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How can you lose as much fat as possible for an event or vacation a month away? How should you build up to a PR attempt? How can you find your passion? Are sumo deadlifts “cheating?” Should teenagers track calories? Does intermittent fasting improve insulin sensitivity? Lifting advice for people who have to wear suits. All that and more in this Q&A podcast.

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 – My free quiz to answer all your diet questions:

2:04 – Is it true that IF improves insulin sensitivity, and hence, reduces estrogen levels in men?

3:10 – What do you think is causing massive bodybuilder death rates?

3:32 – What is the best full body workout for training 2 times a week? 

5:35 – Do you have any lifting advice for people who have to wear suits? Legs are getting too big from squats. 

7:05 – Do you have any tips on getting a girlfriend?

9:39 – As a teen, should I track calories as accurately as possible or just focus on whole foods?

10:31 – Is it better to have breakfast before or after training in the morning?

10:52 – If I miss a day of working out, should I make that day up at the end of the week?

11:38 – Are Legion products in the UK?

11:53 – Should I lower the weight and keep more mind muscle connection or should I keep progressively overloading?

12:59 – How do you like Florida vs D.C.?

15:23 – How many reps and sets do I need to perform on the way up to a PR attempt?

16:05 – What are your thoughts on sumo deadlifts? Do you consider them cheating?

16:49 – How do I do a mini cut for a beach vacation one month away?

18:32 – Should I focus on weight lifting or cardio if all I want to do is lose weight?

19:22 – I only have 30 to 60 minutes a day to work out, what should I prioritize?

20:02 – What is some advice on finding something that you are passionate about?

21:03 – What books or Legion products are you most proud of?

24:22 – What is your favorite breakfast?

24:49 – Can I build muscle without calorie tracking?

26:26 – How important is protein timing?

Mentioned on the Show:

Take this free quiz to get science-based answers to all of your diet questions:

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


Hey. Hey there. I’m Mike Matthews. This is Muscle for Life. Thank you. Thank you for joining me today for another q and a episode where I answer various questions that people have asked me over on Instagram. So what I do is every week or so, post up a story on my Instagram at Muscle for Life Fitness. If you wanna follow me, asking people to ask me questions.

The. Ask me a question sticker and then get a bunch of questions and pick ones that are interesting or that I haven’t already answered a million times before or that are funny and I answer ’em there on Instagram and then bring everything over here to the podcast so I can answer them in more detail.

And to answer them for people who are not following me on Instagram. And so in today’s episode, I am answering questions about the best way to get ready for a PR attempt, Sumo deadlifting. My thoughts on that. How to do an aggressive mini cut for, let’s say a vacation or some event that you have coming up in just a.

I give some advice on how to find something that you are passionate about, at least what has worked for me, what I eat for breakfast and more. Before we get to it, how many calories should you eat to reach your fitness goals Faster. What about your macros? What types of food should you eat, and how many meals should you eat every day?

I created a free 62nd diet quiz that’ll answer those questions for you and others, including how much alcohol you should drink, whether you should eat more fatty fish to get enough omega-3 fatty acids. What supplements are worth taking and why and more. To take the quiz and get your free personalized diet plan.

Go to Muscle for Life dot. Slash diet quiz, Muscle oor quiz now answer the questions and learn what you need to do in the kitchen to lose fat, build muscle, and get healthy. A C W 95 asks, Is it true that if improves insulin sensitivity, he reduces estrogen levels in men? While it is true that intermittent fasting can improve insulin sensitivity, however, not to any meaningful degree in healthy people who exercise regularly, sometimes people who are big advocates of intermittent fasting will.

Research indicating otherwise indicating that it might be able to significantly improve insulin sensitivity levels. But that research is always with unhealthy people, usually obese and sedentary people. And if we look at the research on what simple diet and exercise can do, In the way of improving insulin sensitivity versus intermittent fasting diet and exercise wins handily.

Now, as for reducing estrogen levels in men, I have not seen any scientific evidence of that intermittent fasting can do that or increased testosterone levels. Okay. Andre iCard asks, What do you think is causing this massive pro slash not pro bodybuilder death? I guess it means like death count. It might be years or decades of abusing anabolic steroids and other drugs that mess up your heart.

Or it could be covid. R say 21 asks Best full body for two times per week for just general muscle and strength gain or maybe maintenance, maybe something like workout A is three to four sets of a squat. Pick a squat movement. It could be a barbell back squat. It could be a front squad, it could be a belt squad, a safety bar, squad, and then three to four sets of a horizontal.

Push. So that is going to be a chest push, a barbell bench press, flat incline, a dumbbell bench press, flat incline. You could do decline, but I’m not a big fan of decline because it just reduces the range of motion and focuses on the lower part of. The chest, which is never a problem. If there’s any part of the chest that is stubborn, it’s always the upper parts.

But anyway, so three to four sets of a horizontal push followed by three to four sets of a horizontal pole. So that could be a barbell row, that could be a dumbbell row, that could be a seated cable row, and so forth. Followed by three to four sets of buys or tries. So that’s workout A and then workout B, three to four sets of a hip hinge, a deadlift type movement of some kind, three to four sets of a vertical push that’s a shoulder focused push and overhead press of some kind.

Barbell, dumbbell machine, whatever, followed by three to four sets of a vertical pull. So that’s where you are pulling something straight up and down, like a pull up, a chin up, a lap, pull down, and so forth, followed by three to four sets of side. Or rear doubts, some isolation exercises for your side or your rear doubts, whichever you want to do, and whichever one of those two you don’t do, you would do the following week.

So we have a one, which would be three to four sets of biceps or triceps. And then a two would be whichever you didn’t do from that duo. And then B one would be your. Or your rear delta, and then B2 would be the other one. Okay. David Bento asks, any lifting advice for people who have to wear suits and legs get too big from squats?

If you keep your weekly volume relatively low for your legs, but you keep the weights heavy, that. Generally speaking, a good way to get as strong as you can with the minimum amount of size. You are going to gain muscle as you gain strength, but volume is a major component of hypertrophy. Progressive overload is the primary mechanism.

Whereby we make our muscles bigger. But what you will find is as you become an experienced weightlifter, you have to do more volume to successfully progressively overload your muscles. So if you keep your volume, Relatively low, and this would apply to any major muscle group in your body. Sometimes people ask me, How do I get strong without getting big?

Many women have asked this and low volume, high intensity training is the answer, so to. Answer this question specifically with squats and not getting your legs too big. Check out Wendler 5 31 and you could program your lower body according to that approach, and then you could program your upper body differently.

You could increase the volume and go for maximum hypertrophy as well, if you want. Okay, Dennis Lav. Hristov asks tips on getting a girlfriend. I can’t say that I have had much personal success in this arena because I started dating my wife when I was 17, and now I’m 38. But if I were single and I wanted to get a girlfriend, what I would do is I would get very specific about the type of.

I wanted, I would list out, say three to five deal makers slash breakers. Things that are very important to me that will determine the overall quality of the relationship and three to five, because if you get beyond that, you are never going to find anyone. I see some people, they make these lists of 10, 15, 20 must-haves and they have all remained single for a long time Very specific about what type of girl I wanted.

I would then find out what those types of girls want, what are their three to five deal makers slash breakers, and then I would do the things necessary to become what they want. And then I would figure out how to put myself around those types of girls. What types of things do they do? Where do they go?

How can I interact with them? I think I would get a girlfriend. And funny enough, one of the guys who works with me went through that exact process and now he’s married and he’s having a kid. And so in the beginning he did not have a girlfriend. He wanted to get a girlfriend. He didn’t know what to do.

He asked me my thoughts. I told him this, and he did. Exactly that. It included getting a haircut and going shopping with my wife to get some clothes that didn’t look like they were from a bargain bin in Walmart, losing a bit of body fat and even starting to learn to speak German because he wanted a European girl.

And funny enough, the girl that he ended up dating and. Marrying. She’s from Checklist Zakia or Czechia or whatever they call it over there. And she also speaks German. And when my buddy first met her and mentioned in conversation that he was learning German, she didn’t believe him. At first. She thought it was just a line.

And so she tested him and he was able to pass the test because he did know some German. He had a decent vocabulary. Point and she was immediately impressed by that. That’s one of the things that immediately stood out to her about him. Anyway, moving on. Fill oh four asks. As a teen, should I track calories as accurately as possible, or just focus on whole?

Foods, I definitely do not recommend calorie or macro tracking for teens because it can increase the risk of developing an unhealthy relationship with food or even an eating disorder. So my advice for younger people is always to just focus on building. Good eating habits, eat when you’re hungry.

Stop when you’re satisfied, not when you’re stuffed. Eat plenty of nutritious foods. Eat a variety of nutritious foods, Enjoy treats when you want to and so forth. Build a healthy relationship with food and you’re gonna find it a lot easier when you get older. If you want to really focus on improving your body composition, which may require calorie.

Macro counting or tracking. Okay, Fry RAR asks, Is it better to have breakfast before or after training in the morning? If breakfast includes at least 30 or 40 grams of carbs, you are probably going to have a better workout if you eat before. You train and if you are going to have carbs, you might as well have some protein too.

Great. Danes asks, If I miss a day of my workout in a week, should I do that last day in the next week or not? Nah. Just keep going as if you hadn’t missed it. Don’t try to make it up because that can put you in a situation where, You are pushing your body a bit too hard. If you are training, let’s say five days per week, that’s already a high frequency program.

And if you miss one day and now you’re gonna try to do six days the following week, you might fall a little bit behind in recovery and you’re not also going to gain anything. Meaningful from that sixth workout. Like it might be psychologically pleasing, but physiologically speaking, physically speaking, it’s not gonna make a difference.

Okay. Jay Mamu asks, Are Legion’s products available in the uk? Not yet, but very soon, within the next month or so, we will be up on Amazon UK with a few products, and then we will roll out the rest of our line from there. Jay Donlin asks Lower the weight and feel more mind muscle connection, or keep progressively overloading.

Definitely keep progressively overloading while maintaining the mind muscle connection, but don’t overthink the mind. Muscle connection. All you have to do is focus on the primary muscle group that you’re training in each rep. Really feel that muscle group stretch, feel it. Contract control, the eccentric and the concentric portions of the lift.

So control the lengthening and the contraction. If you are bench pressing, for example, don’t allow the bar to simply fall to your chest. You can move it down fairly quickly in maybe a second or at most two seconds, but it should be controlled. You should feel like you are working against the bar, not just letting it free fall to your chest.

Same thing with squats. Don’t just fall downward. You need to control the. Dissent again, you wanna move down fairly quickly. Maybe one or two seconds, but that’s a controlled dissent. J Ludlow 86 asks, How do you like Florida versus dc? I guess I’m. Ambivalent. I like the property that I got in Florida, so I bought 35 acres and I’m building a house and gonna put a separate building with a gym and some other fun stuff.

And barn for horses and the land is pretty and I like having land. I much prefer that lifestyle over living in a suburb, which is where I was at in Virginia. In the beltway near DC and I definitely do not miss being surrounded by the crazy committees of the DC Nova area. They were everywhere. But I have to say that I don’t like Florida’s climate.

I really did enjoy Virginia’s climate because there you have four seasons without any extremes, so you have a hot summer, but. It doesn’t last that long and you have an actual fall. It gets pretty, it gets cool. You get to enjoy that for a couple of months. You have an actual winter. It gets pretty cold. It snows, but it just doesn’t last that long.

Not too much snow. Not that I don’t like snow, but at a point it gets to be very inconvenient for just daily living. And then you have a real spring. Very pretty great weather for a couple of months, so I do miss that a little bit. And the DC Nova area also gives you access to just about any type of lifestyle experience you could want, ranging from mountainous, outdoorsy stuff to beach, to great food, to great entertainment and so forth.

And I didn’t take major advantage of that when I was there because I mostly just work and work out and then spend some time with my family. But it was nice to have all of that available for when we did want to do those types of things. Now where I’m at Ocala, Florida, it’s a lot of horsing and that’s about it.

Great gym. So I do appreciate the gym. And I can also order groceries from Whole Foods so I don’t have to go grocery shopping. That’s important to me. And there are a couple of restaurants that are okay, but otherwise it is simple. Down home, living slow calla as they call it. Okay. K F I D 10 asks how many reps slash sets to perform on the way up to a PR attempt?

What I do is a thorough warmup, so that’s three to four sets with lighter loads that get a little bit heavier. Starting with 50% of your working load for maybe sets of eight to 10. I would do one or two of those and then I would. To maybe 75%, 80% of my working weight and do a set or two of four or five, so thoroughly warmed up, and then no working sets, just right into the PR attempt.

And then you can do your regular working sets. Whatever you’re gonna do after the pr. Linden Sep asks, What are your thoughts on sumo deadlifts? Do you consider them cheating? Nope. They are definitely not cheating. They are a perfectly viable deadlift variation, like the trap bar deadlift, and it’s more or less the same in the sumo versus the conventional deadlift as far as muscle activation goes.

But the traditional, the conventional dead. Is a bit harder on the spinal erectors than the sumo deadlift. So some people who have back troubles prefer the sumo deadlift, but you also might find it very uncomfortable. I personally just don’t like how the sumo deadlift feels. It’s just a matter of anatomy, and so I just stick with the conventional deadlift.

Miss Cape asks how to do a mini cut for a beach vacation that snuck up on you one month away? If you only have a month, Let’s be aggressive in our calorie deficit, so let’s eat 65 to 75% of TDE every day. Let’s go high protein, somewhere around a gram of protein per pound of body weight per day.

Let’s do three to five hours of resistance training in two to three hours of cardio per week. No cheat meals, quote unquote. Definitely no cheat days. If you only have a month and you really want to get the best possible results, just stick to that meal plan every single day. and going low carb might help you look a little bit leaner because of less water retention.

And so that, I would say is a good baseline approach. And one final tip if you feel up for it, is around the two or three week mark. So when you have one or two weeks left, if you’re feeling good, you can get even more aggressive with your calorie restriction for. Seven to maybe 14 days. Not longer than that.

And I mean eating like 50% of your total daily energy expenditure, high protein, you might have to reduce your exercise volume. So go down to, let’s say three hours of resistance training per week. You can keep your cardio in. You might want to trim that down though. Let’s say you’re doing three hours of cardio per week.

Okay? Do two hours or an hour and a half per week and then just do more walking, which is. Very low stress on the body, but still burns a couple of hundred calories per hour, and you can try to lose as much fat as you possibly can in that last week or two. All right, Morela JS asks, If my sole goal is to lose weight, should I focus more on weights or cardio?

If you really just wanna lose. You’d want to go with cardio because it burns more calories per hour and thus more fat per hour than strength training. But remember that only strength training can add muscle while you strip away fat. And if you don’t have enough muscle, you can lose a lot of. Weight, you can lose a lot of fat and wind up skinny fat.

So just keep that in mind. And also, as you build up your total lean mass, as you gain muscle, your metabolism speeds up not by as much as many people think or would like to think. It’s maybe about six calories per day per pound of muscle gained. But hey, it adds up. All right, Nate Burry ask. Two job working new dad here.

I love lifting, but I only have 32 60 minutes per day. What to prioritize? I would say create workouts that are around 60 minutes, so that’s gonna be probably 12 to no more than 16 hard sets. And then start with the heavy compound lifts. End with the isolation stuff, and then just skip the ladder if you don’t have time that day or if you have to leave early.

So this way you are always doing the stuff that’s most. You are always doing your heavy squats and pushes and pulls and hinges, and sometimes you are not getting around to the isolation work. Philip Le, I’m not sure how to pronounce that. He asks advice on how to find something you are passionate about.

This is something that I have. Thought about myself a fair amount in the context of my own work and the trajectory, I guess you could say, of my career and some advice that has served me well is to think back to your childhood. Did you have strong interests in. Things in something in particular when you were a kid that you didn’t pursue as you got older or you neglected as you got older?

In my experience, many people with real passions, with vocations, they found them as a kid and then they just stuck with them into adulthood. You can also think about what you are curious about that you haven’t explored yet, because passions almost always begin as curiosities, even as a. We were very curious about things and certain curiosities were more interesting than others.

Sam Huffer 23 asks, What books or legion products are you most proud of? For my books, I would say my newest book, Muscle for Life, because I think it’s just my best organized and my best explained. Yet, it’s also the best looking. Simon and Schuster did a fantastic job on the presentation of the book.

And that book also has the most potential to help the most people over the long term because it is for men and women who are 40 plus and new to strength training and new to flexible dieting, new to fitness, the evidence based way, so to speak. And that is by far the largest group. People out there who need the most help.

Now, as for Legion’s products? For me, I guess it’s a toss up between way plus just because it’s truly unlike any other WHE protein I’ve ever tried. It is. So good. It’s creamy, it’s delicious. It has basically no fat. It’s very easy on the stomach. Every day we hear from people who reach out to tell us that weight Plus is the first WHE protein that doesn’t upset their stomach that they’ve tried 8, 10, 12, 15 plus WHE protein products in the past.

Whe protein isolates too, naturally sweetened, naturally flavored from other. Companies and ours was the first that gave them no stomach issues. And that’s simply because of the quality of the milk that is used to make the way we’ve chosen to work with small dairy farms in Ireland that are world renowned for the quality of their dairy and.

Kind of sounds like a marketing pitch and it is a marketing pitch, but it is also true and you can immediately experience it when you try way plus for the first time. And the other product that Legion makes that I think is awesome simply because of the results it can get is our joint support supplement fortify.

If you look at the reviews on every page of reviews, you can find usually one or two people. Who report major improvements in joint pain, like reductions in joint pain, reductions in joint swelling, improvements in joint function very noticeable and quickly noticeable the. And funny timing here. I mentioned that I’m building a house and the superintendent of the job is having knee troubles.

Apparently he messed up his mc and his knee was really acting up. He had to take a day or two off of work. I gave him a bottle of fortify. And told him that it may or may not help. I don’t want to oversell it, but good ingredients. And so he took it and it immediately helped Bigly, like the next day he was walking around with a lot less pain and his doctor was thrilled and now his doctor is actually looking into giving it to more of his patients who have knee issues.

And we have heard. Things like that many times over the years with fortify with this joint support product and that’s pretty cool. Sue Axer asks, Favorite breakfast? I mix some way. I mix a scoop of Legion’s Way CI cereal is my current go-to with a scoop of Plant plus vanilla. Put some water in there.

I like it to be thick so I can eat it with a spoon because I’m weird and I eat a banana with that, I’m just someone who likes to live dangerously. What can I say? Thomas Colvin 96 asks, Build muscle without calorie tracking. Slowly add food instead. Hate calorie tracking. Yeah, you can do.

But you have to make sure that you keep eating more until you are steadily gaining strength and between 0.5 and 1% of your body weight per month. That’s the sweet spot. And at first, that’ll probably be fairly easy, but what you’ll find is after. A month, maybe two months of doing that, you are going to get very sick of eating.

You are going to feel full all of the time. You’re going to feel like you are force feeding yourself, and that’s totally normal. That’s what it takes. If you want to keep lean bulking properly, and at that point it might be better to switch over to a meal plan because. Will be hard to consistently force feed yourself and keep your calories and macros where they need to be.

It’s the opposite problem of when you’re cutting, when you get deeper into a cut, if you are not tracking or planning your calories and macros. You are probably going to move in the direction of eating a little bit more than you should, rather than a little bit less than you should because of course your body wants food and you are feeling hungrier generally as you get deeper into a cut.

When you are lean bulking, it’s the opposite effect, and so you have to be aware of that. All right. ERO Levine asks how important in protein timing. Protein timing is not very important. It is not nearly as important as eating enough protein every day, but if you are trying to do everything you can to maximize muscle gain, you will get the best results with at least four to five servings of protein per day with a few hours in between each and with one of those servings within an hour or so of finishing a workout.

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. Ideas or suggestions or just feedback to share. Shoot me an email, mike muscle for, muscle f or and let me know what I could do better or just 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.

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