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If you want to lose weight, build muscle, improve energy levels or health, or just generally look and feel better, you've come to the right place.

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What You’ll Get from Muscle for Life

(In 30 Seconds or Less)

This website is run by the bestselling health and fitness author Mike Matthews, and it will show you how to finally take control of your physique and health.

You’ll learn exactly how to eat, train, and rest to get bigger (or thinner, if you’re a woman!), leaner, and stronger than ever before...and how to do it healthily, without having to sacrifice loads of time or the foods you like, without having to spend loads of money on products, and without risk of injury or burnout.

Muscle for Life is all about learning how to make the right changes in your lifestyle that result in the greatest results.

In many cases, the changes are actually quite easy to make, but are incredibly powerful.

Thousands of others have already changed their lives by following the simple, effective principles taught on this site, and you can too.

Who is Mike Matthews?

Before I continue, let me introduce myself. My name is Mike Matthews, and I live and work in Clearwater, Florida.

I’m a health and fitness author and through my books, I’ve been able to help thousands of people lose weight, build muscle, and get healthy.

My goal is to turn that number into hundreds of thousands, and ultimately into millions.

What is Muscle for Life?

Muscle for Life is my blog, and also a forum and “watering hole” for people that are interested in learning how to not only achieve their genetic potential, but live long, healthy lives. And Muscle for Life is where I attempt to enlighten and entertain readers with my books, articles, videos, and podcasts.

Visit this site regularly to stay motivated in your goals, and to learn practical tips that you can immediately use to improve your training, nutrition, and lifestyle.

Why You Should Care about Muscle For Life:

The Reader Success Stories

collage of success

While my physique proves that I can get myself into great shape, the ultimate question is this...

Can this dude Mike actually help “normal” people get into shape?

“Normal” people don’t have hours to spend in a gym every day, nor can they spend a small fortune on special foods or workout supplements and devices.

They can give 3 - 6 hours to exercise per week, and rework the budget to fit in a little extra food or a supplement or two.

“Normal” people also don’t want to beat their brains in every workout, nor do they want to live off of boiled chicken and steamed broccoli for months on end, or feel like they have to soul search after giving into a dessert.

They are willing to work hard in the gym, but want to enjoy their workouts, and they want to be able to eat a variety of tasty foods, including some “bad” stuff now and then.

Well, I have good news for you: I’m all about helping us “normal” people build extraordinary physiques.

Want some proof?

Check out what some of my readers and followers have been able to achieve by following my advice…

Christie C. Success Story
Christie C. Success Story

"TLS has been the best decision I ever made!"

Read More
Katey A. Success Story
Katey A. Success Story

"I finally feel healthy, more energetic and strong."

Read More
Steve B. Success Story
Steve B. Success Story

"I have been on average losing around 1.5 lbs per week and have lost 19 lbs so far and am continuing to lose fat!"

Read More
Jeremy B. Success Story
Jeremy B. Success Story

"IN 9 MONTHS I GAINED 45 POUNDS."

Read More
Chrissie R. Success Story
Chrissie R. Success Story

"IT [THINNER, LEANER, STRONGER] WAS THE PERFECT BOOK TO EDUCATE AND GUIDE ME."

Read More

Pretty awesome, right?

And remember, these people did not live in the gym, drastically restrict their calories or food choices, or pump themselves full of stimulants or dangerous drugs.

And they’re just a few of the thousands of people that have taken my teachings to heart and benefited.

I’m always looking to document these inspiring, life-changing success stories. People that have lost 20, 30, 50, even 80+ pounds and took back control of their lives; that are in their 40s and 50s and now in the best shape of their lives; that have simplified their exercise and nutrition programs to achieve goals they thought were impossible.

So, if you want a reason to listen to what I have to say, or need some motivation to keep moving toward your goals, check out the successes to get inspired.

Where to Begin

As there is quite a bit going on in this website, I want to help guide you in the right direction based on where you’re at, and what you’re looking to achieve.

Let's start with answers to some of the most common questions I'm asked:

FAQ

What foods should I eat to lose weight?

One of the biggest dieting myths out there is the idea that you have to heavily restrict the types of food you eat to lose weight effectively.

This simply isn’t true.

Effective weight loss is all about HOW MUCH you eat, not WHAT. Yes, macronutrient ratios come into play, but ultimately it’s a game of proper calorie control.

Read this article to learn more:

Why “Clean Eating” Isn’t the Key to Weight Loss or Muscle Growth

What’s the best type of weightlifting program for building muscle?

The biggest mistake most people make in their weightlifting is emphasizing training with light weights and higher reps, which usually includes “fancy” schemes involving drop sets, supersets, giant sets, and the like.

Here’s the bottom line: if you want to build a truly outstanding physique, you’re going to have to lift a lot of heavy ass weights, and you’re going to have to focus on compound lifts like the Deadlift, Squat, Bench Press, and Military Press.

This advice is a bit controversial. There are many “experts” that claim otherwise--light weights work just as well as heavy weights, they claim, and they often cite cherry-picked studies like this to justify their positions.

One thing they don’t tell you, however, is that most of these studies that “prove” that light weightlifting is as effective as heavy lifting have a fatal limitation:

They’re performed with novice weightlifters, who, so long as they just show up and do the work, enjoy very rapid progress for the first few months with just about any type of program (“newbie gains” are very real).

Once those newbie gains run out, though, progress quickly stalls on high-rep programs--something we don’t see in these misleading studies but experience in the real world.

Fortunately, there is good research on the other side of this fence; research conducted with experienced weightlifters that demonstrates the importance of heavier loads and progressive overload.

Read this article to learn more:

The Definitive Guide to Muscle Hypertrophy (Muscle Growth)

Why can’t I get rid of the last bits of fat in certain areas of my body?

You’ve probably noticed that certain areas of your body get leaner quicker than others, and that some fat just refuses to go away.

If you’re a guy, chances are you’ve struggled with your stomach area (and particularly the lower part of your abs and your obliques), and the lower back region.

If you’re a woman, chances are you’ve struggled with your belly, thighs, hips, and butt.

Why is this and what can you do about it? Read this article to find out:

4 Strategies for Losing Stubborn Fat for Good

How do I get a six pack?

With the amount of people wanting six pack abs, the amount of bad advice out there on how to actually get them is overwhelming.

  • Some people say you just have to do special types of ab exercises…and they’re wrong.

  • Some people say you just have to get lean…and they’re (mostly) wrong.

  • Some people say you just have to do a lot of heavy squats and deadlifts…and they’re almost mostly wrong.

  • Some people say you have to avoid certain types of foods and take weird supplements…and they’re really wrong.

Like most things related to fitness, the real way to get six pack abs–for both guys and gals–is pretty straightforward.

Read this article to learn more:

The No-BS (And Only) Way to Get “Six Pack Abs”

Do I have to do a ton of cardio to lose weight?

No, you don’t.

In fact, too much cardio is quite detrimental--it can burn up quite a bit of muscle, which can leave you skinny fat by the end of the whole affair.

When I’m dieting to lose weight, I do no more than about 2 hours of cardio per week. Yes, you read that correctly.

How am I able to do that little amount of cardio and get to 6% body fat? Read this article to find out:

The Worst Way to Lose Weight

Is it possible to build muscle and lose fat at the same time?

Yes, it’s possible to do this, but not for everyone under all circumstances. Read this article to learn more:

How to Build Muscle and Lose Fat…at the Same Time

How do I get rid of this damn belly fat?

I feel your pain. If you don’t know what you’re dealing with and how to tackle it correctly, trying to lose belly fat can be really frustrating.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. Read this article to learn more:

The Simple Science of Losing Belly Fat…For Good

Should I “bulk” or “cut” first?

In case you’re not familiar with these terms, “bulking” is keeping your body in a slight calorie surplus to maximize muscle growth, and “cutting” is keeping your body in a slight calorie deficit to induce fat loss.

The “cost” of bulking is you slowly accumulate body fat along with the muscle, and the “cost” of cutting is, unless you’re brand new to weightlifting, you aren’t going to build any muscle to speak of.

Now, you should decide to start with bulking or cutting based on your current body fat percentage. Read this article to learn more:

The Best Way to Gain Muscle Without Getting Fat

I’ve heard calorie counting doesn’t work. Is that true?

According to some “experts,” losing weight and staying lean isn’t about controlling caloric intake, but controlling the types of foods you eat. Certain foods, they say, “clog” your system and create hormone imbalances that lead to weight gain. Others “clear” the system and result in weight loss.

This is like music to millions of people’s ears who have tried and failed at some weight loss regimen that involved counting calories, or who just don’t want to have to worry about planning or tracking anything they eat.

Well, vilifying calorie counting and telling people they can eat even more than ever and still lose weight sells books and pills, but is it scientifically honest and accurate? Absolutely not.

While you don’t have to count calories to lose weight, correctly tracking and counting calories (and macronutrients, as we’ll discuss) is the most surefire, effortless way to go about it.

Read this article to learn more:

How to Count Calories Correctly for Effortless Weight Loss

I barely eat any food and can’t lose weight. Why?

This is one of the most confusing and frustrating problems people run into. They’re basically starving themselves and counting every calorie and not cheating.

How the hell, then, can they eat so little and remain exactly the same, week after week?

The answer is they’re just dealing with a problem of “metabolic adaptation,” and it’s actually very easy to fix.

Read this article to learn more:

How to Speed Up Your Metabolism for Easier Weight Loss

Help! I’m skinny fat and I hate it!

If there’s one thing about people’s bodies that aggravates them most, it’s being skinny fat.

What do I mean, exactly?

Well, a “skinny fat” physique is one that doesn’t look overweight, but lacks muscle definition. It’s the type of physique that, despite having relatively low levels of body fat, looks soft and shapeless.

What frustrates people most about being skinny fat is they’re usually exercising quite a bit and trying to “eat clean.” They feel they’re working way too hard to look the way they do.

Well, check out the following article, where I break down what the real issue is underlying the skinny fat look, how most people get there, and how to fix it:

The 3-Step Skinny Fat Solution.

What are the best supplements for building muscle?

If you’re familiar with my work, you know what I think of the supplement industry: it’s under-regulated and overflowing with worthless garbage or worse, and should be viewed with a very skeptical eye and tight-fisted budget.

And although certain supplements can help you achieve your health and fitness goals, they are by no means necessary. They can only supplement your progress at best, not dramatically affect it.

Read this article to learn more:

The Best Supplements for Muscle Growth

I wish my (BODY PART) was bigger or stronger. What can I do?

When certain parts of your body aren’t getting bigger stronger, there are a few possible reasons:

  1. You’re not training correctly.
  2. You’re not eating correctly.
  3. You’re being impatient.

There are quite a few moving parts to training and eating correctly, but start with these articles:

The Definitive Guide to Muscle Hypertrophy (Muscle Growth)

The Definitive Guide to Effective Meal Planning

Regarding patience, you need to make sure your expectations are realistic. Natural muscle and strength growth is a slow process, even when you’re doing everything correctly.

Read this article to learn more:

How Much Muscle Can You Build Naturally?

If your question isn't answered there, try searching for a keyword or two as there's a good chance I've written about it:

If you don't have something specific in mind, here's where I think both men and women should start:

If you’re a guy...

...and you’re looking to build muscle or lose fat, or both, then start with the following articles of mine:

If you like what you read, then I HIGHLY recommend you read my book Bigger Leaner Stronger next.

It dispels all kinds of fitness myths and mistakes, and lays out in precise, practical terms EVERYTHING you need to know about diet and training to build muscle and lose fat effectively.

If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut in the gym or aren’t even sure where to begin, then this book is for you.

If you’re a girl...

...and you’re looking to shed fat and build lean, toned muscle, then start with the following articles of mine:

If you like what you read, then I HIGHLY recommend you read my book Thinner Leaner Stronger next.

It dispels all kinds of fitness myths and mistakes, and lays out in precise, practical terms EVERYTHING you need to know about diet and training to build a lean, defined--but not “bulky”--body.

If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut in the gym or aren’t even sure where to begin, then this book is for you.

Oh and last but not least, you may like my video podcasts, which go over a wide variety of subjects and common questions I get asked.

The Books

I love to write, and am very thankful for all the support I’ve gotten from my readers.

I published Bigger Leaner Stronger first, in early 2012, and due its popularity, have since written and published 5 more titles.

I’ve sold over 100,000 copies of my books and regularly receive insightful, helpful feedback, which I’m able to use to make periodic updates to my titles to better serve my readers’ needs.

So, if you give any of my books a read, I’d love to hear from you.

Oh and in case you’re wondering why you should buy my books when I offer so much free content on the site...

  • My books contain a lot of book-only content.

    While a few articles are based on book chapters, the majority of the content in my books isn’t found elsewhere.

    I don’t just throw a bunch of blog posts together and call it a book.

  • My books simplify the learning process and give you exactly what you need to know to start making gains.

    As I follow a pretty aggressive posting schedule here on MFL, my articles are all over the place in terms of subject matter.

    My books, however, are built around a specific set of goals, and focus on the most important information you need to know to get there.

    2 hours spent with a book like Bigger Leaner Stronger or Thinner Leaner Stronger can give you everything you need to dramatically improve your results in the gym, whereas the same amount of time spent reading articles may or may not, depending on what you end up reading.

  • I have a growing son and expensive wife.

Okay, that’s a joke...kind of. ;)

In all seriousness, I make my living as a writer, so every book I sell helps me continue doing what I love: writing helpful stuff for you!

Alright then, let’s get to my books…

BIGGER LEANER STRONGER

The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body

Bigger Leaner Stronger Book Cover

If you want to be muscular, lean, and strong as quickly as possible without steroids, good genetics, or wasting ridiculous amounts of time in the gym and money on supplements…then you want to read this book.

THINNER LEANER STRONGER

The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Female Body

Thinner Leaner Stronger Book Cover

If you want to be toned, lean, and strong as quickly as possible without crash dieting, "good genetics," or wasting ridiculous amounts of time in the gym and money on supplements…regardless of your age… then you want to read this book.

THE SHREDDED CHEF

120 Recipes for Building Muscle, Getting Lean, and Staying Healthy

The Shredded Chef Book Cover

If you want to know how to build muscle and burn fat by eating healthy, delicious meals that are easy to cook and easy on your wallet, then you want to read this book.

MUSCLE MYTHS

50 Health & Fitness Mistakes You Don't Know You're Making

Muscle Myths Book Cover

If you’ve ever felt lost in the sea of contradictory training and diet advice out there and you just want to know once and for all what works and what doesn’t–what’s scientifically true and what’s false–when it comes to building muscle and getting ripped, then you need to read this book.

CARDIO SUCKS!

The Simple Science of Burning Fat Fast and Getting in Shape

Cardio Sucks Book Cover

If you’re short on time and sick of the same old boring cardio routine and want to kick your fat loss into high gear by working out less and…heaven forbid…actually have some fun…then you want to read this book.

EAT GREEN GET LEAN

100 Vegan Recipes for Building Muscle, Getting Lean & Staying Healthy

Eat Green Get Lean Book Cover

If you want to know how to build muscle and burn fat by eating delicious vegetarian and vegan meals that are easy to cook and easy on your wallet, then you want to read this book.

The Recommendations

I come across all kinds of stuff in my travels, and I use this section of the site to pass my recommendations along to help save you time, money, and frustration.

The recommendations are organized into the following categories.

Supplements

Muscle For Life Supplements

Here’s a simple truth that most supplement companies and magazines don’t want you to know:

You don’t need to spend a bunch of money on fancy supplements to build the body you want.

Proper training and diet are the keys to building a great physique.

That said, there are a handful of supplements that have good science behind them, and that can speed up muscle growth and fat loss, and improve your overall health.

In this section of my recommendations, you’ll find the exact products I currently use and have used and liked, along with a bit of an explanation as to why I believe they’re worth the money.

Equipment

Muscle For Life Equipment

Although you don’t need much “stuff” to work out properly, the right equipment does make a difference.

Fortunately, I’ve tried a TON of products over the years and I can save you money and frustration sorting through the junk.

In this section of my recommendations, you’ll find the products I’ve used for many months or even years, and are thoroughly happy with.

Food

Muscle For Life Equipment

While the quality of foods you eat doesn’t matter much for body composition purposes (you can build muscle or lose fat while eating junk), it certainly does for your health.

In this section of my recommendations, you’ll find my ever-growing list of favorite food products that are not only nutritious, but tasty as well.

Kitchen

Muscle For Life Kitchen

If you’re like me, you probably spend a fair amount of time in the kitchen preparing weekly meals.

Just as with workout supplements and gear, I like to try a wide variety of kitchen equipment. I’ve tried all kinds of blenders, mixers, pots and pans, food scales, tea makers, and even obscure stuff like silicone pancake rings and oven mitts.

In this section of my recommendations, you’ll find my favorite kitchen products. These are what I use and enjoy, and think you will to.

Books

Muscle For Life Book

While my books give you a great overall foundation of knowledge on how to build muscle, get lean, and stay healthy, there’s always more you can learn when it comes to health and fitness.

In this section of my recommendations, you’ll find a list of other people’s books that I found most helpful, and that I think should be on the shelf of everyone who’s serious about getting into shape.

And just for fun, I’ve also included a variety of other books I’ve liked, ranging from self help to business to fiction.

Cool Stuff

Muscle For Life Book

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m kind of a sucker for cool stuff. I like nifty gadgets, quirky decoration pieces, nice clothes (and shoes!), good books, and fun games.

In my “Cool Stuff” series of weekly posts, I share whatever currently has my fancy, and in this secion of my recommendations, you’ll find all the various goodies that catch my fancy.

The Community

The Forum

Muscle For Life Forum

From day one I wanted Muscle for Life to be a place where people could discuss and debate the many issues relating to getting fit and healthy and staying that way. These are incredibly vast areas of knowledge, and there’s much to be learned from other people’s experiences.

If you have questions about getting in shape or taking your fitness and health to the next level, head over to the forum.

There you’ll find an inviting community of like-minded people that would love to have you join our group and conversations.

Connect With Me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welp, that’s it for now.

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

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