Wits & Weights | Smart Science to Build Muscle and Lose Fat

Ep 94: Mike Matthews on Energy Balance, Training Volume, and Priorities for Novice and Intermediate Lifters

August 08, 2023 Mike Matthews Episode 94
Ep 94: Mike Matthews on Energy Balance, Training Volume, and Priorities for Novice and Intermediate Lifters
Wits & Weights | Smart Science to Build Muscle and Lose Fat
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Wits & Weights | Smart Science to Build Muscle and Lose Fat
Ep 94: Mike Matthews on Energy Balance, Training Volume, and Priorities for Novice and Intermediate Lifters
Aug 08, 2023 Episode 94
Mike Matthews

In today’s episode, I have the utmost pleasure of talking to the one and only Mike Matthews, a legend in the fitness industry, a bestselling author, and a successful entrepreneur who has helped countless people transform their bodies and health with his no-nonsense, science-based advice. You’ll learn about his fitness philosophy and advice on topics from training for older lifters to nutrition and hormonal health, cardio, and more.

Mike is the founder and CEO of Legion, a coaching and supplement company, with the highest ethical standards. He is the author of several influential books, including Bigger Leaner Stronger, Thinner Leaner Stronger, and Muscle for Life.

Mike’s Muscle for Life Podcast, with 25M+ downloads, features health, fitness, and lifestyle tips from experts and celebrities. Mike has been training for 20 years and is passionate about helping people achieve their fitness goals.

I discovered Mike in 2020 through his book and podcast. Through him, I learned the science of fitness with online calculators, articles, and guest appearances,  so I’m grateful to have the chance to sit down with Mike and have this conversation.

__________

Click here to apply for coaching!
__________

Today you’ll learn all about:


[2:30] Mike's evolution as an authority in fitness
[10:08] On getting started with training and diet
[16:07] Factors and expectations in achieving optimal fitness
[20:33] Maintaining a calorie surplus for building  muscle and strength
[25:59] Energy availability, RED-S, hormone, and recovery
[35:22] Training volume and progressive overload for optimal muscle and strength gains
[40:42] Lifting program and equipment to start with and how to progress
[44:24] Sleep's role in muscle and strength gain
[48:56] Limiting the time spent on cardio for strength and recovery
[58:03] On pursuing his passion for fitness and writing
[1:06:36] Where to learn more about Mike
[1:09:32] Outro

Episode resources:

📲 Send me a text message!

Support the Show.


🎓 Join Wits & Weights Physique University

👩‍💻 Schedule a FREE nutrition/training audit with Philip

👥 Join our Facebook community for live Q&As & support

✉️ Join the FREE email list with insider strategies and bonus content!

📱 Try MacroFactor for free with code WITSANDWEIGHTS. The only food logging app that adjusts to your metabolism!

🩷 Enjoyed this episode? Share it on social and follow/tag @witsandweights

🤩 Love the podcast? Leave a 5-star review

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Show Notes Transcript

In today’s episode, I have the utmost pleasure of talking to the one and only Mike Matthews, a legend in the fitness industry, a bestselling author, and a successful entrepreneur who has helped countless people transform their bodies and health with his no-nonsense, science-based advice. You’ll learn about his fitness philosophy and advice on topics from training for older lifters to nutrition and hormonal health, cardio, and more.

Mike is the founder and CEO of Legion, a coaching and supplement company, with the highest ethical standards. He is the author of several influential books, including Bigger Leaner Stronger, Thinner Leaner Stronger, and Muscle for Life.

Mike’s Muscle for Life Podcast, with 25M+ downloads, features health, fitness, and lifestyle tips from experts and celebrities. Mike has been training for 20 years and is passionate about helping people achieve their fitness goals.

I discovered Mike in 2020 through his book and podcast. Through him, I learned the science of fitness with online calculators, articles, and guest appearances,  so I’m grateful to have the chance to sit down with Mike and have this conversation.

__________

Click here to apply for coaching!
__________

Today you’ll learn all about:


[2:30] Mike's evolution as an authority in fitness
[10:08] On getting started with training and diet
[16:07] Factors and expectations in achieving optimal fitness
[20:33] Maintaining a calorie surplus for building  muscle and strength
[25:59] Energy availability, RED-S, hormone, and recovery
[35:22] Training volume and progressive overload for optimal muscle and strength gains
[40:42] Lifting program and equipment to start with and how to progress
[44:24] Sleep's role in muscle and strength gain
[48:56] Limiting the time spent on cardio for strength and recovery
[58:03] On pursuing his passion for fitness and writing
[1:06:36] Where to learn more about Mike
[1:09:32] Outro

Episode resources:

📲 Send me a text message!

Support the Show.


🎓 Join Wits & Weights Physique University

👩‍💻 Schedule a FREE nutrition/training audit with Philip

👥 Join our Facebook community for live Q&As & support

✉️ Join the FREE email list with insider strategies and bonus content!

📱 Try MacroFactor for free with code WITSANDWEIGHTS. The only food logging app that adjusts to your metabolism!

🩷 Enjoyed this episode? Share it on social and follow/tag @witsandweights

🤩 Love the podcast? Leave a 5-star review

📞 Send a Q&A voicemail

Mike Matthews:

by normal, reasonable human standards, you absolutely can. You can be big. You can be lean if we if we define lean as athletic, you can look athletic, you can have a lot more muscle than the average person and be a lot stronger than the average person.

Philip Pape:

Welcome to the Wits& Weights podcast. I'm your host Philip pape, and this twice a week podcast is dedicated to helping you achieve physical self mastery by getting stronger. Optimizing your nutrition and upgrading your body composition will uncover science backed strategies for movement, metabolism, muscle and mindset with a skeptical eye on the fitness industry, so you can look and feel your absolute best. Let's dive right in. Wits& Weights community Welcome to another episode of the Wits & Weights podcast. In today's episode, I have the utmost pleasure of talking to the one and only Mike Matthews, a legend in the fitness industry, a best selling author and a successful entrepreneur who has helped countless people transform their bodies and health. With his no nonsense science based advice. You'll learn about his fitness philosophy, his advice on topics from training for older lifters to nutrition and Hormonal Health, maybe cardio and some other topics we might get even get into podcasting, writing and his never ending journey for wisdom. Mike is the founder and CEO of Legion, a coaching and supplement company that also has very high ethical standards. He's of course the author of several wildly popular and influential books including bigger, leaner, stronger, thinner, leaner, stronger, and muscle for life, all of which I've either read followed or recommended to family, friends and clients. Mike also hosts the muscle for life podcast, one of my favorites in my feed, so make sure to subscribe if you don't already now has more than 25 million downloads, where he chats with experts and celebrities on all things health, fitness and lifestyle. Mike has been training for two decades has a passion for sharing his wisdom and experience with anyone who wants to achieve their fitness goals. I personally first learned about Mike back in 2020 when I first read bigger, leaner, stronger in my personal quest to learn everything I could about evidence based fitness, his podcast, online calculators, articles, and appearances on other shows were essential resources during my first successful transformation. So I'm grateful to have the chance to sit down with Mike and have this conversation. Mike, it is truly an honor to welcome you to the show.

Mike Matthews:

That's quite an intro. Hopefully I can live up to the accolades.

Philip Pape:

No doubt you will no doubt you will. And I kind of want to appear behind the curtain of who you are. Because you've got the eyes and ears of probably millions of people at this point, you know, as a successful fitness author, Coach business owner, did you always envision that you were going to help and influence so many people? And how is that awareness of that impact and mission evolved as you've personally grown?

Mike Matthews:

So no, is the answer to the first question. This started for me. About 1011 years ago now, when I wrote and published the first edition have gone through several editions now bigger, leaner, stronger. And that was a nights and weekends thing. It actually was more driven by my interest in Amazon's KDP self publishing platform, than it was in becoming a fitness kind of niche micro celebrity as I joke with. That's, that's that's my, my assessment of myself. Yeah, I'm a niche micro celebrity at most, but no, so that when I when I wrote that book, it was the result of my own personal transformation. And then working with other people and seeing things that many people in the evidence based fitness community would just take for granted like energy balance, and macronutrient balance and progressive overload and some of the other basic principles of proper training. But as anybody who already knows those things knows and has experienced firsthand. They're transformative when you experience them for the first time when you when you first understand, for example, you've been trying to lose those 10 or 15 pounds for however long now and you've tried every diet and you go down, you go up, you go down, you go up, and you just can't quite get there and stay there. And then you learn about energy balance. You learn about macronutrients, you learn a bit about food quality and food choices and you put those things together into a simple meal plan. And you're skeptical you're like there's no way it can be this simple. I get to eat all these foods that I like I just have to watch my portions basically. And if I just do this consistently, I'll get shredded No way. And then you do it and you get shredded and you're like wow, okay, I guess I'll never have to worry about my weight ever again. And you can have a similar epiphany in your training as well. When I mean I remember again, this is this is these are the types of things that led to bigger leaner, stronger going from two hours in the gym five or six days per week. bodybuilder type workouts so a lot of reps a lot of different exercises a lot of maybe like fancy training techniques. And I did gain muscle and strength of course, but to go from set to do that for six or seven years and be completely stuck to then doing workouts that that were 45 to 60 minutes long, probably more than cut my my volume in half. And doing a lot fewer exercises and working more on making progress on those exercises rather than just a bunch of exercise variety. Again, I was skeptical that that is going to work better. I remember doing some of these 45 minute workouts and feeling almost like guilty like I'm leaving the gym now 45 minutes, I was just, I was just getting warmed up previously. And and though then to see it firsthand over the course of the next few years. To gain quite a bit of muscle, I would say to go from probably in my first seven years of weightlifting I'd gained, let's call it 25 pounds or so. Um, so I looked like I worked out but seven years for 25 pounds of muscle. That's not very good if we're just judging that objectively. So, and then over the course of the next several years gained probably another 20 Let's say over the next three to five years, I'd have to go back and look at my old logs. No, exactly. But that gives you an idea. And, and so that was kind of my own personal transformation. And then again, I was working with friends and family and almost being just like, I mean, it wasn't charging them money, but I was training people who wanted to come they would they saw what happened with me. And I would tell them, Well, why don't you come train with me for a month or two, I'll show you what I'm doing. teach you a bit about diet. And you can take it and do what you want with it basically. And then seeing repeatable results that led to bigger, leaner, stronger, publish that. And when I published that book in, I think it was 2012 January 2012. I, I felt there was like a 5050 chance that either sold zero copies, or not zero copies. That's it. That was my only expectation initially. Because because it was kind of a side hustle as the kids like to say. And I was experimenting, I had had done some other short book projects, I was experimenting with Amazon's Kindle platform. And it just occurred to me that that's something that it could be a good experiment. And it could help a lot of people and meet a real need. And so that's why I wrote it initially. And it was very much kind of a minimum viable product. In the beginning, I think it was 30 to 50,000 words. And I did try to make sure that there's enough meat there to satisfy the promise that I was making in the marketing. But I knew that it was a minimum viable product that if it did, well, I could refine it, I could make it better. But I didn't want to put an inordinate amount of time and effort into something to have it sell zero copies. And so by the end of the first year, it was selling probably a few 1000 copies a month, it was doing quite well. And I also launched it 99 cents to was just as an ebook. And like, I wasn't trying to make money with it. I was just curious if anybody would care. I put an email address right in the first edition saying, Hey, if you have any questions, any suggestions, you can reach out to me. So it starts to sell. And by the end of the year, again, it's selling 1000s of copies per month. And at that point I already was putting together what would later become the second edition as people were emailing me asking good questions. It's good point didn't think of that or, you know, that question tells me that I didn't explain this correctly. And, and so that probably at that at the end of that first year is when I saw that there was really an opportunity to pursue fitness education seriously, and maybe be able to make a living with that.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, and that story is so relatable like what, what I've what I've seen from your content is how you took a lot it sounds like you took a lot of trial and error. And maybe the evidence based space wasn't what it is today. Plus there wasn't as it was not right. And even today, I would say there are very few voices who put it out. So clearly, at least in my opinion, guys like Andy Morgan and a few others that I follow. They're just very to the point very prescriptive, which I prefer and I know a lot of people do, let's get through the fluff. Let's just talk about what works. But the idea of like, you know, I did all the diets, people do all the diets and then they think macro tracking is just another diet but really it's a completely different philosophy and principle. The you know, I did CrossFit for eight years and then finally started lifting heavy like you said while the, if you're lazy, that's the way to go. Right? It's an efficient way to get results. So, yeah, and I know you sold like 20 copies of your book in your first month you talked about before. So it obviously quickly quickly took off. What are your words for folks who, who haven't quite started there, and I've got beginners who lift and I've advanced folks lifted this podcast, listen to podcasts, and maybe they're afraid to take action. Maybe they have just had so much misinformation. And I know you're a man of action. You're all about like determination and going out there and persevering. What are your words of wisdom for those folks right now? For the first part for people who are who are on the fence, people who aren't sure where to start? Where to start?

Mike Matthews:

Well, the good news is, you can start probably, I think the best advice is start with something. Take the tiny habit approach to use a BJ Fogg concept he has a he has a book tiny habits, where you're starting with something that is very low friction, that that the idea of doing it doesn't feel like much of an ask, it doesn't feel like a burden. So for some people, for example, if someone's brand new to all this, they're very overweight, they would like to get into great shape, but they know it's a process. And currently, they're doing nothing that might be start with going for a walk every day. 30 minutes, go outside if you can get some sun, and do that every day. And when you're doing that consistently. If we want to add a little bit more to that, then can we go out and walk faster now? Can you kind of like speed walk now for 30 minutes? Okay, great. Now let's switch to dark. Let's switch over to the diet. So let's say this person is drinking a lot of soda drink several cans or more of soda per day. Can we cut back on that? Can we replace that sugar sweetened soda with diet soda, for example. Now if we want to say what would be the absolute best for health, maybe it would be no soda whatsoever. The research on artificial sweeteners and particularly how they can affect the microbiome is is an emerging field. It does appear though, to affect different people differently, it appears to clearly have negative effects in some people, and seems to be more neutral in other people. And scientists aren't quite sure yet why that is. There are probably genetic underpinnings that at some point in the future, we might be able to even do a test that will allow us to understand better what foods and chemicals are going to aggravate our microbiome and not but for now. I would say the best option is probably to stay away from artificial sweeteners. Generally, that doesn't mean to not have a soda here and there and not chew some gum here and there. But not to have five sodas per day or something like that, or worse in sports nutrition not to have like 10 servings of sucralose per day between protein powders and pre workout and post workout so forth. So with diet, can we start there? Can we can we cut down on the on the caloric beverages? Okay, can we increase protein a little bit? Can we just maybe add a serving of protein to the to the current meal plan? Once that's ingrained? Can we add a serving of vegetables? Can we maybe remove a serving of starchy carbs that just aren't necessary. And so by going, if I were to flip back to the exercise, we have our walks in every day, maybe we even want to turn it into a rock where we we now take a backpack and we put some heavy books or if you want to be fancy, you can get a rocking backpack with some metal plates. I have one ironically, and you walk around you add, I have mine. And that walk now is a bit more cardiovascularly demanding. And if the next thing I would say is can we start strength training, can we start just one workout a week, we do one full body strength turning training workout per week 45 to 60 minutes, if somebody is brand new to this, they can just do it at home with their body weight, maybe some bands if they want to pick up some bands, like in my book muscle for life, I have beginner programs for men and women that don't require you to go to the gym. You can you can do it all at home with your body and with dance. And so by approaching this incrementally what can occur is over the course of a year or so, this person has changed, made major changes to their lifestyle and to their health and their body composition. But it never felt that difficult because they approached it one small step at a time rather than trying to change everything wholesale, which is what many people try to do. And that does work for some people that might be a personality thing or or other circumstances that in their life that just make it easier for them to make huge changes to go from nothing to getting in the gym five days a week, and to go from your standard American diet to a very nutritious quote unquote, healthy diet and so forth. But many people, maybe just as many people who try that will not succeed with that approach. So, and that there's a spectrum there. And so many people find also naturally where they are on that spectrum, and how much change they can make, without having the wheels fall off.

Philip Pape:

That's a good point. I mean, there's a there's definitely a spectrum. And some of us who've been through all of the change, like we have, over the years, have to put ourselves in the shoes of someone who hasn't taken that first step. And you mentioned different conditions, like potentially working with a coach, you can accelerate that process, or other, or if you're in a community, right, everybody's kind of pushing you. People get so concerned about optimal all the time I hear it all the time, how do I optimize this? And that? And then And then the question is, Okay, have you taken the first step? Right? Do you have the baseline? Do you have the foundation, whether it's protein strength, training, whatever? How would you rank the relative importance for someone who's gone past the initial stages, maybe they're a beginner lifter, and now they are trying to work toward quote, unquote, optimal? You've got your training, you've got protein intake, your energy balance, sleep, right, your sub count? How would you rank the relative importance? Or it's just are they all important? And you need to pick what works for you that you need to take next? Yeah, I mean, you could take

Mike Matthews:

that kind of pillars, you could use the pillars analogy and saying that you need each of those things to keep the structure up. But I think we probably could rank these things. So this would be for somebody who's newbie gains are exhausted, right? Yes. So they're through their first year, maybe even through their second year, and now they've they've stagnated or they just don't want to stagnate, they've seen progress slow down markedly. And and people should know, that's normal. Your average guy, for example, if he's doing the most important things, mostly right, most of the time, he should be able to gain anywhere from probably 15 to maybe 2025 pounds of muscle in his first year of training for women, you could cut that in half fat loss could be could be much more but but for muscle building, that's that's usually how it works out. And in the second year, you can cut that in half, you can cut the male and the female female numbers in half. So that year to a good year to for a man is probably about 10 pounds of muscle gained a good year to for women, five, maybe eight pounds of muscle gained. And every subsequent year, those numbers have again and again and again. And that sounds almost too neat to be real. Like it sounds too mathematical and algorithmic. But there's there's a good amount of research now that shows that that is reliably true for a number of reasons. And so expectations are important. I would say we'll we'll get into ranking as are things but but it's very important to have the right expectations and to understand what isn't isn't possible, at least without PDS. If you want to stay natural, which I would, I would suggest. And and the reason I say that is, especially with social media, and I've heard from these people over the years, who now are intermediate or even advanced weight lifters who have actually done quite well, but they actually don't even realize it because they are not doing well compared to what they see on social media. The type of physiques they see on social media, the amount of you'll see people who, who have the trifecta of big, lean and strong write really big, really lean really strong

Philip Pape:

uncannily cells doesn't,

Mike Matthews:

that that requires drugs. If you're if you are natural, you get to pick like you get to be big and strong. Yes, you can. You can get big and strong naturally, but you're not going to be very lean. Or you can just be lean, and I guess you could say you can look big, even though your muscles have shrunk in size, but there's a visual illusion because now you're lean, you look small in clothes enclosed when you take your clothes off and you're shredded and you look actually pretty big. But but you can't have the trifecta. You can't be big, lean and strong by social media standards national I would say by normal reasonable human standards. You absolutely can you can be big, you can be lean if we if we define lean as athletic, you can look athletic, you can have a lot more muscle than the average person and be a lot stronger than the average person so

Philip Pape:

I'll tell you this my when I look at my IG feed and look at everybody on the beach, they don't exactly look the same. Do they? Correct

Mike Matthews:

Yeah, even the fittest the fittest guy at the beach, even though he would get zero likes zero likes on his right and And so So anyway, so expectations are important and understanding what is and isn't possible and what should and should not be happening depending on where you're at in your journey. Now, we let's talk about, which are the most important factors. And let's also, let's put it in the context of you are, you just were kind of a newbie and you went through that phase, and you did most of the things right and you gained a lot of strength, you gained a lot of muscle, you had a lot of fun with it. And things have slowed down now. So some of the more common mistakes, I'm just going to start with calories, paying attention to calories, I'm going to put that at the top because what I've seen is a lot of intermediate and advanced weight lifters don't understand how important it is to consistently maintain a calorie surplus to keep gaining appreciable amounts of muscle and strength. What came so easily previously does not any more in that for your first year or even two years, I mean, your first year, you probably don't really even have to, especially if you're just starting out with a normal physique, you don't have to pay that much attention to your calories, you don't even have to make sure you're in a caloric surplus because your body is going to be so responsive to the training. If you do. If you're if your training is relatively well designed, and you you are relatively consistent with it, you're going to do very well unless you just dramatically under eat and dramatically under eat protein. But so long as you're eating something around your maintenance calories, whether you know it or not, so long as you're eating something around, call it 0.8 grams of protein to one gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. Or if you're overweight, we could we could reframe that to one gram per centimeter of height per day. So long as you're kind of around there, you are going to do well. Now though, you're an intermediate or an or an advanced weightlifter, probably this is more of an issue with intermediates because you don't make it to the advanced phase without learning this. Now, now there is a there is a big big difference in your performance in the gym and your results between around maintenance calories, sometimes you're a little bit over sometimes you're a little bit under. Also, if if you are trying to stay lean, that means that you are going to be at least in a small calorie surplus more are sorry, deficit more than you're going to be in a surplus because that's really what it requires to stay lean. Like if you're doing and you just want to keep your abs, you have to err on the side of under eating more than overeating or you lose your apps, right. And, and so just that point alone can be enough to cause you to stagnate to hit a plateau. So you can be following a well designed training program. And you actually no matter what changes you make in the gym, no matter how much volume tried to add, no matter how you try to periodized your training, no matter how you try to play with rep ranges, etc, etc. If you're not consistently eating enough food, your progress can stall. And that's the rule. There are exceptions, there are people again, who are so genetically gifted for just building muscle and getting strong, that they can get a lot further than the average person without paying attention to calories. But for most people, that becomes a very important point. So I would start there and I can continue if you want

Philip Pape:

to. It's good. I'm letting you talk. And to add to that, right. Even if you're not a hard gainer, I've seen it time and again, no matter who you are, if you're trying to be in that surplus, your your expenditure metabolomes just going to start to run out only say start to run away. But I've seen appreciable jumps in your metabolism metabolism over say a six month period of anywhere from four to six or 800 calories where you really have to stay on top of that are also Yeah, maintenance. Yep. Right. That's what you see as well. Oh, yeah.

Mike Matthews:

I mean, you know, you're doing it right. When after the first month or two, certainly, three, you just feel like you're forced feeding yourself. And you're never hungry, and you're just sick of eating, and seatbelts are uncomfortable. And you're just you just you just now like, hoping that you can just slashed your calories in half. That's what you would like to do.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, and even when you get back to maintenance and you're not at those extremes we all eat the grass is always greener, we're always imagining Hmm, now I think I really want to be dieting now. And now I want to be in a surplus again, it's always a next phase. All right, so another topic because now we're talking about intermediate lifters but also I want to touch on older lifters and my older I mean,

Mike Matthews:

let me go over before we move on, let me just let me just quickly give people just if they're wondering What are the other kind of most important things? You had mentioned? A couple? I think I think it was a good question. So, so calories understanding the importance of calorie surplus, experiencing it firsthand. Again, when when I've heard it from particularly a lot of women over the years, when they lean bulk for the first time, they are amazed at how good it feels, particularly in the gym, to have those extra calories, it's very anabolic, like you're gonna have your best workouts as a natural weightlifter. When you're in a slight calorie surplus. And you've been doing that consistently for a few weeks, your sleep is probably going to improve, and you're just going to have a lot of energy, those workouts that you were doing, certainly in a deficit, even at maintenance, the workouts that were difficult can feel downright easy when you're when you're in a calorie surplus. And,

Philip Pape:

and it's true, especially since much of that comes from carbs, which also are generally underfed.

Mike Matthews:

Yep, it's even it's even there's there's the carbs, there's that aspect, but then there's just the energy availability, just having the extra energy makes a big difference, the body generally runs better, everything runs better, especially non essential processes run better, because if energy is is not as available, then the body has to play kind of triage in terms of where is it going to allot energy and which physiological processes is it going to run at full capacity in which ones are not going to run at full capacity. And unfortunately, the processes related to hypertrophy are not very high on the list of where the energy is going to go, before we get to muscle building. And so just that, that, that fact that that's one of the reasons why it's generally recommended for athletes to be athletic in terms of a physique, but not try to get in stay too lean. It does happen naturally, with certain athletes that burns. So many, like cyclists burn so many calories, it's impossible for them, especially in hard training periods, to not lose weight, and they want to stay light also for their sport. But in sport in many other sports, it's not recommended to try to get and stay too lean, because that requires not just a calorie deficit, but then staying there requires a lower caloric intake just generally than if they were 10 pounds heavier. They could eat. There's research on this, particularly as it relates to lean mass. And so if I remember correctly, if you're an athlete, ideally, you're probably you probably be in the range of 40 to 45 calories per kilogram of lean mass per day, I believe is the evidence based recommendation. And if you are, let's say mid to high 30s, that's probably okay, you probably would, would notice an improvement in your performance and your energy if you were to be a bit higher. But when you get to low 30s, High 20s, that is going to significantly impair performance. And so you have to do that sometimes, like if you're cutting or if you have an athlete who has to make weight or something, then they are going to have to restrict their calories. But generally speaking, when they want to perform and they want to be able to perform. They want to be closer to 40 to 45 calories per kilogram of lean mass per day. Yeah, so

Philip Pape:

so it's just an ask us that's like 20 That's it. Okay. 18 calories per pound of lean mass. Got it? Yeah, yeah, exactly. Let's hit on that a little bit, because there's a couple of top cut topics related to energy availability, because I know reds comes to mind for me for you know, relative energy efficiency, but also, because we deal with a lot of older lifters, hormones and recovery. I've seen them significantly improved just from the extra energy, what do we what do we know about that for, especially for women, whether it's DHEA testosterone for men and women, and then recovery, you know, we often talk about the physical and biomechanical aspects of recovery, but I think energy does have a big part to play.

Mike Matthews:

Absolutely. I mean, that's, that's, that's those those things are part of the equation right? Reds, where women will lose their periods because again, that's, that's where the body's in triage mode and it's not getting enough energy, and it's making sure that its vital processes are are continuing but then non vital processes are not getting the energy required to function properly and menstruation is one of those. And and if if an athlete develops reds then there are a number of other symptoms, you know, exhaustion, excessive soreness, the long term drops in performance and so forth. And it takes a lot to get there. You're not going to see that in an everyday gym goer, but you can see that in probably competitive athletes as opposed to maybe a weekend warrior, but somebody, somebody who's training every day, 567 days a week, and if he has games on top of that, and so forth, like somebody who's really, that's, that's mostly what they're doing is playing their sport. And so recovery with with energy availability, I mean, there are a number of different physiological processes that contribute to recovery, that, again, are are non vital. And so if energy is if it's not available enough, it's not that those processes are not going to occur, they are going to occur, but they're not going to occur. To the extent there's a quantitative and a qualitative aspect here, they're not going to occur to the extent that they would, if calories were higher if energy were more available. And so again, if anybody listening wants to experience it, just if you haven't linval, to do it, workout, assuming assuming you're in a, let's say, healthy body fat range, you have a healthy body composition, now, work out what would be approximately 10% more calories than you burn on average, and start eating that amount every day. And you'll you'll see firsthand within it probably take one to two weeks or so until you really start to notice it. But then you will really notice that you're going to feel more recovered, you'll probably you'll notice is less muscle soreness, you'll probably notice fewer aches and pains in your joints, you're going to notice better sleep, you're going to notice high higher energy levels, you're going to notice better moods, and those are all symptoms of recovering well. And you probably also will find that you can recover your performance faster. So if you train one muscle group fairly intensely, whereas previously, maybe it took you three, four or five days, to be able to repeat that performance, you might now be consistently seeing that recovery in two or three days, for example, or three or four days. And it's never five days anymore, which is also a reliable indicator of recovery in the context of strength training, in particular, less muscle soreness, more performance, if you if you did, you know, five sets five with whatever, and you came back three or four days later, and you're a little bit sore, but you did five sets of five with the same weight, or maybe with a little bit more weight, you were recovered. So again, it's it's it's an often overlooked thing, because it's so simple, it's just calories.

Philip Pape:

It is and I think a lot of people are afraid of just gaining a bunch of weight. And sure because because you know the surplus you're in and you're tracking it that right there gives you that feedback of of where your intake is. And because your metabolism is so recovered and you have so much energy you do start to find that it actually gets harder to even eat what you need. And it's kind of a nice place to be right you're you're barely gaining, but you don't feel deprived.

Mike Matthews:

Again, I haven't I haven't been booked in some time, at least not like, purposely, for you. I haven't done like a six month lean bulking a long time. But after three or four months, it was I would say it was just as difficult in a different way. But just as difficult as cutting, you know, for three or four months and hunger is higher. workouts are worse, and cravings are present and so forth. So that's after a few months of cutting, that's just usually how it is after a few months of lean bulking though against that point of having no desire to eat whatsoever. And I can liken it too. I remember a time many years ago when I had a flu, and I was pretty sick for I don't know two weeks or something. And for that first week, I had no appetite whatsoever, I just had to force myself to eat some protein at least to try to like mitigate muscle loss. And so that's kind of how it felt at least for me after three or four months of lean bulking. I was not enjoying any food, anything period like even the stuff I really liked pasta for example. So that was like my second dinner that I had to eat but even that I was just forcing myself to eat. I couldn't find anything that I actually liked to eat anymore. So

Unknown:

yeah. Hi, my name is Lisa and I'd like to Big shout out to my nutrition coach Philip Pape with his coaching I have lost 17 pounds he helped me identify the reason that I wanted to lose weight and it's very simple longevity. I want to be healthy, active and independent until the day I die. He introduced me to this wonderful at home macro factor I got that part of my nutrition figured out along with that is the movement part of nutrition. There's a plan to it and really helped me with that. The other thing he helped me with was knowing that Need to get a lot of steps in. So the more steps you have, the higher your expenditure is, and the easier it is to lose weight, when it's presented to you like he presents it, it makes even more sense. And the other thing that he had was a hunker guide. And that really helped me. So thank you below.

Philip Pape:

Continuing down the hierarchy than what we talked about energy, so

Mike Matthews:

the next to the next, so we've taken care of calories, I would say that the next thing that an intermediate weightlifter needs to look at is is their volume. In particular, now we can define volume in different ways. But let's let's use the definition of hard sets per major muscle group, we can look at it per week. And a hard set is a set taken close to muscular failure. And so not a warm up set, not a submaximal set where you do six reps with a weight that you could have done 10 reps with or 12 reps with now, these are six reps, and maybe you could have done seven or eight, you don't have to go up to failure. But you're pushing close. Those are hard sets. And the mistake that I see many beginner now intermediate weightlifters make is. So let's say they're doing about 10 Hard sets per major muscle group per week. And that works well. For most people for the first year, let's say anywhere between eight and 12, maybe even into the second year, if they're a high responder, there's a point though, where that amount of volume is not going to produce any more progress to speak of, and what I see many newly intermediate weight lifters or even long term intermediate weight lifters and they've just been spinning their wheels, what I see them do is they think that their programming needs to get more sophisticated. So now they need to be working in different rep ranges, that's the key actually. So they need to be doing sets of two's and sets of sixes and sets of 10s. Or they need to make some major changes to their exercises and start doing more exotic movements, or they need to start doing drop sets, or super sets, or giant sets or negatives or, or, or, and, and some of those things can produce results to a point. But it's, it's it's not going to consistently move the needle, they might be able to do some of that. And for certain reasons, they might be able to gain a bit more muscle and strength, but it's not going to be very efficient. So again, after let's say a year, of doing all that kind of stuff, if they've been consistent, they probably will have gained some muscle in that year. But whereas they maybe could have gained 567 pounds. Like that's what they could have gained if they would have known what to do. Instead, they gained too. And and so the the number one change that intermediate weight lifters have to make is just more volume, they have to just work harder, and I get why many people don't automatically go to that because that is the worst.

Philip Pape:

It requires effort.

Mike Matthews:

Yeah, that's, that's just bad news, really, unless you just love being in the gym. That's not what people want to hear. Right. So the bottom line, though, is, if 10 to 12 Hard sets per major muscle group per week, if that is going to work well for let's say up to two years. In most people, I think that's fair. Those people, if they want to keep progressing at the rate that they can be progressing at at least let's say most of most of what they can be gaining, it probably needs to go up to upwards of 15 parts sets per major muscle group per week. Now, a 10 per week may be able to go to 1213 and see consistent progress for another year. So if they're at 12 already, and they're kind of stuck, they might be they might have to go to 15. And then and then eventually, for advanced weight lifters, if they're staying natural, and they're trying to gain every ounce of muscle and strength genetically available to them, they probably are going to have to go as high as 20 Hard sets per week, maybe not for all major muscle groups, but for certain major muscle groups that are a bit more stubborn than others. So we all have high and low responding muscle groups, in our in our high responding muscle groups, maybe we never really need to go beyond 1314 15 Hard sets per week, so long as we have our programming set up correctly. And we have a good progression model built in and we can achieve progressive overload consistently blah, blah, blah. And that might get us to where we want to be with that muscle group. But then there will be muscle groups inevitably, that need more than that, that need 1518 20 Hard sets per week consistently to get bigger and stronger. And so that would be number two. Again thinking with the context because I've had many of these conversations with people over the years. And so I'm just thinking with what intermediate strength trainees often overlook?

Philip Pape:

Yeah, no. And I'm glad you focus on volume instead of specific movements or specific types of programming, it really is highly variable depending on the volume. But yep, you mentioned, the amount of weight you gain or muscle you gain in that first year, it could be a lot smaller than you want. And it could happen by accident, right? I mean, there's so many programs, quote, unquote, work for a newbie, but aren't optimal. And then if you kind of get programmed to the idea that this mode of, of training works, now you try to step up the volume using that same training, that's gonna be less effective. Just taking a step back if we go from, because you mentioned muscle for life and bands. But then we also talked about, we haven't talked about the primary forms of lifting with barbells. Mainly, is there an intermediate, beginner range there with, for example, dumbbells that is effective for someone to start with, because I get this, especially from a lot of women, or a lot of people who don't have access to the barbells. Sometimes it's an excuse, but oftentimes, it's a real thing. Is there a trans transition type of programming they could use there?

Mike Matthews:

Absolutely. That actually is the intermediate program in my book muscle for life, which is written specifically for people 40 Plus, who are who are new to all of this. But you you progress from bodyweight, and bands, to dumbbells. And if if you have access to it a trap bar for deadlifting, which is a great hip and back friendly alternative to the traditional deadlift, not that the traditional deadlift is detrimental to your hips and your back. But it's more stressful on your hips and back. And so I like to see particularly if people are a little bit older, and they're new to this, I like to see them with a trap bar first, and establish a good movement pattern, build some strength there before they progress to a barbell. And so as far as even, let's say, a home gym setup, well, if you have, you can even go with modular dumbbells, especially if you get a set that goes up to 80 or 85 pounds. And if you're a woman, you might not even need that, you might just set up to 5055 pounds. And if you want to add a trap bar, which you can get for probably anywhere from 150 to $300, you have everything you need to get well into your intermediate phase. And, you know, for many people actually, if you look at it just in terms of their goals, if you have somebody whose goal is just to get into really good shape, again, by objective standards, not the deranged Instagram standards, and stay that way. They don't need anything more than that, actually, if they just have the know how. And they have a good dumbbell setup, and they have a trap bar, maybe a pull up bar, maybe a dip bar, a couple other things that you can just have at home, that is enough to go from completely out of shape, into great shape. Strong, and you can stay like that for the rest of your life. Now, if you want to see how muscular and how strong you can get given your genetics, then yeah, we're gonna want to add a bit more equipment. For most people, it's easier to just go to a gym, even the space required not that you need a ton of space to have a home gym, a well equipped a well equipped home gym, but you need a bit of space, you need a bit of money. So you're gonna need to do that adding a barbell, you're gonna probably have to expand on your dumbbells. And there are a few machines that are worth considering, like a cable setup and a few other things that you can get at any decent gym, of course.

Philip Pape:

Cool. So we talked energy, we talked volume, what's next movement?

Mike Matthews:

Sleep? Um, so let's see. Movement, I would say no, that's probably I mean, it's good for health. And that's good for not sitting around too much. And it's good for getting outside. But if we're talking to just body comp and performance, you could just have an upright bike like this and just drone away for 30 minutes. But I do is I do it four days a week. And I guess you could call that movement. But if we're talking about continuing to improve strength and continuing to gain muscle, I would say sleep has probably I didn't just say there. It's a common issue with a lot of people, I guess these days with young, younger people and older people, and it certainly will get in the way particularly if you're not 25 anymore. If you're not just physiologically invincible, like we were at 25 then the penalties of not sleeping enough are much larger. And there are things going on that we don't see that are particularly related to muscle protein synthesis or the creation of new muscle protein. So when we don't sleep enough muscle protein synthesis levels in our body are generally lower. And that, of course, is bad that that's going to detract from muscle hypertrophy from from growing muscle. If we can't gain muscle, we are not going to be able to gain strength. After your first year or two, when you've gained a fair amount of muscle, you've gained a fair amount of strength, the most reliable way to get stronger is simply to gain muscle, there's really not much else you can do anymore, you're not going to improve the neurological function of your muscles and your nervous system better, you're not going to get appreciably better at the exercises, you're probably pretty good at them. Now, if you're going to get stronger, you have to gain muscle that has to be the focus. And so regularly, it's not just getting enough sleep, it's it's also the quality of the sleep. And also it's not just getting in bed and getting out of bed at certain times, you know, you'll ask some people, so how much do you sleep and they call Yes, seven or eight hours. And what you learn is, well, they're getting in bed, and they get out of bed after seven or eight hours, but the actual sleep is no more than six. Because when they get in bed, they're on their phone for a bit watching TV, or watching TV or or they just have trouble falling asleep. And then maybe they're waking up anywhere from one to three times in the middle of night. And either they have to pee or maybe they just wake up and they can fall back asleep. But but those wakings add up to another 30 minutes, let's say of sleep last. And so I probably would be remissed to to put sleep lower on the list. And we could reorder these things depending on who we are talking to and what we're going for. But I think it's appropriate to say with intermediate weightlifters, paying attention first and foremost to the calories, then to work out volume, then sleep probably is would be the third thing. And for for people who are skeptical if you're currently if you honestly assess your sleep, and it is, let's say more like six or seven hours of actual sleep, and maybe it's broken up, if you were to increase that by an hour or two consistently, it would have a similar I mean, everything in your life has just gotten better actually. And but but if we if we if we if we just stick with the gym, it's going to have a similar effect to going from a calorie deficit to a calorie surplus, your performance goes way up. Your your not only is your performance go up, but your perception of effort goes down too. So now you are lifting more weight, you are maybe even doing a bit more volume in your workouts now because you have the energy. But it it feels easier than your workouts did previously on less sleep. And so sleep is it's annoying because it I wish we just didn't have to sleep. I would do unconscionable things if I didn't have to sleep anymore.

Philip Pape:

The Productivity be through the roof. Yeah, it's I think it's good for people to understand I understand that. Because I will hear stories about people plateauing. And they're like, I'm doing everything right, I'm training got my protein. Yeah, and I only get six hours of sleep well, there's a root cause often. And I know from personal experience, like,

Mike Matthews:

let's just, let's, let's just fix that. Let's just stop talking about all the other things. And let's just start there.

Philip Pape:

That becomes your number one. But real quick about cardio because you talk about it all the time. And I actually like your rule of thumb of limiting your kind of medium and intense cardio to half the time you lift. Did that come from some evidence at some point? Is it just a really good rule of thumb? Where does that come from?

Mike Matthews:

Yeah, yeah, I would say I mean, I that's based on my understanding of the evidence a the research is particularly on what's called the interference effect. Because cardiovascular training produces a certain type of ad, a type of adaptation in the body strength training produces a very different adaptation in the body, and they are fundamentally at odds. And so that's why many people have traditionally said that cardio is going to kill your gains. You can't do cardio if you're trying to gain muscle. That's not true. That's that's just an exaggeration. But what is true is at a physiological level, they are at odds that's true. Now, fortunately, unless you're doing way too much cardio, cardio is not going to get in the way of gaining muscle and gaining strength and in some ways that actually can any Hansard, for example, one thing that you'll notice, if you currently do no cardio, and you start doing cardio and you build up your cardiovascular endurance, one thing that you're going to notice, if you pay attention is you're going to recover faster in between your sets in the gym. And if you're like me, I watched my little my little stopwatch on my phone. And so I'm resting three, three and a half minutes in between sets of bigger harder exercises, squats, deadlifts, overhead press, bench press, probably not not necessary. And on everything else, it's more like two, two and a half minutes. And I'm, I feel recovered in those time periods. But if I think back to I've been doing cardio consistently, for some time I cardio is not outstanding, I wouldn't consider myself an endurance athlete, but I do enough to have better than average cardio. But I think back in the past, though, when I wasn't doing cardio consistently, those time periods, which are evidence based rest periods, and I would say generally are good, just one size fits all recommendations. If I think back, my heart rate was a bit higher previously, I'd be I'd be resting for two, two and a half, maybe three minutes. Okay, I feel fine, I'm ready to do the next set. However, my heart rate is a bit more elevated, I'm breathing a bit heavier, and and now, my heart rate is lower. So my body cardiovascularly is recovering faster in between sets. And that can improve performance. In the in the same two to three, three and a half minutes, my body is recovering faster because of the cardio. And then and then there are a few other physiological mechanisms in play whereby improving cardio and doing cardio consistently can actually enhance muscle growth or some stuff related to blood flow. And so minimally, it's not going to hurt it. However, again, it can hurt it, if you just do too much cardio and buy too much. It really depends on the person. But I'd say probably anything over especially running research shows that running in particular is detrimental because of the impact and the amount of wear and tear it puts on your body. It's just running as it is much more difficult to recover from than, than a bike or than a rower, or than swimming or an elliptical if you get rid of that impact. And if you want to make it even harder, like high intensity sprinting is the highest is the hardest to recover from, right. But if you are running probably anything more than five hours per week, unless you are very conditioned, and you've been doing it for so long, that's nothing but the that's probably where you're starting to enter the realm of interference where there actually will be some amount of interference with your strength training, not only the the performance, like if you're running quite a bit, especially if you're doing 10 plus hours per week, no question, if you're doing 10 plus hours of running per week, it's going to be interfering with your strength training with your bill, your ability to gain muscle gain strength, you're going to notice in your performance, because you're you're just going to feel a bit beat up, probably always. But then But then the results are going to be impaired as well, you're going to gain less muscle from that training, because of the cardio, you're going to gain less strength because of the cardio. And and so then to take a very kind of safe, conservative position. That's why I took it back to Okay, let's let's limit our cardio to half of the amount of time that we're spending training our muscles. And that way, there's just no way that we're going to run into any issues with the with the interference effect. And if we wanted to stretch that, I would say we could stretch it to probably about the amount of time that you're training, that you're doing strength training. Unless you're doing let's say just one hour of strength training per week, but then I would I would recommend saving one hour of strength training, we're doing five hours of cardio per week. There could be reasons to do that. Maybe you just really enjoy it, that'd be a good reason. But if you're open to it, I would I would ask if we could do three hours of strength training and maybe two hours of cardio per week. So we have some some flexibility. And but I think that's just a good recommendation that allows people to get in enough cardio to benefit from it materially, so you're going to if you're just doing one to two hours of useless just moderate intensity kind of zone to cardio per week. That is great for improving your cardiovascular health, improving your overall health, your sense of well being. It's great for things related to longevity. So like, you know, I joke like, you lift weights to make your life better you do cardio to Make Your Life Longer. But there's, there's, there's truth, there's truth in that. And, and it's it's something that is approachable for many people. So they're in the gym, probably many people listening least many people who are in my orbit, they're lifting weights maybe three to five hours per week. And if they're being asked to figure out maybe adding one to two hours of cardio per week, and so those can be anywhere from 20 to 30 minute workouts that you do, and what type of cardio doesn't really matter, it can be things like I've mentioned, or it could just be playing sports, or you'd like to play pickleball cool, do that whatever, right? It's just, it should be something a bit more challenging than just walking, walking is great. But there there are significant benefits to also doing zone two, right. So like zone, zone one where we're walking is fine. But it's not very challenging, therefore, the adaptations are limited. Whereas when you increase that difficulty, you're now going to get bigger benefits from it. And finally, I would say if somebody does want to add some high intensity stuff, because they like it, or because it's relevant to like, if they really are trying to improve their, their cardiovascular endurance, then it does make sense to do some high intensity work as well. If we are also doing strength training, and our priority is to progress in our strength training, if everything else is kind of secondary to that, I would say, probably a good idea to limit your high intensity work to no more than an hour per week, because high intensity work is great for improving your endurance. And it can be great for burning a lot of calories in a shorter period of time. But it's also harder to recover from.

Philip Pape:

Thanks, all great advice, because there's always confusion about that. And it's really about the dose, what your goal is, whether you're trying to improve your work capacity, and whether you enjoy it, and it's great. I want to respect your time. I know I you know, in my over ambition, I probably have 15 Other questions, I'd love to ask you that philosophy and others.

Mike Matthews:

Practice I haven't been a guest on someone's podcast, and in months, well,

Philip Pape:

you know, mine's gonna keep going on and on. So if you ever want to come back for part two, we can. But I do want to ask you a question. I ask all guests. And that is, is there anything you wish I had asked you? And what is your answer? And I know we kept it kind of to a constrained topic here. But yeah, would you answer that? Yeah.

Mike Matthews:

It's funny, we only we only really touched on a couple of things. Maybe maybe, instead of that, you have one more question that you want to ask?

Philip Pape:

Yeah, I mean, you're a very hungry guy, like I could tell you're always out for, you know, growing, improving and building your business. And people people respect and are drawn to that. So I mean, what else do you want to accomplish before you die?

Mike Matthews:

That's interesting question. So so it kind of comes back actually, to what I said, originally, which was that my plan initially was to write this book, and put it out there and see how it does. And if it if it does, well follow it up with some more books. But originally, my plan was to, to write in different genres and write about things that are interesting to me. So I've done some of that I've written a book on the bill of rights that actually has has sold quite well under a pen name, just because it would be very random to publish that under my name. And then people are like, wait a minute, bigger, leaner, stronger, and the Know Your Bill of Rights book, is this a joke? And so from a marketing perspective, it makes more sense to keep all the fitness stuff under my name like, sir, you know, I'm the fitness guy. And then I, I didn't put much thought into the pen name is just to name two names in my family. Two people's names I picked Sean and Patrick. So Sean, Patrick, and, and and so I've written I've written books and a couple other genres as well. That was my original interest was writing. That's why I got into this. And I almost didn't pursue all of the fitness stuff because I didn't want to. I wasn't thrilled at the idea of becoming a niche fitness micro celebrity as I joke, right. I just I wasn't that that wasn't very appealing to me. And Part Part of that's just my personality. I'm not very concerned about getting approval from other people and getting admiration from people and prestige and status. I'm human. So those things have some appeal, and they always will, but they're not major factors in my Decision Making particularly important decisions, like what am I going to do with my life. And so, originally, I wanted to keep writing, I wanted to write fiction as well, I was very interested in that. And I wanted to use what I was learning about books and selling books to have a digital publishing company, publish my own stuff, publish other people's stuff. And then the fitness stuff started to do so well, that I decided to just go all in on that and pursue that opportunity, despite a part of me not wanting to, and I figured, okay, if I can stick to what I like about it, like if I can stick to writing, and researching, producing content, and doing it maybe also my way, so to speak, like if I go all the way back before the book, so I had my little personal transformation. I was, I was pretty lean, it was probably seven or 8%, body fat, had a good amount of muscle look pretty good. Working out with a with a friend. And he was joking with me. He was like, Mike, why don't you just take your shirt off on YouTube? And just like, sell shit, why don't you just start doing that. And that would have been back in 2012. Now everyone's doing that there weren't actually that many people on YouTube at that time, at least, that I can remember who were in good shape and and who also could maybe explain things and be educational. But that didn't appeal to me. I just didn't want to do that. But what did appeal to me was writing a book, which objectively, is not a great business decision going on YouTube would have been a smarter business decision. If we're talking about probabilities of turning into something that could mean something. But I decided to do what was more interesting to me, which was write a book, which turned out they did far better than I ever thought, good decision. Yeah, yeah. But but but you know, ironically, though, yes, you could say that. However, I think that you have to you have to judge decisions based on the information that you had at the time. It's wrong, I think, to look at it now with hindsight, and say, Oh, well, yeah. You know, I made a great decision there. Because even though there was a 1% chance that it would work out, it did. So

Philip Pape:

that was the value was, yeah, no, that actually

Mike Matthews:

was not great. However, however, I would say it was a good decision, in my case, because I wasn't thinking my goal was not to become a fitness celebrity, that was not my goal, to try to make as much money as I can as quickly as I can. That was not my goal. My goal was to do work that I was going to enjoy and do something that interested me that also could benefit other people. That was writing a book. So that's why I did it. And, and so now, fast forward 1011 years, and I've written a number of books and sold a lot of books and, and Legion has has come a long way and done far better than, than I anticipated in the beginning as well. And I'm still though interested in there's my, my interest in, in writing, that's still the work that I enjoy the most. And so, I actually I'm interested in seeing how I can make time to pursue some of these original interests, like writing fiction, for example. And in some of these other writing projects that I I just tabled, because I decided I was going to focus all of my energy, and all of my time on the fitness stuff. But I was going to come back to some of these other things in the future. So now I'm at that point where I want to come back to some of these other things without taking away from the fitness work.

Philip Pape:

Yeah. And I get that in some of your other work. Like, I don't know, the the Little Black Book of workout motivation, you know, it's almost not a fitness book. Right. It's more about philosophy. Yeah, exactly. Because I don't have it. Yeah. And so I was able

Mike Matthews:

to like scratch my own itch, but it's related to fitness. It's not totally random.

Philip Pape:

But that is a good message about I mean, people say tritely, you know, follow your passion. But I mean, the intangible long term potential growth of an idea because you pick something you enjoyed that allowed you to adhere to it really is consistent with the fitness message of doing things you enjoy and and everything else we talked about. So I wouldn't discount that. I think if you saw an alternate history where he didn't do that, who knows if it wouldn't have been as successful.

Mike Matthews:

The ironic alternate history would be the one where I let's say pursued fiction, right? So I've sold about 2 million 2 million fitness books maybe a little bit more something around that right. And and that's a lot of books have objectively but but it's there. There aren't many people in fitness who have sold that many books. Now, if you zoom out, and you look at, let's say, just general health, and diet, now there are many, many books, especially if you look over the decades that have sold millions of copies. And maybe not many self published, I've published one book traditionally muscle for life, the rest have been self published. And so that's kind of an interesting angle, maybe a bit unique. However, the majority the vast majority of money of, of economic activity with books is fiction. Just go look at right now go look at the top 100 books on Amazon, and probably at least 80 If not 90 of them, maybe even 95 are going to be fiction books. And so the ironic kind of alternate history of you the one where I wrote fiction, instead, and that achieved the same magnitude of success in fiction, which would be probably, literally 10 times the books sold like so, you know, sell 20 million 30 million books, fiction, and the majority of them being self published, where you're earning three to $5 per book, that would have been the ironic twist.

Philip Pape:

I will say, I don't know how many people you would have impacted in terms of true like impact on their life and transformation. But that is one they were happy that you did. And I thank you for personally, I know many others do. So to wrap it up, where can listeners learn more about you. Um,

Mike Matthews:

I guess Legion athletics.com has kind of that's that's the my online home, so to speak. So I'm still active on the blog, there have shit we have 1000s of articles. Now I have a couple of other people now who write with me as well under their names. And, and then I have my my podcast muscle for life, which is also there. And if people want to check out my books, they're in the store there. But they're also on Amazon anywhere online where you buy books, and I'm not very active on social media, because I just don't care to put the time into it. But I do exist. At most of Life Fitness on Instagram at most Flyff on Twitter, I'm actually more active on Twitter than, than Instagram or anything else. Because I like to use Twitter to test ideas to test even phrasings ways of expressing things. I actually have like a whole system I've put together that tracks engagement and so forth, that helps inform my fitness writing. So so I can because as a content creator, something I've always hated, is you put a bunch of time into a piece of content, you think it's great. And it's just just fizzles. It's just annoying. It's annoying. So So I'm thinking about Alright, how can I have that happen less often? And this is this is really just a marketing question. And and testing is, is a it's just a fundamental tool in marketing. And so I like to use Twitter, Twitter to tasks x. That's right now that's when it's is it going to move to x.com? Is that the Excel? Yeah. Interesting. So he's just deleting Twitter, a part of a part of me loves that actually, just because because of what Twitter was before. It's just going to die a complete death at which which I like actually. Anyway, so x x is is great is great for that. And that'd be a whole nother discussion, but I'm more active on Twitter at muscle for life than anywhere else.

Philip Pape:

Alright, cool. So I'll definitely put all that stuff in the show notes. I can put your nom de plume Sean Patrick in there as well if you want.

Mike Matthews:

Actually, I have have a second edition of that book coming. So my work on it is done. I have somebody working with me helping just gather up some footnotes and things and it's not a top priority for us but there's a fair chance that it'll be out later this year. The a new second edition that I think is a pretty significant improvement over the first even though the first I'd say is pretty good. I mean it's it's sold maybe 100,000 copies and gotten a lot of reviews and stuff so

Philip Pape:

check it out. I've I've two girls that are very much into history. So check it out. Alright man, thank you so much for for doing this. You know you're incredible guy, ethical person, which I've always appreciated that and I think you're doing amazing things. So thanks for coming on the show.

Mike Matthews:

Thank you. I appreciate that.

Philip Pape:

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