Hey Reddit,

I’m Mike and I’m best known for a few books (https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Matthews/e/B006XNAP6C/), my website Muscle for Life (https://www.muscleforlife.com), and my supplement company Legion Athletics (https://legionathletics.com).

I’m super excited to be here, so AMA! I’ll field questions on anything: diet, exercise, supplementation, business, marketing, velociraptors, Juggalos, whatever floats your boat.

Proof: https://imgur.com/a/RL5jt

EDIT #1: Hey everybody! I forgot to post how long I'll be doing this, soooo...I'll be going until 4 PM ET (another 30 minutes).

EDIT #2: That's a wrap! Thanks so much for stopping by and asking me questions. :) I hope you enjoyed it!

Oh and if you liked what I had to say, then you'll definitely like my articles over at www.muscleforlife.com and www.legionathletics.com/blog.

Comments: 496 • Responses: 133  • Date: 

Trogdorrules59 karma

You have a book called Bigger Leaner Stronger, Thinner Leaner Stronger, and The Shredded Chef. Would you consider doing a book called Thinner Leaner Shredder, complete with a pic of Shredder (from TMNT) on the cover? The whole book can be about losing weight "The Shredder Way", which involves lots of cardio through intense stabbing and slicing.

Edit: added some stuff.

MikeMatthews_MFL46 karma

Fucking brilliant. Email me. Let's write together.

Redacted_Giant37 karma

Many if these accounts are new. How much did you pay for the upvotes?

MikeMatthews_MFL47 karma


Emailed a list of mine with over 200,000 people to notify them of this.

DahhhBears21 karma

Thanks for doing this Mike. Been a fan for years now.

When's the droid version of the stacked app coming out?

MikeMatthews_MFL10 karma

Thank you!

Right now we're gearing up to do a bit of an overhaul on the iOS (new UI/UX, few new features) and then, once that build is stable and people are happy, we'll look at bringing it to Android.

youdontknow373 karma

I'm an Android dev and would love to help make this happen. Been unimpressed with most of the apps I've used on Android.

MikeMatthews_MFL6 karma

Nice! Want to shoot me an email?

youdontknow376 karma

Yeah, will do today.

MikeMatthews_MFL3 karma


AndrewCrimzen18 karma

So does anyone else find it weird as Hell that this AMA has multiple comments for every minute from brand new reddit accounts with no other posting history...?

And all the ones that are from brand new accounts start with "Hi Mike!" While all the ones from older accounts are much more natural sounding and don't have a greeting like that

MikeMatthews_MFL41 karma

I emailed a list with 200,000+ people to notify them of this, heh.

Lindsey_LC10 karma

Any tips for a woman trying to lose fat while having hormone issues?

MikeMatthews_MFL15 karma

Definitely. Want to email me? Would love to hear more and see how I can help.

Mmeewes3 karma

Hey mike! I’d love to get your take on the rising popularity of unsweetened but flavored soda waters. Seems like everyone is making the switch. It seems too good to be true though. Thoughts?

MikeMatthews_MFL14 karma

Hey if you like 'em and they help you drink more water, why not?

smile4me879 karma

Just wanted to say as a dental hygienist that I've seen a rise in this in patients and it can cause cavities. There is no sugar but the carbonation is acidic so having several times throughout the day isn't a good idea. I recommend drinking them when you're already having a meal to make them not as harmful to your teeth. 😀

MikeMatthews_MFL7 karma

Hm, interesting point. Thanks for sharing!

PurplePot3 karma

What is your opinion on EC(A) stacking?

MikeMatthews_MFL13 karma

It works. I'd leave out the aspirin though.

PurplePot0 karma

That's what ive been doing. Thanks again!

MikeMatthews_MFL5 karma


dingoparties3 karma

Hey Mike, love your books. Both me and my husband have been following them for about 6 months and seeing great results. My husband hurt his shoulder somehow really badly and can no longer lift. Any ideas of exercises he can do in the interim to maintain his strength while his shoulder heals?

MikeMatthews_MFL17 karma

Thank you!

The #1 rule of overcoming aggravations and injuries is WORKING AROUND THEM. That is, doing things that don't make them worse.

In your hubby's case, the first thing I'd recommend is seeing a good sports doc to asses the severity of the injury, as I'd really hate to give advice that might be right for SOME conditions but wrong for others, you know?

That said, I myself have dealt with shoulder pains in the past and something that has helped me, for example, is switching from barbell to dumbbell pressing (because BB was uncomfortable while DB wasn't).

This article might be helpful as well:


pbeardtn2 karma

Very glad I logged on! Thank you for the advice. I had the same thing happen about 8 weeks in. I hurt my shoulder because I lifted too much too fast. Form matters and I rushed it. Hope to start back tomorrow. Looking forward to making some progress again, Lord willing.

MikeMatthews_MFL4 karma

My pleasure. Live and learn. LMK how it goes.

nectarbeats3 karma

Hi Mike thank you for everything that you do for the community.

What aspects from your daily life did you notice change the most after becoming a more well known public figure? How does you handle knowing how strongly you can influence so many individuals at a time and what is your process for putting out new information?

Of all people in the bodybuilding community you’ve always been the person I can count on for “no bullshit” information. I can’t thank you enough for doing the research and making it digestible for those of us who might not have the bandwidth to do so.

MikeMatthews_MFL7 karma

Thank you!

Honestly I don't think of myself as a public figure or even well known. I'm kinda well known in a kinda small subgroup of people who are kinda really into working out, haha. I hope is stays that way too. I don't want celebrity.

So to answer your question, nothing meaningful has changed, really, which has worked to my favor. I've just kept myself focused on researching, producing content, and growing Legion, and that has not only worked out tremendously well on the business side of things, I think it has also helped keep me grounded.

trudyperkins3 karma

I just found out I’m pregnant and I was just about to start the program. I’m pretty fit (though somewhat out of practice) and have been lifting and working out consistently for years (with the exception of the last couple months when I got lazy and just did occasional yoga/Pilates). I did the program for a few months last year and saw great results.

So...knowing I’m pregnant, can I still do the program? What modifications will I need to make? What movements should I skip entirely?

MikeMatthews_MFL4 karma


Yes, you definitely can but there are a few things you should should on both the diet and exercise. Check out these articles:



bjunc2 karma

Hey Mike, Like many here, been a fan for a while. I read a lot of philosophy and economics as it seems you do too (including Sean Patrick!). I've been curious if you consider yourself a "classical liberal", and/or affiliate with the Libertarian party? If so, do you have any thoughts on how the free-market / voluntary cooperation / decentralized government / non-aggression principles of classical liberalism can cut through the "greedy capitalist" image; despite central planning and collectivism, seemingly becoming more and more popular in the US?

MikeMatthews_MFL3 karma

Thanks so much!

I'm definitely a classical liberal type with conservative (not GOP per se, but dictionary definition) leanings.

Ugh, a good question that would probably make for a better podcast than AMA reply, haha.

Honestly, I'm pretty pessimistic at this point and think that we're most likely to experience some hard times in the next couple of decades. Maybe if major A-list celebrities did a social and political 180 and went on campaigns to convince people of their new positions? These types of things used to be dictated by monarchies, aristocracies, and religion, but now it's people who play make believe for a living and social media influencers, lol.

OR maybe if aliens came and forced us to get in line? That would work. :P

I'm sure I could come up with a more insightful answer if I had more time but I have a billion more questions to get to, haha.

wednesdayisfordaboyz2 karma


I have been doing BLS for about a year now. I followed it day in and day out up until September of this year and my diet fell off around August of this year. After September I started working out with a friend with a exercise science degree and I just didn't like the program and just started back with BLS in December. In August I was 180 lbs and if I was estimating I'd say I was around 12% body fat. Fast forward to December and I was 196 lbs and I would estimate around 20% bodyfat. My dilemma is my body composition, amount of muscle, and strength has greatly decreased since August as I am now about 184 lbs. My plan is to continue the cut to 170 just to get my composition back and start a clean bulk/cut cycle of 3 months to 1 month for awhile. Is this a solid plan? Should I cut to a lower weight? Any advice as to whether to follow this thought process or not?

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

Cutting back to the 10% range and then lean bulking is a good place. You'll have muscle memory on your side so it's very possible that you recomp a bit on your way down, which makes it more fun. :)

victormegirbes2 karma

Hello Mike! Is your book Leaner, Thinner, Stronger available in Spanish? Thanks

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

Not yet! Working on a deal. :)

coryrenton2 karma

What are the worst book title ideas you considered?

MikeMatthews_MFL8 karma

Smaller Fatter Weaker? :P

GarrulousCuriosity2 karma

I'm considering purchasing the shredded chef, but my wife and I are Vegan. Would you say it's with it?


MikeMatthews_MFL9 karma

Probably not honestly. There are some vegan recipes but not enough to warrant a purchase IMO.

stephlouie2 karma

Hi genius Mike, when will the next TLS be out? I’m on phase 6 and want to progress! Do you advise making a plan yourself with the things you like the most?

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

Hahah hi hi! I definitely plan on writing a follow-up to TLS, but I don't think I'll be able to do it until next year. :(

In the meantime, email me when you finish TLS and I can help you on where to go from there?

mrhappyoz1 karma

Hey Mike,

Just thought I’d say thank you. While I found a few items here and there in B,L,S challenged my existing preconceptions, your tip about >30g of protein per serving seems to have made a surprising amount of difference. I’m not sure whether it’s that, or increasing my overall daily protein amount from 2g/kg of lean mass to around 4g, but suddenly I’m creating a lot more muscle in the last few weeks.

I’d love your opinion on this experiment:


For 21 day intervals, this guy eats 5000kcal per day on HFLC and then again on LFHC, then at maintenance on HFLC. His calculated weight gain at that energy intake was 7.3kg, however on HFLC it was only 1.3kg and on LFHC, it was 7.1kg. The maintenance phase on HFLC saw him lose 5.9kg.

No doubt, I have my own opinions about what is going on here, but I’d be keen to get your angle on this?


PS. Great book, will be reading the others soon!

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

That's great! Most likely due to overall increase in protein intake.

I'll have to check this out to comment on it buuuuuut it kinda runs afoul of basic physiology and the weight of the scientific literature.

colts1871 karma

I was wondering what your opinion is on keto. I have some of your supps for fasted training and keto feels like something I could easily do. What do you think about keto? I have all of your books and love your supplements. Its so nice getting supps that aren't full of proprietary blend crap and that don't give me the runs or the jitters LOL. Oh and the ios app is awesome!

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

Thanks for the support!

IMO keto is mostly overrated and unnecessary BUT if you like it, do it.

JMorgan0361 karma

Hey Mike, thanks for doing this! Quick question for you regarding cutting... From July-December I bulked on the BLS program, gained about 16 pounds in that time (ps, thanks for a great/effective program) and I’m getting close to 15% BF, so I began a cut last week. I’m quite ectomorphic, so after consuming about 2650 calories per day last week (was at about 3750 per day when bulking), using your pre-workout product Forge, and doing three HIIT sessions I lost 4 pounds, going from 198 to 194. In terms of my macros I’m pretty well dialed in, about 1.2g protein per pound, 1.5g carbs per pound, and .3g fat per pound. However after doing my chest workout this morning I lost 4 or 5 reps in total from last week across 9 working sets. My question to you then is if you would expect losing so many reps after one week to be normal, considering I’m more of an ecto/hardgainer?


MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

Great job!

Ah you don't need to be that aggressive with your calories because you worked them up quite high on your bulk.

Start with 3,000 per week and ride that out until the weight loss stops and then look at moving more/eating less.

Roosje_an1 karma

hi Mike, I have your books and I really really like them! One thing I find quite hard to get the needed proteins a day - I need to eat so much chicken and that combined with IF makes me super full all the time. Do you have a tip how to get more proteins in while also not being totally full?

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

Thank you!

Do you use any protein powders? They're great for increasing overall protein intake without the as much of the satiety that comes with food.

chris1107721 karma

Hi Mike,

Been following your BLS program for a few years, thanks for all the great advice in your books and articles etc. My question is:

When you start out training, the main reason for going to the gym is to look and feel better, when you reach the point where your happy, what is it that keeps you going to the gym day after day? (Or do you find you never reach that point!?).

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

Thank you!

Good question. I myself just enjoy working out but I'm also still trying to improve my physique, even if slightly and slowly. I still like tracking my numbers and pushing for progression, even if it doesn't mean as much now as it did in the beginning.

You learn to appreciate the little things better, haha.

LatvianGiant1 karma

Hey Mike!

I’ve been running into a problem with being a college student where the food that the school prepares doesn’t really work in my meal plan due to being too high in fat. I’m starting a cut right now and it seems like the only way to get my protein every day (266g) is to take a bunch of protein powders and eat a lot of low-fat yogurt and cottage cheese. Do you have any recommendations on what I could do to get more protein in my diet from meat sources?

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

Hmm how about dropping carbs and increasing fats? Not 100% ideal of course but could work?

Limitede11 karma

Hey Mike! how does one know if they’re using hip drive when going up in squats?

What’s a good cue that you suggest that helps to determine if they are using hip drive?

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

A cue I like is envisioning throwing the weight off your back as you ascend. This helps you maintain an upright core and drive your hips forward.

Another useful cue is getting your butt under you.

HyperAlarm41 karma

Hey Mike Thanks for taking the time to do this. I have been following the 4 day routine in BLS for just over a month and have recently been struggling with progressive overload on exercises such as the bench press and OHP. I tend to increase the weight for the next set if I am able to complete 6 reps. But this often results in me getting 2-3 reps in most cases on subsequent sets. I was wondering if I am doing this correctly or shall I increase the weight when I am able to do all sets for 6 reps, rather than fluctuating it on a set by set basis?

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

My pleasure!

Ah yeah just work up to 2 sets of 6 reps and then move up and if you still have the same issue, work up to 3 sets of 6.

shawnt901 karma

Mike huge fan! I'm 5'9 215lbs 21% bf I'm trying to loose, around 20 in 3 months I'm new to calculating calories and from some help you have given me on Facebook I'm trying to cut 750 calories and add hiit to my work out 3 times a day.. Does 1880 calories sound right? And what's your go to Hiit?

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

Thank you!

Yeah, around 2,000 per day on a 40/40/20 split is aggressive but you should be able to do well at least until you're in the 15% range (you might need to take a diet break there before pushing toward 10%).

Upright or recumbent biking is my go-to for HIIT. Rowing is good too.

joed19601 karma

Hi Mike. Thanks for doing this for us. I'm a 57 year old male who does mostly bodyweight exercises, while also working out with dumbbells. I've noticed one side of my body is a bit bigger than the other. What can I do on my weaker side to get things back to symmetrical?

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

My pleasure!

You can address this fairly easily with asymmetrical training.

Check this out:


wrxdrunkie1 karma


I know you have been maintaining for a while not but if you were to bulk again how much weight would you gain?

Also what is your current height, weight, and bf%?

I have found gaining at the recommended rates for leanbulking very difficult, especially considering water weight fluctuations.

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

I'm 6'2, 197, around 10% BF.

Hmm I would want to see at least 215 by the end of a lean bulk, probably closer to 220.

Mo100241 karma

Hey Mike I'm interested in starting my own business as an online trainer. Are there any books or strategies you recommend to make the most of this? More particular on topics of how to sell and how to get acquire leads. Thanks.

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma


Definitely, for business, start with The ONE Thing and The Lean Startup, and for marketing, start with Influence, Pre-Suasion, and Ca$hvertising.

Also I highly recommend you check out NeilPatel.com (blog) and Digital Marketer's courses (very good).

lotsastrawberries1 karma

Hi Mike!

I have a Stacked question, forgive me if it’s been answered elsewhere. But, what was the idea/priority behind Stacked’s user interface? How long had the app been in production before you released the iOS version? Any changes or additions on your radar? I use it for workouts, but haven’t had much experience with other workout apps- so I was just wondering how you and your team settled on certain aspects of its design.

Cheers! Thanks for doing this AMA!

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

Good timing because we're gearing up to make some major changes to the UI/UX to make it, ugh, better, haha. More iOs friendly, more intuitive, etc.

Keep your grapes peeled. :)

ShiiverStorm1 karma

Hey Mike! I'm super new at weightlifting, trying to lose weight and trying to increase my strength. I've noticed 2 things though that I'd love your opinion on. When I'm lifting heavy sometimes it feels light but I cannot get the weight up. I don't understand why. and the 2nd one is while doing leg press calf raises my feet get burned out way before my calves!! is this normal?

Thank you! It's so cool that you're doing this!!

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

Nothing to be worried about here. Just keep working at it and you'll do well. Your feet will get stronger too, haha.

ajh9931 karma

I’m a big fan of your books (both working out and cooking) and your shameless calling of broscience.

It seems like most of your success stories and tips are meant towards the ectoderm who has problems building mass. I sit on the other end (6’2, 250 lbs) - I can build strength (350 deadlift, 250 bench) and muscle really fast but damn that spare tire and manboob fat will not go away. I’ve been cutting for several months (2500 cal days) and, despite behaving at mealtime and keeping up at the gym, I’m not able to lose more than 1-2 lbs/mo.

Do you have science based evidence for the endoderms out there to get leaner?

MikeMatthews_MFL5 karma

Thank you!

You can do VERY well my friend because you are not going to lose muscle easily when cutting.

Most of the claims about eating/training for one body type or another are bullshit anyway. Check this out:


trydar1 karma

my head hurts when I do skull crushers, wat do? =p

MikeMatthews_MFL9 karma

Bang your head into things more. Thicken that skull bruh.

GrimSyN1 karma

Hey Mike! Enjoy your science based articles, books, and supplements. Speaking of supplements, do you have a definitive timeline on the release of Legion protein bars?

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

Thank you!

Ugh, not yet BUT the samples arriving this week SHOULD be the final finals...

Pacodaboys1 karma

Hello Mike. What is your opinion of Rack Pulls and Snatch Grip Rack Pulls?

MikeMatthews_MFL10 karma

RPs (regular and snatch grip) are great if used properly (in the context of general programming). Can really help add mass to the back.

tlefleur11 karma

Mike, I read your book this past weekend because a friend of mine had great results. I'm going to start with a cutting cycle. I'm 205 lbs. now and my question is, as I lose weight, do I then base my cutting percentages of protein, carbs and fat intake on that new weight or do I stay at the 205lb marks you suggested in your book?

MikeMatthews_MFL3 karma

Thank you!

Nope, just stick to your original numbers until you're no longer losing weight and THEN look to make adjustments. This will help:



Hi, Mike! Thanks for taking the time and for all that you do.

Can you please clarify some apparent conflicting information regarding protein timing and pre/post workout nutrition?

In your protein timing video, you say that studies show that for muscle building purposes, the body processes roughly 30 grams of protein in 3 hours but that anymore brings about diminishing returns. However, if I recall correctly, you suggest having up to 40 grams of protein about 30 minutes before training and 40-50 grams of protein post-workout to ensure to ensure that we are stimulating maximum protein synthesis. Isn't this somewhat of a contradiction?


MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

The optimal range of a single dose of protein is generally 20 to 40 grams, depending on various factors, which is why I just went in the middle to keep it simple.

A big factor here is age. As we get older, we need more protein to maximally stimulate protein synthesis.

I myself generally have 30 grams before and 40 grams after training.

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

The optimal range of a single dose of protein is generally 20 to 40 grams, depending on various factors, which is why I just went in the middle to keep it simple.

A big factor here is age. As we get older, we need more protein to maximally stimulate protein synthesis.

I myself generally have 30 grams before and 40 grams after training.

shoaibnasiri1 karma

Skinny fat people should lose fat first and then gain muscle or gain muscle and then cut?

MikeMatthews_MFL3 karma

Lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. :)

Elias9971 karma

What are your thoughts on the nSuns exercise program? It's quite popular here around reddit.

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

Sorry don't know that. Will check out though.

PlzHelpMeMike1 karma

Thanks for all your work Mike, Legion’s been a huge benefit to my life.

When’s the best time to take Atlas? I prefer it after my workout, but I’m not sure how fast-digesting the carbs in it are.

Also, how would you recommend building coordination without a trainer?

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

Thank you!

Any time is fine, really, so after workouts is fine. :)

It mostly just takes practice and not getting too aggressive on moving up in weight (don't move faster than you can handle). Watching videos of other people doing movements properly and envisioning yourself doing them properly as well can help, too (sounds unscientific AF but there's actually research on this).

CrateriaEnhasa1 karma

Hey Mike, Alex from the WH here. Had a couple questions for a friend of mine who's pretty competitively into crossfit. She recently discovered Legion products through me and has come to love them (she's now starting to convert her gym I think lol) and she was wondering...

1) How one goes about getting sponsored? Does one apply or does Legion/MFL mainly just discover people? What's most important for getting sponsorship? Is it looks? Size of social media following? The positive message they send? Or do you have to kind of have it all? (my guess is the latter)

2) Does Legion do any partnerships with gyms for retail selling of Legion products? Are you guys looking into stocking products at gyms for local sales, or still mainly sticking to all online?

Thanks again Mike for everything you guys do.

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

Hey man!

Thanks as usual for all the support.

  1. Shoot an email to miles@legionsupplements (dot) com.

  2. Yup, we want to start doing a lot more of this. Again, Miles can help!

bbuofmrules1 karma

Love the book BLS and have been at it for little over a year.

What would you consider the best way to get up from the toilet after leg day?

MikeMatthews_MFL13 karma

Thank you!

Install a bidet.

tymo571 karma

Hi Mike, Just wondering, as i don't have a squatrack at home, and the beercrate towers are losing their viability as squatstands ( but handy as living in a small space). I like working out at home, but have no space for a squatrack. I saw someone mentioning using a hexbar as a "replacement" for squatting. What do you think about that?

MikeMatthews_MFL3 karma

Hmm hex bar deadlift is a great exercise but not quite a replacement for the squat. Bulgarian Split Squats (with dumbbells) is a viable alternate...


So talking about floating boats....... what is your favorite part of a boat and why do you like that part better than the others? Also if you dont like boat... Why not?

MikeMatthews_MFL4 karma

...I don't have an answer so I'm just going to call you a racist.

Zook0241 karma

How has the addition of selling on GNC and Bodybuilding.com affected business? Are you seeing an uptick in interest and sales?

MikeMatthews_MFL3 karma

They're making sales but not much in the overall scheme of things.

ElMangosto1 karma

Hey Mike! I find myself in conflict. I know I want to be leaner and stronger, those are clearly paramount as evidenced by their presence in two of your book titles.

But it's a toss-up between "thinner" and "bigger". If I get both books will I just sort of hover at the same weight?

MikeMatthews_MFL10 karma

Probably, BUT if you include The Shredded Chef, you'll also get shredded...

olliewalshPP1 karma

how should I tailor my split towards strength instead of aesthetics(I.e. for sports like rugby) how is 2 push 2 pull 2 legs? Also when do I know when I’m overtraining. Thanks a lot mike, you’re the man

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

Hmm why not follow a more traditional strength program like SS or 5x5?

Wcothe1 karma

Mike During push and pull exercises, my arms want to dominate the exercise. Any advice on how to refocus chest and back as the primary movers?

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

This is usually a matter of form.

If technique is right, sometimes lowering the weights and really focusing on the muscles you want to engage helps establish that "mind muscle connection."

NakedDoor1 karma

Hey Mike, What's your top three health/fitness misconseptions you wish people knew the truth about? Big fan of the books and tour work all round!

MikeMatthews_MFL8 karma


  1. Strength training is just for people who want big muscles.

  2. WHAT you eat is far more important than HOW MUCH if you want to lose fat/not gain fat.

  3. You have to obsess over "clean eating" to be lean and healthy.

dsc10001 karma

I started fasted training a few months ago during a cut. It was hard at first but now I love it. I am bulking now, but i still feel better ehwn I train fasted rather then eating prior to work out. Do you only train fasted when you are cutting or do you do it all the time?

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

I only train fasted when cutting so I can take a couple supplements that noticeably increase fat loss (caffeine, synephrine, yohimbine).

I much prefer training fed when bulking because a) the extra meal helps me get in your calories and b) I'm stronger when fed.

ohadschn1 karma

Hey Mike,

I'm a bit confused about my plant-based protein options (Thrive is too expensive to ship to Israel unfortunately :[ )

  • NOW Organic Plant Protein is a blend of Organic Pea, Brown Rice, Quinoa. But the protein/serving ratio is less than 65% (22 / 34).
  • Sunwarrior Classic Plus is a blend of organic pea, organic brown rice, organic quinoa, organic chia seed, organic amaranth. The protein/serving ratio is 80% (20g/25g).
  • NOW Pea Protein is 100% pea protein and the protein/serving ratio is less than 73% (24/33). But I understand from the article that pea alone is inferior to a rice/pea mix.
  • Sunwarrior Warrior Blend is a blend of organic pea protein, organic hemp protein, organic goji berry. The protein/serving ratio is 76% (19/25). But again this is not a pea/rice mix.

Among these options, only the Sunwarrior Warrior Blend is ranked in Labdoor, and it sits in a pretty good place (16th from the top, with a grade of 81 points). But going by your teachings, it appears as though the Sunwarrior Classic Plus would be the most effective (having the highest protein ratio [assuming it's not spiked, but I gather Sunwarrior have a good reputation] and being a pea/rice combination).

On the other hand, NOW is cheaper so if the difference isn't significant I'd probably consider it the better choice (I'm guessing I should go for the pea product in that case, seeing as the plant blend's 65% sounds like too low a serving/protein ratio?)

So the question is, how would you rate my options?

MikeMatthews_MFL3 karma


I wouldn't pay much attention to LB's rankings as their algos are pretty shitty TBH.

If it's me, I go with the NOW blend as #1 and 100% pea as #2, and if you're vegan, bump your target protein intake up a bit to account for the "less than optimal" nature of most plant protein.

MDubYa101 karma

Mike I have 2 questions...

  1. I have extremely bad knees but don't want to fall behind on legs. What do you recommend doing to keep the stress off of knees. (P.S. Squats are fine during the workout, but the next day is brutal)
  2. I train first thing in the morning and I read your articles about BCAA's. Is legion going to make a BCAA with the focus of fasted trainging?

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

  1. Really depends what kind of issues you're dealing with. Injury related or arthritic or? The key is figuring out how to train legs without blowing up your knees. We don't want inflammation getting out of control.

  2. No because honestly that's the only good reason to have a BCAA, and the only real good reason to train fasted is to be able to take a few supplements that will help speed up fat loss, and that's why we have FORGE.

ljbrandt5001 karma

MIKE! Two questions: 1. Why the move to Virginia from FL? Doesn't FL have better tax laws? 2. How did you get into golf? Are you a member of golfWRX?

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

  1. I grew up in FL and just wanted a change (4 seasons, be close to a city I like--DC--experience something different).

Yeah, VA has income tax but it's not too bad. I'm willing to pay some state taxes if I enjoy living in the state.

  1. Randomly actually. I lived close to a nice club in FL and had dicked around with golf when I was younger, so it was an easy sell. :)

No I'm not.

tunafisherr1 karma

Can HIIT workouts be effective in building muscle?

also thanks for fielding all these questions! you're a beast for being able to run your business AND look amazing.

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

Haha thank you!

Do you mean high-volume stuff like GVT? If so, the long story short is no, that style of training isn't better for building muscle.

Koakie1 karma

Shout out to Mike.reading his blog was a epiphany for me after years (on and off) in the gym. I'm one of the few in the gym now doing low reps heavyweights for half a year and pushing through plateaus on a cut, seeing real body recomposition, while the rest of the guys I used to look up to still chasing the pump with high reps.

I just started with my first ever bulk. I am aiming for slow bulk but after such a long time of not eating crap, I have indulged in some sweet or fast food here and there. no beers on the bulk though.

my question is: Some days I have a real drive and energy to lift heavier and to power through my workout in this bulk. some days I feel bloated (under the skin, not the muscle tissue), tired and lethargic on this bulk diet. is that due to too many simple sugars, occasional crap food (too little fiber for all those carbs?) or something else?

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

Shit, I answered this? Is this a double post or did my answer not post?

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

Thank you! So glad to hear you're doing so well.

I've run into at a certain level of carb intake. Eventually your body just says stop, lol. For me this is around 500 g/day, but for some people, that threshold is lower.

If that's the case, then you can dial carbs down and protein and/or fats up.

Otherwise I'd say it most likely has to do with lifestyle stuff not related to diet.

sjashe1 karma

Noticed last year when you suddenly came back to podcasting full bore (maybe you thought you had said it all !?) Was this a realization that you were over-focused on the supplement business? Was almost like you were coming back to being the person who originally wrote the books..

MikeMatthews_MFL3 karma

Yeah for a bit I was caught up in a lot of administrative stuff (mostly for Legion) that needed to be done but took a lot of time away from what I think is the highest and best use of my time (creating content).

I now have more people in the biz who have taken over the stuff I was doing, which has freed up time for me to go back to doing what I enjoy most.

Vinnystill1 karma

I've asked a similar question before but I need some advice. 10 weeks ago i started doing above the knee rack pulls, instead of deads, and since getting to 495 I've seen a HUGE development in my upper back. I need to put deads back in my program (for glutes) ...should I add then to back day (keeping rack pulls) and take something else out or add them to leg day??

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

Hmm I wouldn't personally do a few heavy sets of both rack pulls and deadlifts in the same work (along with squats and everything else).

I'd probably take a break on the RPs for 8 weeks or so and DL instead.

manuelestavillo1 karma

What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing body weight exercises compared to exercises which involve heavy weights? Is one better than another?

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

You can gain muscle and strength with BW training but it's only going to get you so far, and not nearly as far as weightlifting.

maralgil1 karma

Hi Mike

Love your books and been seeing great results with your programme.

Wanted to ask your advice on home training. I get to the gym as often as I can (3/4 per week) but on occasion life and family commitments mean I need to train at home. I have 55lb flex dumbbells which are too light for me on heavy compound lifts, pressing etc. So I tend to just do much higher rep volumes and more sets if it’s all I can do. Is this is a good idea to continue or am I being counter productive?



MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

Thank you!

That works! So long as you can get in your big push, pull, and leg workouts, you can be more flexible with your accessory work.

Zook0241 karma

How are the protein bars coming along?

MikeMatthews_MFL5 karma


We actually approved the last samples and then discovered that one of the ingredients was suddenly unavailable (oligodextrin). :-(

We're now waiting for the next samples without it, which should come this week (and should be good--fingers crossed!).

Itseemsihaveto1 karma

Hi Mike,

Big fan of the work that you and Jeremy do.

I have a business-realted question, if that's OK:

I'm looking to write and self-publish a self-help/self-motivation type book that'll cover a lot of psychology as well as physical fitness, diet etc. to help people with their productivity in their work and every day life (but particularly solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, business people etc.). Seeing as you absolutely smash it when it comes to promotion of your self-published books, do you have any tips for the best ways for me to market such a book, please?


MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

Thank you!

The #1 rule of selling a lot of books is write a really good book--a book that people are going to talk about. If a book can't generate word of mouth, it's doomed, period, no matter how slick the cover, title, endorsements, launch, etc. are. It will go like a bullet into a swimming pool.

Another major part of selling a lot of books is creating something unique and interesting that fills a real gap in the marketplace. When I published BLS, there was no other book like it on Amazon. Now it's glutted with me-too copycat books that go nowhere because mine are so well established (as a guy or gal looking to improve your body composition, what are you going to buy: a book with, in the case of BLS, over 3,000 reviews and hundreds of success stories written by someone who clearly walks the walk, or a book with a dozen reviews from a no-name?).

Point being: make sure you're not just swiping the material in the bestsellers. Make sure that your book doesn't address the same issues in the same ways as everything else in the space. Really dig in and find a concept that is fresh and unique.

nickm_fitness_1 karma

Hi Mike!

I'm actually in the middle of the workout right now, monday chest day, trying hard to beat my 6x30kg at inclined dumbbell bench press!

I keep having trouble with my fitness app, I was wondering how Stacked was going and if there was any plan to add it to android?

Seriously, thanks for helping me get into fitness, I'm having a blast!


Nick M

MikeMatthews_MFL3 karma

Haha nice! Glad you're rolling!

Yessir, but first we're going to do a round of improvements on iOS and see how they're received.

bekeleftw1 karma

Hey Mike, huge fan, glad you're doing an AMA, I have lots of questions I’d like to ask you but will stick to one for now.

I have a question about how to implement the stuff in ‘Becoming a Supple Leopard’. I bought it (based on this article you wrote) expecting guidance on stretching and general mobility and am overwhelmed by how much it requires a complete change in the way you move and think about mobility.

For example, I’m having trouble even knowing if I’m performing the mobility checks properly (ie. Am I even “externally rotating my shoulders” or am I misunderstanding what that means/feels like?). Kelly also moves so fast in his videos sometimes, and is so much more flexible than me to the point where I have a lot of trouble recreating his movements.

Did you have any issues like this? Do you have any recommendations on how to get the most out of the book?

MikeMatthews_MFL3 karma

Thank you!

I totally understand. That's a huge downside of that book. It's a tome.

Have you checked out my articles on MFL on mobility? They give some simple routines to start with.

I also plan on creating a digital course on mobility this year (MFL 2.0, which is on the way, will include digital courses).

bekeleftw1 karma

Following up, I want to thank you for committing to quality in your supplements and your content. It's genuinely changed the way I approach my life in that it's made me realize that there are experts and research behind most things I do, and I've since started seeking that research and those experts on everything I can.

I'm also a huge fan of the podcast, and appreciate that you really get into the nitty gritty on the research you cite, the chemical affects produced inside your body by supplements and activity, and that you bring on the actual scientists and researchers to discuss their findings.

Anyways, enough fanboying, appreciate everything and keep up the great work!

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

So glad to hear this, haha thank you. I'm flattered. Lots more to come!

HotLikeSauc31 karma

How many people work at Legion now? When do you anticipate expanding the team again?

MikeMatthews_MFL6 karma

There are 11 of us now and yup we will be adding a few more this year. Right now we need a videographer, social media marketer, and ecommerce marketer.

__ijustbluemyself__1 karma

Hope I'm not too late!

I'm a 5'11 female, 72kg and lifting regularly for about 3 years.

I'm a fitness instructor and teach Hiit classes 3-4 times a week. I do strength training 4 times a week but will the amount of cardio I have to do stop me from bulking? I don't build muscle easily as it is but at this point would it be purely down to diet?

I'm trying to keep my cardio fitness high so I can teach bit without impacting my strength and I think I'm failing!

MikeMatthews_MFL3 karma


Hmm it's not ideal for bulking but that doesn't mean you can't gain muscle. You'll just need to make sure you eat enough food to stay in a slight surplus, and I would also recommend a high-ish carb diet.

jEEEremy1 karma

What is your favorite TV channel, and why is it the gorilla channel?

Also, could you please explain in detail how the way he hit that other gorilla was good?

Thanks Mike!

MikeMatthews_MFL6 karma

Oh man if you only knew how much I love The Gorilla Channel.

Some days, I watch it for 17 hours straight kneeling in front of the TV, with my face just a few inches from the screen, so I can say encouraging things to the gorillas. I know they (probably) can't hear me, but when one gorilla hits the other one really good, I just can't control myself.

For example, one of my favorite gorillas, who I've named Harambe McHarambeface, is like a freakin' hammer in a nail factory. He has huge muscles and storms around like Donkey Kong on a diet of coffee and cocaine, and the way he hits those other gorillas isn't just GOOD, but damn near poetic. Imagine if you could watch Tyson in his prime roaming around the mall, uppercutting strangers. That's how good this gorilla hits the other ones.

My only complaint with TGC is sometimes it's boring because the gorillas aren't always fighting. All I want to see is gorillas hitting each other. A lot. And I know I'm not alone. If TGC doesn't fix this fascist microgression on my safe space, I'm going to burn my city down.

(Real talk, how fucking stupid/gullible/delusional do you have to be to actually believe that snippet was real? Gaslighting is way too easy these days...)

kaged_chris1 karma

Mike, BLS is awesome. I have been doing BLS one year challenge for 15 weeks now and have not had any formal lifting before. I have almost hit or surpassed all the recommended goals for bbls and am wondering if I hit those half way through BLS should I switch to bbls?

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

Thank you! That's great! You definitely can and see how you like the more advanced workouts.

Alshati1 karma

Can I translate your book to Arabic?

MikeMatthews_MFL3 karma

I'd love to do a deal with an Arabic publisher. Working on it!

Brother_F1 karma

Is the plant protein powder by Orgain a decent option? I'm trying to stick to a budget and it seems to be the cheapest option.

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

Honestly I'm really skeptical of any protein powder that's really cheap and sold in retail stores because high-quality powder is expensive and the margins needed to do well in retail are astronomical.

That said, Orgain MAY be legit. I haven't seen any third-party analysis, though.

Costcokeith1 karma

Hi Mike, I would love to be a part of your business I truly believe in you and your products. What’s the possibility of joining your team? I have friends that are a part of beach body and I don’t really believe it them. You and your supplements are REAL!!!! Please help a guy out.

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

Thank you! Shoot us an email!

Lupitaapplebum1 karma

Hello mike,

I have been following you for about a year and you are by far my favorite author/ fitness educator. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge.

Here are a few questions for you,

I have completed the thinner leaner stronger program and I’m wanting to bulk. I’m 5’2 weighting 107, with 18% body fat wanting to weight about 115+, I just started reading beyond bigger leaner stronger, would you recommend I follow this program, I look more into gaining muscle

Also as I gradually gain weight should I change my macros? I got my macro intake from your calculator.

Here are some more questions:

I’m starting to take your recharge product, should I stop taking spirulina?

Curious to why there’s no leucine in your protein and recharge product?

Thanks again for all your time(:

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

Thank you so much!

Great job on what you've done so far. Hmm you may want to start with BLS so you get used to the heavier lifting before going into BBLS, which has some very heavy lifting.

Otherwise, yes, you'll want to make sure you're in a slight caloric surplus to maximize muscle gain. This may help you:


Lastly, no, I'd keep taking spirulina. It's good for you. :)

Because I figured most people are going to be eating protein after they train, which provides the needed leucine.

beersd191 karma

Hey Mike! Ive been wanting to know a little more about your golf game. What’s your favorite club in your bag? what is your handicap? if you could play a round with anybody in the world, who would it be and where?

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

Honestly didn't golf much last year BUT I will be doing more of it this year! There's a club right by my house, which is the setup I had in FL.

Hmm favorite club? Whatever I'm hitting best that day, haha.

Didn't get a handicap before I left as I was just making the transition from the range/swing work to playing, but I did shoot a legit 83 from the blacks, haha.

Ricky Fowler? Seems like a neat dude. Congressional? So much history there.

K3nn3dy771 karma

Hey Mike, thanks for doing a AMA. Is it easy enough to get back to my original weight and size of 18% body fat after giving birth? Or is that no longer a possibility?

MikeMatthews_MFL3 karma

My pleasure!

Yes, you will be able to do that, but it may not be particularly easy while you're breastfeeding (assuming you will be) because most women find they're just too damn hungry while breastfeeding to maintain a deficit.

That said, once you've weaned your baby, you can get right to it.

Ca3260111 karma


MikeMatthews_MFL6 karma

...please donate all of your money (plus all the money you can borrow) to the newly minted Mike Matthews Foundation?

Don't look into it but our mission is to grow a better and more beautiful and harmonious tomorrow by realigning global vibrations toward a 4th dimensional reawakening blah blah green tea infinity...will that be Visa or Mastercard?

dstahl111 karma

Hi Mike. I am a big fan and BLS helped me make some fantastic changes in my life. I have 2 questions. 1. Is there a path for stacked app to contain year 1 challenge from BLS and BBLS? 2. In one of your deadlift videos I see you using towels or something similar during your lifts. I am struggling with grip strength and knurl roughness around fingers for my deadlifts that are progressing heavier. Does whatever you are wrapping around the bar help with those? Also what is your take on alternating grip for DL and it's affects on muscle asymmetry?

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

Awesome! So glad to hear it. :)

  1. Yes, we are working toward this. Big changes coming this year.

  2. Just paper towels for grip. Helps, haha.

I think it's good advice. I actually wrote about this here:


TheERISALawyer1 karma

Wife and I joined high end gym and started working out regularly at age 50. We are now in our 60’s and looking to get better overall results. Started reading your book and value your advice regarding exercise, nutrition, etc. we are professionals and have busy schedules so our gym visits must be flexible. We’ve tried cross fit but trainer moved and we had to drop. We felt good but we’re also fearful of injury.

We’re looking for a workout that will get us toned, stronger and overall feeling great with minimum time. Commitment. HITT workouts? We’re bored with same old routine, and most trainers we talk to at the gym have their own program which we’re not sure would work for us. At trainers’ hourly rate of $100+ we’re not sure whether to just pick one and hope for the best or whether there is a better way for us to improve our results. Need motivation at this point. Any suggestions that might work fore us?

MikeMatthews_MFL3 karma

I totally understand. First, check this out:


Then, shoot me an email so I can give you something a bit more suited to your circumstances and goals.

P.S. I'm SERIOUSLY considering a "BLS/TLS for the 30s and beyond" book next. Going to be shopping it to publishers very soon...

idkthegreat1 karma

Hey, Mike, I injured my wrist a few weeks ago. I can't seem to curl in any way without feeling pain, but I can bench press and hold weights without a problem. I haven't been able to work biceps for quite a while now. Do you have any suggestions for what exercises I could do?

MikeMatthews_MFL3 karma

Gah sorry about that. You definitely need to work around the injury--don't continually aggravate it.

I assume you've tried hammer and reverse curls? Can you do any sort of pulling? Chinups?

Easymoneydime1 karma

Hey Mike!

Why don’t you cut your hair?

MikeMatthews_MFL15 karma


Wily-Muskrat1 karma

Oprah 2020?

MikeMatthews_MFL7 karma

I'd prefer an ex-Smack Down champion and/or porn star so we can begin the next phase of our cultural evolution:


brcash1 karma

Is Stacked coming to Android this year? Do you guys need any volunteers to test out pre-release versions of the app and provide feedback?

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

Possibly! We're going to start work on a round of improvements to the iOS version very soon and see how that goes.

mg12321 karma

Hi Mike,

My boyfriend and I have been doing TLS and BLS for about 6 months now. He came up with the idea of doing the 3 day split twice a week. So it would be push, pull, legs, rest, repeat. Thoughts?

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma


You could do something like that, yes. Check this out:


leonman1121 karma

Hey Mike!

I could only afford one of your fat burner supplements to get to 8-10% this upcoming summer. Would you recommend Forge or Phoenix, if I could only get one, and why?

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

Hmm if only one, Phoenix, because it's meant to be your "baseline" fat burner that you take every day, whereas Forge is meant to be taken before fasted workouts.

50platesofgains1 karma

Hey Mike! Was thrilled to hear you were doing this today.

My question for you is what’s your advice on lagging muscle groups? For example I believe my arms, shoulders (having a difficult time getting that “capped” look) and upper chest are lagging (typical, I know) but I️m currently doing your Phase I workout from your Bigger Leaner Stronger book. I absolutely love I️t so far and i was wondering if there should be any other exercises or reps I should be adding on to help bring up my lagging muscle groups or just stick to Phase 1 and hammer I️t out?

I️m a 20 year old guy who’s been lifting for 4/5 years and as I get older I’m trying to make sure I️m keeping up with every muscle group evenly.

Thanks for taking the time to answer all of our questions today man!

MikeMatthews_MFL3 karma

Hey hey!

Hmm for now I'd stick to the program as laid out and see how things are looking after 3 or 4 months or so. If it's still an issue then you can definitely make some modifications. I could help you via email when the time comes?

spuni1 karma

Hi Mike! I've been following the 4 day template from Bigger, leaner stronger for a few weeks and I love it. I find it difficult to keep the training under 1h with that much rest (3-4 min) between sets though. What's the trick?

MikeMatthews_MFL3 karma

Thank you!

Your workouts should take 60 to 75 minutes, but if you NEED them to be shorter, you can shorten the rest times to ~2 minutes.

zucarritas1 karma

Hey Mike!

Can you tell us a little bit about why your website is structured as one large advertisement? As a fan of your books, your site destroyed the trust you had gained from my reading. Nothing like reading an entire article to find out we need to actually buy your supplements!


MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

Which site?

Kaiguy861 karma

Hey Mike - BLS is awesome! You’re the man.

Hypothetical - If you were sitting down for your last meal, because the supplement / fitness industry finally came after you and figured out how to have you framed and executed, what would you eat? (Macros and calories don’t matter anymore, right???)

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma


Hahahah shit, this is my recurring nightmare!

Uhhhh one scoop of Legion WHEY+, Legion THRIVE, and Legion ATLAS, washed down with some Legion PULSE, Legion RECHARGE, and Legion GENESIS!!!


Okay okay, a mountain of penne vodka from Carbone NYC. ;)

a_secret_giraffe1 karma

Hi Mike! Now Menno Henselmans is an Scientific consultant for Legion, have you got any thoughts about his high frequency training strategy and preference for Norwegian Power Lifting-type programmes?

EDIT: Also when is legion pulse coming back to UK Amazon I'm dyin over here

MikeMatthews_MFL3 karma

I really respect Menno and his work, but something to keep in mind is some of that type of stuff is for intermediate+ weightlifters, whereas I'm MOSTLY serving the people in the new-to-intermediate phase.

Soon! Sorry about that. Amazon trolling asking for nonstop paperwork and such. Par for the course.

Letpatrick1 karma

Hi Mike, just found out you were doing this. Thanks! Two questions: 1. Advice for someone who's 54 (like me) about gains/cuts--any differences for older people? I notice how slow muscles develop, and how fast fat develops, much more than when I was in my 30s, even 40s. 2. I've been reluctant to take on the whole macro-watch-everything-I-eat. Feels daunting, complicated. But I also see my progress stalling. So it's time. First steps to do that?

MikeMatthews_MFL3 karma

My pleasure!

  1. Check this out:


Should address most of your concerns.

  1. Yes, at least for a bit, so you can see how it works and familiarize yourself with the foods you like to eat. Then, once you have that experience under your belt, you should find it much easier to transition back to a more "intuitive" style of eating.

nutella191 karma

Hey Mike, do you have any back strengthening exercise recommendations? I’ve been lifting pretty regularly for the past year, but I injured myself a while ago and often experience pain. Thanks!

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

Really depends what kind of injury you sustained and what specifically you're looking to strengthen. Want to email me?

NewAllen0 karma

Hi Mike, do you believe that your transformation was mostly due to lifting heavy, or diet? Seems like a lot of the new research shows that there's a pretty wide variety of rep ranges that grow muscle, not just 4-6.

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

Good question.

You can absolutely use any rep range to gain muscle so long as you progressively overload your muscles, but I believe the 4-6 range is pretty ideal for getting you to the intermediate level, and even then, should remain your focus because it's best for improving strength, which, in the long term, is most correlated with muscle growth.

Plus, heavier lifting is more fun. :-)

Jwittmer0 karma

I've been following your TLS program for 4 months and absolutely love it! I have lost 8 pounds and still have another 10 to go. I am on my second cut but feel so hungry this time around. I am 5'4" tall and 129 pounds. Using your cutting formula in TLS, I eat about 1375 calories a day while cutting (about 129 carbs, 160g protein, and 25g. fat). Other formulas online say I should be eating closer to 1600 calories. Can you guide me on where my macros and calories should be at right now? I do weights 5 days a week and 2 days of interval training (sprints) for 25 minutes. Thank you so much for your help!!!!!

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

Thank you! That's great!

Hmmm how quickly are you losing weight? If you're losing about 0.5 to 1 pound per week, I'd keep your calories where they are and look at playing with macros (you might find lowering carbs and increasing fats increases fullness, for example) or meal timing (intermittent fasting can be nice when you're on poverty macros because you get to eat larger meals).

AgentSneaky0 karma

Hey Mike, thanks for being here.

What are your life time PRs on the big 4? What are your strength goals now?

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

My pleasure!

Nothing too impressive:

Bench - 295 for 3 Deadlift - 435 for 3 Back Squat - 365 for 3 Front Squat - 275 for 2 OHP - 165 for 3 (OHP is no fair--my arms are 50% longer than they should be)

That said, I hit those numbers never dialing my training in for improving on any of those individual lifts, so I guess they're not too bad.

I stopped pushing for maximum strength gains a bit ago honestly because I kind of don't care. I like to work out and my focus now is maintaining my physique and not getting hurt, so I'm periodizing my training a bit more and not going for heavy (90% 1RM+) lifts as frequently as I was a few years ago.

athrash90 karma

What’s something(s) you’ve changed your mind on (fitness or nutrition) related since you first wrote BLS? Either due to personal experience or continued research. Thanks!

MikeMatthews_MFL7 karma

Hmm I've come a fair way since first writing it, so a few things:

  1. The hardline stance on "heavy lifting is best, period" to a more nuanced position of "heavy lifting is probably best for newbies and probably should remain the focus for intermediate+ lifters, who can benefit from some higher rep work as well."

  2. The importance of gradually increasing volume over time in addition to progressive overload.

  3. "Metabolic damage" is more myth than fact. Metabolic adaptation is very real, but different.

davidmpeletz0 karma

How do I know when to start Beyond BLS?

MikeMatthews_MFL0 karma

The book gives some strength benchmarks in the beginning, which I will be changing to 1RMs in the second edition (they're currently 4RMs).

jk20300 karma

Hey Mike,

BLS Is going great but really struggling with my overhead press. Any tips for progression as it's the only lift that seems to be slow on improvement.

Also I was wondering although 4-6 reps is recommended in general, what about the assistance exercises like lat raises, bicep curls and lunges etc?

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

Ugh OHP is such a pain in the ass if you're not anatomically suited to it (like me, monkey arms).

One thing that may help is really perfecting technique. Check this out:


LeftyKreh0 karma


Huge fan of BSL. I did lose 80lbs doing Keto and made tremendous health gains (see post history), and I know you aren’t a big low-carb fan. But I learned a ton from your books and for that I’m thankful.

I listen to your podcast regularly and I think it would be interesting to get some of the low-carb folks on there just to hear the dialogue (Dr. Jason Fung for example) between y’all.

I have found as I start to squat heavy, I get hip impingement on the front left side of my hip. Would lowering the weight or switching to box squats be a good idea for a bit?

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

Wow, great job! That's amazing.

I'd definitely be willing to discuss low-carb with advocates. I'm not staunchly against it for everyone always, but don't see how it helps most people who want to gain muscle and lose fat as quickly as possible.

Lower the weight and work on mobility. I've had this problem before and yoga actually helped tremendously.

dancooper5560 karma

Mike, I am a nubie to working out. Starting week 6 now. I have hired a trainer that also believes in BLS program. He is working with me on proper squat/BP/Dead lift form mainly. I am 6'6" tall and weigh 260, down from 320 16 months ago. My LBM is 190 lbs with 26% BF. I am taking in 210 grams of protein per day. I know that's marginal at .08 grams per lb, but with my fat % so high right now, I look at it like I am feeding my LBM at 1 gram per lb. Will that thought process work?

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

Awesome progress so far!

Totally fine on the protein. That will work great!

mbafinance20100 karma

Hi Mike! I am trying to lose that stubborn fat around my midsection. Quick stats. 33yo male, 186 lbs, ~15% bf. I have a three-part question. Love your books and website by the way. Thanks for making yourself available for Q&A to share your knowledge and expertise. How often should I do intermittent fasting? What should I eat to break the fast? And how does that fit in with the timing of having high carb refeed days? Thanks!

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

Thank you!

  1. You don't need to do IF unless you want to. If you do, check this out:


  1. You'd still do your refeeds, you'd just fit them into your IF feeding schedule.

Since you're asking about stubborn fat, check this out too:


ms_91_ms0 karma

Hi Mike, when can we expect the new Legion merch to drop? And can you say which new items will be available?


MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

Today! Check your email! :)

vjtitone0 karma

Hi Mike, I have one through the workouts in both Bigger, Leaner, Stronger and Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger and have gotten some incredible results. I am now looking at what new routine I am going to try next and saw these hypertrophy workouts you have on your website. I was wondering if there is an arm workout coming, or if these workouts don't include anything specific for arms. If that's the case do you recommend doing the workouts you have set up or just making up our own arm workout?

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

Thank you!

Haha yup, that's coming this week! :)

SaulFein0 karma

Hi Mike I have been following the Bigger Leaner Stronger program for about 6 months now. I just got the One Year Challenge for Xmas and I am loving the program.

I was wondering, have ever experienced nausea from exercise? Sometimes when I finish a work out I have to vomit. I work out early in the morning and usually eat a banana and drink water then hit the gym. I seem to get nauseous at least once a week I was wondering if you have any advise for me? I want to push harder but its hard when I can feel nausea coming on.

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

Thank you so much!

I haven't personally but are you taking any supplements before training? Fat loss in particular?

SaulFein1 karma

No in fact I thought that might be the issue and I stopped taking pre workouts altogether to see if that made a difference and that did not seem to help. Hmm I may have to talk to my doctor. Thanks for your reply!

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

Hmm, interesting. Is this usually after a more difficult workout (squat or pull day) or completely random?

theaisforannie0 karma

Hi Mike! I'm totally new to this and hoping to start soon.

My plan is to pay for some sessions with a personal trainer to make sure my form is good, etc. How do I break it to the trainer that I'm not interested in their "personalized program" and just want them to help me do the things you laid out in your book?

MikeMatthews_MFL3 karma


I've spoken with quite a few people who have done this and it has simply been a matter of making expectations clear upfront:

You have a program that you'd like to try and want to be coached on the exercises and then make a go of it. If they ask about the program, the easiest way to summarize it is "it's a push-pull-legs program with some additional accessory work."

If a trainer has a problem with it, just find another. You WILL find someone who's cool with it.

Nange200 karma

Hello Mike,

Happy new year to you! First of all I wanted to say a big thank you for all the great content you put out there, it really made the process of putting on muscles clearer and easier to understand for me than ever before which motivated me to go back to gym after stopping for 3 years due to lack of results. Since I started to follow your advises, I've seen great results and I wanted to thank you for that! This is why I decided to buy your book "The year one challenge" to commit fully! I just have one question regarding it: At the beginning of your book, you mention the "strength week" which "has you perform the same exercises several times in the week but has you do fewer sets each workout". However when I look the program for the strength week, I see you I'm suppose to do 3 sets for each exercise each day apart for the deadlift which is only one set (as I only see one cross in your book for this one). So I don't understand when you meant "but has you do fewer sets each workout" since it shows I am suppose the same amount of set each day for each exercise.

I guess my question is : Can you please let me know how many sets I am suppose to do for each exercise for each day during this week so this become clearer in my head :) ?

I appreciate the time you take for reading this, keep up the excellent work you are doing and I look forward to hearing from you!



MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

Hey there!

Thank you for the support! I'm excited for you. :-)

Hmm I've made a couple modifications to the SW since first introducing it so it's possible that the "fewer sets per workout" lost its context.

That said, if you simply follow the layout in the bonus PDF/journal, you'll be doing it right. :-)

If that doesn't help, shoot me an email and I'll be happy to break it down further.

kd8ov12340 karma

First love the books. I own all of yours. I have been working out 2 years now with MFL program. I am a 44 year old male. (Never worked out before this point using weights).

Dead lifting 345x5 3 sets Box squat 245lbs x 5 3 sets Bench 185x5 3 sets

I was doing the 5 day program. Changed to 3 day with cardio on tue & Thursday.

2 questions.

  1. My workouts (using 5 day approach and 3 day all seem to be around 75 minutes). Any suggestions? I have been doing them long enough I know the routine and don't waste time.

  2. I am switched to the 3 day because I think (hoping you can give insight) I may be overttaining as a 44 year old. I bust my rear while lifting but not sure if I am overtraining... I figured I would try the 3 day without and see if it helps. Thoughts on this logic?

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

Wow, great lifts! I like it. :)

  1. 75 minutes is about right for the amount of work you have to do. If that's too long, you can reduce them by removing one set per exercise.

  2. In the scheme of things, the 5-day program isn't all that grueling as two of your workouts are lower intensity "accessory days."

That said, if you were beginning to feel a bit rundown on the 5-day, then it makes sense to dial training back or address other areas of your life that are adding stress (and thereby cutting into your recovery).

Theoretically, though, a 44-y/o who isn't particularly "stressed out" should be able to do the 5-day program without issue.

Oh one other thing is you definitely don't want to skip your deloads. Every 4 to 6 weeks will probably be best.

kd8ov12341 karma


MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma


PurplePot0 karma

Love your book Mike! I just got the Beyond BLS book after a year of BLS. Im not quite at the weights you listed in the book for my bench press or squats. Should I stick with BLS a bit more?

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma


I'm going to be working on a second edition later this year and will be changing those to 1RMs, not 4RMs (which would basically indicate a new intermediate-level lifter, strength-wise).

winterhalterb0 karma

I have completed the 1 year plan and I started the lifting over today.

Here are my current stats:

Height: 6 foot 1

Weight: 230

BMI: 31.4

Fat: 28.7

Muscle: 33.7

Visceral Fat: 13

I have gotten those numbers off of a scale that I weigh in on once a week. I know that it may not be the most accurate tool but at least it gives me numbers to work off of.

I have used the calculator from one of your articles to calculate the following:

TDEE 2894

Total Calories 2315

Protein 232g

Carbs 926g

Fats: 463g

My main question is to whether or not I should have my TDEE at this or higher. I am doing the 5 day split on weights, 3 Hiit cardio sessions a week, and some light low intensity cardio walking or on a bike. I am a teacher and a coach so I am very active. According to my apple watch 3 (once again, I don't know how accurate this is) but I average around 3,900 calories burned each day.

•Am I on the right path? •Do I need to be eating more? •Should I do anything different with my workouts in year #2?

MikeMatthews_MFL3 karma

Woah those macros are wayyyy off.

I assume you want to cut? If so, then 2,400 sounds a bit low considering your weight, body comp, and activity level. I'd guess something closer to 3,000 would make sense, with macros around here:

200 pro 400 carb 50 fat

Check this out:


I think it will help.

SinkingGPA0 karma

Hi Mike, is it common to experience lower sex drive and higher irritability when going on a cut? I've been cutting for almost 5 months now and dropped about 14 pounds. But it seems like my sex drive has been declining and irritability increasing. Hubby complained "you're getting hotter and hotter but meaner and meaner. I don't know what I prefer anymore" :/

Galileo__Humpkins3 karma

For what it's worth, I had the same problem going on a cut (did his program around 8 months and lost 53lbs) and found that my issues was related to lowered testosterone levels because I wasn't eating enough cholesterol. Eating two eggs a day did the trick for me.

Lowered testosterone, particularly in men, is known to impair mood/increase irritability as well as make your sex drive take a nose dive.

For extra reading you should look up the correlation between cholesterol and testosterone. It's an interesting subject (at least in my opinion).

EDIT: didn't read carefully and don't know for certain what your gender is, so I've no idea if I offered help or just wasted your time.

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

Good point. I assumed OP was female but derp.

Yes, increasing fat intake can help. Go with monounsaturated IMO. A handful or two of nuts in addition to current intake can be enough.

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

LOL yeah, that's pretty common, especially for as long as you've been at it.

Take a break for the next week or two and you should feel noticeably better (and then you can get back at it).

To do that, increase your calories by about 20% while continuing your exercise, or if you haven't deloaded in a bit, increase them by 10% during the deload.

CatlantAH18020 karma

Hi Mike,

I’ve been following your program for close to 6 months now, I really enjoy it and have seen great results. Bigger Leaner Stronger has been the most enjoyable workout program I’ve tried.

Any news on a reward/loyalty program for those who buy your products? Your protein and pre-workout are great stuff, but a little pricey. I thought I saw something in the past mentioned about a loyalty program but could be mistaken. Is this something you’re working on?

Thanks again.

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

Thank you! So glad to hear it.

Absolutely, we will be rolling that out this year 100% on Legion, and possibly on MFL as well (which is currently being overhauled).

tcherr200 karma

Hey Mike! Been doing bls for the last 2 years and loving the program.

So I cut down to 11.5% before Christmas break, then on my vacation I went on a week and a half bender for the most part. I think I just went up like 2-4 actual lbs (11 in water weight right after lol) but now I'm at 12.5% which is a bit discouraging -_- And geez... It seems like every bit of the weight gain went to my waist. Prior to the blow out it was my stomach was almost like pinching my forearm. Now I got it all jiggly and folding on top of itself. It sucks... I also went from a 29.5 to now a 30.5 waist.

My question is.. should I just go onto bulking due too the looong period of time I've already been cutting and to put back on muscle to fuel my cut better? or just go into damage control, keep cutting till I hit my goal of 10%? I ask this because I feel like losing fat is definitely harder post-bender and now I'm back at 2200 cals and I'm ready to go back down to 1900 as I plateau.

I also feel like I've lost a good amount of strength and Muscle throughout this cut just from how long it's been (6 months) deficit>maintanence>deficit>maintanence going from like 18%. But I also weight like 30 lbs less so I guess my PRs are just harder for my weight class now.

Thanks Mike! All the best.

MikeMatthews_MFL2 karma

Thank you!

Lmao honestly that's not bad for how much you clearly enjoyed yourself.

I don't see any reason why you can't lean bulk, you're still plenty lean. Ride it to the 15 to 17% range and cut back down.

And yes, you can expect absolute strength to decrease when you drop a significant amount of weight. Relative strength can remain the same though.

tcherr201 karma

Haha that is true and right on! Thanks again! And thanks for the Q and A

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

My pleasure!

365FitV0 karma

Hi Mike. I am curious as to whether or not you’ve dealt or have experience assisting people with their weight loss and body building journey who have to take medications such as Fludrocortisone which inevitably cause muscle wasting and how to combat that... I have to take this medication at .2mg per day and I feel weaker and weaker as time goes on and am definitely losing muscle mass. I currently consume about 148-150g of protein per day, 59g fat and up to 202g carbs. I weigh between 130 and 140 lbs - seems to fluctuate quite a bit, most likely due to the water retention due to taking Fludrocortisone. I also find that it’s very difficult to maintain definition while being on this, however I have been told it’s somthing I HAVE to take.

Do you have any suggestions on this? And by the way, I abosolitly love your cookbooks and protein powders :)

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

Dang, sorry to hear that. I haven't dealt with that myself but someone who may be able to help is Dr. Spencer Nadolsky. Tell him I sent you! :-)

legsp0 karma

Hey, Mike--

I've been following BLS and have lost a lot of fat, gained some muscle. I am, however, starting to look weirdly thin and still 17% fat (a lot of fat around the waist, not a lot on the rest of my body). Should I start bulking and cut some more later?

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

Hmm are you sure you're at 17%? Many people mistakenly think they're fatter than they are.

Check this out:


If you are indeed at 17%, then I'd recommend keeping at the cut as it's going to be for the best in the long run. You'll also be able to gain some muscle while cutting fat, so that time isn't a "wash."

Boots5250 karma

Hi Mike. I’m a huge fan. I purchased TLS a few weeks ago and have adjusted my diet and exercise to the 5 days a week plan in the book. Previous to that I had been counting calories but not macros and saw no weight loss for the last month, despite tracking everything. When I was younger the pounds seemed to fall off 1-2 a week very effortlessly, but now in my mid thirties it seems 10x harder to lose the weight. Do you have any recommendations on what I can do beyond what I’m already doing in order to kick my metabolism into high gear or see better results?

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

Thank you!

Remember that WEIGHT can be deceptive in the beginning because your weightlifting is going to add (good) weight, which can completely obscure the weight you're losing in the way of fat.

Has your waist shrunk? Are you looking leaner?

Boots5251 karma

My waist has shrunk slightly but my thighs (biggest problem area) have barely budged. How long do you think I need to give it to see if I need to make some adjustments?

MikeMatthews_MFL1 karma

Waist shrinking means you're losing fat, so that's great. Unfortunately you're going to have to be patient with your thighs because the fat there tends to be very "stubborn."

Check this out:


Spuddder-1 karma

Hello Mike What's your take on the ketogenic diet?

MikeMatthews_MFL9 karma

Mostly overrated and unnecessary. If you really enjoy it, though, that's a reason to do it.