Muscle for life

How to Safely and Healthily Lose Weight Fast: Part 3

How to Safely and Healthily Lose Weight Fast: Part 3

If you want to lose weight fast without starving yourself, crashing your metabolism, or burning up a bunch of muscle…then you want to read this article.


Welcome to the third and final part in this article series on how to safely and healthily lose weight fast.

In the first part of this series, we  covered the diet and nutrition part of rapid, healthy weight loss.

In the second part, we discussed various exercise strategies you can use to speed up the fat loss.

In this part, we’re going to talk about what types of safe, effective supplements you can use to lose weight fast.

So, let’s start with a simple fact that the weight loss pill manufacturers don’t want you to know…

Weight Loss Supplements Aren’t Wonder Pills

No matter what the advertisements or sponsored athletes say, know this:

Weight loss supplements can only help speed the process if you’re maintaining a calorie deficit.

There is no such thing as a safe, natural substance that will cause you to lose fat if you’re not properly restricting your caloric intake (as discussed in part one). And ironically, many of the weight loss pills on the market won’t do anything at all, proper diet or not.

That said, there are a handful of natural supplements that, when combined with proper diet and exercise, you can use to safely speed up weight loss.

Personally, I use all of the supplements below when I’m dieting to lose weight. I’ve gotten to the 5 – 7% body fat range both with and without supplements, and there’s no question: it’s faster with.

The main reason why I want my “cutting” to go as quickly is possible is not impatience, but because it negatively affects my training. When you’re dieting for weight loss, you eventually begin to lose strength, and as time goes on, you can lose more and more muscle.

Thus, my goal when cutting is to use all the safe, natural, and effective methods I can to reach my target body fat percentage as quickly as possible.

So, let’s look at the natural weight loss supplements you can take to lose weight fast, and how to take them properly.

Weight Loss Supplements that Work

There aren’t many weight loss supplements that have been scientifically proven to help you lose fat, but here are the ones that we know work:

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.


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


Yohimbine is made from the Pausinystalia yohimbe plant, and 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 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. β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate (also known as HMB) is a substance formed when your body metabolizes the amino acid leucine.

Research shows that HMB is an extremely effective anti-catabolic agent,  which means it’s very good at preventing muscle breakdown. And this means you will recover faster from your workouts and experience less muscle soreness.

  • 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.


PHOENIX Fat Burner

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

PHOENIX helps you burn fat faster 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 show 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

Summary of Rapid Weight Loss Strategies

I want to wrap up this series of articles with a summary of everything covered, for easy reference and reminders. (Make sure to read parts one and two of this series if you haven’t already–the bullet points below won’t quite make sense if you don’t.)

  • Maintain a mild-to-moderate calorie deficit, not a severe one
  • Don’t just focus on calories, but on proper macronutritional ratios to maximize weight loss while preserving muscle
  • Create an exact meal plan to follow and stick to it every day
  • Don’t cheat on your meal plan as it will only slow things down
  • Train with as high of a frequency as your body can take, which is likely no more than weightlifting 5 times per week and HIIT cardio 4 times per week
  • Lift heavy weights, and focus on compound lifts
  • Do high-intensity interval cardio
  • Train in a fasted state
  • Take supplements proven to accelerate fat loss.
  • Limit and cycle caffeine consumption

Well, that’s really everything there is to say on the subject of safely and healthily losing weight fast.

If you use the strategies outlined in these articles, you will rapidly lose weight, and you won’t pay for it later in metabolic damage or muscle loss.


What do you think of these weight loss supplements? 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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  • CPANinjaDoug

    Is it more effective to take all of the green tea (say, three pills) at once, or spread throughout the day? Or does it matter?

    • Michael Matthews

      Doesn’t really matter.

  • Onur

    Mike do you always diet down in this fashion or do you do you do it once in a while?
    Because if the muscle loss doesn’t differ too much from the ”regular” way of dieting (more carbs), then I will probably go on dieting like this instead of higher carb.

    • Michael Matthews

      I never do low-carb. I stick to the formula in BLS. I hate the loss of energy and strength on a low-carb diet…

      • Onur

        And just an off topic question, i just got new stretch marks on my left armpit (DB benching) due to a new PR 86 lbs.

        Now that I am on a diet i try to maintain that, but although i can get the weight up myself and press it 6 times, it kinda hurts when I do it.

        It’s a weird feeling and sometimes i feel like it’s getting bigger due to it. Should I continue trying to maintain it or should I go a bit lower to prevent serious injuries?

        I am kinda stuck atm with what to do (the pain isn’t that much but you never know what can happen)

        • Michael Matthews

          Hmm the pain you’re feeling is in your skin, or muscle, or?

          • Onur

            It is sort of right underneath my armpit, just to the outer side of my pec. it really is a weird feeling but it’s quite a irritating. It doesn’t necceseraly hurt allot but it does cause some sort of pain, and it’s been there for about 2 weeks now (I still get every 6 reps on every set though)

          • Michael Matthews

            Interesting. Is it muscular though or skin stretching?

          • Onur

            I think it’s mainly skin stretching

          • Michael Matthews

            Ah okay. Have you tried something like cocoa butter and vitamin E?

          • Onur

            no, never thought about those 2, should give them a try.
            And just incase it would be a isue with the muscle, what would you advice then?

          • Michael Matthews

            Reduce the weight or back off the exercise. Don’t hurt yourself.

  • Jenny Leadem

    Okay so just to clarify, I should take four of the green tea extract pills a day? Because I’ve only been doing 2. I’ve also been taking four yohimbine pills before strength and four before cardio, both in fasted states. Is that correct?

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah, 4 per day is good. I always do .2 mg/kg yohimbine both before lifting and cardio, but it doesn’t give me any blood pressure or jitters issues.

      • Jenny Leadem

        So then I should up it to around 5 yohimbine’s then. They don’t really seem to bother me at all, I have a pretty high tolerance to stimulants though. I would have to take to little though and just be wasting moolah.

        • Michael Matthews

          Yeah you can do more yohimbine then. I also have a high tolerance for stims.

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  • Michelle

    Sent you this in an e-mail but dont know if it went through:

    Thank you for suggesting
    https://www.muscleforlife.com /the-ultimate-fitness-plan-for-women/

    I left a comment at bottom of it. Would appreciate your thoughts!

    • Michael Matthews

      Cool thanks! I’ll get to it!

  • Kevin

    Hey Mike I have a question regarding training: I follow your BLS routine and train legs heavy once a week. Because of genetics and 10+ years of elite level soccer, my legs are and have always been big and strong (calves too). I have made significant gains off your program but I feel now that my legs are getting too big and I don’t want to put any more size on them; it is a struggle to fit into my jeans. I know the obvious answer would be to train them lightly or maybe once every two weeks..but then I feel like I’m wimping out on my workouts. Should I stop training legs? Thanks in advance for the help and advice, big supporter and follower of yours and I can’t wait for the advanced BLS routine! I will definitely pre order it!!

    • Michael Matthews

      Haha nice problem to have. 🙂

      Let’s just up the rep range. Do 3 sets 4-6, followed by 6 sets in the 8-10 or 10-12 rep range. That should keep them conditioned without adding much size.

      Thanks on the next book! I’m working away on it!

  • HittinTheSlopes

    I don’t have affordable access to the supplements listed in this article. But in place of those I drink black coffee 30-60 minutes before training and drink a lot of green tea during the day but I can’t calculate the catechins accurately. Also I noticed some brands are green tea mixes with about 40% green tea, 40% mulberry, and 20% other variations. It looks like mulberry (and green tea) extract helps to block some absorption of carbs. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16960168

    • Michael Matthews

      I would recommend caffeine pills instead of coffee:


      And great on the green tea. I believe a cup has about 30 – 40 mg catechins? Feel like I’ve read that somewhere…

  • Ted

    My question relates to training in a fasted state first thing in the morning. Following your recommendations in this article and another one of yours I remember reading about training in a fasted state, it sounds like I (an 82kg male), should be taking about ~250mg of Caffeine, ~300mg of Green Tea, ~10mg of Yohimbine to help fat loss and (some amount, lost the article) of BCAA’s to prevent muscle loss. To me, that sounds like an awful lot of powered substances. Do you down them all with just water or need to eat something small along with them? I’m thinking even a scoop of protein powder with water might help, but that might go against the idea of training in a fasted state to begin with. I’m just worried about horrible aftertaste/indigestion after taking all those pills/supplements on an empty stomach and then going to work out.

    • Michael Matthews

      The caffeine can be higher if you want, yohimbine should be around 15/16 mg, and 10 grams BCAAs.

      The GTE may make you nauseous on an empty stomach, you’ll have to try it and find out. The others shouldn’t bother you.

      If you have protein, it will break the fasted state.

      • Ted

        I guess I need to get a better BCAA powder. The one I bought (Plain BCAA Powder from Vitacost) looks like I’m mixing Styrofoam and water, and “dissolves” just the same. After attempting to down it quickly, I got about a tablespoon in my mouth before spitting it out and dumping the rest. I had to resort to a scoop of protein powder this morning instead. I’ll try finding a better version of the BCAA 😛

        Would you insist on a plain/unflavored version? There’s an orange flavored version from Optimum Nutrition that I’m eyeing to try next.

        • Michael Matthews

          Yeah plain BCAAs are gross. Go with a flavored product that actually mixes.

  • Paul Higham

    Hi Mike,
    Yohimbine is banned in the UK.
    Any alternatives?

    • Michael Matthews

      Hmm there is another form of yohimbine known as “alpha yohimbine” that apparently doesn’t give the jitters that sometimes come with yohimbine. You could see if that is available…

  • MG Dogg

    no shoutout to epherdine stacked with the caffine? its a great appetite suppresent.

    • Michael Matthews

      Never actually tried ephedrine. It does work though,yes.

  • Toni

    Couldn’t you also just use coffee and green tea instead of them in pill form? I have had success with both particularly when I drink green tea. It seems to almost melt belly fat off me.

    • Michael Matthews

      The caffeine in coffee doesn’t work the same in the body as the form in pills (the latter has been proven more effective for improving performance), and you’d have to drink a LOT of green tea to get enough catechins…

  • António Alves

    Hey Mike,

    By the way, when you say “fasted training”, does that include both cardio and weightlifting? I believe in BLS you recommended eating a low-GI carb in your pre-workout, but it seems like lately you’ve been leaning towards fasted training. Is working out 3 hours after lunch with no food in between considered fasting? Does hunger=fasting?

    I’ve read in an IF book that caffeine accelerates fat loss and not only total daily expenditure, which I believe you’ve talked about in another article, however I believe this was mainly in a fasted state. Does it still work in a non-fasted state?

    What happens if I drink it while in a fast, but then break the fast a couple of minutes later? Would I have to stay in a fast, and does it make any difference?

    I just think it is important because this article says that in lean people it can accelerate fat loss by as much as 29%:

    It probably isn’t close to 29%, but surely there must be an increase.

    Thanks a lot!

    • Michael Matthews

      When I cut, I both lift and do cardio in a fasted state. If I’m maintaining or bulking, I don’t do either.

      Being hungry doesn’t necessarily mean your insulin levels have returned to baseline. 3 hours is probably not enough time, unless you ate a REALLY small meal (30ish grams protein and some fat maybe).

      Yes caffeine helps with weight loss regardless of whether you’re training fasted or not. It works. I recommend it.

  • James

    Hi Mike, my name is James, from Brazil. Bought your book here, and I’m following every step. In one year I droped from a 20% body fat to 13%, and gained 7kg of muscle mass! Very happy with the results, never been in better shape! The olny thing I wasn’t doing was the HIIT and was not taking any weight loss supplement. So yesterday I decided to start. I started taking VPX Meltdown and as I live near the beach, i decided to do sprints on the sand.
    As I was doing one of the last sprints, BAM, I hurt my posterior thigh!! Immediately I went home to put ice, and today went to an orthopedist, who gave me anti-inflammatory, and I’ll start physiotherapy.
    He recommended a 30 days rest to recover, and this is killing me! I’ll be doing a magnetic resonance this saturday to see the extent of the injury, but I don’t think it’s too severe, it’s not hurting when I touch it.
    What do you recommend? Should I really stop everything and rest, or it’s ok if I continue to work out, upper body only? Should I Stop taking the weight loss pill? Do I have to decrease my calories intake since I’ll not be doing coumpound exercíses like squats for a while? Please help me!

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks James! Wow great job on your progress! That’s awesome.

      Shit sorry to hear about the thigh injury. It sounds like a strain. Check out this article of mine:

      https://www.muscleforlife.com /how-to-prevent-and-recover-from-workout-injuries/

      Definitely give the muscle a rest. Instead of training legs you can use that time to do some extra work on a weak point of your physique if you want.

      If you do that, you don’t have to change anything in terms of supplementation or diet.

      • James

        Michael, thanks for taking the time to reply! Nice, I’ll read the article, thanks so much!

        • Michael Matthews

          My pleasure! Hope you like the article.

  • Manish Arya

    Hey Mike 6mg/kg is equal to 480 mg for 80 Kg guy. is it safe to take so much caffeine at once? how much caffeine can be taken at once without any risks?

    • Michael Matthews

      That’s a little high but not too bad. I do 400 mg in one dosage.

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  • André Midea Jasiskis

    Hi Mike! Awesome articles. Solved a lot of questions that i had.

    I have just some more questions left…

    I’m wondering how should i procced from a bulk to a cutting cycle, if it has to be a slow decrease in the amount of calories that i consume or it could me more drastic?

    Another thing is that i went from a dirty bulk that i gained a lot of fat, then i began a cutting cycle so i was so fat that i lose most of the muscles that i’ve gained, but i get very lean. So i started a clean bulk following your advices and i get much better results but even following a strict program i gained some fat as expected. So i at the beginning of 2014 i may cut again… but there’s the question do you think that is worth cutting even if i’m not the size that i want just to keep lean and then start another bulk or is better to get bigger at once?

    Thanks for your hard work, you helped me a lot.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Andre!

      Most people like to go from bulk cals to maintenance for a couple of weeks, and then from maintenance to a cut.

      Yes it’s definitely worth cutting to keep lean. Just cut it off around 10-11% and start bulking again. And follow the cutting advices in the book–don’t go crazy with the deficit and keep lifting heavy. You should be able to preserve almost all, if not all, of the muscle you’ve gained along the way.

      • André Midea Jasiskis

        Nice! So i’ll stick to the plan of cutting at the beginning of 2014.


        • Michael Matthews

          Great, sounds good!

  • disqus_8FumL9xsC7

    Hi Mike,
    Great article! I learned a lot from reading this. I’m currently training for my first bikini fitness contest and have been training on and off for about 6 months now. I have 7 more months of training before the contest. I’m following a diet and doing HIIT cardio and weightlifting. My body fat is at 18.2%,) I’m female, weight 123 lbs. and 5 5) and I need to lower it but have not been able to. I normally work out during my lunch hour but after reading your article, I’m going to do HIIT cardio in a fasted state, in the mornings when I wake up. I would also like to do weight training in a fasted state, but I do not have enough time in the morning before work to do both. I was thinking about skipping my mid-morning snack and go weight lifting during my lunch hour. Would my body be at a fasted state? The time between breakfast and lunch would be 5 hours.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! Great on your upcoming contest. That’s exciting!

      Good call on the fasted HIIT, and yeah, 5 hours in between breakfast and lifting should put you in a near-fasted state, if not fully fasted. Make sure to have 10 grams of BCAAs or 5 grams of leucine before though, and eat after.

      Hope this helps!

      • disqus_8FumL9xsC7

        Thank you for your quick reponse!! How long before my weight training should I take 10 grams of BCAAs?

        • Michael Matthews

          YW! I take them about 15 minutes before.

          • disqus_8FumL9xsC7

            How about creatine, can I take this while taking BCCA as well or would it be overload?

          • Michael Matthews

            Yes you can. That’s totally fine.

          • disqus_8FumL9xsC7

            Thank you!

          • Michael Matthews


  • Ryan

    Hi mike. I’m starting my first ever cut after bulking for 1 year!! Been following BLS for past 4 months. At 20% bf I have around 22lbs to loose! I’m in no rush as I want to keep all of the muscle I gained, I have my diet nailed but my question is shall I start supplementing with these fat loss aids (caffeine, green tea etc) from the start or should I wait until further into my cut?
    I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.

    • Ryan

      22lbs to lose not loose!!!! Just ruined my own day writing that!

      • Michael Matthews


    • Michael Matthews

      Awesome man, I’m excited for you!

      Yeah, start the supplements right away. They speed up the process. Definitely let me know how it goes!

      • Ryan

        Is this ok to take mike? This is where I get m supps from in uk? Can’t even tell if it has the right amount of catechins in. Or is it disguised in ingredients as some fancy letter combo?


        • Michael Matthews

          Yeah I like this company.

          • Ryan

            Cool! Sorry for sound like a dumbass but how much of that would I take so I hit the right dosage of catechins

          • Michael Matthews

            Haha no worries. Not sure you have to see what percentage of the mgs are catechins.

          • Ryan

            Cool man. Day 2 of first ever cut. Body doesn’t know what’s going on. Near the end of yesterday’s back session was shaking and felt so depleted of energy!!! Strength was still there though! Hehe hopefully it’ll get better after my body realises it’s gotta eat the damn fat for extra energy!

          • Ryan

            And this is cutting at 2630 kcals haha!! Super fast metabolism !!!

          • Michael Matthews

            Gotta love it !:)

          • Michael Matthews

            Nice! Haha it’ll get better. Keep me posted.

          • Ryan

            Sorry to be a pain Mike asking so many questions. Just finished my back session 2nd time since I started cutting. After deadlifts (No strength loss, even beat last week by 1 rep on first set) bent over rows which I equalled last week so no strength loss there and pull ups when I was starting to tire a lot but no strength loss, I get to lat pull downs and I’m absolutely spent man. Nothing left in the tank at all so my numbers were well down on last week.

            Because I moved upto 12 heavy sets about 3 months ago while bulking do you think I should move back to 9 heavy sets as I’ve got nothing left by the time I get to last exercise, this has happened on most days.

          • Michael Matthews

            That’s totally fine it’s the muscle endurance that drops off first. Strength up on first 2 exercises is good though.

            Yes you can move back to 9 sets when cutting if you’re just too spent to finish. Totally fine.

  • Dallas

    Hey Mike, great article series! I was hoping to learn about how to beat my plateau. I started Thinner Leaner Stronger about 6 months ago, and have lost approx. 26 lbs and at least doubled all my lifts. In other words…I love it! I have adjusted my calories as time went on (including cardio), losing a pound a week predictably. But now I have been stuck at the same weight for 3 weeks. If I cut another 100 calories, that would put me at 1200. So my options here are lower my calories, try “zig-zagging” my metabolism for a little bit, upping my cardio, or…quitting. Haha just kidding, that’ll never happen! I was hoping to hit 17-18% body fat within the next several months though. What do you think I should go for here?

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Dallas! Wow amazing job on your gains so far! Shoot me an email if you’d like to be featured on the site as a success story once you reach your goal. I’d love to put you up!

      Haha it sounds like it’s time to just speed your metab back up so you can go back to your normal deficit and continue losing.

      To do this, increase your calories by 100 – 150 per day for 7 days. Then do it again. Then again. Continue this way until you’re back up to the 1800/1900 range and then you can go back to 1400ish and start losing again.

      You will gain some weight doing this but very little will be fat. It will mainly be water and glycogen.

      Hope this helps. Let me know!

  • Steve_82G

    Hey Mike, quick question. Should one take a typical post-workout Shake (20-40 gr Whey WITH a blend of Maltodextrin + Dextrose after the workout? Being a weightlifter who lifts for one year, 22%bf at 5.10 / 93kg body composition, I wonder if you have to cut the carbs after the workout or else avoid carbs for the rest of the day, as the PWS Carbs take half of my daily intake of max. carbs then…

    • Michael Matthews

      I prefer to eat food with nutrition instead of eating powdered carbs. Something like a white potato, oatmeal, or even rice milk with a banana.

      I eat about 30% of my daily carbs in my post-workout meal. Check this out:

      https://www.muscleforlife.com /guide-to-post-workout-nutrition/

  • Smooth SP

    Hey Mike, i need some photo shoot advice/assistance, i have about 2 photo shoots coming up over the next 12 weeks with the first one 3 weeks out and i’m trying to find a way to maximize them, this will be the fist time i will really be trying to cut down to look ripped and show definition (like abs) and i been following your advice on losing weight fast for about a week now and it’s going good! My biggest question right now is about lo carb vs higher carb for looking ripped for a shoot, i know you say you don’t really prefer lo carb cause of energy in the gym but i feel ok working out on either high fat or higher carb and have good energy and strength but i know with lower carb you tend to lose alot of water wieght, would it be better to go lower carb temporarily for like 12 weeks for the shoots to look real lean or am i looking at it wrong? thanks

    • Michael Matthews

      Hmm if you need to really speed things up you will want to follow the advices in this article series:


      Start carbing up 2-3 days before shoot. Hope this helps!

      • Smooth SP

        Ok thanks, and I’ve read all three articles and started to implement it as mentioned above, so I guess the main thing I’m really trying to find out with this is do you lose muscle in general by going low carb for any certain period of time?

        • Michael Matthews

          Great, let me know how it goes! No you won’t lose muscle but you might have issues with hunger and energy.

          • Smooth SP

            I will and thanks for the advice, just one more question regauding cutting fast, i’m doing intermittent fasting 16/8 Leansgains method so i eat twice a day, i work out when i get off work at 6pm so i eat a meal 3-4 hours before i get off and then post workout, is it better to get my carbs in the first meal before i workout to fuel the workout or after the workout or does it matter. i’m thinking if i had them before the workout it would give me fuel in the gym plus deplete glycogen stores to move to fat faster, let me know what you think and thanks again

          • Michael Matthews

            My pleasure.

            Cool on what you’re doing. I would do about 50 grams before and about 50% of daily after.

          • Smooth SP

            Cool, also on part 2 you mention about how lifting about 3-5 days a week and doing HIIT cardio 3-4 times a week would give the best results (of course based on the person) so if i’m only able to workout one time a day how would that translate? Would lifting and doing HIIT cardio 3-4 times a week be too much only working out one time a day? thanks

          • Michael Matthews

            Just do your cardio after your lifting.

  • Not related to any of those supplements, but I saw you recommended Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega, 1,000 mg Fish Oil. Any particular reason for recommending this brand? It costs 50 bucks for 180 capsules.

    I used to buy the generic Walgreens 1000mg Fish Oil with 400 capsules for less than that. Is the price difference worth it?

    Also, my nutritionist told me about Krill Oil. Is there any real difference?

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah, I’m upgrading my recommendations section to explain why. Basically the cheap oils suck in terms of how much omega-3s you’re actually getting and in how your body absorbs them.

      Krill oil looks promising. I’ve seen some research on it but will look into it more. It’s expensive too though.

  • Allison

    Hi Mike, I don’t really have the access to all the supplements you recommended so can I just skip them instead? Also, if I’m going to train in a fasted state, how am I going to prevent muscle loss without the BCAA(?) pills. Caffeine’s a big no for me. It makes my head hurt and I feel so out of focus after drinking it. :))

    • Michael Matthews

      Yup, you can skip them but you will want leucine or BCAAs if you’re going to train fasted. Otherwise I wouldn’t recommend it. Just have some protein and carbs before.

      • Sherril Berry-Wysong

        Would you still need the BCAA’s before fasted Hitt Cardio??? or just if weight training??? My plan is to do fasted Hitt Cardio first thing in the AM then before my afternoon weight training to eat my oatmeal, blueberries and 20 mg, whey. After weights 40 mg whey protein.
        And you said coffee will not be considered breaking the fast? What if it has a TBSP of Half and Half per cup (2 cups)???

        • I use them before fasted cardio, yes.

          Coffee is fine and the h&h will be fine if you keep the cals low (I try to keep under 30).

  • Daniel Ellenberg

    I’m going to give these supplements a try, but how do you feel about CLA? it’s been said to help improve your body’s fat-to-muscle ratio and aid in fat loss. Do you agree?
    I’m 18, at 5’11 176lbs. Trying to cut a little belly fat before Bulking again.

    • Michael Matthews

      Great! CLA has mixed reviews. It’s inconsistent, which is why I’m not recommending it anymore.

      • Daniel Ellenberg

        Alright, I’ll just stick with the above supplements for now. One more question: I have an old bottle of whey protein I never use anymore (mostly because it tastes gross), if I were to take a scoop of this (30g protein, 7g carbs, 2.5g fat) before training first thing in the morning would it negate the effects of the fasted training and yohimbine, or is the carb/fat low enough that I would still have the same results? I ask because I want to maintain muscle, but don’t have the money to buy bcaas along with the other supps right now.

        • Michael Matthews

          Cool, sounds good.

          Yes, that would raise insulin levels too much. You want BCAAs (10g) or leucine (5g). Leucine isn’t very expensive because you get a LOT and only need a little before workouts

  • Justine

    How much better are the caffeine and green tea supplements compare to
    drinking 3-4 cups of green tea? I was also wondering if drinking green
    tea without sugar or something like black coffee would count towards breaking the fast
    when it comes to training in a fasted state? Thanks Mike, your articles
    RULE, I’ve been recommending them to all my flabby friends, haha 😉

    • Michael Matthews

      Unfortunately you’d have to drink like 40 to 50 cups of green tea per day to get enough catechins to affect weight loss, haha.

      No green tea and coffee don’t break the fast.

      Thanks for the support! 🙂

  • Darnit

    How to Safely and HEALTHFULLY Lose Weight Fast

  • Marc

    So if I’m taking caffeine, leucine, and phoenix together, I can take them all 15 minutes before training fasted?

    • Michael Matthews

      Yes that’s fine.

  • rei

    Hi, Mike. Just wanted to say your articles have helped a lot in my weight loss journey, and also to ask; What’s the difference between green tea extract and ecgc? It’s just that I’ve seen both and don’t know the difference between either.

    • Michael Matthews

      Awesome! I’m glad to hear it!

      EGCG is one of the catechins found in green tea extract and is the one most closely associated with weight loss.

  • Mollie

    I don’t know if you remember me from a comment on a different article, but I mentioned that I had just completed ideal protein and because of it, you suggested I might reverse the diet before I tried to lose. if I get on a good meal plan from these articles you have provided, even if I gained a bit of weight from my body not knowing what’s going on during the first week, following this and being strict with it would – maybe in the following week- be the beginning of the fat loss? I am in a time crunch to lose most of it by Christmas and honestly don’t want to spend that time trying to get my metabolism back to normal if it might not even be damaged.

    what do you think? if i commit and take this seriously, do you think I could still lose that 15-20 in a month after coming off a low carb diet like ideal protein? and then with that, I know you mentioned to not cheat – say that I still was keeping my caloric deficit while I cheated once or twice during this month – would that totally set me back?

    thanks for all help. seriously so appreciative of it all!!


    • Michael Matthews

      Lose 15-20 pounds in a month? Absolutely not. That would require utter starvation and STILL might not work.

      The question is where your intake is at right now. How many calories are you eating every day and how much do you weigh?

      • Mollie

        oh, I thought 15-20 was what you said, my mistake!! 🙂

        my intake with the 20% deficit (weighing 151 and a bf percentage of 29) is 1500. does that sound right working out 4-6 hours a week?

        • Michael Matthews

          Haha no worries.

          Yes that sounds perfect. About 40/40/20 split in terms of macros?

          • Mollie

            I think so! does that sound more effective than the 45/20/35 macros split i read about in the other article? or does it even matter? haha

          • Michael Matthews

            Ah right I forgot the content of this article. A lower-carb approach can be beneficial if you’re very overweight/obese.

      • fuzegraphics

        Mike youre confusing us. You mention losing 15-20 pounds in a month a few times in this article series and then you’re saying “Absolutely not” above. Please explain?

        • Hmm if you’re quite overweight you can lose 15 to 20 pounds in your first month and maybe two but it will slow down.

          If you’re starting out just moderately overweight you wouldn’t want to see that much weight loss. Maybe 15 lbs in month one but then 6 to 8 each month thereafter.

        • Hmm if you’re quite overweight you can lose 15 to 20 pounds in your first month and maybe two but it will slow down.

          If you’re starting out just moderately overweight you wouldn’t want to see that much weight loss. Maybe 15 lbs in month one but then 6 to 8 each month thereafter.

  • este

    Hi Mike. I would like to know if I drink a protien shake after training. Does it count as part of my calories for the day?

  • 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!

  • Natalie

    I’m following this article to lose 18 lbs in 6 weeks. (35year old female 155 lbs 5’6″). I have a good muscle base already but have a slipped neck disc c6-c7 which limits me to a few machines where I don’t need to physically load the weights. So I do legs 2x a week, leg press/leg ext/leg curl and then 5 sets of 40 non weighted lunges. Can I still lose the weight without lifting upper body? Cardio is fairly unlimited so have been doing hiit 5 times a week – running stairs, bike, some bootcamp. I’ve lost 8 lbs in 6 weeks while following your book thus far. Thks!!!

    • That’s a bit aggressive on the weight loss considering the fact that you’re not obese. I would shoot for 10-12 pounds personally.

      Cool on what you’re doing. You don’t need to train upper body to lose weight but you’ll want to keep the cardio in.

      Glad to hear you’re doing well! Keep up the good work and keep me posted!

  • Luke Chudders

    Hi mike
    Just a quick question I’ve been cutting for 3 months now and I’m suffering headaches do you think it’s time to go to maintnance for a couple weeks can’t wait to,read your new book

  • Lenard Plata

    I’ve been overweight for 10 years and tried so many things. Different things work for different people and I was lucky enough to find one that worked for me. I lost 21 pounds in one month without exercise and it has been a life changer. I’m a little embarrased to post my before and after photos here but if anyone actually cares to hear what I’ve been doing then I’d be happy to help in any way. Just shoot me an email at [email protected] and I’ll show you my before and after photos, and tell you about how things are going for me with the stuff I’ve tried. I wish someone would have helped me out when I was struggling to find a solution so if I can help you then it would make my day

  • Sherril Berry-Wysong

    Hi Mike,
    Well, I LOVED the 3 parts of your article. I have researched and analyzed them and overlaid with what I am currently doing as I merge fully into your program. 🙂
    I like the Phoenix fat burner and the ingredients are very cohesive and seem totally complete. My question is: (as I have a stock of supplements already, that I buy separately as powders which I would like to finish up)… Can I take Phoenix ‘along’ with the synephrine powder I have (current dose of about 200 mg AM and 200 mg Noon… (I have a slow metabolism and low blood pressure)? I also take in the AM 400mg of Keto-7 (I am post menopausal, and my DHEA was low when I tested a few years ago, but I don’t like DHEA for the side effects).
    I take additionally, Tonalin CLA 2000 mg at breakfast and dinner. And a couple cups of coffee a day.
    The other question that arose as I read the comments in part 2 is, since I have been low carb (below 70 per day for 8 months, except on cheating weekends) and you said to another reader that the rapid weight/fat loss program you write about here is mostly water and that you hate low carb… was to go with the higher plan in the book. Should I do the same? That said… with 1600. calories a day (my 20% deficit) and higher carbs, I am afraid I would blow up like a balloon. Everything I have read says that anything over 100 carbs a day puts one in the fat gaining zone.
    Thanks for your answers..
    P.S. I left a review on Amazon for Thinner Leaner Stronger. You are the BEST!
    And I bought your book on the Bill of Rights. Will pick up the Genius one and Muscle Myths too. VERY Exciting! 🙂

    • Thanks so much!

      You can drop the synephrine powder if you pick up Phoenix. You don’t need more per serving.

      You can drop the CLA. It’s basically worthless.

      You don’t need to go low-carb. Check this out:


      And we gotta make sure your cheating doesn’t screw it up:


      Thanks for all the support! You rock.

      • Thanks Mike! I did buy the Phoenix.. and now am on auto ship via Amazon.
        Will drop the synephrine.
        Having a hard time getting to 1600 cal. Made it to 1475 yesterday…LOL
        It is weird being able to eat. But the workouts are kicking my ass! Literally.
        So I need the energy!
        I have spent SO much money on CLA… WOW that is a surprise.
        I also will check out your Whey.
        Thanks a million.
        How did you get to be so wise for being as young as you are? 😉
        OH and no cheating!!! 2 drinks on friday.. no food cheating.
        Hell, 1600 calories is like SO much food! It’s amazing. 🙂
        I am excited to see my goddess body emerging!

  • Perfect! It sounds like you’re doing great. LMK how you like Phoenix!

  • Stavros

    Hi MIke,
    when u cutting do you take 4 pills of green tea extract everyday,even on off-days?
    I say that because u reccomend 1-2 low caffeine days and that can’t be done if i take 4 pills because each one contains around 32 mg of caffeine…
    Thanks in advance.

    • Yup every day.

      There’s no way each pill contains 32 mg of caffeine. Where are you reading that?

      • Stavros

        Yeah if your read the suplements fact on the link you have in amazon it says it contains up to 32mg of naturally occurring caffeine in each capsule.

        • Stavros

          did i buy the wrong capsules?lol

        • Really? Lol never even knew that. It does NOT have that much. I feel NOTHING when I take it…

          • Stavros

            Hahaha,maybe u have high tolerance in caffeine.

            But i also dont feel anything when i take it.

            I guess i”ll keep taking them.I have seen some gains concerning fat loss this week!

          • I do but I would notice it. It’s probably just a “could be as high as” type of thing but it’s actually very low.

  • Kam Barnes

    Hey Mike,

    how long before forge will be back in stock?

    And when will your stacked app be released?

    Also, I was looking on legion and noticed that your site no longer has the shirts with sayings such as “It’s not gonna lift itself”, etc and was wanting to know if you’d be selling those shirts again?

    I was also curious to know, in your experience how long does it typically take for most people to cut from 16/17%-10% BF?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hey Kam!

      Forge will be back in stock next week. Sorry for the wait!

      I’m shooting to release STACKED in March/April.

      Yeah, I decided to discontinue the moti tees for now. I’ll be bringing them back for sale on Muscleforlife.com.

      Good question! How long it takes to cut depends on your starting weight and how fast you lose. When cutting properly, you should be losing 1-2 pounds a week, so you should be able to cut in 6-12 weeks.

      My pleasure! Talk soon.

  • Tora

    hi Mike, I finally found a yohimbine supplement here in Italy, which is very rare, though the dosage for caps it’s 800milligrams of yohimbe bark which is 1% yohimbine.
    I don’t really get it but what would the effective dosage be fom me (80kg)?
    Is that just 8mg per serving? If that so what a waste…we need legion around here as well!

    • Nice! The dosage for you would be 16 mg. Check this out:


      I’ll have distribution set up for the EU later this year. 🙂

      • Tora

        Thanks a lot, and as for legion, well, lookin’ forward to that! so 2 caps should do the trick, let’s see how it goes!

        have a nice day!

  • Pam Moody

    Hi Mike. I’ve talked to you about my schedule, I’m the lady truck driver. My question is about the pre workout supplements. I work out before bed time so I don’t want something that will keep me awake. I like to workout fasted as I need to lose fat but I am concerned about preserving muscle. Will Forge keep me awake?

  • Amy

    Hi, I recently purchased Forge and Phoenix. I have a few questions. I have not started them yet and am wondering what the starting and max dose of Forge would be for me (female 140lbs). I am wondering if I need to cycle them during my cutting phase. Also wondering if I should expect to experience any kind of “withdrawal” symptoms when I stop these supplements. Lastly-do I continue with Forge even once I am done cutting?thanks so much for your time!

    • That’s great you picked up Forge and Phoenix! No need to cycle either of them because you’ll take it throughout your cut and only during the cut. No withdrawal symptoms afterwards either.

      The max dose of Forge for you would be 5-6 caps. (1 capsule per 25lbs)

  • Carlos Bautista Jr.

    Hi Mike, I’m looking at purchasing the three supplements mentioned in this article. I always workout upon waking as I find that best sets me up for the rest of my day and better sleep at night. When working out, I have always done it fasted for the last year, minus the 32 ounces of water I drink within the first 30 min after waking. My question, if I understood this article, these are best taken fasted and just prior to the workout. If that is the case, will I then be taking all three supplements at the same time prior to working out?

    • That’s great, Carlos! Yes, you can take all three prior to working out. It’s not necessary to take Phoenix along with the other two before the workout, though.

      • Carlos Bautista Jr.

        Thanks for the quick response. So Phoenix can be taken anytime through the day?

        • Pretty much! 2 caps in the morning, 2 in the late afternoon or evening.

          • Carlos Bautista Jr.

            Thanks again.

          • NP

          • Carlos Bautista Jr.

            Hi Mike, sorry to bother again, but two more questions, prior to a year ago, I was on13 prescription medications, two of them being for High Blood Pressure (HBP). Over the past year, I have been able to come off 11 of the prescriptions. Primarily eating healthier, also, by cutting as much sugars as I can, especially chemically or man made. Eight month ago I was taken off the first HBP medication (Hydrochorathyzide) and two month ago I was taken off the last one (Metoprol). However, I have followup at the end of this month to see if my HBP is normal and stable. I remember seeing somewhere on this site, that using Pulse or was it Forge, will increase your blood pressure. Is the increase only while the product is in your system and BP will normalize once after the workout and out of your system, or does it keep you BP high all the time? First off, all reviews I have seen on your Legion products have been outstanding and say it really works that is why I want to use it. If I do get it, I plan on starting with half dosages and start off taking it twice a week on two of my toughest days workouts, which right now is Monday and Friday. Once again, don’t mind the spike in BP if its only a temporary thing.

            Second, as I stated earlier I do my best to really avoid chemically and man made sugars, which I know at times can be very difficult, but again, I try my best. I see for Pulse, the advertisement states ”

            Delicious with no artificial sweeteners, flavoring, food dyes, or fillers” I see Maltodextrin and Natural Flavors, both artificial sweetners and as for the Erythritol, is a non-gmo form because that as well as the other two I named do have a host of negative effects on the body from what I have read. In your own advertisement, you state, “Artificial sweeteners may not be as dangerous as some people claim,
            studies suggest that regular consumption of artificial sweeteners may
            indeed be harmful to our health, and that more research is needed.” The part that says “studies suggest regular consumption of artificial sweeteners may
            indeed be harmful to our health, and that more research is needed.” gets me. If that is true, why put them in. Also you state, “And while artificial flavors seem to be benign, they just aren’t necessary, natural flavors taste equally good.” If that is true, then why add Maltodextrin and Natural Flavors? Stevia is the only natural sweetener I see in the ingredients. I don’t mean to be negative, but being new to this new healthy lifestyle, I do question a lot, but its only to become more knowledgeable and understand as much as possible. I know every expert has their opinions, but as I am now learning, there are so many twist and turns to trying to achieve the most optimal health. Thanks in advance for the answers to my questions.

          • Carlos Bautista Jr.

            One more question Mike, on blood pressure, I remember you mentioning that preworkouts can spike BP. As a former person who was on BP meds and no longer on them, Is the spike in BP on Pulse and Forge only while in my system and working out or will this cause a constant increase in BP. Obviously starting out on these products going half dosage and looking it at taking them twice a week for my harder workouts to start off with.

          • Hey Carlos, congrats on getting off the meds! The rise in blood pressure is temporary, and will only really be significant while you’re working out.

            And that’s a wise plan. If you ever feel lightheaded or dizzy, then you may want to dial it back. Of course, you’ll also want to talk to your doctor as well.


  • Brice Smith

    I appreciate this article and am following the strategies in it. One question I’m really confused
    about: is it okay to take Legion Recharge (creatine) when using Phoenix and
    Forge together? In other words, does phoenix/forge for fat loss, combined with Recharge for muscle/weight gain, cancel each other out?

    • Hey Brice! You can definitely take Recharge even if you’re cutting with Phoenix and Forge. They don’t cancel each other out. Recharge is designed to help you gain strength and muscle, which is very beneficial even if you’re in a calorie deficit and losing fat.

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