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We’re fast-approaching Thanksgiving and the winter holidays, which for many of us, means spending time with family.

Well, I don’t trust 2020 the slightest bit, so I’m going to beat it to the punch and spend some time with my mom before it’s expected. (It’s never a bad idea to keep father time on his toes and rattle expectations in such an unpredictable year).

Jokes aside, on this episode I’m indeed chatting with my own mother, Laura Matthews, and discussing how her fitness has changed since following my programs.

Before Thinner Leaner Stronger, she was athletic and doing ballet, but she wasn’t entirely happy with her physique. After reading my book and following the program, she’s lost fat while gaining muscle and is now in the best shape of her life at the age of 61. 

In this interview, we talk about her story and the important lessons she’s learned along the way, including what she was doing exercise-wise before reading TLS, how understanding and changing her diet lead to big changes, how she doubled her strength while losing body fat in her first six months, the importance of regular deloads, and more.

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

Time Stamps:

9:09 – What were your numbers before and after you read my book?

20:21 – What were some of the diet and exercise obstacles that you had to overcome?

25:21 – Did you notice any positive or negative effects from flipping the carbs and the fat?

28:05 – Did you have to make any adjustments during cutting?

Mentioned on the show:

Thinner Leaner Stronger

Legion Black Friday Sale

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


Mike: Hey friends. Welcome to another episode of Muscle for Life. I’m your host, Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today, and Thanksgiving is almost here. The winter holiday season is almost here, at least as of right now. Thanksgiving is almost here. Action. I’m not sure when this is going live. I am recording this on November 17th, so it is not Thanksgiving.

Yet, and that means that the family get togethers are about to begin. But as I don’t trust 2020 in the slightest, I decided to beat it to the punch and spend some time with my mom before Thanksgiving. And in this episode, we don’t talk about just anything but her fitness transformation because she used my thinner, leaner, stronger program to get into the best shape of her life.

Probably when I was younger. She was always into running and she always stayed fit. But she is super fit now and she’s 61 years old. And with thinner, leaner, stronger, she lost 11 pounds and she doubled her whole body strength. And before that she was doing different types of athletic things. She was doing ballet, she was running, she was doing, um, like workout, like tabo type, uh, workouts.

And then I published a book called Thinner Leaner, stronger, and she read it and she figured she would give it a go. And she was really surprised at how much more effective it was than anything else she had done in the past. Again, in the past, she was mostly focused on cardio. She didn’t do much strength training because she didn’t want to get bulky and she didn’t wanna look like a guy.

And now of course, she understands that it is basically impossible for a woman to get bulky if she just keeps her body fat in the range of, let’s say 20 to 25%. For most women, if they maintain that level of body fat, they will never get bulky, no matter. How much weightlifting they do unless they are genetically built to just be big and strong.

And of course, those women know who they are before they ever even step in a gym. These are women who have always been bigger and stronger their entire life. They have bigger bones, for instance. I mean, it’s very similar with men. A lot of the guys that you see on Instagram who are super jacked were always big and strong.

Like if you see pictures of them when they were teenagers, they look like buff 20 year olds at 15. 16, and that is true regardless of drug use. If I were to use steroids, for example, I could get pretty big, but not nearly as big as many of these other people that you see on Instagram, because I was never a big and strong person.

I have small bones and my anatomy is not really suited to weightlifting. I have long legs, long femurs, I have very long arms, and so I’ve been able to gain probably 40 ish, maybe 45 pounds of muscle over the course of my entire lifting career, and that is all I will ever be able to gain. Really, there is not.

Much left. Anyway, to end that tangent and get back on track. In this episode, my mom and I talk about her story and the important lessons she has learned along the way and the big changes that she has made and the big aha moments that allowed her to, again, lose about 11 pounds of fat and gain quite a bit of muscle definition and whole body strength.

Also, if you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, and if you want to help me help more people get into the best shape of their life, please do check out My Sports Nutrition Company Legion, which thanks to the support of people like you, is now the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the world, and we are on.

Because every ingredient and every dose in every product is backed by peer-reviewed scientific research. Every formulation is transparent. There are no proprietary blends and everything is naturally sweetened and flavored. Now, Legion is also holding its biggest sale of the year right now [email protected].

That’s just B u Y, and that means that for the next few days, you can save up to 30% on our best selling products, including our protein powders, pre-workout and post-workout supplements, fat burners, multivitamins, joint support, and more. Plus all orders over $150 will also get a free $15 Legion gift card.

All orders over $200 will get a free $20 gift card and all orders over $250 will get a free $25 gift card. That’s another 10% off. So that means that you can stock up on your favorite supplements for the winner and save up to 40%. So skedaddle on over to buy u i right now and save big.

You need to hurry though because no matter what our exorbitant E r P software predicts, we run out of stock of at least a thing or two every year during our Black Friday sale. And so that means that your favorite products or flavors may or may not survive the initial onslaught. Do not risk such a calamity my friend.

Place your order now [email protected] and claim your discount and then bask in the post-purchase glow. Hey mom. Hi honey. . So this is a unique success story episode for everybody listening because it’s my mom and she has been doing my program more or less. The thinner, leaner, stronger program made some changes along the way, but that basic approach to weightlifting for how many years now, mom?

You know, when 

Laura: I checked, I couldn’t believe it. I went back and I’ve been doing it for five years. 

Mike: Yeah, five years. So and so before that, for a long time, I remember you were always into exercising, but I guess it was mostly running and just kind of cardio, biometrics, that kind 

Laura: of stuff. Yeah, I mean, for most of my adult life, I mean, I started running when I was in my twenties.

So for most of my, I say young adult life, I ran, before I read your book, I had been doing a weight program. But what was interesting was that as I was doing it, I kind of, I remember looking at myself and going, oh, you know, I, I look kind of big and you know, I wasn’t fat, but I just, I looked kind of big.

And then of course when I read your book and I got more data, I went, oh, well it’s because I must be gaining some muscle. Because I was, you know, I was lifting fairly heavy weight, but not the program that I did with you. Right. And so, but I wasn’t, you know, doing any cutting or leaning out. So it kind of went, oh, that’s why I looked that way.

But that particular program, It wasn’t really great because it just, it didn’t have all of the components that yours does. It just didn’t have all the data and all the components and the importance of the diet. If you’re really going to get what you’re trying to achieve, that’s very, very important. You know, the correct amount of macros, protein, carbs, and fats.

Mike: So yeah, on the training side of things, I’m assuming it didn’t teach too much in the way of why and how it works. It’s more just like, not at all, hey, just do this and something will happen. It was a video . 

Laura: Yeah, it was. It was a video that I followed and I had dumbbells, you know, which 

Mike: is fine. So it’s more like exercise.

Yeah. It was valuable for burning calories and exercising. Yeah, there’s, there are health benefits and it’s gonna do something for your physique, but it doesn’t have really the components that make for training then, which is like, okay, so here’s a very specific goal. This is what we’re working toward and this is how we’re gonna get there and this is why it’s gonna work.


Laura: And also too, realizing after I had read your book that had I known what I knew after reading it, had I known this when I was younger, you know, like say in my. Forties, you know, later thirties, I wouldn’t have been running so much because really it was not conducive to maintaining muscle, you know, cuz I was running every day and I, at one point I was running like four and a half miles and then I went to like six and a half miles and you know, in my forties just really was not.

Conducive to maintaining muscle. I, I didn’t know anything about the amount of protein I should be eating. You know what I mean? So I definitely would’ve changed had I known then. 

Mike: Yeah. And you cut down on the running eventually because your knees started hurting? 

Laura: No, I could still go out and run today.

Okay. But initially I did when I, this was before, you know, I read your book. I initially, when I was starting to do, um, ballet wasn’t conducive to running. Just was not a good, it didn’t pair well with ballet because with running your achilles tendon shortens and it already had shortened for the year number of years I had been running.

And with ballet, you want that actually a lengthened, so I stopped. I see. But then I did ballet and then that was, You know, five and a half, six years. And then when I read your book, I went, oh my goodness. You know, this is what I need 

Mike: to do. And what’s a snapshot of kind of the before? So before you started doing things as they’re laid out in my book, where were you at in terms of body composition, if you remember any sort of metrics related to strength versus now?


Laura: I definitely, I remember my, I remember how much weight I lost when I did the cut, which was very interesting because I literally lost 11 pounds Now, you wouldn’t necessarily look at me and go, she needs to lose weight. Yeah. You know? Yeah. But it’s, it’s very interesting to me as you do start to, you know, I was on the cut and I was actually, I gained strength pretty 

Mike: quickly.

Even though you had been doing some resistance training previous. Yeah, 

Laura: I did not have the strength that I gained when I was doing your program, and it’s cause I got the macros in. I got the amount of protein I should be eating. I also had dropped out carbs for whatever reason many years ago. I just kind of had this idea that I just dropped out carbs and when I read your book, I had to laugh at myself and go, Hey, so why did I, why am I not eating carbs?

Yeah. Yeah. And I just went, okay, yeah, that’s gonna change. So just getting in the correct diet is very important in, you know, being able to gain strength, which I did. 

Mike: How did that strength manifest that? How did you know? Oh wow. I’m definitely stronger now. I 

Laura: would say when I started the program that my body fat, I would imagine was probably around, wasn’t super high, but maybe 25%.

I’m very small boned, so that’s a high percentage for my body. And how I 

Mike: wanna look, which I guess for anyone listening, any women listening, wondering what that looks like. 25% on most women looks, you’d say it looks athletic. You don’t look overweight. Certainly not. You don’t, you don’t look fat. And if you do have a bit of muscle, you are gonna look athletic.

But the. Lean and defined and toned. Look, that I’d say in my experience working with a lot of women over the years that women want, where you don’t just look maybe kind of athletic, but you look like an athlete that’s probably around 20% body fat for most women, maybe as low as 18%, depending on how lean you want to be.

But that’s where you really start to see definition in your stomach, for example, now I understand most women don’t want a six pack, but they wanna see some definition in their stomach. And you’re gonna see plenty of definition in your arms and your shoulders, but you’re still gonna have curves and you’re still gonna look like a woman.

You’re not gonna look jacked. You just look really like an athlete. Probably around 20%. And the male equivalent of that is probably around 10% is where you really look like an athlete versus just kind of fit or kind of. Yeah, 

Laura: I mean, and I could even been maybe a little bit, as you’re describing, I’m thinking, oh, maybe I was a little bit higher.

I could have been closer to 30%, but there was definitely too much fat. I definitely did not like the way I looked. Cause I do like a very athletic, lean, athletic look, you know, well toned look. So when I started doing your program, doing the cut, for instance, you’re asking me about, you know, strength. But I remember I started out on my squats, uh, I think 60 pounds and by the end of that cut I was up to 113 pounds.

Yeah, that’s great. Yeah. And I did that cut probably for about, I dunno, it was four months, maybe six at the most. I really did, you know, gain strength and my upper body while listening to one of your podcasts and you were talking about for women, it’s, you know, that they will develop their upper body.

Easier and faster than the lower body, and I’ve found that to be true. 

Mike: Yeah. Or minimally. What most women find is that it’s gonna take less time and work for them to get an upper body that they are happy with than a lower body. It just is gonna take more work for women to get the amount of definition and development they want in their lower body, in their legs and in their butt.

Really? Yep. Than in their upper body. And with guys it’s the other way around. It takes a lot more work for guys to get to the upper body they want versus the lower body because the legs are, you’re talking about very big muscles and they respond really well to heavy lifting and it just doesn’t take that much for a guy.

Like I’d say for most guys, they probably, if as long as they train their lower body consistently, they’re probably more or less, they’re like at 80% satisfaction probably by the end of year two. Sometimes even in the case in year one, depending on how their body responds. Whereas their upper body, if they’re.

Like most guys, it’s probably gonna take three or four years of consistent work until they feel like cool, they now have the entire package. And with women, it’s kind of the other way around. I’ve seen a lot of women by the end of the first year, maybe second year, they’re happy with their upper body. If they don’t gain another ounce of muscle in their upper body, they would be totally fine with that.

But they may be happy with the progress they’ve seen in the lower body, but they’re not at that same level of achievement in their own eyes. They still say, man, I still want more. I want to have more. It’s usually, again, glutes and I want a little bit more definition in my hamstrings and blah, blah, blah.

Mm-hmm. . 

Laura: Yeah, I can definitely attest to that. But yeah, I definitely gained strength, you know, pretty quickly, which I, I actually really liked. I enjoyed it was definitely completely. , I have to say, you know, the progress was, I didn’t get any kind of progress like that from the other program. The video that I was doing with all of the elements in that you need to have in order to, you know, lose fat and gain lean muscle, well then I started to do that, whereas on the other program, that was not really 

Mike: happening.

And you said you lost 11 pounds, so you almost certainly gained muscle. It’d be hard to believe that you are doubling your squat strength and gaining no muscle. No, I definitely did. Yeah. So, and that’s also something that’s just worth highlighting for women because a lot of women who are new to this are, and they’re used to paying a lot of attention to the scale and to their weight.

A lot of women will ask me, for example, well, what do you think my ideal body weight would be? And they come into it with usually an idea of an ideal body weight. It’s usually something related to the past when they felt they looked the best for sure. Sure. Whatever they weight, for sure. So they have this idea that I, if I weigh any more than that, I’m just not going to look good.

And when a lot of those women. Come to maybe not the end, but when they’ve done what you’ve done, where they’ve put a lot of work now into their body composition and maybe there’s still things they wanna work on, but on the whole, they’re actually pretty happy. They’re like, wow, I’ve made a big difference.

They’re often surprised at their body weights. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. that it’s higher than they, or that it didn’t even change that much because of the, from the beginning to the end because of the fat they lost in muscle, they gained mm-hmm. . So that, that’s just a phenomenon that it can throw women for a bit of a loop because again, The mainstream and it’s still the case now.

Advice to women is just obsess over your weight and starve yourself and do a bunch of 

Laura: cardio. Yeah, it’s very true. And you know, when I lost 11 pounds, I, you know, really ended up around 120 and you know, I thought I looked really good. I was pretty happy with that amount of, you know, weight being lost and I didn’t look skinny and I didn’t look skinny fat.

And, you know, I was happy with, as I said, it was, I had more definite, you know, gain definition faster in my upper body. But you know, I was happy with that. So I definitely, it is true with scale. It’s a very interesting thing. But honestly, it’s really how do you look? How are your clothes fitting? How does your body look?

And if scale doesn’t match what you have in your head, it doesn’t really matter. And you’re right about the past. Cuz I look at, okay, well I weighed this particular amount. , you know, when I was 20 or when I was, you know, younger. But truth be known, I’m in better shape because of the program than, you know, I was, let’s say 10 years ago or even 

Mike: 20 years ago.

Which is a very encouraging achievement because How old are you now? 61. Yeah. So at 61 you’re saying you’re in better shape and when you say better shape, I’m assuming you’re referring to I’m stronger. Yeah. The performance and what you see in the mirror for sure. 

Laura: Yeah. Yeah. I’m stronger. I’m, um, I’m still very fit.

Aerobically, and the diet is correct. It’s healthier, it’s the correct amount of protein. So I’m not, you know, consistently burning muscle and losing muscle because I did lose muscle, you know, over those years that I ran and I just was not getting enough protein. I thought I was, but I wasn’t. . And I think that happens with most people.

I mean, a lot of 

Mike: women in particular, a lot of women, they don’t like to eat meat. And just, again, this is just my experience having worked so many, they, they don’t like to eat meat or they don’t like to eat as much meat or eat as much as guys like to eat meat. So that won’t be a major part of their diet.

And a lot of women will, they’ll tend to eat a more just plant-based diet, which is fine, but it makes it hard to get enough protein. 

Laura: Yeah, for sure. Well, it’s definitely true because I’ve had over the years, just women ask me what do I do? And. Et cetera. And of course I always refer them to your book, but they ask me about the diet and I talk about the protein.

And you know, for one, they just can’t. Like, wow, that’s a lot of protein. And I said, well, it’s necessary. Every body is different. You know, there’s a formula to figure it out. Most people in general just don’t have that understanding or that reality that how important, you know, the correct amount of macros is for you.

You know? Yeah. Depending on what you’re trying to do, whether you’re trying to cut, or whether you’re trying to maintain, or whether you’re trying to hook, it’s the key. So, you know, you have like, let’s say a woman and she’s, you know, I see this in the gym, you know, when we travel and I go in the gym and they’re just endlessly killing themselves on the cardio machines, right?

But they’re overweight, they have a very high body fat percentage. Of course they’re eating too much. But the point is, is that they’re in there killing themselves for like an hour. And what are they doing? You know, I doubt that they’re eating. Anywhere near the protein they should be getting. Most girls when they’re trying to diet it, they eat salads.

Yeah. But then what they eat on their salads, because I’ve had this conversation with women who’d say, well, you know, I just can’t lose weight because I, I mean, all I’m eating is salads. Okay, well what are you putting on your salad? Oh, well, you know, olive oil. Well, how much olive oil do you put on your salad?

Oh, I just, you know, pour it on. And I mean, we know there’s a lot of calories in one table to of olive oil and they’re doing more than 

Mike: that. And then everything else, there’s cheese and then nuts, and then maybe eggs. And there’s nothing wrong with those foods per se, but that salad might be 1200 

Laura: calories.

That’s right. That’s right. And I had this exact conversation with a friend. She got done. She was like, oh. And she really had a realization on it. So, but anyway, yeah. So I see these women in the gym. I just wanna go up to ’em and I just wanna help them. You know, I just wanna just tell them, gosh, if you just read this book, you might find that what you’re doing is, maybe there’s some other things you could do that would be more helpful, but just basically burning muscle.

You know what I mean? Yeah. So I’m so glad that I don’t do that anymore. 

Mike: Yeah. And now along the way, what were some of the obstacles that you had to overcome on both the diet and the exercise side of things? 


Laura: you know, on the diet, it was an adjustment for my body because I think that my diet, being that I was not really doing carbs, and what I mean by that, I wasn’t doing really any whole grains.

I really wasn’t doing, you know, any kind of. Potatoes particularly. It was just mostly whatever meat that I fixed, you know, chicken or fish or hamburger, whatever. Really not a lot of carbs. I mean, there was a point where I just stopped eating carbs just altogether. So when I first started my, you know, meal plan, it was an investment for my body because it was getting more, it was more carbohydrate heavy as opposed to fat.

My fat grams for what my body, you know, to lose what I wanted to lose. You know, super high. I think they’re like 32 grams of fat in a day. Or 34, something like that. 32, 34 for my meal 

Mike: plan. And just to interject, there are any women who are surprised, or even guys who are surprised by that number, that’s a low fat approach to cutting.

And then there’s no problem with that. That’s enough to, to get by while you’re cutting. And if though you wanted you listener, Mr. Or Mrs. Listener, if you wanted to eat more fat. So let’s say that’s probably around, let’s say it’s 0.2 to two five grams of fat per pound of body weight per day. Mm-hmm. . And that is totally fine as far as a low fat approach goes.

And Eric Helms did a good review of the literature. through the, the lens of body building that to anybody listening, you can go find it and you can see what his position is on fat intake. And I, I agree with his position. And when you’re cutting, like some people go even lower than that just to maximize carbon intake because it is a limited period of time.

Mm-hmm. , and yes, it would not be ideal to, let’s say, go maybe as low as only 10 or 15% of daily calories from fat for a long period of time. No, but some people, especially bodybuilders during certain phases of their cut where they’re really, they’re trying to maximize their carbon intake just so they can have energy really, and at least have a little bit more energy and have a little bit better workouts.

But as far as. Mom where you were saying your fat is at that, again, probably around 0.2 to 0.25 grams of fat per day, and that’s totally workable. When you’re cutting, there are no downsides. It’s not gonna crash your hormones or cause any health issues. Again, because this is a short period of time, but if you want to eat more fat anyway listening you can.

If you are like, eh, I just don’t like going below, let’s say 30% of daily calories from fat, because then my meal plan just gets a lot less enjoyable to me. You can certainly make that work. However, anecdotally speaking, working with so many people over the years, I’d say most people prefer to eat as much carbohydrate as they can, and they’re okay with figuring out how to eat less fat because they get more satisfaction and more fullness satiety from carbs.


Laura: me, it was a, like I was saying, it was a bit of an investment, so I found myself being quite hungry for the first, I would say. You know, weak and then it, it kind of settled out because it was a bit of a change on the body. Cause I think that I had a much higher fat. Diet cuz you say, I was eating really next to nothing carb wise in terms of grains and breads and things like that.

I mean, I always had vegetables, so I think that my body kind of went, oh whoa, wait a minute here. What happened to all 

Mike: the fat ? Yeah. What happens? It gets used to whatever energy source you are giving it, and obviously carbs are primarily energetic, but if you’re not eating carbs, it’s going to get a lot of its energy, if that’s what it’s getting is a lot of fat and a lot of protein.

It’s gonna go to the fat for energy before it goes to the protein. And so your body just gets used to however you eat. And so yes, if you make a change, you could think of it. It has of course the machinery to burn carbs and fat for energy. But if you’ve only been running. fat through the machine for a long time, it’s not going to adjust overnight.

Right. It does adjust quickly. But yes, there, the extreme example of this is the keto flu that people experience when they, a lot of people, most people experience when they try the ketogenic diet for the first time and they’re, and it’s such a, a dramatic shift in, in where the body has to get its energy from and what it needs to do to do that.

People feel many people, most people feel terrible for the first week or two once it really sets in. So that’s normal. That’s to be expected. 

Laura: Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, I, I just went, okay. I understood. I knew that it was, you know, obviously a change. I would say by the second week, you know, it, it calmed down and I just continued, you know, with the meal plan and it was fine and I was enjoying eating my oatmeal in the morning and, you know, just having, putting carbs back in.

So I just kind of changed my. Me, my viewpoint and my attitude after I read your book and then changed 

Mike: my diet. And did you notice any positive or negative effects from flipping the carbs in the fat? Not, 

Laura: you know, as far as negative, other than just being hungry, 

Mike: which could have been related to the calorie deficit though, when you’re in deficit, like, yeah, usually for the first week or so, that’s also when you experience some hunger and cuz your body is, again, it just gets used to being fed certain amounts of food at certain times.

And if you make any major changes to that, it can take a week or so for the body to adjust. So, you know, the hunger may have been more just the deficit? Could have been, yeah. 

Laura: Yeah, could have been, could have been. As far as any negative, I mean, not really positive. I just think that I was now getting all the food groups as opposed to leaving one out.

I mean, Whole grains is good. It’s a good thing, and was leaving that out. It was just, so, I think that was very positive to get back on my diet. I think that I wouldn’t have gained the strength that I had gained had I not had that diet, you know, had I not had the carbs in, because carbs are very, very important, you know, for that.

So I think that was, you know, very positive and yeah. But I, I can’t think of really any other negative.

Mike: If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, please do check out my Sports Nutrition Company Legion, which is now the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the world. Now, Legion is also holding its biggest sale of the year right now [email protected]. That’s just b u Y, and that means that for the next few days, you can save up to 30% on our best selling products, including our protein powders, pre-workout and post-workout supplements, fat burners, multivitamins, joint support, and more.

Plus, all orders over $150. Will also get a free $15 Legion gift card. All orders over $200 will get a free $20 gift card and all orders over $250. We’ll get a free $25 gift card that’s another 10% off. So that means that you can stock up on your favorite supplements for the winner and save up to 40%. So skedaddle on over to buy, v u i right now and save big.

You need to hurry though because no matter what our exorbitant e r P software predicts, we run out of stock of at least a thing or two every year during our Black Friday sale. And so that means that your favorite products or flavors may or may not survive the initial onslaught. Do not risk such a calamity my friend.

Place your order now [email protected] and claim your discount and then bask in the post-purchase. Along the way on the cut, did you have to make any adjustments because I, you know, I do my best in the books to give a one size fits all approach, but do explain that ultimately there is individual variability while.

Energy balance works for everyone always in the same way. How you do that doesn’t necessarily work the same way. Like even take high carb versus low carb. Some people, they do great on high carb. Some people they just don’t actually like it. Like yeah, maybe their workouts are a little bit better, but maybe they have sensitive gut and they find that, for example, different types of carbs, even nutritious carbs, they don’t sit well with them.

They cause gastric distress and bloating and gassiness, and so a lower carb diet just works better for them. So when you were cutting, you said it was over four to six months, did you, did you take diet breaks? Did you run into problems related to hunger or cravings? Were there any things, any just maybe unforeseen variables that you had to deal with?

Yeah, I 

Laura: think now that I’m looking at it, I think that every once in a while my body would just crave. Like nut butters, just, which would be a fat, right? So I would just increase my fat a bit. I would add some extra fat in, and that would seem to, I would be happy with that. I never really took a break, just because it’s not in my nature to do that.

I have a very hard time doing the D loads. taking a week off was not in my nature. So I really never took, you know, particularly diet break. But there would be points where I would just add in some extra, like a, a couple tablespoons of almond butter or something like that where I just, you know, I just wanted it, my body was, was craving it.

You know? Also too, there is an adjustment that as you, you know, gain more muscle and you lose fat. I believe that there is an adjustment that eventually you should do in your diet. Right. 

Mike: Well, yeah, sure. As your body weight goes down and as you get deeper into a cut, inevitably you have to reduce your calories unless you start your calories way too low.

I mean, I guess if you started your calories like 20% beneath your resting metabolic rate, which would be a terrible idea, but if you did that, I guess you could just starve yourself all the way, but you, you probably wouldn’t make it because you’d feel terrible and it wouldn’t work. But if you do it right, if you’re starting with a, a moderate calorie deficit based on your total calorie expenditure, total daily expenditure in the beginning, and if you have a fair amount of fat to lose, if you do need to go more than let’s say four or six weeks, you can count on having to reduce your calories along the way, even if you take diet breaks and no matter.

you can do it all right. And you’re not gonna be able to lose, let’s say 30 pounds, 20 or 30 pounds with your calories staying the same for the entire cut. Mm-hmm. , that makes 

Laura: sense. I mean, I had my meal plan, so fortunately it was based on my D D E E, and it was based on my body fat percentage, you know? So it was the correct amount, and it wasn’t like a crash, obviously, diet that I put together, you know?

So I think that’s why for me, you know, I was able to lose the amount of weight really, that I needed to lose without having to. You know, cause it wasn’t 20 pounds, it wasn’t, you know, any longer than six months at the most. I was able to pretty much, you know, keep that diet, you know, the one that I my cutting diet and lose that weight, you know, lose that 11 

Mike: pounds.

And as far as the time goes, again, if people are wondering, cuz they might be wondering why did it take six months to lose 11 pounds? My guess is two things, could have been 

Laura: four, you know, could have been four months. It’s five years ago. So I, I didn’t really have that noted anywhere. You know, it probably, honestly, Mike was not more than four months.

I probably stayed on it longer than I should have because I just, whatever had the idea that I had, but it probably was not longer than four months. 

Mike: Okay. Okay. Even four months is, I mean that’s maybe you might have been able to do it a little bit faster, but I. If somebody were to tell me, I want to lose 11 pounds now you also gained muscle, so you probably lost a little bit more fat.

So let’s say over that period you gained a few pounds of muscle. I think that’s a, a fair guess. So you might have lost upward of 15 pounds of fat, let’s just call it 10 to 15 pounds. And if somebody to tell me that’s what they want to do, yeah, I would say think maybe around three months. It could take a little bit longer depending on your body and depending on compliance.

Like you had mentioned that you didn’t take any formal diet breaks, but you would just eat a bit more food now and then, which can work as well though. I mean that’s also, that’s just a more intuitive way of going about it, where when you feel like, okay, you’ve. In a solid deficit for a period now, and your body would really appreciate some more food, then you can then just raise your calories by three to 500 calories a day.

Probably no more than that. Bring yourself basically back up to where you’re at, maintenance calories. Do that for a couple of days, and then you’re like, all right, I feel better now. And you go back into a deficit. That’s kind of what you’re doing with a diet break. Same thing with de-loading. Some people do like to de-load more intuitively.

I think it really depends on your training and what you’re doing. The problem with it is what you said is, and I’m the same way, if we’re gonna try to do it intuitively, it probably means we’re not gonna de-load as much as we should. We’re just gonna, when Sunday comes and we’re like, okay, we probably should deload, and then we get in the gym on Monday, we.

And now we’re good. I’ll de-load next week and then that can cause issues. But yeah, I just wanted to comment on anybody wondering on the time that even if it did take six months, that’s fine. All that would mean is that if you looked at it on a day-to-day basis that your calorie deficit could have probably been a bit bigger.

But if a smaller calorie deficit helped you stay the course and helped you get to where you want to be without having to suffer for it, then that would’ve been the better way to do it. Sure, 

Laura: yeah. As I said, I don’t think it was really any longer looking back on it any longer than four months. And also too, just to what you’re saying as far as you know, doing the deload intuitively.

Yeah, I am definitely, because I have to laugh cause this last D load, which is I’m doing the D load this week, I was four weeks past the D Cause I would go, yeah. You know, I think I just wanna keep going. But then I’ll tell you something, my body will, I will start to. , you know, feel a bit like, ah, I don’t, and I don’t mean, you know, it happens every once in a while.

We’re just like, well, you know, I don’t feel like working out. Okay. We all go through that. But no, I mean, my body is just, I do feel a bit of almost the nervous system. Exhaustion a bit. 

Mike: Yeah. Yeah. Which is, it’s hard to say exactly what’s going on, but the subjective feeling, that’s definitely how it feels subjectively where your body is really like, please, can I just have a break?

Laura: That’s right. And that’s when I went, okay, that’s it. I have to do the deload and I’m, I’m doing it and I’m this deload that I’m doing. I’m doing exactly what it says. The last B load, I would do more reps. I was like, oh, I’ll just do a few more reps. Whatever. But no, this one I’m following because you. That’s what you’re supposed to do.

And you say why? And it’s actually very important, you know, that you do not overtax the nervous system. And you know, you give it your joints, your body a break. And I push it very hard. You know, that’s my nature is in any kind of exercise that I’ve done, I pushed it very hard. And when I was doing ballet, you know, I started that when I was, what, 49?

Turning 50. And I actually got on tow, which for, if anybody knows anything about ballet, it’s a lot of work to do that. And, but I loved it cause it was very challenging and I, I can push myself and push my body really hard, but it gets to a point where, especially with weights, you know, doing ballet is very different than lifting weights.

With lifting weights. I mean, you. You know, I’m lifting for my body, I’m lifting heavy weights. And after a while, as I said, my body just went, okay. You know, just gimme a break. And I do and bid fuel that. So it’s important. It’s 

Mike: important to do. Yeah. Yeah. Agreed. Yeah. It’s funny with Deloading because many people, they get it backward.

They think that it’s more important for newbies than it is for intermediate and advanced weightlifters. And it, the opposite is true. It’s less important. And now I do recommend Deloading for newbies. And by newbies I mean people in their first year or so of proper weightlifting, even though they don’t need it physiologically, in the same way that intermediate and advanced weightlifters do, it’s good to get into the habit of it.

And it’s not gonna hurt, it’s not gonna set them back. But I have seen firsthand, and I’ve come across many people over the years, just working with people who they would skip in the beginning. They might not deload for their first six or eight months, not even once, and they have no negative side effects.

They were able to just consistently make progress, keep on adding weight to the bar, no real joint issues, no muscle aches, no feelings of fatigue, just smooth progress. However, once your newbie gains are exhausted, then Deloading becomes a necessity and it needs to be on a regular schedule because your body is now no longer as responsive to the training.

It doesn’t have the same level of anabolic response to the training. And more importantly, the weights are now a lot heavier and a lot of people, they miss that. It is very different. Especially if we’re talking about tissues and joints, it’s very different to squat half of your body weight. And that might feel subjectively just as hard in the beginning as squatting twice your body weight feels later.

But there’s a big difference in weight and that puts a lot more stress on the body as the weights go up. And then also what usually goes up as people progress is the volume goes up too and it needs to, if they’re gonna continue making progress, the amount of hard sets per major MUS group per week that gets them through a successful first year is eventually just not enough.

So let’s say you go from doing like. 10 hard sets per major muscle group per week in the beginning, which is similar to thinner than or stronger. There’s a point where if you want to continue gaining muscle and strength, you’re just gonna have to do more. Now if you wanna maintain what you have and have good workouts, you could stick with that.

But if you are trying to break through the next level, you’re probably gonna have to go as high as 15 hard sets per major mouse group per week. And so now you have that as well. So volume has gone up by, in this case, 50% weights have probably doubled or tripled on the big lifts. That’s a whole different experience for the body and, and that requires a lot more to recover from.

So it becomes essential. And I’ve made the mistake firsthand of not deloading often enough. And what would happen is usually the deloads would come from getting sick and just getting a cold or something, and then being out of the gym for five days would like turn into a de-load basically since. Putting myself on a regular D load schedule.

This is not a point of causation. I’m sure it’s more just correlation, but it is interesting that I have not only not gotten sick and there are other factors in that, but I’ve also noticed that I just, my body has never gotten to that point where it really just starts to feel kind of run down because of my training, you know?


Laura: That makes sense. Because you know you’re stressing it or you’re putting more stress on it, you know it’s gonna lower d. You know, could lower the immune system a bit because you’re stressing it, 

Mike: you know, and it just falls behind in recovery. Right. You just fall behind and that deficit just grows and grows and grows and it manifests in different ways.

Laura: Right, right. You know, as I’ve been doing the weightlifting, I have experienced, you know, some joint issues. Like in my, you know, I had this thing with my left elbow where it, which is bothering me and hurting and whatever. Mm-hmm. again, my nature is not to back down. My nature is to go, yeah, okay, well that’s just too bad and we’re just gonna continue.

But I mean, eventually it went away, you know? But I have had, I, you know, I’ve heard I doing bed list because form is very, very important, which you talk about in your book. It’s very, very important. And when I was doing a couple times, this was in the past, I was doing deadlifts. I. You know, torquing my back.

And when I looked at my form, I didn’t realize that my one leg was a bit forward, you know, from my other leg. So the stance that I was in was not a proper stance. Now for some people it might have been nothing, but my body isn’t 20 years old. Right. And 

Mike: also, as the weights get heavier, little things like that matter more in the beginning.

You can get away with that when you’re lifting 50 pounds. That’s 

Laura: right. That’s right. So I have had some, you know, if you wanna call them setbacks, you can call them setbacks. But for me, I’ve never been one to. Allow that to stop me or to that I wouldn’t, you know, continue. Obviously I had to handle it back because it was quite torque these couple times.

Mike: I’m assuming it was more just a, it wasn’t some major angle. No, 

Laura: I just, you know, like pinch nerve, you know, vertebrae that was just, you know, kind of a pinched nerve and chiropractic, you know, and things like that healed it and just me just not 

Mike: lifting weight and that’s the key is not continually re aggravating it.

That’s the key. Anybody listening, if you run into any repetitive stress injuries, even just things that start to become nagging pains that will not go away, then you just have to stop doing whatever is aggravating it. That really is probably 80% of recovering from stuff like that is if you do not stop doing what is ve.

No amount of other treatments are likely going to fix it. , the primary thing you have to do is stop pissing it off. Give your body a chance to fix what is wrong. 

Laura: Yeah, exactly. So I did because it was such that I, I really couldn’t, you know, continue. Yeah. It was just the nature of, you know, having like kinda like a little bit of a pinched nerves there.

So, but that set me back because then, you know, I had to lay off for a bit, so then I had to work back up to where I was and, but that said, I would, you know, it took me a while. I think the second time that it happened, and again, it was just different periods of time but kind of set me back. But I did, you know, obviously recover and I did continue and, you know, took me a while to get back up to, I was deadlifting hundred 13 and squatting hundred 13.

It took me a while to get back to that because of the amount obviously of weight in, you know, that is, on your spine, you know, when you’re squatting. So, but I did, but I have, in the last, I don’t know, I wanna say few months, several months, I started adding extra sets like you were talking about, because I’m not far from, you know, a beginner and I had, I think I’d listened to one of your podcasts or I think that’s what it was, and I, or maybe talked to you and I realized that, you know, I had the capability, I just naturally wanted to add more sets.

I had the capability of doing it and I wanted to do it because I want more muscle in my legs. And ultimately I probably have to do a bulk, cause my body fat percentage stays around, you know, 18%, give or take. So I probably ultimately, and I, you know, should probably do a bulk. But I did end up adding more sets, you know, so that, for instance, I’ll do four sets of squats.

I’ll do four sets of bed list, pretty much, I’ll add four sets to everything. Every day. I probably don’t have to do that, but I do because I can and I have the capacity to do it. So I, I actually have started to increase my calories at my carbs to start with almost doing, you know, kind of letting the body ramp up.

Mike: That’s my preference is I haven’t leaned bulked in a while, but the last time I did is I, I think I got my carbs up to, I wanna say like six to 800 grams a day. And at that point I, I just, I was sick of eating more carbs, so then that’s when I was, okay, I’m gonna eat more fat toward the end of my bulk.

That wasn’t enough to continue gaining weight. You mean the amount 

Laura: of carbs wasn’t enough or the 

Mike: amount of fat? Fat, yeah. Well, amount of calories, right. So I was raising my calories and I was just raising carbs because that’s best for maximizing performance, uh, in the gym, best for gaining muscle and strength and best also for minimizing fat gain.

But there is a point where, , anybody reaches their ceiling. Like you actually just physically, you’re like, I can’t think about eating more carbs. I mean, I was, my last meal of the day I remember was a bowl of pasta that I would like force feeded myself. I did not want to eat it, but I was just eating it.

And so at that point when I needed to eat more calories, cuz eventually it’s, it’s really the same experience. It’s just the, the opposite. When you’re cutting, you have to slowly lower your calories over time. When you’re lean bulking, you have to slowly raise your calories over time to continue gaining weight.

So eventually that 600 ish grams of carbs per day was not enough to continue gaining weight because of my calories. And at that point I was like, all right, I’m done. I’m not going to, I don’t even want to eat a half a cup of oatmeal and then I’m gonna add some butter to my pasta and some oil to something else because it’s already ridiculous.

I already feel full and disgusting basically all times, all day. So 

Laura: I know that’s tough. It’s tough for me because I’m not used to, that’s why I’m doing it slowly. I naturally, I don’t. You know, I eat until I’m full and then I don’t eat again until I’m hungry. I really do not like eating if I’m not hungry.

I just, I don’t like it. I, as a matter of fact, I hate it truth be known, so it’ll be interesting. But I realize that I needed to start, you know, upping my, my carbohydrates first 

Mike: and lean bulking, you’re gonna have to get used to eating when you’re not hungry. I mean, that’s the only way to successfully do it.

Laura: I know that’s gonna be a rough one for me. We’ll see how that goes. But, you know, I actually probably need to, in a new unit of time, get a new meal plan and just kind of, you know, plan it all out and really take a look at it. I mean, I know it could be done with maintenance too, because you and I have talked 

Mike: about that unless something Yeah, you can.

No, you can for sure. You just have to expect, you have to know it’s a slower process and already you, there’s probably not much muscle and strength left for you to gain already just because of where you’re at in your journey. But whatever there is, To gain. It’s just gonna be slower doing it at maintenance, but there’s a bit of scientific evidence to support that and a lot of anecdotal evidence to support that.

You can have your calories hover around maintenance, especially if you’re willing to air on the side of being in a slight surplus and not deficit. The problem 

Laura: is, yeah, that’s what I was thinking. That’s what I was 

Mike: thinking. The problem with how many people, especially if they’re lean and they like being lean, how they execute this strategy is the opposite.

What maintenance means for many of them is slight. Deficit probably three to five days a week. And then maybe a slight surplus, like I’ve seen it many times where they’re in a slight deficit throughout the week and then they’re in a, a decent surplus on the weekend. And so yeah, that it might even out to maintenance calories for the week, but they’re in a deficit essentially most of the time.

And that impairs muscle growth. And that of course, then impairs strength gain. And so they don’t understand why are they stuck, even though their body weight is not changing. They’re like, I’m not cutting, but you kind of are. You’re just. Undoing that deficit in a couple of days. And it’s usually the weekends when they go out and eat with friends, or maybe it’s when they allow themselves to have some alcohol, whatever, when their calories are less controlled.

And that’s unfortunately the opposite of what you’d want to do because these people are the people who are training during the week, so they’re in a deficit in all their training days. Oh, right. Oh, right. On their couple of days off, they’re eating more food. Yeah, totally. That makes sense. That’s what you have to, don’t make that mistake if, but if you do it the other way around, for example, if you go, okay, how about I maintain, I’m gonna err on the side of a little bit of overeating during the week, and then on the weekends I’m gonna lower my calories a little bit to lose.

I mean, you’re not gonna lose that much fat in two days, but if you gain a little bit of fat during the week, maybe lose a little bit on the weekend. That approach works much. . 

Laura: Mm-hmm. . Yeah, that makes sense. Or you know, just do your maintenance calories and like you said, just air on the side maybe. Yeah.

Eating a little bit extra on the weekend, you know, not a lot don’t go crazy, but yeah, that makes sense. So I think that’s, you know, for me that’s where I’m at because I would, as I said, I’d like to put on, I’d like to have a little more definition in my legs, you know, so that’s kind of was, I was thinking, well that’s really what I need to do.

I listened to a podcast with a gal that, I don’t remember her name, but she, it was a great podcast cause she talked about how she had osteoporosis. She was actually, had quite a bit of osteoporosis and you know, she started doing weight weightlifting. She, you know, found your books, started doing weightlifting and, you know, her numbers changed drastically where her osteoporosis started to reverse.

Well the reason I brought it up is because she talked about doing a bulk right. And she did a couple bulks and you know, she was talking about how she. On her first one, she freaked out. She had a personal coach she was working with, but she freaked out cause she put on five pounds like immediately, you know?

And she was very, very small to begin with, height-wise and just body-wise. So it just really freaked her out. Well, as I was listening, you know, to her talk about the bulk and the results that she got, I was kind of like, okay, you know, I need to re-look at. That whole thing. And cuz I think I’m to a point where I need to do like either a maintenance and then a little bit more, you know, maybe a couple of days, whatever, or do a full bulk because I did increase my number of sets that I’m doing.

Like I said, it got me looking at it 

Mike: basically. Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. So then that’s the plan, that’s where you want to go from here is a Lean Bowl or an extended maintenance lean gains type of phase? Yeah, 

Laura: I think so. I think that’s probably what I mean. It’s, it’s kind of what I’ve started, like I said, adding, you know, some, just bringing up my Yeah.

Carbs and you know, kind of going from there. Could you lay it out very simply, you know, how to, you know, it’s, it’s basically when you’re talking about reverse dieting, you know you’re increasing your carbs. I think it. You know, 25 grams a day. Was it? I’m trying to remember. 

Mike: Yeah, I think that was in an older edition of the book because there was, I’ve spoken about this a couple of times recently that my position on reverse dieting has changed and that years ago it was, it was something that had a little bit of evidence for its effectiveness, or at least for the theory and the literature, and it had some anecdotal support and many experts and thought leaders in the evidence-based fitness space.

Believed in it and used it regularly or said, yeah, there could be something here. And they did it even though they knew that maybe it wasn’t necessary. And now, fast forward to today, and I think the weight of the evidence in the literature and the anecdotal evidence makes it clear that it’s not necessary.

Actually, you can just increase your calories when you’re at the end of a cut. You can just jump back to maintenance calories and you’re not gonna gain fat. There are no negative downsides to it. What you may not want to do though, is be at the end of a cut and then go straight into a surplus. Straight into a lean bulk.

And that’s probably mostly behavioral and just psychological. It might be better to get back to maintenance, get used to eating a bit more food, stay there for a week or two maybe, and then move into a, I would start with, A small surplus, maybe 200 calories per day, and just see if that’s enough to be able to consistently start gaining muscle and strength because as, especially as an intermediate or advanced weightlifter, you.

Should be using a smaller surplus than somebody who is new. Because again, somebody who is new, their body’s gonna respond a lot more robustly to the training and it will be able to do more with those surplus calories because like start with, it’s gonna build more muscle, it needs more raw materials for that, whereas you’re not gonna respond like that anymore, then you don’t need to be providing your body with as many extra calories.

So, you know, going from cut to maintenance for a week or two weeks until you feel. Satisfied and adjusted to the, to the larger amount of food, and you no longer have the desire to eat a lot more. A lot of people experience that when they are at the end of a cut, they increase their calories, it’s nice and they feel like they would really like to eat a lot more.

Let that pass and then move into a slight surplus. Probably about 200 calories a day is a good place to start over your, your maintenance calories and see over the course of a couple of weeks how. Reflect in your training. How does it reflect in your body weight If you don’t really see any change, if your weights or you’re not able to add any gain reps or add weight or anything, and your body weight hasn’t changed beyond that initial jump from going from your cut to your maintenance, then I would say increase your surplus by a hundred calories.

So now bump it up. So now you’re 300 over, and just kind of rinse and repeat that until you are gaining anywhere from 0.25% to 1% of your body weight per month. And the low end is for intermediate more, let’s say more like advanced weightlifters. If you’re an intermediate weightlifter, maybe about a half a percent of body weight per month is a good goal.

And if you’re new, you could go up to a percent of body 

Laura: weight per month. Mm-hmm. . Okay, that makes sense. That makes sense. It’s a very simple, you know, 

Mike: way of doing it. Yeah. Again, reverse dieting was something that a lot of people in the evidence-based fitness space at least acknowledged, was maybe a worthwhile strategy.

But now at least the, the people whose work I like the most and who I follow the most have said, Hmm. They, they’re like, yeah, this thing, it didn’t really pan out. It doesn’t really make sense really for anybody under any circumstances. Interesting. So why not? Interesting, 

Laura: because, you know, my thought is, you know, we’ve all heard this and maybe even experienced it, where you have gone on some sort of diet, let’s say whatever it was, whatever you were doing, somehow you managed to eat less calories than what you were burning.

So you lost weight. And then let’s say they go off their diet and they go back to eating normal. My thought was, oh, well it’s because the metabolism does naturally. Slow down a bit as in response to getting, you know, less, having less energy to burn. So that’s why it would make sense, not in every case, but in some cases, that these individuals would start putting on weight because they’re all of a sudden giving their body more energy than the metabolism is up to handling.

You know, that kind of made sense to 

Mike: me. Yeah, that was the theory. It hasn’t panned out in research and practice because yeah, the metabolic adaptations that occur are significant enough to become weight loss impediments. Like that is one of the reasons why you have to reduce your calories gradually as time goes on.

But they’re not as major as it was once believed that they were in, in the average person, and they reverse very quickly when you do start eating more food. And a downside of of the reverse diet approach is you are in a deficit still. You’re staying in a deficit, let’s say, three or four weeks longer than you need to.

And unfortunately, if you reduce your deficit by, let’s say, 25%, you’re not gonna reduce side effects by 25%. You’re gonna feel just as bad like there’s gonna be no difference in terms of you’re not gonna see a 25% increase in performance in the gym. You’re not gonna now be able to go from like zero muscle gain to at least a little bit of muscle gain.

Really nothing is gonna change. And that’s likely true. Also of, let’s say you’ve reduced your deficit by 75%, you’re still in a deficit. You might feel a little bit better because, well, because you’re feeding your body a bit more food. There might be some psychological relief. But to really kind of flip that switch on in terms of performance in the gym and muscle and strength gain, it requires coming out of the deficit altogether.

And really eliminating those metabolic adaptations requires coming out of the deficit altogether. And also something worth mentioning to you and, and everybody listening. It also, depending on how lean you got by the end of your cut, it often can require getting fatter. Like there are metabolic adaptations that are driven by the sheer amount of fat on your body.

Like if your body fat levels get too low, you are always gonna have low levels of a hormone called leptin, for example, that is related to the metabolism, related to appetite. And there is no way around that. Unfortunately, there’s no diet hack, there’s no biohack. Doesn’t matter how many supplements you take.

If your body fat levels are too low, you are going to experience negative side effects literally forever until you put on more fat. And that manifests differently in different people. But there definitely are levels that pretty much everybody, nah, everybody. There is a a bottom threshold that if you go beneath that you are going to feel worse and it.

is not going to change until you get above that threshold. And men, I think it’s fair to say it’s probably around 7% body fat, maybe 8%. Once they get around there and below that, things just do not work as well as they normally do, and they will never work as well as they. Should, until body fat levels are increased.

And in women it’s probably 16, 17% in that range. And you know, that just is what it is. It makes sense. 

Laura: And so, you know, my thought as you’re saying that is really the ideal scene, or at least I’m thinking, the ideal scene is just to, you actually are in a maintenance and you actually are, you know, you do have a good amount of muscle so that you are happy with how your body looks and you know, because you have a good amount of muscle.

Of course, muscle drives requires more calories. Right. You know, it, it will, yeah. Yeah. Burn more calories. So the ideal scene would just be to really have a good amount of muscle. And, you know, be lean and you know, as far as having a good amount of muscle and maintaining a correct diet, a maintenance diet, you really should not, there really shouldn’t be a problem with body fat there.

I wouldn’t 

Mike: think. Well, it depends how lean somebody wants to stay. Like if they’re trying, if a woman’s trying to stay at 15% body fat and she’s wondering Yeah, that’s really low. Yeah, she’s, she’s like, I’m, I’m doing a good job on my maintenance. I’m cycling my calories correctly. I’m in a slight surplus during the week.

I’m in a slight deficit on the weekend just to undo. The surplus and I can’t get anywhere. And no matter what I do with my programming, no matter what type of progression model I try to use, no matter how much I, how much volume I try to do, uh, then again, it’s like, yes, it’s not gonna change until you’re just willing to be fatter.

Laura: Yeah. Meaning sh you’re saying she wants to go lower than 

Mike: 15% or she No, no. She wants to stay there. If a woman were to say, yeah, like, I’m only happy, I’m only happy at 15 or 16% body fat, but I do want to try a Lean Gaines phase, I would say, it’s not worth it. It’s not going to get anywhere. Uh, and I would You’re not gonna go any lower?

Well, not any lower, but I’m saying that that woman is not gonna. She’s not gonna get anywhere at that body fat level. And the same thing with a guy at 7%. If a guy, naturally, now if you introduce drugs, everything changes. But talking about natural weightlifting here, if a guy’s at 7%, a real 7%, and, and to put a visual to that for guys, that’s where you don’t just have abs.

You have like veins coming up your abs, you can see that’s a true 7%. And if you’re that lean, don’t expect to make any real progress in the gym. It’s just not gonna happen. So there’s the psychological barrier that some people have to get over, which is this obsession with being extremely lean and it impairs performance.

And it also is, it’s not good for health. I mean, that level, maintaining 15% body fat for a woman is, is probably not healthy over the long term. And for men trying to maintain six or 7% is not healthy because, I mean, you can just look at what it does to hormones alone and that just is what it is. And that’s why one of the reasons why a lot of.

Guys in particular turn to steroids. There’s the muscle and strength gain. But then there’s also the fact that even if you just introduced testosterone to the mix, everything changes. Now you can stay six or 7% and you feel great, you sleep fine. You have a lot of energy. You’re strong in the gym and it, that’s just testosterone.

And there are many other drugs that people turn to as well. But when you take the testosterone out, different story. Yeah. That 

Laura: makes. That makes sense. Well, that’s good. It’s good beta. Yeah. 

Mike: Yeah. All right, mom. Well this was great. I liked hearing the, the details. I, I knew most of them, but I learned a couple of things, so.

Laura: Well, good. I really enjoyed it. Thank you for having, and I will tell you that I just will tell you this because I think it’s great. I have two friends and I think I mentioned, but I wanted to tell you their progress just really quickly. My one friend, she is 66 years old, and she read your book and she got a meal plan and she’s been doing your program and I mean, she’s doing it five days a week.

She’s doing the full program and she is loving it. She is so happy with, and she’s one of these who said, oh, I’m eating plenty of protein. And then she, you know, read the book and she got your meal plan and she went, oh my gosh. Had no idea that I was eating so little protein. So she’s really enjoying it and I can see she’s been doing it now for, I wanna say three weeks, and I see a difference in her arm.

She’s really thrilled in doing very well. And then my other friend who she’s kind of, they’re working together in the gym, you know, I went and helped them out one day and now they’re doing great. She’s also, I saw her. . She’s very, very happy with her progress. She’s losing weight and I saw the muscle, you know, the tone in her arm.

She’s really, really happy and she just turned 50. So they’re both doing really, really well, both doing the meal plans and they’re really 

Mike: happy with the program. That’s great. Yeah. . Awesome. It’s straightforward. I mean, it works for everyone. In the same way results vary because individual response varies and compliance varies, but the principles work and it’s never too late really.

It’s really never too late. I mean, somebody could be 80 years old and yeah, if someone were 80, I wouldn’t recommend that they, if it’s an 80 year old guy, wouldn’t say, oh, just do bigger than you’re stronger. But he could, or, or even an eight year old woman say, yeah, do it exactly as it’s in the book. We’d make some changes.

But there are good examples of this case studies in the scientific literature of people in their seventies and eighties starting resistance training programs and yeah, they’re using machines, but it’s still real resistance training and gaining muscle, gaining strength, gaining mobility, gaining like functional capacity, losing fat.

It’s never too late. 

Laura: Absolutely. And I’ve. Studies actually, of what you’re talking about. It was quite remarkable. I mean, people in their nineties, the one that I read, literally in a wheelchair, they could not walk. And they started doing, started out with literally just, you know, lightweights getting in the right nutrition and them being able to walk again.

Quite remarkable. Yeah. 

Mike: Love it. All right, mom. Well, um, yep. Yeah. Thanks again for taking the time. Well, thanks for having me. All right. Well, that’s it for today’s episode. I hope you found it interesting and helpful. And if you did, and you don’t mind doing me a favor, could you please leave a quick review for the podcast on iTunes or wherever you are listening from?

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And last, if you didn’t like something about the show, then definitely shoot me an email at mike muscle for and share your thoughts. Let me know how you think I could do this better. I read every email myself and I’m always looking for constructive feedback. All right, thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.

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