be a pistol squat and you can do that assisted if you haven’t nailed the balance. It is a bit tricky.

The second would be a banded feet elevated pushup. Okay. That does require, I guess you could say the band is equipment, but it’s easy to get. You can just throw it in your luggage. And the third would be a body weight row if you can find a table to hang from. And if you can’t, you can take your band and you can do a banded horizontal pull.

If you can find something stable to throw the band around. Tommy Sidal asks, why do I change between different types of pullups in my workouts? And the reason I changed my. Hands, my grip position in my poles. It’s not actually just with pull ups, it’s with all vertical and horizontal poles. Sometimes I’m wide with my palms facing away.

Sometimes I’m wide with my palms facing. Sometimes I am at a medium. Width about a, a shoulder width, palms away, sometimes palm facing. Sometimes my hands are closer together and facing each other, palms facing each other. And the reason I do that, the reason I’m using different grips at different times is those different setups, they train your muscles in slightly different ways.

So generally speaking, it’s a good idea. Two, do wide and narrow grip pulling for your horizontal and your. Poles and sometimes having your palms away from you, sometimes your palms towards you, sometimes your palms toward each other. Now, you can’t do all of that in one workout, of course, and you don’t have to try to do all of that every week or even every two weeks.

What I like to do is focus on a handful of different setups. Each training block, and my training blocks are four months long because I’m following my beyond bigger, leaner, stronger program, which you can learn. In my book, beyond Bigger, leaner, stronger, and so what that means is with each of my pulling exercises, I’m not repeating the same setup.

So if I’m doing two different horizontal poles, then one might be a wider grip, palms facing away, and the other might be a more narrow grip. Palms facing each other. And the same thing with my horizontal poles. And then in my next training block, I will switch it all up again. Now, as of recently, I have been avoiding palms away period because for some reason it aggravates my left forearm.

I can pull all day long with my palms facing each other or facing me no problems. But right now, if I even do pull-ups with my palms facing, My left forearm gets a little bit aggravated and if I ignore it and just keep going, it gets more aggravated. So I’m working around that right now, and eventually it will go away and I’ll go back to my normal routine.

That’s how these repetitive stress injuries usually work themselves out. Usually they come without warning and then you just have to avoid whatever pisses them. And they go away eventually. C R F A A S asks what their R p E should be before they move up and wait, and they are referring to rate of perceived exertion, how hard the set is.

And R P E actually comes from endurance exercise, but the concept applies to weightlifting as well. And the method I like to use is reps in reserve, r i r or just good reps left. How many good reps do you have left toward the end of a set when it’s getting. . And so to answer the question directly with compound exercises, I like to have one or two good reps left in my final set in the progression scheme.

So for example, if I were following my. Bigger, leaner, stronger program and I were squatting and the goal was to do one set of six reps and then add weight to the bar and work with that new weight. Until I could do one set of six reps, I would want to have at least one or two good reps left in that set of six.

If the sixth rep, Ray Grinder, if that was a zero, good reps left. If I felt like I had nothing left, if I felt like on my next. I would fail, I would have to just sit the weight down. Then I would keep working with that weight until I could do six with at least one or two good reps left. And the same would go for a progression setup that required two, three, or even four sets of, let’s say six, or any number of reps on each of those sets.

I would wanna make sure that I have at least one or two good reps left. And the reason for that is pretty simple. If you have to push right up to the. of failure to hit your rep target. What you are probably going to find is you then add weight to the bar and then you can’t get your minimum number of acceptable reps.

So let’s go back to bls, a set of six. The sixth rep is everything you’ve got. If you were to go for one more, you would fail, but you get your six. So you add weight to the bar and then you get. For example, instead of four, because you’re supposed to be working in the rep range of four to six on most exercises in bls.

Or what you’ll find is, okay, you get your four, but it required everything that was a four with zero good reps left, and then you try to do another set with that same amount of weight, and that becomes a. and so anyway, ultimately this results in slower progress and also a higher risk of injury. With the big compound exercises in particular, if you train too close to failure, too often the chances of getting hurt, even if it’s just a repetitive stress injury, like I mentioned with my left for.

It goes up. Now, as for isolation slash secondary exercises, the same logic applies, but I’m willing to get a little bit closer to failure. I’m willing to go to zero or one good reps left because it doesn’t place as much strain on the body and it doesn’t interfere with progress. We’re talking about biceps curls and shoulder raises and machine rows, and.

The Aquilas Ganga asks if pre and post-workout eating is necessary for cardio and it’s not necessary unless you’re gonna be doing longer, like 60 plus minute cardio workouts. And if that is the case, then what I would do is I would eat some protein and carbs before as if it were a weightlifting workout, if I hadn’t eaten in the couple hours proceeding the workout and then, I would have some protein after.

Next question comes from Jake Jersen and he asks what my favorite soup is. Well, I don’t eat much soup, but if I wanted to indulge, uh, a really good french onion soup would probably be my go-to for daily eating. I really like tomato soup and I like split pea. , and if you like either of those and you shop at Whole Foods, try their tomato and split piece soup, I forget what they call it, their whole foods market soups or whatever the stuff that they make there in the store here where I live, both of them are pretty damn good actually.

Now, as for daily eating, if I were to have soup every day, I would do something with a lot of vegetables, and that’s a great tip, by the way, for just getting in a lot of vegetable. And for getting full on not many calories, vegetable laden soups. And if you want some recipes, go over to legion and search for soup.

Ra Ali asks, what keeps me disciplined to keep prioritizing my physical health? Well, there are the obvious reasons related to just general health wellbeing. There’s vanity, of course, wanting to look a certain. But just as motivating to me, if not more so, is refusing to submit to the clown world propaganda that says we can be healthy and happy at any size.

And that degenerate living is empowering and that any advantages that we enjoy, those are purely from privilege. Basically, when my enemies look at me, I want them to see five middle fingers on a big white hand. Joe d Wes, Joe asks if I have any good baked oatmeal recipes, uh, ablo and lutely. I used to do baked oatmeal every night for probably, I don’t know, 6, 7, 8 months straight.

I tried all kinds of recipes. It was very good. It was just a lot of calories and now I don’t eat. I eat oatmeal every day, but I just don’t eat as much. Like at that time, I was taking, if I remember correctly, two cups dry and then adding a bunch of stuff to it and then baking it. Very good though. And you can actually find recipes [email protected] if you search for oatmeal.

Invictus 1980 asks if I have any insight as to why sumo deadlifts anger their lower back versus conventional, and it’s probably just anatomy. Sumo deadlifts are more comfortable for some people, and some people find they are stronger in the sumo position. They can just perform better and it feels better than with the conventional.

And if you are one of those people, it’s totally fine to stick with the sumo deadlift and never conventionally deadlift again. Me though, I find them awkward and they’re not more comfortable. The conventional deadlift is more comfortable to me and I perform better with it. So I don’t bother with the sumo.

I alternate between the conventional and the trap bar instead. And then there are people who can do the sumo deadlift and feel fine, perform well, conventional deadlift. Feel fine, perform well, and for those people they can switch then between those two if they would like to, or they can switch between all three.

They could go sumo conventional trap bar and repeat. It is up to them. All right, moving on to Daniel dot Mufti one’s question. By the time it’s 5:00 PM and Jim, time on bad work. Days I want chocolate and my blanket, what should I do? Well, why don’t you bring them both to the gym, dude, that, uh, that’s actually a good way to be left alone and to get immediate access to all of the equipment that you might want.

Cut all of the lines. Okay, moving on to Guan Mall. They ask how to deal with rejection. Well, for me, my default has always been to reflect on why I was rejected and what I could have done better so I can avoid similar outcomes in the future. Look for the lessons and usually the honest answer for me is I either deserved to lose, I could find a good reason why I was reject.

Or I just got unlucky, which happens to everyone. It’s part of the game. It makes the game interesting. Right. And with people in particular, keep in mind that some research has shown that up to 20% of people that you meet just in general in day-to-day life, Are not going to like you, and they won’t even know why.

They just won’t like you. So I try to keep that in mind and not take interpersonal rejections too personally, especially if I can’t figure out why somebody didn’t want to have anything to do with me. I’m okay with just accepting that they don’t like me for whatever reason, and I understand I am kind of an acquired taste.

I’m okay with that. Okay. The last question of this episode comes from Rasa 22, and they ask if specific muscles stop growing when they hit a certain size. Uh, yes, there are genetic limits to muscle building in both total muscle. And individual muscle groups. We all have a limit to how much total muscle we can gain, and we all have limits to how big we can grow specific muscle groups and the latter, the specific muscle groups.

That can be very variable. Some people can gain above average amounts of muscle in certain muscle groups, and below average amounts in others. And then other people, it can be the exact opposite. So for example, in my. I was able to gain above average amounts of muscle in my pex and probably my biceps, but below average amounts far below in, let’s say, my calves below average in my lats, and I’m around average in my quads and triceps.

And if you wanna get some insight into your genetic limits, both for total muscle gain and get some evidence-based estimates of how big you can grow each individual major muscle group, go over to each an and on the menu you’ll see, learn, and then go to tools in the dropdown menu and go to the muscle gain potential.

Well, I hope you liked this episode. I hope you found it helpful, and if you did subscribe to the show because it makes sure that you don’t miss new episodes. And it also helps me because it increases the rankings of the show a little bit, which of course then makes it a little bit more easily found by other people.

Who may like it just as much as you. And if you didn’t like something about this episode or about the show in general, or if you have, uh, ideas or suggestions or just feedback to share, shoot me an email, mike muscle for, muscle f o r and let me know what I could do. Better or just, uh, what your thoughts are about maybe what you’d like to see me do in the future.

I read everything myself. I’m always looking for new ideas and constructive feedback. So thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.

View Complete Transcript