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Have only 30 minutes to train? How much caffeine do I consume per day? How did I meet my wife? Are hydration drinks overrated? What are the best marketing books? 

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 – Want a free meal planning tool that figures out your calories, macros, micros, and allows you to create custom meal plans for cutting, lean gaining, and maintaining in under 5 minutes? Go to and download the tool for free! 

3:30 – How do you train when you only have 30 minutes?

5:29 – How did you and your wife meet? 

6:26 – What is the best book on marketing for beginners?

6:45 – How long do you recommend a calorie deficit for?

7:59 – How much caffeine do you have every day?

9:22 – What are your thoughts on adding sets to BBLS?

11:10 – When is the BLS booster shot coming?

13:18 – What kind of weight gain do you experience during Christmas?

13:59 – How do you think we will leave this phase of COVID madness?

16:30 – What do you think about high intensity, high frequency, low volume similar to Ted Naiman’s PE diet?

17:43 – Are hydration drinks overrated?

18:51 – What is your go to chocolate? 

Mentioned on the Show:

Want a free meal planning tool that figures out your calories, macros, and micros, and allows you to create custom meal plans for cutting, lean gaining, and maintaining in under 5 minutes? Go to and download the tool for free! 

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


Hello and welcome to Muscle for Life. I’m Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today for the 12th installment. I have these numbered in my Google Drive of my q and a series where I answer, I. Oh, I don’t know, 15 to 20 questions that people ask me over on Instagram, and I try to give brief answers, you know, a couple of minutes each max as opposed to diving deep into one topic for 20 or 30 minutes.

And if you want to ask me questions that might be featured in an episode like this, follow me on Instagram at Muscle Life Fitness. And every Monday or Tuesday I put up a and ask me a question story, you know, with the little questions sticker. And a lot of people submit questions and then I go through them and I answer the ones that are interesting to me or that are representative of questions that I’m getting asked a lot these days.

And I bring everything over here onto the podcast for people who would rather. Listen to the q and a, then read it on Instagram. And so in today’s episode, I answer questions regarding how I met my wife and if it was my first love. When will we leave this Covid Madness behind? Although this answer was a couple of weeks ago before the impending end of the world, so, uh, I’m not sure.

I’m not sure how it’s gonna age. We’ll find out. Um, I have a question here on the best marketing book for beginners. How to Train When you only have. 30 minutes. That is a good question. Something that I think could warrant a bit more content because you can get really good workouts done in just 30 minutes if you go about them a little bit differently than you normally do.

I talk about how much caffeine I have every day and what my limit is and why, and more. But first, how would you like a free meal planning tool that figures out your calories, your macros, even your micros, and then allows you to create 100% custom meal plans for cutting, lean, gaining, or maintaining? In under five minutes.

Well, all you gotta do is go to buy plan b u y plan and download the tool. And if I may say, this tool really is fantastic. My team and I spent over six months on this thing working with an Excel wizard, and inferior versions of this are often sold for 50, 60, even a hundred dollars.

Or you have to download an app and pay every month or sign up for a weight loss service and pay every month, 10, 20, 40, 50, even $60 a month for what is essentially in this free tool. So if you are struggling to improve your body composition, if you are struggling to lose fat or gain muscle, the right meal plan can change everything.

Dieting can go from feeling like running in the sand in a sandstorm to riding a bike on a breezy day down a hill. So again, if you want my free meal planning tool, go to buy plan b y plan. Enter your email address and you will get. Instant access. Okay, let’s start with a question from the Perth Garga, and they ask, how do you train when you only have 30 minutes?

Well, the key is you want to try to work as much muscle mass as possible, and that means using compound exercises. And you also want to work in slightly higher rep ranges and then rest slightly less in between your sets. So think. Eight to 10 reps or so per set and maybe two minutes of rest in between each set.

No more than two and a half, and you can superset where you can and save even more time. And I would recommend super setting in a method. Known as antagonistic pairing, where you are pairing muscles that have opposite functions. Think biceps and triceps, or where you are pairing muscles that don’t have opposite functions.

They have no related functions whatsoever. So think about your quads in your biceps. And so what you can do is you can do a set of whatever, let’s say for your quads, it could be a set of squats. And then rest maybe 45 or 60 seconds and then go do a set of biceps curls and then rest 45 to 60 seconds, go back to your squats and get through your workout even faster that way, and that can work with.

Quads and hamstrings as well, because while they are both lower body muscles, they perform opposite functions. So if you were doing maybe a squat, I mean, the squat obviously involves the hamstrings. It is predominantly a quadriceps exercise, but it does involve the hamstrings. So if you did pair a barbell squat with say, a leg curl, that might not.

Work very well. You might find that it significantly reduces your squat performance, but if you are doing a, let’s say, an isolation exercise for your quads, like a leg extension, that you compare nicely with a leg curl. Okay, one Conner asks, how did your wife and yourself meet? Was it your first love? Well, I first met Sarah when I was 14, and it was at a chiropractor’s office where she was working.

And I was immediately infatuated with her. It was actually a little bit weird and I, I had the thought at 14. I’m gonna marry her. And I’m trying to remember, I might have even told my mom that as well. And as it happened, we had mutual friends in the area where we were living, and I then became friends with her brother.

But Sarah and I didn’t start dating until I was 17 and she was 18 and then seven years later. We got married, and now I’ve been with her longer than I haven’t been, which is a, an interesting thought. I’m, I’m 37, and so I’ve been with her for 20 years and that’s kind of a, a neat accomplishment. Next we have c a a 1997 and they ask Best book on marketing for beginners.

Oh, scientific advertising is a good place to start. Because it’s so short, I’m gonna throw in another one and recommend the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing. That’s also a good one. Clara Andela asks, how long would you recommend a calorie deficit for until goal weight reached or a break after some time?

Good news, you can cut for as long as you need to to reach your goal. You can take breaks every couple of months if you want. A lot of people like to take a week off every eight weeks or so, and all you do is calculate your maintenance calories at that time at that. Current body weight, and you can go right up to those maintenance calories.

Or if you want to go a little bit below just to be safe, quote unquote, you know, maybe five or 10% below that, that’s fine. But most people, they just calculate their new maintenance and they eat those maintenance calories for five, seven, even 10 days, which feels nice. After you’ve been in a deficit pretty consistently for a couple of months, you notice that you have a bit more energy.

You usually experience a bit less hunger. You get to squash some of those cravings at least a little bit more effectively than when you’re dieting because you just have more calories that you can play with, and then you get back to it and you can repeat that process for as long as you need to to reach your body composition goal.

Next is a question from E Burgas 3 0 3. How much caffeine do you have every day? I have three to 400 milligrams per day, or four shots of, it might be somewhere between four and five. It’s hard to say exactly what the machine I use, but four to five shots of espresso per day, which I have in the morning.

First thing. And sometimes I will have one scoop of caffeinated pulse before I work out. That’ll be maybe 11 or 12, you know, 11 in the morning or 12:00 PM but that’s maybe once a month if I didn’t sleep all that well. And I feel a little bit sluggish and I have to deadlift or squat. Uh, but again, that’s maybe once per month.

My standard daily intake is three to 400 milligrams per day, and that’s about the amount you should not exceed if you want to minimize. Negative side effects associated with caffeine intake, and if you wanna reap some of the potential health benefits now, research shows that some people can tolerate a lot more than that.

Perfectly fine with no negative side effects. In some of the literature, there are cases of people consistently having a cram or more per day. And having done that for a long time and where doctors. Said, Hey, it looks like this is totally fine for your body, but those people are in the minority, the middle of the curve, most of us, three to 400 milligrams per day.

Okay. Next, Gareth Ligo asks about bbl l s beyond Bi Leaner Stronger, which is my program for experienced weightlifters, and he asks, what are my thoughts on adding extra sets to the program? Well, you can, but you should know that once you get above 15 hard sets per week for a big muscle group like maybe your back or your lower body, you usually have to reduce your volume elsewhere because it just becomes too much, even if you have the time to do it.

A buddy of mine, he did a very grueling bulking program that required two a days because it was about 20 hard sets per major muscle group per week for basically all of the major muscle groups. And that required about three hours of training per day. And so if you were trying to do maybe not that much, but now it’s two hours of training per day.

That’s either one long session or. Two sessions per day, and even if you had the time, you are probably going to find that after maybe six to eight weeks of doing 20 plus hard sets for a major muscle grouper, two per week, things start to hurt. Your joints are hurting and you are falling behind In recovery, you are feeling generally more fatigued.

Your sleep starts to get worse, and so then. What you want to do is if you want to focus on, let’s say your chest, you really want to blast your chest for a training block. You might do 16, 18, or even 20 hard sets for your chest, for your pecs per week, and you might do that for a couple of months, but, Then you might do 10 or 12 or no more than 15 hard sets for everything else.

Okay. Martin, m q 3 2 0 1 17 asks, when is the bigger, leaner, stronger booster shot coming? Uh, good question. Good question. Uh, the fourth edition of Bigger, leaner, stronger should be fully live in the answer here. I said January or February. Now we’re into March. Everything always takes longer than I want it to, but we are very close.

All of my work is fully done on this new edition of Bigger, leaner, stronger, and the book designer is like 95% done. She’s wrapping up the references section in the back and making a handful of other little changes that I wanted. The audiobook recorder is also making a final round of changes that the proof reader or proof listener, I guess caught and.

Then we can push it live. The digital versions, at least the hard copies are going to take longer to get live because of the long lead times on books right now. So that’ll be later this year, probably in summer is when the hard copies, and it’s gonna be hard cover and paperback, which I’m excited to do and write.

On the heels of that is going to be the fourth edition of Thinner, leaner, stronger. Again, all of my work is, well, 99% of my work is done. There are a few things left in the manuscript that I’m checking on and a little bit more editing to do, but most of my work is done and. The editor I work with, all of her work is done, and the book designer and the audiobook recorder are ready to roll right into it.

So I should have the, the digitals, the e-book, uh, and the audiobook of the fourth edition of Thinner, leaner, stronger, up this summer. And the hard copies. I’m gonna say fall, no dollar bets on those dates, especially these days in these perilous corn times. But I do feel pretty good about them. Things are rolling and most of the, the hard work, so to speak, is already done.

Okay. The next question comes from milling. To nudge and they ask, what kind of weight gain do you experience over Christmas? Um, well, if we go from, let’s say Thanksgiving to New Year’s, it’s usually one to three pounds. And fitness white pill for you. It’s mostly water and glycogen. From eating a lot more carbs than usual, and that’s usually the case for a lot of people.

A lot of the weight they gain over the holidays is just from the carb orgies and, and all of the sodium. It’s certainly not strictly body fat. And so then what I do is after the new year, I usually cut for a week or two, you know, maybe seven to 14 days of a normal 500 ish calorie deficit and move on with my life.

It works well. Sam j Smith 25 asks, how do you think we will leave this phase of Covid Madness? And my answer then was I would be at least a little bit surprised if it doesn’t require politicians slash officials hanging from lamp posts because history is full of examples like this As a general rule.

Governments slash rulers slash elites are rarely willing to give up the kind of wealth and power that Covid is providing. And as the saying goes, nothing is more permanent than a temporary government program, but currently, at least here in the US, the volume is going way down on restrictions and mandates, and the narrative is shifting quickly in favor of natural immunity.

And the C. D. C acknowledged that, all right, fine. Cloth masks actually aren’t that great, and it’s openly acknowledged that the injections don’t effectively reduce the spread of covid and that you can still get covid if you’ve been injected, and you can still get hospitalized and still die from covid, even if the risks are less if you have been injected and the injections.

Don’t really work that well with Omicron and so on. And while I would love to believe that we are beginning to pass Covid on the highway, that it’s going to be in the rear view mirror, maybe sometime this year even. I am too cynical because I think it’s more a matter of election season and the people in power don’t want to get slaughtered in the upcoming election, and they know that a lot of the restrictions and the mandates are very unpopular.

At this point, even with a lot of their own, and many people are just sick of hearing about covid and what they are or are not supposed to do and are just ready to get back to living some semblance of a normal life. And so of course it would be very politically expedient to lift the thumb off a little bit.

Give us a little bit of. Breathing space before slamming it back down, which is what I think might happen after the midterms. I don’t hope it happens. I will just be a little bit surprised if. It doesn’t happen. Scott Sha or Shaf asks high intensity, high frequency, low volume question mark. Similar to Ted Neiman from PE Diet.

The problem with any low volume training is that it will get in the way of hypertrophy. Unfortunately, there just doesn’t seem to be any workaround to the need for adequate volume when you want to maximize. Muscle gain. You can’t get there with just intensity either in load or in r p e, in your rating of perceived exertion, uh, reps in reserve, how hard you’re training in each set.

Unfortunately, if you are no longer new to weightlifting and if you want to maximize muscle gain, You have to train intensely. You have to use heavy weights, anything, let’s say 70% of one rep max or heavier, all the way up to 95 or a hundred percent of one rep max. And you have to do enough volume. And for most experienced weightlifters, that is going to be around 15 to 20 hard sets per major muscle group per week.

And if you try to do more than that, you eventually burn out or get hurt. Steel TP asks hydration, drinks, overrated or not extremely overrated. Hydration drinks and electrolyte drinks and the like are B C A A level bullshit based primarily on bullshit research paid for by Gatorade. And if a company sells a hydration supplement, just don’t buy anything from them on principle because they either don’t know what they’re doing or they don’t care, or both.

And I’m gonna be producing some more in-depth content on this. Look for a podcast coming in the next month or so. I should have it ready to go, and I will explain myself fully and ironically. I have the opposite incentive here. I have a sports nutrition company and we get asked all the time to sell BCAAs to sell hydration or electrolyte drinks, and I will not sell either because although I could make a lot of money with a BCA A or with a hydration supplement, I don’t believe in those products.

I would never use them myself. They cannot be sold. Honestly, and so I won’t do it. Tron Legacy four 15 asks, go-to chocolate. A good question because I am a chocolate snob, which turned me into a coffee. Well, espresso in particular. Espresso snob because I started drinking espresso because I figured, hey, I like chocolate, and if you get the right espresso, it tastes kind of chocolatey Now, I love espresso and I’ve tried.

Quite a few different chocolates, including some of the fancier artisanal boutique stuff, the, the expensive stuff. Some, in some cases you had to get on a wait list and pre-order. And I have to say the company Choco Love, which I just include in my Whole Foods deliveries, it’s pretty good. I eat their 70%, uh, or their 77% because it’s easy to get and.

Again, it’s pretty good. There’s better out there, but I guess I don’t care enough about my chocolate to go through the rigmarole of getting it again, getting on the wait list and looking for the emails and pre-ordering and so on. Choco love for me is good enough and as far as espresso goes, Because nobody asked.

But I will, I will say I’ve tried quite a few. I keep a spreadsheet of all the different roasters I’ve tried, and I’ve found one so good that I, I can’t say that I’m never gonna try another roaster again, but it’s so much better. Than all of the other roasters I’ve tried. I am going to stick with it probably for, for some time before bothering with anything else.

And that is espresso vivace, and it’s just, uh, espresso v i v Of course, they’re not paying me to say that, but it’s impressively good. It’s also impressively expensive, but it makes some of the best espresso shots I’ve ever had. 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.

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