Muscle for life

MFL Podcast 19: Interview with Ben Greenfield on optimizing training, recovery, and health

MFL Podcast 19: Interview with Ben Greenfield on optimizing training, recovery, and health

In this podcast I interview bestselling author and competitive triathlete Ben Greenfield and we talk about the difference between overtraining and overreaching, the easiest way to know when your body needs a break, effective recovery strategies beyond simple nutrition and rest, maintaining peak brain health, and more…







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

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I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

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  • James

    Hi mike. I’m doing this 14km run in 3 weeks or so. Not out of my choice but my girlfriend wants me to do it with her! I only do hiit training as you suggest. I think I’ll do probably 3 or 4 runs before the actual day. I know this sounds sad but I’m worried about losing my gains running that sort of distance. I know you say that steady state cardio is bad for muscle retention. What are your thoughts? And anything I should do so this run doesn’t eat into muscle lol

    • Michael Matthews

      Haha no worries. You’ll be fine. You won’t lose gains. Just have some protein and carbs before and after the runs.

      • Mark

        I am a fan. I have checked out your web site and bought BLS. I am 43 6’3″ 275 35% BF. I was in good shape like 8 years ago – starting over slightly worse off than I did then. Hopefully this time will be a change for life. So I am in cutting phase now. Doesn’t your body naturally protect muscle when you are in calorie deficit. Why is going below BMR for several weeks bad – as long as I can comply with the diet? Maintenance and compliance seem like the biggest problem to me. It is not eating 100 calories of fat that I cheat on – – it is the 1/2 a pizza I eat at midnight after drinking 12 beers. In your book you mention 100 calories of carbs from lettuce is the same as from snickers. It is much easier to binge on calorie dense food like ice cream – I don’t think I could eat 1000 calories of salad in a day.

        Another question is about recovery. I am doing Orange Theory Fitness every other day. It is approximately 55 minutes of cardio and light/medium weight lifting.The recovery day seems to be working well for me in my sorry state of physical fitness. I’m getting to beginning of my 3rd month. Should I try to step it up to every day to try and get my fitness level to where it should be – then drop back and add in weight lifting or just add in the lifting first. I do think I definitely benefit from proper rest days.


        • Hey Mark! Thanks for picking up my book. What did you think of it?

          Let’s get you back into shape then and keep it that way. 🙂

          Yes, to a degree. Check this out:


          That’s true regarding the different foods that are harder and easier to binge on. To help with the tough ones, check these out:



          Cool on the training you’re doing.

          Not sure what you mean by stepping it up and then dropping it back and adding in weightlifting?

          Welcome! Talk soon.

          • Mark

            I like your book and you web site. More importantly, it easy to tell that you are truly passionate about this lifestyle. You are walking the walk not just talking. You help to show me and many others that our goals are obtainable.

            Everything you say rings true to me – it reminds me of the book I bought 8 years ago “The New Rules of Lifting” by Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove – you both even mention the amazing Sandow from long ago.

            One of my problems last time is I didn’t really embrace the strength training practice last time. I worked out with a coworker who was big but he wasn’t really into getting me up to speed on compound lifting. This time I’m going to get a training buddy as you mention in your book and pay for a trainer if I need to. I just need to make it a priority.

            Just so you know your second link is no longer good.

            On the diet issue I will try to stick to you guide lines and shoot for just slightly less than the 25%.

          • Happy to hear it! Thanks for all the kind words and support. I’m happy to be doing what I’m doing. 🙂

            Yep, the heavy compound lifts are KEY. Glad to hear you plan on making them a priority this time.

            Doh! Sorry about the link. Here it is:


            Sounds good on the diet!

          • Mark

            Caloric deficit.

            Sorry I wasn’t clear on my training question. I joined a gym last Nov and started back in with cardio and weight lifting. Made a little progress. A friend got me to join another gym/class which is mainly cardio with like 30% weightlifting/ calisthenics. Workouts are good I’m pushing myself losing weight and gaining muscle. Also think I’m building a base level of fitness. I’m just doing the class every other day – nothing else. I’m starting to think in a month or so I could add in more heavier weights or focus on doing the cardio/calisthenics class which I think would improve my overall base level of fitness. After a few months of 5-6 classes a week then I could focus more on a bulking lift phase.

          • No worries! Ah okay. Gotcha.

            Sure, if you’d like stick to those classes for now and then when you’re ready move on to the heavy compound lifting, that’s totally fine.

            You will be able to build more muscle with proper weightlifting, though so keep that in mind. 🙂

  • Donald

    When is the Multi coming out?

    • Michael Matthews

      5-6 weeks at most

  • Abhijit

    Very knowledgeable person but he speaks from a very technical perspective. Hard to follow occasionally. Like it overall though.

    Also, suggestion for a podcast interview – Sean Nalewanyj (http://www.seannal.com/). Intelligent guy and preaches low rep (5-7) training just like you do.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! I’ll check him out!

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