Muscle for life


“My mission is to empower people to take control of their health and fitness by following a healthy, enjoyable lifestyle that not only gives them the body they’ve always wanted, but enables them to live a long, vital, disease-free life.”

I’m Mike and I believe that every person can achieve the body of his or her dreams, and I work hard to give everyone that chance by providing workable, proven advice grounded in science, not a desire to sell phony magazines, workout products, or supplements. Through my books, I’ve been able to help thousands of people lose weight, build muscle, and get healthy. My goal is to turn that number into hundreds of thousands, and ultimately into millions.

I’ve been training for over a decade now and have tried just about every type of workout program, diet regimen, and supplement you can imagine. Like most guys, I had no clue what I was doing when I started out. I turned to magazines for help, which had me spending a couple of hours in the gym every day and wasting hundreds of dollars on worthless supplements each month…only to make mediocre (at best) gains.

This went on for years, and I jumped from workout program to workout program. I tried all kinds of splits and routines, exercises, rep ranges, and rep timing schemes, and while I made some gains (it’s impossible not to if you just keep at it), I eventually hit the dreaded plateau.

My weight remained stuck for over a year, I wasn’t really getting stronger, and I had no idea what to do with my nutrition beyond eating clean and making sure I was getting a lot of protein. I turned to various trainers for guidance, but they had me do more of the same. I liked working out too much to quit, but wasn’t happy with my body and didn’t know what I was doing wrong.

Here are a couple of pictures of me after almost 6 years of lifting regularly:

Not very impressive. Something had to change.

Time to Get Smart

I finally decided that it was time to really get educated. You know, to throw the magazines away and really learn the physiology of muscle growth and fat loss, and what it really takes to build a big, lean, and strong body.

So I got serious about doing real research. I searched out the work of top strength and competition coaches, talked to scores of natural bodybuilders, and read hundreds of scientific papers…and a very clear picture emerged.

The real science of getting into incredible shape is very, very simple. Much simpler than the health and fitness advice and supplement industries wants us to believe. It flies right into the teeth of almost all the crap that we hear on TV, in magazines, and in the gym.

Here’s a small sampling of what most people will never know about getting into the best shape of their lives:

  • Lifting light weights for high reps is basically a waste of time. If your routine doesn’t revolve around heavy lifting, you’re doing it wrong.
  • Getting lean, and even super lean, does NOT require hours upon hours of grueling cardio, or crash dieting that leaves you starving and miserable every day.
  • If you know what you’re doing, you can gain 20-30 pounds of lean mass (yes, muscle) in your first year of training, regardless of your genetics.
  • Pretty much every machine in the gym should be avoided, and most exercises are horribly ineffective. Which brings me to the next point…
  • The idea that you have to constantly change your workout routine or your body will adapt and plateau is a lie. I change my routine once every 2-4 months and consistently get stronger month after month.
  • You don’t have to exercise for more than 1 hour per day, 5 days per week to be in peak physical condition. I personally lift weights Monday through Friday for about 45 minutes, and do 3-4 cardio sessions per week, with each session running about 30 minutes. And I do the cardio mainly because I enjoy it.
  • HOW MUCH you eat determines the effectiveness of your diet, not WHAT or WHEN. No matter what you’re doing with your diet, you can always work in cheats and indulgences and achieve your goals.

There are many, many more lessons I’ve learned, but what it all boils down to is building a muscular, lean, and healthy body doesn’t require your life to revolve around it, and can be fit into almost any schedule or lifestyle.

As a result of what I learned, I completely changed the way I trained and ate. And my body responded in ways I couldn’t believe.

My strength skyrocketed. My muscles grew faster than I could ever remember. My energy levels were out the roof.

That was just over 5 years ago, and here’s how my body has changed since:

1-new2-new34Quite a difference.

The Birth of My Career

Along the way, my friends noticed the improvements in my physique, and I began training them.

I took “hardgainers” and put 30 – 50 lbs on them in a year. I took people that were absolutely baffled as to why they couldn’t lose weight, and stripped 30 lbs of fat off them in 3-5 months—and helped them build noticeable muscle at the same time. I took people in their 50s, who believed their hormones were too bottomed out to accomplish anything with their bodies, and helped them turn back the clock 20 years in terms of body fat percentage and muscle definition.

After doing this over and over for years, my “clients” (I never asked for money—I just had them come train with me) started urging me to write a book. I dismissed the idea at first, but it began to grow on me.

“What if I had such a book when I had started training?” I thought. I would’ve saved an untold amount of money, time, and frustration, and I would’ve achieved my ideal physique years ago. I really enjoyed helping people with what I had learned, and if I wrote books and they became popular, what if I could help thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of people? That got me excited.

So I started with publishing Bigger Leaner Stronger in early 2012, unsure of what to expect. Within a few weeks of its release, readers were emailing me with high praises. I was floored. I immediately started on my next book, and outlined several more.

I’ve now published 5 books, and sold over 100,000 copies, and I get scores of emails and social media messages every day from readers who are blown away by the results they’re seeing. They’re just as shocked as I was years ago about how simple it is to build lean, healthy muscle, and lose as much fat as you want without ever feeling starved or miserable.

It really is motivating to see the impact I’m having on people’s lives, and I’m incredibly inspired by the dedication of my readers and followers. You guys and gals rock.

Where to Now?

My true love is researching and writing, so I’ll always be working on another book, my blog, and whatever else my writing adventures bring my way.

My big evil masterplan has three major targets:

  1. Help a million people get fit and healthy. “Help a million people” just has a sexy ring to it, don’t you think? It’s a big goal, but I think I can do it. And it goes beyond just helping people look good—I want to make a dent in alarmingly negative trends we’re seeing in disease and mortality.
  2. Lead the fight against broscience and BS. Unfortunately this industry is full of ignoramuses, liars, and hucksters that prey on people’s fears and insecurities, and I want to do something about it. In fact, I’d like to become known as the go-to guy for practical, easy-to-understand advice grounded in real science and results.
  3. Help reform the sport supplement industry. The dishonest pill and powder pushers are the people I despise the most in this industry. The scams are numerous: using fancy-sounding, but worthless ingredients; cutting products with junk fillers like maltodextrin; using bogus science and ridiculous marketing claims to convince people to buy; dramatically under-dosing the important ingredients to save money (and using the proprietary blend to hide it); sponsoring steroid-fueled athletes to pretend supplements are the secret to their gains; and more.

Well, I want to be a force for change.


By offering the products they should be selling. That is, products that only use ingredients with scientifically proven ingredients, and that use clinically effective dosages; that have no added artificial junk; and that are marketed in an honest, transparent way. And that’s why I launched my own line of supplements.

Here’s my bold claim: My supplements are the best value on the market today, and they’re going to set a new standard by which all other supplements are judged.

Don’t believe me? Well, check out what I’m doing and I think you’ll change your mind…

Latest & Greatest



What Else?

While I’m a certified, incurable workaholic, there is more to my life than my love for lifting heavy things and counting calories.

I like to hang out with my beautiful wife, Sarah, who runs her own blog Tell Me Pretty, which focuses on health, lifestyle, and fashion, at and my adorable son Lenox.


I’m a pretty avid reader, and am interested in all kinds of stuff from ancient history to self-help to marketing and entrepreneurship to the occasional fictional indulgence.

I usually have one TV show I keep up with. Game of Thrones my current vice, and I like to sneak a movie in here and there.

I enjoy pursuing other writing interests as my “alter ego” (pen name), Sean Patrick.

How to Get In Touch

I think it’s incredibly important to stay in touch with readers, followers, and fans, so my inbox is always open.

First off, you can find me on the usual social media haunts:

Stop by, say hi, and Like or Follow if you like and want to follow me and my work.

I spend several hours every day (including the weekends!) reading and replying to as many emails and messages and I can. Please don’t be offended if I can’t get to yours. If only I could read and type faster!

That said, you can increase your chances of getting a reply by doing the following:

  • Search my website to see if I’ve already written an article that answers your question.
  • Avoid medical questions. I’m not a doctor and can’t help you treat any type of disease.
  • I can’t offer free one-on-one coaching, so if you want to know more about how to create a proper diet or training plan to build muscle and lose fat, I highly recommend you read my book Bigger Leaner Stronger (or Thinner Leaner Stronger if you’re a woman). These books will give you everything you need to know to achieve your health and fitness goals.
  • Please keep your emails as brief as possible so I can give my time to as many as possible. The more questions you ask in a single email, the less likely I will be able to answer any of them.

Okie dokie, with that out of the way, use the following form to reach me:

Welp, that’s it for now.

If you’re looking to get in shape and look and feel great, then I can help you. I hope you enjoy my website and books, and feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions and I’ll do my best to help.



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  • Mike

    In the 90 days or so that I have known Mike, he has not only given me tremendous physique changing advice, he is a person I consider a good friend through he personal responses and many multiple topic articles. He truly loves to help people. Greatly appreciated.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks a lot Mike. I really appreciate the kind words. 🙂

  • Eric Farto

    Mike is an inspiration machine! He truly focuses on helping people. He gives the formula of success not only in fitness world, but also in life. I’m a big fan of this guy. When I grow up, I want to be just like him 🙂

    Keep up the great work! And thanks for everything!

    • Michael Matthews

      Haha thanks brother, I really appreciate it. I’m happy I can help! 🙂

  • Diego (London)

    Mike is more than amazing! A great role model…
    I wish you all the best to achieve your goals. And you definitely have one supporter on this part of the world. I totally stand by your principles.
    Now it is my time to put all that knowledge into practice.

    Bye for now,

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Diego! I really appreciate it! Let me know how everything goes!

      • Diego A

        Thanks a TON to you Mike… You are AWESOME!
        Thanks for all your help so far 🙂

        • Michael Matthews

          YW, thanks man! 🙂

  • Peter

    You say youre lifting 4-6 reps 5 times a week. How many exercises are you doing then in a workout? i dont get it!

    I am doing same thing regarding 4-6 reps , but doing a full-body workout 3(!) times a week.

    Could you please post your personal training program, this would be so interesting and also so helpful! Im really wondering what your routine does look like!!

    And generally, who do you prefer/ recommend to split the training program? ( Whole Body / PUSH_PULL_LEGS/ …?)

    Thank you 🙂

    • Michael Matthews

      I practice what I preach and follow the program in my upcoming book, which is an advanced version of the Bigger Leaner Stronger program (which I followed for nearly 4 years to transform my physique).

      The BLS program has you doing 9-12 heavy sets per major muscle group trained (per workout).

      My next book will be coming out soon so everyone can see exactly what I’m doing these days and why!

      Like “ideal” rep ranges, optimal training frequency is a hotly debated subject. The bottom line is it boils down to workout intensity and volume. The lighter the weights and fewer the sets, the more often you can train the muscle group.

      In the case of BLS, you hit your muscles hard, with about 50-60 reps per workout, with all reps recruiting maximum muscle fibers (due to the load). The reality is unless you have superhuman recovery, you just won’t be able to do these workouts more than once per 5 days. Once per 7 days is probably a LITTLE more rest than some people need, but I think it’s better to err on that side than the side of overtraining.

      The bottom line is EVERYONE that follows the program makes rapid strength and size gains. Even long-time lifters.

  • Gê Oliveira

    Thinner Leaner Stronger – The simple science of building the ultimate female body…. em português???? =C Não há tradução… estou muito triste porque gostei muito do Bigger Leaner Stronger…. Por favor, traduzam…

    • Michael Matthews

      Yes it is coming in Portuguese! This year I think!

  • Darrin C.

    Thanks for all the help, Mike! My unique body issues required some thinking outside the box, and you confirmed I was moving in the right direction.
    It’s obvious you care about people first, don’t ever let that change, no matter how ridiculously rich you may become!! 😉

    Darrin C.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Darrin! I really appreciate it! Keep up the good work and keep me posted, and haha, I was raised right. I won’t ever be a snob!

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  • mhikl

    Bro Michael (we both seem to be second angels- never much cared much for that #1 dude) my concern, though it may just be an excuse to avoid exertion, is that too much exercise wears the body down and shortens life. So much have I read of over exercisers, especially long distance runners, dropping dead early in life.
    I come from a heritage of long-livers (life, not the eating kind), and on my dad’s side, tall and lanky athletic brutes, on my mum’s, chunky Scots who liked to rock. I’m aiming to be the first to pass the hundred mark though most got pretty close.
    Though tubby for most of my life, Atkins since the seventies and D’Adamo (O blood) since the millennium shift have been my guides. But since going ketogenic Paleo about three years ago, the weight is mostly off and with the recent (a month-ish) addition of bovine gelatine from hooves, ligs, bones and tongues (yum), my left hip, (something dreadfully tore in my late twenties whilst working in Borneo far from medical support- excuse really, I am male) has left me gimped from much exercises such as running (no tears in my eyes, bud; except for the pain which was excruciating till I added D’Adamo and nixed the wheat in ’99 and all things grain and legume).
    I am a very open minded guy, willing to learn (I love my ideas to be challenged and overturned). No desire to live the lie until I die. So challenge away.
    Here’s one. A new bud, ten years older than I, tall & lanky has had four joints replaced with plastic and set for some to be redone). I was told my one would need replacing within five years back in ’99 yet with my lazy lifestyle and addiction to fat and bovine it seems on the mend? Surely can’t be, but will see-its only been a decade and counting off wheat and two + some years keto-Paleo and a bare month on the hoof.
    My concern with your style of life, Michael, is overdoing it may shorten yours; and just to remind, a loving wife and adoring little guy needs their man and dad around forever.
    Namaste & care,
    mhikl (the ‘h’ is silent 🙂 few get that. Go figger.

    • Michael Matthews

      There’s definitely evidence that long-term marathon running just pounds the body to a pulp, but spending 4-6 hours per week exercising is incredibly healthy (and that’s what I recommend in my programs).

  • Cheryl Dickenson

    Just bought your book on Amazon UK, very excited. As I have been doing heavy weights and properly too much cardio, two workouts a day plus with cut calories (1200) I’m am getting very little results so I’m hoping your book will save the day 😉 What is your take on Quest bars? Thanks, Cheryl.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! Yes it’s time to change that! Let me know how you like the book!

      AFAIK they’re decent. The ingredients/macros aren’t bad at all.

  • Carlos

    Ive been counting macros for two weeks now bc I’m trying to cut. I find that its not working yet and Im very impatient haha. I just wanna be lean already! 🙁 My TDEE is 2800 according to the online calculators. So Ive been eating 2600 cals a day: 297c 228p 66f. Should I keep the cals the same and add cardio? or drop the carbs even lower and add cardio? ANY ADVICE HELPS thank you you’re an inspiration to me. I am @advancedbasics on instagram

    • Michael Matthews

      The calculators you’re using are likely wrong. How much do you weigh and what’s your exercise schedule like?

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  • Colin

    I’m sorry, I was mistaken when I said you had an iPhone 5. Sorry for that, and that’s for helping people get in such great shape!

    • Michael Matthews

      Haha no worries. I get asked that every once in a while.

  • Guilherme Guedes

    Mike i’m from Brazil and a became a big fan of you. Your book “Bigger Leaner Stronger” are helping me too reach my goals.
    Thanks, you’re an inspiration.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks a lot!

  • Enrique

    Mike, minha esposa quer saber quando chega o livro “Thinner Leaner Stronger” no Brasil? Aguardamos a chegada! Abraços.

    • Michael Matthews

      Sorry I only speak English. 🙁

      • Ceciley Ann

        He said his wife wants to know when “Thinner Leaner Stronger” comes out in Brasil and that they are waiting for it…If that helps you Michael.

        • Michael Matthews

          Ohh okay, thanks.

          • Ceciley Ann

            I can tell him if it’s been released there or when, if you let me know…. If you want. Just thought I’d try to help.

          • Michael Matthews

            Oh okay cool, thank you! I just realized I can use Google Translate, haha.

  • DavidA

    Hi Mike, great editorial, thanks. Your before and after photo’s OMF, seen many but you appear to have a very natural, average build, and you went from the ‘blue shorts’ photo to the ‘red’, that 2nd pose being totally natural as well, but so incredibly beautiful. Personally I did the Body 4 Life program in 2001, went from 15% BF to 6.2%, (1.8cm/32″?Kg), abs showing, lean, (too lean, unknowingly did too much cardio). My question is: Your view B4L verse your approach? Found B4L really excellent but extremely high maintenance in a normal daily life, almost impossible taking away much of the ‘pleasure’ thereof, but recently had an incredible experience of eating substantially but simply doing a minimum routine cardio and somewhat light weights with min reps for at most 30min/day, suddenly seeing 2001 definition appearing after 2months, I put it down to muscle memory perhaps, I was eating three substantial balanced meals per day, (just because), lunch and dinner at least twice the 3 fist B4L suggestion; this experience made me somewhat excited to restart my training some time, but with a different approach, now coming across your site, seemingly voicing much the same, this from myself, a far more ‘novice’ experience. Look forward to your comments: I came to this site seeking ideal target body measurements without going too huge….seemingly my body shape similar to yours, waist about same width as shoulders, but shoulders broad, in anticipation…

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks David! I really appreciate it!

      BFL is okay but it’s very low calorie and the workouts aren’t the greatest for building muscle and strength.

      Have you checked out my Bigger Leaner Stronger program? It’s much more flexible.

      You’ll like this article too:


      • DavidA

        Thanks Mike, that explains a lot in terms of my experience, I put in a lot of effort, my ‘excessive’ cadio aside, but was always surprised that as a result I did not have greater muscle development, ans, yes I did check that article out, very interesting, but need to spend more time on the detail, will do so! Thanks

        • Michael Matthews

          YW. Yeah, that makes sense. Let me know how everything goes!

  • Hey Mike, quick note to let you know I recommended your book on my blog. Really nice website and cool books you have. Here is the link in case you are curious. http://www.muscledudelife.com/build-six-pack-abs-smart-phone/

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks man! I really appreciate it!

  • Meor Akiyama

    I bought your book and I followed it. After only two workouts I feel the burn for days!!!!!Awesome!!!

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! Keep up the good work and keep me posted!

  • lina zhao

    Hello Mike,

    I’m an editor with Beijing Science and Technology Publishing Co., Ltd in China. We are interested in translating your title “Bigger Leaner Stronger”, so I’m writing to inquire if the simplified Chinese right of this book is available.

    We have successfully published several American fitness titles in China, including “Stretching” by Shelter Publications, “You are your own gym” by Ballantine Books, and “convict conditioning” by Dragon Door Publications, and “The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding”by Simon & Schuster. All of these titles have become bestsellers in China.

    If you are also interested in publishing your book in China, please do get in touch with me. My email is “[email protected]” or through the phone “86-10-66131562″.

    We would like to see more contents of your book, so could you please send us a sample book for further review and licensing discussion?

    My Address is“Room 607, East Building, Beijing Science and Technology Press, No. 16, Xizhimen South Street , Beijing , China , 100035 ”

    Looking forward to hearing from you

    Best Regards,


  • Carsten Breum

    Hi Mike

    Thanks a lot for your advise on Amazon on your book Bigger, Learner stronger about the Seated Dumbbell Triceps press. I was following your advice about putting the weight on my leg and kicking it up to my shoulder today. When done I reversed the movement. It worked perfectly for me, but since it’s 20 years since I done it last I could feel all the body muscles trying to keep balance. Back then I had a partner in the Gym. Now I have my home gym and it works perfectly for my as a busy person, with wife, kids, job, and my own one man software company. I can more easily fit your 5 day program in with the home gym. I also want to tell you that your system works. I grow stronger rep by rep for each week. You should have been in Denmark 30 years ago to tell me….but you were probably not even born at that time 🙂

    Thanks for taking the time to give advice. Please keep up your important mission to spread the word about heavy weight and few reps.

    Carsten Breum

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Carsten! Keep up the good work brother and keep me posted!

  • Luis F Mendez

    Mike What I read here is amazing and very very useful! I have never seen a website like this before and I really like the fact that you like to help people achieving their goals and best physique. Wonderful job man! and thanks a lot!

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks man! I appreciate it!

  • Helen Hines

    I’m trying to lose my last 10 lbs Ive been struggling for the last month I’m at a complete stop no changes at all. I work out at the gym doing hard cardio either on the treadmill or the stationary bike or split and work out both on the same day. If I do both I do 30 min each total 60 min of cardio but if I’m only working on one or the other I usually spend no more then 45 min 4 days a week and also, I train with a trainer once a week working on weight training for 30-40 min. I eat relatively healthy for the most part but not down to science like you. However, I will almost on a daily bases eat some kinda of junk food but not allot. Do you think this is whats hindering my continued progress? And what I mean by not allot is, for instance, a bag of lunch bag size of chips or couple cookies or some few crackers but not like I’m out of control and eating a large bag of junk food. It is a small amount but like I said I eat some kind of junk almost everyday if not everyday.

  • fast brain

    Hello, Mike, i am 27 years guy and my weight is just 45kg with 5’5” height. its been just a week of started my workout. therefore, i do not have an idea of diet,workout schedule to get muscle. i want to get muscle very soon and i do not have any problem to follow any schedule of workout or my diet so would u tell me some ideas of workout and any products name of diet to get muscle very soon? thank you.

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  • The Equal One :)

    Hi Mike, I plan on buying some of your books, but I was wanting to know before hand, I want to work out at home instead of a gym. do I need a workout bench or a barbell? if so, those are too expensive at the time being. I have 2 twenty pound dumbells but that’s it so far.

    & if I do a low-calorie diet with weight training, would I be losing weight too? because I have a decent amount of fat.

    Please answer if you have the time thanks & have a great day 🙂

  • Nathan

    Hi Mike,

    I’m a great fan! You’ve pulled me out of the ditch, and now I’m back on the road to better health and fitness. You’ve inspired me so much that I want to help everyone I know. I wrote a blog for my family and friends and mentioned you. Please check it out and let me know what you think: http://nathansbesteffortfitness.blogspot.ca/

    I’ve been wanting to thank you for so long, and rather than just getting your books and saying thanks, I want to tell everyone I know about you. Thanks Mike!

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks man! That’s great–you’re kicking ass! Keep up the good work and keep me posted!

  • Todd Blackard

    Great information Mike. Im 52 and have been a personal trainer in Dallas for 28 yrs. Im a classic hardgainer and your solid information is great. Its refreshing to have someone who gives you the facts and lays it out there. Keep up the good work

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Todd! I appreciate the support!

  • Amie schmidt

    Hello, Ok, so I have read the page “About me”. Can you tell me have you had any formal education, training such as College courses on Anatomy, Physiology, Kinesiology? Or is your background, education all self taught and research based? I don’t mean to be a negative nancy, but I just would like to know because just like you mentioned you do research, I do the same before I move forward. Thanks!

    • Michael Matthews

      Good question! I’m 100% self-taught. Ironically at this point I’ve studied a LOT more than I would have going the formal route, haha.

  • Muhammad

    Thanx bro encouraging u r.My problemis small height. I m 169 cm.its genetic. M 24 , have used to hang a rod regularly 10 minutes (strict) daily but useless.Is their any work out which can help me.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks man. I don’t know of any way to increase height, sorry. 🙁

  • Andrew M.

    Hey Mike,
    Thanks for all the advice and helping along the way. I bought a few books several months ago and have followed the info for shredding and the recommended workouts. Everything is straight to the point and easy to follow, I love it! I started at 21% bf and am currently around 10%…maybe 11%. I started at 200lbs and am now at 184lbs. I even built muscle along the way! I thought about getting into the #summershred but was already half way through shredding. I’m maintaining now and will probably follow your plan to bulk this winter (then I’ll shred again in the spring/summer). I feel so much better all around. It is definitely not a “diet” or anything but a true lifestyle change that is sustainable for the long haul!
    Thanks again for everything!
    Andrew (41 y/o firefighter with a bad back and knees…no excuses!! If I can, anyone can!)
    P.S. Please see the attached before and current pic. Sorry for the poor quality of the first one, it is from an old phone that I don’t have anymore.

    • Michael Matthews

      WOW great job man! That’s awesome! I’d love to feature you on the site as a success story! Shoot me an email! Mike (at) muscleforlife!

      • Andrew M.

        Thank you! Appreciate the feedback! I’d be honored to be on the site as a success story. I’ll be in touch! Thanks again,

        • Michael Matthews

          Great! Let’s do it!

  • Enrique

    Mike, a 67 yrs old (already sarcopenia) and hard gainer can be able to gain weight. Had big belly which already dissapeared but also weight and muscle.

    • Michael Matthews

      Great on your gains! Sorry but I don’t understand–you’re building muscle or would like to?

  • Radovan Šurlák

    Thank you so much for your work Mike, I so fucking appreciate the work you do and all the info and help you provide. It really helps me a lot and I feel really grateful for that 🙂 I wish you all the success and happiness in the world Mike 🙂

    Thank you again 🙂

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks man I really appreciate it. You rock. 🙂

      • Radovan Šurlák

        🙂 wow, thank you so much Mike 🙂 have a great day 🙂

        • Michael Matthews

          YW! You too!

  • JT

    Once upon a time, I knew a twigg-like human friend of mine that could barely bench a barbell and I was able to set some motivation to get him working out and lifting. I had not given him much of a plan but I did tell him how to research and utilize the internet. Several months down the road, he had learned about Mike and bought his book, “Bigger, Leaner, Stronger”. I had not seen him very much, but we did keep contact and told me all about Matthews and how he is following his plans to the T. After seeing him for the first time in 8 months, I was intimidated by his size and strength. He started at 140 lbs at 6’1″ and is now 175 and same height. From benching 70 lbs to 250 and climbing.
    I am taking on Michael Matthews as my personal trainer now, utilizing everything he has. Both books are purchased and are on the way. I will be happy to keep track of my journey and post results in time!
    After all, Michael seems like a pretty awesome guy! He cares about people and doesn’t feed you supplemental BS and tell you to wait for muscles to grow like trees. He knows YOU have to go get it and he knows the map. Thanks Mike!

    • Michael Matthews

      Wow that’s amazing! Thanks so much and let me know how you like the books and get on with the program! And tell your friend to contact me! I’d love to feature him on the site!

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  • John Watson

    I just read your book “Bigger, Leaner, Stronger”. I love it. I have a question about re-feed. Are the extra carb calories on top of the calories we determined for cutting? So if I am at 2100 calories per day and 225 carbs, would i bump up to 625 carbs for that day and 3700 calories or so? Thank you.

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  • TommyTCG

    .. counting calories? Mikey needs to open a physiology textbook. ie Human Physiology, Vander, Sherman and Luciano, PhDs U of VA.

    Carbs fatten..Digested carbs first top up the muscle and liver glycogen, the stored sugar. The rest is rapidly converted to bodyfat in the cells’ mitochondria via the Krebs cycle. Digested fat only slowly converts to useable energy molecules in the liver. Fructose converts DIRECTLY into bodyfat in the liver. HFCS accelerates this.

    Calories don’t count because in human physiology there exist various ‘homeostasis’ mechanisms. These try to maintain bodyfat stores by varying the metabolic rate, MR. The MR is thus affected by what, when and how much or how little is eaten. ie when one reduces calories and eats less, within days the metabolic rate slows to conserve fuel stores for an assumed upcoming famine. One such mechinism, thermic effect, is bone structure dependent. A light boned ‘ectomorph’ can gulp down half a gallon of 60% sugared ice-cream and weigh the same next day. They have a very high, and variable, inherent MR rate rise after a meal. Conversely a heavyboned ‘endomorph’ wil gain fat on a slice of apple pie high due to a very low inherent MR rise.

    (In the health Industry for half a century, author of tthairsolutions.com) protocols)

  • blake

    Hey! Just bought bigger leaner stonger and waiting for it to come in the mail. I have been lifting semi-reguarly for under 1.5 years. Currently 5’8″ 155 pounds about 14% BF. Should i focus on bulking and doing the the 250-500 calorie surplus until I gain a solid base? I don’t have much experience win the compound lifts. Or should i use your method that i will read about in the book to cut fat and gain muscle? Im afraid that i will “Work out with heavy lifts, eat clean, and eat enough protein” like you did when you weren’t seeing results. But I have a feeling that the years of lifting are a pre-req to look like you do now. Not to say that your system is BS, but isn’t a base of muscle needed to look like you do and use your program I assume? I would love to talk more, than you! -Blake

  • Leona Papafagos

    Hi Mike… Getting ready to read Thinner Leaner Stronger, for women… My son recommended you as he’s reading the male’s version now. My question to you is.. How does one proceed with work outs when they have sports injuries? For instance, I have a torn labrum in my right shoulder. I’m always so protective of it, but don’t know if I can strength train that area, and don’t know how, if it’s alright to do so? It gets irritated, and but not very painful right now. I baby it though….. Please let me know how to approach this subject?

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Leona! Give your son a high-five too! 🙂

      We can work around injuries. We basically will just avoid anything that aggravates them and stick to what we can do.

      Are you doing any type of mobility or rehab work?

      • Leona Papafagos

        No, I am not… When I joined a gym a couple years ago, my trainer always tried to modify my arm exercises, by keeping them close to my body… Not allowing my arm to go lateral at all. No wide open movements .. as far as strength training. But I have not been in the gym.. I walk and work out at home.. not much strength exercises.. mostly aerobic. I just lost 27-28 lbs.. over the course of 6 months. I have modified my diet drastically, but healthfully. I had no help from anyone. Just applied what I’ve known for a long time, and finally got on the wagon again. Now I want to tone up.. so I want to read your book.

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  • nullibro

    Read “Bigger Leaner Stronger” about 2 weeks ago and loved it. Been lifting 5 days/week at 4am for 14months mostly to rehabilitate several old injuries (in conjunction with surgery) and reduce BF (lost 20kg currently 30%BF!!). For the last couple months I have begun to feel like I’m 22 again and started evolving my program to incorporate compound movements in heavy sets. “Bigger Leaner Stronger” has really helped me solidify my training philosophy and refine my nutrition (you inspired me to buy some kitchen scales).
    Knowledge is power.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks man! I really appreciate it!

      Keep up the good work and keep me posted!

      Oh and I’d love to feature you in a before and after success story if you’re interested! It’s a simple matter of taking/digging up before pictures, reaching your goal, and then taking after pictures and sending them over to me. What do you think?

      • nullibro


        I’ve fallen into a pattern of setting 10 week goals so I will take a selfie tonight then one at each milestone after.

        Becoming a “success story” will provide some helpful extrinsic motivation for my journey!

        • Michael Matthews

          Awesome! Let’s do it!

  • Dude, I will work to be just like you… I’m your fan

    • Michael Matthews

      Haha thanks man. 🙂

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  • August

    I first read your “golden ratio” article who knows how many months ago. Thanks to that, I’ve developed a great Greek+swimmer physique and it’s still in progress. It inspired me to strive to be MORE. More cut, more size, more impressive, more stronger. Going from 180 to a solid 220 (205 lean) and a clean 70 pounds on my bench, 80 on my squat and dead lift, and all within probably six months. Most of my progress is inspired by your and physique, success, tips, articles. Youve changed how confident I am, how I look to others and myself. I feel strong and secure and happy with myself. Thank you mike. It means a lot.

    • Michael Matthews

      That’s awesome man. Really impressive gains. I’d love to feature you on the site as a success story if you’re interested! LMK! And keep up the good work!

  • Rajat Manohar

    Hey mike thankyou so much for the last reply that was really helpful.
    I want to know what are the HIIT cardio which are the excersices in it. I can’t find it in your book
    Please suggest me

  • Helton Rodrigues

    Very good. A pity that all the material or part is not in Portuguese.

    • Michael Matthews

      I may start getting the site translated into other languages next year.

  • Rajat Manohar

    Hey mike, you have already cleared many of my confusions yet i am into another, i cant afford 2 scoops of whey protein per day, i can only take one so what is the best time to take pre workout or post workout.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks man! Glad I can help.

      Either or. Neither is better, really. You’ll want protein before and after though so have food and whey.

  • Mike c

    I bought the book and saw how you are in favor of bulking THEN cutting.
    but I am overweight….. 5 foot 7 198lbs
    most of it centered on belly and flanks.
    what do you think I should do.?

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  • RandomDude

    Hello Michael, I have read your book BLS and was impressed by logic and
    honesty of all the chapters in it. I was wondering what your opinion
    about the point this article makes would be:
    Also (just a suggestion), you could make a special section on this site
    where you’d paste links of studies done on hypertrophy, dieting, rep
    ranges etc. Your books are suggested on internet forums precisely
    because the program you suggest worked well for so many people and I
    believe that, due to confusing advices on the subject of losing weight
    and muscle building, having easy access to scientific studies might be a
    good trademark, something to invest in.
    You’re a great man, I was diagnosed with social anxiety and depression years ago and decided to get things in order. I want that smile that you have on your picture up there. Greetings from Slovenia 🙂

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks for reading my book and writing! I really appreciate it.

      That’s an interesting idea. Kind of a “best of” from my PubMed account. I will make a note of this.

      Getting fit will help a lot with your mental state/mood!

  • Brad

    Just curious, what’s your take on yoga? Waste of time? Mild benefits? Huge benefits?

    • Great for flexibility and well-being. I used to do a couple sessions per week.

  • GQ

    Hello Michael,
    I am a very hard gainer who just now started to gain weight by getting in all of the meals I need to do so. The only problem is, I started a new job in the Operating Room at the hospital and sometimes will get stuck in a case for 6 hours or more. In that time, obviously i cannot eat. I have gotten some casein to drink before my work day begins, on top of the other supplements that I am currently taking. I still believe that it is a problem that is just hurting my gains that I could possibly be making. Is there any advice that you could give me for this? Any information would be greatly, great;y appreciated.

    • That’s not a problem. Just make sure you hit your daily numbers and you’ll be fine.

  • Michael D

    Hey Mike,

    I got a little down and a little excited at the same time reading your articles and reading your book: I realize I’ve been working out incorrectly for about 8 years now. Yikes!

    I’ve been a P90X, P90X2, Body Beast, and Body for Life guy. I regularly work out 6 days a week yet I feel like I’ve been in a plateau for 2 years now.

    It’s so damn simple yet it didn’t seem to sink in until a few days ago: my calorie intake is what’s holding me back! I have an over 20% BF yet I work out a lot as I mentioned.

    I started your program Monday and started cutting with a calorie reduction of 20%.

    Here I go…

    Thanks for a great book and your online articles. I look forward to posting my results in a few months…

    • Haha thanks Mike. I know the feeling.

      In case you haven’t seen:


      Definitely keep me posted on your progress and write anytime if you have any questions or run into any difficulties. I’m always happy to help.

      • Michael D

        I’ll check out that link and report back in a few months!

        Appreciate you taking the time to respond.

      • Michael D

        Been about 3 weeks now on my calorie cut and following your nutrition recommendations in your book…

        My waist has shrunk 2.5 inches and my wife says my chest muscles look a little more defined! Not posting any pics as I’m not satisfied yet, but progress is happening.

        Currently at 19% body fat and working hard at lowering it…

        Hope I don’t hit a wall soon, lol.

        • Awesome! That’s great. You won’t. 🙂 Keep up the good work and keep me posted!

  • Karlos

    Hello Mike, Icall Carlos de São Paulo – SP – Brazil i loved your book work out, dry, set and I’m making the maximum but I have a doubt because it can not do aerobic before or afther hypertrophy?I did not understand?

  • Brock

    I rarely comment on websites but I just saw your site today for the first time. I’m 6’2 and wondered what the science of steroid muscle gain was. Your explaination was great and then I see your whole site and information is really solid and refreshing.The “time to get smart” segment is right on! I workout, former college football,do TV myself and own a sizeable business that keeps me occupied day and night so your advice fits me well. I’m going to check out your books now. I have to admit I laughed when you said you despise the Pill and Powder pushers and then said “thats why I started my own line of Powders and Pills. You’re no dummy. Ha ! I see whats up…! feel you! Overall good info. Thanks

    • Thanks man. I really appreciate it.

      Haha it totally sounds hypocritical at first but if you check out what I’m doing with Legion I think you’ll agree I’m sticking to my guns. 🙂

  • Oscar

    How tall and how much do you weigh Mike?

  • Ivo Naves

    would be cool if you do a podcast with Daniel from FitnessFaqs and/or Mike Vacanti

  • Fabio Esteves

    Mike, I’ve finished reading your book BLS 2nd edition and I think you’ve done an amazing job but I’m confused about something. You write that the place to start when cutting is 1.2g/lb of protein, 1g/lb of carbs and 0.2g/lb of fat. I’m 163lbs at 12% bodyfat and trying to get to 7-8%. For me, that would be:
    195g of protein – 780kcal
    163g of carbs – 652kcal
    33g of fat – 297kcal

    Total: 1729kcal.

    My BMR, according to katch-mcardle formula is 1776kcal. You say that we shouldn’t cut to below our BMR in your book. What should my approach be here? More carbs? More fat? Just stick to it anyway?

    Bonus question: according to your book, we should multiply our BMR for 1.2 if working out 1-3h per week. But to have 20% caloric deficit, we must multiply that number for 0,8. 1,2×0,8=0,96, which means we’ll be at 96% of our BMR, which is below the BMR level, again… Is this okay?

    • Thanks Fabio!

      Doh! The formula gets a little funky with body comps like yours but that’s okay. Let’s just add 20 grams of fat to your daily intake and that should be a good starting point.

      Yeah that’s the problem without exercising much–you don’t get to eat much food if you want to lose weight steadily.

  • Dan

    Dear Mike,

    I’ve been reading your book, BLS, and so far it’s wonderful. Similar to the person who commented under me, I am having a problem with the cutting/bulking formula. Currently I’m at 14% BF, 139 lbs, 17 years old. My BMR is 1548.7, TDE is 2091, but the cutting formula requires me to drop to 1475.1. Similarly, the bulking formula requires me to be at 1890 (only 100 calories above my current cutting calories). I feel these numbers are a bit low and will cause me to lose muscle. What new numbers should I multiply for my protein, carbs, and fat in both phases (I plan to drop to 10% then bulk up to 16%).

  • Angel

    Hey Mike, my chest is developing very well so far with the time that i have been using your workouts! The only thing that still annoys me is I still have fat in my chest. Mainly in the lower chest. Do you have any advice for that?

  • Rocco

    Mike!!!! Huge fan reading about your journey yesterday really spoke to me ! I’ve recently went from 248 to 198 since January and feel great. Spending mostly the entire day reading you articles and well explained advice I feel I may have over estimated my body fat and am not at the ” last ten.” I feel I am 15 lbs away and about 13 percent body fat. I am 6 foot in half and work out 6 plus hours a week. I have not been able to get a bod pod or skinfold reading I have my upper abs and serratus anteriors showing pretty well for a vacuum pose lol. I am have hit a wall and finding you as inspiration has only given me that much more of a push. Using your formula I got 245 grams of protein 245 carbs and 55 grams of grams of fat. Does this look correct ?! Mike as stephen amell would say… Sinceriously thank you for the help. You da man!

  • Angel

    Hey Mike, i just tore a ligament in my foot and have a partial tear in another one. I won’t be able to workout for a month and a half. I also can’t do any hard physical activity for three months. Any advice on how to not lose that much muscle, and how to minimize the amount of fat I gain?

    • Yikes I’m sorry to hear that. If you can do any bodyweight stuff or ANYTHING at all it will help. Otherwise you just have to keep your protein intake high and eat around TDEE and heal up.

      • Angel

        Thank you for the advice, I’ll be back at it soon!

  • Joel Kelly

    Hey Mike, I was wondering what rep ranges you would recommend for muscles like calves, traps, triceps and biceps? Would you still recommend the 6-7 rep range or would the reps be a little higher since muscles like calves from what I heard perform better with higher rep ranges.

    Keep up the awesome content, Thanks!


  • Jordan


    Having read Starting Strength at your
    recommendation (and finally learning low-bar back squat from a
    Starting Strength certified coach), I’m having a bit of cognitive
    dissonance reconciling SS and BLS. Maybe a podcast topic?

    For instance, what are your thoughts on deadlift
    frequency? In SS, eventually only its 1×5 every two weeks.

    Also since I’m finally learning how to
    squat correctly and my lower body is lagging, can you think of a way
    to integrate the 3x/week squat frequency into your program that would
    make sense? Or maybe 2x per week?


    Jordan (I’m the guy that complimented
    your chili on twitter)

  • Chintan Jariwala

    Hi Mike
    Currently i m on surplus diet of about 300 cal on weight training days. My question is should i keep the calorie intake same on cardio days as well?
    cardio will be HIIT 30 mins

  • Trey

    Hey Mike,
    How often do you suggest to cycle pre workout?
    I’ve read your recommendations on how to take caffeine, but I didn’t find anything about cycling pre workout. So sorry in advance if you did mention it and I skipped past it!


  • Luis

    Mike, I am in my second week of cutting and following BLS, I lost 2.5 pounds the first week and 1% fat (based in my scale) , I am 189 lbs now and 19% BF. I would like to make use of a fat burner to speed up the process but yours is out of stock, having many different supplements is complicated to me, is there a fat burner brand (everything in a bottle) as yours you might suggest ? hope you dont mind the question.

    Thanks in advance

    • Good job on the results so far.

      Unfortunately, there isn’t another fat-burner out there I’d recommend. Typically, I recommend several individual ingredients to get and “create” your own fat-burner stack.

      If you’re interested the ingredients are caffeine, green tea extract, synephrine and yohimbine.

      • Luis

        Then I will buy all ingredients listed in your reply, can you please point me in the correct direction for the proper dosage and timing? also, I eat lunch at 1:00 pm, I train at 6:30 pm with no food in between but the pre workout shake 30 before training as you suggest in your book, is that considered fasted or not? will taking all these ingredients at this time cause my sleep go away a couple hrs later? (i always go to bed around 11pm) . Thanks again mike!

  • Susan M

    I’m so thankful for your workout log and for TLS! I have started my first week and am half way through the book! I’ve lifted heavy weights a year now but no longer making progress. I am 5 foot, 107 pounds and 20% BF. Can you tell me what to change if I find I don’t have the energy to get the five workouts a week in? I’m used to a routine of 2 days a week, with double the reps you suggest, so I feel overtrained and tired. Should I back off the weight while I adjust to the 5day/week schedule? Thanks again, and I’m so stoked to have found you! I’m spreading the news of your books and website to all my friends!

  • john

    Mike your blog is w wealth of information! I needed some advice, I am 42, muscular and gain muscle easy but am stuck at 19% body fat, even doing intense cardio and lifting 3 times a week, there is so much confusing information on the net, is by best bet to keep cutting calories to loose the fat?

  • A C

    Hi Mike! I have a question for you. I recently purchased your book Thinner, Leaner, Stronger from Amazon but I’m still waiting for it to arrive. However, my question is, I’m a woman around 5’8″, 230 lbs, and 39 years old, who has never lifted weights before. I’m a cardio queen. Being that I’m that overweight should I still follow your HIT cardio rulenof 30 minutes 2/3 a week or should I do a little more? Also, could you please explain how to combine the vegan protien powders to make a complete protein? Is it as simple has just had a serving size of rice, with a serving size of pea or do you take half a serving of each? I know it a crazy question but I’m honestly confused sincethe calorie count combined of two full servings will be much higher than that of whey protien powders for instance. Thank you in advance! I look forward to hearing your advice!

  • Hey Mike, the contact form isn’t working. No matter what I do, it thinks I haven’t filled out my name.

    • Hmm that’s weird. It works for me. Probably a browser issue?

      • Maybe. I’m on a Mac and it happens with both Chrome and Safari, so I don’t know what exactly would cause that.

        • That’s really strange. You can reach me at mike at muscleforlife.

  • Jeremy Pople

    Hi Mike,

    I just have one question about cardio. I have personally started using short, intense 15-25 min swimming sessions during my two rest days and one workout day during weeks (due to low impact), instead of the two HIIT Stationary Bike sessions I originally used to undertake on rest days alone. I also walk to and from school, work and the gym daily and I assume that this is sufficient cardio (you mention that excessive cardio is unnecessary as it may limit gains and because endurance is not the goal). Any thoughts or articles on swimming, and whether maybe a blend of the two (swim twice and have one HIIT Bike session a week for example) would be appropriate?


  • Amit

    Hi Mike,

    I unfortunately have some joint conditions which put me at risk while doing heavy weightlifting exercises. I have been to doctors, but apparently there’s no clear solution to solve them. The best thing I can do to help myself, is build muscles and that’s why I am here. But I can’t exactly figure out which exercises I should do or not do and modify for my case. Is it possible to get some pointers related to this ?

    • The first step would be finding out from your doctor what exercises you can and can’t do. From there we can put something together with the exercises you can do.

  • Joel Kelly

    Hey Mike, Any tips for maintaining strength, particularly “Bench Press” when doing a cut? I’ve read many articles that say that body weight is a direct contribution to your benching strength. Now while i’m sure that’s not entirely true, I know it has somewhat of an effect on your overall strength. So what can I do to minimize the loss in strength from being on a caloric deficit?


    • If you’re cutting correctly and losing 1-2 pounds a week. You should be able to maintain strength pretty well. If it does start to go down a bit after cutting for a while, I wouldn’t worry about it. The strength will return when you increase your cals.

      Just keep lifting heavy and dieting properly. You should be good.

  • Bobby Yribarren

    Hey Mike, I’m new to your whole program and I just wanted to know if your program will really help me get stronger? I’m an athlete so naturally I want to be as strong as I can be. Is this the right program for me if my focus is strength not looks?
    Thank you

    • Johnny

      Hey Bobby,
      I’m sure Mike will chime in, but let me say this: I have ALWAYS been a “hard gainer” and never felt like all the time I spent in the gym really paid off, so I stopped going. About 8 weeks ago I started BLS and I am much stronger than I have ever been. I am completely sold on this program. Give it a shot; you will not regret it!!

    • For sure. As a natural lifter, to get bigger, you need to get stronger.

      BLS will build your all-around strength well.

    • Joel Kelly

      Hey Bobby,
      I highly recommend this program for gaining strength! After following the BLS stronger program for about 3 months I started noticing significant strength gains especially when it comes to major lifting exercises like bench press, dead lifts and squats. It also has helped me challenge myself more due to the intense low reps/high volume approach. I’d give it a try, Mike is a very reliable source if you’re a natural athlete looking to make some progress!

  • Chris

    Hey Mike! I just finished my cut, I went from 220 somewhere around 25% bf to 177 somewhere around 12%bf in 20 weeks. I wanted to get to 10% but couldn’t find it in myself to lose anymore weight lol. I definitely got to that point where I feel “too skinny” so I’m going to add some weight before I cut again. I have been taking Phoenix, Triumph, Pulse and more recently Forge. Great supplements that definitely helped me get this far. I know I have a ways to go to get the body I want but I wanted to show you my progress so far. Thanks again!

    • Wow. Great job brother!

      Happy to hear the supps helped. 🙂

      I’d love to get you up on the site! What do you think?

  • John Gonzo

    In your book, you recommend not bulking if your over 15% body fat (Bigger Leaner Stronger, pg.117, begginning of 4th paragraph). I’m 6’3.5 and 180lbs but around 20% body fat, and everyone tells me I should be bulking. Should I still be cutting given my height, weight and body fat? Cutting does seem to make sense as I do have a undefined chest and almost no shoulder definition, but need clarification. Your word means alot.

  • mh2010

    Mike – I am 5’9, 176 lbs and am trying to cut fat (Currently at about 20% BF, down from 25%). My Fitness Pal says I should be limiting my calories to 1520 per day. I am really having a hard time fitting the recommended amount of protein, carbs, and fats in your book for the cutting phase without going over my calorie limit. Should up my calorie amount per day to get in the right amount of carbs and fats? I am currently still 17 grams of protein below what is recommended but I am 44 grams below on carbs and 29 below on fats.

    • First, make sure your cals and macros are right with this:


      Second, you just need to add more food that you like to the meal plan! There’s plenty that fits within those numbers.

      • mh2010

        I got really caught up on calculating my daily macros on a spreadsheet. I used the formulas in the BLS for cutting to calculate my macros. I then tried to put in the food i usually like to eat like brown rice, broccoli and chicken breast on top of pre- and post-workout protein. While I could get close to the 211g of protein, I had a harder time getting the right amount of carbs and fats without go over my calorie limit. I got a bit frustrated trying to get the rest of my macros to line up within my calorie limits. I am going to attempt another stab at the spreadsheet. The 40/40/20 rule might be an easier approach for me, we’ll see.

  • Andy

    Hi Mike,

    I recently purchased your book “Bigger Leaner Stronger,” and I really like it; It’s very informative. Ok so I’m following the 5-day split workout routine, and my inquiry is this: on day 4 of “Upper Body and abs” you mention to perform 3 sets of chest in the “8-10” rep range. So what would be the weight to use in order to reach that rep range, compared to the heavy lifting in the “4-6” rep range? Make sense to lighter to hit that rep range, but how light? Oh and also, what would be the rest period for “8-10” rep range for each set? Thanks a lot.

    • Everyone has different muscle endurance, but the standard is 4-6 reps is 85-90% of your 1RM and 8-10 reps is 75-80% of your 1RM.

      1-2 minutes rest between the 8-10 rep sets is good!

  • lanmanna

    How do I start?

  • John

    Hey Mike.

    Love your book. I’m working on cutting now and just have a few questions. I feel like I’m lifting heavier and heavier which is great. My issue is I am juggling between my home gym and outside gym. My home gym is all free weights, and the big box gym is mostly machines and dumbbells and smith machine. Would splitting a single workout work between the two be okay? Also I maxed out the dumbbells at the bog box gym. What do you recommend?

    • Thanks!

      I strongly recommend sticking your gym with the free weights.

      I’m not a fan of machines TBH.

      Check this out:


      • John

        Thanks for the quick reply Mike.

        I can’t wait to send you some success photos 🙂

        I’m ganna stop with machines and stick with free weights. Do you feel the same about cable workouts?

        I like the cable cross over for chest. I stick with barbell bench for 90% of chest day.

        Thanks again. You’re the best.

        • YW!

          I can’t wait to see them!

          Generally speaking cables are meh but there are a couple exercises worth including. You can keep doing the crossovers but save them for AFTER your heavy lifting.

  • Mike

    First I gotta say your book BLS is simply amazing. I’ve read magazines and books on fitness for 3 years and have been training every day the wrong way for years. Your book is a breath of fresh air. It’s simple, easy to read again and again, and is just plain truth.

    For the first time in forever I’m seeing gains again. And I thank you wholey for that. I recommend it to all my friends and everyone I see at the gym.

    I’ve been supplementing with whey/creatine/casein. What do you usually mix these with? I like to add my chocolate whey with whole milk.

    Also love the suggestion on low fat cottage cheese at night. Thanks again.

    P.s here’s a picture of my set up. Do you recommend adding anything to it? I am up for any suggestions.

    • Thanks for reading my book and writing! I really appreciate it.

      Glad to hear you’re making gains again. 🙂 Thanks a ton for spreading the word too.

      Whey and casein I do with water or rice milk. Creatine I do with water. You can do with juice if you like though.

      Cool you’re enjoying the cottage cheese.

      That’s a great set up you got there! You have the most important pieces (assuming you have an adjustable bench?). There are a couple things you could add. Check this out:


      What do you think?

  • Harry Gausel

    Hi Mike, I’ve heard that building muscle mass can stunt growth, as the growth plates get closed in by the muscle. Is this myth true, as I want to build more muscle mass, but I don’t want to stunt my growth.

    Thanks Harry

  • William

    Love the honesty and transparency that you’re bringing to the fitness industry Mike.

    Question: For aesthetic purposes, do you recommend dumbbell or barbell bench press for flat and incline? I’ve read conflicting things about progressive overload and mass building being greater with barbell, but range of motion is better with dumbbell. Just wanted to get your take.

    Thank you, William

    • Thanks William!

      I recommend both actually. I like to rotate them.

  • Hi Mike
    Thank you for writing the book – I am enjoying it very much!
    Please could you confirm that the Legs day is 3 working sets of each leg exercise and no more? I am a little confused because earlier chapter describes 6-9 sets of 4-6 reps of each muscle group.

    Would you know of any workout charts or excel sheets that would help keep track of workouts and make it easier to check and record? I would be very grateful.

  • Nina

    Hi Mike,
    I am going to start with your 1-year challenge and I was wondering if I swim 2-3 times a week on top of weight lifting, will it be good cardio exercise? or swimming is not good cardio? Is it better to do the HIIT treadmill, for example???

    • Sorry for the late reply. I missed this somehow.

      Yup that’s great. Swimming is fun. 🙂

  • Brodee

    Hi Mike,

    I have heard good things about your articles/book, but I generally only read information from certified and/or accredited authors. I am having trouble finding your certifications/accreditation. So I was wondering what they are?
    Thanks a ton!

    • Hey man!

      I didn’t go to college for anything related to health or fitness. I’m self-taught, which has been a big advantage in many ways.

      I’m like you but I also am more interested in RESULTS than appeals to authority.

      IMO start with my free book Maximum Muscle, give it a go, and see how your body responds.

      • Brodee

        Sounds good I will give it a go! Thanks for responding so quickly!

  • Christian Wheeler

    Hi Mike!

    Is it possible to naturally progress past the Golden Ratio’s outlined in Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger Chapter 3?
    I ask, because I don’t want a disproportionate physique. Some of my muscle groups are developing a lot faster than others. So is it safe to continue training the fast growing groups whilst getting the lagging muscles up to scratch?
    Thanks so much for your program and books! They saved me from using steroids. I decided to stay Natty after the massive progress I got using BLS.

    • Definitely.

      For instance my chest and biceps are fast responders and I actually have to watch my volume and intensity or they just get too big for my shoulders and back.

      So what I do currently is just 3 sets of heavy pressing per week to maintain my chest and no biceps exercises (they get maintained with my heavy pulling) and I train my shoulders twice per week.

      Awesome man really glad to hear that. 🙂

      • Christian Wheeler

        Thanks for the clarification!
        I’ll try and keep my triceps and shoulders at bay while I work on the rest.

  • Tom Stewart

    Hi Mike,

    Just a quick question regarding the legs day in the phase 1 of the BLS workout.

    I have set up a home gym with a squat rack, olympic bar and weights. I can do pretty much all the exercises using the equipment I have except the leg press. Which exercise should I replace this with? I was thinking either another 3 sets of squats or maybe some lunges?

    Loved BLS. Telling everyone at work to read it!!


    • NP!

      You can replace the leg press with front squats.

      Glad you enjoyed the book and thanks a ton for spreading the word. 🙂

      Definitely keep me posted on your progress and write anytime if you have any questions or run into any difficulties. I’m always happy to help.

  • Robbie

    Hey man, when you’re working out, say you get 5 reps max for your first set, 4 reps max for your second set, would you then decrease weight so that for your third set you would still be in the 4-6 rep range, or would you keep working with the same weight even if it means getting less than four reps? Thanks!

    • That’ll be a judgement call. If you feel, with enough rest, you can get 4 reps again, you can keep the weight the same. If you don’t think you’ll be able to do 4 reps again, you should drop weight to stay in the 4-6 rep range.

      Hope that helps! LMK.

  • Jesus Diaz

    Hi Mike!

    I just bought your BSL book yesterday, and I’m reading it fast! great info, no BS, easy to read! awesome. I’ll finish it soon.

    One problem I have with it is that it seems to be focused on getting big muscles…

    In my case I’m 32 years old male 5″9 / 167lb with 21% body fat. My goal is to cut fat and get shreded, maybe build some muscle to look nice, but definitely not interested in the big arms / big chest look…

    Am I still fine doing the 4-6 reps at 85% my lifting capacity?

    Do you have any article for this situation?

    Thank you very much… finally I feel like I will make real progress.

    • Thanks for reading my book and writing! I really appreciate it.

      That’s fine. I still recommend you follow the program. Once you’re happy with the amount of muscle you have, we can reduce the volume for maintenance. Check this out:


      YW. Happy to help! LMK what you think.

      • Jesus Diaz

        Thanks again! I’ll do that… anyways it should take at least 6 months to cut the fat to <10% I think… at that point I guess I'll be able to see what I need to work out more and what just to maintain right? great article on that link by the way.

        • Welcome! Exactly. We’ll be able to see then.

          Thanks Jesus. Glad you enjoyed it.

          Definitely keep me posted on your progress and write anytime if you have any questions or run into any difficulties. I’m always happy to help.

          • Jesus Diaz

            Thanks again! Actually I’ve 3 questions about the book, hope you can clarify.

            1. I’m confused about the right diet in terms of macros percentage… in the book you say 50%P /40%C /10%F, in some articles you said: 30%P / 40%C / 30%F, and in another one 40%P / 10%C / 30%F… So I’m really not sure which one to do to cut fat… I’ll buy your custom meal plan by the way to get a better idea.

            2. There’s a decent gym at my apartment building, has a lot of machines, the only problem is there is no bar, but a Smith machine… do you think I’ll be okay using that for bench press and squats? Not sure how to do deadlifts without a bar…

            3. Just to clarify, In the book I read 9 sets, and then 3 sets per exercise in the training section… so you suggest 3 exercises of 3 sets each (4-6reps only)… correct?

            Thanks a lot man, by the way I’ve never seen trainer/expert online answering personally to messages, that is just awesome. You got my respect and credibility… so I’ll definitely buy more stuff from you, starting with your custom meal plan.


          • YW.

            1. No, I never recommend 50/40/10. Book cutting is about 42/40/18.

            40/40/20 is fine though. Simple and works.

            2. Can’t deadlift with a Smith but yeah you can bench, military, and front squat. Not ideal but you can.

            3. Yup that’s right.

            Thanks for the support man. 🙂 Keep up the good work.

  • I am 51. I’ve been doing the New Rules for Lifting Supercharged workouts. Before that P90X.

    I am not gaining size. Am I too old? I workout hard. Is it possible to gain an inch or two on my skinny arms etc? Would like to gain 10-15 lbs. I have tendonitis in my eldow.

    • You are definitely not too old. Check this out:


      I recommend changing routines and focusing on the heavy, compound lifts and making sure your diet is right. Check these out:




      You may have to make some adjustments for the tendonitis, but it shouldn’t be a big issue.

      LMK what you think!

      • So I have been doing you 5 day routine for two weeks now. First thing I noticed is that I am not completely slammed at the end like I was on the full body workout I was doing. I almost want to do more. So in two weeks I gained 1/2″ on my arms! Why? I did approximately the same number of sets per muscle group per week. Was I not stimulating the muscle enough per workout since the volume was spread out over three workouts? Or was I not recovering enough since each muscle was worked out three times a week?

        Thanks Mike.

        • That’s great!

          Were you lifting as heavy before?

          • Pretty similar weight. I have another question. I seem to injure easily. Shoulders and elbows. And very hard to build muscle. I suspect I might not be repairing well. My cortisol is barely high (20.2). I heard chronic stress response breaks down muscle. Would cortisol cause me to not repair? Any other thoughts.

            Thank you so much

          • Well the additional recovery definitely helps with the supercompensation effect that we’re going for.

            Chronically elevated cortisol is bad, yes, for many reasons.

            That said, you said yours is BARELY high. Did you mean very or?

  • Asad Mumtaz

    Hi Mike,

    Just finished reading BLS and can’t wait to incorporate the things learned into my schedule. I’m 6ft 1in and have dropped from 216lb to 194lb in about 8 – 9 weeks through calorie control, cardio and strength training. But there’s still a lot of belly fat and I reckon I’m around 25%-30% BF at the moment. Trying to cut further now based on BLS.

    I have 2 questions if you don’t mind please:

    – I have a recurring non-muscular lower back pain issue and doctors have advised me to not lift heavy weights off the ground without bending at the knees and using legs to lift the weight up. I haven’t done deadlifts yet but will try doing sumo deadlifts. Let’s see how it goes with my back. In case, sumo and romanian deadlifts play with my back, can you suggest some alternative exercises to work lower back/back and hamstrings in place of sumo and romanian deadlifts?

    – BLS notes in chapter 14 that in case of someone with >25%BF, he should be eating 0.8, 0.6 and 0.3 gms of protein, carbs and fat respectively per pound of body weight. Based on these calcs, it comes up as around 39/29/32 distribution of calories. Doesn’t this contradict with the 40/40/20 rule of cutting mentioned by yourself in your articles with 80% of TDEE calories? Which one should I follow please?

    Appreciate your help and guidance..

    • Thanks for reading my book and writing! I really appreciate it.

      Great job on the results you’ve gotten so far! Sounds good on continuing with the cut.

      1. Understood. If those deadlift variations don’t work, you can do hyperextensions and leg curls.

      2. Yep, I recommend that macro breakdown for men over 25% BF. The 40/40/20 is still a good general rule for men below 25% BF.

      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

      • Asad Mumtaz

        Hey thanks heaps for the quick reply..really appreciate it and keep up the good work…fingers crossed for Stacked 🙂

        Just one thing more if you don’t mind please, which one would you recommend between Forge and Phoenix if I was to chose only one between the two – keeping in mind that I usually exercise fasted.

        once again…you’re doing a great job, keep it up!

        • NP! Will do.

          STACKED is coming coon. 🙂

          If you’re planning on training fasted, I’d go with Forge.

          Thanks for the support! Happy to help!

      • Asad Mumtaz

        hey sorry, forgot to ask this earlier: so if I have to replace deadlifts with hyperextensions, should it be a straight swap or should i add close/wide grip lat pull down into the schedule as well (for a 4 day split)?

        thanks heaps once again..

        • No worries.

          Nah, just swap the deadlift with hyperextensions and then do the rest of the workout as it’s laid out.


  • Christian Wheeler

    Hi Mike

    I’ve been having knee pain on and off for around 3 months now. I can’t isolate exactly what part of the knee it is that’s sore, as the pain isn’t that significant. I’ve isolated the possible injury to be either a light meniscus tear (knee joints) or patellar tendonitis (injury to the patellar tendon) as illustrated here: http://www.sports-injury-info.com/knee-pain.html

    I don’t know what caused the injury initially. It could be anything from bad form to muscle imbalance (I think my quads are a lot stronger than my hamstrings and glutes). I’ve tried a bunch of different exercises, but just about anything that involves weight and bending the knee inflames the pain. I even feel it flare up when I do good mornings or hyperextensions. I really like squatting heavy and going hard on the deadlifts. Now on to my question.

    Should I completely stay off it for a while? If so, how long do you recommend I do so? And finally, what should I do on the days I usually train legs or my lower back? I really don’t want to be eating less as a result of a TDEE drop.


    • Sorry to hear about the knee. Injuries are annoying. 🙁

      Yep, the first step is resting from any exercises that cause pain or discomfort. Let’s do that for a week or two and see how it goes.

      If it’s still bothering you by then, I’d recommend checking in with the doc.

      I understand not wanting to eat less due to the drop in activity. Are you able to do any kind of HIIT cardio?

      • Christian Wheeler

        I have a little extra time to kill, so I could give some HIIT a try. Will rowing be as effective as cycling? I’m thinking I should stay away from cycling.

        Whilst we’re talking, I really want to give Legion a try, but I’m all the way in South Africa. How are your plans for global domination coming along? 😉

        • Whatever form of HIIT cardio you want to do is fine (as long as it doesn’t bother the knee, of course). Rowing is great.

          I’ll be looking into better international shipping options next year, but for now you can order on Legionathletics.com. We ship internationally. 🙂

          • Christian Wheeler

            As always, thank you for your time and effort Mike! How do I get in touch with you if I have something business-related to discuss with you?

          • YW Christian! You can shoot me an email at Mike @ muscleforlife.

          • Christian Wheeler

            Thank you! I’ll be in contact as soon as things are ready on my end.

            I’m thinking of taking a week off lifting to see how my knee responds. I’m currently eating for maintenance accounting for 4-6 hours of resistance training per week. How would you recommend I change my caloric intake during the week off?

          • Welcome. Sounds good!

            You can keep your cals the same for the week off.

  • NaiKang He

    Hi Mike , just read your book for several chapters and i am excited to start my workout routine. but i have a question about the workouts .Is body beast a good replacement for your workouts as i have limited equipments and working out at home , i am really new to weight lifting and i also prefer watching it on tv. does it prevent me from having maximum results? here’s the workout schedule and worksheet from body beast ….

  • Joe c

    Hi mike. So i started your program August 23 and started with a cut. In 10 weeks (including a deload week) I went from 6’3 180 pounds to about 172 lbs. Then I went right into bulk and followed the bulking macro guidelines for my weight. Within a week I went from 172lbs to 180 lbs, and think that I look a little worse. I’ve gotten a ton stronger though – like a good deal stronger. However you say you shouldn’t gain much lbs per week when bulking, or it’ll mostly likely be fat.

    My question is, was I suppose to transition my eating a little different to go from cut to bulk instead of immediatley going from cut to bulk??

    • Christian Wheeler

      Hey Joe

      I’ve learned about this one the hard way. When finished cutting, it’s best to reverse diet into a bulk, as opposed to jumping straight into it. I could get into why you should do this and give you a poor explanation, but Mike does a much better job than I possibly could.

      Here’s his latest article on the subject: http://www.muscleforlife.com/reverse-diet/

      • Thanks Christian!

        • Christian Wheeler

          My pleasure! Please check out my question below when you have a chance.

          I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but the contact form above doesn’t work. I always get an error when using it.

      • Joe c

        I’ve been bulking for 10 days now. Would you recommend I go back into cut mode? or continue bulking? I think its to late to start reverse dieting now that I’ve eaten 2700 calories 10 days straight.

        • Christian Wheeler

          I think your body would have already adapted quite significantly to the energy intake increase. I’d say keep at the bulk, just make sure you’re not gaining too much fat in the process.

          • Joe c

            I agree and thanks for your insight.

      • Joe c

        Thanks for the reply. I got one question and would appreciate your insight very much.

    • What Christian said. 🙂

      • Joe c

        Thanks for the reply. I have one last question if you can please answer. I’ve been bulking for 10 days now. Would you recommend I go back into cut mode? or continue bulking? I think its to late to start reverse dieting now that I’ve eaten 2700 calories 10 days straight.

  • Borsuk

    Hi, Mike. Your book is great, I’m about to start your awesome workout program. I’m a little confused though. For 3-day split there are variations A and B. Does it mean I should choose one of them and follow it only OR maybe I should do A, then B, then A etc.

    I think it needs a clarification in your PDF challenge. Also, I had to google “calves workout A” to find out what that is – you did not mention it in the PDF challenge.

    Thank you for your book again!

    • Thanks!

      For the 3-day splits, you can do either A or B, but I recommend sticking to one so you can better track your progress.

      Sorry it wasn’t clear in the 1YC. Glad you were able to figure it out. Thanks for the tip!

      My pleasure! Definitely keep me posted on your progress and write anytime if you have any questions or run into any difficulties. I’m always happy to help.

  • jon

    Hey on one of your youtube videos, you said you should do 9-12 sets of heavy lifts. When I do dumbbell shoulder press, I do 6 reps, and 5 sets with 3 minutes rest between sets. I can’t do any more sets than that; on the 6th set, I fail at the 2nd or 3rd or 4th rep. Should I lower my weight, so that I can do 9-12 full sets of dumbbell presses at 6 reps, 3 minute rest? Also, should I be failing at the very end set (set #9-12)?

    • Sorry for the confusion! Each workout should consist of 9-12 heavy sets. Each specific exercise is only 3 sets. So, you’ll do 3-4 exercises per workout which comes out to 9-12 heavy sets per workout.

      Regarding failure, check this out:


      Hope that makes sense! LMK.

  • Borsuk

    Hello, Mike. I’m starting my journey with 3-day split from your report. I’m bulking. How often should I do the HIIT cardio?

    From your book I figured as follows:

    I should do the cardio 3 times per week, on the same day as my workout (workout in the morning, cardio in the evening).

    Is it correct?

  • Adam

    Why does your WHEY+ protein powder contain the “junk filler,” MALTODEXTRIN? This specific additive is directly listed on your website as one you claim to dislike and shouldn’t be in your supplements. Kind of hypocritical, don’t you think?

    • *sigh*

      There’s less than 1 gram of malto per 30+ gram serving because malto goes REALLY FAR in cutting the bitterness of the whey.

      It’s a filler when you have 10+ grams per serving, taking the place of protein.

  • Jack

    Hi Mike,

    Do you recommend any multivitamins, whey protein, egg protein and creatine that are UK Shiiping friendly?

    Thanks, and thanks for the book!

    • You can get the multivitamin, whey protein and creatine from Legion! We ship internationally including the UK, and we now offer 50% off shipping for orders to the UK over $250. 🙂

      If that isn’t workable for you, Optimum Nutrition is available over there, and they have decent alternatives for all those.

  • Seb Wright

    Hey mike,

    An avid follower of yourself and also an aspiring personal trainer here, I’ve begun training and I’m using your bigger, leaner, stronger program, doing a 5 day routine and I’m 6 weeks in, I have no real previous weightlifting experience.

    Something I’ve noticed with myself personally is that my shoulders are a particularly problematic body part.

    I’ve been doing shoulder dislocation exercises, around the world with a 10kg plate after the 2nd week of my program due to noticing serious problems, but nevertheless, i feel they are a seriously limiting factor that’s hindering the weight I can push and pull.

    For instance, on my bench presses, when doing incline, my left shoulder in the anterior compartment feels brittle, and when i increased the weight on the bar this week and began lfting this week, i felt a sharp pain a few times during the lifts.

    Also, when on flat bench, after drawing my shoulder blades together, and bringing the bar above me, on one of my sets as I lowered the bar, i heard an extremely loud crunching noise that was located between my shoulder blades.

    I have problems retracting my shoulder blades properly while performing most exercises, and feeling the muscles around my shoulder blades and in my back.

    When performing dumbbell presses, iIve noticed serious instability while pushing up the dumbbells and my weight has fluctuated throughout the first 6 weeks, i started off on the first week doing 16kg either side x6. The second week, i increased this to 18kg either side, again x6. The third week, my progress on my shoulders backtracked and i struggled to do the 18kg pressing, only just managed x4 reps second set with poor form so thus had to drop the weight for the last set.

    I am on my 6th week now, last week i managed – 18kgx6 – 20kgx6 – 20kgx5. Tomorrow is my shoulder day.

    So with this background, what I want to ask is for detailed recommendations of exercises that would both facilitate building my shoulder stability, and mobility, as I know i am lacking both mobility and stability, as I also perform the shoulder wall extensions, and my wrists cannot touch the wall. My elbows can touch the wall, but i find myself trying as hard as possible and only manage to put the back part of my hands against the wall, my wrists are always extended at probably 15 to 30 degrees away from the wall.

    Any advice you could give me would be massively appreciated, as I feel I have some major dysfunction that even into this 6th week, after bench pressing today and feeling this pain in my left shoulder in the anterior part… I feel really disheartened and am considering seeing my doctor about it, as although my weights have been slowly increasing, so too has the pain and discomfort.

    I also felt weird sensations through my arms shortly after my workout. Like jolts of electricity were being sent through my arms, it was extremely strange and something I’d never experienced before.

    • Thanks for the support!

      Are you doing any rotator cuff work? And I assume you’ve seen this?


      • Seb Wright

        Yes I’m doing all the exercises you listed on that article, most at the gym, the door hanging stretch at home with some other stretches.

        Since that last week I’ve fallen heavily ill with the flu and a chest infection, most likely due to the systemic stress on my body due to being a newbie lifter so I’m taking a deload week off and am hoping I will be better by next week.

        I will continue using those exercises and also may implement face pulls, however i have really long monkey arms and when ive experimented at the gym before with the v rope I wasn’t able to fully lock out into full shoulder extension. Are there other exercises you could recommend?

        • Oh okay yeah get well and then get back at it. Simple external and internal rotation exercises are great for RC as well…

  • Borsuk

    Hi, Mikey!

    Should I perform any kind of warmup before workout? For now, I’m only doing the 3 warmup sets as you suggested in your book.

    It does not seem enough. Maybe I should add something more, like running for a few minutes?

  • Desbris

    Hi Mike

    Alot of great articles you have, I don’t know if you have talked about this much before but what about the dangers of dairy, there is now more and more evident and reports suggesting this, alot of research has gone into this, have you extensively looked into this yourself as alot of supplements can contain dairy. thanks for your time.


  • Jeff Carson

    Oh, Just finished “Cardio Sucks” awesome book. Great for nutrition
    but a little lacking on workouts. It has a few but kinda lacking .The
    extra workout material in Cardio Sucks doesn’t really fit with the book.
    Do you have anything for workouts for that?

    I am reading
    “Bigger Leaner Strong” but I only have the urge to get cut and they seem
    something more for getting bigger not fit.

    Do you have book for that?

    • okay

      Lift on a deficit.

    • Thanks Jeff!

      Did you read the new, updated version or the older one?

      That said, BLS is going to lay out your training for you. It’s not just for bulking.

      • Jeff Carson

        I got a digital one off of amazon.

        • Okay if you got it recently then you have the latest.

          Most people doing BLS just do a few simple HIIT workouts per week. It’s easy and works.

  • Chepe Recinos

    I was just looking to buy BLS 2.0 and noticed that the first edition of BLS was published in early 2012 and the second edition (BLS 2.0) was published in early 2014.
    So I was just wondering if anyone knows if there is going to be a third edition (BLS 3.0) or another book of BLS for that matter in early 2016 ? If so, should I wait until that one comes out ?
    Thanks a lot

    • I’m doing a “mini update” (BLS 2.1) with some small changes based off feedback. It’ll be available in Jan.

      If you plan on getting the book on Kindle though, you can get the update free of charge when it’s available. Otherwise, feel free to wait till then. 🙂


      • Chepe Recinos

        Thanks Mike,
        I was looking at amazon today but I don’t see any changes in the release date; is BLS 2.1 already out to buy ? I was planning to buy it on paperback because I don’t use kindle very much… Thanks a lot

        • Welcome!

          The release date on the Amazon page won’t change. It’ll show the release date of the first edition since it’s the same “product”.

          The 2.1 edition is available on Amazon now. 🙂

          • Chepe Recinos

            Thanks Mike, I’ll make sure to purchase my paperback copy 😉

          • Anytime. Sounds good!

          • Chepe Recinos

            Hello again Mike, as mentioned before, I already bought your book (which reading it was amazing!), but I don’t know were to start my diet plan. I have a fairly high body fat percentage and a fair amount of muscle hidden under the layer of fat. I weigh about 233 lbs and also want to loose a lot of weight since I have my blood sugar levels high (I don’t have diabetes yet).
            So my question is: Should I start with a bulking diet to build more muscle and then follow with a cutting diet to cut the fat OR should I start cutting straight away without bulking ? If neither, then what should I do ?

            Thanks a ton

          • You’ll want to start with cutting. Here’s why:


          • Chepe Recinos

            Is it available on paperback or only via kindle ?

          • Both. 🙂

  • Shawsh

    Hi Mike,


    I got problems with pull exercises like deadlift, bent-over rows and pull-ups ..
    My back has decent strength .. but my forearms and hands collapse as I go heavy on these exercises and therefore deny significant development.

    Any recommendations?

    Thanks in advance and the have a nice evening.

  • Elijah Laughinghaus

    Hi there, I’m 6’1″, 165lbs, quite thin with only 8% body fat and I don’t have any trouble with muscle definition in general, however I do have a frustrating amount of fat on my belly that just doesn’t seem to go anywhere. Could you possibly give me any general recommendation on how to target this? Thanks!

  • Just wondering

    As someone who wants to be toned but not huge I am wondering if this program would be for me Have you heard of kinobody? I am trying to decide between you or him. He seems to be focused on being lean and not huge. Is your program similar?

    • Yup I’m friends with Greg. IMO it’s better for maintenance than maximizing muscle growth because the weekly volume is quite low.

      • Just wondering

        Wait, which would be better for maintenance? Your program? Right now I am about 14-15% bf. I want to be lean and still be able to fit into nice clothes (be around 7-9 bf but still have a nice amount of muscle). Would his program be better for that or yours?

        • I like that mine has a bit more weekly volume and lower body movements like the deadlift and squat.

          • Just wondering

            Interesting, what are your thoughts on legs becoming too big? He does not recommend squats and deads because he thinks they will make your legs too big. Thoughts?

          • It won’t happen unless you work really hard on making them big for like 3+ years…

  • CMB

    What is weightlifting supposed to feel like? Numb and weak the day you lifted, DOMS the day after?

    • It can be a little rough at first but within a few months you shouldn’t get particularly sore.

  • Chris

    Hey Mike,

    Recently discovered BLS and love your work.

    Does taking triumph, a greens powder drink, and eating a whole foods diet pose any health risks in the long run, say from accumulation of fat soluble vitamins (e.g. Triumph alone has RDA of vitamin A), toxic levels of trace minerals, or anything else?
    Should I cycle triumph and my greens drink, take less of triumph, or?

    Thanks a bunch,

    • Thanks Chris!

      There’s no way to fully avoid the various toxins that come with modern living, but no, taking Triumph every day isn’t going to risk your health. It will improve it.

      The same goes for a good greens supplement (which is hard to find, which is why I’m releasing my own soon), and you should also get the majority of your daily calories from a variety of nutritious foods.

  • Joe c

    In weeks 20-28 in your one year challange workout it says that you should do 6 working sets of barbell squats on day 5.

    Is this right? or should it be 3 sets?

  • Derek Atkinson


    I`m 50, 5ft 11in, over last 12 weeks I went from 190 lb 21% body fat, down to 180 lb 16% body fat. Lost 8 lb of fat and gained 1 lb of muscle (bodpod tests) at 2350 calories a day. Just decided to increase to 2750 cal per day. My goal is put 15 lb of muscle on in 2016. I`m following BLS, Lifting 5x a week and following your advice on diet breakdown. I`m new to weight lifting, but played soccer and rugby all my life, so Im quite athletic.

    Do you have any advice my plan?
    BLS is great and I love listening to your podcasts, love your straight to point style of communication, coming from England its refreshing to listen you.

    Happy new year mike to you/family
    Derek A

  • Anthony Ausbie

    Hey Mike,

    I have been cutting using your BLS program for 11 weeks. I started at 191 lbs 23% body fat and now I’m 173 lbs 12% body fat (using the Accumeasure caliber). The entire time I’ve trained fasted everyday, lifted 5 days a week, 1-2 hours of HIIT, taken forge, phoenix, and drank coffee everyday trying to get to 10% body fat before bulking. The problem is 4 weeks ago I weighed 181 lbs and 12% body fat, now I’m 173 lbs still 12% body fat and I don’t see a big difference in the mirror over that period. I am not sure if I should continue cutting or just start bulking. Any clue why I’m still dropping weight pretty easily but not body fat?

    Also if I were to switch to a bulking cycle right now, can I go from a 20% deficit to a 10% surplus overnight or should I reverse diet up to my bulking calories for a few weeks?

  • Bill Sandvig

    A few questions:
    Ever been to Charleston, SC? Its like the best place on earth. Ok sales pitch over.
    What would it run me to get you to Charleston for a few days of coaching?
    Or vice versa, for me to come to you for a few days of personal training?

    Just finishing Phase 2 of 1YC. Results have been sick…
    Phase 1 Wk 1:
    Bench; 180lbs-5reps
    Dead Lift; 175lbs – 6reps
    Squat; 135lbs – 6 reps

    Last week (phase 2 wk 7):
    Bench; 265lbs – 5 reps
    Dead Lift; 315lbs – 6 reps
    Squat; 225lbs – 6 reps

    I have gone from 242 lbs, to 201lbs, dont know what my body fat is but I am in the best shape of my life for certain. I have bought 9 or 10 copies of BLS and have been giving them out to everyone who is interested in my results, and I will continue to hand them out.

    Onto the other questions:

    I am using ALL of your supplements, I typically workout in afternoons or evenings so almost never in a fasted state. Should I ONLY use FORGE when in a fasted state, or are their benefits to using it pre-workout when not fasted?

    When you do everything right, how quickly should someone go from 14% BF to 9% body fat? I am 6’2 201lbs right now, and have a corporate trip to Cabo for a week at the end of Feb.

    How long should I expect fully defined and developed abs to exist? 1 year? 2 years? I included a pic so you can see where I am now.

    Sorry for the long post…. as you can see I am so happy that I became one of your disciples. Your Charleston fan base is growing because I can’t stop talking about it.

  • Naomi

    Hey Mike,

    I have been counting my macros in everything so my protein in a bagel etc so that i can track my calories. I have been told by people that this is wrong as I should be getting my protein from complete sources. I would say that at least 80% of my proteins come from complete sources. Would you put a number on how much complete complete/incomplete proteins you should be consuming? Does this effect muscle loss when cutting?

    Thanks 🙂

    • Naomi

      P.S Thanks for your work. With your book in the last 3 months I have got down to 17% body fat and I can now do 3 wide grip pull ups. (more progress than I saw in the last 2 years)

      • Wow congratulations! Let’s get you up on the website? Shoot me an email!

        • Naomi

          Hey Mike,

          Can’t find where to send my success story. Would happily do one for you. Your book and pod casts has been a game changer for me!

    • It’s a myth that protein found in plant products is “incomplete.” It may not be absorbed as well as animal proteins or have as optimal of an amino acid profile, but it’s complete.

      So what you’re doing is fine. 🙂

  • Jayzigg

    Hey Mike,
    I’ve noticed that the 5 day split in BLS has Legs and Shoulders set on Day 5, whereas the year one challenge has you hit legs on day 4 with no additional shoulder work. Which is best?
    Loving the program, Thanks!

    • Hmm. The up-to-date 1YC matches the BLS routine.

      Shoot me an email with the receipt or proof of purchase at [email protected], and I’ll send you the updated PDF. 🙂

      Happy to hear it. My pleasure!

  • Frank S

    Hey Mike,

    I remember you mentioned in one of your podcasts that you were going to update the exercise routines in BLS based on feedback over recent years (i.e. reducing shoulder work, etc.) What is the ETA on this update?

  • Justin

    Mike, I recently bought the one year challenge book for recording my progress. I wanted to do the four day routine, but this is not in the book? It only has the five day and three day routines. I was very disappointed, and can’t understand why it was not included. I’m having to write out my own spread sheet now to keep track and the book is useless to me. I just wanted an explanation. Other than that, I’m on week two and never been more excited to hit the gym.

    • Hey Justin,

      Ah yeah that’s because you can use the 5-day to record your 4-day progress. You just record your bis and tris that you do on back/chest days on the arms day template.

      LMK if that works.

      • Justin

        I’ve compared the four day with the five day. I see what your saying, but I would have preferred a four day sheet of it’s own. Day 1 is Day 1 and 5, Day 2 is Day 2 and 5. It doesn’t match up perfectly, but it’s close. It’s not a huge problem, but I still decided to print out my own four day version to avoid confusion, stay more organized, and to avoid having to jump up and down the pages. I would think about maybe offering different versions of the book, and clients can buy the one with the routine they want. Just an idea. Time to hit the gym, onto week 3! 183lbs and counting!

        • Yeah I understand. We are doing an update to the book and it will contain 5- and 3-day templates because most people follow those layouts but ya’ll 4-dayers can still just use the 5. 🙂

          The new one is going to be spiral bound with tear-out pages too!

          And great job! Keep up the good work!

  • devan

    I just want to say Thank you for creating this book! my boyfriend bought if for me, i currently have been following all your unformation for properly dietin g, ive been at it for a month and two weeks and am currently down a total of 11 pounds. My biggest struggle was getting my butt and legs to shrink and Your diet information has helped me tremendously so far! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

    • YW!

      Glad you’ve been dieting properly for the last 6 weeks. Great job on the weight you lost!

      My pleasure! Keep up the good work and keep me posted!

  • Lana

    Hi! Thank you for auch an amazing book! I am new in fitness world and there is lot to learn. am hoping for the best reaults!
    In your work out plan u say to do 4-6reps and 9-12 sets. I do 4day workout and it says to do for example barbell row 3 working sets. I don’t understand :-/ also, You say to add weight for every sat but I’m not able to. I started incline barbell press with 25pound. But I couldn’t ad any more because it was hard reaching 6th rep.
    Thank you

    • YW Lana! Thanks for the kind words.

      Stick to the workout plan and diet plan, you will!

      That’s right on the reps and sets. 3 working sets are 3 sets done in the 4-6 rep range.

      I don’t expect you to add weight each set. I like increasing my weight once I hit 6 reps. So set 1, 6, add weight, get 4 or so next 2 sets, work with that weight next week until 6, go up, etc. If, however, you only get 2 to 3 reps after increasing, drop back and work with that lower weight until you can do TWO sets of 6, and then try to move up again. If that still fails, then work up to 3 sets of 6 and you’ll be fine.

      Welcome! Hope this helps! Talk soon.

  • Ray Lyons

    Hi Mike,

    I just bought your book and I’m excited to start your program! But, I don’t see too much about severely overweight people doing your program. I’m 32 years old, 6’4″ and 340lbs. Is there anything I should adjust because of my size? I’m also confused about how much protein I should shoot for.

    Thank you for your time and for the great book!

    – Ray

    • Hey Ray! Thanks for picking up my book!

      Glad you’re excited to get rolling on the program.

      The macro breakdown will be a bit different in your case. You can calculate your numbers here:


      Hope this helps! LMK how it goes.

      Welcome! Thanks. 🙂

  • Cristóbal Caviedes

    Dear Mike:

    I really liked Bigger, Leaner, Stronger, bought a customized meal plan and your multi-vitamin, and am really excited to star doing your program.

    I have a question though: I recently bought “The Year One Challenge” on Amazon. Still, the book only contains the 5-day split and the 3-day split, but not the 4-day split Yet, being realistic, I’ll probably start working out with the 4-day split

    Is it possible to use the book to register 4-day-splits?

    Best regards,

    Cristóbal Caviedes

  • Jenny Lewis

    Are this macros ok for cutting? I am 160lbs; p130 f30 C130 should i increase protein to 160 and lower carbs? I do weights 5 days and HIIT 4 days

  • Jennifer

    Mike, I know you’ve written that metabolism slowing down as we age is mostly a myth. I am really confused as to my weight gain. To be honest, I’ve always essentially eaten whatever i wanted. If i noticed my clothes getting tight, i would cut back and drop the weight. For years my set point was 115lbs, only doing occasionaly cardio, and eating like a pig. Slowly, my set point moved up to 120lbs, but i still ate the same and worked out occasionally. I was creeping up to 125lbs 5 years ago and decided to get serious about diet and exercise, and dropped down to 110lbs. I completely changed my body comp, losing very little muscle. I still only worked out once/week with a trainer, but i played a lot of tennis. Anyway, i was on meds that caused weight gain, and i stopped working out.I gained 20lbs in one year and am now consistently at 133-135lbs. Now when i “cut back” and follow the diet that used to work for me, nothing happens.

    So my question is, if I am essentially eating the same way that i did when my set point was 115lb, then 120lbs and now 133lbs, what is accounting for this weight gain? Have i totally f***ed my metabolism? I’m really discouraged. It’s been so long since i’ve seen any progress.

    • Hey Jennifer,

      Check this out:


      It may help you (and reach out to Dr. Spencer if you like what he has to say–he’s a sharp/good guy.)

      • Jennifer

        Really appreciate this. I have some of the issues that he talks about, but I’m not convinced it’s the whole story. I am going to reach out to him. Thanks again.

        • My pleasure, Jennifer!

          LMK how it goes.

          • Jennifer

            Hey again, So i’ve bought Dr. Spencer’s book and signed up for his “Inner Circle”. I’ve emailed him and haven’t received any response (I haven’t even been approved for the closed FB group that came with the Inner Circle membership).
            As for me, I had a great week of eating well, lifted 3x, hot yoga x2 and 1 ab class–and gained 0.6 pounds. I’m at my wits’ end :(.

          • I’m sure he’ll get back to you soon! In the meantime, check this out:


          • Jennifer

            Ha, he added me to the FB group just after I posted here :). Thanks for the article. Good reminder about water retention and the possibility that I could be losing fat but gaining muscle. I’ll try to be patient.

          • Oh okay awesome! Welcome!

            LMK how it goes.

            Everyone wants better and faster results haha. Stick to the proper training and dieting, and they’ll come faster than you think. 🙂

  • Robert

    Hey Mike. Are warm up sets necessary for calf workouts?

  • Scott

    Mike, I’m trying to figure out what my caloric intake should each day. This is what I struggle with the most since it seem every article I read tells me something different. I figured out my macros from your Bigger, Leaner, Stronger book (great read, by the way!) and for a 242lb male with 19.4% BF working out 6 hrs/wk I came up with Protein- 290gm, Carbs- 242gm and Fat of 48gm. However, this is different than the calculation I got from your calculator you have on Legion Athletics website. According to the website it has me taking in 247 cals/day when working out 4-6hrs/wk. Macro breakdown was Protein- 247gm, Carbs- 247gm, and Fat- 55gm/day. They are close but your book has one taking in 1.2gm/lb bodyweight/day. Is this supposed to be LBM or total weight? Am I figuring this out correctly? I am currently taking in about 2700 cals/day but am at a stand still and not losing any weight.

    I have the gym down, going 6 days/wk and have been working out for 10+ years but just can’t get the diet on track to produce results. I was following Jim Stoppani but I was gaining weight like no tomorrow so that was way too much cals. I was taking in about 3200cals/day.

    I had previously lost 100+lbs on Weight Watchers but then wanted to gain some muscle and am flopping like a fish out of water and find my footing in this category. Can’t seem to find my niche for daily calories. Thoughts?

    • Hey Scott,

      Thanks for reading BLS! I’m glad you liked it.

      Let’s keep it simple and start you at 250 pro, 250 carb, and 50 fat per day. Simple enough. Let’s see how your body responds.

      Check this out too:


      • Scott

        Thanks Mike. Do you suggest eating the same amount on non weightlifting days? Presumably I would cut down carbs a little but unsure. I have been eating your suggested macros for a week but the weight isn’t budging but will give it another week. If that doens’t work, where would you suggest cutting from? Carbs? I sometimes have a hard time just getting the 50gm of fat, used to eating more fat than that so it can be tough. Thanks!

        • Yep! Unless you’re an experienced lifter trying to maintain, I recommend keeping intake consistent.

          The goal is to lose 1-2 pounds a week. If that’s not happening, adjust intake accordingly. You can drop from carbs.

          This is good to keep in mind:


          To help keep the fat intake down, I recommend lean cuts of meat, low or zero fat dairy options and zero cal cooking sprays.

          Welcome! Hope this helps! Talk soon!

  • Jeff Johnson

    Mike how’s it going? I would like to know your thoughts on people saying Greg From Kinobody is on juice. Love your books. They have really helped me in my fitness journey.

    • All is good man, thanks! And thanks for the support!

      I really don’t think Greg is on anything. In fact I would be very surprised if he were, and would be downright flabbergasted if it were anything more than a TRT dose of test (which I don’t think he’s on, heh).

      Check this out:


  • Andre Mongeon

    Kind of an important question!
    Calculating my TDEE is it based on the hours spent doing this program or hours spent outside of the lifting and hiit called for in this program??
    You can see this will greatly effect my calories 🙂
    You’re a boss man!

  • Brett Wingfield

    Hi Mike,

    Im starting my 6th week on the plan and I am loving it. I bought the book, the meal plan, the sups and the One year workout book. I’m having a problem with moving up in weight on some of the lifts. Its almost like I have maxed out, if that is even a thing. For example, I can’t get a full 3 sets of 6 at the current weight ti ever move up to the next weight. Is this normal? What would you suggest? Do I just continue to grind out that weight until I eventually can move up? Anyway, would love to know your thoughts there. Thanks again!

    • Hey Brett! Glad you’re rolling on the plan and enjoying it!

      Thanks for picking up everything! To help with moving up in weight, check this out:


      Hope this helps. LMK what you think.

      My pleasure!

      • Brett Wingfield

        Thanks Mike! After reading that article I now realize I’m not in a plateau like I thought. Just not progressing as fast in certain lifts like I thought I should be progressing. Still moving up in reps but not in weight every week. Now I know that even some progress is good. Thanks so much!

        • Welcome! That’s good!

          Keep up the good work and keep me posted!

  • Jackson

    Mr. Matthews I am 15 year old and I have read 2 of your books, the BLS second edition and the diet one and they seem very legit and logical; however I am wondering whether or not I’m too young to start this type of training. Time isn’t issue so I was just wondering if I was too young. Thanks anyways.

    • Hey hey! Thanks for picking up my books.

      It’s fine for you start the routine, but I recommend starting light and working in the 8-10 rep range to get comfortable with the weights and get the form down.

      LMK if you have any other questions. My pleasure! Talk soon.

  • Aaron K

    I am a freshmen at college and I’ve noticed I have put on more than a few pounds since the first semester. At the start of the year I was in good shape, in the gym every day, but I have been slacking due to a heavy workload. Mostly I’ve been struggling with nutrition, because of the lack of options by my school. What could potentially help me the most getting me through the lack of quality food and get my nutrition back in the right place?

    • Hey Aaron! I hear you on the weight gain.

      I’ve chatted with quite a few college students and what we’ve worked out is larger breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, with little on-the-go snacks like protein shakes, fruit, almonds, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.

      We also stick to foods they can quantify with an app like My Fitness Pal. We avoid stuff with sauces and other “hidden calories,” you know?

      What do you think?

  • Illan A

    Hi Mike – Would you share with us your late night oatmeal recipes you talk about in your podcasts? I have a lot of carbs leftover at night and wanted to try out a tasty high carb low fat recipe . Thanks

    • I just posted about it on IG a few days ago! Check it out @muscleforlifefitness


  • Georgia

    Hi Mike

    According to your macro calculator I can only eat 25g of fat per day! I need 43g protein per meal and 41g carbs. I can’t even put 1 meal together without going over on the fat as I can’t reach the protein requirement.

    Is this correct? How do you manage it?


    • Hmm. It could be. What’s your weight, BF%, activity level (hours of exercise per week) and are you cutting, bulking or maintaining?

      I’ll check it out. 🙂

  • Amitoje Sekhon

    Hey , Mike
    I just started lifting , its my 3rd month. But many people say that my gym routine (that gym gave) is shit. Its like : Monday – Shoulders , Tuesday -chest , Wednesday – Lats/Back , Thursday – Legs , Friday – Biceps. I don’t know much about it. Many people suggested I should go with 5/3/1 lifting , but I didn’t understood anything about even I read several articles about it. And also , I want to increase my strength , I can’t squat heavy. I struggle while doing squats with 30KG , Hope you’ll help.
    Thanks! 🙂

  • Alexander Mitov

    Mike, when will you finally get better shipping prices of Legion supplements for Europe? I’m in the UK and would love to try Phoenix out but I just can’t pay $50 just for the shipping alone

    • International shipping is a pain… Sorry about that.

      I’ll have distribution set up in the UK this year. 🙂

      In the meantime, feel free to shoot an email to [email protected]. I’ll have him hook you up with a discount!

      • Alexander Mitov

        Haha, thanks Mike, that was a better than expected response ;)! Do you have a specific timeline for when the UK distribution center will be up and running? Would be nice if you write an article shedding some light onto that, believe lots of europeans will appreciate it.

  • Drew Brewton

    Mike! First off I wanted to say I love the podcasts….super informational. I always leave smarter than when I started. Love it. Keep it up. Secondly, I’ve been doing the anabolic fast diet…..mix of intermittent and the anabolic diet……adopted by cory gregory….Heres the basics….you eat from 12pm-9pm All foods consumed are meats/veggies/fats…..every night before bed you carb spike with a banana and peanut butter……Friday dinner and Saturday are basically carb days……..Now heres the real question…..Im a water/salt delivery guy…….super physical job carrying heavy crap for 5-6 hours a day…..I usually lift anywhere between 3pm-4:30pm do you think this “diet” is adequate…..so basically i get to work at 7 work doing physical work from 7-12……eat my first meal at noon and go from there…….mind you when i wake up, I have a scoop of BCAAS. Im probably around 12% body fat…..right now…..looking to get a little more shredded…….I just dont want to be to far in a deficit and the work outs after work are rough……I would love to hear your thoughts.

  • Kara Dennings

    Hey Mike! My boyfriend and I have your books (which we are loving so far!) and are looking to buy the 1 year challenge journals. However, we saw in your comments on the Amazon reviews that you are working on an updated journal, with all of the features that we would love to have! Do you know when that will be available? Thanks!

    • Hey Kara! Glad you’re both enjoying the books. 🙂

      The men’s journal is fully updated! The women’s journal will be ready in a couple weeks.

      Stay tuned!


  • Tobin Joseph

    Hey Mike, the information you provide is one of the most accurate I’ve seen online. Just had a question about IF and trapping hiit and lifting in a fasted state. I’m currently at 11% bodyfat and trying to get to 8-9% bodyfat. I have a 500 calorie defecit and a 6-8 hour eating window. In terms of fasted training all I do is walk for 30 minutes and then lift in a fed state. I do hiit 3-4 times a week in a fed state as well. Do you recommend that I incorporate lifting and/or hiit cardio into my fasted phase? Thanks a lot!

  • Mike D

    Hey Mike,

    Thank you for the info. I recently purchased Bigger Leaner Stronger, and it’s a very thorough, great book. Not sure if I missed it, but are the calorie and macro numbers on a sliding scale? I am 172 now with 19% body fat, so starting on a cut my macros are – P-206g, C-172g, F-34g. Not sure if I rushed through the reading, but I imagine you adjust your macros as you lose weight on the cut, correct?

    • Welcome! Thanks for reading my book and writing! I really appreciate it.

      I recommend you keep the intake the same as long as you’re getting results. Once you stop losing 1-2 pounds a week, adjust intake accordingly.

      This will be good to keep in mind:


      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

  • Marcus

    Hello Mike,
    I purchased your book and I appreciate your no nonsense approach . I have a question for you . Is drinking alcohol say 1 night a week ( I know not ideal ) but still maintaining my calorie goal for the day detrimental? Seems like I read some where alcohol can inhibit fat loss . What is your opinion ? I wish you continued success .

  • Emil Andersson

    Hi Mike,
    I’m going to start a cut with the “Year 1 Challenge”. What split is the best for cutting? should I reduce the volume on the program due to the slow recovery that comes with a calorie reduction or keep the program it as it is?

    • Hey hey! If you have the time, I recommend the 5-day split. You’ll get the best results with that one. No need to reduce the volume.

  • Victoria Bonilla Alva

    Hi Mike
    I am not able to enter to my custom meal plan questioner.

  • kirkalanjohns

    Hey Mike. I just completed week one using a 5 day lift schedule and I definitely feel different already, hope looking follows shortly. I do have a couple of questions relating to the fact that do to previous back injury I can’t do a lot of the compound moves that put to much pressure on the spine…you recommend in the book to sub t-bar for deadlift which worked out great…but what about the other spine killers?

    1. An alt leg day routine without barbell squats or rdls. This past leg day I did presses and curls and wall squats without having a plan to go by.

    2. An alt strength week routine. Bench + ??? since deadlift and squat are out. Or is it pointless without them and I should just continue with a regular workout instead?

    3. My main goal is only losing fat, I am happy with muscle right now. The reality is with my schedule I have no room for cardio except on the sixth day. so if my primary goal is fat loss only: Should I stay on 5 day lift/1 day cardio and maybe drop my cals a little lower to make up for the lack of cardio, or would it be better to switch to 3 day lift and 3 day cardio.?

    Thanks again

    • Hey hey! Awesome!


      1. Leg press, hack squat, leg curls and seated calf raise would be a great leg day.

      2. In your situation, let’s just stick to the normal routine and skip the strength week.

      3. Hmm. Whatever combination you prefer works. You could also a 4-day split with 2 days of HIIT.

      Remember, the heavy lifting burns cals and help lose fat too while being great for helping maintain muscle as well.

      My pleasure! Talk soon.

  • Michael Lanich

    Hi Mike,

    I lifted 3-4 days a week a year ago for about 4 1/2 months. I made some nice newb gains, but fell off the wagon. I purchased Bigger, Leaner, Stronger and I am dedicated to seeing this through.

    The question I have is; How many calories should I be eating? I am 34 yo, 5’6″, 154 lbs with 20% body fat. You said in your book that you can lose weight and bulk if your new to lifting.

    Should I be cutting to the 1,709 and hitting my macros or eat slightly less than my maintain caloric intake? I’d like to ultimately be 150-155 lbs with good definition and under 10% body fat.

    Thanks for your help


  • John

    Hey mike i just wanted your opinion on my bodyfat percentage thanks!!
    Also i want to be very lean for summer… But as you can see i am lacking of muscle mas, its very unmotivating because i have been lifting for 3 years, but now i have the knowledge to finally grow, so i just wanted your opinion, do you think i have to bulk or cut,


    • Hey John! I’d say you’re about 10% BF.

      So, if you’d like to focus on building muscle and bulking, go ahead. 🙂

      I look forward to seeing your results! My pleasure!

  • Xavier

    Mike I’ve been following your program for program for about 6 months and I want your opinion too, what do you think my body fat percentage is ? And should I bulk or cut ? I’m 6,2 and about 189-190 pounds

    • Nice! You look good, man! I’d say you’re about 12% BF.

      You’re at an in between point. If you have something coming up you’d like to be lean for or just want to be lean for the summer, I recommend cutting. If you don’t mind and want to start focusing on building muscle, you should bulk.

      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

  • Chepe Recinos

    Hey Mike, I am planning to start your program soon but I just had a little doubt…
    Besides the weightlifting routine in the program, can I do some more exercise (like a sport) ?
    I ask this because I also practice Squash and want to follow your program.
    Will this affect my progress ? I plan to go to the gym during morning and practice sport in the afternoon. What do you think ?

    • Awesome! Yep, you definitely can. Just make sure you’re not overtraining! Check these out:



      Definitely keep me posted on your progress and write anytime if you have any questions or run into any difficulties. I’m always happy to help.

      • Chepe Recinos

        Thanks Mike. I’ll keep you posted.
        Do you sell all of the supplements you mentioned in BLS at legionathletics.com ?
        I mean, so that I can order them there 🙂

      • Chepe Recinos

        Forgot to ask Mike, I purchased the custom meal plan serivce as soon as I read the first version of BLS back in 2014. The thing is that i’ve never gotten real serious into it until now. So my question is: Will the meal plan work with the training program from BLS 2.0?

        I mean, if I just follow my custom meal plan along with the training as told in BLS 2.0, will I achive great results ?

        Thanks Mike

  • Katy Wall

    If you believe in science so much, how can you put an Amber bead necklace on your baby! A total sham with no evidence it is necessary, or absorbed, or safe. And a chocking hazard too. Please read about it!

    • Haha now THAT is random. My wife got that for Lenox. I’ve never even heard of it to be honest and thought she got it because it was cool or something. 😉

      • Katy Wall

        Yeah sorry. I read bigger leaner stronger actually and loved it by the way! Working to put on muscle mass currently. I was shocked to see the above pictures of your little one. For all I know that picture could be old. Necklaces are a chocking and strangulation hazard. It’s a fad that’s hyped and a false money maker claiming to decrease teething pain. Please research it.

  • Louise Timms

    Hi mike, I am currently reading your book aimed at women to get leaner and lose weight, and God knows that’s what I need to do. I understand your a busy guy, but I am desperate to start off on the right foot! I have used the formulas in the book, and used your online measure but I get different figures everytime! Please help me to follow the correct calculations for my food! I am a 29 f, 5’1, body fat % of 40, weighing at 140lbs, I’ve never in my life being able to lose weight and change my shape I desperately want this to change. Please help x

    • Hey Louise! Glad you picked up the TLS book. Sorry for the confusion! I’ll be happy to help. 🙂

      How many hours a week will you be exercising (weightlifting and cardio included)?

      LMK and I’ll tell you where your cals/macros should be to start!

      Talk soon!

  • Lambis Spirakis

    Hi Mike! Great book! I am planning on starting your program but there’s a problem. In december i had a severe knee injury and had to undergo surgery. Right now i have to train my legs 5 times a week in order for them to get stronger according to my doctors. is it still possible for me to start your program as well? i really want to start working out the rest of my body effectively. could i train twice every day? Is there a solution for my problem?

    • Thanks! Sorry to hear about the knee injury.

      It should be fine. I’m assuming your leg training isn’t very heavy or that much volume? What do you do for it?

      You could follow the 5-day BLS split, but skip leg day and the deadlifting on back day until you’re fully recovered and able to go heavy on them.

      What do you think? Welcome! Talk soon.

      • Lambis Spirakis

        That’s sounds great. Is there gonna be a problem though that somedays i will be training twice a day? (I’m cutting)

        Thanks 🙂

        • Yeah, assuming you won’t be going very heavy on your leg workouts, it should be fine training twice a day.


  • Chepe Recinos

    Hello again Mike.
    Again thanks for writing this amazing book which I can’t wait to start on the BLS program.
    Just have a question though. I own a custom meal plan service and I am about to start following it as soon as it is ready, the thing is that I calculated my cutting diet with what i learned in BLS 2.0 (just to give it a try and do things myself) and my calorie number was 2278cal. I also calculated my protein,carbs and fat to eat and this where the results: 226grams of protein per day,169 grams of carbs per day and 74 grams of fat per day. My weight is about 230lbs and my body fat percentage is very high at 32.3%. I don’t know if I made my calculations correct and if I got my numbers right since my fat intake seems a little high for me… would you be so kind to do the numbers and tell me if I got this right ?
    Thanks a TON!

    • Hey hey! My pleasure! Glad you’re excited. 🙂

      Cool you picked up a custom meal plan! We’ll take good care of you.

      For a diet to follow while you wait for your custom meal plan, you can make sure your numbers are right here:


      LMK how it goes! Talk soon.

      • Chepe Recinos

        Thanks a ton Mike! I’ll make sure to check that out 🙂

  • Donna Martey

    Hey Mike .. what do you think about Progressive Vegegreens? I went to a supplement store to buy a fat burner yesterday and they said that I should get this instead. They were saying our bodies are too acidic and work best in an alkaline state which this product will put me in. Worth it? It claims to have 60+ different cruciferous vegetables and oils and herbs it in that we need … maybe it’s only trace amounts and are not even effective? Not sure! Thanks!

  • Marcela

    Hi Mike my name is marcela and im from brazil. Ive just bought your 30 days body trasformation and im really excited to start the program. Im 33 and i just had a baby 6 months ago. Im very thin( not lean) My body goal is to loose fat build muscle specially in butt area and thights and get toned. Is it possible to do all at the same time?What do you recommend? Looooving your articles and everything you write. Sooo motivational.

    • Hey Marcela! Thanks for picking up the transformation package! Glad you’re excited. 🙂

      Cool on your goals. If you’re new to this style of training, yes, you’ll be able to do that. If you’re not new to this style of training, you’ll still be able to do that, but you’ll have to focus on one thing at a time (building muscle or losing fat).

      To help specifically with the butt, check this out:


      Glad you’re enjoying the articles! Happy to hear it.

      Talk soon!

  • Lambis Spirakis

    Hi again Mike!

    Quick question: Is the difference between raw and cooked food negligible when calculating the nutrition facts of the food? Should i calculate my daily intake with the nutrition facts given for raw food? (for example raw chicken vs. cooked chicken)

    • Hey hey! Nah, it’s not. You have to make sure you look up the nutritional info of the food according to how you weigh it (raw or cooked). The difference can be significant.

      Generally, I recommend weighing the food raw. Again, as long as you look up the nutritional info according to how you weighed the food, you’re fine!

  • Michael Patrick Casali

    Hello, my Dr and I jist traced back thru time and realized my 40 pound weight gain started just after I started taking Prozac. (4 years ago ) Nothing ive.done since has allowed me to lose weight. ..ive.even continued to gain.
    I stopped the Prozac recently
    Have you had experience with this? Thoughts? Suggestions? Have I screwed my metabolism permanently?
    Thank u

  • Marcela

    Hi Mike its me again. So considering i am not new to this style of training what would you do recommend?(bf 21%) losing fat first or building muscle? Im always confused about that because im skinny but the fat around my belly area(especialy after giving birth), bellow my but and upper arms really bother me.
    Thanks Marcela

  • Peter Zurkuhlen

    Michael, love your book! Just powered through BLS, excited to get started. Question: Can I do bulking and cutting for 8 week terms, as opposed to the 12-week terms that you recommend? Will this be effective or will it compromise the plan? Thanks! -Pete

    • Hey Peter! Happy to hear it.

      Ideally, if you can cut in that much time and get to 10-12% BF without losing muscle that’s great. And for bulking, if you can bulk even longer than that before reaching 15-17% BF, that’d be great. That means more muscle.

      What really determines when you should cut and bulk isn’t so much time spent but the BF% you’re at. Cut till you reach 10-12% BF. Don’t bulk past 15-17% BF.

      Hope this helps! Welcome.

  • Mark S

    Hey Mike, love your site, books (BLS and BBLS) and legion supplements so far. Thanks for all your hard work and research. I’m about 13-14 weeks into a cut, I’m down 11lbs (211 to 200) but still put myself @ 13-15% body fat.(the love handles just will not die!), Training with heavy weights 5 x week (and still gaining some strength) and I ride a bike to work (25 mins each way, low-medium intensity 3-4 days a week) Diet is right at BMR (2050). Should I keep on the cut and if so how much longer should I give it to get to 10%-11% or reverse diet and then cut again in a couple months? .

    • Hey Mark! Happy to hear that. Thanks for the kind words and support! My pleasure. 🙂

      Awesome job on the weight you’ve lost so far.

      First, let’s make sure you’re tracking your BF% accurately:


      Then, to help make sure you keep the weight moving, check this out:


      Also, to help with any stubborn fat, take a look at this:


      It’s fine to continue dieting at BMR if you’re still getting results. Are you losing 1-2 lbs a week? If not, it’s time to RD:


      Hope this helps! LMK what you think.

      • Mark S

        This is great Mike, ty for the help! Still losing weight, about 1-1.5lb per week, so I’ll keep at it! One follow up question, I noticed in the article about stubborn fat it says you take both Phoenix and Forge fasted / pre workout. I’ve been taking Phoenix w meals (per the instructions) and Forge only when fasted. Should I try both fasted rather than PHX w meals?

  • Frank Morrow

    Hi Mike,

    Quick question on something I have been having trouble getting answers or info on.

    A year and a half ago, I weighed 285 pounds. Started using BLS (although I didnt know it. My co-worker wrote down our workout plan. It wasnt until I bought your book tat I realized it was the same workout) and I am down to 215-230 (fluctuates). I have put on both size and mass and very happy with results. Although i am not “cut”, my BF is about 14-15% down from 33%.

    Here is my question. I was pretty large in the mid section for so long, that my skin stretched. Now I have so much loose skin around my abdomen, it looks like I have “rolls” although my BF is low. Do you have any advice to get rid of loose, sagging skin around the midsection?

    I have heard everything from Preparation H to belly wraps from a certain company.

    What do you think?

  • I_am_no_one_no_one_is_me

    HI Mike, I have a couple questions. I was looking that the 5 days a week workout plan you recommend for getting the best results. If you are over 35, would you recommend a 3 or 4 day split instead to get the best results due to age and the need for increased recovery time? Also, would you say RPT training gets better results but is more complicated than staying with 4-6 rep sets?

  • Luis Serrano Cano

    Hi, I recently bought your book and have a couple of doubts. Since a shoulder injury I had I am not able to do pull ups without feeling pain again in the shoulder. I´ve tried for the last year to go up with lat pull down until I reached my weight and I then did pull ups… pain again. It might be the vertical position, I don´t know, do you think I could do lat pull downs instead? or which other exercise would you recommend? I also wanted to ask if for biceps and triceps you would also recommend 4-6 reps. Best regards

  • Marvin

    Hi Mike!

    When cutting, how should we go about deloading since we want to preserve muscle as much as possible with myofibrillar sets, but want to give our joints and muscles a rest. Thanks!

    • Just do the regular deload workout every 6-8 weeks and lift heavy as usual outside the deload week, and you’ll be good. 🙂

      Welcome! Hope this helps.

  • Jodie Rogers Day

    Hi Mike 🙂 I just purchased Thinner, Leaner, Stronger. I’m really enjoying it, and I like the way you back up all the information with studies that have been done. I just got through the part on protein supplements, and I’m curious what your thoughts are on Humapro. I love drinking it post-workout because it is so much lighter than whey protein (which I like but which never sits well right after a strenuous workout), but I didn’t know if it is a good post-workout protein or even a good protein in general. Also, since it is zero calories, when I drink it I tend to hit my protein goal for the day way before I hit my calorie goal. Should I adjust my calorie goal to account for having zero-calorie protein? Thanks!

    • Hey hey! Thanks for reading my book and writing! I really appreciate it.

      Humapro isn’t a protein supp? Also, I don’t like the use of prop blends and artificial flavors and sweeteners…

      It’s important to get specifically protein post-workout:


      Also, you can’t get protein without cals. Protein is 4 cals per gram. 🙂

      Let’s stick to your numbers and then adjust based off results.

      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

  • Richard Coon

    Hi Mike, I have one of your meal plans (bulking about a year and a half ago) and am looking to buy a cutting meal plan from you but when i try it says i already have a meal plan in there? I had great result with bigger, leaner, stronger but had a shoulder that needed surgery after many years of martial arts training and i had to stop training for almost a year. Looking to still lift but cut my calorie intake and drop some post rehab weight, I look forward to hearing from you!

    • Hey Richard! Doh! Sorry about that. Shoot an email to [email protected]. They’ll get you taken care of. 🙂

      Awesome to hear on the results you’ve seen with BLS! Sorry to hear about the shoulder. 🙁

      I like your plan. Let’s do it. Talk soon!

  • Marta W

    Hey Mike,
    I purchased TLS a few weeks ago and started earnestly training last week with an adapted TLS program (adapted for where I am not YET strong enough to do what you prescribe and to dedicate some time to mobility so I eventually will be able to do a squat or 8). Yesterday, after just one week of training, I had a really rough struggle with my workout, especially my HIIT. Based on my first week, it normally takes roughly 2 minutes for my heart rate to recover after a high-intensity interval. But yesterday, after the second HI interval, it took the remainder of my 20 minutes–and even then, had not fully recovered.

    I have a couple of theories about why:

    * I spent all last week eating a few hundred calories less per day than I should have because it turns out my BF is a lot lower than I thought. (This is whole disheartening story of its own that goes a long way to proving your point about the superiority of calipers over those handheld electronic gizmos 😉

    * We have a couple of wildfires burning about 20 miles away. A smoke advisory is in effect – so I am suspicious that I was simply not taking in enough oxygen.

    What are your thoughts? Is there anything else I should consider?

  • Singh

    Hi Mike,

    I was recommended to your plan, site, or about you through Jamie Young (my friend). He is also very big on fitness and eating right. I have been following your plan for the past 1 month and have lost 3 pounds. I am 5, 5′ and weight 175 pounds. I want to get down to 155 but cant seem to do it. I came across Intermittent fasting through Jamie Young and got a following question:
    If I eat from 6:00AM – 12:00PM and then at 3:00PM get my workout in is it okay for me not to have protein after my workout since my eating window is already over? or is it okay for me to drink my protein ONLY after workout? I want to lose weight mainly from my belly. Please know that I am very conscious of my diet and i am a complete Vegetarian (no eggs, seafood, etc) and my physical activity is a lot. I burn of more than 600 calories a day from my workout which includes lifting for 45 minutes and then cardio for an hour, 5 days a week.

    In the last month, I was eating from 1:00pm – 7PM and i kinda hated it because i had a meal which would wonder me during my sleep so i want to try the morning window and see if i can get better results.

    Please advise me so I can be somewhat like you from the belly area.

    Thank you

    • Welcome, Singh! If you’re working out fasted and on IF, I recommend taking BCAAs, Leucine, or HMB to preserve muscle.

      Try Forge, which will help with burning stubborn belly fat while preserving muscle when you’re training fasted:


      Every few hours after your workout, you should take one of the three supplements I listed above.

      • Singh

        Thank you and appreciate you getting back to me. So you are basically saying that i should not be taking any protein AFTER my workout because i am already in the fasting mode… Instead i should be drinking that forge product couple times after my workout? Is this correct? I hope this product is full Veg, no eggs, no seafood etc 🙁


        • NP. That’s correct. If you want to continue the fast after your workout, that is what you need.

          Yes, it is. The other two options are as well.

  • David Blaylock

    I am 19 years old 195 pounds 16% body fat 5’9 and I believe I have metabolic damage. I have tried 195 protein 267 carb 58 fat for 2300 cal and I feel very full. (Maintenance) I usually consume a bout 2000 cal but I should be able to eat 2700 cal and maintain. How can I fix this problem. Thank you.

  • Justin Mingaye

    Hi Mike

    Just finished BLS and I am awaiting delivering of the one year challenge workbook tomorrow. Amazing stuff, really confident that I can achieve my fitness goals with this assistance.

    Can you help with a question about food please? I leave home at 6am and reach the gym at 7:15am to begin weightlifting. I can’t figure out what to eat and at what time to fuel the workout after the long commute.

    I’m aiming to cut fat and build muscle/strength. Currently 5′ 10″ 239lbs 33% BF. Normally sit around 200 lbs but I’ve had a very bad year. I’ll be doing the 5 day programme with 25 minutes of cardio straight after.

    Thanks for your help my man,

    Best wishes
    Leamington Spa, England

  • Glendene Wolf

    HI Michael,

    I’ve been reading Thinner, Leaner, Stronger and it’s a great book. However, I was hoping that I would get some instruction on how to begin a strength training regime, which I thought would be included in this book. I recently joined a gym and they have tons of equipment, bar/dumbbells and it’s all a little overwhelming. I’m looking for a book that will map out weekly weight lifting regimes and show me how to progress with time. Any suggestions? Thanks.

    • Hey Glendene! Glad you picked up a copy of TLS and are enjoying it. I sent you an email about your question.

  • Steve

    Hey Mike! I just bought your book “Bigger, Leaner, Stronger”, and I’m not sure what day split to use. I’m 5’9, 155 pounds, and I have fat on my belly and love handles. I’ve been lifting pretty much on and off for over a year. I’ve always been stuck knowing whether to cut or bulk. I would really appreciate your guidance or tips on how to change my physique.

    • That’s awesome you picked up a copy of my book!
      I suggest you cut right now to 10% before bulking. You’ll find that with the BLS program, you’ll be losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time since you’re new to this style of training.

      • Steve

        Thank you Mike for sharing your insight! Should I go for a straight cut, instead of a body recomp (+20/-20 surplus/deficit)?

        • Go for a straight cut 20-25% deficit.

          • Steve

            Mike, my maintenance calories is ~2363 cal, a 20-25% deficit would be minus 473-591 cal off. Should I be in that deficit along with 2-3 cardio sessions a week (300 cal on 5 resistance bike) or start with a minus 200-300 deficit w/ the cardio and work my way down? Thanks again!

          • Steve, start with the -20% deficit at 1890kcal and keep your cardio sessions.

  • Rachel

    Hi mike! I just finished thinner leaner stronger and I didn’t see the numbers that you would recommend for protein, carbs, fat for body composition? I am following a muscle building strength training routin, but I wasn’t sure if I need to make my calorie consumption less since I want to loss fat? But also want to build muscle? 🙂

    • That’s great, Rachel! Starting on page 117 I show you the basic way of calculating your macros for cutting. If you want to lose fat, you must go on a cutting diet. If you’re new to this style of training, you can expect to build muscle and lose fat concurrently while on a cutting diet. Otherwise, it’s picking one or the other–lose fat vs gain muscle.

      • Rachel

        Okay, what would happen if I kept my carb and protein intake high(ratio wise) but was using a cutting calorie deficit?

        • The formula above is a general guide. To get more detailed and dial it in, you would then take activity level and body fat into consideration.

          Check this out:


          Input your data, and you then cut via calorie deficit, and allocate your macros like this:
          1.2g protein per lbs body weight, 20% fat, rest in carbs.

      • Rachel

        Okay. I calculated my macros according to your 1.2g/pound for protein, 1g/pound for carb, and 0.2g/pound for fat. I came up with 184.4g protein, 153g carbs, 30.4g fat and 1611.2 calories. The fat and calorie numbers seem low.. Did I do that correctly? I just don’t want to starve my body and not see results as a result of not eating enough.

  • Ashton Newman

    Hey Mike, I just fell upon your website and also heard about it from friends and I am VERY happy with everything you do. God bless you! I have a problem and I need your help. Please answer if you can. Thank you! P.S – I just had my sister order your book “Bigger Leaner Stronger” a couple of minutes ago!

    October 2013 – I weighed about 190. 5’9″, 22 years old, male. Lost 26 pounds down to 164 through literally starving myself and doing high-intensity interval training every day for about 2 months. I lost muscle and fat because I had no idea what I was doing.

    December 2013 – I weighed 164 and kept it at that.

    I began working at a pizza shop September 2015 (about a year and half later and gained back all my weight back to 194 LBS) I JUST began a new, legit diet May 1st and so far I am down to 188. I am in college and it is hard enough to work out for an hour every day. Because of lack of time, I simply do the same high intense training as I did years before. I do 35 minutes of treadmill and 15 minutes of Stairmaster. 5 days a week. I don’t have time for weight resistance training and I am worried that I will lose the weight but the flab on my abdomen will not go away. What can I do to simply get a flat stomach (I don’t care so much about the 6 pack)? This has been driving me crazy and there is so much research to be done with so many different opinions.

    I watch what I eat (mainly salmon, chicken breast, turkey, eggs, nuts, salad, brown rice, quinoa and some fruit.) I know I will lose weight but who says that a lot if it won’t be from muscle besides from fat? Must I do weight resistance or can I stick to cardio?

    Do you understand my question? A response from you would be awesome!!! Thanks Mike and I will keep checking out everything you say!

  • Dan Hinder

    Hey Mike!

    Bought BLS the Shredded Chef and other books you recommended about 2 months ago and had been sticking to your program and am already seeing the results! My hands are starting to shred especially today…deadlifts rule but make my hands feel like they are on fire after the set. I went to your recommended section to find workout gloves and found that the ones that you recommend are discontinued and cant find any less than over 90$ in my size. Are there any other gloves you would recommend other than the Harbringer Classic 130s Wristwrap? Thanks for your help!


  • Johnny G

    Hi Mike I would like to know if you know of any really good meal prep company’s that deliver weekly to house for reasonable price. I just can seem to stick to a meal plan with my work schedule

    • Unfortunately no but this is something I’m going to be looking into further later in the year.

  • Taytay

    Hi. Desperate to drop 10kilo asap. I train 5 days per wk mix of cardio weights and hiit. I’ve been eating crap and therefore never loose weight. Was thinking to try calorie counting starting at 1200. My tdee is 1990.
    Do u recommend 1200 and how long should I stay on 1200 to get best weight loss results. ?? Would I then increase Wkly?? Read you stuff and very impressed but still confused. Help please 🙂

  • Rich Bobruk

    Hi MIke, I am a 50 year old, using your fitter leaner stronger routine for the last 3 months and I have picked up a recurring injury which I think is the trapezius. Feels like it runs down the side of me backbone on the right hand side of my neck / spinal area. I think it originally came from lifting my head whilst doing rear dumbell lateral raises. I have rested and started again but it seems to have re-occurred whilst doing shoulders again this week (although on standing lat raises). Do you have any advice on a work around so that I can continue to train other muscle groups whilst resting / healing this one? I am doing the 4 day workout. I had previously rested a week (whilst on holiday) and all felt good but with a re-occerence I would not want to miss too much training. Many thanks for any help and advice you can offer me.

    • Hey Rich! Sorry to hear about this nagging injury.

      I’m sure we can come up with some good alternatives to work around it.

      First, which exercises cause pain or discomfort of any kind?

      • Rich Bobruk

        Hi Mike, thanks for the reply. It seems to be when I train shoulders in day 3, this is after chest and back training in days 1 & 2. I must be honest and say that bad form (lifting my head) caused the first injury but since then my form has been correct. I could feel it a little this time as I completed my seated shoulder press and when I moved on to side lateral raises this exacerbated it. (I did go on to complete the rear lat raises afterwards as it didn’t feel so bad). Probably a mistake. I have started my Strength week with chest rather than shoulders so far and any advice would be great. Thanks for your help! Much appreciated!

        • YW! What rep range were you doing the military press in? Have you tried going higher rep? How about dumbbells? Those are both good options. Let’s rest from the side lateral raises for a week or two and see how it feels.

          How do rear delt raises and face pulls feel?

          LMK! Talk soon.

          • Rich Bobruk

            Hi Mike, I was working in the 5-6 rep range. Maybe go lighter and 8-10? I have been using dumbells consistently for about 4 weeks now. Ok, I will rest from side raises for a couple of weeks and it was rear delt raises that I initially damaged myself with so I will add face pulls instead of them too. Thanks for the advice! I will let you know how it goes!

          • Sounds good, Rich!

      • Rich Bobruk

        Hi Mike, thanks for the reply. It seems to be when I train shoulders in day 3, this is after chest and back training in days 1 & 2. I must be honest and say that bad form (lifting my head) caused the first injury but since then my form has been correct. I could feel it a little this time as I completed my seated shoulder press and when I moved on to side lateral raises this exacerbated it. (I did go on to complete the rear lat raises afterwards as it didn’t feel so bad). Probably a mistake. I have started my Strength week with chest rather than shoulders so far and any advice would be great. Thanks for your help! Much appreciated!

  • Kenny

    Hi Michael – I bought your book recently and have a quick question, based on the Cutting 101 calorie/macronutrient formula on pages 118-119. According to my scale that calculates body fat, I’m around 26.5%. My weight is 202 lbs. I’m 34 years old. When I use the modified formula (for being over 25% fat – i.e. 0.8 g of protein per pound, etc.), it only comes out to around 1650 calories. This is far below the 2120 you generally suggest for a 250 lb guy (using modified formula) or a 200 lb guy (using the regular formula). I know this is just a starting point that I can adjust later, but at my total starting weight – which of the two formulas should I use? I feel like the modified formula is meant for someone with my body fat but who weighs a lot more than I do (closer to 250). Thanks so much for the help/clarification. -Kenny (please disregard this if you already replied to the email form I submitted … but saw this discussion after and thought it might be helpful insight for others too).

    • Hey Kenny, that’s great you picked up a copy of BLS and are starting to implement the knowledge!

      The formula is a great starting point, but doesn’t get specific enough. Try this out:


      Set protein to 1g/lbs body weight, fat to 20%, and put the rest into carbs.

      Hope that helps!

  • Evy

    Hey Mike,
    I ordered the book.. waiting for it to arrive anytime soon. I’m 28 years old, 1m70 and 70kg.. I would like to look in better shape, especially around the belly (i have that annoying belly pooch). I’m a little confused as to how i should start, my fat percentage is at 23% now. For 2 months now i’m doing 6 days out of 7 fitness where i lift weights and do some small cardio (20 minutes max.). The only thing i’ve noticed so far is that i’m gaining a little muscle, but UNDER the fat ,which makes me look thicker. I eat more protein and moderate my calorie intake. I’ happy to be gaining some muscles but the fact that it makes me look thicker makes me so unmotivated. Any tips?

    P.S.: I would like to try your recommended supplements but it’s hard to order it since i’m from Belgium (the cost to ship it is more expensive then the supplements themselves, i would be broke every month :p)

    • That’s great you are working out and moderating your calorie intake. The reason why you’re not losing fat is because you are still eating the same or more calories than you are burning. Only when you are eating a meaningful deficit do you start to lose weight. The book will go over this in more detail. In the meantime, take a look at this:


      Understood! International shipping can take a real bite out of you. We have a supplier in the UK if that helps: shiftsupplements.com

  • Jane Vaughn

    Good day Mike,

    I think I sent you an email just now but didn’t put the proper email address, so no need to reply to Jane Vaughn via email.

    Hopefully you’d be able to answer the question here: how many reps/sets for Phase 2 and Phase 3? I’ve started reading TLS but med school doesn’t leave much time to do outside reading.

    As I said in my email, I’ve asked some people who frequent the gym and I’m getting mixed answers. Ranging from: less reps, more sets, heavier weight OR more reps, less sets, lighter weight.



  • Scott Armstrong

    Good evening Mike,

    Really appreciate all your education and experience has to offer. Tremendous help !!!

    Question: I have a bad lower back (semi-sciatic nerve issue) making squats and deadlifts a non-starter until I’m healed. Looking for replacements. Started doing hack squats, lunges, leg extensions and leg curls. Sound about right to you or do you have different recommendations?

    FYI – I’m approaching 50 and while in decent shape am a relative beginner to lifting


    • YW! Hack Squats and trap bar deadlifts are great substitutes.

      • Scott Armstrong

        Gracias Mike … hopefully the back will be back to normal in a month or two as I was making some nice gains for an almost 50-year old

        • NP! I hope so too. Don’t worry, you’ll bounce right back.

  • Clint Silveira

    Hey Mike.
    Love reading your articles really interesting stuff helped me understand nutrition and training like never before.Great work!!!
    Im 23 yrs old 5’9″ weighing 61kgs with 14% BF really skinny guy. I have been training for three year mostly high rep high volume work looked really puffy, my weight maxed out at 74kg until the end of last year when i suffered from malaria and lost a lot of weight.
    i had purchased BLS a month back my TDEE is around 2200 Calories.but im confused as to whether I should bulk,cut or maintain.

  • Christina Pontifis

    Hi mike! Love your articles and YouTube videos. I have a question..my body fat escalated too fast, (25%) so I slowly cut back on calories. Right now I’m at 1640 cals, my refeed day is coming up. My strength has already gone down, which I didn’t expect to happen so soon. Is this normal? Example: last week I pulled 225 on deads for 3. Today I could barely do 205. What workout routine should I follow? Rep range? I was usually doing 3 sets in the 4-6/-8-10 rep range. Thank you!

  • sakib800

    Hey Mike I heard some where that if you eat a certain number of calories from junk food, lets say cake, you will look and feel different if you ate those certain calories from a healthier food. lets say like apple.

    Is this true??

    • Short-term, no. Well, you’d probably feel different/worse, but in terms of composition as long as the cals and macros are the same your composition will be the same. However, even if you’re consistently hitting your target cals and macros, if you’re eating like crap long-term it will end up affecting results and composition.

  • MrsGixxer

    Hi Mike! I heard about your books at the gym (BLS & TLS) and came online to find out more about them. I’ve been reading the reviews and have a question. I am curious why a different book for men and women? I would rather be a smaller version of Serena Williams (I’m 5’4″) than look like Jennifer Anniston (nothing wrong with her she is beautiful I just prefer more curves and muscles) but all the pics I see of women who wrote reviews are small and skinny (I haven’t seen all of them of course). Would I be better off working BLS with my husband for the results I would like to have? Thanks for your time!!

    • Welcome! There are some notable differences between BLS and TLS that are gender specific. If a more muscular look is what you want, that is possible with TLS as well. With the information in BLS and TLS, readers are given the knowledge to shape any physique they want–not just small and skinny.

      • MrsGixxer

        Thanks so much for replying Mike! One last question. My husband and I work out together. I haven’t picked up the books but if we both work out of our respective books will we be able to work out together? Thanks again!!

  • Kathy

    Hi. I’m making progress with my workout, but I’m working with a trainer and he doesn’t have me doing dead lifts or squats. Would you tell me what I should definitely have in my workout routine to get the best possible results? I have attached my current M, W, F program which includes cardio 30 min, 3 times a week. Thank you.

  • Darian

    Hey Mike,
    Ive read almost all of your stuff but will admit I still have one specific question about cutting macros. I’ve got the numbers all sorted out but how and when do I determine how to adjust my numbers when losing BF and weight. Do I just use the same cut macros until I’ve reached my goals, or do I need cut calories periodically as I Iose BF and weight across the board?

    To remotely tie into all of this, I’ve always had the worlds worst knees. Are there any supporting exercises should be doing to help strengthen them? Heavy squats have really made me aware of this and I would love nothing more than to age gracefully.

    Loyal Fan.

  • Pablavo

    Hi Mike,
    I’ve been training for a few years now. I’ve done 6 years now (on and off) I’ve also completed the 3 of the Beachbody programs including BodyBeast. I’m at the stage of looking for new programs. I’ve seen your book, Bigger Stronger Leaner and also Beyond… Was wondering what you suggest, skipping the first book and reading the sequal or perhaps you believe it’s important to read Bigger Stronger Leaner first? Thanks

    • Hey! That’s great you’ve had a long training history and have finished other programs. I strongly recommend that you start with BLS first, to establish the fundamentals. Furthermore, BBLS has the following prereqs:
      Squat: 1.75 x body weight for a 1RM
      Deadlift: 1.75 x body weight for a 1RM
      Bench Press: 1.35 x body weight for a 1RM
      Seated Military Press: 1 x body weight for a 1RM

      You’ll get a lot of great knowledge and mileage from the BLS program.

  • Darian

    Hey Mike,
    Ive read almost all of your stuff but will admit I still have one specific question about cutting macros. I’ve got the numbers all sorted out but how and when do I determine how to adjust my numbers when losing BF and weight. Do I just use the same cut macros until I’ve reached my goals, or do I need cut calories periodically as I Iose BF and weight across the board?


    • That’s great, Darian! Great question.

      Once you’ve established your initial cutting targets, stick with it until your weight loss plateaus or slows down. At this point, I recommend that you first increase your exercise activity. If that doesn’t get things moving, drop 25g from carbs. You might need to do this process a couple times during your cut.

      Recalculate once you’ve reached BMR and are no longer losing weight despite packing in all the HIIT cardio you can. Then, reverse diet to your new TDEE.

  • Ivan

    Hey Mike do I have to follow your 3 Day A Split and B Split in your bonus report workout guide or could I just do 5 Day Split for 8 weeks then take a rest week?

  • Ivan

    Hey Mike,
    I’m using myfitnesspal to track my macros, so whenever I add a cardio exercise it adjusts (always adds more) proteins,carbs, and fat depending on how many calories I burned. Is this okay for cutting or should I strictly eat my amount of set macros from your book in order for effective cutting results?

    • Hey Ivan, best make your calculation instead of letting the app do it.

  • Kevin

    Hi Mike,

    I am reading the “Bigger, Leaner, Stronger” book.

    I have reached the chapter on cutting and am confused about whether I should cut or not.

    I am 5 feet 6 inches 141 pounds. I have not calculated my body fat percentage but I am sure it’s way more than 15% as I have belly fat and big love handles.
    I’m guessing somewhere around 17-18% at least.

    Now what I feel is that I should cut down to 10% body fat but the problem is the calories I need to cut down are the same as my BMR.

    So what am I supposed to do? If I try to cut, I will be going way below my BMR. IF I bulk, I will add more fat and it will make it even more difficult to cut later on.

    Would you recommend that I keep lean bulking for a couple of years and build some significant muscle and only then think about a cut?

    • Hey Kevin, that’s great you picked up a copy of the book! Definitely start with a cut. If your 20% deficit is at or below BMR, then what you have to do is increase your weekly activity. This will raise TDEE and raise your deficit.

      Cut to 10% first. This is ideal for several reasons: it preserves insulin sensitivity and hormonal balance, it allows you to maintain a calorie surplus for many months before having to reduce body fat levels, and it saves you from long, grueling cuts.

      Hope that helps!

      • Kevin

        Hi Mike,

        Thanks. That helps.

        By increasing my weekly activity, do you mean I need to use HIIT?

        If so is there some way to know how much HIIT would I have to do every week to drop to 10% body fat?

        My plan would be to start with eating at my BMR level (1500 calories) which puts me in a 20% calorie deficit. Once the fat loss stalls, I will start with some HIIT a few days every week.

        But if fat loss stalls even with that, I am not sure if I should do HIIT like every day of the week?

        • 3 days a week is a good start. Increase it to 4 when weight loss stalls before you chop cals. Fitting in 5 is OK too.

          • Kevin

            OK. Thanks for the help.
            Will try that out.

          • Cool! Sounds good.

  • Cyndie Lake

    Will your program work for someone who need to gain weight? My so is 22 6’3″ and weighs about 145. He has tried many things with no success, including joining the Army! Any help or advice I would be helpful! Thanks.

  • Kerry Jackson

    Hey Michael im on the chapter where it talks about cutting and bulking and I’m really confused. I’m currently 5’11 223 pounds and 15% body fat. I know that it talks say that at around 15% you want to cut but I’m not sure what to calculate to find my daily intake of protein , carbs , and fats.

  • Brooks Ploskina

    Hi Mike,
    I just bought your book Bigger, Leaner, Stronger from Itunes and I just started the five day workout plan this week. I am 36 years old and I have been working out since I was 18. I made my biggest gains between the ages of 24-28 using a so called bro split. In my 30’s, I started doing push/pull and upper/lower body splits because I read that frequency was more important for gaining muscle as a natural lifter. Well, I have say that I have not been pleased at all from my results. I have been in a rut for years and I am in need of something new. Your plan sounds pretty legit, but I have a few worries. I am scared that if i lift heavy again, I am going to destroy my joints. Is this something I should be worried about? Also, I have read that lifting five days a week as a natural lifter is too much, pressing multiple times a week is bad, and that heavy isolation exercises like the barbell press should never be done in a 4-6 range. Is this all bullshit? I definitely want to gain muscle and I love lifting heavy, but I also don’t want to ruin my joints doing it. So far, your advice in the book and the videos on youtube have moved me more than any other trainer I have followed. I feel like I have a new determination to lift weights again. Please respond when you have a chance. I just need a little guidance so that I know I am moving in the right direction. Thanks so much!

    • That’s great you picked up a copy of the book and got started on the program. You’ll do just fine. The one thing I strongly recommend is for you to lift with good form, and practice it if you need to. Your joints will be fine.

  • Rich Bobruk

    Hi Mike, I am 50 years old, have been weight training for a couple of years and using the BLS programme for about 10 months now on the 4 day split.
    I have started watching my calorie intake more as I am still carrying too much fat, so have not gotten the lean look I am after yet.
    I am 183 pounds and doing well increasing my weights all round. The trouble is that I have picked up elbow / forearm pain which I cannot shift, even with a full weeks rest. It is very frustrating and beginning to hamper my progress.
    I am wondering on my best course of action and would welcome your advice:

    Maybe a 3 day split to allow for more rest?

    Or reducing some of the exercises that stress the elbow / forearms although this is difficult as it is mostly compound exercises.

    I thought that cutting out biceps & triceps and just working chest, back, shoulders and legs may provide enough rest to recover fully?
    Any advice is more than welcome as I cannot face laying off the weights completely!

    • Hey Rich, That’s great you’ve been on BLS and are in the process of cutting. If rest and reduced rep ranges and volume has not helped, I strongly recommend that you get it checked out by a doc.

      Get well soon!

      • Rich Bobruk

        Thanks Mike, it feels improved with the reduction of biceps and triceps exercises, and more rest much less painful. If that doesn’t get better with this for a few weeks then I definitely will see a doc.

  • sakib800

    Wait Mike on you book BLS, you say someone can gain like 10-15 pounds of lean mass in 3 months. I thought that was impossible unless you are on drugs.

    Dont most natural lifters gain a max of about 2 pounds of lean mass a month??

  • Yo D’Costa

    Hi Mike! Thanks a lot for having a no BS approach to fitness and health. I am currently reading your book and learning a lot. I know you are not a fan of gainers, but I wanted to know your opinion on this supplement called “Serious Mass” from Optimum Nutrition. I have heard and read so much good about this product and people gaining weight really fast. I am a hard gainer as you can guess. Is this a product you would recommend to someone trying to gain weight or should I just stick to Whey protein (and a good diet of course)

    • I’m a fan of ON as a company, but I’m not a fan of weight gainers because they’re just full of junk calories (mainly carbs). I much prefer eating real food, and just stick to calorie-dense foods like…

      Red meat
      Grains like brown rice and quinoa
      Oils like coconut oil and olive oil
      Whole-fat dairy
      Multi-grain pasta and bread
      Almonds and almond butter
      White and sweet potatoes

      If you focus on these types of foods in your meal planning, you should have no trouble reaching your daily caloric needs. 🙂

  • Kristie S

    Hi Mike! Just finished Phase 1 (first 8 weeks) of Thinner Leaner Stronger. And… wow! I’ve been following the 5 day split and cutting macros 25%, and these are the results…

    Body fat down 2% to 18.8%
    Weight went down from 114.0 to 109.4
    Waist measurement down 1.5 inches
    Upper leg, biceps, and hips are up a little, which seems odd to me, but maybe it’s muscle?!? I feel confident about the accuracy of the measurements.

    THANK YOU for this program. I’m taking full advantage of my rest week but can’t wait to get into the gym Monday. I think after this week I’ll go into Maintenance mode. It will feel like a LOT of food!

    • Hey Kristie! Nice work with your fat loss and muscle gains! Excellent job. Keep it up!

  • Garon VanOverloop

    Hi Mike,
    I’ve been following your custom meal plan, Legion products and have read your Bigger Leaner Stronger book- excellent insight. My question or concern is that I have been doing a 5 day workout in your book for 6 weeks now and I haven’t dropped any weight lingering between 202-205 but I have increased my weight training. Is there anything else I should be doing?
    Thanks Mike!

  • Brian K

    Hi Mike
    Thanks again for your books BLS and TLS. My wife has recently joined me in our quest to get stong and fit. She’s the mother of our 7 kids and she really has kept herself pretty well, but there is a left over stomach “pooch” with a lot of loose skin that doesn’t seem to be shrinking. She can’t even suck it in. She’s about the weight that she was when we got married, but her stomach was obviously much flatter then. She’s beginning to loose heart about being able to bring her stomach back in again. Do you have any advice for bring that muscle wall back in again beyond just a calorie deficient diet and ab exercises? Any cautions for her diet while still nursing a 5mo old?

  • Jamie S

    Hi all:
    I am 42 yo guy (current stats: 5’10”, 176#, 14% BF) who has been doing the 1 yr challenge for 3 months. Prior to program, I have been lifting 5 days/wk for 2.5 yrs. I am trying to cut by losing b/w 0.5-1# so far while building muscle using the 4-6 rep range. Lost 7# (-3%BF), but no change in trunk/limb circumference. I starting having major rotator cuff issues (decr ROM and limit to gains on lifts, but no tear or impingement) after phase 1 (5-day split) was complete. I started phase 2 with 3-day split option with 2 days of yoga + myofascial release of infraspinatus/teres minor with a chiropracter. Still having issues, limiting my gains on bench press, military press and back squats. Can you suggest modifications to program (rep range or exercise changes for me to: strengthen rotator cuffs, build more muscle overall given my age and increasing discomfort with current program.

    • Thanks for all the info!

      Keep up the proper training, the caloric deficit and the high protein intake, and you will start to lose the inches.

      Because of the RC issues, I recommend moving to the 8-10 rep range and/or switching from barbell presses to DB presses. LMK how that works for you.

      To help strengthen the RC, check this out:


      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

  • Matthew Miller

    Hey Mike! Not sure if you respond to messages on here. But I have a question about weighing meat. I read an article online that says when weighing cooked protein you need to use a multiplier to get the correct weight since protein loses weight when cooked. I’ll link you the article but I was curious if this is the correct way to determine the grams of protein in what you’re eating.


  • Brooks Ploskina

    If i do the four day routine outlined in your book, will I lose out on arm gains since they are reduced from 6 sets on the five day routine to just 3 sets on chest and back day? Also, what if my chest day is on Monday, and the following Monday I’m not able to workout? If I just pull all my workouts back a day, will that be a problem since it would be 8 days between workouts?


    • Hey Brooks, you won’t be missing out on gains, though the 5 day split is more ideal. 8 days between your chest days is OK as well.

      • Brooks Ploskina

        Thanks Mike. I hope you and your family have a great Thanksgiving!

  • Will Newsome

    Hey Mike just bought the book and so far, I love it. I want to get started soon so my question is, how do I determine my starting weights when doing the program? My goal is to burn fat

    • Finding your weights will be a little awkward at first, but you’ll get the hang of it by the end of week 1 and it will be smooth sailing from there on out. You just start light and know that as a general rule of thumb, for every 5 lbs you go up on DB exercises, you’ll lose about 2 reps, and the same for every 10 lbs added to barbell exercises. So, for instance, if you are squatting 30 lbs for 20 reps, then you should be able to squat about 80 lbs for 10.

  • Francisco Mendez Sosa

    Hey Mike! Big fan here (podcast listener, BLS reader and practitioner), thanks for sharing your wisdom.

    Quick question: I noticed when announcing the winner for your free prizes giveaway on Instagram you were using standing desks.

    I’ve read several articles on the issue with sitting down and the argumentation for standing desks. I searched on your website hoping maybe you had some articles on this but couldn’t find any. I’m curious to know what your take is on these (i.e. standing desks, do you use them and do you actually see any non-negligible benefit). Thanks and regards!

    • Thanks so much!

      I haven’t written about it but I do like to alternate between sitting and standing because it keeps my hip flexors from remaining in a shortened position all day.

  • derek sorenson

    What is your advise on the elevation trainging mask used with HIIT workouts? I am more concerned with does it truly help your fitness like strengthen the diaphragm, fat loss and not the red blood cell count as much seems plausible.What are your thoughts? Ps I really enjoy your books so far i.e. cardio sucks is great!

    • You know I haven’t looked into it so I’m not sure. Sorry I can’t help there. I’ll add it to the list to check out though. Thanks for the support!

  • starchy

    Hi Mike, just thought you should put this on your Legion supplement site: https://labdoor.com/review/legion-whey-plus . If I had known that your Whey+ powder was ranked this high, I would’ve bought it sooner!

    • Thanks for the feedback! Linking to third party review/rating sites is something we may start doing. 🙂

  • Bart

    HI, i have a question. I made my self a diet plan but its total calories is 1467, is that enough for me when im cutting? and im only 17. The target is 1600 but i dont know what to add to it.

  • Bart_Zeb

    Hi Mike! Im wondering when i should eat fats in my diet, should i eat them Before my workout or after? and im talking about around 17 to 20 grams since im talking about my dinner. O and the book BLS is amazing!

    • Hey Bart, you can eat fats any time throughout the day!

      Awesome. Glad to hear you’re loving the book 🙂

      • Bart_Zeb

        Thanks Mike! Happy New Years to you and your family :).

        I also have a tiny questions which is, when i tense i have 4 abs but when i relax i have a belly, is that due to too much body fat?

  • Kim

    Hi Mike!

    I bought your book Thinner, Leaner, Stronger, and I think it is really great so far. However, you state in the book not to drop your calories lower than your BMR while cutting. My BMR is approximately 1362 calories and my TDEE is about 1839. If I do a 25% cut, I wind up at 1379 calories, which is about equal to my BMR. I obviously do not want to cause any metabolic damage to my body. I am 5’4″ 128 lbs 21% body fat looking to lose about 8lbs of fat. Please let me know what you would advise. Looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you!


    • Hey Kim, that’s great you picked up a copy of the book! Start your cut at 20%–1471cals/day.

      Hope that helps!

  • NikkiShai

    Love your no BS approach to getting lean and strong! Thinner Leaner Stronger was the first book I’ve read that gets to the point and actually makes total sense. Working on my bikini body and I hope to be a success story later this Fall.

    • Thanks, Nikki! Looking forward to seeing what you’ll accomplish this year!

  • Alisa Logan

    Thanks Mike for all you do! it’s refreshing to find people in this industry with your mentality. Just bought your cookbook and love reading your articles. I’m wanting to do more research to better understand nutrition, metabolic conditions, etc. can you give some book recommends as to where you started?

    • Thanks Alisa! I really appreciate it.

      If you really want to dive into the research side of things, I’d recommend reading scientific papers over books. Reviews and meta-analyses are particularly helpful as they’re written conversationally and contain links to sources, which you can then go and read.

      For example, here’s a great one on muscle building in general:


  • eacj1234

    Hi Mike,

    Just bought and read your book. I’ve been training for a while, and would like to use your 5-day workout as outlined in BLS, but have a couple questions.

    1) How would I incorporate olympic lifts in the program? Can I do about 10 minutes at the beginning of a workout 3X a week, or should I do these as separate days? I would like to keep cleans and snatches in my program.

    2) Could I add loaded carries at the end of a workout, 2-3X a week? Could this count as “conditioning”? Could I do the same for bodyweight circuits? (I’m much prefer these and short sprinting sessions over the treadmill/bike conditioning options).

    Thanks! Looking forward to applying what I learned in your book.

    • Thanks for picking up my book!

      1. Sure, I recommend either following a 3-day or 4-day split from BLS and then doing Oly lifts 1-2 times a week or alternate between deadlifting and oly lifts on your back day.

      2. Sure, you can add either of those two the end of your workouts and count them as cardio.

      Welcome! I look forward to seeing your results. 🙂

      LMK if you have any other questions. I’m happy to help.

  • Eric Son

    Hi Mike,
    I have always carried more mass on my legs, and my upper body lags (I am male). Since I do not really like my leg physique (I’d rather have smaller legs) I’ve never trained my legs as I do not want them bigger than they already are, and I do not include dead lifts in my training. I have only been weightlifting for around 7 months and I still have the skinny fat look in my upper body. I weigh 135 at 5’5 and I was wondering if there was any better way at tackling my big legs problems. Thanks so much for the great content already out there mike!

  • Joe Tolman

    Hi Mike,

    Big fan of your philosophy and science behind BLS. I’m on Phase 2 of your workouts, and have seen awesome results! I have also purchased Triumph,Triton, Pulse, and Recharge and think they are great.

    Question: Because when we wake up the body is in a catabolic state, I will take Recharge right when I wake up, and then take Kre-Alkalyn pre and post workout. I recently added taking Recharge because I wanted to add a regular monohydrate vs. buffered because on my body, extra water retention is a good thing aesthetically. Do you see any downside to this? or a better way to do it?

    • Hey Joe! Thanks for picking up my book and supps! Glad you’re enjoying them and seeing results. 🙂

      No need to take creatine of any kind when waking up/pre-workout. If you’re training without eating first thing in the morning, you need to take either 10g BCAAs, 3-5g leucine or 2-3g HMB (in my product Forge: https://legionathletics.com/products/supplements/forge/) to prevent muscle breakdown.

      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

  • Peter Silie

    Hey Mike!

    I really enjoyed BLS and bought some of your other books too. As far as I have heard, there will be a german translation of your book later that year. Congratulations!

    My short question: While bulking, you say we don’t need to change our daily calories on rest days. But what should I eat instead of the pre and post workout shake (around 870 calories for me)? Should I eat another high-protein and high-carb meal with complex carbohydrates instead of only simple ones?

    • Hey Peter, glad to hear it!

      You can eat the same things, or substitute with whole foods and hit your daily macro targets.

  • Dave

    Hi Mike,

    I have just downloaded the app! It looks great and has a nice feel to it, one way to make me pay for pro is enabling an import of Bigger Leaner Stronger workout program into it. Then I can adjust the weights regiem to fit my plans / body type. Could this be included in an update do you think?

    Well done on becoming such a success BTW, I am very impressed with how you go about your life! I wish you all the best for the future, now get cracking with my idea so I can use this app to its full potential. I already have your books (BLS & the acompanying notes book).


    • Glad you’re liking it so far Dave! Phase 1 of BLS workouts from the 1YC are already included in the app! Further phases will be available as in-app purchases.

      Thanks for the kind words and support! That and more to come in future updates. 🙂

  • Gianni

    Hello Mike,
    I am almost done reading BLS and I am a huge fan. I have been on a 5yr journey from 260lbs down to 190lbs @ 10% body fat. Is it best to keep plowing forward to get down to 7% now, or should I start a bulk?. I am approx. @ 171 LBM. What would you do? I got down to 9% body fat a few weeks ago but let off the gas a bit given the holidays.

  • Kinga

    Just love your book. Can you clarify one thing for me…I know you are probably busy…but when multiplying your Cutting macros…do you use current weight or LBM weight: 1.2g protein per 1 lb of LBM or Current weight? Thank you so much! Shared your wisdom and book with my weigh training students 🙂

  • Bart_Zeb

    Hi again Mike! I have a question for you, if i am making my own diet, and I want to go into to a calorie deficit do i make it based it on my BMR? or my TDEE? my BMR is around 1643 and TDEE 2243. Does my diet has to be totaled up to 1643 calories or 2243?
    And how long can i stay in a calorie deficit? and how often should i have a refeed day/days ?
    Thanks for your Help in advance!
    BLS program is actually helping me so much! dropped to 13.5% body fat from 14.7% in 2.5/3 months. Thank you once again. I also bought the year one challenge notepad too keep gym progress 😉

    • Hey Bart! Start your cut with a 20% deficit from TDEE. The cut will take as long as it needs to take. When fat loss stalls, increase your HIIT cardio and/or drop 100 cals (25g carbs)–but don’t drop below BMR. Once you have reached BMR and are no longer losing fat, end the cut and reverse diet:


      You really don’t need to refeed until you’re 2+ months into a cut. Even then, it might not even be needed. If you start feeling drained of energy throughout the week, start with one refeed every two weeks.

      Keep up the great work! That’s awesome you picked up a journal as well 🙂

      • Bart_Zeb

        Thank you Mike for the reply. I really appreciate it. I also have a question about cardio. So I train 5 days a week. And after my gym session about 1 or 2 hours after I go kickboxing for an hour. I do 3 kickboxing classes through the week along with my gym sessions. Is this enough cardio? and what are your thoughts on garcinia cambogia. ?

  • Bart_Zeb

    Hey Mike its me again! I have another question that i only trust you answering.
    So as i mentioned before i workout in the gym 5 days a week, and on top of that i do k1 as cardio 3 days a week, so I do K1(Kickboxing) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.. can i add in a High Intensity Interval Training for the treadmill, for example: Run 5 minutes at the end of my workout, 1 minute sprint OR 45/30 seconds, 1 minute OR 45/30 seconds walk. And maybe do this on Tuesday and Thursday, would that be too much cardio? Would i start to burn muscle or would it help me get more lean and get better muscle definition?

    Sorry for so much writing 🙂 but this is what im debating on for a long time now since i started the BLS 6 weeks ago 🙂 O and should i get a weight lifting belt? or is it not needed, because in your book you said you dont really need it, so I am asking you for advice 🙂 Thanks again for so much Mike! I really mean it, without you i be still doing everything wrong and not achieving my first 4 abs in this period of time. You are my Hero :). Thank you in advance !


  • Marco

    Hi Mike,

    I read both BLS and BBLS. I have the following problem: Since I’ve been doing SQUATS and DEADLIFTS with heavy weights, I have the feeling that my CORE is getting THICKER somewhat leading to a PROTRUDING GUT. Searching online I found that quite a few people seem to have this problem – even when they have a very low body fat percentage. Also from my personal experience, I can tell you that I didn’t get fatter. My abs/core muscles just seem to have grown and when I wear a shirt my belly doesn’t look as flat as it used to be – which is a huge issue to me because I am really looking for an athletic look and not a weightlifter look.

    I’ve had the same problem in the past when I trained abs with heavy weight, which is why I quit doing that and things got back to normal. It would be a pity to cut SQUATS from my training routine but I really don’t know what to do! I should note that when I do those exercises (squats, deadlifts, abs with weights) my abs show better (I mean the separation between them is enhanced) but it still comes at the price of having a bigger belly, which I personally don’t like.

    Maybe it’s just a problem of body constitution that only some people have this problem when training their core with heavy weight? (you for example don’t seem to have this issue)

    Thank you so much for your help!



    • Thanks for picking up my books!

      I totally understand your situation. Before considering dropping heavy compound lifts, let’s try taking out direct core training altogether. Not just the weighted stuff–all direct core training.

      Give it a few months, and if things don’t improve, you can consider dropping the heavy compound lifts and sticking to isolation exercises to bring the use of your core muscles to a minimum.

      My pleasure! Hope this helps.

  • Taha Baig

    Hi mike , iv started the diet to cut my total calories is 1750 but Im taking around 1850 .. can I have. diet coke a day ?

  • Joshua Hunstiger

    Hi Mike,

    I have a question regarding Creatine and stomach sensitivity. I have read your article on Creatine a couple times now and done my own research on the different types, but I am still not sure what type of Creatine to get for people who have a stomach sensitivity…there are many different opinions out there. I agree that Monohydrate is the best form, but I haven’t had the best luck with it in the past. I also Intermittent Fast from about 8 pm the day before, until about 2 pm the next day. I train at about 5:30 am each morning M-Sat. So, I have two questions.

    1) Do I just suck it up and take Monohydrate any ways? Or…is there a different type of Creatine you would recommend?
    2) Does it matter when I take Creatine (Pre-workout, right after my workout, afternoon, etc.), or just that I take it consistently every day regardless of time?

    Thanks Mike!

    • Hey Josh,

      1. Try spreading out a serving during the day instead of taking a whole scoop in one go. That could help.
      2. As long as it’s taken consistently, you’re okay. Timing doesn’t affect uptake.

  • Pat

    Hey man i gotta question for ya. My right shoulder injury has resurfaced and i am only in the infancy stage of the program. I can squat and deadlift but the bench and shoulder press are going to be a problem. For the record my shoulder blades are pinned and shoulders never roll forward. I need the chest work or i will look like a carny side show. For now i am cautiously going to carry on but if i need to substitute, what say you? Dumbells or seated cable bench press? Please advise.

    • Hey Pat, sorry to hear your shoulder injury is resurfacing. I suggest letting it heal a bit first before coming back to the presses in the 8-10 rep range. As long as you’re progressively overloading, you’ll still make progress.

    • RedCandy

      Hi Pat, you might want to consider going to see a sports medicine MD and get referral to a physical therapist who specializes in sports medicine/orthopedics. You would benefit from a professional evaluation of your shoulder girdle. It’s important to find out what’s going on in your shoulder and have it treated so you can learn what exercises to do//not do. There could be a number of things going on so why second guess? (FWIW- I’m a PT specializing in orthopedics/sports medicine for 12 yrs.) Best regards.

  • Alex Hayden

    I looked through the Legion supplement line, and I don’t see and BCAA’s. Is this not something you feel is beneficial?

  • Pernell Rash Jr

    Hey Mike how much do you weigh?

  • Cory Casuso

    Hey Michael, first off, I’m a huge fan. Reading your book Bigger Leaner Stronger and love it. Currently on week 2 of phase 1 (as you see I’m a beginner still.) I have a couple of questions.
    1. After my leg workout last Friday I was sore for like 3 days. Any suggestions or is this normal. I’m doing the cutting meal plan plus HIIT cardio 3 times a week. (stationary bike Monday, played flag football Wednesday, and shadow boxed Saturday). I also train while fasted, so I take yohimbine and bcaa’s and pre workout before I lift. I also take creatine after my workouts with my whey protein shake. So should I be doing a long slow paced cardio day to release lactic acid to relive the soreness? Or is what I’m doing perfectly fine and soreness is part of the game?

    2. I didn’t see anything about stretching in your book. (although I haven’t completely finished it yet) Should I created some sort of stretching program before or after I lift? I’m an ex college baseball player and know that stretching is pretty beneficial to the body and health. Just want to know if stretching pre workout is a good idea or if your warm up method is plenty for lifting.

    Thank you Michael and can’t wait to read some more of your material!

  • Cristi

    Hi Mike, hope you had a great week-end!

    A quick question, what happens (training routine wise) after the first year challenge? I am on that now, week 21, with excellent progress! (send and email to Sam to see if I can get my story…big motivation to see my name up there).

    Congratulations on your work to change the body building industry and all the best for the future!

    PS: Your cooking book changed my life!

    • Sure did, thanks!

      You can keep doing the Y1C, and when you’ve hit the BBLS requirements, you can move to BBLS:

      Squat: 1.75 x body weight for a 1RM
      Deadlift: 1.75 x body weight for a 1RM
      Bench Press: 1.35 x body weight for a 1RM
      Seated Military Press: 1 x body weight for a 1RM

      Glad to hear you’re making excellent progress and enjoying TSC. Thanks for your support!

  • James Jackson

    Hello just wanted to know if layne nortons reverse dieting approach was similar to this article. Also wanted to know if a period of maintenance is required for a set amount of time before attempting to do another weight loss or cutting phase.

    • James Jackson

      How long should a maintenance be for? I keep hearing a rule of thumb should be for half as long as the reverse diet.

      • Yup, it’s similar. His is just slower–smaller increases over a longer period of time.

        I recommend staying at TDEE for 1-2 weeks before bulking or going back into a deficit.

  • Jonathan Unger

    Question: in Mikes 3/17/17 podcast with Bret Contreras, Bret talks about exercise info that has been debunked one being that there are 20 or 22 studies showing heavyweight low reps aren’t any better than high rep low weight and Mike didn’t respond to that comment. Is this true? This goes against what Mike has pitched from day 1… Please help, as now I’m unsure if I should adjust training?

    • Jonathan Unger

      Bret also says the same thing about fasted cardio vs fed no difference.. is this true?

      • Hey hey! The main driver of muscle growth is progressive overload. So, as long as you’re increasing the weight and/or volume over time, you can build muscle in most rep ranges.

        That being said, from personal experience and having worked with thousands of people, I have found the 4-6 rep range to be a particularly good rep range to work in for most people. It’s heavy enough where you aren’t doing so many reps that you’re reaching fatigue or experiencing the burning sensations from high-rep training before hitting failure, and it isn’t too heavy where the weight can be daunting and that much more dangerous if you lose form.

        Hope that makes sense! LMK if you have any questions!

  • Daniela Alvarado

    Hey Mike, first of all, I’ve been on the TLS program for over a year now and the results have been amazing. I initially lost around 20 lbs (started weighing 119 lbs), then I started bulking and gained 15 lbs, my muscles are very noticable and I added 40 lbs to my squat, 15 lbs to my military press, 30 lbs to my deadlfit and 20 lbs to my bench press. I’m currently cutting again (my current weight is 113 lbs).

    I’m posting this because I have been srtruggling a lot with stubborn fat on my belly, it just won’t go away. Even when I was at my lowest wieght (99 lbs) the belly fat was still there. Right now I’m between 23% and 25% body fat, I’m very comfortable with the rest of my body, there isn’t any fat to pinch anywhere else but I have a lot of fat around my stomach area.

    I’ve red your book and all of your articles about stubborn fat, I’ve tried everything without getting results. I’ve been on two cuts reducing about 25% of my intake, I train fasted, I’ve done HIIT cardio, I lift weights five days a week following the TLS program and I follow my diet very carefully (using the numbers and macros recommended on the TLS book and this website).

    I train really hard and I would really like to se my abs someday. Do you have any more advice for my situation?

    Thank you for all you work! Regards.

    • Hey Daniela,

      Nice work so far on TLS! Looks like you just have to take the cut to a lower BF% to reduce the belly fat. Unfortunately, that’s the only way. You can do it!

      • Daniela Alvarado

        Thanks for the quick reply 🙂

        I am aware of that. The problem is that I’m naturally skinny, I’ve always been on the lower end of the healthy weight range for my height though when I started the TLS program I was VERY skinny fat. I got rid of most of the fat on my first cut, and then I went back to my initial weight but I looked leaner because most of the weight I gained back was muscle.

        I’m just on the fourth week of my current cut and my weight is already close to falling into the “underweight” BMI category, which happened on my first cut and people kept telling me I looked too skinny. That’s what’s holding me back right now, so I’m not sure if I should gain some more weight before attempting to cut or just keep doing what I’m doing.

        By the way, when I was calculating my maintenance calories previous to my cut I found that I was losing weight on the numbers suggested by the calculator on these website, I was able to mantain my weight by adding 200 calories on top of that. Is that normal or should I be worried?

        Thanks again!

        • No problem! Hard to say without a photo, but if you’re underweight in an unhealthy way, I’d bulk. Also, depending on body composition and activity levels, hitting maintenance with just 200 extra calories certainly is possible!

  • Alex Hayden

    Mike, I see that you recommend the recumbent bike for HIIT cardio. Do you feel this is more effective than a concept 2 rower or assault bike. I’m asking as I make recommendations to my clients of what to purchase for their morning cardio at home

  • Hi Mike, I finished reading TLS a few days ago. In the book you have a formula for for calculating macros but awhile ago, I used a calculator on your site and the numbers came out to be vastly different. A few hundred calories different. Should I be using the calculator numbers or the formula numbers?

    Thanks! Really enjoyed the book. Sparked motivation back into me. Now I just need to figure out this meal plan of mine! 😉

  • Bart_Zeb

    Mike, I have another question which relates to dieting. So I have been using your calculator to calculate my BMR,TDEE and my macros. So far I been on the diet of 186g protein, 186 carbs and 42g fats.. is this good for when I’m cutting? It’s around 1800 calories and Iam around 66kg (146lbs) and around 13% bodyfat.
    But then I got in contact with this athlete and he said that I’m not eating enough calories and carbs… he recommended a IIFYM calculator. When I used this calculator and did a bit of tweaking around with the macros I came out with: 161g protein, 230g carbs and 45g fats.. is this not too much for cutting? It all leads to around 1980 calories.
    I am really confused now which diet I should follow. The one from your calculator is great and I’m on it for some time and I’m seeing amazing results. It just that I’m afraid to try the new diet incase I gain weight.. what do you think Mike? Please help me.

    • Hey Bart, if you’re lifting 5 days a week and doing 3-4 HIIT cardio sessions, then your activity multiplier would be about 1.35x–giving you a 1746 cal cutting target.

      • Bart_Zeb

        Yep that’s what I’m around 🙂 I think I will stick with your diet since I’m seeing results. Thanks Mike

  • Amanda

    Hi Mike,

    I have a few questions. I just read your book Thinner, Leaner, Stronger. I have been weight lifting for over 1 year, but I have hit a plateau and a friend recommended your book to me.

    I am assuming that because I have been weight lifting for a while that I would start with the 4-6 reps ( working sets) @ 70-85% of 1RM. But earlier in the book you talk about progressing in the program by adding 5lbs to the 10 reps? So do I add 5lbs to my 1RM each week? or How does this work?

    • Welcome, Amanda! The reason why I recommend women start in the 8-10 rep range (~75% of 1RM) is most start out with very low levels of muscle and strength and find that to be quite heavy. 4-6 would be really daunting and possibly even dangerous (due to poor form).

      Once women have put in a good 6 months or so at that rep range, though, they’ll have the strength and experience to comfortably (and safely) include some heavier work in their routines.

      So, if you’re at that point and would like to work in some 4-6 rep range training, I recommend doing 3 sets in the 4-6 rep range, and using it on the following exercises:

      Military Press
      Bench Press

      If you are able to complete 10 or 6 reps working in the 8-10 or 4-6 rep range, respectively, then add weight to your next working set weight.

  • Bart_Zeb

    Hey Mike, thanks for the reply to my earlier question. I have another one since i want to do a Re-feed day, but how much carbs do i increase my carbs from( i have 186g) and how much do i lower my protein and fat? (I have 186g protein, and 41g fat) along with that I will be doing a reverse diet, After when i reverse diet can i go back into a calorie deficit? or should i wait a certain time. And when reverse dieting you said to increase your carbs by 150g until you reach maintaince Calories, but my fat is 41g and my maintenance fat is 44g as i checked on your calculator. Do i just add 3g of fat in 1 week and then just increase Carbs.. and should i lower Protein? and by how much and how often?

    Thanks Mike for the phenomenal help!

  • Alex Hayden

    Hey Mike, I’m reading BLS and in the calf section you mention that calves respond to higher volume training, but then the workouts you suggest have only 8-10 reps max. Just curious why that was. Also, I noticed in all the training programs in the book, legs are left until the last day, or the 4th out of 5 days. I’ve heard that training legs the first day of the week releases more testosterone thus giving a bigger boost to the muscles trained the following day. Is there any validity to this, and does the order matter?

  • Hauke

    Hi Mike, I have just finished listening to your audio book bigger, leaner, stronger and I must say I found it most impressive. I am ready to give your routine a try! Anyway, I have got a question concerning your 5 day split training. In your pdf the workout starts on day 1 with Chest & Abs. However, when you list your exercises, Face Pull is included as well. I am just wondering because according to your list on page 55 in your pdf Face Pull is a shoulder exercise. Is that a mistake? I would appreciated it you could point me in the right direction;). Thank you.

    • Great! Nope, it is not a mistake. Strong shoulders and rotator cuffs will help your presses.

  • Lindsey Marchant

    What do you do exercise wise when on vacation? To at least maintain, if you cant get to a gym? What if that vacation is one week? What if it’s a month?

  • Nic Williams

    I’m on month 7 of BLS program , it’s my new way of life lost 22lb of bodyfat and increased my strength dramatically like literally doubled it ! , I’m 45 , I’ve emailed you a few times with questions and you’ve always personally answered back within a day or so that’s really cool 😎, because I love your book BLS I also bought shredded chef , Im also using STACKED as my go to workout app , so yeah it’s all good , listening to your podcasts now as well it’s pretty safe to say I’m a fan of your work .
    Well done and keep up the good work mike

    • Awesome work so far! Glad to hear you’ve been making such good progress and are enjoying all my content. Thanks for the support 🙂

  • Emma Kate Snelling

    Top of p.207 of TLS there is reference to doing pull-ups / chin-ups but those exercises are not included in any of the workouts for the 5-day workout- is this a mistake? One of my goals is do to an unassisted pull-up – is it easy to in corporate into the existing 5-day workouts?

  • Wesley van Pinxteren

    Hi Mike, i really want to try the training program in your book bigger leaner stronger( already read the fitness myth one and i have the newsletter ). But i have a tiny apartment and little money for going to the gym or training equipment, any tips so i can still train ?.

  • Lindsey Marchant

    I realized my birthday guest challenge it feeling alone in this. I don’t have any friends that can do the workouts with me and it is hard to stick with it when everyone around me eats differently and I do the workouts alone. Any suggestions?

    • Hey Lindsey! That’s awesome you’re working out and changing your diet. Very well done. No problem if you’re doing it alone. You can make like-minded friends at the gym and just stick to your guns with regards to your diet. Your goals and other people’s habits have nothing to do with each other.

      • Lindsey Marchant

        Sorry about the last comment. Didn’t realize it auto corrected at the beginning! I am working on finding a strong enough motivation that just being stronger and looking good to help with sticking to the diet. Is it normal to feel really hungry by night time when I have hit my numbers? Is that how it is always going to be or aren’t my choices maybe not good enough. I thought they were good but I feel pretty hungry still at night. Thanks much. And if I ever wanted to become one of your coaches what does it take to do that?

        • No problem! What you can do is spread out your calories so that you can have more at night. You can also take a look at this:


          To apply to be an MFL coach, the minimum requirement would be to have a Certified Personal Trainer license, in-depth familiarity of BLS/TLS/BBLS, as well as knowledge and experience in practical application.

          • Lindsey Marchant

            Awesome thank you! If I did whole thirty before your program, would I still do well results wise with lifting?

          • No problem 🙂 Yes, you can still get good results.

  • 3uind

    fuck your stupid website in the form of a helpful page. just selling your own trash, pretending you are offering a helpful article but really trying to drive sales of your shit legend garbage.

    • Brady John Price

      You’re psycho. That’s the point of business: offer something valuable and sell it. This is a helpful page and there’s nothing wrong with trying to drive sales.

  • Alex Hayden

    Hey Mike, I have some vegan friends of mine that watch a lot of nutritionfacts.org videos, and they think they don’t need more than about 40 grams of protein a day. I know you’ve written a ton of articles on the subject, but could you send me the link to the one you think might be the most powerful for them. They are both into endurance training, running and biking, but are starting resistance training now based on my suggestion. When I suggested they should increase their protein intake, especially around their workouts, they sent me these videos that make people believe that it’s dangerous to eat to much protein. Thanks in advance! Grateful for all you do!

  • Lindsey Marchant

    Hey Mike,
    SO after doing a detox i have realized i almost want to go paleo, with some good carbs that don’t affect my insulin resistance. I’m a little overwhelmed though cause my doctor said to have the good fats in my diet and he didn’t really put a cap on how much he wants me having. So how would I add more good fats in and still get results. And when I did the numbers I ended up at 1200 calories right now, is that too low? I’m only burning 1600-1800, 2000 depending on activity level which has been about at the 1600 level but if I start lifting and jogging and add some hitt workouts would that bring me to 2000 burning? I mean does the TDEE include lifting? When it says 6 or more hours of vigorous does that include your lifting or is that just cardio?

  • Anne-Marie

    Hey Mike! I’ve been on your TLS program for about a year now, but the issue is that I always end up taking large breaks due to not being able to manage my life adequately. The most recent was about 10 weeks I was off, which I think was the longest. I’m about to head back tomorrow and get my mojo back, but I’m not sure how to re-enter the program. I feel like if I keep doing 8 weeks over and over again I’m never going to get anywhere! How do you recommend I keep progressing, despite having chunks where I’m off here and there? Thanks so much!

    • Anne-Marie

      PS When I say 8 weeks over and over again, I mean that I end up repeating phases from TLS 1YC since I am not sure how else to return to programming.

    • I would just jump right back into the program on whichever phase you were on previously. You don’t really need to ease back into training, but you’ll probably have to build your strength back up a bit after 8 weeks off. So, back the weights off a bit from what you were lifting before, and assess what your strength is at now to get your rep ranges right. Strength should come back relatively quickly, though. You’re not going to be starting from square one. Just get back on track and keep pushing! I hope this helps!

  • John Jarvise

    That’s weird! My post disappeared! Hi Mike! I have a question about conflicting advice from a “retired persons” advocacy group. I’ve been following the workouts in BLS for three years consistently now. I lift weights 3 times a week for about 30-45 minutes each time. I lift heavy and I like the way I look and feel. I’m turning 61 June 2017. The “retired persons” group just published recommendations that people over 60 only do weight lifting 20-30 minutes NO MORE THAN 2 times a week. I can’t work that with my program. Thoughts?

    • Hey John, it’s great that you’re happy with how you look and feel. I’m glad BLS has done well for you!

      Hmm, was there a basis for that recommendation you saw? I see no reason why you’d have to cap the sessions at 30 minutes, or limit it to two sessions a week.

      The truth is not much changes in your 60s. Check this out: https://legionathletics.com/fitness-at-any-age/

  • Tiago Lauschner Araujo

    Michael, how are you? I bought your book and I really enjoyed it, but I want to know if you agree with high protein for body weight, several studies are indicating up to 4.33, I await your response, hug.

  • C_1911

    Hello Mike, hope u are good. Im glad i found this blog. Im interested to buy ur books “Bigger Leaner Stronger”, but i have a question. I’ve been training for the last 5 years, do you suggest me to buy this one or to go for the “Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger” ?
    What are the differences and what do you suggest me?
    Thanks for all your info and help, cheers.

    • Hey there, BBLS is intended for people who have been doing BLS for a couple years and built a good foundation of strength. If you haven’t been squatting, deadlifting, benching, etc., I’d go with BLS. If you have a great level of strength on your compound lifts, you could go with BBLS, but I think you’ll get more out of it if you read BLS first. I hope this helps!

      • C_1911

        Thanks Mike, i will go then with BLS and then move to BBLS. Cheers mate 🙂

  • Tiago Lauschner Araujo

    Michael, how are you? I bought the book to work out, to dry, to define yours, and I wonder if I can take the leg press and the front squat?

    • Hey Tiago, what exactly is your question about the leg press and front squat? If you don’t have a leg press, the front squat is a good substitute 🙂

      • Tiago Lauschner Araujo

        I would like to make this exchange because the gym training that runs the risk of missing washers

  • Teresa Munday

    Hi Michael,

    I have purchased your books and loved them. I lost weight and built muscle. I’m down to 133 pounds, I am 5 ft 4 and have around 20% body fat (I think, according to my body fat scales. I weight train twice a week, full body and do HIIT 2-3 times a week. My weight has now come to a stand still. I am currently on 1368 calories a day. I have tried lowering calories for a week, no change, upping exercise for a week, gained a pound! Can you help please ,

  • Adam Adam

    I am on Week 5 (the first Strength Week) of the One Year Challenge. I’m loving my 4x/week workouts, managing my macros and calories in my diet and feeling awesome. On Monday, I hurt my lower back pushing it on deadlifts. Chiropractor, ice and rest have been helping, but i may not be able to perform compound workouts for another 7-10 days and even then I will need to cut back on the amount of weight for a while. Depressing
    How do you handle being sidelined with an injury? What can I do to keep moving forward while I heal? Do I start over at week 1, or at week 6?
    Love the program so far, and don’t want to lose momentum.

  • Tiago Lauschner Araujo

    Michael, I have difficulty developing the front deltoid I can add after the military front elevation press?

    • Yes, you can add front raises to your Shoulder day, or to a different training day during the week

  • Tiago Lauschner Araujo

    Michael, do you eat immediately after workout, or do you wait a half hour or an hour?

  • C_1911

    Hey Mike, hope u doing well. I have a quick question, inside BLS bonus content “the year one challenge” u saying for the need of a Strength week every four weeks of training, but u show in this bonus Phase 1 is 1-8 weeks and then Phase 2 is 10-17, so i guess strength week duration is 2 weeks, BUT my question is WHAT routine you follow in these 2 weeks ? U saying is monday-wednesday-friday routine and is a more traditional strength program but what about exercises selection, volume, etc ?
    Thanks for ur time Mike.

  • Vishal Nathani


    Im done with day 1 of my workout (Chest & Calves) , I am doing 80% of my 1 Rep Max, and to be honest i am not that tired.

    Is it okay for me to do between 100-200 kettlebell swings so i feel the burn, at the end of my workout ? or is it overkill?

    Hoping for your reply,


    • Vishal Nathani

      Will this stall my recovery? or tear my muscles too much that it wont repair/recover by my next workout?

      • As long as you’re getting stronger over time, I wouldn’t worry too much about not feeling tired. If you want to incorporate some additional work at the end of your workout, you can. In terms of recovery, everyone is different and it will depend on your diet, sleep, etc. You will have to just give it a try and see for yourself. Watch for signs of overtraining: https://legionathletics.com/signs-of-overtraining/

  • Joseph

    Hi Mike,

    When you say lifting with 80% of 1-Rep Max, do you mean with as close to perfect form as possible? Or do You mean literally how much I can lift in 1 rep? For example, on the Flat Bench Press, my 1 Rep Max with no good form would be like 60kg, however my 1 rep max doing with nice form would be like 45-50kg. Which is it?


  • Kevin

    Hi mike , i’ve bought your book and when i hit 6 reps for my first set say on incline bench, i usually can only do sets of 3 and 2 on following workouts when i move up 5 lbs in weight. Why is this ? And is this fine, shouldnt i be able to do sets of 4 and 5

    • Hey Kevin, if you can’t get at least 4 reps on your second set, you can stick with the initial weight until you get 6 on two or even three sets before adding weight to the bar.

      • Kevin

        Thanks mike, i will implement this

  • James Malone

    Hi mate.
    (a) Can I confirm pre-workout we are looking at about a 1:1 ratio for carbs:protein, say, 30gm standard protein shake + 1 banana + 1 apple?
    (b) Post workout, 1:2 ratio so 38gm WPI shake + 14 teaspoons of dextrose (70gm carb)?

    I couldnt find the rough ratios in your books.

    (c) Can meal 6 before bed simply be 600ml of skim milk (casein) rather than the “casein shakes” you see in the shops?

    Appreciate any extra guidance here.

  • Chris Ciu

    Hi Mike, I bought your book and I just have started reading it. I am getting confused on how to execute the 5-day program. For example, the inclined & flat bench press, it needs to be executed within 4 sets & 4-6 reps. My question is, how am i going to incorporte 9-12 reps per wokout, what does it mean? Please advise.

  • Bart_Zeb

    Hi Mike, I have a question, If I finished my cut using the 40% Carb, 40% Protein and 20% Fat Split and now i want to maintain. For maintaining should i use 50% Carb, 30% Protein and 20% fat Split? and if i do, do i change back to the 40/40/20 split when cutting again? Thank you in Advance!

  • C_1911

    Hello Mike, started BLS 3 weeks ago. Amazing !! I had a quick question, in BLS 2.1 states for a Strength Week every 4th week and its a 3-day split but although the 2 big lifts states for 3 working sets, the last exercise deadlifts states for just 1 working set. Is that correct ? If yes, is any reason that is 1 working set instead of 3 ?
    Thanks Mike.

    • I’m glad it’s going well! 🙂

      Yup, one working set for the deadlifts. They’re really taxing and you’re doing them three times during the week, so one working set is fine.

      Yes, the progression scheme is the same. So, if you’re able to add weight during Strength Week, keep using that weight in your next workout 🙂

      Hope this helps!

      • C_1911

        Thanks Mike, really appreciate your help. Cheers 🙂

  • Lyndsey Pollard

    Hi Mike! My husband and I are big fitness/ health freaks and love your programs. I’ve tried about every diet, workout plan you can think of. Thinner, leaner, stronger is definitely one of my favorites. I have a question regarding my body comp. I am strict with my diet, follow my macros and workout 4-5 times a week, averaging 1 1/2-2 hours of hitt. I’ve tried low fat high carb/protein, low carb high fat/protein, and a balance of each. I can’t seem loose the thickness in my lower stomach. From the front, I look completely flat but from the side I look abnormally large and thick. I’ve done a leap mrt, tried the fod map diet, but still no a difference. I lost 13 lbs with your program but didn’t loose and inch around my waist. I even tried a 7 day juice cleanse and only lost 2lbs. HELP!

    • Hey Lyndsey! I’m glad you and your husband are enjoying the programs!

      Are you losing weight or maintaining? Belly fat can be really stubborn, but you will get rid of it if you keep losing weight/fat. There are a few specific strategies you can implement, as well. Check this out: https://www.muscleforlife.com/how-to-lose-belly-fat/

  • James Lapotka

    Mike, I’m 6 months in on BLS and trying to hit a thousand lbs by the new year (I’m 390 DL, 320 Squat, 200 bench now) I push real hard every week and usually add 5 lbs on each lift every week or more but my beginer gains are starting to slow down. The strength weeks really hit me hard and I’m not sure what to do. Day one I usually crush my deadlifts and press but I can’t hang in there for the squats and on day two and three I see a decrease I performance . Am I lifting too hard or just being too hard on myself .

    • Hey James! It sounds like you’re doing really well. As long as you’re still progressing and lifting more over time, you’re on the right track.

      As you pass the newbie phase, you won’t be able to add weight to the bar each week. Sometimes just getting one more rep than last week in a workout is all you can do, but that’s still progress. Check this out:


      I hope this helps and keep me updated on your progress!

      • James Lapotka

        Thanks for the encouragement , is it normal to not be able to finish your deadlift sets on a strength week , I’m just somground down after even the first day I feel like it would make more sense to get back to my five day rotation and let my legs and back have some breathing room to recover, ornisnyhere some other benifit to the punishment of a strengjtbweek im not understanding or appreciating ? I know I’m supposed to focus on the core lifts but the squat and deadlift take too much out of me.

        • If you’re doing three sets of deadlifts, knock it back to just one set. You can also skip strength week altogether and stick to the regular workouts if you want.

  • Abdul Qadir

    Hi Mike, your book “Bigger Leaner Stronger” is out of stock on Amazon and since i live in Pakistan so cant purchase from Itunes, can you please help to figure me out what are the other options to get your book asap ?

    • Hey man!

      Which Amazon are you trying to buy from? Also, do you have a Google Play store?

      • Abdul Qadir

        Hey Mike,
        Thanks for reply. I’m buying from Amazon.com I guess its Amazon USA. it says out of stock. No Google play also doesn’t offer product in my region. So i need HELP!

        • Oh shit it IS showing out of stock. WTF. Thanks for letting me know. Will get on ASAP.

  • makima

    hi Mike,
    read BLS, amazing book. had to buy the TLS for my wife – she read it and already lost couple of kgs and says it’s amazing. she even recommended it on her facebook)
    me – doing your 5day BLS routine, on a cut.
    quick question, now.
    due to the fact on a cut is kinda rough to progress, would it be ok if i do the main lifts RPT style? meaning, first set 4-6 reps, next -10% weight on bar and aim for 7-8 reps, last set -5% from first set and to 6-7 reps (or maybe usual -20% and aim for 8-10 reps)?

    • Hey there, I’m glad you and your wife enjoyed me books! Thanks for spreading the word 🙂

      You could do RPT, but there’s really no need to change the routine while cutting. Sticking with BLS and trying to progress works well, and I think RPT is best suited towards more advanced lifters.

      Check this out:


      I hope this helps!

      • makima

        i see your point, but on cutting – it’s really hard get those 3 working sets at 4-6 rep range. will try doing it further, but it’s getting tougher each day.

        • Do you mean you’re not getting at least 4 reps on the third set? It’s normal to lose a rep or two while cutting, but if you’re getting progressively weaker, something is off.

  • balint nagy

    Hi Mike!
    Do you have any experience with microdosing LSD?
    I recently started to read about it, and it’s sounds very promising in self development, which i know you are interested in. Also i would love to hear a podcast about it, with someone like James Fadiman.

    • No I don’t and honestly mind-altering drugs just aren’t something I’m generally interested in.

  • Sam

    Hey Mike,

    Your working sets consist of 4-6 reps. My 3 sets currently go 8 reps for my first set, 6 on my second and 3-4 on my third with me adding weight each set. Is this okay or should I go 6, 5, 4 sticking to the 4-6 rep range in all sets. If I start my first set with 6 reps, its quite hard to go another 2 sets in that range while adding weight for me.

    • I recommend moving up in weight once you hit the top of your rep range. This doesn’t mean adding weight every set, unless you keep hitting 6, of course.

      In other words, pick a weight, and if you get 6 reps, move up in weight. If you don’t get 6, stick with that weight for the next set.

      Make sense?

  • C_1911

    Hey Mike, its me again. Hope u doing well man.
    Im on BLS Phase 2 Week 12 is amazing. Just have a small issue. On chest day first exercise is incline dumbbell press and last week i manage to do 2 sets of 6 reps and last set 8 reps with 40kg dumbbell. Problem is that my gym has not heavier dumbbells than 40kg, so what i do now ?
    Increase reps ? Change exercise ?
    Is frustrating because i love training chest with dumbbells and making much more progression than with barbell.

    • Find a new gym? Haha just kidding 😉

      Yeah, you can increase the reps to 8, but you’ll eventually reach a point where progressing and continuing to add reps just doesn’t make much sense. You either need to get heavier dumbbells or switch to another exercise where you can continue to make progress.

      I hope this helps!

      • C_1911

        Haha 🙂 thanks for your reply Mike. Today i manage and did 8 reps on all 3 sets so i need do something. The owner there told me that they have some special small bars that u can add plates on it and make like a custom dumbbell !! Although as i saw it is difficult to put it on ur quads so u can lift it, so im thinking the only solution is someone to give them to me on my hands. Will figure out.
        Thanks again mate 🙂

  • tmore123

    Hi Mike, just wondering your opinion on my current situation. I’ve been lifting on and off for 4 years, like you never felt overly happy with the results. I took 18 months off due to work and gained substantial weight. I was 5’10. 217lbs at approx. 28% bf. Over the past 8 months I’ve worked hard and I’m now 176lbs at 13-14% with the calipers but fat loss has halted now. I’m eating approx at my bmr. At 1850 cals a day. Do hitt for 1.5 to 2 hrs/wk. I just read and started BLS 3 weeks ago. You state to get to approx 10% before bulking to 15-17%. Should I continue to try and cut to 10 % before bulking or should I switch now that fat loss has grinded to a halt and do a shorter bulk. I’ve lost 1.2 lbs in the last 5 weeks and struggling to maintain my lifts.

  • Lindsey Marchant

    Here is My big question. Macro and micros r really important so what do I do if Munich doctor mants me eating high fat diet? And lower carbs. How do I still get good results from your program with my body being different in what it needs?

  • Eric Anderson

    Hey Mike,

    I’m loving the progress I’m seeing from your BLS and beyond BLS program, and I’ve gained about 13 pounds since starting in August, which I never thought was possible given my track and field physique (never gained a pound on the other programs I’ve tried). My question is regarding the parallel squat — all of my core lifts have seen consistent and linear improvement and are about 15-30 pounds away from the goals outline in BBLS — except for the squat, which right now is 100 pounds away from my goal. I believe this is due to chronic knee pain I have from a basketball injury. The doctors have told me that there is no cartilage/ligament damage and that it is safe to continue parallel squating, but the knee soreness and “popping” sensation I get when squatting is making me a little nervous about pushing it. I’ve read the study you referenced regarding the back vs. front squat outlined in BLS and it seems like the front squat would be far preferable for me, but I’m apprehensive about giving up with back squats as I feel it will affect my progress. My question is, is it worth dumping such a critical core lift in favor of the front squat even if I’ve been medically cleared for back squats? And if I do replace it, what percentage of my weight should I be lifting with the front squat before I start periodizing?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hey Eric! Great to hear you’re making gains with BLS!

      If you feel more comfortable with the front squat, go for it. You definitely want to avoid any exercises that don’t feel “right” and avoid injury. The front squat is still a squat, so it won’t have a huge impact on your gains if you replace back squatting.

      A good target for the front squat will be about 85% of the back squat.

      Keep me posted on your progress!

      • Eric Anderson

        thanks for the reply man, it felt weird not back squatting today but tbh the front squat definetly felt way cleaner

  • Rashaud Crosby

    I have seen a lot of video’s saying that we don’t need as much protein as a lot of people have been saying (1 – 1.2 lb per BW). Instead, both explained that taking fewer protein than that didn’t show any signs of muscle loss. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NH60Mb1d7k0&t=200s and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeKn-ym6sgE )

    Protein is expensive! I just want to make sure that investing into that those extra grams of protein matters. Right now, i’m eating 2g per kg of bw, however, your calculator have me eating 1.1lb per bw. It’s a huge difference haha.

    • Hey Rashaud! I’ve covered the ideal protein intake in this article:


      You want to be getting somewhere between 0.8 and 1.2 grams per lb of bodyweight, depending on your goals and total caloric intake. 2g per kg of bw is about the same as 1.1 g per lb of bw.

      I hope this helps!

  • Tonny Stark

    Hi Mike pl guide me how should I star my exercise…..
    I weighed 286lbs and 196cm tall….

  • Jamby Perez

    Mike, got a question thats been bugging me, not sure if you have answered this in another article or not. I started a 20% caloric deficit about two weeks ago. When i did the TDEE calculator, i used the 6-7 hours a week of excercise. At this moment this means 5 hours of weightlifting and 1 to two hours of cardio a week. As of now, im down 2.4 lbs, and still gaining strength. So, my caloric intake its at 2409 kcals per day with the 20% deficit. Lets say i burn 200 calories in a morning cardio session, for that day, do i need to consume 2609 kcals to maintain that average of 2409 kcals, or do i stay at 2409 kcals regardless of the activity? Thanks for what you do.

    • Hey there! I recommend sticking to the same calories each day. Eating back calories burned just doesn’t work too well because it’s too easy to over eat, and it’s difficult to estimate your actual calories burned.

      Ultimately, I recommend estimating your TDEE based on your activity levels, and then go into a 20% to 25% deficit from there. At that point, you can adjust based on your results.

      I hope this helps!

  • Hauke

    Hi Mike, got a question concerning how to go about your strength weeks. From what I have understood I do three weeks of training and then do strength week a). Then I do another three weeks of training before doing strength week b). After strength week b) I can do a deload week. If I went for this approach, I wouldnt be doing any biceps, shoulder, tricepts, etc. workouts at all for two weeks. Am I getting this right? Are these strength weeks all that important? Am I missing something here? Wouldnt I find myself falling behind on my strenght eventually when I train some of my muscles so rarely?

    • Hey there! You have the schedule right. Your shoulders, triceps, and biceps all get worked from the compound lifts during strength week, so there’s no need to worry about losing strength.

      That said, if you don’t enjoy the strength weeks, you can skip them and just keep doing the normal routine for 8 weeks before deloading.

      I hope this helps!

  • Snyperx

    Just picked up your BLS book. Seems to have some great info so far. One thing I am disappointed about is how you talk about the evils of supplement companies, but then try and sell your own Legion brand of supplements. Come on man……

    • Hey man, I’m glad you’re enjoying BLS! I’m sorry you feel that way about Legion, though.

      Supplements aren’t necessary to build a great physique, but I’ve never said all supplements are bad. Some are great, and definitely worth taking if you have the budget for it, and others aren’t so great and are’t worth your money. That’s been my stance since the beginning, and hasn’t changed.

      In fact, that’s the whole reason I created Legion; in order to make good supplements that actually work. That said, you can still reach your goals without supplements. Proper diet and training are what build a great physique.

      I’d recommend checking out the page here:


      Do well and let me know if I can ever help with anything! Keep me posted on your progress with the routine! 🙂

      • Snyperx

        Really appreciate you taking the time to respond. Says a lot about you as a person. I may look more at Legion, but for now its just trying to read your book and get my head around everything. At this stage I am a full on fitness newb with very little knowledge. I did also order the spiral bound companion BLS book. Hoping that will be a big help in getting my workouts squared away.

        • No worries at all! Sounds good man. Let me know if you need any help along the way 🙂

  • Farih Muhammad

    Hey Mike, Do you need to do static stretching after you workout?

  • Russell Haggard

    Hey Mike. I love all of your work! I am a huge fan of your book Bigger Leaner Stronger. I do have one question/concern. I am a teenager. Do your nutrition recommendations still apply to younger teenagers like me? On a bulk, with my weight, I would be eating 2,300 calories and on a cut be eating close to 1,700 calories. That is on the opposite side of the spectrum from everything I have ever heard. My “calculated maintenance” calories are close to 2,500. If I should eat more, how much should I eat? I have been lifting for well over a year now also. My newbie gains are well over. Thank you so much for all of the help!

    • Hey Russell! Thanks for the support!

      For teens, I recommend listening to your body and eating plenty of fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean meats, etc. No need to get neurotic with your calories at your age, and I’d advise being in a calorie deficit for as little time as possible since you’re still growing.

      Eat enough to grow, maintain a healthy body fat percentage, and get stronger. 🙂

      Check this out:


  • Apple Zhang

    Hi Mike, I recently purchased you Year 1 Challenge for Women. I’ve also finished reading your Thinner, Leaner, Stronger which is awesome! I would like to start my strength training according to your one-year challenge book. You have 3-day split option and 5-day split options. Since I am very busy, I am just wondering if it is possible to make 3-day split into a 2-day split? (like combing day 2 and day 3 into one day) Thank you!

  • Bart_Zeb

    Hi Mike, Progress has been amazing, Was gonna start my Cut in January, but I got a Shoulder Injury.. Im not sure what it is yet, But im guessing its something to do with the Rotator Cuff or Tendonitis. Either or that isn’t gonna stop me from going to the gym, I cant push out any weight at all so all chest and back exercises are out of the question i think. The only thing I can do apart from Legs, Abs and Cardio is Cable Crossovers, they dont hurt at all when i am preforming them. Is there any other excerises I can do with a Shoulder Injury? I dont want to lose progress throughout these good few weeks that i wont be training upper body. Thanks in Advance Mike.

    – Bart

    • Hey Bart! Sorry to hear about that injury. I’d suggest giving this article a read:


      I’d definitely recommend giving yourself some time to heal. You don’t want to re-aggravate the area and end up with some chronic issue. Ultimately, if you want to continue working out, you’ll have to experiment and find movements you can perform that don’t hurt. Finding a good sports doc would be a good idea.

      If it is your rotator cuff, maybe these exercises would help:


  • Andrei Cosmin Golea

    Hey Mike,

    Your books are great. I already started with “The No-BS Guide to Workout Supplements” and the information is awesome but I would like to ask you something regarding nutrition:

    You mentioned that you take most of your carbs Pre and Post workout (especially post workout) and also that we should eat carbs only 4-5 hours before going to sleep.
    But what if I can only work out from 7:30 to 8:30 PM every day? I go to sleep at 10:30 max so I can’t squeeze in a post workout shake with Whey protein and a banana and also a post workout meal with lots of carbs in a 2 hour window.
    Please give me some advice.

    Thanks in advance.


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