Muscle for life

The Simple Science of Losing Belly Fat…For Good

The Simple Science of Losing Belly Fat…For Good

If you’re struggling to lose belly fat and want to know why, and what to do to finally get a tight, toned stomach, then you want to read this article.


I have good news for you:

Losing belly fat is much simpler than you probably think.

As you’ll see, all you have to do is make slight changes to your diet and exercise routine, and your belly fat will disappear.

And if you want to lose the gut as quickly as possible, there are a couple “bonus strategies” you can use as well.

So, now that I’ve whetted your appetite, let’s dive in, starting with why the hell belly fat can be so hard to lose…

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Why Belly Fat is Hard to Lose

No, you’re not imagining things.

Belly fat is harder to lose than fat in other areas of your body.

That’s why you’ve probably noticed that when you diet to lose weight, your upper body is first to shrink while your belly remains more or less the same.

To understand why this is, we need to review how your body actually “burns” fat.

“Burning fat” is really a two-part process:

  1. Releasing energy from fat stores into the blood (lipolysis).
  2. Cells taking those molecules in and utilizing them (oxidation).

This first step, lipolysis, is triggered by chemicals known as “catecholamines,” which include adrenaline and noradrenaline.

Once these chemicals are in your blood, they attach to “receptors” on fat cells (that work much like a lock and key), which causes them to release some of their energy stores (free fatty acids).

These fatty acids are then used as fuel (burned or “oxidized”) by various types of cells in the body, including muscle cells. In fact, well-trained muscle is particularly good at oxidizing fats, which is why it’s easier to lose fat when you have a good amount of muscle.

Now, here’s where we get to the difference between areas of the body where fat stores seem to be “stubborn,” like the belly, versus other areas of the body where fat melts away easily.

The primary difference between “stubborn” belly fat and “regular” fat is it contains a high amount of fat cells with catecholamine receptors that blunt lipolysis.

You see, fat cells have two basic types of catecholamine receptors: alpha and beta receptors.

The physiology gets pretty complicated, but the long story short is beta-receptors accelerate lipolysis and alpha-receptors hinder it.

What this means is fat cells that have more beta-receptors than alpha-receptors are relatively easy to mobilize (they respond favorably to catecholamines), whereas fat cells that have more alpha-receptors than beta are not (they don’t respond favorably to them).

This is the basic problem with belly fat, and all other forms of “stubborn fat“–the ratio between beta- and alpha-receptors is heavily weighted toward alpha, which means that catecholamines can’t trigger lipolysis as easily.

Thus, when you’re losing fat, you see immediate reductions in fat cells with a large number of beta-receptors, but little change in fat cells with a large number of alpha-receptors.

For most of us, this means rapid fat reduction in places like our arms, shoulders, chest, face, and legs, and slower reductions in our stomachs, hips, lower back, and thighs, which have high concentrations of stubborn fat cells.

So, if that’s the science of belly fat, how do we get rid of it?

Use this workout and flexible dieting program to lose up to 10 pounds of fat and build muscle in just 30 days…without starving yourself or living in the gym.

How to Lose Belly Fat Naturally

how to lose belly fat naturally

Belly fat may be stubborn…but it’s not completely immune to the fat-burning effects of catecholamines.

What that means is when you gradually reduce your overall body fat percentage, you will lose belly fat…it’ll just be slower than you’d like.

Just to make this clear…

Your primary goal when you want to lose belly fat is to simply reduce your body fat percentage.

The bottom line is if you’re a guy over 10% body fat or a girl over 20%, you’re going to have a fair amount of belly fat to lose if you want to have skin-tight abs. That look requires 7 to 8% body fat in men and 17 to 18% in women. There’s just no way around it.

And that’s why you don’t necessarily need to do anything special to lose belly fat.

Maintain a moderately aggressive calorie deficit, balance your macronutrient intake, use weightlifting to preserve (and even build) muscle while you lose fat, and you’ll eventually have that washboard stomach.

That said, there are a few things you can do with exercise and supplementation to help your body better mobilize stubborn fat cells and thus lose belly fat faster.

By way of example, here are results from a cut of mine. I started around 10% body fat and was holding a noticeable amount of fat in my obliques and lower abs:


And after following my advice for about 8 weeks, here’s how I looked at 6 to 7% body fat:


As you can see, a large amount of the weight I lost was belly fat.

And here’s how I did it…

6 Strategies for Losing Belly Fat Faster

exercises to lose belly fat

You can’t “target” belly fat (or any other fat) for elimination, but you can do a handful of things that will both accelerate total fat loss and help “force” stubborn fat cells to mobilize.

By using the six strategies given below, your weight and waist will shrink faster.

How much faster depends on many things, but I’ve worked with thousands of people and I can confidently say that combining these strategies with a proper diet and training routine can speed up fat loss by 30 to 50%.

That is, if you can lose about 1 pound of fat per week through diet and exercise alone, you can lose 1.3 to 1.5 pounds per week with the strategies outlined in this article.

It’s hard to quantify how much more stubborn belly fat you can lose with my advice, but I can say that it will be noticeably faster if you follow it than if you don’t.








So, let’s get to the “belly fat loss tips.”

1. Fasted Training

losing love handles

People usually think “fasted training” means “training on an empty stomach,” but it has little to do with how empty or full your stomach feels.

Fasted training means training in a “fasted state,” and this has to do with insulin levels in your blood.

When you eat food, it gets broken down into various molecules that your cells can use, and these molecules are released into your blood. Insulin is released as well, and its job is to shuttle these nutrients into cells for absorption and processing.

Depending on how much food you eat, your plasma (blood) insulin levels remain elevated for several hours (anywhere from 3 to 6+ hours).

This is relevant to fat loss because insulin blocks lipolysis.

That is, when your body is in a “fed” state and insulin levels are elevated, it’s busy absorbing nutrients and little to no fat burning occurs.

Your body enters a “fasted” state when it has finished absorbing all nutrients from the food you’ve eaten and insulin levels return to their normal, low “baseline” levels.

This is why feeling like you have an “empty stomach” doesn’t necessarily indicate that you’re in a fasted state (an empty feeling stomach doesn’t mean your insulin levels have returned to baseline).

Now, when you exercise in a fasted state, fat loss is accelerated (and weighlifting in a fasted state is particularly effective in this regard).

Research also shows that fasted training increases blood flow to the abdominal region, which further helps burn belly fat away (the better the blood flow to a region, the more catecholamines can reach it).

The easiest way to work fasted training into your routine is to work out first thing in the morning, before you eat breakfast. This has an added benefit, as well: fasting for longer than 6 hours significantly increases your body’s ability to burn fat.

There is a downside to fasted training, however: when you exercise in a fasted state, muscle breakdown is increased.

This is bad simply because too much muscle breakdown impairs total muscle growth over time.

Fortunately, you can prevent this with proper supplementation.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I want you to know that the supplements I recommend in this article are not just what I personally use but they are from my supplement line, LEGION.

As you probably know, the supplement industry is notorious for its lies and shenanigans. The truth is the majority of the supplements you see in the magazines and on the shelves aren’t going to help you reach your goals faster.

That’s why I decided to create the products I myself have always wanted: science-based formulations, clinically effective dosages of all ingredients, no fillers or unnecessary junk, and natural sweetening and flavoring.

You can learn more about LEGION and my goal to change the supplement industry for the better here.

And if you like what you see and decide to support my work…you’re awesome. 🙂 It’s because of people like you that I get to spend my time writing articles like this that help others get into the best shape of their lives.

HMB and Muscle Preservation

exercises to lose belly fat

The supplement β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate (also known as HMB) is a substance formed when your body metabolizes the amino acid leucine, which is an amino acid that directly stimulates protein synthesis.

HMB is often sold as a muscle-building aid but the research purported to demonstrate these benefits is shaky at best, hindered most by design flaws. Thus, I’m not comfortable making any claims about muscle growth.

There is one benefit of HMB that’s well established, however: it’s an extremely effective anti-catabolic agent.

That is, it’s very good at preventing muscle breakdown, which means you will recover faster from your workouts and experience less muscle soreness (and the free acid form shows the most promise in this regard).

It also has no effect whatsoever on insulin levels, which means it can’t break your fasted state.

This makes HMB perfect for use with fasted training.

Its powerful anti-catabolic effects and non-existent insulin effects means you reap all the fat loss benefits of training fasted without any of the problems relating to muscle loss or insulin secretion.

It’s also worth noting that HMB is superior to leucine in suppressing muscle breakdown because it’s more anti-catabolic than its “parent” amino acid.

This means it’s also more effective than branched-chain amino acid supplements because they rely on leucine for their anti-catabolic effects (isoleucine and valine are very weak in this regard).

In terms of which specific HMB supplement I recommend, I’ve included a clinically effective dosage in every serving of my pre-workout fat burner FORGE.








FORGE is a fat burner made specifically for use with fasted training and it contains clinically effective dosages of HMB plus…

  • Yohimbine. Research shows that yohimbine enables your body to reduce fat stores faster, and it’s particularly useful as you get leaner and are battling with stubborn fat holdouts.
  • Citicoline. CDP-choline (also known as citicoline) is a chemical that occurs naturally in the brain that increases levels of another chemical called phosphatidylcholine, which is vital for brain function.

Research shows that supplementation with CDP-choline improves attentional focus, and I included this in FORGE because most people find fasted training more mentally draining than fed training and CDP-choline can help counteract this.

The bottom line is FORGE helps you lose fat–and “stubborn” fat in particular–faster, preserve muscle, and maintain training intensity and mental sharpness.


2. High-Intensity Interval Cardio (HIIT)

how to lose belly fat fast

High-intensity interval training is a simple exercise protocol that can be applied to many types of cardio, such as running, biking, swimming, or rowing.

The basic idea is you alternate between periods of (almost) all-out intensity and low-intensity recovery.

During your high-intensity bouts, you push yourself almost as hard as you can, and during your low-intensity periods, you catch your breath in preparation for the next sprint.

Now, why do I recommend this specific style of cardio over the more traditional low-intensity type of cardio that many people do?

Well, several studies such as those conducted by Laval UniversityEast Tennessee State UniversityBaylor College of Medicine, and the University of New South Wales have conclusively proven that shorter sessions of high-intensity cardio result in greater fat loss over time than longer, low-intensity sessions.

In fact, a study conducted by The University of Western Ontario showed that doing just 4 to 6 30-second sprints burns more fat over time than 60 minutes of incline treadmill walking (one of the staples of “bodybuilding cardio”).

Furthermore, keeping your cardio sessions shorter means you better preserve your muscle and strength, which is vitally important when it comes to building a physique.

Now, chances are you’ve heard these things before but still have several important questions, such as…

  • How “intense” do the high-intensity intervals need to be in terms of exertion and length?
  • How “restful” and long should the rest periods be?
  • How long should the workouts be?
  • How frequently should you do HIIT workouts?

Basically: what actually qualifies as a HIIT workout and how do you get the most out of this type of training?

Read this article to find out.

3. Heavy Compound Weightlifting

how to lose belly fat for men

If research clearly shows that weightlifting is an effective way to accelerate fat loss, why is it generally associated with “bulking up” and not “slimming down”?

Well, weightlifting isn’t a popular way to lose weight, and for good reason:

It’s a bad way to lose weight…but a fantastic way to speed up fat loss and preserve muscle.

A study conducted by scientists at Duke University illustrates my point perfectly.

Researchers recruited 196 men and women ranging from 18 to 70 years old and split them into three groups:

1. Resistance training

These volunteers exercised three days per week and did 24 sets per workout using resistance machines. Each workout lasted about an hour.

2. Aerobic training

These volunteers jogged 3 days per week at a moderate intensity for about 45 minutes per session.

3. Resistance and aerobic training

These volunteers did both of the routines above, putting their total weekly exercise time just over 5 hours.

After eight months, guess which group lost the most weight?

Number two–the aerobic training group…the only group that lost muscle as well.

And guess who lost the most fat and gained muscle?

That’s right–group number three.

These findings are in line with several other studies as well, and the picture is clear:

If you want to lose fat faster and preserve or even build muscle, you want to do both weightlifting and cardio.

What kind of weightlifting should you be doing, you wonder?

Well, the best type of weightlifting for weight loss would do two things:

  1. Effectively preserve or build muscle.
  2. Burn a lot of energy.

And the type of weightlifting program that best meets both targets is one that emphasizes heavy, compound weightlifting.

By “heavy,” I mean handling weights that are 70%+ of your one-rep max (and ideally closer to 80 to 85%).

This isn’t only best for building muscle–it’s great for burning fat, too.

A study published by Greek sports scientists found that men that trained with heavy weights (80 to 85% of their one-rep max) increased their metabolic rates over the following three days, burning hundreds more calories than the men that trained with lighter weights (45 to 65% of their 1RM).

Similar effects have been seen in other studies as well.

And by “compound weightlifting,” I mean focusing on the big movements like thesquat, deadlift, and bench and overhead press.

We don’t really need science to tell us that squatting burns more energy than biceps curling, but research has confirmed that exercises that involve large muscle groups burn more energy–both during and after training–than exercises that involve smaller ones.

So hit the weights and hit them hard if you want to “supercharge your metabolism” and maybe even build muscle and lose fat at the same time.

If you’d like some guidance on actual workouts to do, check out this article.

4. Caffeine

As weight loss boils down to energy consumed vs. energy expended, caffeine helps you lose fat by increasing your body’s daily energy expenditure.

Caffeine also improves strengthmuscle endurance, and anaerobic performance, and also reverses the “morning weakness” experienced by many weightlifters.

Part of maximizing the fat loss benefits of caffeine is preventing your body from building up too much of a tolerance, however. The best way to do this is to limit intake, of course.

Here’s what I recommend:

  1. Before training, supplement with 3 – 6 mg caffeine per kg of body weight. If you’re not sure of your caffeine sensitivity, start with 3 mg/kg and work up from there.
  2. Keep your daily. intake at or below 6 mg per kg of body weight. Don’t have 6 mg/kg before training and then drink a couple of coffees throughout the day.
  3. Do 1 – 2 low-caffeine days per week, and 1 no-caffeine day per week. A low day should be half your normal intake, and a no day means less than 50 mg of caffeine (you can have a cup or two of tea, but no coffee, caffeine pills, etc.).

Personally I get my caffeine from my pre-workout PULSE, which contains a dehydrated and concentrated form of caffeine (caffeine anhydrous) shown to be more effective for improving performance than what is naturally found in beverages like coffee.

PULSE also contains clinically effective dosages of 5 other ingredients scientifically proven to improve workout performance:

And what you won’t find in PULSE is equally special:

  • No artificial sweeteners or flavors..
  • No artificial food dyes.
  • No unnecessary fillers, carbohydrate powders, or junk ingredients.

The bottom line is if you want to know what a pre-workout is supposed to feel like…if you want to experience the type of energy rush and performance boost that only clinically effective dosages of scientifically validated ingredients can deliver…then you want to try PULSE.legion-pulse

5. Yohimbine

I mentioned yohimbine earlier, which is a substance found in the Pausinystalia yohimbe plant, and that it helps the body “tap into” fat stores.

(Not a very technical explanation, I know–if you want to know exactly how it works, check out this article of mine on how to lose stubborn fat.)

Yohimbine accelerates weight loss, but only works if you’re training in a fasted state. Elevated insulin levels negate yohimbine’s effects.

I’ve cut both with and without fasted training and yohimbine and I can say with absolutely certainty that with is noticeably faster. So much so that I think the biggest benefits of fasted training are that it lets you use yohimbine and it makes the other supplements discussed in this article more effective.








By itself, fasted training will make a slight difference in how quickly you lose fat. Combined with these supplements, however, it’s quite dramatic.

In terms of dosages, research has shown that .2 mg/kg of body weight is sufficient for fat loss purposes, and that ingesting it prior to exercise is particularly effective.

Some people get overly jittery from yohimbine, so I recommend you start with .1 mg/kg of body weight to assess tolerance. If you feel fine, then increase to the clinically effective dosage of .2 mg/kg.

Furthermore, yohimbine can raise blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, I don’t recommend you use it.

In terms of which specific yohimbine supplement I recommend, you’re probably not surprised that I’ve included a clinically effective dosage in my pre-workout fat burner FORGE.


6. PHOENIX Fat Burner

PHOENIX’s caffeine-free formulation is quite a bit different than FORGE’s and is actually made to be “stacked” with it (taken together).

PHOENIX helps you burn fat in three different ways:

  • It dramatically increases metabolic speed.
  • It amplifies the power of fat-burning chemicals produced by your body.
  • It increases the feeling of fullness from food.

It accomplishes this through clinically effective dosages of several ingredients, including…

Through these mechanisms, naringin also works synergistically with synephrine and hesperidin to further accelerate the basal metabolic rate.

Research has shown that supplementation with forskolin accelerates fat loss and increases testosterone levels.

  • And more…

The bottom line is if you want to lose fat faster without pumping yourself full of stimulants or other potentially harmful chemicals…then you want to try PHOENIX.phoenix-bottle

The Ultimate Belly Fat Loss Routine

how to lose love handles

Before I sign off, I want to quickly show you how to put these strategies together to make a powerful belly fat loss regimen.

This is exactly what I do when I’m cutting and it works like a charm.

If you want to lose fat as quickly as possible without sacrificing your health or sanity, lift weights 4 to 5 times per week for 45 to 60 minutes per session, and do 3 to 4 20 to 25-minute HIIT cardio workouts.

Here’s how my training and supplementation break down…

Before Weightlifting (6:45 AM)

I wake up, drink some water, and get ready to go to the gym to lift. It’s about a 15-minute drive, so before leaving, I take the following:

2 servings of FORGE

1 serving of PHOENIX

1 scoop of PULSE

I then go lift for 45-60 minutes and my post-workout meal of about 40 grams of protein and 100 grams of carbohydrate is the first of the day.

Lunch (12 PM)

My lunch is light–a salad with chicken and balsamic vinegar for dressing. The reason for this is I want my insulin levels to be at baseline by about 5:30 PM for my fasted cardio.

If I were to eat a larger lunch, like let’s say 40 grams of protein, 60 grams of carbohydrate, and 20 grams of fat, my insulin levels would likely still be elevated come 5:30.

I don’t take any fat loss supplements at lunch.

Before Cardio (5:30 PM)

About 15 minutes before doing my fasted cardio, I take the following:

2 servings of FORGE

1 serving of PHOENIX

1 scoop of PULSE

I then do 25 minutes of HIIT cardio on the upright or recumbent bike and eat dinner after, which contains about 40 grams of protein and anywhere from 50 to 100 grams of carbs.

That’s it. Rinse and repeat and voila, I can get as lean as I want.

The Bottom Line on How to Lose Belly Fat

exercise plan lose belly fat

I know I’m repeating myself, but this really is the key takeaway of this article:

No matter how stubborn your belly fat might be, if you simply focus on continuing to reduce your body fat percentage, you will get rid of it.

Accordingly, you must ensure that you get your diet and training set up correctly.

No amount of “tricks,” pills, and powders can help if you’re making “newbie” weight loss mistakes or exercising too little or too much.

That said, when your diet and workouts are on point, you can use the strategies given above to speed the entire process up.

Give it a go and let me know how it goes!


What’s your take on “stubborn” belly fat? Have anything else you’d like 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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Leave a Comment!
  • moss

    mike, great article. will definitely give this a try.
    one question: what’s you take on the anti-estrogenic diet by ori hofmekler?

    • moss

      …personally, i find drinking lemon juice, and eating raw onions in cider vinegar (as a side dish to the main meal) is too powerful a fat-cutting stimulus. And it doesn’t do my teeth any good either!

      • Michael Matthews


    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! I’m not familiar with that diet but I wouldn’t worry about hormones unless you know it’s an issue (via blood testing).

  • Joe

    I am in a bulking phase and doing some cardio a couple of times per week. I have a Pre-lifting “meal” per your 30-30-30 suggestion. Can I do the cardio in a fasted state as long as I am getting my overall calories in over the course of the day? I was thinking this could help minimimize some of the fat storage. Or does doing fasted cardio during a bulking phase not make sense? If I do eat pre-cardio, should I follow the same 30-30-30 suggestion or should be doing something else? Thanks!

    • Michael Matthews

      Great on what you’re doing. You could do the cardio fasted, yes. Nothing wrong with that.

  • Quan Tung Duong

    Hey Mike, does it still count as fasted training if I drink protein shake 30 minutes before training ? Because most protein product come with some BCAA in them and I can’t afford to buy BCAA supplement at the moment.

    • MsJadensDad .

      Unfortunately, this doesn’t count as fasted training. Does it still work? Yes, but not nearly as well as ingesting solely BCAA’s. Keep in mind that building muscle, maintaining, or losing fat can all be done WITHOUT supplements–we all know how pricy they can get– which Mike has acknowledged many times in the past. The suggestions he lays out are just that–suggestions and you can use as many or as few of these suggestions as you want. That’s what’s so great about his work–he references pretty much everything and explains what it is and why he uses or suggests it, allowing you to take this information and fit it into your plan. Quan, if BCAA’s would put a dent in your pocketbook, then just stick to the protein pre and post workout and keep hittin’ it hard–just my thoughts. Best luck to you.

      • Michael Matthews

        Great comment! I 100% agree.

    • Michael Matthews

      No, it won’t because protein stimulates insulin production. Maybe you could pick up some leucine instead? It will last longer than BCAAs. If not, then you don’t have to train fasted.

  • Brandon

    Hey Mike – according to medical studies, Green Tea Extract’s fat burning properties are dependent on not consuming caffeine regularly. Thoughts? http://examine.com/supplements/Green+Tea+Catechins/

    • Michael Matthews

      This is true but remember the studies on this showed that habitual intake over 300 mg per day didn’t completely negate GTE’s fat loss benefits, but did decrease them.

      Over 300 mg per day, 7 days per week, is quite high. This is one of the reason why I recommend cycling caffeine as discussed in the article.

  • Mikkel

    Great article again!! Im wondering, will a protein shake in the morning ruin your fasted state? I usually drink one before morning workout just to not feel too hungry and add coffeine pills when doing cardio…

    • Adam Clancey

      I’m interested to know this too. If I’m working out first thing I would usually just have a protein shake as I leave for the gym.

      • MsJadensDad .

        Drinking a protein shake will break your fast, yes. The shake will cause your blood sugar to increase which is followed by an increase in insulin to allow your cells to use the nutrients you just ingested–this is fine when your primary goal is to build muscle, in fact Mike recommends doing this for bulking/maintenance. However, when your goal is to maintain muscle mass and strength while cutting fat, working out in a fasted state is optimal. A fasted state being insulin/blood sugar at baseline levels which you typically reach within 3-6 hours of eating a meal. This is why fasted exercise is easier to accomplish (the fasted state–not necessarily the exercise) in the morning after you’ve essentially been fasting all night.

        • MsJadensDad .

          This fasted exercise, and weight training in particular, is where the true fat burning benefits of fasting show themselves–at least that’s what the recent research is pointing towards these days. Unfortunately, fasted training is also a great way to catabolize, or break down muscle, which obviously isn’t a good thing. If, however, you have amino acids already coursing through your veins, then your body will preferentially utilize those, in addition to the fat you’re burning for energy. This is why you should take 10g of BCAA’s 10-15 minutes before working out as these shouldn’t increase your insulin levels, thus keeping you in a fasted state while giving your body something other than your muscle to breakdown.

          • Rich Johnson

            BCAA’S should be taken in a 3:1:1 ratio of Luciene, valine, Isolucine at 1 gram per 10 pounds of LBM. This ratio works because it simulates the the ratio of BCAAS that would be present in your bloodstream if you were in a catabolic state. Your body thinking it is in a catabolic state will then almost be forced to burn fat as it’s primary fuel source. This is exactly why this method works.

            Nice article.

          • Michael Matthews

            The valine and isoleucine don’t matter, really. It’s the leucine you want.

          • Rich Johnson

            3. Dehydrogenation: Oxidation of the products formed in the above reaction yields α-β-unsaturated acyl CoA derivatives.
            4. End products:
            • isoleucine ultimately yields acetyl CoA and succinyl CoA,
            rendering it both ketogenic and glucogenic.
            • Valine yields succinyl CoA and is glucogenic.
            • Leucine is ketogenic, being metabolized to acetoacetate and acetyl CoA.
            • [Note: Branched-chain amino acid catabolism also results in glutamine and alanine being sent out into the blood from muscle.]

          • Michael Matthews

            Thanks for the info Rich!

            Hmm I said leucine alone for preventing excessive muscle breakdown, not valine.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! Yes, it will. You want to keep your calorie intake below 30-40 calories to maintain the fasted state.

  • Enriq

    Hi Mike! First of all, great articles! I am extra motivated because of all your clear tips and incredible results. Thank you for sharing with us. I have a question. 4 hours after having your light dinner or meal, you do your HIIT cardio session. After that, what are you having as post-cardio meal? Do you try not to eat till a couple of minutes passed or do you try not to have carbs after cardio to keep the insuline still in its base level and keep burning fat, or however what it really only matters is hitting your macros no matter with which nutrients but finishing the day with the caloric deficit of 20%? Thank you very much, I hope you have passed good holidays and keep on going with this useful page!

    • Enriq

      Hello Mike! Reading again your article, another question appeared. Actually I’m in 73kg 22% fat. Being in caloric deficit I’ll arrive to 72 kg, but at that weight the caloric deficit of 20% wont be the same amount as when I had 73kg, the values of TDEE for 72kg are new ones.
      Q:Should I recalculate it and apply again the 20% at each time I achieve a new weight till I arrive to the final weight I want?

      And last thing, if I want to stay in 72kgs still losing fat but no decreasing more my weight,
      Q:Should I keep my body in caloric deficit? or beeing in caloric maintenance I’ll be losing fat and remaining the weight I want? Being in caloric deficit wont send me pretty much to 71kg and so on?

      Thanks!!! 😀

      • Michael Matthews

        Some people have to recalculate every 15 pounds lost or so whereas others don’t. It depends on how resilient your metabolism is really.

        You can just play it by ear. If, after losing 15 pounds or so, your body weight is stagnant for 7-10 days, it’s time to reduce calorie intake or increase exercise.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Enrique!

      I have some protein after my cardio. Usually one cup of low-fat cottage cheese or 0% Greek yogurt.

      I don’t worry about delaying consumption. It doesn’t matter in the bigger picture.

      • Enriq

        So, if you have only protein,
        Q: Do you think it is better to avoid carbs post-cardio to keep on burning fat since insuline is still low, or if there is a caloric deficit at the end of the day it doesn’t matter having low GI carbs post fasted cardio for example at breakfast?

        And finally, if your goal is to achieve 71kg 7%BF for example, and you arrive to that weight but still having body fat to lose,
        Q:What should you do? Forget about your weight and keep on going in deficit caloric because what it really matters is to lose that extra BF, being maybe the fat lost replaced with muscle tissue and staying in 71kg? Because if being in caloric maintenance to stay in 71kg, no BF is lost like you wrote “No calorie deficit no losing fat, period”, isn’t it?

        Thank you very much for your answers! Very surprised about how implicated and fast you are with this site, congrats!!!

        • Michael Matthews

          The “avoid post-workout carbs” advice is stupid. It doesn’t help you burn more fat.

          If you want to get leaner you’re going to have to maintain a calorie deficit. There’s no way around it.

          • Enriq

            Perfect answers, thank you! Keep on going like this, you are motivating so many people, great work!!!

          • Michael Matthews

            YW, thanks!

  • Justin Ring

    What does your HIIT cardio session look like? I’m doing:
    3 minute warmup
    30 sec full, 30 normal x4
    45 sec full, 45 normal x4
    1 min full, 1 min normal x3
    45 sec full, 45 normal x4
    30 sec full, 30 normal x4
    3 minute cool down.

    Just interested to see how other people do theirs.

    • sam white

      8-10 hill sprints of 20-30 seconds on 60 seconds off is how i do mine.

      • Michael Matthews

        Nice. When I do sprints I usually just do 70-90 yards all-out running, walk double that, sprint, repeat.

    • MsJadensDad .

      On a stationary bike, I do a 3 minute warm up followed by 30 second sprints & 30 seconds of rest for the next 20 minutes. When I can swim, I’ll sprint 50 yards ( for me that’s 27-30 seconds) then rest 30-60 seconds. Recently I’ve been jumping rope too following the same pattern — 30 seconds as fast as I can (for me that’s 90-110 skips in 30 seconds, usually closer to the former rather than the latter), followed by 30 seconds of rest. I’ve also worked in hills/flat ground sprints, again following the same work rest protocol. The opportunities are endless as far as HIIT activities, but research has shown that biking is the activity that not only helps you preserve the most muscle but can actually help you build more too.

      • Michael Matthews

        That’s perfect.

    • Michael Matthews

      That’s perfect. I do it very similarly actually, but I start out with the 45-60 second intervals and end with the 30-second ones.

  • Tricia

    Can i lose my belly fat while im trying to bulk up? Or i can only do this when im cutting?

    • Michael Matthews

      No, this is for when you’re cutting.

  • Hoda

    Fantastic article! I was just wondering if you had any alternatives to the caffeine intake (including the green tea extract). I rarely drink coffee and I don’t ingest it for personal reasons. Thanks! 🙂

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Hoda! Hmm synephrine is another option.

      • Hoda

        Thanks man! Any brand you particularly endorse or recommend. Appreciate it. 🙂

        • Michael Matthews

          Of synephrine? Nah I would just buy something generic. It will be in my fat burner BTW.

      • Hoda

        Actually nevermind. I looked into you Legion products and I noticed that you discussed all these measurements are within clinical (therapeutic) ranges. I believe your the first person to convince me to take caffeine, lol. 🙂

        • Michael Matthews

          Haha thanks man lemme know how you like the product.

  • Wes

    Mike, I noticed you said most GTE is 150mg per pill. The bottle you pictured advertises 400mg. My bottle advertises 315mg. Should I expect to get 50% GTE of the advertised mg?

    • Michael Matthews

      Remember it’s catechins that matter. The pills I recommend are 400 mg of extract per pill with 40% catechins, or 160 mg catechins per pill. Gotta watch out for that.

  • quocngo

    Great stuff Mike, I have been following this program as well. For the VPX Meltdown, it also has Yohimbine in it. Do you factor that into the 15mg you take daily or is that on top of it if you follow the .2mg/kg you recommend? I’m doing the 3 Meltdown VPX + 10mg Yohimbine right now at a bodyweight of 84 kg

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! Yes I factor in the VPX’s yohimbine, although yohimbine doesn’t seem to bother me at all so I will sometimes err on the high side.

  • Eric Farto

    Excellent article, Mike! Thanks for sharing it!

    One question: You said that protein intake induces insulin in the bloodstream, which sabotages the so desirable fasted state, right? So, what’s the difference between taking BCAA’s or Isolated whey protein for the fasted training? I mean, both have protein in their composition.. which in theory disrupts the fasted state..

    Thanks once again! 😉

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Eric! Yup, protein in any real amount will break the fasted state.

      BCAAs are just very low in calories. 10 grams would be about 30 calories, max.

      • John


        what about the leucine in the bcaa’s though? wont that raise insulin and break the fast?

        • Michael Matthews

          No, the research I’ve seen shows a weak insulin response to BCAAs or leucine.

    • PestPupil

      If you take 1 scoop of protein powder before Fasted cardio, that’s 25 grams of protein, 1 gram of protein= 4 Calories. So you would have ingested 100 calories before you started your fasted cardio! Your body uses whats in your stomach first, so you’d subtract the 100 cal from how much you would burn during that session. That would mean if you burned 300 cals that session, 100 calories would have been from your protein, lowering how much fat you burned to 200 per session. With just BCAA (0-30 cal), you get to help preserve muscle and burn about 300 cal per session. Mike said it simply, but I noticed a lot of people asking this so I wanted to explain.

      • Eric Farto

        Thanks for the explanation, guys! I’m used to hit the gym well-fed, so I found a bit difficult to workout in a fasted state (even with 10g BCAA and Caffeine).

        As I go to the gym at night, sometimes I get really hungry, so I look at Mike’s pictures to keep focused on getting shredded! It works!

        Everybody wants to be shredded, but nobody want to lift no heavy-ass weights in fasted state! 🙂

        • Michael Matthews

          If your fasted workouts suck, don’t bother with them. You will do fine with food before.

  • Chad

    Mike, with regard to fasted cardio and cutting in general, I’ve taken your advice (with great success, thank you) and limited my cutting phases to 6 weeks so as to limit muscle loss. My question: If I would like to cut even more, which I do, how long should I return to a maintenance or bulk before resuming my cut? In other words, after 6 weeks of cutting, can I “maintain” or bulk for 1 week, or 2 or 3, and then get right back to cutting? Thanks!

    • Michael Matthews

      Great Chad, I’m glad to hear it. You can probably go longer than 6 weeks. You should play it by your metabolism:

      https://www.muscleforlife.com /how-to-speed-up-metabolism/

      Your other questions are answered there too.

  • Jared

    Is HIIT really good for people who want to preserve their muscle while losing fat? The linked studies showed better fat loss in overweight people but nothing about muscular test subjects. Also, the link that states that HIIT increases GH and that GH preserves muscles had very dubious conclusions.

    So my question is; in order to gain muscle while loosing fat, isn’t a low steady stat cardio for >35min better?

    All the best!

  • balaga

    Hi Mike I weigh 84 kgs and total body fat percentage is 24%, are these workouts are good enough to bring my total body fat percentage to 8? Or do I need to do more.. I am going in the morning to gym, and having hydroxycut of 2 pills before workout along with green tea.. post workout I have whey protein and white eggs 3.Please suggest me..

    • Pedro

      It does not matter what kind of foods you are having or what fat burners are you taking if you do not follow a calorie deficit over time to cut the fat. Get your BMR and your TDEE and make a 20% deficit from there and you will lose weight gradually. To reach an a good 8% it will take years of training and cutting and bulking correctly.

      • Michael Matthews

        Yup. Not years but it could be done in 8-10 months to go from 24-8%.

    • Michael Matthews

      Sorry I didn’t see this until now. Yes this is how you get there but it will take time. This article will help you too:

      https://www.muscleforlife.com /how-to-speed-up-metabolism/

      • balaga

        Nice article Mike …thanks a lot..

        • Michael Matthews


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  • Keith

    Great article Mike. I was already using GTA and caffeine before morning workout but have just started on the VX meltdown along with yohimbine also to see if it helps.

    Also would like to say if anyone is under any doubts as to whether fasted training and HIIT works take it from me it does and give it a shot. Along with a good/clean diet and heavy 4-6 rep range weight training I lost 4.5 stone and dropped bf from 28% to 9% through last year training fasted.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Keith! Let me know how it goes.

      Yes, exactly on the cardio. I give my body about 4 hours to bring insulin levels back down after a smallish dinner before doing my cardio.

      Wow amazing job on your gains so far. That rocks. Have we put you up on the website yet?

      • Keith

        Thanks for this Mike. Will try and extend the gap then. When doing afternoon cardio only been having 2-2.5hour max gap between meal and the cardio.
        I’m not on the website Mike.

        • Michael Matthews

          Okay cool, let me know how it goes.

          And dude let’s get you up on the site! Want to shoot me an email?

    • Enriq

      Amazing transformation you had Keith, congrats! Can you tell please, in how much time did you achieved from 28%BF to 9%BF? In what consisted your caloric deficit diet? Or you only tried to eat good/clean with no counting calories? It will be very motivating for all of us that are trying to achieve our goals to read some experiences! Thanks!! 😀

      • Keith

        Hi Enriq,

        It took me 12 months to go from 28 to 9. Although I stalled for some time on around the 12 mark due to metab slow down. Following some advice from Mike (up calories for a few weeks and then following the lose weight quick article macros) got things moving again to 9%.

        Best bet calorie reduction wise is to follow the -20% rule. Although before I discovered Mikes books/the website I was reducing more than that for first 6 months.

        I tracked calories/macros using myfitnesspal to make sure I kept to plan. Its way to easy to blow your calorie budget/think its ok to have something extra if you don’t do this.

        I also, as much as possible, kept alcohol to a minimum. I went for month/two months at a time without any. I think that is a key for fast weight/fat loss. No point in being good all week with exercise/your diet to blow it all by having 8 pints of empty calorie lager on a saturday nigh imho.

        Exercise wise for first 6 months I did internal training fasted of a morning and weights session in the evening. I now either do both fasted of a morning or split them.

        Any other points/areas you are interested in let me know. 🙂

        • Enriq

          Very fast and great answer Keith! Thank you very much! Now that you arrived to 9%bf, what are your goals now? In case of bulking, Mike recommends to arrive till 15%bf and re-cut to 10%bf and repeat (or 6% in case of shows, etc…). How much time of bulking do you think it will take to arrive to 15%bf having a +10%+15%caloric? aren’t you afraid in moving on to 15%bf because of all the hard work that it took you to achieve your 9%? This is a question for you and also for Mike in case he wants to give his opinion since it will be also very usefull, if we have a show in mind and we are in 15%bf, approximately how much time before shall we start cutting to be OK? Thank you!! 😀 😀

          • Keith

            No problem at all.

            My goal was to get to single digit bf (which I never thought I would achieve tbh. Especially when things stalled for weeks). Set my next goal at Xmas to get to 7%. So currently (hopefully) I am working towards that along with working on abs more than I have.

            I am then planning on putting some more muscle on at that point. Although I dont want to go up to 15% bf while doing that. We shall see though.

          • Enriq

            Perfect!! You already achieved a very good goal, that motivates me. I will do the same by going from 20%bf to at least 9%bf. I will try to do it till july, then after summer a little bulk but I don’t want to have a hard time cutting again, so maybe as you I’ll try not to go so far according to bf% while bulking.

          • Keith

            Good luck with it. 🙂

          • Enriq

            Hi again Keith! I was reading your answers and I had a few questions. All that time of cutting from 28%bf to 9%bf, did you stayed the whole 12 months in a caloric deficit diet? Do you think there is no way you can lose fat without a caloric deficit? I ask this because I’ve been reading something about carb cycling, where there are days with high carbs-no caloric deficit and other days with low carbs arriving to caloric deficit when you can do your cardio sessions and burn fat. I don’t know if according to burning fat it is as good as beeing in caloric deficit all time, where you can only lose fat, or however carb cycling is good since you can build muscle and burn fat in the same week. I don’t know if with carb cycling you can arrive to a 9%bf, maybe it will be more difficult, longer or maybe we shall stick in only one goal at each time. What do you think?

          • Keith

            Hi Enriq, sorry just replying.

            The majority of the time I was in calorie deficit through calorie counting/exercise.

            Carb cycling isn’t something I have tried properly. My opinion would be its only something you need to try once you get weight/bf down and things stop moving. Its also not something you can use instead of a calorie deficit to lose weight… You still need a calorie deficit to lose weight even if carb cycling?

          • Enriq

            Thanks for your answer!! I don’t know about caloric deficit while carb cycling, but I think that you decrease carbs in low carb days to be in a caloric deficit and try to burn extra fat gained in high carb days. I’m not very sure about this.

          • Michael Matthews

            Yes you definitely still need to plan/track macro intake when carb cycling. I’ll be talking more about it in my next book as it’s kind of an “advanced” dietary strategy. It’s not entirely necessary IMO.

  • E

    Would working swing shift affect muscle gains and fat losses?

    • Michael Matthews

      Nope. I’ve worked with quite a few shift workers that do well.

  • Gabe

    Thanks for the thorough article, Mike. I appreciate you taking the time to discuss one of the most challenging goals most of us face.

    I do take some issue with with the fasted cardio suggestion though. While I wouldn’t normally link to bb.com, Schoenfeld offers a pretty convincing write up as to why fasted cardio isn’t so useful. http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/the-myth-of-cardio-before-breakfast-debunked.html
    BCAA’s are also very insulinotropic so I’m not sure that aligns with the fasted theory either.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Gabe!

      I’ll definitely check this out. I know there is research on both sides of this fence.

      I can say for sure that fasted cardio has made my cuts faster, especially in that final leg of 7 – 5%…

      Hmm BCAAs, especially leucine alone, are not very insulinogenic from what I’ve seen. Can you send me research showing otherwise?

      • Gabe

        I hear ya mate, I think it’s a good read but either way I can’t argue with your experience or your results 🙂

        • Michael Matthews

          Yeah I’m always open to new research and viewpoints of course.

  • Tom Daniel

    Thanks for the information. This should be very beneficial to someone trying to lose belly fat.

    Tom Daniel

  • Mark

    MIke – I like and follow your approaches to working out – and also the messaging around supplements and what’s needed (and what’s not). I’m just a little surprised to see this article pitching me on three supplements to buy, when in the past your book(s) have stated that most supplements are needed.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Mark! I really appreciate it.

      Remember that supplements are not NEEDED, but the right ones can help. And in the case of getting really lean, I’ve found them quite helpful…

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  • Harrison Boyd

    Hey Mike, just a question regarding the Lunch meal you have 4 hours before taking your pre workout supplements. Obviously waiting 4 hours is a longer period to supply energy to your body. Generally my body needs nutrition every 2.5-3.5 hours and I experience hunger pains during that time. Even with a large assortment of veggies and protein (enough to be considered a full meal), I still have the stomach pains. I was curious if you experience this and if you do anything to help suppress it?

  • Octavio Bravo

    Great article Mike! Always like the amount of information you give out and your supplement recommendations. Definitely will give some of these strategies a try!

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks man! Let me know how it goes!

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  • Michael C

    Hi mike – I don’t have time for two separate gym sessions (lift in AM and HIIT in PM). I could do longer am workouts though, should I just do HIIT after the weights?
    Also, 45-60 min workouts?? Your back routine, for example, takes about 30 min max. What are your splits?

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah you can just do HIIT after your lifting.

      If you rest 2-3 min in between sets, the workouts will take a little longer.

      I’m currently doing a program very similar to my BLS program–it’s a periodized version of the program that I will be talking about in my next book.

  • Nigel

    Hey Mike, firstly, many thanks for the awesome article, just what I
    need to help me get rid of that really stubborn mid-section. I have a
    question regarding the Green Tea Extract you recommend though. I live in
    the UK and although the one you recommend is available on Amazon UK I’ll have to wait for it to be shipped from the USA – no problem. However, in the meantime, I’m looking for an alternative and notice the same brand (NOW) do an
    EGCg Green Tea Extract which has 80% Catechins, what’s the difference
    between this one and the one you recommend? With 40% more Catechins
    would the EGCg be a better option? Thanks in advance 🙂

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Nigel! I really appreciate it.

      EGCG is the most abundant catechin in green tea so that product should work fine as well!

  • Alex

    FYI, yohimbine is a stressor and anxiogenic. If you can deal with that, then fine, but it’s actually used in the research community for just this reason.

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah, some people have anxiety issues with it and some don’t. It seems to be a genetic point actually.

  • eric

    hey mike, i have been training since 95′ and am in pretty good shape. weight train 5-6 days and cardio 2-5 days a week. my diet is good and 90% clean. i seem to be in a rut. i have never counted calories and this is probably my downfall.
    i just stumbled across your site and have read two of your books over the last couple days. some great pointers and tips. gonna get the “bigger, leaner” book too.
    thanks for sharing this info and experience!

    • Michael Matthews

      Great on what you’re doing, and thanks for your support brother. You’re going to really like BLS–I would love to get you going on the program…

      • eric

        Thanks. i did get the BLS book and look forward to reading it. i feel that i need to tune my diet a little. i think i burn way, way more cals that i am eating due to my type of work which is very physical. add on weight training and cardio i know that my body is stressed but i feel great all the time. i’ll try out your program and see what happens. cheers!

        • Michael Matthews

          Okay cool. No worries we can work around your activity level. Let me know on the meal planning. I can help if necessary…

  • Enriq

    Hi Mike!! I have a question for you! I am a surfer, so I swim a lot and ride waves for between 1 or 2 hours per session. If I want to benefit all that time of surfing by trying to burn fat too, how my pre surf nutrition should be if I surf in mornings after awaking and other days only the afternoons? If I wake up and have 10gr BCAAs and surf fasted in order to burn more fat too, such a long fasted period of intense surfing wouldn’t make me burn muscle or are my muscles covered with those BCAAs? And in afternoons, shall I wait 4 hours from my last meal in order to be closed to the fasted state since I will burn more fat than having eaten a couple hours before? Thank you very much!!! 😀

    • Michael Matthews

      Hmm personally I would do 10 grams BCAAs before surfing, then 10 grams more at the 1-hour mark, and then eat after.

      Yeah, if you can wait longer after a meal you will be closer to baseline insulin, which means more lipolysis.

      • Enriq

        What a great answer, perfect. I’ve been following all your tips and I’ve passed from 71kg 22%BF to 69.3 kg 20%BF in 2 weeks. I don`t know if its OK but I’m still very motivated to achieve the 6-10%BF range before June! 😀

        • Michael Matthews

          That’s great! Very solid progress and your goal is very doable. Keep up the good work!

  • eric

    quick question. why weight training in a fasted state rather than HIIT in the morning? can you explain the pro’s and con’s please

    • Michael Matthews

      Research has shown that lifting heavy weights really spikes catecholamine levels, which induce fat loss.

  • Francois

    Hi Mike! Nice article.

    I am currently roughly at a 10-11% bodyfat and eating around 2000 calories and having 3-4 strength trainings – no cardio. I would like to go down to 6-7% bodyfat. I am planning to reduce slightly my calories and implement additional gym activities to accelerate the fat loss…. 2 questions..

    First, in my case, would you suggest implementing additional strength training or cardio sessions and how many?

    Second, once I achieve a very low body fat % with these temporary additional activities, how would you suggest shifting to the maintenance mode in terms of gym activities and calories?

    Thanks a lot


    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Francois! Cool on your stats and intake and goal. I Like it.

      Yes, ideally you would lift 5x per week and do HIIT cardio 3-4x per week. Heavy weightlifting too, not a bunch of pump training.

      You will then reverse diet, which I talk about here:

      https://www.muscleforlife.com /how-to-speed-up-metabolism/

      • Francois

        Thanks for your prompt reply Mike. and thank you very much for sharing this advanced nutrition tips of reverse diet that I can hardly find on the net.

        So I understand that for shifting to the maintenance mode I would have to bump my daily calories to 100-150 and maintain it during 7-10 days and then re-adjust to another 100-150 daily increment throughout the subsequent week and so on until I reach my TDEE. Is this correct?

        Would that then enable me to go back to 3-4 strength trainings – no cardio- routine and maintain a very low body fat? If not what would you advise in terms of maintenance strength trainning schedule given that I am not a huge fan of cardio,,, 😉

        • Michael Matthews

          My pleasure!

          Yeah exactly, it’s that simple. How lean you will be able to stay depends on how much food you want to eat every day. And genetics do play a big role in that…

          Let’s give it a go though and see how your body responds.

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  • Gute

    Great article! I didn´t understand one point, Mike. You do your cardio at nigth and take supplements with caffeine 04 hours after dinner. Does caffeine don ´t spoil your sleep? What do you eat after your cardio at nigth? In the order day, you remains fasted to do your workout?

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! Strangely enough it doesn’t. Caffeine really doesn’t affect me much.

      I usually just have some protein after my cardio and before bed.

      Sorry but I didn’t understand your fasted question.

      • Gute

        I mean, you do your cardio at nigth, have some protein before bed and go to the gym on the next day, after wake up. So, in that case, what do you eat before going to the gym? Do you have some carbo or protein before, or you still remain fasted to go to the gym? Go fasted to the gym, after did cardio, can cause hypoglycaemia?

        • Michael Matthews

          Oh sorry. Yes you could train fasted and be fine, or have a pre-workout meal.

  • Brad

    Hi Mike,

    I am a little confused about the “fasted” training. You say that you want your insulin levels to be low before/while you are exercising, but you also say that you take rice dream with your protein shake before you exercise. How can you work out in a fasted state with that shake before your workout?

    • Michael Matthews

      When I’m doing fasted training I don’t have any rice milk or food before training–just BCAAs and pre-workout. I don’t always train fasted though (only when cutting).

      • Brad

        That makes sense. Not even whey protein before a workout while cutting?

        • Michael Matthews

          Nope, the BCAAs mitigate the acceleration of muscle loss.

  • Artem

    Hello, Mike! I absolutely love your articles and the way you break down all the info! However it is a bit confusing for me to understand how to count my calories 🙁 Im 5’11 214 pounds with 19% body fat. According to ITFYM I need about 2300kkal per day to lose fat, approximate macros are 220 grams of protein, 250 carbs and 70 fat. Lets take as example easiest thing as chicken breast, 950 grams is 230gm of protein and 1100 kkal. Does this mean I have to eat almost a kilo of chicken per day and I will still lose body fat?… Plus there are salads and carbs on top of the chicken, sometimes I find it hard to stuff my face with so much food… maybe im counting something wrong? Or am really correct?

  • Rich

    Thanks, Mike. I have a question. I wake up very, very early every day (California-based stockbroker working NYC hours) – and exercising in the morning is impossible for me M-F. Could you recommend anything for someone in my shoes?

    • Michael Matthews

      That’s not a problem at all. You can train after work? Doesn’t have to be fasted.

      • Rich

        Definitely. My question was more in relation to the recommended supplement regimen. What would I take upon waking (if anything) knowing that I can’t exercise until about 4pm? Would I still want to take the recommended morning supplements?

        • Michael Matthews

          Oh okay well it depends what you’re doing with your diet. If you’re cutting, I would have some caffeine upon waking and wait a couple hours before eating.

          If you’re not cutting, then you don’t have to take anything until pre- and post-workout.

          • Louis

            Hey, Mike. May I ask the reason for waiting for a couple of hours before eating after consuming caffeine?

          • Michael Matthews

            Just to benefit from the fat-burning properties of adrenaline and noradrenaline, which will spike from the caffeine.

  • Kingy

    Hey Mike,

    The Yohimbine you recommend contains 2.5 mg of Yohimbine Hydrochloride USP (Yohimbine HCl) per capsule. You recommend .2mg per kg. I’m 86kg so I’d be taking 17mg, this is 6/7 tablets each morning and 6/7 tablets before cardio. Do I have this right?


    • Michael Matthews

      Yup, this is correct.

  • nimish

    Hey mike,I am 30years old, with 70 kg 5″11. Body fat % about 15. As per your article working out in morning will get me to archive body fat to 10%? I am planning to change my routine to have hi it, weight lifting as you mentioned in this article.

  • Yash

    Hey Mike
    I’m using Isolate whey protein and working around 12 hours a week in gym. And from those 12 hours almost 6 hour I do abdominal excercises. I give 1 hour daily for abs excercise except sunday. Is it in right direction or I have to change it. I’m getting very slow result.

    Abdominal Excercise which I do are-
    Bent knee sit-up
    Standing oblique twist with bar
    Lying leg raise
    Hanging leg raise
    Twisting body with the help of dumbles

    Looking forward for ur response

  • Andrea

    Hi Mike, Just curious. I recently started taking Tonalin CLA and I want to start this exact method listed above and I see that CLA is not listed as part of the regimen. Just curious as to whether I need to cont. to take the CLA or d/c taking it? If it’s recommended to cont. to take the CLA, when and how often should I take the CLA? Thanks Andrea

    • Michael Matthews

      If you have it yes continue taking it at 4-6 grams per day. The reason it’s not in the article is more recent research has shown that it looks to be unreliable, that’s all. I may be removing it from my recommendations.

  • wayne

    My question is about pre -post nutrition for hiit cardio. I have porridge,eggs and berries at 7am then 20g whey protein with spinach at 10am. How long after the whey protein should i wait before doing hit, and how long do i wait to eat a meal after the cardio? What should i eat after cardio? What is the best pre-post cardio nutrition and how long to wait before taking each meal?

    • Michael Matthews

      You don’t have to worry much about this but generally speaking, the lower your insulin levels the better for cardio as insulin blunts lipolysis (the mobilization of fat for energy).

      Personally I would wake up at 7 AM, do the cardio fasted, and then eat after…

  • Dan

    My local supplement store sells L-leucine. Is that the same thing as Leucine?



    • Michael Matthews


      • Dan

        cool. thanks mike 🙂

        • Michael Matthews

          YW 🙂

  • Bob

    Hey Mike, is it ok to do HIIT in a fasted state in the mornings? Other reading I have done suggests low intensity cardio burns more fat and is less stressful for the body. Also I find weight lifting fasted really affects my performance, ie can’t lift as much? Do you find this as well?

  • Bob

    Also Mike do you take nighttime protein when you are cutting or does that interrupt the fasting process?

    • Michael Matthews

      Yes my last meal is protein when I’m cutting. These days it’s low-fat cottage cheese or Greek yogurt.

  • Jen

    Hi Mike, You recommend HIIT at night after dinner, instead, could HIIT cardio also be completed directly after a weight training session? I would be training in a fasted state too.

    • Michael Matthews

      Yup, you can do that as well. It’s not IDEAL as it’s best to split up cardio and lifting, but it works.

  • Hoda

    I just wanted to say I love this article, its so informative! And I’m on all these supplements and I love them all. I have never felt so full and alert before. However, I do think its worth you noting here that VPX has Yohimbine in it so you don’t need to completely get all your maximum Yohimbine daily allowance from Primaforce Yohimbine HCI alone (unless I’m misataken).

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! I’m glad to hear it!

      I honestly don’t adjust downward but yes technically you can/should, haha.

  • Caleb


    Great post as always. Quick question – you said, 10g of BCAA’s when training in a fasted state. Is there a range for this and is this on the high end? I am looking at Optimum’s BCAA product and each capsule is 1,000mg (suggested serving 2). I really need to take 10 of these things or am I missing something?



    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! Really what you want is 3-5 g of leucine. You could just get that instead. Otherwise yes you would need 8-10 pills.

  • TJ

    Hey Mike if I was not to take all of the pills however just have the BCAA and maybe drink green tea before going workout in the morning in the ‘fasted’ state. Would that be effective or no?

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah that’s fine as well. A cup of green tea won’t have enough catechins to matter but you can have it if you enjoy it.

  • Brad

    Hi Mike,

    I am trying to lose fat and train in a “fasted” state. My workouts usually occur from anytime between 4-6. Lately, I have been eating my last meal before working out around noon, and have noticed that my workouts have been low-intensity due to being in the “fasted” state. I take a pre-workout supp and BCAA’s to prevent muscle loss, but I am still fatigued during my workout. What would you recommend I do to get back to my old workout intensity while still being in the “fasted” state? What kind of meal and what time should I have?

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah that can happen. Some people just don’t do well with fasted training. Have you tried a pre workout drink? Shameless plug:


      • Brad

        Yes, I am using a pre-workout and a BCAA supplement, but I am still fatigued. I am beginning to think that it might be better for me to have those extra carbs in order to have a more intense training session.

        • Michael Matthews

          Yup, it sounds like fasted training just isn’t your body’s thing. Not a big deal.

  • Enriq

    Hi Michael! I have been following all your tips. However, since a week ago I have a lower back pain in the right side, but nothing muscular, it’s internal pain. I don’t know if its maybe kidney problem so I’ll see the doctor, but I also want to ask you. Do you know if the quantity in protein can produce kidney problems? And the caffeine quantity per day? I’m trying to shred and I’ve been eating 1,5gr prot/lb of lean body mass. Now I’ve reduced it to 1,15gr/lb of lean mass to see what happens. Will that reduction in protein won’t allow me to obtain the same progress I’ve been having? How much minimal protein quantity can we reach to continue obtaining good results in fitness and BB? Maybe 1gr/lb lean mass or 0,8gr/lb?? Thank you Michael.

    • Michael Matthews

      Good questions! I talk about the protein here:


      I’m not sure on the caffeine. Google around and see what you can find.

      You don’t need 1.5 g/lb. When cutting you can top out at 1.2 g /lb and when bulking and maintaining you can drop to 1 g/lb.

      Bare minimum would be .8 g /lb.

      • Enriq

        Great answers! I’ll read your article and see the information. Also, if I reduce my protein, my macros percentages also will vary. I’m now in 40%CH 30-35%Prot 25-30%Fat. That aren’t the percentages you say we should stick in your articles, is that a big problem? When bulking, how should those percentages be?Thank you very much!! I continue reaching my goals and still motivated, there is a new and single vein in my belly! LOL 😀

        • Michael Matthews

          35 p, 40 ch, and 25 f is totally fine. Just gotta make sure your calories are right, of course.

  • Louis

    That’s a lot of supplement to take in. I am financially limited, will BCAAs be enough for a fasted training? That’s the only one supplement I can find within my vicinity, caffeine and GTE, I get from my coffee/tea (whichever I have atm).

    • Michael Matthews

      Yup that’s totally fine.

  • Carlos Arteaga

    Hey mike, what if I lift around 6pm? Which is my case. What should I do to stay in fasted state by that hour?

    • Michael Matthews

      I would make sure my last meal was 3 – 4 hours prior, and was small. 30 – 40 grams of protein with little to no carbs.

  • Han

    Hi Mike…i really… really love reading your work! Big thanks to you !!
    I bought BLS yesterday, not yet finished reading though. Btw, about this stubborn fat, am on a fasted training. Latest meal usually on 2000 or 2100, and go to gym on 1300 the day after on an empty stomach, only take BCAA before workout. I think i can lift as heavy as if i have breakfast..but need your advise though, is it safe to fast that long and go for a weight training? and for HIIT, is it better before or after weight training?
    Am 167 cm, 65kgs, waist 87 cm, body fat: 21%, muslce 32%.
    Many many thanks in advance..

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Han! I really appreciate it.

      Cool on the fasted training. Yes that’s totally fine so long as you take BCAAs before. Best is separate but if you have to do back to back, do it after.

      Cool on your stats. Keep me posted on how it goes!

  • Louis

    With Yohimbine, you take how many capsules then? 6? Since every capsule contains 2.5mg

    • Michael Matthews

      Yes if that’s your weight.

  • ryenz

    Hey mike, I am currently 135 lbs, looking like 13-15 percent body fat and just like many others seem to be putting so much work into the gym, started implementing clean eating but still seem to be getting nowhere. I am able to lift 5x a week and include cardio when necessary. My work schedule is M-F 5am-2pm. I want to implement fasted training, how would you come about this and does intermittent fasting also need to come into play when incorporating fasted training?

  • ryenz

    Hey mike, I was brought upon your articles and books through a friend. I currently work 5am-2pm M-F, am able to lift 5x a week and do cardio when needed. I want to implement fasted training, but how would I incorporate it? Is it preferred to lift upon waking? Or would I be able to fast while at work and lift afterwards and eat my meals for the rest of the night prior to repeating? Stuck in a funk trying to figure which would be the better approach. And does intermittent fasting have to be done as well as opposed to the 3-6 hours to train in a fasted state? Basically stuck trying to fit your training into my current work schedule. Thanks for your time.

    • Michael Matthews


      Cool on your schedule. Yeah lifting after waking will be the easiest way to do it. You could lift after work but you might find this tougher.

      You don’t have to do IF, no. You could lift fasted and then eat your post-workout meal after and eat whenever you want thereafter…

      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

      • ryenz

        Thanks for the reply and I have found your posts very informative, thanks for sharing the knowledge. And hoping to get a good routine going!

        • Michael Matthews

          My pleasure. Thanks!

  • biker joe

    Hello Mike, I love all the information in your articles. I’ve been on Intermittent Fasted training since Dec. I don’t have a problem not having enough energy to finish my workouts. But I’m having a problem shedding the belly fat. I came across this article and decided to give your plan a try. I ordered all the supplements you mentioned and received them two weeks ago. I’m adhering to your plan except I’m taking a lower dose of the caffeine because I never drink coffee or pop. Until I see how my system reacts. I do my workout and then cardio. Because it is just easier for me. Now here is my problem. Since going on these supplements the next day after my workout and every day since. I have very intense aches and pains in my muscles and joints. My workout routine and intensity has not changed. I’ve read that BCAAs help eliminate muscle soreness. Have you heard of anyone having this reaction? And, do you think it will go away after a few weeks when my system gets used to the change? Thanks for your help.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks so much!

      Hmm well if you’re training fasted you should be taking BCAAs but that’s interesting on the aches. Are you drinking enough water?

      And remember that no amount of pills can overcome an improper diet. You need to make sure that’s perfect…

  • ismael

    so u take 2400 mil of green extract a day?

    • Michael Matthews

      About 1.5 grams ATM.

  • biker joe

    Thanks Mike for the response. I drink enough water and I am taking the BCAA supplement you suggest. Since I’ve been taking the Caffeine, Green tea extract and BCAA I’ve been having these pains in my muscles. They do go away after I warm up and work out but that night and the next day, the pains in my muscles come back. After I warm up I’m ok again. I never had these pains before taking these supplements. I’m just wondering if this is a short term reaction and when my system gets used to taking them the pains will go away? This is why I asked if anyone else had this reaction?

    • Michael Matthews

      My pleasure!

      Great on what you’re doing. Is it just soreness or?

      • biker joe

        The soreness/pains is deep in the muscles. Legs, back, arms and shoulders. They would not go away until I worked out again the next day, when it would return again in about four hours after working out. This all started the next day after starting the supplements. I’ve been taking the supplements for fourteen days now. In the meantime I’ve purchased your book. I decided to take a week off to set myself up to start on your workout routine. Now since I’m taking this week off and stopped working out, except for cardio everyday, the pains have stopped. I’m still taking the BCAA, Caffeine and Green Tea Extract. So Monday, 4/7/14, I will start working out again and will see if the muscle pains come back. Sorry for such a long post but it’s hard to describe my condition in a few words.

        • Michael Matthews

          Interesting. When you start lifting again, work in the 6-8 rep range and see if you feel the same.

          • biker joe

            Hi Mike. I’m posting an update on my muscle pain problem after starting using the Belly fat loss supplements. As I stated in my last posts. The pain in my muscles after working out was unbearable. This is what occurred the first week taking the supplements. First day supplements and work out. Four hours later I got pain in the areas I worked out. Next day still pain. Took supplements, workout that days muscles in my routine. After starting my workout pain went away. Four hours after this days workout pain started in muscles I worked out and pain came back to the muscles I worked out the day before. Now this happened every day after my workout. By the end of the week my whole body was in pain. In the mean time I purchased your book. I read it and decided to start doing the routine in the book. Before this I had no intention to take a week off. I wanted to start new on your routine so I took the week off. I still took the supplements and did cardio every day that week. In the coarse of the week the pains started to slowly go away. So now I’m on the supplements for two weeks. After the week off I started your routine. It took this first week to figure out how much weight to use in my work sets. Now I’m into my second week and on track adding weight to my work sets. Now almost four weeks later the pains have completely gone away. I just want to say in my original routine I did warm up sets and three pyramid work sets with the same intensity I’m doing your routine. I don’t know what supplement caused the pains, maybe a chemical reaction my body had to go thru. I am so glad they are gone. So if anyone experience a reaction to these supplements take a week off the weights and only do cardio this off week. After the week off go back to the weights and see if your body acclimated it’s self to the supplements. It worked for me.

            I like to comment on your routine. My routine consisted of working out each body part two-three times a week. I’m on your five day routine. Your routine only works each body part once a week. I thought I would loose strength and have stiffness in my muscles only worked once a week. Well, I feel stronger and have no stiffness. Also only working out one muscle area a day I don’t have it in the back of my mind. I have to save energy for my next muscle group. I can keep my mind on the intensity of the exercise, like lets say doing my leg workout. I’ve been able to push more weight and reps. I know it’s only been two weeks. But I can feel the difference.

          • Michael Matthews

            Thanks so much for writing! Unfortunately I get about 200+ emails and messages per day, and I want everyone to get some of my time, so I have to move through fairly quickly.

            Would you mind summarizing your message into a few key questions that I can answer for you?


          • biker joe

            Hello Mike. I have no questions. I just wanted to give you an update and tell you the adverse reaction to the supplements I got, have gone away and wanted to comment on your workout routine from your book. I Like your book and workout routine.

          • Michael Matthews

            Great, glad to hear it!

  • Carlos Arteaga

    Hey Mike, my weight is 65Kg (I’m a tinny human being) and my Yohimbine number is 13mg, but pills are 3mg, so I can either take 12mg or 15mg. Which one should I do?

    • Michael Matthews

      Either or. Won’t matter.

  • Paul Fisher

    Did I read correctly? You take 15mg of Yohimbine twice in one day?

    • Michael Matthews

      Yes. I get no jitters or feeling whatsoever, really.

  • dan

    Hi Mike,
    I am currently out in Afghanistan and trying to cut the last few kg’s of fat before I get home next month, I follow a similar training program to what you reccomend, 2 on 1 off for weights (use a 6 day week) and 3-4 HIIT sessions, this has worked really well and have seen good growth over 5 months.(2in chest 1in arms) but have struggled with leg growth, despite training legs harder than anything else alternating a heavy squat and heavy DL based session every week. Do you think training to much cardio could impact on leg growth particularly when done fasted in the mornings? And is a protein shake sufficient to stop catobalism but still allow the benefit of fasted training on fat stores?? ( I have no specific Bcaa’s)
    Thanks – Dan

    • Michael Matthews

      Cool on wha tyou’re doing! That’s great.

      If your HIIT sessions aren’t too long it’s probably not an issue, but it could be impairing growth to some degree.

      That said, in my experience although legs are the largest muscle group, it takes quite a bit of time to really start seeing separation. They just get big and bloofy first and then, over the course of a couple of years, they really start taking shape. Kinda like chest.

      No, protein will break the fasted state.

  • Renier

    Hi,one question, for example, my goal is to be at 7 % bf, can I go down to that % WITHOUT using yohimbine, and green tea extract, and getting by BCCA from Whey Protein(High source of BCAA)? and doing the others things: lifting often, heavy, doing some HIIT, taking cafeine and doing some Fasted Training? its also worth to mention that I’m taking my time dieting and doing slowing reducing 100kals per week instead of jumping from 400 grams of carbs to 200 carbs in one day(Obs I know I have to be in a caloric deficit, just want to know if 7% is achievable without using yohimbine, and green tea extract, and getting by BCCA from Whey Protein) … what are your thoughts? as Always, great article!

    • Michael Matthews

      Yes, you can. It will take a little longer but you can. Glad you liked the article!

  • Enrique

    Hi Mike! I have a question! Have you felt strange when arriving to low body fat levels? For example dizzy all day when moving your head and losing balance, cold hands, a little preassure in your head as very little headaches. I ask you this because I’ve been feeling dizzy all day long for a month ago and I don’t know if its because of having already arriven to a low BF%. According to my caliper and the 3meassure formula I’m in 5-6%BF. Do low BF% can have some side effects?

    • Michael Matthews

      No, definitely not. Never had anything like that. My first suspicion would be mineral imbalances…

      • Enriq

        Do you think it may be very low caloric intake and high caloric deficit? I was in 1900kcal, sometimes 1700kcal in no WO days for 67kgs 174cm 7%BF.

        • Michael Matthews

          That’s not very low for your weight…

          • Enriq

            Okey! Thank you very much one more time for all your tips Mike!!

          • Michael Matthews


  • bipolar

    Please forgive my ignorance. I’m not sure I understand the fasted state workouts, even tho I’m doing them. If you wake up, eat, and then do your HIIT, besides oxygen and blood being diverted to the stomach for digestion, I don’t see how your body can use the food/calories that are in there, as they haven’t even been digested yet? I mean digestion takes how long? Aren’t you pretty much running on what you ate the day before? Would the body be able to use whats in your stomach if it was just consumed? I mean the fact that egg protein is absorbed at 1.3 g an hour tells me most of my egg protein wont even be a factor if I ate it prior to a fasted workout. What am I missing here?
    Love your articles, website, and diet info, its really helping. I just need that little extra to get down to 10%, Going to get hydrostatically weighed this week to really narrow it down and see where I’m at. Believe I’m right around 16% or so…

    • Michael Matthews

      Digestion is rapid. Insulin levels rise right away and glucose is hitting your blood stream quickly.

      Hope this helps! Cool on your stats. You don’t have to do anything special at this point–just eat and exercise properly.

  • Hi Mike, congrats for your site, hi value information, I’m using exactly the same strategies but I need to combine resistance training and cardio in the same sesion because of time and when I’m lifting I wait until I know I will end lifting in 30 minutes then I take the caffeine Green tea and yohimbine, I Know yohimbine is working because my hands get cold an the end of session. I will give a chance to the recumbent bike too!
    Best Regards.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! That’s okay. Do your cardio after your lifting. Keep me posted on how it goes!

  • marsa

    hi mike ,

    1. so that’s impossible to get 6 pack abs without using supplement. if not, please tell how?
    2. is lunch your first meal? and if yes, isn’t it too long to be in a fasted state?

  • marsa

    hi again mike,

    another question.I found some food in some web sites.they are introduced as fat burners.like Olive oil,Vinegar and so on. is that right.is it possible?or I read “Nuts,
    and almonds in particular, help suppress your appetite. When you’re not
    as hungry, you eat fewer calories and will therefore lose weight”. but they’re

    High Calorie Foods.so what’s your idea? THANKS A LOT MIKE.

    • Michael Matthews

      Foods that help you fight off hunger can help you stick to your diet but they don’t have any intrinsic “special” fat burning properties.

  • Alessandro

    Hey mike, can you post an article about how to get rid of love handles? They will not go away.

    • Michael Matthews

      Everything in this article would apply to love handles as well.

  • Andrew

    Mike, starting my cut for summer. Am training in the morning so fasted training is fine for me. Am taking leucine, but my VPX meltdown are still yet to arrive in the mail so I was going to just get some caffeine via a strong black coffee pre-workout. Is drinking a black coffee going to spike insulin levels at all? (as I presume caffeine pills on their own do not…)

    • Michael Matthews

      Great! Yes that’s fine. Just don’t add anything to the coffee.

  • Dan Watkinson

    Taken delivery of my meltdown pills this morning and it says to take upon wakening but wondered if still the case as I don’t train till 6pm after fasting from 10am. Your thoughts and advice would be great please Mike

    • Michael Matthews

      I would take before lifting. Use as your pre-workout.

  • tattedbeautyof2

    I work nights!!!! I get off work go home drink a protein shake and/ or eat some oatmeal ,in addition I take supplements and go lift . When I come home I drink protein shake along with some low fat cottage cheese and tuna with avocado then I go to bed. is this ok??? I feel I have more energy working out when I get off of work then I do when I wake later in the afternoon. Also I am a mom of two so my schedule works better this way as well.Should I be eating through the night while at work?? I lift 3-4 times a week and do cardio the other days off day sunday.

  • Serge

    Hi Mike! When you cutting, is your post-workout meal (I guess, protein shake) a breakfast or you eat full breakfast in addition? Since I workout early in the morning (after waking up), I have my protein shake as “recovery drink” and 10-15 minutes later I have a breakfast. I was thinking if it is too much food for body to digest (500-7)00 calories? Would it be better to have a gap between “post-workout drink” and breakfast?

    • Michael Matthews

      Yup that’s my breakfast. It’s 2 scoops of whey, 2 cups of rice milk, 1 frozen banana, 1 tsp cinnamon, blended up. SO good.

      You can do it your way though. Totally fine.

  • Barbaros

    Dear Mike,

    Thank you for this great post. I am hoping that you could answer my question and lead me to the right direction.

    I started my transformation journey in January 2014. In January, I was 74,2 kg with 19% body fat ratio. As recommended, I calculated my TDEE, caloric deficit amount (%20 less than TDEE) and macro requirements (I kept daily protein intake at around 160+ gr). I can say that I followed it very strictly and got measurements every month.

    I am now 69,9 kg and my BF is 16,2%. While it seems like a progress, the measurements indicate that I am now losing more muscle than fat. My BF went down to as low as 15,7% two months ago but it has been increasing since then. My muscle mass was 57,1 kg in January but now its 55,6 kg.

    I have been trying to identify the reason but honestly I am lost. I have followed the same workout routine (4 days a week weight training + 4 – 5 days cardio) which was supposedly designed to maintain muscle while on caloric deficit.

    As a side note, I took L-Carnitine shots for 2 months and that’s when I saw most progress with losing fat. I stopped that this month and recently started taking BCAA before my fasted training early in the morning as you suggested.

    I am not sure if losing some more weight would be the right thing to do for lowering body fat ratio as I am already in the recommended BMI. Would you have any recommendations to make more progress? Would BLS make a difference? Or would it be a better approach to stop cutting and focus on building some muscle instead (and cutting later again)?

    Thanks a lot.

    • Michael Matthews


      Great job on your weight loss so far. 10 pounds down in 4 months is a little slow. My guess is your intake was too high or you weren’t moving enough.

      What was your lifting program like? How much cardio?

      L-car won’t help with fat loss but it’s good for muscle recovery.

      Check this against your macros:


      And yes focusing on heavy compound lifting will be best for fat loss.

      • Barbaros

        Thank you for your quick response!

        My current intake is 1750 kcal with 40% protein, 35% carb and %25 fat split (Katch-Mcardle BMR is 1640 kcal). Is it too high?

        My lifting program consists of 2 days of upper body exercises and 2 days of lower body ones. It includes bench press, rows, deadlifts, squats, etc. and recommends 2 or 3 sets of 4 – 8 repeats (depending on the exercise).

        I am an early bird so I start working out at 06:30 AM. It usually takes 35 mins for lifting. I do HIIT run on the treadmill for at least 25 mins after lifting (I only have an hour before work). So it is 4 days of lifting + cardio and 1 cardio only day. I take weekends off.

        What do you think?

        Thanks for your help in advance!

        • Michael Matthews


          You can check your macros/cals against this article:


          Cool on your workout program. That’s not bad.

          Great on what you’re doing. Are you taking BCAAs or leucine before your fasted training?

          • Barbaros

            I am taking BCAAs (1 scoop of Xtend) before my fasted training (it has only been one week though). I also have protein shake after the training.

            If the workout program is fine, should I try cutting some more calories or should I wait and see how BCAAs work?

          • Michael Matthews

            Okay that might not be enough. You’ll need about 10 g BCAAs.

            Have you looked at the article I linked?

          • Barbaros

            Hi Mike!

            I followed your recommendations about fasted training, BCAAs and dieting, and I think I have made some good progress in the past 1 month. I am now 69 kg with a body fat of 14,5%. However, people now say that I look very skinny and somewhat unhealthy even though there is still some visible amount of fat around my belly.

            I was wondering if I should keep on cutting or start bulking to increase my muscle mass and shred the fat afterwards (which should in theory reduce overall body fat ratio if done correctly)? I read your article on best way to gain muscle. The limit you set there for bulking was 15% body fat. Could you please tell me which way I should go?

          • Michael Matthews

            Great job! Ignore what people say. You’re doing this for you and you can most definitely lose more fat.

            I would recommend getting to 10% and then bulking. Trust me. It’s the best for the long run.

  • james

    Hi mike can you remember your weight difference between the two pics?

    • Michael Matthews

      Yes 194 and 183.

  • Renier

    Hi mike I have a question, let’s say that you are trying to lose fat, doing the reverse diet and lets say you hit 2000 kals and get down to 10-12% bodyfat, and you want to bulk, but you need 2800 kals(400 kals surplus) to do a clean bulking phase, and then you go from 2000 kals to 2800 to bulk and you do it Slowly, will you gain bodyfat while slowly incresing you calories from 2000 to 2800? and if so, how much? this is just an example, but what do you think?

    • Michael Matthews

      It depends on your body but you shouldn’t start gaining fat until at least the 2500 mark in the above scenario.

  • Christina H.

    Hi!! I have a quick question 🙂 What if I did my weight lifting early in the morning (fasted) and then followed by a 20 min. HIIT? Would that continue fat burning or will this have a negative impact? I always thought it should be the other way around, that cardio should be done fasted then weight lifting later but recently I just started doing it all together in the morning before eating breakfast. So I would wake up, have my BCAA’s, go to the gym and weight lift for 45-60 min. (Heavy training) then I would do 20 min of HIIT cardio after. Then I would wait about an hour and have my post-workout meal. Would that work?

    • Michael Matthews

      Hey! That would be fine. Definitely lift first. You want your energy for that! Yes that’s perfect on the BCAAs and post-workout meal.

  • Cory Krigbaum

    Hey Mike,
    Great Article!

    I’ve posted before, and as you know I’m in the Army. We do a lot of cardio in the mornings and when we do strength workouts, its usually BW only.

    Since I can’t get to the Gym before Army PT, could I still do the Belly Fat Loss Routine as outlined here? Take 3-5 grams of leucine, 300mg of caffeine, etc…

    • Michael Matthews


      Yup that would be fine.

  • Barbaros

    Hi Mike,

    I can’t seem to find yohimbine or caffeine pills where I live. However, I noticed that Grenade Thermo Detonator has both as well as green tea extract and some other stuff. Would you recommend this product? Is is safe to use?

    Thanks a lot.

    • Michael Matthews

      It’s okay I guess. I’m not too impressed by the formulation but yes it’s safe to use.

  • kevin portella

    hello mike, so the yohimbine says to only take 2 pills (5 mg) a day and also explicitly says not to take more than that a day. According to your article I need 5 pills, is that safe to consume? The article is great btw! thank you, and cant wait to get started.

    • Michael Matthews

      Ignore the bottle recommendations. My recommendations are based on clinical research. Bottle recos are based on nothing.

  • Kevin

    Does yohimbine have to be taken right before a workout or can I just take it in the morning so my body is in a “fasted” state? (I usually work out in the afternoon)
    Thank you

    • Michael Matthews

      Don’t have to exercise but it does do best when catecholamine levels are elevated so I would do with some caffeine.

      • kevin

        that’s perfect since I take a caffeine pill before work in the morning. can I just take both when I wake up and eat lets say 30 min. later??
        thanks again

        • Michael Matthews

          That works. Yup.

  • stdez

    Mike you say that you drink whey + in the morning while your working out in a fasted state, Doesn`t that elevate your insulin

    • Michael Matthews

      I don’t drink whey before training when I’m training fasted. I use BCAAs or leucine.

      • stdez

        My mistake Mike thank you for clearing that up

        • Michael Matthews

          NP YW

  • wissam

    To comment on HIIT training. You need to be aerobically fit in order to do these. Without an aerobic base HIIT is detrimental and you will not be able to do as many sets with maximum effort as possible. The aerobic base allows to recover between sets and therefore allows you to go to maximum effort when you are performing HIIT. I played squash competitively and HIIT was a requirement in order to be fit as the sport is aerobic with quite a bit of anaerobic phases to it. I had to do cardio and be aerobically fit before hitting HIIT. All professional athletes have an aerobic base before doing HIIT. To be have a good aerobic base 30 minutes for cardio at 80% maximum heart rate twice a week should be good.

    • Michael Matthews

      You’ll build your aerobic capacity up quickly but yes you can include some LISS to help in this regard.

  • marko

    Not to be too nit-picky, but there are no Beta-2 receptors located on adipocytes, they are actually Beta-3 receptors. Beta-2 R’s are located mostly in vascular and bronchiole smooth muscle, and when they are stimulated, they cause smooth muscle relaxation meaning vasodilation and bronchodilation. Once Beta-3 R’s are stimulated, they increase lipolysis as well as permit the release of adiponectin, which in turn is an essential endocrine hormone and promotes fatty acid oxidation, improves insulin sensitivity, as well as many other good benefits. Adipose tissue plays a key role in endocrine function by releasing adiponectin, and these levels are shown to be higher in leaner individuals. Not only does it increase insulin sensitivity, it has also been shown to decrease instances of atherosclerosis which causes CAD, PAD, etc… Just trying to help you out by enlightening you with correct information, one professional to another. Feel free to email me if you’d like.

    • Michael Matthews

      Doh! My mistake. Thanks for the heads up. I fixed it. 🙂

      • marko

        My pleasure brother. You are a pretty huge inspiration. Do you have a fitness IG account I can follow?

  • biker joe

    Hi Mike, after taking these supplements how long do you have wait to work out. I work out (after wake up in fasted state) at home so I wait about 30 minutes before I work out. In those 30 minutes I’m getting my weights ready. Now when I start working out I feel a little sluggish but as I get into my routine I feel more energy. I would like to have more energy right from the start because I start with dead lift or squats. Question 2, how long should this energy spike last? I try to get my work out done in about an hour and a half. Thanks.Tom

    • Michael Matthews

      Good question. I take them about 10 minutes before training as they hit you quickly in a fasted state. Depends how long you feel caffeine for. For me about 40 min.

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  • Jen Jen


    I’m female, 5’4″, 133 lbs and have been doing Jamie Eason’s Live Fit program for the last 9 weeks. Although I’m stronger and have obvious muscle growth, I’m not losing thigh size (huge thighs, lean and muscular up top). I’ve switched to Visual Impact for Women which touts it will lean out my thighs. I’m doing 5 reps and 4-5 sets upper body, various muscles 4 times a week, and just body weight step ups a lunges once a week. I do 15 minutes treadmill HIIT followed by 15 minutes low intensity cardio on treadmill, on all 4 upper body days. I work out at night. Do you know if I can mimic the fasting state workout if I just eat a protein shake and banana for dinner at 5:30, then workout at 8:30? Or is that too close time wise to be considered fasting? Also, do you think this program will maintain my muscles, or will I lose some muscle on the new program? So confused….

  • Lewis Watt

    Hey Mike.
    Quick question RE HIIT cardio. Do you think there is any benefit or drawback to “mixing up” the type that you do. For example, I’ve pretty much exclusively been doing treadmill sprints (for whatever reason I find the movement on the recumbent bike very uncomfortable so tend to avoid it) but wondered if it might be worthwhile occasionally subbing in steep incline intervals, or even switch to the rowing machine from time to time.
    Really appreciate the work you’re doing man. You’re developing quite a fan base over here in Scotland! Keep it up!

    • Michael Matthews

      Sure nothing wrong with that! I don’t think it will matter in terms of results but it can keep it fun. 🙂 Thanks man! I appreciate it!

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  • Felicia

    Mike, great article! I am a female on a hunt to drop my body fat to 18-20%, I am currently at 24%. I know as you say genetics play a huge part in it all. I want to be leaner but still have a little bit of meat on my bones. I currently weight lift (and no pumping for me, I love lifting heavy and I’m constantly pushing myself to lift heavier) 4 times a week with cardio 2-3 times a week. I currently take BCAA before 15-20 minutes before I workout and I also take a multi and CLA. I also take protein after I workout. I think I will add in the fasted cardio in the AM and continue to lift during my lunch break. So how many days of fasted cardio would you suggest for me? And should I add an extra day of weights? My current regimen is Mon and Thur: Legs and shoulders, Tue: Tris and Chest and Wed: Back and biceps. Any suggestions would be helpful! Thanks, Felicia

  • Cameron

    You make me sick. You’re just like every other scam artist. You are clearly on the juice but use the results to sell your supps. Nothing wrong with the AAS, but don’t mislead people.

  • Cameron

    Why are you deleting my comments

  • Cameron

    Michael Matthews takes steroids.. Don’t let him fool you.

  • Jack Croft

    Would you weight lift without supplements?

    My current routine is this everyday other than my rest.
    Wake up (drink water only) Would a protein shake here break the fast?
    Weight lift
    Breakfast (Protein shake, and food)
    I then wait about 4 hours
    Do cardio
    Lunch – Rest of day?

    So I weight lift fasted consume carbs and protein. Fast another 4 hours do my cardio and then have a normal day counting calories. This is for a cut not a bulk.

    I want to prioritise fat loss and hold onto muscle. And to try and do both activities fasted. Problem is I have quite a small window to fit everything in due to my long and late working hours. Often 6M-2AM.

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah definitely. Supplements are NOT required. They can help but that’s it.

      Yes some protein is fine before you lift but if you’re going to eat protein you might as well include carbs too.

      We need to make sure your daily intake is right:


      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

  • Diogo

    Hey Mike,
    i don’t like to lift right after wake up, i rather do the cardio in the morning and lifting at night. Is it ok to invert that routine?
    Loved your book and the website!

    • Michael Matthews

      Totally fine! Thanks! Let me know how it goes!

  • Bollo

    Hello Mike.
    I’ve stumbled across this article and have been reading most of the comments from people sharing their work outs and reading your suggestions. I think what you’re doing is truly fantastic and is inspiring for many people trying to get the best out od their bodies so keep it up.

    My question is this: I’ve been getting back to building muscle after a slight injury to the shoulder so have been strengthing it, I’ve definitely noticed the difference in my back, shoulders and chest definition, but not in my arms (I only do pull ups as my elbow hurts doing curls so I stay away from them).
    I find it incredibly hard to do HIT training in the evening but I tend to do it after my 45min weights session for 10/15mins. Then have my post work out shake and a good breakfast.
    Do you think doing HIT after a gym session is going to benefit me or am I best to try to find the time in the evenings?

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks so much! I really appreciate it.

      I like what you’re doing. You’ll be fine doing it after lifting. Personally I would probably have 10 g of BCAA or 30 g of protein after lifting and before cardio.

      • Bollo

        Thanks for the reply!
        What do you think of mixing BCCA, glutamine and some simple sugars (dextrose) after heavy weights, then HIT cardio for 20mins and then consuming 30g of whey isolate straight after to maximise the insulin spike?

        • Michael Matthews

          No need for the BCAA unless you’re training fasted.

          I like glutamine but remember it doesn’t help you build muscle–it can only help fight off overtraining and it’s good for gut health.

          I’d rather eat food than dextrose…

  • Kenneth James Miller

    Hey Mike,
    I recently turned 30 and had my first Cholesterol check and the results were bad. I don’t want to take medicine for it so I decided to start working out more regularly. I really want to lose my belly fat. My question for you is. If I do HIIT in the morning on the bike, do I need to take the bcaa’s? And how long after working out do I need to wait before eating?

  • Kenneth J Miller

    Hi Mike,
    If i am just going to do HIIT in the mornings to lose some weight and belly fat to start of with, Do i need to take the BCAA’s?

    • Michael Matthews

      Great! if you’re going to train fasted, yes.

  • Faraz Shoukat

    Hi Mike, I am a Bigger Leaner Stronger user (its been a month and a half). I have a question after reading this post of yours and would really appreciate it if you could clarify it for me. In your book, you suggest to incorporate a pre-workout meal which includes about 30 grams of carbs and 30 grams of proteins, which is what I have been following. However, in this article, you talk about working out in a fasted state for effective belly fat loss. Which one should I be following – I am currently following macros for cutting 1.2g P, 0.2g F, 1g C per pound of body weight. I workout first thing in the morning, however, I do have a pre-workout shake with 30 grams of each carbs and proteins. I do not have all the things you mention here BCAA etc etc to incorporate in my pre-workout meal. Would you suggest I ditch the pre-workout shake all together? Please advise. Thank you for all your hard work. It has helped my entire family greatly.

    • Michael Matthews

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

      Either method is fine but I’ve found that I lose stubborn fat a bit faster training fasted. This matters more as you get leaner.

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  • Dreambodycomingsoon

    Hi Mike. I love to see that you write us back. 🙂 I’m really ready to lose this fat on my body. I can’t take it any mOre and I’m ready. I’ll let you know how I do with what you put in this article and once I can afford to in a couple weeks I’ll buy your book. Thank you

  • Rajith

    Training in a fasted state could be great to loose fat fast but don’t you think that possibility of gaining muscle is eliminated when training in a fasted state too? what do you think? Specially for a “Skinny Fat” guy having around 18% of B.F could not be the best case for when cutting ? I know that cannot expect much muscle growth while cutting but at least from no to little muscle can be gain right? will this chance eliminate while trying to workout in fasted state even if taking BCAA?

  • claudiodmn

    Hi Mike, I want to thank you for your article, its very helpful, clear and informative.- from Argentina, claudio

    • Michael Matthews

      Thank you!

  • Justin

    Mike, would you explain when you do your HIIT? Not sure if I’m reading it correctly – 4 hours after you eat dinner? So, are you eating really early or working out really late??

    • Michael Matthews

      I’m actually doing it different now. I do it before dinner. My 3 PM snack is just a scoop of whey, cardio at 6, then dinner.

  • moinsayyed

    Hello, Losing the belly fats is the ideal way to prevent the abnormal loss of HGH. If you don’t have a chance to exercise and if you think you are running out time, these alternatives will work best for you. The fat on your waist may be putting your health at risk. If not detected, it will lead to health complications such as stroke, diabetes and heart disease. The prevalent way to reduce belly fat is by exercising but if you can’t afford to invest time, you can have these alternatives instead.

  • AJ

    So I like to do my cardio in the morning and in a fasted state then weights later in the day. What would be your recommendations on when to take Phoenix? Also you say 1 serving in your article vs the 2pills twice daily on the btl but does that mean 2 pills our all 4 twice daily? And should i think about switching the two? Thanks in advance.

    • Michael Matthews

      That’s totally fine. Personally I would do 2 pills with breakfast and 2 with lunch or dinner. Well, I would do 3 x 3 but I’m “hardcore” like that. 😉

  • Nick LaMonica

    Hi Mike. I currently use both yohimbine and VPX supplements for my fasted training. I see that the ingredients in VPX include yohimbine and I require 15 mg for an effective dose. Should I be reducing my intake of the yohimbine supplement because of its presence in VPX? What is the effective amount of yohimbine in the VPX supplement?

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah you’ll want to account for the yohimbine in VPX MD. That said, I’m not sure they use the Hcl molecule? If it’s the bark extract, it’s going to be a lot (several hundred mg) but we don’t know how much of the yohimbine molecule is actually in the yohimbe bark extract…

  • foreveryou

    I succeed in eliminating belly fat with this treatment:>> http://tinyurl.com/nlg7xcd
    This treatment removed the fat from my belly in 6 weeks, now I can show my strong and flat stomach ..
    just follow the treatment exactly …
    a greeting, that you have a good day ..

  • Jason

    Hey. I’m 23 years old, 5′ 11” 170 pounds. My fitbit scale says I’m around 18% body fat (i know its not truly accurate) but its a basis point. Ideally I would like to get down to 8-10% by May 2015 if possible? Here’s my weekly workout schedule and diet plan.
    Heavy lifting – Monday, Wednesday, Friday
    Swim – Tuesday; Bike – Thursday; HIIT – Saturday

    Wake up- NO Xplode
    Gym – schedule above
    Post workout- 100% whey protein shake and a banana
    ~ 2 hours later – plain greek yogurt
    ~2 hours later – plain grilled chick breasts and veggies
    ~ 2 hours later – something else protein related
    ~ Dinner – Steak, fish, or chicken with veggies

    What should I do differently? It’s perfectly fine to say everything.. I want a strict meal plan that I can easily stick with and easily make.


  • Morgen

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the article! 🙂 I’ve started doing fasted runs in the morning 3-4 times a week. I’m supplementing with caffeine, yohimbine and green tea (following your suggested dosages). Post workout I usually just have 1cp 0.5% milk with 2TBS chocolate Ovaltine (it’s the healthy version of Nesquick, lol). Is this a sufficient pwo meal? I’m just doing cardio here, no weights. I usually don’t have a full meal until 2-3 hrs later, but since I’m working out fasted, should I try and have something more substantial pwo?

    Thanks!!! 🙂

    • Michael Matthews

      Great! I like what you’re doing with your exercise. I would do a better post-workout meal of a high-quality protein. 30g or so would be good.

  • Hi Mike,
    I’m a 26 year old 6’5 skinny fat guy who weighs 86Kilograms. Just a year ago I was just skinny (almost like anorexic) but with continuous efforts I have gained good amount of muscle mass in the entire body and look way healthier than before (with alot of fat around the waist and stomach 🙁 unfortunately).

    Now the only problem is, my job is to sit infront of my computer and otherwise while traveling eating etc. the entire day. I dont have cardio area or machines in my gym and I barely even walk entire day. I dont have access to jogging spots so I can not even jog. I have stopped working out and high calorie diet coz i dont want to get fatter in the abdominal area. What should I do?

  • MovementFirst

    Did a pretty good job explaining here. Well done. I’ve done a whole document experiment myself (5 weeks, everything was logged) and published a book here: http://movementfirst.co.uk/lose-weight-fast/ It’s quite deep with science but should be really intreseting to see if other people can match the results.

    • Michael Matthews


  • JT

    Hi Mike – thanks for the info. The only thing that confuses me is this statement: “About 4 Hours After a Light Dinner of Protein and Veggies, If Doing Cardio That Day” referring to when you do your cardio. What time are you eating dinner? Doesn’t that put you around at least 9pm before you start cardio, and if you are taking caffeine 15 minutes prior to your cardio, does it affect your sleep? This is the only part I would have a hard time being able to accomplish – can I do my cardio earlier and still be effective?

    • Michael Matthews


      I used to eat dinner around 6 PM and do cardio at 10 PM, but now I eat a light snack at 3 PM, do cardio at 530 PM, and eat dinner afterward.

      Late-night exercise has never interfered with my sleep for whatever reason. I used to lift around midnight and go to bed right after.

  • Jamie

    Hello Mike,

    Was wondering. How does it work with people, myself included who have hypothyroidism. I have been trying to lose my belly fat and still no success. There are so many factors that could be involved such as birth control pills and balancing my TSH levels for my hypothyroidism. I am a 24yr old female. 110lbs and have always been a small figure. How should I approach losing belly fat correctly?

    • Michael Matthews

      Fortunately you can do just fine, even if your metab is running a little slower than normal.

      That said, I’ve seen some really odd things with women on birth control. Weight loss can become very tough, and my guess is due to water retention that comes with the hormonal fluctuations.

      Regardless, a proper diet and exercise routine will get the job done. Proper supplementation can help too.

  • Gabrielle

    Mr. Michael,I need an explenation,i am 23 years old female

    and reading all this is hard to consume all at once especially in my state of mind. i used to weigh 196 pounds,lost 30, need to lose 20 to 30 more,but the last bit of fat has been there for years,and its really complicated,can you please help? maybe explain some more or something? im very confused. the last bit of fat is being very stubborn and it wont come off, i dont know what else to do. 🙁 please an thank you.

  • djedga

    Over a couple of years I lost over 33kg in total and never quite managed to get rid of the tum… at a guess I was at 16% body fat at my lowest before really starting to lift properly.

    I then went on a heavy lifting program 5 days with one cardio day to try and build some muscle mass while eating at a surplus for 6 months and probably got up to 19-20% but added a half decent amount of muscle (I had very little before as a result of the long weight loss).

    I then decided to cut to get rid of the last lingering fat from love handles and the belly. So I’ve been in a calorie deficit for a few (6) months. Current stats are 75kg and about 14-15% body fat (according to accu measure calipers). I’m just starting to finally see visible results on the belly, (my upper body and arms are super lean, just a little under-hang left below the belly button – top two abs visible when relaxed). The shallow w shape has got flatter and I’m starting to get the taper from my hip bones down to my groin. All in all good progress but sloooow going! I’m looking to drop to 12% and review at that point (hopefully in 2-3 months).

    Long story short I normally work out after dinner – about 8pm and often find myself having a snack before bed as a result. This morning I switched my routine to a morning workout (legs day – not sure why I chose leg day)! Any way I was surprised at how easy I found the lifting – more energy than expected and the bonus is I had breakfast after so feel less likely to snack.

    My only concern is that this new schedule will lose some of the muscle I’ve worked so hard for – I’m not currently taking any shakes / supplements while cutting. During the bulk phase I was taking whey protein shakes morning and post workout. My macros are good for a cut without supplements.

    My one question is whether the muscle loss likely to be that bad from a fasted morning lifting routine? Are BCAA’s that important? Should I be taking a post workout protein shake? If this is only twice a week say out of my five lifting days do I need to worry so much?

  • Seamus

    Hi Mike,

    I am 25 years old and I went from weighing 243 pounds to 178 in two years. Unfortunately I still have a belly and it drives me crazy. I lost all my weight by walking/running 10km a day, drinking 2 litres of water and having 5 fruit and vegetables a day, but still the stubborn belly is there.

    What should I do? I was told that I am now too thin for my height (6 foot 2), but I want to keep jogging as I hate the belly.

    Any advice?

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  • Samantha Saint

    The doctors say that removing excess abdominal fat is a necessary step to maintain a state of optimal health.Thus, people with apple-shaped body (fat accumulated in the abdominal area – abdominal fat) shows a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes than those who have pear-shaped body ( fat accumulated on the hips, buttocks and thighs). You can find more here http://myfitdiet.com/weightloss/abdominal-fat/

  • Saif

    Hey Mike,

    Great article, very comprehensive! One question, regarding working out in a fasted state, would eating a banana for example in the morning before the workout affect insulin levels enough to make a difference? I find the morning hunger to be distracting especially as I practice nightly fasting and don’t eat
    ~5hrs before bed.


  • mike

    hey mike, old thread i know. just a quick one. if training in fasted state in the morning, shall i have my post shake as well as my breakfast? thanks. mike

  • John

    Great article!
    I’m 5’11”, age 44, 190lbs. I’ve always been in above average shape with fairly big, lean legs, lean, slender arms, shoulders, & chest. But I’ve always had that annoying & unsightly belly fat/ small spare tire around the midsection. I’ve never gone to the gym (I hate lifting & going the gym), but have ridden a bicycle 3-6 times a week for years,1.5-3 hours at time, sometimes more. Most of the bike rides I do have some form of HIIT included by their very nature. I’ll do many of these rides first thing in the morning right after waking up, then eat breakfast afterwards. Does this qualify as fasting training? I’ve also started doing upper body weight excercises within the last 6 months or so, never really done this in the past, (mainly pushups, pull ups, & chair dips). I’ll do 1-2 sets of each consisting of as many reps I can do until failure (which aren’t many). I’ve been doing this 3-5 times per week.

    I’ve never really eaten poorly but at the same time have never really been particular about my eating habits & what I ate. I’ve recently changed that within the last 6 months or so by cutting out nearly all forms of processed foods & sugar (as much as possible), eating more protein & good fats, and trying to exercise portion control (my Achilles heel).

    The stubborn belly fat remains. I’d like flatten up my stomach for vanity reasons but I’d also like to lose at least 10-12lbs for performance reasons (lighter on the bike means faster speed!) What would you suggest I do based on the above information about myself? Thanks!

  • Georges Yacoub

    Hi Mike,
    i’m trying to follow the steps that u have listed in this article but i have a few things that i want to discuss:
    1- i tried to find green tea extract (Now brand) but i couldn’t find it in my country. instead i found green tea complex from GNC, each capsule is 500mg. my question is : what do u think about it? should i consider taking 2 pills 3 times per day? that’s 1000mg each time. is it too much? any side effects?
    2- i couldn’t find yohimbine. it seems it’s not accepted by laws in my country! instead i found another “yohimbe 451” also from GNC. is it the same…?
    3- as for the caffeine. i should consider taking 6mg/kg of BW without the amount i take 15min before training (3-6Mg/kg) or i take the amount before training then i add 6mg/kg during the day?!
    4- i couldn’t find ur phoenix fat burner. so can u recommand anothers that is similar or at least that can be close enough to ur product?
    5- what are your thoughts about CLA? good? bad? not worth my money?

    P.S: i’m 30 years old, height 174cm, weight 79kg, i exercise 4 to 5 times per week.

    thank you,

    • Michael Matthews


      1. That’s fine but you need to check the catechin content against the article as that’s what’s important.

      2. No worries. No that’s not the same. Forget about yohimbine.

      3. That’s a LOT to take in one dose. Start with 3 mg/kg and see how you feel.

      4. Not really, no. VPX Meltdown is okay.

      5. Unreliable. Not worth it.

      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

  • Vanessa

    Hi Mike – here you talk about training in a fasted state for optimum fat loss, do you do this all the time or just when you’re cutting?

    I usually train in the mornings and after recently reading TLS on your recommendation I have started taking 20g protein and high GI carbs 30 mins pre workout and now I’m confused whether or not I should be doing that or going back to training in a fasted state as I had in the past? Some clarification would be appreciated. Thanks

    • Michael Matthews

      Mainly when I’m cutting although sometimes when I’m maintaining too. I kind of like the feeling of an empty stomach when I train.

      What you’re doing is totally fine. Just make sure your daily numbers are right:


  • Nate

    Thanks Mike, always great stuff! One question I have is what should I eat immediately after I do a cardio workout? Should it just be a protein meal/shake? Should it be a combination of carbs and protein? Would including carbs in the post workout meal defeat the purpose of doing the cardio?

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! I like to just have some protein after cardio.

  • Carlos Arteaga

    You say 300-600mg of catechins per day but in you stacking it shows 6 pills per day which is 900mg. Which one is better?

    • Michael Matthews

      300-600 is good. I was trying a higher dosage but the benefits really do seem to cap around 500-600.

  • Sam

    Hi……I have a little doubt Mike.

    In your post here it says —> About 4 Hours After a Light Dinner of Protein and Veggies, If Doing Cardio That Day:About 15 minutes before doing your cardio, I take the following: (10 grams BCAAs or 3-5 grams leucine, 100 mg caffeine,1 serving of Phoenix or 2 pills green tea extract, .2 mg per kg of yohimbine)

    Should I do weight is morning and cardio in the night? My question is, If I take light dinner at around 6/7pm, I should wait for 4 hours then do HIIT Cardio at 10pm, just want to confirm. Thanks! Or Can I just do both weights and cardio in the morning itself. Which is better?

    Thank you,

    • Michael Matthews

      You can do it either way.

      Separating the workouts will probably be best for preserving muscle and strength but it’s not a problem if you do your cardio after your lifting.

      The point of waiting several hours before doing the cardio would be to do it in a fasted state, which can help you lose fat faster:


  • Michael Matthews

    Thanks for stopping by and checking out my article! I hope you enjoyed it.

    Feel free to comment below if you have any questions. I do my best to check and reply to every comment left on my blog, so don’t be shy!

    Oh and if you like what I have to say, you should sign up for my free weekly newsletter! You’ll get awesome, science-based health and fitness tips, delicious “guilt-free” recipes, articles to keep you motivated, and much more!

    You can sign up here:


    Your information is safe with me too. I don’t share, sell, or rent my lists. Pinky swear!

  • Shauna Cannon

    I just ordered Phoenix and was trying to find some information on dosages. I have been taking GTE since reading your book over a year ago, but I see that for the second and third dose you take Phoenix, instead. Should I still take the Green Tea Extract in the morning or should I take Phoenix instead in the morning? How many mg of GTE would you recommend while taking Phoenix?

    • Thanks!

      You can leave out the GTE as Phoenix has all you need. Start with 1 serving of Phoenix per day and you can go up to 2 per day if you do fine with 1.

      Hope this helps!

  • Andi

    Thanks for this great article! I am a 44 yr old with 5 sons. I had my last 2 in 2010 and 15 months ago. I’m 5’6″ and down to 123 pounds. Before the 2010 pregnancy my last son was born in 2000 and I fluctuated from 115-123 for 10 years. Now at same weight my belly is flabby and I lost a lot of muscle with last pregnancy. My skinny everywhere except belly! I can garland lots of flab..I’m skinny fat. Can you direct to to a starting point on your site? I’d like to get back into my bikini and get rid of fat and gain muscle before menopause kicks in.
    Thank you

    • Andi

      Sorry for typos…I can GRAB not garland haha

    • Thanks!

      Congrats on all the kids! 🙂 That’s cool.

      My wife ran into the same issue–muscle loss while pregnant. She just wasn’t able to train the way she normally does and noticed that she had lost some muscle in her butt and legs.

      Check this out:


      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

  • Samuel Sander

    Hey Michael! When doing fasted training for cutting, should we still go for 30% of our daily carbs + protein within an hour after the work-out? Thanks! 🙂

  • Maciej

    Hey, in my country yohimbine is banned and i cant seem to find that fatburner online? Any other good recomendations?

  • Jacky Tang

    Hey I’m jack , going to be 18 this year . i currently weight at 115 kg . and i am really motivate right now to finally lose all those belly fats and my man tits . but i have a question, which suppliments is best for me and should i just straight doing cardio till my weight is 80+ then i start hitting the gym or i should balance my cardio and gym right now ?

  • Josh

    Hi, you said to train on an empty stomach but also to train heavy. When I do heavy deadlifts/squats in a fasted state I feel like I’m almost about to faint and never complete my workout – unless I have e.g. oats+milk in the morning to give me energy. I get doing cardio on an empty stomach but what about heavy compound exercises?

    Body fat ~15%
    Weight – 77kg

    • No problem. Don’t lift fasted. Some people just don’t do well with it.

  • weenofnar

    Too complicated

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  • Laila

    Hi mike! I just need some pointers on keeping muscle and loosing fat. I’m female and I’m 27 years old. Body fat around 20%. You mentioned in the article to cut 20% of your TDEE to loose belly fat. I have 2 questions for this. If I’m only active 3tx or 4 tx a week (2 strength days 2 HIIT days) should I cut more than 20% to loose fat?
    Second Q, I tend to loose muscle way faster than fat even if I eat clean I notice that my muscle gains are fading if I cut, therefore I stop cutting my calories In order to keep my weight!! The problem with that is yeah I keep the muscle but gain I keep the fat too.! It’s been a frustrating 2 years of this ! What am I doing wrong here?! Any comment appreciated!

  • Dennis K

    Hi Mike , I just ordered the BLS THE new Beyond BLS and TLS for my wife and i can’t wait to start .I am about 18% of fat and i would like to start the fasted training with heavyweight lifting once I am an experienced gym man. My main question is , I start work at 8 am and can go to the gym only after 8 pm i can’t go early to the gym because it opens only after 8 am so how can i do the fasted training ?when can i eat? and how many hours after lunch if I have at 12-1 pm can my body go in fasting mode?And my work is in a beach bar with quite a lot of heat and lots of work thats why the working hours are so much and this will be in a period of 6 months of every day non stop work from end of April till end of October .Do you think it will be ok or will it be to much to work and do the fasting training? Thank you in advance.
    Best Regards Dennis

  • Roshan

    I have 25% of fat and going gym at night after work. Do whey protein helps me to cut my belly fat or should i take fat burner?? If yes at what time cause i go to gym at night and go for work in the morning

  • Vick

    Hey mike, great & informative article!

    I’m ”skinny fat” at the moment as my arms and legs are skinny but my belly and thighs are fat. I’m doing weight-training for my whole body 4 times a week but I do not do cardio at all and I consume about 3,000+ calories a day, everyday.

    I’ve decided to do HITT cardio training 2x a week, but I’m unsure of the duration? Since I’m ‘skinny-fat’, I’m afraid I might lose more weight in my arms or legs which makes me looks scrawny. Will doing HITT x2 week help? Also how long should I do it for?

  • Tiandis Allen

    Hey, Mike! Thank you for all of this information you’ve put up to help get an understanding of why some of this weight loss and definition building. I’ve been working out regularly with a home DVD and doing couch to 5k and then on to 10k for for almost 11 months now. I started at 292lbs and am now stuck at 210 and I feel like I’m building muscle in my shoulders and arms, but my belly is stuck in that puffy area. I cannot seem to ditch it!

    My diet is that I’ve cut out most all of my sugars, all those enriched flours and grains and I even take it easy having any heavy carbs like whole grain pasta. I’m eating protein rich foods like chicken and fish, and diet sodas are still my bane, but this belly just feels like it is holding on for dear life. Do you think this articles recommendations could be where I need to start or do you think I’d benefit from something different? I’m committed to change and doing things right. (No one has stayed on my ass about my weight, workouts, or diets for this year I’ve worked hard but me. I’m committed. I just don’t know how to push through to the next level.)

  • HI Mike, great article!! I have question. I trained in the morning, can i do a hitt workout with empty stomach for 30 min and then take bcaa to do weight lifting? I want to loose weight but still lift weights.

  • Izzy

    About 4 hours after a light dinner of protein and veggies you take GTE then so cardio? What time of night are you doing your cardio? By dinner do you mean lunch?

    • I used to do that but now I do it a little differently:

      My lunch is light (salad of some kind with chicken)

      3 pm is 1 scoop of whey

      530/545 is cardio time

  • Souvik

    I am going to gym for more than 1 year.Everyday i burn around 500 calories in trademill and strictly follow the exercise card made by gym trainer.I rarely feel hungry .I skip my breakfast and lunch.Only take dinner and that with two small rotis and small amount of veggi and dal.I am neither gaining strength nor loosing belly fat.When ever i ask my gym trainer they only recomend supplements.I have really got frustated.I am 19 yrs old and weigh around 70 kg.My height is 5 feet 6inch and my waist is 32.Please can u help me in this regard.I am like giving up gyming as i have lost all my hope

  • reta

    According to me, losing weight is much more than just consuming fewer calories to bring about a drop on the weighing scale. For a lot of people, it is essential to safeguard themselves against the growing menace of lifestyle diseases.
    We all know that one of the first rules of losing weight is to ditch ‘fatty foods’ and switch to a ‘healthy diet’. Nutritionists believe that weight loss does not simply mean scrapping fatty foods, it requires you to bring about a balance by actually sneaking certain foods in your diet.Source:http://www.cavediet.net

  • dancer154

    Thanks for the article, I am a 20 year old female who lifts weights 3 times a week, and I do about 40 minutes of walking 3 times a week in addition to this. I am already quite lean but still trying to loose my belly “pooch”. I eat well, and up to 2000 cals per day, as I am tall. Is there anything I am doing wrong and do you have any additional recommendations for me? Thanks

  • Luke Denyer

    Hey Mike. An avid follower here, just bought your Phoenix and am beginning a cut cycle. I’ll try and keep this short.

    Got a solid meal plan for my 20% deficit diet and 6+ hours of heavy, fasted training (in the morning) a week (+using Yohimbine).

    Questions: Should I have a casein protein shake right before bed? (It fits in my macros and proportions) (Should I be in a fed state within the first few hours of sleeping to maximize the time of being in a “fasted state”?)

    – you mention not eating carbs after 8pm. The powder I’m using has about 10g of Carbs.
    – Eating this 150 cal shake will, as you mentioned, elevate my insulin levels and block lipolysis. So i’ll be in a fed state for at least a little while, while I sleep. Is it worth it or should I just take this shake before 8 and refrain from not eating any carbs after 8?
    – Usually sleep from 12am – 7:30am

    Trying to really dial in my cutting routine, and this is my last big step. I’ve made some real progress following all of your advice and so I’ve gotten my family and many friends to follow you as well.

    Thanks for all your help man. Really appreciate all of your hard work.

    – Luke

    • Thanks Luke! I lik eit.

      You don’t have to do casein no but I do like to have some protein an hour or two before bed because it can help with recovery. A minor point but worth noting. Personally I do low-fat cottage cheese or 0% Greek yogurt.

      Don’t worry about the fat loss aspect of it. It won’t get in the way of anything.

  • Liana

    Hi Mike,

    2 questions…
    1) Can you accomplish the same results without the use of supplements? I like taking protein in its natural form. What do you think about taking nitrate?
    2) If you do the ab circuits daily without any rest days, does that help expedite the process?

    Thank you.

  • RJ

    Hey Mike, great article!

    Question though, you dont mention Creatine or Recharge in the article, is there a reason why?

    • Thanks! Yeah because it’s not directly related to losing belly fat that’s all. That said I DO recommend creatine while cutting to preserve strength…

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  • Georges Yacoub

    hi Mike,
    sorry but i didn’t understand how much i have to take of yohimbine! i’m 79 kg so i have to take 6 capsules! isn’t it too much? the recommendation is 2 pills per day. please correct me if i’m wrong!

  • Rick


    In Myth # 25, you suggest consuming a protein shake and even 25 g of carbs prior to working out in the early morning. In this article you suggest countering muscle breakdown with 10g BCAAs. In your opinion, what is the best method?

    • It depends what you’re trying to do. If you’re lean and wanting to get really lean, fasted training can definitely help. Some people just don’t like it though.

  • Mubashir

    Hi Mike,
    For someone with Hashimoto Thyroid Disease its becomes impossible to loose belly fat. Do have Any strategy for someone suffering from Hashimoto disease?

    • Sorry I don’t. I haven’t worked with enough people with it.

  • Livo

    I am a girl that wants to have a nice belly. Will you recommend to do weight lifting and HIIT the same day? I can work out just after work?

    • Sure. You can lift first and then do cardio.

      • Livo

        You are so sweet. you have answered all my questions. Greetings from Norway.

  • e11even

    Hmm, isn’t taking BCAA before cardio along with Yohimbine counter productive?

    BCAA raises insulin, which heavily negates the effects of Yohimbe…

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  • Soffy

    hello friends

    I and my husband went down in weight with this method:> http://tinyurl.com/p3yzz4l

    we reduce belly fat and our health improved significantly I recommend it..

  • yessy

    hello friends

    If you really want to lose weight and reduce your waistline
    watch this video here: >> http://burnbellyfatnow7.blogspot.com/

    You will learn a new method for weight loss without
    neglecting your work or rearing your children,.,,

  • julio rivera

    And what if i do hiit first thing in the morning? Can I do it in a empty stomach? Or eat some carbs? I usually eat my first meal at 6am thanks mike!

  • Miguel Rodrigues

    is there a downside of taking yohimbine everyday while cutting?thanks mike

    • Nope! As long as you’re cutting and training fasted, it’ll be helpful. 🙂

  • Martin Jackson

    After reading this it is rediculous how contraditing the whole article is. I wont disagree this is how to lose weight because it is how I did it almost exactly, but you telling people at the start they do not have to starve themselves and can eat 1 cheat meal every week. This is bollox. I had to cut my calories to 1200-1500 with cardio and gym everyday to get to 10% body fat in 3 months. I started at 19-20% and eat clean without alcohol and cheat meals. I have an eating disorder so not wanting to gorge myself with food is a huge battle and I assume people who can go from 85-100 kg in a month or less have similar phycological problems with there idea of a cheat meal compared to you or me. A cheat meal for me is 1 14″ pizza, 1 large garlic chips and probably some of my partners pizza and this only makes me marginally satisfied not completely. To summerize for people you will feel starved and unmotivated because this takes a lot of time and effort.

  • Vito

    If i was around 5-6 hours from my last meal. And i had a cup of joe with one packet of equal and 10 grams bcaas before i worked out would i get the benefits of a fasted workout? Just curious.

    • Vito

      I work 3-11 am and eat (clean) during this time. I get home and nap until 4 pm then go to the gym around 5. I’m thinking if my last bit of food was at 10am ish then by the time 5pm rolled around I’d technically be fasted correct? Hard to find a routine around my work schedule but this is what I’m working with. Thanks for any tips.

      • Yeah that would be considered fasted. Just be careful with the cream in the coffee! If it’s a good amount, it can break the fast.

        • Vito

          Thanks and awesome article by the way. And no cream just nescafe instant in hot water with a packet of equal.

          • YW! Glad you liked the article.

            You’re totally good on the coffee then. 🙂

  • Nathan

    Hi Mike – Great article and just placed my order for LEGION PHOENIX!!

    A few questions for you:

    1) Can I take YOHIMBINE out of the routine and still achieve the same results? Is there other supplements I could consider to replace this? It’s rather hard to get your hands on this product if not in the U.S.

    2) Based on your routine, 6 NOW GTE pills are to be taken per day and that equivalents to 2400mg of GTE (about 960mg Catechins per day). My question is, am I able to use another brand (in my case ‘AOR Classic Series – High Dose Green Tea Extract which gives me 700mg GTE / 455mg Catechins per capsule) and only take 2 capsules a day? I would be taking 1 in the morning before workout / during fasted state and another when I enter fasted state again around late afternoon/evening time. Also, if I decide to take 3 capsules, would that do any extra harm or it’s not needed? If there are benefits with 3 capsules, how do you suggest I fit the 3rd capsule into my routine?

    3) Once my LEGION PHOENIX arrives (and believe me, I cannot wait until it does), your routine states to take 1 serving (4 capsules) with my post-workout meal in the morning and then another serving (another 4 capsules) in the afternoon/evening (depending on how I time my meals to enter fasted state again), that equals to 2 servings of PHOENIX per day, but the bottle states to only take 2 capsules twice a day with meals (1 serving per day). Is it completely fine to take 2 servings / 8 capsules per day for 2-3 months straight?

    4) I notice you mentioned to take 2 GTE pills (800mg / 320 Catechins) with lunch IF not taking PHOENIX. Does that mean if I’m taking PHOENIX, I do not need to take any other supplements with Lunch? I would like to stick with 2 full meals a day with maybe 1 light snack in between (depending if I feel fatigue or not) – so for my routine, it will be 1 post-workout meal in the morning, 3 – 4 hours later eat a VERY light snack (around afternoon time if needed and if not, will skip to get to fasted state earlier and have my 2nd round of supplements / cardio training). I’m currently following 1500 calories / day, 60pro, 20carb, 20fat and main goal is to lower Body Fat % / lose belly fat. I’m around 5″6, 175lbs, Male and about 25 – 30% body fat.

    My apologies on the lengthy post, but I’ve been reading a lot of your articles and combining all your knowledge to set the correct regimen for myself based on my time schedule and goals. I would appreciate your assurance that what I’m doing and understanding is correct.

    Thanks Mike!

    • Thank you! Please let me know how you like Phoenix.

      1. Yes that’s fine and no there is no replacement really. You can still do well.

      2. Sure so long as you get enough catechins you’re good to go. That said once you start taking Phoenix you no longer need GTE for fat loss purposes.

      3. The “conservative” instruction is to take 1 serving per day but if it’s well tolerated you can do 2 per day.

      4. That’s right. No GTE if you’re taking Phoenix.

      Hope this helps! LMK!

      • Nathan

        Thanks for the assurance Mike!

        I just noticed there is a new product from your line – Legion Forge – and I’m considering to add this. Please let me know if the below would give me the same (if not better) fat-loss / maintain muscle growth results:

        1) Wake up (Fasted State)

        – 10gs of BCAAs
        – 300mg Caffeine
        – 1 GTE pill (700mg GTE / 455mg Catechins)
        – 1 serving of LEGION FORGE (As advised and @ 175lbs, I’ll start off with 3.5 capsules and slowly work my way up to 6).
        *I assume this will also give me more energy since it a pre-workout.

        2) Get to the gym for Heavy Weightlifting (within 15-30 mins of waking up), 30 – 45 mins per session, and 3 – 5 times a week.

        3) Thereafter, have my post-workout meal of Protein and Veggies with:
        – 1 GTE pill (700mg GTE / 455mg Catechins)

        4) 4 – 6 hours after my post-workout meal, I enter fasted state again and will take:

        – 10gs of BCAAs
        – 100mgs Caffeine
        – 1 Serving of LEGION PHOENIX (4 capsules)

        (If not doing cardio after, I will not take the BCAAs)

        5) Within 15-30 mins, do 20-25 mins of HIIT Cardio, 3 – 4 times / week.

        6) Eat a light dinner thereafter of Protein and Veggies (Last meal of the day).


        1) Does the above regimen sound effective to you?

        2) Should I incorporate both PHOENIX & FORGE or just stick with one? (My main goal is to lose belly fat and also be a bit more energized during my workouts at a fasted state).

        3) Once PHOENIX and/or FORGE arrives, should I just completely cut out the GTE pills or keep taking it as stated above or maybe only take it with a light lunch (if I ever to eat a lunch in the middle of the day)?

        5) Is the timing of my light dinner not advised? My personal schedule works best if planned this way, that is why…

        6) Am I over-supplementing based on the above regimen? If so, what is not needed based on my goals?

        7) Is LEGION FORGE only available for purchase on your website?

        Looking forward to hearing back from you! Thanks again.

        • Thanks for your interest in Forge!

          If you take Forge you can drop the BCAAs, which is nice. 🙂 The HMB replaces them.

          I would add Phoenix to this pre-workout “stack” as well.

          You can drop the GTE when you start taking Phoenix because it contains the catechin most associated with weight loss (EGCG).

          Otherwise this looks good! I like it.

          Forge is now live on Amazon as well!

          • Nathan

            Thanks again Mike!

            I put in my order for Forge today, but Phoenix is currently unavailable on Amazon? When will it be available again?

          • YW!

            Yeah Phoenix is out of stock at the moment but it will be back within a few weeks.

            My manufacturer is going through a really rough transition right (a horribly botched merger with another very large company) but everything should be smoothed out within a month or so.

  • 877cms

    Hey Mike. Is there a method to measure waist size in inches for men? My measurement varies by several inches when I breathe in and out 😛

  • Mayank Gupta
  • Frederik Linderberg

    Hey Mike, what is the clear cut difference between Phoenix and Forge? Also if you do like a mini faste at the middle of the day (from Lunch to HIIT), don’t you have a lot of macros to catch up on from 6-7 pm when you’re done with working out?
    Appreciate you sharing all your great knowledge with us – keep up the good work!

    • Good question!

      Phoenix is my fat-burner. Phoenix helps you burn fat in three ways. It increases the amount of calories you burn daily by 150-200. It amplifies the power of fat-burning chemicals produced in the body, and it helps you feel more full thanks to the ingredient, 5-HTP.

      Forge, on the other hand is my fasted training product. It is only taken before fasted training. Fasted training is a great way to accelerate fat loss. The problem with fasted training is that it also breaks down muscle. That’s where Forge comes in. It prevents muscle breakdown due to fasted training. To add to that, it also accelerates the fat burning that occurs from fasted training.

      So, Forge preserves muscle and accelerates fat burning during fasted training while Phoenix is taken with food and helps you burn more calories and fight cravings.

      How long is your mini fast? It takes 3-6+ hours from your last meal to be fasted.


      • Frederik Linderberg

        Great, thank you! Additional question do you do both weight lifting and cardio fasted?

        • YW! You don’t have to, but yes. When I’m cutting I do cardio and weightlifting fasted.

  • Great post, I’ve just ordered my supplements and I am awaiting the arrival. I definitely will be trying out the fasting state in the morning, as I do cycling in the morning and aim to do 45km in 60 minutes and burn approximately 1,000 calories.

    • Cool!

      And DAMN. You must be zooming on that bike!

      LMK how it goes with Forge.

  • Luis Fernando Becdach

    Hi great article!
    I was wondering if this would also
    work for people that do endurance sports. I’m usually always in a caloric deficit but still struggle with losing fat in my stomach. I do plenty of HIIT training as part of my routine and eat fairly clean. Any suggestions would be very appreciated!

    • Thanks! Sure, it’s no different for you mechanically speaking but you will probably find it tough to estimate your actual calorie output.

      • Luis Fernando Becdach

        Thanks! Any suggestion on what product ? Diet excercise? Again I’m really into endurance sports. Ultra marathons and Adventure racing I just can’t believe I still have fat when I burn so many calories! Any feedback will be greatly appreciated

        • There are products can help lose fat like my fat-burner, Phoenix. Check it out:


          This will only help though. The main thing that is necessary for fat-loss to occur is to make sure you’re in a calorie deficit. If you’re not in one, you won’t lose weight. It’s that simple.

          To ensure you’re in a calorie deficit daily, I recommend setting up a meal plan. Check it out:


          • Luis Fernando Becdach

            Thanks for that Michael. I like how you suggest to break out the % of proteins, carbs and fat. I eat pretty healthy and I’m almost always in a calóric deficit because of my type of training but I stil struggle with fat. Thoughts?

          • YW.

            The key to making sure you hit your numbers is by planning it out ahead of time with a meal plan (as I linked above).

            You’ll have to stay away from fatty sauces, meats, whole dairy products, etc.

            Hope this helps! Talk soon!

  • Borna Houman

    Hey mike. Does it make a difference if you do HIIT first thing in the morning and lift weights in a fasted state in the evening compared to lifting weights first thing in the morning and doing HIIT in a fasted state in the evening? Thanks.

  • Brian Natumanya

    Hello Mike I would love to ask about fasted training, after fasted training and you have a heavy meal doesn’t this food taken after fasted training convert into fat.
    Secondly if i want to fast train in the evening like at 5:00 pm that means i being my fast at 12 midday so in what window do i consume the biggest percentage of my delay calories is it before the meal before the fast or after training fasted,

    • No. In fact, you need food post-workout. Check it out:


      It takes 3-6+ hours to be fasted depending on the meal. So, 5 hours may be enough to be fasted.

      The biggest portion of your cals if any would be post-workout. The meal before training is important too and improves performance, but if you’re fasting, you obviously wouldn’t.

  • Brad

    G’day Mike. As yohimbine is a prescription only substance in Australia, what else would recommend for fasted training?

    • Dang. Synephrine and caffeine.

      • Brad

        Cheers Mike. I’ve found some products that are still getting through despite containing some yohimbine (see below) or is it because of the type? May have to order a supply of Forge before it get blocked…
        Caffeine Anhydrous USP200mgSynephrine HCL20 mgSynthetic 99% Guggulsterones Z&E 1:120 mgBioperine5mgYohimbine HCL3 mg

  • Dee

    Good morning Mike!
    Great read! Really helped me understand a lot.
    I’m currently 5’2 and weigh 110lbs. I have 26% body fat, I can tell you that most of it is belly fat. 🙁
    I was at 113lbs but have been eating very clean and doing 45 minutes of fasted cardio 4 times a week for the past 3 weeks, along with weight training 4 times a week. My weight training is 3 sets of 10 going max on weight that will allow me to finish the set.
    I’m scared though I am going to lose my muscle and this will make me look “sick thin”. Am I on the right track or am I doing something wrong?
    Thank you!!! 🙂

  • jrnyk

    Mike can I use forge even though I’m not training fasted? and can I use other fat burners along with forge? thanks

  • Wayne

    Hello, I do 30 mins of fasted hiit first thing in the morning, what would recommend eating for breakfast after with it being first thing? Thanks

    • After cardio, you definitely want protein. Besides that, you can eat whatever you want for breakfast, just make sure it fits in your daily carbs and cals allotment.

  • luis

    Mike good morning, I just ordered fish oil omega 3, caffeine and green tea extract to help speed up my fat loss, I already read about the dosage for each of them, but I would like to ask at what time of the day should I take each. I do my weight lifting routine during the afternoons after 6 pm not fasted. I start my day at 6 am in the morning. I do cardio after weight lifting because time restriction. I weight 84 kilos right now. Can you help me out with my stack?

  • Manuel Dolorica

    Hey, Mike. Great article. Any way I could add barley grass into my diet? Thanks.

  • Durtydawg

    Hi, my goal is to burn fat but at the same time preserve as much muscle as possible..what’s your thoughts on a pre workout protein shake?

  • Palwinder Singh

    Hello Mike,

    I am 5’5’’ and I currently weigh 158 pounds. I have been working out for more
    than a year now. I started out by doing just pure cardio and I lost around 12pounds in a span of 3 months. Since I wasn’t a big guy in the first place, I lost fat pretty much from every part of the body except my belly. And then my interest changed to lifting. So after 2-3 months of cardio, I basically just moved to lifting and fell in love with it. And since I had started lifting, I was eating good amount of food daily to keep my protein intake high. It’s been a year now since I have been lifting. I am getting good muscular shape in every part of the body except my belly. My belly is still the same size as it was one year ago. I just don’t know how to get rid of it. I want to get ripped and have a
    flat stomach/abs. But I don’t want sacrifice on my muscle gains really. My question here is I am confused about what should be my calorie intake. I want to make big gains. So I need calorie surplus. At the same time I want to lose that annoying belly fat which requires calorie deficit. So I am confused which
    approach to follow. Is a separate bulking/cutting phase my only option? I can’t
    kill two birds with one stone here?

  • Vicky

    I’ve done fasted cardio and I actually enjoy it. is it alright to be in a fasted state when weight lifting? Due to my work schedules, I usually do cardio right after I lift for an hour. Since I want to be in a fasted state for the cardio, I also stay this way when I lift beforehand. I do drink BCAAs during, as well.

    These articles are really clearing up a lot of confusion I’ve had without having a coach to turn to. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge! 🙂

  • Paul Wilkins

    Hey Mike, great article and clears a lot of things up for me. I am currently no where near you guy’s level of fitness, but working hard to over come that. I am 6’2″ and 313 lbs always been built thick and working to get myself back into good physical condition. Your tips will help me improve. Thanks man, BTW I started 1 month ago and down from 339lbs.

    • Happy to hear it! Good to know Glad you’re working to get to your goal.

      Awesome job on the weight you’ve lost so far. Keep that shit up!

      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.

  • Vinny Cataldo

    Hey Michael. Bought both your books and read all your blogs. I also bought Pulse, forge and phoenix. I had a question though. You say in this article that you take all 3 before a fasted workout. Is this the way you recommend taking them? I thought phoenix was to be taken with food and forge was to be taken before fasted training. Any clarification would be appreciated.

    • Thanks for picking up my books and supps. Glad you’re enjoying the blog too. 🙂

      Phoenix is recommended to be taken with food because it can be a bit much on the stomach for some. However, for others like me, I feel totally fine with Phoenix on an empty stomach.

      So, if you’re okay with Phoenix on an empty stomach along with Forge to train fasted, go ahead!

  • Sylvia A Saenz Martinez

    Hi. Do you have a plan or some guidance for obese women carrying around weight on the lower abdomen? Lost and not really comprehending. Just really need a plan set on paper and what kind of exercises to do. I suffer from psoriatic arthritis, fibro and carpal tunnel, I have bursitis and tendonitis in both hips and shoulders. Lots of pain and it makes me not want to even move…steroids for the past 4.5 years so you can just imagine… just really want to get this weight off and I like the fasted state plan you talk about. How can I get this plan along with the products?

  • Rene

    Hi Mike,

    While I know fat burners help, I am a bit skeptical of them. I am that person who hesitates taking ibuprofen when I have a headache.

    Are fat burners really the only way to lose that stubborn belly fat? I am not reaching to have washboard abs, but not having a noticeable gut would be nice :).


    • I totally understand your skepticism with how the majority of products are in the supplements industry.

      Supplements are not necessary to reach your physique goals. You can reach them just fine with out them. That being said, good and properly dosed supplements can help get you results faster.

      Check out my fat burner, Phoenix:


  • Thomas Wang

    Hi Mike, I would love to buy Forge, but international shipping to Japan is simply TOO EXPENSIVE! 🙁 Anyway, after reading many of your articles, I’ve decided to buy HMB as a substance to prevent muscle breakdown during my morning fasted trainings (I’m a high school student). After surfing through the web, I found a different form of HMB-which was the free acid form. I’m asking this because the free acid form is cheaper compared to that of other HMB powders when bought in bulk. Does it work just as well, or do you suggest sticking to regular HMB powder? Or should I,on the other hand, just stick to buying bcaas with high Leucine content (10:1:1, 8:1:1…, etc.) Which would be the best bang for my buck? Thanks!

    • I hear you!

      FA HMB is fine. 2 to 3 grams before training will get the job done.

  • Julie

    Hi Mike,

    I followed TLS and went from 27% to 23% body fat (weight training 4x a week and cardio 2-3x a week) in 6 weeks. However, I have been stuck at 22-23% for 6 weeks. I am only 5’3″ and am down to 115 and further dropping my caloric intake feels like I am not getting enough energy for training. I have read that I need to stop cutting and focus on adding more muscle first – so reverse diet up to TDEE. I know your advice for women is to cut down to 20% before starting to bulk. Do you think since I’ve been stuck for 6 weeks, I should start to reverse diet to TDEE and see what happens? Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

  • Guest

    Thanks so much! Implementing the few things i have at the right time and dose is just genius! I knew it was important! Anyway, do you have advice for late night weight lifting besides obviously in a fasting state? Also, what about Jacuzzis? Ty!

    • Great! I’m glad to hear it!

      No special advice for late-night lifting. Nothing wrong/better about it.

      Hot tubs feel good? Haha.

      • Guest

        Okaaay….so you don’t believe that increasing body temperature that way will result in or increase weightloss? Is it better to work out when really relaxed after? Or Jacuzzi after workout? Hmmm who would know for sure?

  • Phil Taylor

    for once i actaully read an article where i don’t feel like im forced to sign up or purchase whats being advertised just to get some real knowledge out of it!? Ill be coming back here more often!

    • Thanks Phil! Glad you enjoyed it.

      You’re welcome back anytime. 🙂

  • Rusty

    Enjoyed the article and think I’ve got some great advice. I’ve been going to the gym during lunch for 6 months and doing little weight lifting and then running, elliptical training, or riding the stationary bike for 25-30 minutes M, W, F and then lifting more (but not as much as I should have) and doing less cardio on T, and TH. I’ve noticed great improvement on everything but the gut lol. I think this will help me a lot. Thanks.

    • Glad you liked it.

      Cool on everything you’re doing!

      LMK how it goes applying the points from this article. This should help too:


      • Muhammad Khan

        Those articles were great.. I wanted to ask you… since i need to gain lean muscle.. is it a good idea if I take weight gainers(ON Serious Mass) as well with ON Whey Protein, Phoenix (fat burner), Forge(Preworkout fat burner), and Pulse…

        • I’m not a fan of mass gainers. Instead I recommend eating calorie dense whole goods. Also, no need to take Phoenix or Forge if you’re trying to gain…

  • Muhammad Khan

    Hi Mike,

    I’m 6’0 160 lb skinny guy with belly fat.. Is there any way I can lose my belly fat as well as gain lean muscle. Your advise will greatly help.

  • Sumera

    Hey Mike
    I’m 5ft2 and I’m 18 i weigh about 11 stones but I’ve got more muscle on my body I don’t know how to get rid of my belly fat because that is all that’s left as fat on me that makes me feel uncomfortable?

  • Anonymous

    Hello Mike, good work you are doing, keep it up..I am from India. I got a question. I m lifting weights 3 days a week alternatively with other 3 days in between sprinting either on treadmill or on a hill. Losing weight, currently at 71 kg. My height is 5.8. Question is I am not able to lose those last pounds from my waist. I cant really afford supplement that much, but still I eat around 20 egg whites few yolks each day with good complex carbs and peanut butter for fat……If I have to choose between supplements Yohimbine, CLA or L-carnitine, which one I should go with. I can just afford one for now. What would your best bet be with either of these……….Again your abs look great……..Thanx

  • Victor

    Mike, do you think a cup of black coffee combined with some bcaa’s and yohimbine while training fasted in the morning would be sufficient enough to blast belly fat? Of course coupled with a good diet and routine.
    Great Article!

    • They will definitely help accelerate fat loss!

      Make sure you’re lifting heavy and maintaining a proper calorie deficit. You can make sure your cals are right here:


      Glad you liked the article. 🙂

      • Victor

        Thanks a lot for the response Mike I’m a big fan of your work. I’m going to use those 3 things while training fasted for one month and see where it gets me. Ill make sure to lift heavy and add hiit as well. Thanks again.

        • Welcome! Thanks for the support!

          Sounds good. I look forward to seeing your results!

          Talk soon.

  • Victor

    On a side note. How long should you typically wait to eat after finishing fasted training? Are there benefits to waiting longer or can you have a meal around 30 minutes after?

    • No need to wait. You should have your post-workout meal right after as usual.

  • Bradley Lay

    Love the article. It’s informative, to the point, and backed with solid information. It’s literately
    exactly what I was looking for down to the last drop of info. and I want to thank you for that! Glad I clicked on the link! Thanks!

    • Happy to hear it Bradley. Glad you enjoyed it!

      My pleasure. 🙂

  • Bradley Lay

    I do have a question though. You might have said this and I simply missed it, but would you recommend some type of post work-out protein isolate after working out? I know your consuming protein afterwards, but that’s a slower metabolized type of protein that won’t help with the recovery of your muscles as fast as an Isolate would. What’s your take on that?

  • Josh Smith

    Great article thanks a lot! I also have question. So I’m 49 days into a weight loss program. I’ve dropped 12 kilos in that time just through limiting my calories to about 1,000 – 1,500 per day and training 4-6 times a week a mixture of cardio and weight training. I now feel like everything is slowing down and I’m not getting anywhere, I’m tired, slow to recover and belly fat also not going anywhere now that my early weight drop has happened. This morning for the first time I had a protein shake (with water not milk) before going to the gym just to put something in my stomach and I put an espresso shot in that as well. I use Body Science Whey Protein Isolate – would that have raised my insulin levels right before training effecting the fat burning ability my training would have? Or should I move to maybe just drinking some water like you do, shot of coffee too perhaps and then have my shake post workout. I would load up on the supplements like you’ve laid out above but I’m on a very tight budget at the moment so I’m trying to cut whilst being a hobo…


    • Glad you liked it! My pleasure! Great job on the weight you’ve lost!

      I hear you on the weight loss slowing down. This will help keep it going:


      If you’re trying to train fasted, yes. The protein powder does break the fasted state.

      You can do the water and shot of coffee pre-workout for sure. And you should definitely be having a post-workout. Check this out:


      Totally understood on the budget. If you aren’t able to pick up Forge, I don’t recommend training fasted though. It’ll result in muscle loss. So in that case, you should have a proper pre-workout meal:


      What do you think?

      • Josh Smith

        I think you’re a rockstar thanks for taking the time to respond and give me more resources. I’m going to get into them now and learn some more. I’ll pick up your supplements too when I can. Are you retailing only online or are you in stores as well? I’m in Australia currently

  • Harry

    Dear mike,
    I’m bulking up currently and I’m on bsn true mass. My belly fats is really very ugly and I was 63kg few months back and currently 74kg. Your advise is greatly appreciated. Thank you so much.

  • Lee M

    Hi Mike just received your book in the post so far it’s been
    very informative I have one question though, I recently lost 10 kg I used to be
    67.5kg now I’m 57.5kg at 5.7ft I look very skinny with a belly, what can I do
    to get rid of this belly fat I have already lost so much weight and I really don’t
    want to get any skinner but I’m desperate to lose the belly fat.

    Thanks in advance

  • Cole

    Hey Michael,
    I am 15 and have been doing crew for the last few months, 12 hours a week. Winter Season starts next week and it’s 7 hours per week and mostly high intensity training on the erg and other forms of body weight exercises. I have tried very hard but I cannot get rid of the fat on my belly/upper legs and it is really ugly. Even so, I pull some of the highest times on the team; I have a good bit of muscle for a person my age but I absolutely can not stand this fat anymore. I eat very well for a teen also. Eggs every morning with cottage cheese most days. I turkey sandwich or salad almost everyday for lunch and dinner varies. Budget is not an issue, or being able to access weightlifting equipment. I am about 5ft8in and almost 170 pounds. My question to you is how can I really take advantage of this training with possibly your supplements along with extra workouts. Your answer would be appreciated more than you know. Thanks

  • Billy Roberts

    I got my supplements today and I’m going to start fasted training in the morning. I”m a little confused by your recommendations. Above you say to have “1 serving of Phoenix” both before training and before cardio. The bottle says 4 capsules is a serving. Are you telling me you take 8 capsules a day? Likewise and far more concerning is Forge, for which you suggest “2 servings” before both lifting and cardio. I’m 170 pounds. Is a “full dose” 6 or 8 caps for me? Let’s say it’s 7. Are you telling me I should be taking 28 caps per day?! Consume the entire bottle in 4 days???

    • Great!

      I do take 2 servings per day when cutting, yes, but you can do 1 per day.

      I do 2 servings of Forge per day when cutting as well. My body does fine with yohimbine.

      Again, though, just 1 serving per day is fine.

      • Billy Roberts

        But that doesn’t answer my question. The bottle says four caps is a serving, but it also says four caps is only half a dose. According to the chart on the bottle a “full dose” for me is 7 caps while a “serving” is four caps. So if I’m supposed to take “2 servings” before lifting, am I supposed to take 8 caps (4+4, which is two “servings” but only two half-doses) or 14 (7+7, which is two full doses but almost four “servings.”) The wording here is very confusing and with 5 days lifting and 4 days cardio will mean the difference between a bottle lasting two weeks or as little as four days.

        • Oops, sorry.

          4 caps of Phoenix is 1 serving, yes, so 8 per day when I’m cutting.

          For me, 8 caps of Forge is 1 serving, so 16 per day.

          Again, that’s me being aggressive because my body does exceptionally well with stimulants.

          Most people just do 1 serving of each per day.

          Also, FYI, I am bumping Forge up to 180 caps per bottle and am not increasing the price. They will be available in Jan/Feb.

          • Billy Roberts

            Thanks for clearing that up. So does that mean you take 32 caps of Forge per day if you’re doing fasted lifting and fasted cardio on the same day? You said to take Forge prior to lifting and cardio.

          • No 16. 8 caps of Forge = full yohimbine dosage for me.

  • Jon

    Wow. These supplements will run you over $100 per month. I’m going to have to compare ingredients with those in cheaper/similar supplements from Swanson Vitamins and make the best decision. This is outrageous and nothing but pure greed.

  • Alex M

    Hey Mike, what’s your take on undereating after a day of overeating? I’m usually pretty good with my diet but every so often I’ll go to some party or event or something and just won’t be able to stop eating haha. Since I’m clearly going over my deficit (as well as maintanence level) at that point, is it ok to subtract the “overage” amount of calories (or at least a portion of it if it was really a lot) from my intake the next day to offset the overeating as much as possible?

  • David S

    Hello Mike, loved BLS and BBLS got them both on audio. My question is how is it possible to track calories (and macros) for home cooked meals? Is getting a food scale and measuring cup the only way? This has been my biggest obstacle in losing weight I never know how much I’m eating.

  • Nick

    Hey Mike I’ve been doing the one year challenge for about 2 1/2 months and I’m definitely seeing a change. I also just bit the bullet and bought your 30 day supplement package (the exchange rate is going to be eye popping) but I’m hoping it’s what gets rid of my onliques. I’ll let you know.

    • Happy to hear it!

      Thanks for picking up the package. Sorry about the exchange rate…

      I look forward to seeing your results with 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.

  • Duy Khánh Võ

    Free ebook about 50 secrets to lose weight here: http://howtoweightlossaz.com

  • Allan Ramirez

    Hey Michael,

    As the weightlifting goes I understand that it has to be heavy compound but how many exercises per morning session? One muscle group per day or two? How did you go about it?

  • Ryan Brain

    Hey Mike, just a quick question, if I may? My gym gets busy in the morning so I prefer to do cardio before breakfast. Would you make any changes to your routine above, or will it work just as effectively doing cardio in the morning and doing fasted weights before dinner? Thanks!

    • Ideally, you’d do the weightlifting before doing cardio, but if that’s not workable, that’s fine. You can keep everything else the same.

      If you’re training fasted, you need to take the HMB before training to prevent muscle breakdown.

      Happy to help. 🙂

  • E Tha SaviourSoldier Robinson

    Great article I always wondered about HMB but never took the plunge…..would there be any benefits to working out fasted when gaining muscle is the ultimate goal? I hate eating before workout and enjoy just getting up and hitting the weights before doing anything else. Right now I drink a pre workout with 6 grams bcaas 2:1:1 and sip a BCAA drink(15 grams 10:1:1 + EAAs, Citriuline, ect.) during my workout.

  • John C. W

    So I just got Phoenix and I’m looking to really start burning fat again anyways I have some questions. First, do I only take 1 pill for the days I’m working out on? And when is the best before, after, during? Second do they work just as well on days im in the weight room? Also I have just found out I have some issues with bloating and it seems to have been holding me back from losing fat. I believe the sodium to potassium levels are the reason why. So once I raise my potassium levels do you think my booting will improve becuz it’s not only affected my stomach but my metabolism as well. Thanks so much man, this has been pretty stressful but I’m happy I have you to help

    • Cool you picked up Phoenix!

      Nope, you take 2 capsules twice a day with meals for a total of 4 capsules a day. You do that every day–regardless if you’re training or not.

      Sorry to hear about the bloating. Fortunately, we can change it. 🙂 Check this out:


      Check that out and LMK what you think.

      My pleasure John. I’m happy to help! Let’s get you some results.

      Talk soon.

      • John C. W

        Yea after reading it I think the problem is the inbalance between sodium and potassium so hoe can I get my potassium levels higher? And also if we’re taking 4 a day how long do you think it will last a month? And also when days I’m doing cardio the best thing to help with fat loss is hiit right? Thnx

        • There are high potassium foods like beans, potatoes, fish, yogurt, etc.

          You can also supplement with it to make it easier.

          I’m not sure what you’re asking will last a month?

          Yep, HIIT is great for accelerating fat loss. Check this out:


          Hope this helps! Talk soon.

          • John C. W

            i was referring to the phoenix product and so while i try to raise my potassium levels taking phoenix will increase my chances of beating bloating? thats what you’re saying right, just wanting to clarify thanks.

          • Ah gotcha! 4 capsules a day will last a month.

            Phoenix won’t help with the bloating, no. It’ll help with cravings and make you burn more cals daily.

  • Christopher Matthews

    Mike, so far I’ve been doing 4 HIITS per week, keeping them around 30 minutes, and I lift 5 times per week (45-1 hour). I have been doing my HIITS first thing in the morning in a fasted state, and I take forge, pulse and phoenix (I love the Legion supplements, can’t wait to get fortify to replace the joint supplement I’ve used before). So I do my HIIT in a fasted state at 7 AM. Then I eat breakfast at 8 AM. Then I have been doing my weight lifting at Noon, and I take just pulse, because I’m not sure if my insulin levels are still high, so I haven’t been taking forge at that time. So on to my questions, I just have two;
    1. Should I switch my weight training to the AM like you outline in this article and do my cardio later on in the day?
    2. Should I be taking forge and phoenix for the second work out? It’s around four hours from the morning meal after HIIT, the article indicated Insulin levels stay elevated between 3-6 hours. For my 8 AM meal I do 1 egg, 5 egg whites, 2 slices of ezekial bread, and 40 grams whey protein. My heavier carb meal is right after weight training. Thanks again for all the great articles.

    • Christopher Matthews

      Ok after reading some of the comments below, I’ve gotten my answer for #1! Seems like it is better to do weight lifting in the morning as opposed to the cardio, so I will switch that up! Sorry to have a repeat question in the thread!

      • Great! No worries!

        2. Nah. You’re probably not fasted by then. So, you can just stick to Phoenix and Pulse.

        My pleasure! Talk soon. 🙂

  • Alan Matthew Miller

    Question: If I’m eating six small meals a day (every three hours) will that hurt or help me in this process? The meals are usually protein (22 grams) and Carb (22grams).

  • Tion J

    Hey mike, if i wanted to buy only one of these products to help reduce body fat which one would you recommend?

    • Tion J

      Or 2 at most

    • I’d recommend Pulse and Phoenix. If you’re training fasted, I’d recommend Pulse and Forge.

      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

      • Tion J

        What about just one product?

      • Tion J

        Also I’m only fasting for morning because I can’t make it to gym twice a day so I lift and do hiit cardio in the morning

      • Tion J

        What would be your chouse if I were to just buy 1

  • Mark

    Hi Mike, im just starting my weight loss journey. Interested in knowing where to start with my home gym i acquired through a friend. Its just a basic one. I am 96kg and need to lose weight…..BMI says i should be about 75kg but i would be a rake at that level. Any suggestions???

  • Steve

    Hey Mike, as usual an instructive and pretty good article.
    Could you please be so kind and give me some advice regarding
    the supplement regimen for fighting the stubborn body fat.
    I’m taking Creatine Monohydrate for aiding muscle development,
    BCAAs to counter the disadvantages of fasted training and
    Yohimbine HCL for tackling the stubborn fat.
    But as Yohimbine only works in a fasted state, I’m unsure if
    taking BCAAs and Creatine might be counterproductive by raising
    insuline? Whats the best timing for taking each supp in corellation to the workout?

    • Thanks, Steve!

      The other supps don’t break the fast so you’re good.

      You should take them 15-20 minutes before working out. Except for creatine. That should be taken post-workout.

      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

      • Steve

        Thanks for your reply. Could you be so kind and be a little more detailed on when to take each supp exactly? E.g. BCAA 30mins priorto and after workout. Yohimbin 60min before, and so on …

        • YW!

          Yohimbine and BCAAs should both be taken 15-20 minutes before working out. Creatine should be taken within 1-2 hours of working out.

  • Livo

    Hei Michael, I measuring my %BF with caliper, it said I am in 22% what do you think? Is it right, thanks.
    The pictures are not so good, I am not so fan of pictures.

  • Juscedd Velastegui


    Great material as usual sir!

    I’m looking to incorporate creatine along with your fat burners and pre-workout supplements. Do you lean one way or the other to someone doing this? Are there any negative side effects to fat loss by implementing creatine?

    Thanks in advance.

  • James

    You look noticeably bigger and more muscular at 6-7% body fat than 10%, interesting. The saying “the fastest way to gain 10 pounds of muscle is lose 10 pounds of fat” certainly is true!

  • Chad Avalon

    Hi Mike, just wanna get a few tips here for constructing my plan here. So I’m a relative newbie so weight loss and muscle gain is my aim. I’m not able to do late cardio sessions so I can’t do fasted cardio at that time. And you say elswhere that 5 liftting session per week is better than 4 and 4 is better than 3. And also do 3-4 cardio session per week. So if I want to train fasted with Forge and wieghlifting prior to cardio is best, whats the best way of going about that? I can work out 6 times a week total. I was thinking just while cutting to do the three day a week weightlifting, so then I could do cardio the other three days, and it can all be fasted and cardio can be separated enough from weightlifting. And it sounds like I would probably want to put the cardio in between each day to be able to rest from each lifting day. How does that sound? Thanks again for everything Mike!

    • Hey Chad!

      Cool on the plan to build muscle and lose fat.

      The 3-day split and cardio 3 days a week works. You could also do the 5-day split with 3 days of cardio. You’d just have a couple days where you’d do both weightlifting and cardio. The cardio could be done right after the weightlifting.

      Would that work? They could all be done fasted as well (given you’re fine with fasted training).

      My pleasure! Talk soon.

      • Chad Avalon

        Great yea, that might work. If I do that then would I continue to stay fasted all the way through cardio even on weight/cardio days? Im using phoenix and forge and just wanna get the cut over with asap! 🙂 Thanks again.

        • Great. Yep, you can stay fasted for both on the days you have to do both weight lifting and cardio.

          I hear you, man!

          Welcome. 🙂

  • Benjamin

    Hey Mike,

  • Benjamin

    Hi Mike,
    Love your work, dude! Keep it up!
    Diet question: When I started cutting, I was obese (over 30% BF) with about 50 lbs of fat to lose before I get down to 10%. Are there any special instructions for length of the cut? If I am averaging 1lb. fat loss per week, then it may take me upwards of a year before I would be ready to bulk per your book. My energy balance is good, pretty good macros, and I’m still losing 0.5 lb – 2 lb fat per week, so I am not seeing any issues. I just wanted to know if there were any long term effects of going on a cut for that long? You mention reverse dieting after several weeks, but I assume that is only for people that are stagnant and/or much lower BF%. Thanks!

    • Hey Ben! Thanks! Will do. 🙂

      Good question. You can continue cutting as long as you’re getting results and are eating no lower than BMR. Once you’re all the way down to BMR and not losing 1-2 pounds a week, it’s time to RD. After the RD, if you aren’t down to your goal BF%, you can continue cutting.

      Welcome! Hope this helps. LMK what you think.

  • Sheryl Adams

    Great article. wondering if it’s a good idea to start lifting weight after a tummy tuck Sydney surgery. 🙁

  • Just a girl

    Hey there…BIG fan of yours…I tell everyone that asks me about my progress about your website. Especially…Thinner, Leaner, Stronger. I’m a 41 year old female, started out at 5’6 and 160 pounds (YIKES!). Been working with a personal trainer for a year now and have lost 30 pounds…gone from a size 10 to a 4 and have seen GREAT progress. I still have some belly fat, outer thigh and of course the glutes still need some work. Everyone tells me I don’t need to be any smaller…I would agree with that but do I train to lose that last bit of fat that’s hanging on or do I just focus on building muscle?? Not sure my best course at this stage. And ONE more question…how long would you say it typically takes to build up those glutes for that “gravity defying” booty! Feeling like there’s slow progress there. Thank you for any direction you can give me!

    • Hey hey! Thanks for the support and spreading the word!

      Great job on the weight you’ve lost!

      I hear you on the bits of fat you have left. I recommend you continue cutting until you’re 20% BF. Here’s why:


      For helping measuring your BF%. check this out:


      If you are going to continue cutting, keep these in mind to help:



      Regarding the glutes, it depends muscle mass, BF%, genetics, etc. To help build them, though, take a look at this:


      Hope this all helps! My pleasure!

    • Amber Wilhoit

      Hi there! So, I would be so HOT in the 80’s Jane Fonda days with very little effort. However, that is not the “look” now. I have just recently realized the secret to a booty. It is less about strong legs and more about specific but targeted exercises. When I was a sprinter, I loved my butt–lots of plyometric and explosive power training. That is not currently sustainable for me or most women. I do lunges, squats, dead lifts, bridges with weights, other butt lifting exercises. If you over-develop your thighs and hamstrings, your butt will look small in comparison. One person to follow for motivation is Jen Setler (I think I got her name right). The most important thing is to be comfortable in your skin and do what you do to boost your self-confidence and health. I think there is a tendency to get a bit crazy with the cheeze whiz at times when it comes to body image and what one is willing to do to look like an air brushed 5’11” 14 year old.

      • Just a girl

        Hi Amber! Thanks so much for the reply. You are so very right. I want so much to just feel good in my own skin. Having reached a body I never thought possible it’s eye opening to realize I still see the things that need “fixing” instead of how far I’ve come. It all comes down to validation I suppose. We’re all looking for it. I am going to look up the Jen now. Always welcome new input and direction. I’ve heard it for years that fitness can become an addiction. I get it now. There’s ALWAYS room to improve. But to your point…at what point do we say enough? Thanks again for the response. Feels good to share 😉

  • Hani Daniel Salman

    Hi , great article . I just have a few questions , I plan on going to the gym in the morning fasted 5 times a week once a day and on 3 of those days do hiit cardio , I plan on buying pulse and forge so do I take these products before my workout on all 5 days , and do I take them on my days off as well ? Also I plan on eating a lot of protein is there any other things I should incorporate in my diet ? I’m willing to be on a very strict diet but will that even help in this case ? Thanks !

    • Thanks!

      Cool on your plan to train fasted and pick up Forge and Pulse. You’d take the supps before training. You wouldn’t take them on your off days.

      For how your diet should be, check this out:


      Welcome! LMK what you think.

      • Hani Daniel Salman

        Alright . Read the article it’s great , a lot of stuff I was not aware of , I will make sure I set up a plan! Thanks for the help and information !

  • Antoine Leclercq

    Hi Mike, great article.

    I just have a question regarding Phoenix. You state that you take 1 serving of Phoenix before your workout in the morning and 1 before your workout in the afternoon. Does it mean that you take 8 capsules a day (a serving being 4 capsules)? It is indicated not to go over the dosage (2 capsules twice a day) on the container that’s why I’m wondering.


    • Thanks! Yep, I take 8 capsules a day just because why not. 🙂

      The clinical dosage is 4 capsules, though, and that’s all you need for results.

      YW! Talk soon.

  • Sfine

    2 Things I’d like clarification on, you weigh around 150 IIRC, so you’re taking 12 Forge before weightlifting and 12 before HIIT? And then 4 Phoenix before and 4 for HIIT? Also, My lunches are usually ~40-50C 10-20F and 40-60P. If I have lunch 12-1230, will I be fasted by 430?

    • NP! Sorry for the confusion.

      The general serving size is 4 capsules. However, if you read the label, you’ll see I recommend 1 capsule per every 50 lbs of body weight to start and then to work your way to 1 capsule per every 25 lbs of body weight. So, for you, you’d start with 3 capsules and work your way to 6 capsules before fasted weightlifting and another 6 before fasted cardio. For me however, since I’m almost 200 lbs, I need 8 capsules before each fasted training session and that’s 2 servings of 4 capsules.

      Hope that makes sense! LMK.

      Hmm. That’s cutting close on the training after lunch. I’d give it another hour or two of not eating just to be safe.


  • Damien

    Hello Michael,

    Here are the results of my last inbody decomposition
    Weight 78.1 kg
    Muscle Mass 38.5 kg
    BF = 14.2%
    People are telling me to continue bulking for now but i want to reduce the BF% as i want my abs to be visible without flexing , is this a bad decision ? or should i put more muscles first

  • Brian Giffin

    Mike just made it back to TDEE after a 8 week cut. About 13% body fat right now intending to hang out for a while then attempt to cut to 8%. I’ve really enjoyed training fasted and had awesome results combining Yohimbine, Suneferin, HMB and Caffeine.
    My question is this, if I keep training fasted and keep going with the above supliment stack will I continue to burn fat? I feel like I am but have also heard that the above supliment stack is useless when you get to TDEE.

    Also is HMB is safe to take daily?


    • Hey Brian! Nice! Sounds like a good plan.

      Glad you enjoyed the fasted training and those are all great supps!

      The supps won’t help with fat loss unless you’re in a deficit. They are meant to accelerate fat loss which requires a deficit to begin with. You can take caffeine pre-workout to improve performance, but no need to take the rest.

      Yep, HMB is totally fine to take consistently. Just no need for it unless you’re training fasted.

      Welcome! Talk soon.

  • stefan

    hello thank you for the article. im 19 y old, 6 feet and about 195 lbs, and have a lot of belly fat about 100 cm waist , but pretty ok muscles overall arms shoulders etc. Ive been cutting for 3 weeks and lost weight but not any fat or belly fat, probably just water.. now i ate very very little carbs so i think that was the problem, i have now increased calories and carbs and im eating about 1500-1700 cals a day, my intake to maintain weight is about 3500 cals a day. Am i doing right, im doing hiit cardio every day how long will it take to see results on my waist and could i for example in about 6 weeks reach a flat belly/abs? thank you very much

  • Jordy Peri

    I am a female at about 16% body fat and I just ordered your forge but I have a very hard time putting on muscle, I want to get the very last bit of fat on my low abs gone but I don’t want to lose muscle, should I take forge and do fasted cardio? Or just do some hiit and one liss training per week?

  • Jacy J

    Was wondering if it is safe to use yohimbine and caffeine together, say for instance having pre-workout before the gym and taking yohimbine when I wake up…

    • Yep, should be fine! I take both before fasted training when I’m cutting. 🙂

  • Blake McMahon

    Mike, I am going to follow the routine you outlined above, but instead of weight lifting in the A.M., I want to do HIIT. I’ll eat right after, 1 serving of steel cut oat, some bluberries, 1 serving fat free Greek Yogurt and one cup Almond milk. (About 400 calories) I’m 190 lbs. How long should I wait before lifting if I want to be in a fasted state when I lift also?


    • Hey Blake! That’s totally fine to switch up the order of the weightlifting and cardio. I’d wait 4-5 hours after that meal to be fasted.

  • Neil

    Hey Mike
    I’ve been enjoying your books really good information thanks,
    I’m 195 pounds, approx 20% body fat which I’d like to be between 14 and 17, waist 36 inch and hip 38 inches. I’m happy with my weight but I’d just like to reduce my waist size and body fat for health benefits my family have an history of type 2 diabetes so I’m just trying make some right steps.
    I’m a beginner In weights but seeing gains already, I like cycling and monitor my macros very well during the week using your calculator but probably indulge to much at weekends.
    Any help would be appreciated,

    • Hey Neil! Happy to hear it. 🙂

      Thanks for the info. Let’s get you down to that BF% range then!

      Glad you’re already making gains. To help make sure you keep the weight moving, check this out:


      Following your meal plan every day including weekends will be key! You do get a cheat meal once a week, though:


      Hope this helps! LMK what you think.

      • Neil

        Hi Mike
        I hope your well,
        Thank you for all the good info, I hadn’t replied straight away as I like to go off try it and get back to you with any issues. I have a few questions
        – on cheat day when you mean just eat protein it literally is just eat meat?
        – what do you eat in the morning of a cheat dinner?
        – this week my weight just before the weekend went from 13.10 to 13.4, the evening wanted to cheat I did a 1 hr bike ride, porridge, veg, eggs, cous cous, onions, peppers etc @ 12% fat for the day. I had my drunken night out I had 6 double vodka and tonic waters finished off with a chicken Shish with a large pitta salad and mayo I weighed myself this morning I was 13.9 why such a big difference?
        I love the info you give me but clearly I don’t get how to cheat correctly still please can you let me know where I went wrong Thanks Neil

        • Hey Neil,

          You “save up” calories for the evening by eating just protein (meat, shake, etc) leading up to your cheat meal at night. Or conversely, have your cheat breakfast and eat protein rest of the day.

          The alcohol didn’t help! Take a look at this:
          Also, check out the section in the cheat meal article where it addresses alcohol consumption.

          There’s also glycogen that will pull in water weight.

          • Neil

            Hi Roger
            Thanks for your speedy answer.
            Loving the clarification on a few things there I will be trying to cheat correctly this week.
            So how do I correct the glycogen issue?
            I have the same issue when I eat a cheat meal my weight instantly goes up 5 pounds I seem to yo yo a bit.
            I didn’t eat enough calories a few days like 1000 prob because I just wasn’t Hungry the pounds just fell then I literally drunk with the chicken at the end of the night I then went up 5 pounds. I’m just getting a little frustrated every time I let go for the one night I lose my progress lol I want it to be consistent progress while being able to enjoy myself once or even twice a week without ruining my progress. Thanks for all your help I am making progress and very happy with the help you guys are giving me it’s great to have some help Cheers Neil

          • When you eat high carb, that’s inevitable. You may be underestimating how much your cheats are, too. One or two bad ones will wipe out your entire week’s efforts at cutting.

            You can enjoy yourself, but you still have to follow the rules. If you end up with a calorie surplus at the end of the week, or break even, you won’t be making progress.

  • John

    so you said if you want to lose fat as quickly as possible which is me of course you have to be weight training 4-5 day a week and hiit as well, which i will be and do. i know for sure if you’re a newbie to weight training you can lose fat and gain muscle at the same time which I’m not.. but other then that if i do what you said up there ill be able to lose fat and gain muscle at same time right? when trying to do both i kn ow you’re supposed to be in a small caloric deficit and emphasize on eating a lot protein. But yea becuz ik you said doing these things would boost fat loss, but its gonna have to gain muscle if I’m lifting weights right? thanks

    • You want to be lifting 3-5 days a week to best maintain muscle while losing fat, and the HIIT will definitely help in accelerating the fat loss.

      Yep, if you’re new to this style of training, you’ll be able to build muscle and lose fat effectively. Otherwise, your goal will just be to maintain muscle while losing fat.

      No, to build muscle effectively, you need to be lifting heavy and in a calorie surplus. Lifting heavy while in a deficit will just help to ensure you maintain muscle while losing fat.

      Welcome! Hope that clears it up for you.

      • John

        thank u. so for my next questions how can u be lifting heavy and not gain muscle if you’re only in a small calorie deficit like 20 PERCENT? and also when you’re dealing with water retention that completely stood you from losing fat right, i have also read your article on that too, but i don’t think you mentioned that. thamkk u

        • Hey John,

          Once your body is conditioned to this style of training, it will no longer make adaptations while on a deficit. For your question, you’ll only see slight muscle gain while on deficit.

      • John

        so i have one last question, i have rounded shoulders a bit from too much push training over pull, and i wanna start my cutting period so i can lose fat, but i also need to get those rear delt, rhomboids, traps stronger. is theree any way i could be in a deficit while losing fat and work on getting just these muscles stronger?

        • It’s hard to develop significant amount of muscle while on a deficit, but in the meantime, increase your pulls and consider reducing your chest presses if it is in a greater ratio than your pull.

          Start with that, then focus on building your back when it’s time to bulk.

  • R

    When will a possible distribution center be up and running in Europe?
    I’m interested in buying Forge, due to its yohimbine content, but its too expensive with shipping and all from the US to Europe.
    On a sidenote, if you get a distribution center in Europe, will you even be able to sell Forge? Since yohimbine is banned in a lot, if not all, european countries?


    – R

    • Hey hey,

      It will be later this year or early next and ideally we will be able to ship Forge to EU countries and people can hope it gets through customs (some countries are very lax with this).

      • Raudi

        Simply awesome.

        Best of luck with your endeavours!

  • Mike – My wife and I have been loving your books and plan! I have been working out for the past 8 months, at 20% BF, but just now on WEEK 3 of your cutting plan and taking Forge/Phoenix. My weight has stayed right around 161 lbs (5’8/38yrs old). I may be impatient but I feel like I should be losing more! 🙂

    My wife and I work out together in a fasted state in the mornings following your 5 day plan. We just take FORGE/Pulse in the morning and then Phoenix w/ lunch and dinner. We do our HIIT Cardio M/W/F right after our weight training. Typically we are in the gym for 90-120mins.

    A couple questions:

    – Is there benefit in separating your HIIT from your weight training? Or does that just work better for your schedule? It would be tough to get to the gym twice a day.

    – If we do our fasted weight training + HIIT Cardio should we take Phoenix before we workout w/ the Forge and Pulse…and then at lunch or dinner?

    Thanks again!

    • Hey Jason,

      That’s awesome! Great routine and discipline.

      By separating HIIT from weight training, you give yourself more recovery so that you can tackle HIIT harder.

      Pulse and Phoenix can be taken together for best results.

  • Jeff

    Hey Mike. My wife and I have been following your stuff and really enjoying the progress we’ve made over the last year. Thanks for all the sound, level-headed information. Its really helpful to have a resource that cuts through the crap and sticks with real science.

    My question is sorta multi-faceted so I’ll try to keep it condensed. Basically I’m struggling with getting a small amount of belly fat off but its been really really stubborn. I’m 43 years old and I’m about 10% BF but yet I still have this small “padding” on my stomach that won’t seem to go away. My TDEE is supposedly 2265 (with 4-6 hours of excercise per week). I know that I’m not genetically cursed however I feel like there’s no way that’s my real TDEE. When I even begin to approach the 2000 calorie mark I immediately begin to put on belly fat. I’m a disciplined eater. I don’t drink, I eat my macros almost perfectly (40,40,20). What the heck? I should be at a 20% cut at 1850 calories but I never seem to lose any of the belly fat when I eat those calories. When I get up around 1950-2000 (should still be in a calorie deficit) I begin to put on belly fat. I own two companies and my work life is stressful so I’m wondering if I have too much cortisol in my system all the time? Not sure. I’m afraid to reverse diet back up to 2265 because I’m afraid I’ll blow up like a balloon. Not sure whether to cut with lower calories, reverse diet or what? Do I need to do more cardio? HIIT? But I’m supposedly already in a calorie deficit so I’m not sure if that will help. Feeling really stuck.

    Hope this all makes sense. Looking forward to any insight you have.


    • Hey Jeff, That’s awesome you two are making solid gains.

      Take a look at this:

      Also, TDEE calculations in the book are broad guidelines and don’t fit perfectly into every situation, but are a close approximation. The MFL websites gets a little deeper, but numbers still have to be adjusted based on results because everyone’s case is different. Based on your experience and macro tracking, it looks like those numbers are too high and you need to cut below 1850 with maintenance at roughly 1850.

  • n0rth0n

    Why do you eat carbs after cardio ?

  • Ryan Brain

    Hi Mike. Yohimbine is banned in the UK, so can you recommend an alternative? Thanks!

  • Thomas

    Hi Mike. Read all your books and love your program and always get great results. Based on what you state you do for cutting here, it appears your 20% caloric deficit may be based on your baseline TDEE (unless there is another meal before bedtime not listed which would make sense as you don’t seem to be hitting your protein macros on those 3 meals). I was under the impression that we should be at a 20% reduction from a exercise adjusted baseline TDEE.

    Can you just verify whether it should be 20% reduction on baseline adjusted TDEE for me—thanks.

    Also–It is hard for me to get 2 fasted training sessions in on cardio days. I typically will start with HIIT @ 5 am (Forge/Phoenix/Pulse supplements), then eat breakfast -40g protein/75-100g Carb, and then hit the weights @7:30 / 8am after dropping kid off at school before starting my work day. Follow workout with a shake (40g protein, 50-75g carb).

    2 more meals for the day for a 300-700 calorie deficit daily based on my exercise adjusted TDEE–depending if I have a “healthier dessert” from one of your great recipes.

    I tend to feel better with my lifts and have been able to make minor gains on several lifts during my cut still. I feel the extra food helps with the strength building.

    I realize I will see slower results—but seem to “feel” a lot better mood wise & strength wise in the gym.

    Any suggestions, other than find a way to make all workouts fasted?

    • Hey Thomas, awesome you’ve gotten great results following the program. I still have snacks between meals to hit my macros, and my cut is 25% TDEE deficit. No adjusted TDEE. 20-25% deficit is recommended.

      You could increase your activity too, depending on your training schedule.

      • Thomas

        Ok–so to be crystal clear, my BMR is 1896 and based on moderate exercise adjusted is 2936. I may have misused adjusted TDEE when I meant adjusted BMR. Therefore Cutting I should be 20-25% less than the 1896 or 1450-1516 calories a day (at least 175g protein or 700 calories from protein)–if doing it the same as you for fastest results…..just don’t think I could eat that few a day.

        If it is 25% less the 2936–no problem.

        • Cutting calories is based from a 20-25% deficit of TDEE. Not BMR. You are correct!

  • George

    Hi mike great article. You mentioned eating light so your insulin levels are low for fasted cardio? Can you clarify why that’s important? Thank you!!! Ps I did read your book but maybe I missed this?

    • Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it. Eating light will not put you in a fasted state. You have to be not processing any food at all–about 4-5 hours after your last meal–to be in a fasted state.

      Check this out:


    • George

      Ah now I think I understand. When fed state insulin high and in this state it’s not using fat for fuel?. When fasted stated insulin low and body turns to fat and mobilises stubborn belly fat? Thanks Mike!

  • Lori M

    Hi Mike, I want to try your training plan! I’m based in the UK and would love to try the Pulse pre-workout. Can you recommend a similar product available to people in the UK? Thanks very much!

  • Ginette ryan

    Hi Mike, I’m in the Uk. Do you think we’ll be able to buy your products here soon? Here’s hoping 💪

    • You’ll be happy to hear that our UK distributor Shiftsupplements.com is now live!

  • Sean Steinmetz

    Hey Mike, I’ve been following the protocol you outlined here for a couple of weeks now but am seeing little-to-no results. I’m wondering if it has to do with what I’m eating after my training/my training schedule. It looks like this:
    Wake up-supplement with all 3 legion supps you mentioned-get to the gym 15 min later to do strength-immediately followed by HIIT on the recumbent bike for 20-30 minutes- home 15 minutes later- eat egg whites, one whole egg, fat free cheese, oats, two scoops whey, almond or rice milk, some fruit(blueberries or banana), maybe almond or sunflower butter, and decaf coffee. All food is weighed, measured, and tracked to meet my macros/deficit. Exercise totals 5 days of strength, 3-4 days cardio. Anything about this routine raise any red flags? Just want to make sure I’m not missing something. Thanks Mike!

    • Sean, I wager it’s your diet. Have you set calorie and macro targets? Are you (accurately) tracking? It all comes down to energy balance. If you aren’t eating less cals than your body uses, then you won’t lose fat.

      Check these out:


      • Sean Steinmetz

        Thanks for the reply. And yup, just using the macro/cal targets you recommended in a past email. I try to track as accurately as I can (weigh in grams, use appropriate variations- frozen chicken grams vs. cooked, etc). Maybe I just haven’t given it long enough. I’ve lost about 40 lbs so far and all that remains is this stubborn belly fat. It’s been 2 weeks, so hopefully in another 2 I’ll start to notice a change. Thanks again!

        • No problem! Gotcha. If you’re not losing about a pound a week, you’ll have to increase activity or drop cals.

  • PB

    Hi!! So I’m a 5’7, 133pounds woman with around 19-20%bf, trying to get leaner. I lift and do cardio 6x a week (4sessions of hiit and 1-2 of steady state) I used to be in a deficit for very long periods of time (around 1400-1600cals a day) for like a year straight, seeing no change basically and being not that strict with my numbers but always staying in that range. Then I reversed diet up to maintenance which is like 1950, stayed there for a week and then started to cut, so I cut my cals back to my 156g of P, 130g of C and 30-35g of fat. The reverse diet went very well, i didn’t gain fat. But in the cut im not seeing much difference, i think maybe I was too lose with my tracking or had some hidden calories or something. But im already 7 weeks in and im feeling the effects im vert very hungry and tired and my workouts aren’t the same so I need to revere back to maintenance but i want to continue to cut. and reverse diet takes like 6 weeks .what should i do?
    Thank you SO SO much

    • Hey,
      Take a look at this first:


      If you’re not losing weight, it’ll be because you’re not at a big enough deficit.

      You can try a refeed and reduce your cals to see if weight moves:


      If accurate calorie tracking and a reduction down to a BMR calorie floor doesn’t budge it, then reverse diet and this time be sure to create a big enough caloric deficit. You got this!

      • PB

        So even though this is my 8th week of “cutting” you suggest i still stay in a deficit longer? even though i haven’t been perfect with my targets I’ve still been in a deficit so i don’t know how much longer i should keep going before damaging my metabolism.

  • Rocky

    Hi Mike! You’ve said before that you can lose fat without cardio (albeit more slowly), although you will need cardio to get single digit lean. I was just curious why that is? Wouldn’t you theoretically keep losing fat if you maintain a deficit and are diligent with your weight training? Is the reason because eventually your metabolism would slow down too much? And cardio helps prevent that?

    • Theoretically, yes. I’ve just found when trying to get really lean (below 10% BF), that it gets a lot tougher and that cardio helps you get there.

  • Geno

    Is yohimbine still effective in a ketogenic state with baseline insulin levels or does one need to be in a fasted state for it to be effective? Thanks again.


    • The key is low insulin, so yes, it will work when keto.

  • Heath

    I know it is difficult to answer “exact science” questions about my body, but how long does it take you to enter a fasted state after a meal? Scenario: my gym doesn’t open until 05:30 and I work from 6am-2pm, so I work out after work. Id rather not fast for 10+ hrs, so assuming moderate size meals…when should you stop eating to train fasted?

  • Shelbi

    Hi Mike,

    I love reading your blog, I always feel like I am learning so much more than when I was studying Human Movement Sciences at varsity level. The way you explain everything is like a story and it just makes so much sense for the way my thinking works. Just a bit of background info: I am 24, female, weigh 61kg and am 171cm in length. I am out of shape, so I look a bit overweight and I do have stubborn belly fat. Anyway, I work a 8-4 desk job. I would like to start training in a fasted state but I work a 8-4 desk job and I find it impossible to wake up an extra 2 hours earlier in the mornings to go train (I also live a little out of town). I also only have a 30min break at 12h30 and don’t work close to any gym anyway.
    I’ve been trying to design a training/eating regime that suits my life at the moment, while ensuring that I train in a somewhat fasted state. Here’s what I have come up, Sun-Fri, 2 hiit cardio, 2 spinning classes, 2 resistence training sessions:
    06h30 wake up
    08h00 get to work
    Before 09h00 finish a rather large breakfast of mainly protein and healthy fats
    09h00-16h00 at work with no eating, only drinking (water/coffee/tea with no sugar)
    16h00-18h30 includes driving to gym, changing and training, driving home, still no eating
    18h45 supper protein, healthy carbs and little healthy fats
    Bedtime – 06h30 wake up time would be my sleep fast.

    So my 24 hours would consist of 2 big meal separated by 2 long fasting periods (one sleeping fast and one during-the-day fast)

    Please let me know what you think of this regime.

    Thank you,

    • Hey Shelbi, happy to hear you’re enjoying the content so much! Having lunch around noon is ok, if you need it to tide you over during the afternoon. Otherwise, it sounds great! I recommend at least a 3-day weight training split, though.

  • Bryan Splittorf

    What are your thoughts on oatmeal as a post workout meal? some say it has gluten and inhibits absorption of nutrients, some say it’s just sugar. What are some good carbs to eat post workout ? Should I be eating anything pre-workout too like fruit or granola?

  • Nishu Singh

    Hi Mike. I dont have time to workout twice like you do. AM: lifting PM: cardio. My routine is lifting, then cardio fasted first thing in the morning with the proper legion supplements. However, by the time I get to cardio, i am drained from lifting, stomach is making hungry noises and i am starving by then. Any adive on how to have more energy for cardio?? My routine is stretch 10 mins, lift 45 mins then cardio 10 mins on stairmaster. I like to add more cardio to my routine. Currently at 19% BF, goal is 17%. I am a female.

    • Hey Nishu, no problem at all. Let’s change things up.
      First, don’t stretch prior to lifting. Do it after exercise.
      Second, if you really need to, and can’t tolerate the fasted cardio at that point, you can have a shake after your lifting, and then proceed with HIIT cardio. Think you can get to the gym 15min earlier to extend your cardio time? Alternatively, do your stretches at home. That frees up 10min in the gym for you for cardio.

  • sara laif

    Hello Mike. I’m a bit confused because the information on your articles seem to differ from the one in your book. For instance:
    1. In your book you give us a couple of formulas to calculate our macros. In the articles you give us a generator that uses our weight and body fat percentage and then then we’re supposed to calculate our macros from that.
    2. In your book you say we shouldn’t go more than 4-5 hours without protein, so we should distribute our meals (4-6) throughout the day. In your articles you say frequency doesn’t matter.
    So which is it? Do I follow the book or the articles? Or maybe I’m using an old version of the book?
    Thank you in advance for your response. Keep doing what you do!!

  • Lynn

    Hey there,

    How should I train when I cut? I mean weight lifting. I am super weak whenever I cut, and can barely lift any weights, especially if I train fasted. My HIIT is suffering from it too… I eat lots of greens, healthy fats, try to hit 1 gram per weight protein. Am I doing something wrong?

    P.S. I am a 24 y.o. female, 114lbs, about 24% bf. Work out 4 x week, cardio 2 x week. Cutting right now at 1290 cals

  • Plzstyclm

    Hey Mike!

    Great read, and as always my favorite source for information on the web. I’ve been doing great, since early June I’ve went from about 23% body fat to what looks and measures to be 12% and have retained virtually all muscle (and recomped unintentionally early on).

    My question is, things are still moving (around 1.1lbs average loss per week), but how slowly will things move getting to 10%? I’d love to hit 9% but it feels pretty slow right now (compared to the former 1.5 to 2.2 lbs lost per week). I’m doing well for calories and have room above BMR still and nutrition is excellently managed as per muscle for life.

    Thanks again, you’re the best!

    • Awesome! Glad you’re enjoying the content. Nice work with the cut, and great momentum with 1.1/week! Could slow down to 0.75-0.5 as you get to 10% and single digits. Good to hear you have lots of room left until BMR! Keep it up man. Single digits right around the corner.

  • Ana Pires Veiga

    Hello Mike! Concerning the example of your lunch meal consisting of chicken and salad with balsamic vinegar, if you add extra virgin olive oil or virgin coconut oil to the salad or cooked some vegetables with this would that influence the level of insulin levels when was time to do your cardio?
    Thank you!

    • No, 4-6 hours after a meal like that, you’ll definitely be fasted.

  • ashley

    hello! i have purchased the cookbook and thinner leaner stronger …Im crazy busy with work and my baby, i also need to lose much weight. how can i get custom workouts or a list?

    • Hey Ashley! That’s great you picked up a copy of TLS and TSC! I’ll send you an email shortly. You can also find the download link at the end of the book.

  • Namit

    Mike, I purchased your Bigger, Leaner, Stronger book. Unfortunately due to muscle injuries, I cannot do strength training. I can only do HIIT or regular cardio. Any recommedations to bring down body fat from 18% to 8-9% in a few months?

    • That’s great you picked up a copy of BLS! I recommend that you start a cutting diet and do HIIT in the meantime while you recover.

  • Cassandra

    Can women take your phoenix since it increases testosterone? Will that lead to hair loss? Also can I take just Yohimbine on its own, im sensitive to caffeine but seem to tolerate Yohimbine. Also what are your thoughts on CLA?

  • Cassandra

    also the Yohimbine HCL I have is 2.5 mg I weight 115 lbs how many should I be taking?

  • Jack96

    Hi, Mike

    I love your book. This is my 1 month transformation. I went from 102kg to 94kg. I lost over 20 pounds in such a short period. I feel like i lost quite some muscle and strenght. I think that the problem lays in body fat percentage. I cant accuretly determine my body fat percentage. What do you think was my body percentage in both pictures. Also will i be able to get that muscle gaster because of muscle memory.

    What supplements should I use to give my gains a little boost.

    What do you think about my genetics. I dont have sports or weightlifting history. I am a complete begginer. Will I be able to get 15-20pounds of muscle in one year


  • Luka


    Great in depth info!

    What I don’t get is the following.

    If I am on 20-25% deficit (calorie intake) and I want to additionally do HIIT to target this stubborn fat, shall I eat this burned via HIIT energy back so that mt=y deficit remain 20-25% of my TDEE ?

    otherwise I will be in 30 -40 % deficit and that not good right?

    • There is no need to “eat back” the calories expended from HIIT cardio. The TDEE calculation already takes into account all exercise activity. So, your cutting target is 20-25% below TDEE. There is no modification to it required. Simply shoot for that target.

  • TS

    I’m following BLS training program and macros for cutting (I’m at around 1800 kcal) and have been doing my workout and cardio fasted. Basically I do the 5 days training split upon wake up and on the “rest days” also do some cardio upon wake up. Besides this I end my workouts with 10-15m cardio — I take 10g BCAA + 2g HMB before the workouts.

    Now I’ve been getting up on the scale everyday this week and not only my body fat % have not dropped but remained the same number or even higher some days (and my weight dropping or not) which theorically would mean I may be losing lean mass?…

    I’ve had a bunch of healthy problems with elevated stress and cortisol in past and was just trying to find anything that could relate this (as cortisol is catabolic and reaches it’s peak in the morning) so I decided to ask you.

    Do you think is to much to do in fasted state? Should I just get breakfast before?


  • Lincoln Keller

    Hey Mike, is it wise to do resistance training in a fasted state if you don’t take these particular supplements, or is the fat loss to muscle loss ratio not worth it?

  • Arturo Serna

    When I read this article previously, I thought I read about adding a protein shake after lunch or before bed, but cannot find that included in this version of the article. Can you please let me know if it was something I misread or remembered incorrectly?

  • Brandon Dedic

    Hey mike, what do you think are essential lifts for women with no access to a gym? Trying to help a complete newbie lose weight and become healthier

    • Hmm assuming she only has dumbbells, working out with only dumbbells is a bit tough because you can’t squat, deadlift, bench press, or military press (and these are the most important exercises in any program, really).

      My first standard recommendation is for her to get a proper home setup (a power cage or multi-press rack with an Olympic bar and plates). Here are the products I like:


      That said, if neither are possible, you can focus on the dumbbell exercises given in the “approved exercises” section of the book. For instance, a chest day would look like this:

      Incline dumbbell press: warm up and 6 sets 4-6 reps
      Flat dumbbell press: 3-6 sets of 4-6 reps

      While that might seem redundant and inefficient, it’s actually a great chest workout. I did that for nearly 6 months a couple years ago and was amazed by the gains I was able to make.

      You can also add a couple exercises to make your legs day more challenging:

      Goblet squats are decent, albeit limited.
      One-legged squats are challenging even without weight.

      For the back, I recommend doing a lot of dumbbell rows and weighted wide-grip pull-ups.

      You also have the option of working in some modified body weight exercises, as discussed here:


      I hope this helps and let me know what you think!

  • Jose Luis

    Hello Mike
    First of all, thank you for sharing all your knowledge with us. Now, I have two questions, the first one is that I’m currently cutting and I want to consume Phoenix but at my work we are randomly tested for alcohol and drugs every now and then so I’m worried that if I consume it one of those test may come up positive due to the stimulant nature of some of the ingredients contained on the product. And the second question is, if I exercise in a fasted state and drink coffee as a pre work out, does that coffee overrides the fasted state??
    Thank you very much for your answer.
    Have a good night

    • Hi Jose, happy to hear you’re enjoying Mike’s content. Phoenix will not get flagged for anything. But, if you’re worried, you can train fasted with Forge. The Yohimbine will target stubborn fat. A very potent combo!

      By the way, coffee will not override the fasted state as long as you’re not using cream or sugar.

  • Taylor Kuzik

    What’s happening, Mike? I’m pretty lean, around 11-12 BF% where you can see the outlines of your abs under right lighting/shadowing but not truly visible under you get under 10%. I have been making adjustments to my nutrition by using smaller plates for breakfast and lunch but use bigger plates for dinner where I tend to eat a bit more. Force of habit, I’m afraid. I eat low-calorie, nutrient dense foods like an apple for snacks because they packed with fiber which helps with hunger for a while. Plus drink water and when I can’t stand the taste of plain water I add stevia to add some flavor since stevia has no effect on blood sugar. I eat breakfast before working out. Should I wait 30-60 minutes before working out to let the food settle? I don’t get stomach discomfort but my life is hectic with work and family. I am single, if you must. I rarely drink alcohol and when I do I drink it’s usually Angry Orchard hard cider or Mike’s Hard lemonade though it’s not actual lemonade. Lol. I keep it to one drink per week since that is plenty for me.
    Anyway, I am considering taking Forge and use fasted training to lose the stubborn fat around my lower abs to get that flat belly I want. I do have the v-taper look going on. My lower back is virtually free of body fat though I am reducing the size of my love handles. They’re not prominent but still there. I don’t track macros but I do keep my fat intake relatively moderate. Even if I don’t get a six-pack, a tight, flat belly is fine with me. I read on the dosage part of Forge that the starting dosage for a 150 pound person is 3 capsules and the full dose is 6 capsules. Would that same dosage work for someone in the 140 pound brackets? My goal at the moment is purely fat loss, not bodyweight. I am about to start Athlean Inferno Max Size where it’s focused on building muscle/size for hardgainers and experienced weight lifters who want to add some additional muscle to their frame because it’s the simple fact that muscle burns around 7 times more calories than fat, which doesn’t. The more muscle you have on you, the higher your BMR and metabolism which in turn allows you to burn more calories at rest. That’s something I want as well. I guess you could say I’m looking to improve my body composition.

    I’m not a bodybuilder or fitness model. I’m just the everyday person who wants to look good and feel good when it comes to body image.

    • Hey Taylor, that’s great you’re looking into taking Forge to chip away at the stubborn fat. That same dosage will work for 140lbs. Keep up the good work!

  • Neli Morut

    I’m in a bit of a funk.
    I started dieting to lose weight and work out, and i’ve lost my goal of 16kg in 7 months. My exercises were home HIITs, biking to work daily (about 12km back and forth, moderate to high intensity)… I’m 5’2” and 50kg (33 yo) which is what my doctor said i should be at. So i got here, i did naturally build muscle in my arms and legs and i have no other issues except the darned belly fat. No matter how well i eat (i’m doing everything right according to my nutritionist) and exercise i simply cannot lose the belly chubb.
    Thing is, i had a few years of anorexia too at some point in college, but even then, i remember still having belly fat (i was 40-42kg).

    What else can i do to help get rid fo the chubby tummy? I mean it’s not horribly visible but it’s extremely annoying that i can’t seem to lose it. Is there something im missing?

    Maybe add weight training? That’s the only thing i rarely do.

    • Taylor Kuzik

      Yes, add weight training. Resistance training raises your metabolism and build muscle which allows you to burn more calories. Don’t rely on cardio too much. Heavy compound movements such as the deadlift, squat, bench press, etc burn the most calories. Remember fat loss is a total body process, despite what you may heard about spot reducing body fat. That’s impossible.
      Give the Legion fat loss stack (Forge, Phoenix, Pulse and Recharge) and fasted training a try. See if that helps.

    • Hey Neli, weight training and continuing to cut will definitely help you to lose that fat.

  • William Lim Jr

    Hi Mike,

    Is there a point in using Forge while reverse dieting or while on maintenance calories? I still have more than half a bottle left but I’m about to get done cutting. I’m not sure if I should finish it up or just save it for a later cut.

    I actually like training fasted, and I know that the muscle the anti-catabolic effects of HMB would be good for preserving muscle. But how about the supplement’s fat burning benefits? Do you think I’d continue to get fat burning effects of Forge even if I’m no longer in a calorie deficit?



    • Sure! HMB is great to take if you’re training fasted. Leucine is another option. Not going to be much fat burning going on since you’re on maintenance cals. Because fat loss isn’t the priority right now, I recommend you have some preworkout nutrition prior to training. That way you will have better physical performance.

  • Michael McCann

    Hi Mike,

    I’ve just got a quick question for you. I started my cut about 3 weeks ago at about 175 lbs 14 percent body fat using your recommendations for calories/macros and I’ve been losing about 2 pounds per week. My lifts have stayed about the same and some have even slightly increased, but I’m not sure if I’m losing muscle. Should I increase calories to get back to the one pound per week range or am I good where I am?

  • Yash Gadhiya

    Hey Mike, This is Yash from India
    Your supplements are hosted on the amazon.in website (The Indian amazon store)
    Are they legit? As there have been cases reported of fake supplements on the website of other companies before

    • No, I don’t have anything officially listed on Amazon IN.

  • Vishruth

    Hey Mike,

    I’ve been cutting for 4 months now. I’m 40 yrs at 5′ 10″. I’m down to 64 kgs. However, my body-fat % is still around 22%. If I drop below 59 kg I would technically be under weight. So, what do i do – keep cutting till i lose belly fat even though i might go under-weight?

  • Kyle Shaver

    Hi Mike,

    I’ve been having great results with your supplements and your articles are right in line with everything I’ve been doing. My results over the last 3 months have been absolutely insane using the Forge/Pulse/Phoenix combo. Anyway, I was wondering if drinking a protein shake right before I start lifting ruins the effects of the Forge? I eat lunch around 12:30 and then take forge and pulse when I get home at 5:30 and start lifting at 6:00. I find myself to be insanely hungry at this time so I usually drink a shake about 10 minutes before I start. My results have been great but was curious if they could be even better if I cut out the shake? Thank you

    • Nice work, Kyle! However, drinking a shake prior to working out will take you out of a fasted state and negate the effects of Forge.

  • Doug W

    Hi Mike.

    I have been cutting for 18 weeks now and have gotten myself down to ~10% body fat. I am able able to see outlines of upper abs when relaxed, but I still have a decent belly bulge in lower abs; not the nice flat belly all the way down that I am striving for. When lightly flexed, the bulge goes away..
    Is this the stubborn visceral fat that is still hanging on, not developed lower abs, or maybe both?
    Trying to figure out if I should continue to cut to get rid of this now, and then start bulking, or if it might be normal to have that lower ab bulge when abs are completely relaxed?

    Thanks for any advice.

  • tim

    Hi Mike, for people with high blood pressure, can you recommend a pre work sup without caffeine?

    • We don’t have one we recommend, but what you can do is look at the ingredients and dosages in Pulse to make your own or find a caffeine free product that has those ingredients in effective dosages.

  • Jamie

    Hi Mike,
    Although I’m tiny (5’1 and 103lbs) I don’t have a flat belly :/. And unlike other ppl trying to lose weight, I’m trying to gain weight/muscle. However, I have no clue as to what I should be eating or how often I should be going to the gym/what I should be doing to achieve a flat tummy yet look bigger/curvy everywhere else?
    So far I train 3xs a week. Cant do caffein. Any suggestions please? :/

  • Harsh Desai

    Loved the article and here is something that would help your readers even more http://puaindia.com/cold-shower-benefits/

  • Michael Lee

    Hi Mike,
    Great read and I’m looking to give this a go. I’ve been putting on muscle over last couple years and been complimented on it but that little roll of belly fat refuses to disappear so hope this new routine does the trick!
    Couple questions tho:
    Time in morning can be difficult so switching Weights to PM and HIIT AM suits me better should this impact the daily routine, eating etc?

    You’ve only shown a max of 120g protein intake, I usually aim for 1gram per lb body weight (around 190g) is there a reason you’ve been having lower?

    Thanks 🙂

    • Great question, Michael. Separating HIIT and lifting into morning and night is totally fine. There’s no need to adjust anything in particular.

      Hmm, where are you seeing the 120g of protein? I recommend 1-1.2g/lb when cutting. Check this out: https://legionathletics.com/how-much-protein-do-i-need/

      • Michael Lee

        Thanks for the reply.
        I was referring to the 40 grams 3 times over (breakfast/lunch/dinner) but I’ve not taken into account the possibility of snacks in-between breakfast-lunch and post dinner.
        I do have a further question more on the embarrassing side. I have difficulties swallowing capsules due to a bad experience as a kid, are you able to open the FORGE/PULSE capsules and wash down in powdered form and get same effects? (Obviously I’d expect this to taste pretty awful but it’s a chore I have to deal with haha

        • Yep, you can do that. Just won’t taste too nice haha

  • Amanda

    Hello Mike,
    This is a great article. I found this googling ways to lose belly fat. I’m 5’2 and 104 Lbs. I’m very active & always have been. I have had 3 kids and since my last baby 3 years ago I am struggling with belly fat. I’ve never had this problem before. I have always been super tone. I am 36 now and feel it’s due to my age. I love running & lifting weights, but I don’t have time for all the running I have done in the past & I want something less time consuming. I lift weights 3-4 times a week and have been doing HIIT 3-4 times a week in place of runs. That consists of sprinting on treadmill for 20 min @ 10-10.5 and jogging @ 6.0 to catch my breath. I eat fairly well a lot of egg whites, salmon, and chicken and good cards sweet potatoes, oatmeal, fruits. I do occasionally have a few drinks on weekend or a glass of wine. I just don’t know what else to do anymore to lose this darn belly fat. Any suggestions?

  • Addy

    Brilliant read mate!!!
    Can I just ask, my calorie deficit for my weight and height is currently 1700 cals a day…. but if I do my HIIT should I give myself say an extra 400 cals, and maybe an extra 200 cals for a weight lifting session? So on a HIIT and weight day give myself 2300 cals? Thanks

  • mhikl

    Yet studies over the past three or so decades consistently show how those with BMIs closer to but not exceeding 30 live longer than those at 24 and lower. The lower the BMI, the earlier comes the grim one.
    Possibly live like the wolf may be the ideal life style. They do not run if they don’t have to or are not chasing down food, or running from danger, or playing, or have the sudden urge to do so. It is those fast escapes and chases that are so necessary.
    Regardless, hard belly fat is a key killer. Pretty muscles are what they are and do not guarantee healthy longevity.
    Fasting between meals is important; as are days without any sustenance.
    I eat once a day, in the evening; junk carbs and grains are off my plate. (Early eating seems to stimulate my need for more meals.) I try to eat only 5~6 days in a week, fasting on the others; as well as fasting 3~ consecutive days on each seasonal change. I do not like being controlled, by others, bad habit or negative desire or thoughts. (see cheek exercise)
    Meditation and moments of peace with calm breathing throughout the day are important; as is smiling and occasional belly laughs. Have happy/smile triggers; pulling up to a stop sign, the phone rings, see a pretty girl . . . .
    • Here’s a trick: make a plain face. Place palms on cheeks. Gently pull downwards. Gently push upwards. Note the change in mood. Up is good.
    Namaste and care,

    • Hey there! Thanks for the comment. BMI is not necessarily the best way to evaluate your health. While it can be helpful for analyzing large populations, it’s not the greatest tool for assessing individual fitness—especially among people with higher-than-average muscle mass. However, I agree that reducing stress and eating nutritious foods are two important keys to living a healthy life.

  • Natalie Litwin

    Hi Mike, if I don’t want to lose weight (because I don’t want to anymore, I’m really skinny, however I still have some belly fat) is it possible for me to somehow lose body fat and still have the same weight? Thanks for a great article!

    • Hey Natalie! It is possible to maintain your weight while losing fat by doing what’s called a “recomp.” This is where you build muscle and lose fat at the same time.

      It may be possible for you depending on your current level of training. Check this out:


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