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I’ve written and recorded a lot of evidence-based content over the years on just about everything you can imagine related to building muscle, losing fat, and getting healthy.
I’ve also worked with thousands of men and women of all ages and circumstances and helped them get into the best shape of their lives.
That doesn’t mean you should blindly swallow everything I say, though, because let’s face it—nobody is always right about everything. And especially in fields like diet and exercise, which are constantly evolving thanks to the efforts of honest and hardworking researchers and thought leaders.
This is why I’m always happy to hear from people who disagree with me, especially when they have good arguments and evidence to back up their assertions.
Sometimes I can’t get on board with their positions, but sometimes I end up learning something, and either way, I always appreciate the discussion.
That gave me the idea for this series of podcast episodes: publicly addressing things people disagree with me on and sharing my perspective.
Think of it like a spicier version of a Q&A.
So, here’s what I’m doing:
Every couple of weeks, I’m asking my Instagram followers what they disagree with me on, and then picking a few of the more common or interesting contentions to address here on the podcast.
And in this episode, I’ll be tackling the following . . .
4:14 – The mind muscle connection and slowing down reps is important to a degree
19:03 – Three to four minutes of rest in between sets feel like too much
35:13 – Chasing money and success is a waste of life #spreadlove
Mentioned on The Show:
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Hello, and welcome to Muscle for Life. I’m your host, Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today. Now, I’ve written and recorded a lot of evidence-based stuff over the years on just about everything you can imagine relating to building muscle, losing fat, and getting healthy. I’ve also worked with thousands and thousands of men and women of all ages and circumstances and helped them get into the best shape of their life.
But that does not mean you should just blindly swallow everything I say because let’s face it, nobody is always right about everything, and especially in fields like diet and exercise, which are always evolv. Thanks to the efforts of honest and hardworking researchers and thought leaders, and that’s why I’m always happy to hear from people who disagree with me, especially when they have good arguments and evidence to back up their assertions.
Sometimes I can’t quite get on board with their positions, but sometimes I. Learning something. And either way, I always appreciate the discussion and that gave me the idea for this series of podcast episodes, which I call says You, where I publicly address things that people disagree with me on, and I share my perspective.
It’s like epic Q and A. So what I do is every couple of weeks I ask people who follow me on Instagram at multiple life fitness, please follow me what they disagree with me on, and then I pick a few of the more common or interesting contentions to address here on the podcast. So if there’s something that you disagree with me on, and it could be related to diet, exercise.
Supplementation business, lifestyle. I don’t care anything. Go follow me on Instagram at Muscle for Life Fitness and look for my says U story that I put up every couple of weeks where I solicit content for these episodes. Or just shoot me an email, Mike Muscle for life.com. All right, so here is what I’ll be tackling in today’s episode.
The mind muscle connection and slowing down reps is important to a degree. From Sean Shank Redemption over on Instagram, and then I have three to four minutes of rest in between sets. Feels like too much sometimes from David e Bar. Instagram and chasing money and success is a waste of life. Hashtag spread love from squash Sutton again over on Instagram.
Also, if you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my health and fitness books, including the number one best selling weightlifting books for men and women in the world. Bigger, leaner, stronger. Thinner, leaner, stronger, as well as the leading flexible dieting cookbook, the Shredded Chef.
Now, these books have sold well over 1 million copies and have helped thousands of people build their best body ever, and you can find them on all major online retailers like Audible, Amazon, iTunes, Cobo, and Google Play, as well as in select Barnes and Noble stores. And I should also mention that you can get any of the audio books 100%.
When you sign up for an Audible account, and this is a great way to make those pockets of downtime, like commuting, meal prepping, and cleaning more interesting, entertaining, and productive. And so if you want to take Audible up on this offer, and if you want to get one of my audio books for free, just go to www.buy Legion, that’s b y legion.com/audible and sign up for your account.
So again, if you appreciate my work and if you wanna see more of it, and if you wanna. Time proven and evidence based strategies for losing fat, building muscle, and getting healthy, and strategies that work for anyone and everyone, regardless of age or circumstances, please do consider picking up one of my best selling books, Bigger, Leaner, Stronger for Men, Thinner, Leaner, Stronger for Women, and the Shredded Chef for my favorite fitness friendly recipe.
Okay, so let’s start with the first contention, the mind muscle connection. Again, this comes from Sean Shank Redemption over on Instagram, and he basically says that slowing down and really focusing on the muscles you’re training is important to a degree, and I. Entirely disagree here. I think it does make sense to control the weight through the entire range of motion, and it does make sense to focus on the muscles that you’re training.
Maybe it’s not gonna improve your performance much or enough to make a difference, and I’ll talk about that in a moment, but I think that it will at least make your workout a little bit more enjoyable. I enjoy my workouts more by focusing on what I’m doing when I’m doing. Even if it is something difficult, like a heavy squat or a heavy deadlift, I’d rather focus on, in the case of the squat, I’m probably focusing most on just cues.
Like for example, I’m trying to keep my chest up. That’s a good cue for me so my hips don’t rise too quickly. If I. Make a mistake on my squat, especially deep in a set, it’s probably gonna be that my hips and my shoulders are not rising at the same rate, and so I focus on trying to keep my chest up. I also like the cue of thinking about trying to throw the bar off of my back as I’m standing up and really trying to explode upward.
In the case of the deadlift, I’m focusing. Mostly on just maintaining a neutral spine. And I think my form is grooved in enough where that’s all I really have to think about is just standing up exclusively and making sure that my spine remains neutral. And I suppose there’s also that point of making sure that my hips and my shoulders are rising at the same rate, however, As far as intentionally slowing reps down so you can really focus on the mind muscle connection or increase the time under tension, that is not a productive training technique.
I understand the theory, and I’ve written about it, and I’ve spoken about it. And I understand why it was once believed that, hey, this may be a profitable variation on traditional training. The problem though is, and there has been a fair amount of research, there are several studies now that have been done probably in the range of 10 to 15 that are directly relevant here.
What we know is the problem. Is when you slow reps down, you are reducing the amount of work that your muscles are capable of doing and will do over the course of the workout. And if you reduce the amount of work that your muscles are doing, research shows that you reduce the muscle and strength building potential of the workout.
Again, study after study, several studies have shown that the trade off that you have to make between. Time under tension and total work is not worth it. One study has also shown that on the bench press lifting exclusively, so pressing it up as quickly as you can. Now, of course it’s heavy weight, so it maybe is going to take you a second to press it up.
We’re not talking about just a barbell here, but by loading it with heavy weight and lifting it as explosively as you can, Training that way results in more strength gain and quite a bit more strength gain than slowing the tempo down. So a natural weightlifting tempo for most people is probably about two seconds down.
We’re talking about on the bench press or on the squat. We’re talking about on the deadlift. It might be two seconds upstanding, but two seconds down, a very slight pause, if any at. And then one second up. Again, that is on the bench press. If we’re talking about a barbell curl, it might be two seconds up to reach the top of the curl, and then one, maybe two seconds on the way down.
Again, you’re controlling the weight, but you’re moving it fairly quickly and on the bench press in particular, again, training that way where you explode up and then you control down is more productive than going slow. On the way up and even slower on the way down, and similar results have been seen with the squat as well.
Research has shown that an explosive concentric portion of the lift, so standing up concentric is where your muscles are contracting or are shortening, right? Eccentric is when the muscles are lengthening, so by standing up explosive. On the squat, you were going to gain a significantly larger amount of strength than if you were to stand up slowly at about, let’s say, half of what would feel normal again, for most people, we’re talking about probably a second to two seconds that would be lifting exclusively.
So if you were to make that, let’s say three or four seconds, yes, you would get more time under tension, it would feel very difficult. But if you trained. That consistently, you would make less progress in terms of strength, at least than if you had trained exclusively. And as strength and muscle gain become very closely related, very intertwined.
As you become a more experienced weightlifter, it is fair to assume that. Anything that is going to produce less strength gain over time is also going to produce less muscle gain over time. So if we have a study like the couple of studies I’ve referenced that looked purely just at strength gain, we can’t say for certain what the ramifications are going to be in terms of muscle growth, but based on what we know about the relat.
Between gaining strength and gaining muscle again, especially in the case of an experienced weightlifter, it is a very reasonable hypothesis to say that if slowing your reps down is going to slow down your strength gain, it’s probably also going to slow down your muscle gain. And as far as the mind muscle connection goes, which is literally just establishing a connection between your mind and the muscle that you’re training or the muscles that you’re training with an exercise, it is really your attention, right?
So if you are doing, let’s say, barbell curls, and you’re focusing on your biceps, that’s where your attention is fixed, on your biceps and how they’re working. They’re contracting, they’re lengthening. That would be establishing the mind muscle. Connection. If however you are focusing maybe on the music you’re listening to or you’re thinking about a conversation you had with somebody earlier in the day, or what you are going to eat after you work out, that would be not establishing.
The mind muscle connection. Now, of course, you’re always gonna have at least a little bit of mind muscle connection if you’re training hard, because as you get deeper into a set, it starts to hurt . We’ll start there, and pain grabs our attention probably more than anything else. However, when bodybuilders talk about really maximizing the mind muscle connection, they mean voluntarily committing all of their available attention to the exercise they’re doing, and specifically to.
Muscles or the primary muscles they’re training. Now that sounds woo and probably unnecessary. However, there is a fair amount of research that shows that you actually can improve performance by doing this, by willfully focusing all your attention on the primary muscle groups you’re training while you’re training them.
For example, a study that was conducted by scientists at the National Research Center for the working environment. Copenhagen involved 18 recreationally trained males and had them do six sets of three reps on the bench press using 50% of their one rep max. So not high intensity training, but for three of the sets, the participants were told to use a two second ecentric phase that’s lowering the bar two seconds, and then a two second concentric.
Phase, so that’d be two seconds. Raising the bar. Pressing the bar up. Now as far as the mind muscle connection goes, the participants were also told to in one set, focus on their peck muscles and how their peck muscles are working and contracting and lengthening. And then in another set on their triceps, how their triceps are working.
And then in another set to not focus on any body part in particular to just do the exercise. And what the scientists found is, During these sets that performed at the slower tempo, the ones that showed the highest amount of muscle activation according to EMG data, were those where they focused on a muscle group.
For example, the muscle activation in the PS was highest when they were focusing on the Ps, and it was highest in the triceps when they were focusing on the triceps. However, in the explosive sets, muscle activation was higher, significantly higher. In both the pecks and the triceps, which you would expect of course.
However, there was now no significant difference between the activation when focusing on the pecks versus focusing on the triceps, or not focusing on any muscle group at all. And the same thing goes for the triceps. So it would appear that. Actively using the mind muscle connection to try to squeeze out maybe an extra rep or two in a set is really only applicable if you are slowing your sets down, and maybe the lower load has something to do with it as well, which of course is.
Interesting maybe, but not very practical because if you are training correctly, you’re gonna have to be using heavier loads. And you do not want to be slowing down your sets. You don’t wanna be rushing through your sets. It always should be controlled, but you should be lifting exclusively. And if you have ever tried to, Actively pursue the mind muscle connection.
You already know this, You’ve already experienced that. When the weight gets heavy and especially on a compound lift and you get deeper into a set yeah, maybe you can focus, Let’s say you’re doing even something like a barbell row for the first couple of reps. Maybe you can focus on your traps, for example, if that’s really the muscle group that you are trying to get the most out of, you’re focusing on.
Traps first couple of reps because that hasn’t gotten hard yet. But then as you start to get into the, let’s say, second half of a set and it starts to get hard, then it also gets hard to keep your attention on your traps. Where now you’re really just trying to focus on the sheer amount of. Effort and now your muscles are starting to burn and you are now maybe paying attention to your technique a little bit more because technique is most likely to fall apart when you get later into a set.
And I’ve certainly experienced that again, even with an exercise as simple as the barbell row. Certainly with an exercise as difficult as a squat, a barbell squat, for example, or a deadlift or even a bench press or overhead press, those are more technical movements. And as I. Deeper into a set and it starts getting harder and harder.
I’m getting closer and closer to technical failure where my form is gonna go to pieces That becomes my primary focus. As I mentioned earlier, it’s usually one or two simple cues that I’m focusing on to maintain proper form, and otherwise I’m just trying to give maximum effort. So if it’s a squat, I am trying to do everything I can to just get outta the hole past the sticking point.
And. To the top of another rep, and I don’t have the attentional capacity, I guess you could say, to focus on the queue or two, to keep my form where it needs to be and give maximal effort to what feels like maximal effort and focus on, let’s say my quads, which of course are the primary mover in the squat.
So all that to say. When you’re lifting, focus on the muscle group. You’re training as much as you can, and if it is a simpler exercise, maybe you can maintain a high level of focus throughout the entire set. Again, curls are a good example. Anything where you’re training the triceps, like a triceps press down is a good example.
Maybe even a hamstring curl or a leg curl, you’ll find that you probably can keep your attention pretty well fixed on the primary. Most groups you’re training. But in your big compound lifts, it’s just not very practical. You might find that for the first couple of reps in a set, you can do it, but as the set gets harder, it’s gonna get harder to keep your attention where you are trying to put it.
And you may even be able to make an argument that as far as performance and safety goes, it makes more sense to shift your attention to some simple but useful weightlifting cue. For example, that do help you maintain proper form as you get deeper into a set when it is more likely to break down. And if you wanna learn some of my favorite cues, I posted a podcast on it I think a couple of months ago.
If you just hit my feed and search for cues C ues, you will find it. Oh, one other thing I wanted to mention about slowing your reps down, that can be useful if you are troubleshooting your technique or maybe you’re learning an exercise for the first time, or you’re relatively new to it. By slowing it down, you can get better at it faster.
It doesn’t mean you should be doing all of your training slowly, but you may want to slow down your warmup sets, for example, again, so you can focus. On the movement itself and really feel, take something like the squat where there are many muscle groups that need to be working together correctly to produce a proper squat.
And when you’re first learning, or again, maybe you have picked up some bad habits along the way that you want to fix, slowing reps down for the purpose of learning or improving. Again, I would do it in my warmup sets personally. It can help because it allows you to. Feel all the major most groups in your body that are involved in, let’s say, the squat, working the way that they should.
If you are troubleshooting something in particular, then you can focus on that. So in my case, I’ve had to do this with this hips and shoulders issue, where in my practice sets, so to speak, I have really focused on ensuring that my hips rise at the same rate as my shoulders, and that I understand what that feels like without having to.
Focus on it as well. And so you focus on it, you slow it down, you practice practice, and then stop focusing on it. Do your training, your working sets, and see did it stick or not? And with enough reps, you can unlearn any mistake that you might be making in your technique and learn the proper movement.
It just can take time.
If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my health and fitness books, including the number one best selling weightlifting books for men and women in the world, Bigger, lean or Stronger, and Thinni Leaner, Stronger, as well as the leading flexible dieting cookbook, the shredded.
Okay, let’s move on to the next point here, which is from David e Barazza over on Instagram. Three to four minutes of rest in between sets feels like too much sometimes, and I understand. I felt this way back when I changed how I was training to rest. Three, four, sometimes even five minutes in between my hard sets because previously, I was doing a lot of super sets and drop sets and giant sets, and I was resting maybe a minute to a minute and a half on average in between my working sets or my hard sets at that time, and I was under the impression that just was a better workout, that it was probably better for.
Muscle gain, and it also just felt more productive. It felt like I was working harder, and of course I’m working harder. I’m gonna get more out of the workout and I’m gonna burn more calories. I’m going to be able to eat more food. Although at that time I probably didn’t even really understand calories properly and didn’t understand energy balance.
So it was probably. Mostly revolving around the idea that we are here to work out to work. So if I rest less than it feels like I am working a lot harder and that makes for a better workout. Now what I have learned is, Sense is that research shows, and there is enough evidence now to say that it is pretty conclusive that longer rest intervals in between your hard sets of strength trainings.
We’re talking about heavier weightlifting here. Proper weightlifting, Let’s say at least 70% of one rep max on the bar. That by resting three to five minutes in between those sets versus maybe one to two minutes you are going to gain. Strength faster, you’re going to gain more muscle from these workouts, and you’re also going to gain more muscle endurance.
So as far as proper weightlifting goes, the evidence is clear that longer rest period’s not too long, but longer than what many people think is. Correct, or what many people feel is appropriate is gonna be better. And the reason for that is those longer rest periods, that extra minute to maybe even three minutes of rest ultimately allows you to do more reps with heavier weights.
That’s really what it Cubs. Down to and up to a point, really to a point where you just start to get hurt. The more you can increase your training volume and your intensity, the more muscle and strength and endurance you are going to gain, period. Now, of course, you can only push that so far. Take volume, for example, if you try to exceed.
20 hard sets per major muscle group per week. You are going to get hurt eventually. Almost certainly now if you’re on a lot of drugs that allow you to recover a lot more effectively from training. Maybe not. You probably will still run into joint issues cause that’s just a lot of work. But if you are not on drugs, then I do not recommend exceeding 20 hard sets per major muscle group per week, unless it’s in a specialization routine, and maybe it’s for a smaller muscle group, and it’s for a short period of time.
So maybe let’s say for four to six weeks, you are going to blast your biceps with 25 hard sets per week. You’re gonna bring the volume of the rest of your training down to maybe even just a maintenance level volume. So you can really just do a lot. Biceps. Okay. I think that’s reasonable. But if you are going to try to do 25 hard sets for every major mouse group you train every week, one, you’re gonna need a lot of free time on your hands.
Cuz if you fire up Excel and start a program that out, you’re gonna quickly realize that we’re talking about probably two and a half to maybe even three hours of training per day. So now you’re in the two a day territory and. Two, you are going to break eventually, even if you are young and invincible, that will break you.
If it also involves compound weight lifting and heavy weights. Again, anything, let’s say 70% of bone up max and up, you are only gonna be able to do so much before the wheels start to fall off. Now, just to play devil’s advocate here, many people who argue for shorter rest intervals, 30, 60, maybe 120 seconds in between.
Hard set. We say that it increases the amount of metabolic stress that your muscles are subjected to, and that’s an important factor in muscle growth. And as the theory goes, as shortening rest periods is a very effective way to jack up metabolic stress levels in the muscles, then it’s also a very effective way to goose.
Your muscle gains? There are two problems here. The first is that while metabolic stress is one of the three primary pathways for muscle hypertrophy for muscle growth, it is not a very powerful one. The strongest is mechanical. Tension, the amount of work your muscles have to do. And as you surely know, if you are a regular around these parts, the most effective way to consistently increase the amount of mechanical tension your muscles are subjected to is through progressive overload, adding weight to the bar or to the dumbbells.
Over time, you’re forcing them to produce. Higher and higher levels of tension to move these heavier and heavier weights. So just think of, let’s say a set of six reps that’s taken close to technical failure with 135 pounds on the bar versus 225 pounds on the bar versus three hundred and fifteen, four oh five out.
Those scenarios. Which one do you think produces the most mechanical tension in the muscles? The 4 0 5 of course, and as mechanical tension is the primary mechanical driver of muscle growth, if you just focus on that and ensure that you are continuing to progressively overload your muscles over time, the other two pathways, metabolic stress and muscle damage basically take care of themselves.
It would be a mistake to sacrifice. Mechanical tension for metabolic stress, which is what you’d have to do because if you cut your rest periods in half, let’s say you are following my advice, you’re resting three-ish minutes at least in between your sets of your bigger, heavier lifts. Maybe you’re resting two or two and a half minutes in between your sets of like rear raises and side raises and biceps curls, that’s probably okay.
But as far as your squat and your deadlift and your bench press and your overhead press, And even the dumbbell versions of some of those exercises, as well as some of the secondary compound exercises, I guess you could say, like the barbell row and the leg press. If you go from resting on average about three minutes, which is what I do and what I recommend sometimes.
Four minutes, even if it is my last set, let’s say, of a series of sets and the weight is quite heavy and I’m really feeling it after each set. If you were to start resting two minutes or even one and a half minutes, you are not going to be able to progressively overload your muscles nearly as effectively as you would with the longer rest periods.
Period, pun intended. I would go as far as saying if you are an experienced weightlifter, that change alone. So let’s say everything else about your programming makes sense and your diet is where it needs to be. You’re paying attention to your calories and your macros and your recovery is good.
Your sleeping enough, you’re taking some supplements. Even that help with recovery. If you were to do all those things right and just make this one mistake of cutting your rest periods in half, that alone could very well be enough to prevent any further progress in terms of muscle and strength gain.
Resting enough really becomes that important when the weights get heavy and your body is no longer hyper responsive to the training. And so that addresses the first element of the counter argument to the longer rest periods, which is the supposed muscle building power of metabolic stress. When you sacrifice mechanical tension to increase metabolic stress levels, you are robbing Peter to pay.
Paul, it just does not pan out. And the second part of the counter argument that should be quickly addressed, I won’t get into too many details cause it’s not necessary, is just the assumption that by shortening your rest periods, you are going to increase the amount of metabolic stress produced in the entire workout.
And the reason why this doesn’t pan out, this has been shown in research is. When you reduce the rest periods in between each set, you also reduce the amount of reps that you can do in each set with whatever weight you’re working with. And so what’ll happen is if you take your normal workout and shorten the rest periods, you will finish it faster, but you will also do less volume in the workout, which of course reduces the amount of metabolic stress produced in the.
Then if you were to go back to your normal way of training with the longer rest periods, each rep may result in less metabolic stress because of the longer rest periods, but you are doing more total reps per workout, which of course then produces more metabolic stress. Than fewer reps. And so then you have this scenario where shortening your rest periods actually isn’t even increasing the total metabolic stress produced in the workout and is just significantly decreasing Your performance, your ability to progressively overload your muscles and so on the whole, then that makes it just a far less effective workout for gaining muscle and strength.
Now you might be thinking what if I then did more? Sets and did more reps in the workout with shorter rest periods to make up for the reduction in volume. Okay? That would then make the shorter rest period workout more effective for generating metabolic stress. But again, it would make it less effective for producing progressive overload and for maximizing the amount of mechanical tension your muscles are producing over time, which would mean stagnation.
Now if you get bored, resting 3, 4, 5 minutes in between sets of at least some of the exercises in your workout. I understand. So here are a few things you can do to make that time more productive. One, you can stretch the antagonist muscle group of the muscle group you’re training, and the antagonist agonist pair simply means that when one muscle.
Is contracting. That’s the agonist. The other muscle is relaxing. So that is the antagonist. So when your biceps are contracting, which muscle on your arm is relaxing? The triceps, right? So the triceps are the antagonist to the biceps. And so in the case of training your biceps, You could stretch your triceps while you’re resting in between your sets of, let’s say biceps curls.
And why would you wanna do that? Research shows that it can increase the amount of reps you can get in your next set of the agonist muscle, and it can also increase muscle activation of the agonist. Muscle. So to apply that to the legs, for example, let’s say you’re squatting, that’s primarily a quadriceps exercise, so you could lightly stretch your hamstrings while you are resting in between your sets of squats, and it may help you get an extra rep or two in your next set.
You can also lightly stretch the agonist. Muscle. So in this case, if you’re squatting, you could lightly stretch your quads. There is some evidence that may help with muscle growth over time, it is not very robust evidence, and the effect is likely not very significant. But hey, why not? If you’re standing around or sitting around and you feel like stretching your quads a little bit, when you’re squatting do it, or you feel like stretching your biceps a little bit while you’re resting between your curls, do.
You can also hyperventilate. So for about 30 seconds, breathe very intensely in and out. And I’m gonna do a podcast on this because the research is interesting. Doing that has been shown to improve the number of reps. That you can do in each set. Now, of course, you don’t want to overdo it because then you’re gonna be dizzy and lightheaded, and that’s not the state you wanna be in when you are trying to push, pull, squat, heavy weights or do anything with heavy weights.
But for 30 seconds, if you breathe very intensely, in and out for about 30 seconds, you might feel a bit stronger in your next. And another thing you can do is what is called an antagonist superset, which is like a specialized superset. Many people, when they think of super setting, they think of just training one muscle group with several exercises in a row with maybe a little bit of rest in between each or no rest in between each.
But in the antagonist superset, as you can probably guess, what you’re doing is you are doing one set for one muscle group, and then you are doing another set for the antagonist. That muscle group, and I do recommend resting about a minute in between those two exercises. Don’t go back to back, but the nice thing about this is it allows you to do the same amount of work in a workout in less time, which means that you have an opportunity to do more volume in the workout if you want to do that.
If that is appropriate, or just get through your workout faster. And in case you’re wondering exactly how this works, so you’re training a muscle group. That’s the agonist, right? So let’s say you’re doing biceps, curls, and triceps are the antagonist. And so then while you are resting your biceps, so you just finished your bicep set.
You’re resting. You wait about a minute and then you do your triceps. Set rest about a minute, do your bicep, set, rinse and repeat. And research shows again that you are not going to be sacrificing anything in the way of performance or results. You’re just gonna get through your training faster. And this concept also applies to super setting muscle groups that are not paired in the agonist antagonist relationship, but are not related whatsoever.
So for example, if you are doing your bench pressing, you could then while you’re resting, go do some sets for your cabs. And again, I would bench press, I would wait about a minute. I’d go do my set of calf raises. I’d wait about a. Go back to the bench press, and again, it just lets you get through your training a little bit faster, which allows you to do a bit more in the time you have, or just spend less time in the gym without sacrificing any performance on either the bench press in this case or.
The Cal. Now, three things I do not recommend that you do while you’re resting are foam rolling, massaging, or intense stretching, because research shows that any of those things done in between your working sets is likely to decrease your performance in your workout. That said, if you want to do any of those things, because they can benefit you just do them outside of your workout.
So for example, if it were me, I might do a little bit of. Dynamic stretching before a workout as opposed to the deeper static stretching where you’re holding positions and you’re really trying to push the limits of your flexibility and convince your brain to allow you to get a little bit more range of motion, which is actually what you are accomplishing with stretching.
You are not loosening tight muscles. You are simply convincing your brain that it is. Okay. We can get a little bit closer to that split. We are not gonna get. And that’s just a gradual process that you have to work at over time to get really flexible. And so that type of stretching is best done after a workout or well before a workout.
But if you wanna start your workout again with some light kind of dynamic where you are moving through rangers of motion just to get your body in the groove and feel like you have some blood flow. Totally fine. As for foam rolling, I would personally do that after a workout as well. And as for massage, whether it is self massage or massage gun or getting a massage, the ladder being my preference, a massage gun is okay.
I think we’re working through trigger points in particular. I find it helpful for that, but my preference is to get a massage. I would do that, of course. Outside of a workout, I’d probably do it on a. Day. Okay. Let’s get to the final point of contention here that I wanted to address in this episode, and that is chasing money and success is a waste of life.
Hashtag spread love from squash Sutton over on Instagram, and I understand this perspective, it is though heavily informed by what we value the most in life. Do we want purpose? Do we want intensity? Do we want achievement or do we want latitude and relaxation and. Enjoyment. I don’t think either of those paths is inherently better than the other for everyone under all circumstances.
I have my own preferences of course, but I do think that we all have to choose one. Those things are mutually exclusive. We can either strive in life. Or we can savor, but we can’t do both. Not at the same time. And a simple illustration of this is the four burners theory of life. You’ve probably heard of this, but maybe not.
So I’ll run you through it quickly. So imagine your life as a stove, and it has four burners that symbolize its most immediate compartments, which are your health, your family, your friends, and your work. For most people, that is pretty much their entire life, right? Their entire sphere of activity. Is encompassed in these four areas.
And the theory here is to be a high achiever, you have to virtually cut off one of your burners. And to be truly exceptional, you probably need to snuff out two. And so what that means then is let’s say you want to have a great career, okay? You’re gonna have to make a sacrifice. And it’s going to be either your health, your social life, or your family.
And if you want to join the ranks of the business elite, of the entrepreneurial elite, You are probably gonna have to knock out another one. And the analogy highlights an important axiom of life. Life is a game of sacrifices and trade offs. So if you want to have a vibrant and fulfilling career and marriage, for example, you are not going to have much time energy left to give to your health or your social life.
On the other hand, if you want to be a model parent and you want to have exceptional, It is going to be very hard, if not impossible to excel in your work. And if you wanna try to divide your efforts equally among the four elements, you can achieve a lot of balance, but you’re not gonna achieve much in the way of self-actualization.
And so the key here is that you consciously make. The right trade offs that you consciously accept and you embrace them because if you don’t, you are probably not going to experience very much satisfaction with your life. You are always gonna be painfully aware of what you feel is missing, and it’s going to be without the counterbalancing consolation of what’s not missing.
And so for my part, I have chosen to more or less extinguish the social. Burner, the friends burner. And I’ve had to dial back the family burner for a while, although I have started to turn it back up a little bit, but it will likely be higher in the future. And the reason I’ve done those things is so I can maximize my work and my career as well as my health, which of course, it is my job to be healthy and jacked at this point, right?
And so what that means is when it comes down to it, I spend. 80% of my waking hours studying, working and working out. And most of the remaining time just goes to my family because I don’t want to completely sacrifice that burner. I am much more willing to sacrifice the social life burner. And I would say with that comes maybe hobbies.
I don’t really have any hobbies these days cause I’m very busy with my. And then my family, and at some point in a later season in my life, to use that metaphor, I’ll probably change that. I probably will bring the work burner down. I’m running it basically as high as I can right now. So maybe instead of a 10, maybe I bring it down to a six, and then I decide to turn up the family even more and bring friends back into the occasion in a social life, back into the occasion.
And maybe I want to even stretch and add a civic burner because I do think that we all have. A responsibility to not just ourselves and our family, but also our society. And if we are going to do everything we can to live as vibrantly and to flourish as much as possible, we need to be engaged with our.
Society as well in some capacity. There are many ways of doing that, but I don’t think it’s enough to just focus on our immediate personal needs and the needs of our family. That’s a good start. And by, for example, raising a good family and by having a functional family and producing strong and capable and functional children, we are contributing to the society by.
But of course there’s a lot more we can do with our time and our money to directly make society function better. And so that’s the direction I see my life going in the future. And for now, it is what it is and it is working. And I think the overall concept makes sense. My strategy makes sense and so I’m sticking with it now, if that sounds very imbalanced.
To you. Yeah, it is for sure. And that may not suit you at all a life that mostly just revolves around work and everything that needs to be done to support that work. And there’s nothing wrong with that because while you may not have as much of an impact in the world or in other people’s lives, or make as much money as you could, if you were maybe living the way I’m living, you will be able to enjoy something that frustratingly alludes.
Overachievers, and that is just enough because for some people, no amount of money, prestige, victories, trinkets, beauty, sex, et cetera, et cetera, is enough. These people are just hardwired. It seems to always want. More. Why? Why do they want more? They couldn’t even tell you. I know people like this. I’ve had these discussions firsthand, and all these people know is they don’t have enough and they need more.
And in some cases it’s like you could sum up their entire life with a simple slogan. Whoever dies with the. Toys wins. Now that doesn’t really resonate with me. I care a lot less about the score, the success, however you wanna measure it. You could measure it in money or you could measure it in accolades.
That stuff doesn’t mean that much to me. I am more interested in and enthusiastic about the striving, right? The process of getting there, because I believe the real. That we can get in life. The pay that nourishes the soul, so to speak, is the chance to help some people and to have some fun while you’re at it.
And that to me is far more motivating than mere mimon welfare listener that brings this installment of says You and this episode of Most For Life to a close. I hope you liked it and keep an eye on the podcast feed because I have some more goodies on the way. I have a book. Coming. I have an interview I did with Curtis Frank, the director of research and development for my sports nutrition company, Legion, on what it really means to create science based supplements.
A look underneath the hood, how the sausage is made, and I also have a monologue coming on how quickly you can safely lose fat and more. All right. That’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting and helpful. And if you did and you don’t mind doing me a favor, please do leave a quick review on iTunes or wherever you’re listening to me from in whichever app you’re listening to me in.
Because that not only convinces people that they should check out the show, it also increases search. Ability, and thus it helps more people find their way to me and learn how to get fitter, leaner, stronger, healthier, and happier as well. And of course, if you want to be notified when the next episode goes live, then simply subscribe to the podcast and you won’t miss out on any new stuff.
And if you didn’t like something about the show, please do shoot me an email at mike muscle for life.com, just muscle or life.com, and share your thoughts on how I can do this better. I read everything myself, and I’m always looking for constructive feedback, even if it is criticism. I’m open to it and of course you can email me if you have positive feedback as well, or if you have questions really relating to anything that you think I could help you with, definitely send me an email.
That is the best way to get ahold of me, Mike, at multiple life.com. And that’s it. Thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.