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Muscle for life

MFL Podcast #1: Cutting tips, losing stubborn fat, fasted training, and more…

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MFL Podcast #1: Cutting tips, losing stubborn fat, fasted training, and more…

In this podcast I talk about…

  • My cut from 9-6% body fat in ~8 weeks
  • Some tips for making dieting easier
  • What stubborn fat is and how to lose it
  • Why you don’t want to drastically cut calories
  • Fasted training
  • And more…


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Articles I reference in the video:

DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO INTERMITTENT FASTING

STUBBORN FAT

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTIONS

If you like the podcast, I’ll be doing one every week or two. You can keep up with them by subscribing to my YouTube channel, or to my iTunes podcast channel.

What do you think of the episode of the podcast? Let me know in the comments below!

TRANSCRIPT

Hey, this is Mike Matthews from muscleforlife.com. Thanks for checking out my first video podcast thing. I’ve had a lot of people request that I start doing videos and also start doing a podcast, so I figured I’ll them both at the same time. I’ll start doing other videos as well.

I would do training videos and stuff, but the gym that I work out in is kind of weird about it. It would have to be at really weird hours and there aren’t that many gyms in the area. I’ve called different gyms.

But I’m going to work out, it’s just a pain in the ass, because my schedule is crazy right now and I don’t have that much time.

There would be no way for me to take an entire day, probably, to go shoot a bunch of stuff in the gym.

I do have some instructional videos and stuff that are already shot. I just need to narrate them and finish up on the editing. I won’t do the editing, but I’ll have to narrate it. It’s on the list, it will get done soon.

I just have a lot going on with launching the supplements right now, and launching a new book, and running the website, and whatever.

As you can see, this is my office. This is where I sit and stare at a computer screen all day. I’m in Florida. It’s nice outside. It’s 6:00 right now, the sun’s going down. It’s hot, it’s like 90 degrees outside and 100 percent humidity.

In this podcast, I’ll talk about a couple things. We’ll talk a little bit about my cut and how it went. I just finished cutting, went from about nine percent to six percent, in about eight weeks or so. I’m going to give you a couple tips on how to make your cuts go faster and easier.

You really want to get them over with as quickly as possible, not just because cutting sucks. I don’t actually mind it that much, but more for the preservation of lean mass. You don’t want to stay in deficit for long, long periods of time.

You also don’t want to go into too much of a deficit and try to rush it, because then you lose too much muscle as well. We’ll talk a little bit about that.

I want to go over a couple questions that people have asked on the blog that I said I would address in the first podcast. We’ll just get to them and I’ll talk about them while we’re here. We’ll just get to them one by one.

First, on my cut, I took about eight weeks. I lost about 13 pounds. I went from 198 to 185. I’m hovering around 185, 184, so that’s where I’m at right now. My calories, I started around 2,500, maybe 26, I don’t remember exactly, lifting five days a week, cardio three days a week.

I like to do HIIT cardio only. You burn more fat, you preserve muscle. Why even bother with going outside when he’s jogging for now? It’s like burning up more muscle and burn less fat than if I go I’m in bike for 20-30 minutes and do HIIT. That’s what I do.

The kind of building that I’m living has a gym, it has some weights but light weights, it’s worthless. Some machines and stuff. But they have a recumbent bike, which I always use. What I do is I go on the recumbent, I do at night, I lift early in the morning. I drive to a gym, a real gym, and lift.

And then at night I hop on the recumbent bike, very simple. I just do a little warm-up, and then I bump into resistance to to like four or five.

And paddle as hard as I can for 30 seconds and then pull it down to a no resistance, to the level one. I keep it at 14-miles in an hour or something like that. For 60 seconds, back the resistance up, pedal as hard as I can for 30 seconds. [inaudible 04:01] like that.

Sometimes I go 30-30, just depends on how I’m feeling at that moment. The low intensity is never longer than 60 seconds though. Yeah, I like the biking. I found it also helped with my legs strength actually.

At first, my legs were sore for a minute, it was getting a little bit annoying, because my legs days were being affected by it.

But as I continued to do it, my legs…I saw it improving not just on the bike, but also in my squats, which was nice. In terms of a cardio schedule, what I would like to do is, I like to not do cardio the day before legs, for me legs is Thursday, today.

I don’t do cardio on Wednesday night, because I usually find, even though my legs are poorly conditioned to it now, they’ll be a little bit sore, they’ll be a little bit achy or stiff, or whatever, and it will mess with my lifting a little bit.

I do cardio like Sunday night, Monday. And then if I’m doing four days, I’ll do Tuesdays as well from doing three days, I will take Tuesday and Wednesday off, so my legs are totally good.

I will lift on Thursday, lift legs, and then I would do cardio again tonight. Which I’ve actually found has helped with soreness, doesn’t really get that sore these days.

I still will get sore from the big lifts like [inaudible 05:24] , stomach, my back sore, squats, still makes my legs sore. But by doing cardio night, I’ve noticed the soreness in my legs, it’s noticeably less, come Friday, come Saturday.

That’s always nice. It’s not fun to try to go out weekends and do things, and you’re like Frankenstein because of legs day.

Anyway, that’s what I like to do for cardio and cutting. I have to cut my calories 2,500 or so, 2,600. I probably went from, like, nine percent to maybe seven and a half on that.

Then, I had to cut about a hundred calories a week for the final four weeks or so, to get down to somewhere around six percent right now. It’s hard to measure unless I go get, like, DEXA scanned. I have the calipers that I recommend on my web site.

And they’re good, they’re accurate to a thin one percent, but when you start getting really lean, there’s just not that much skin to even grab. So it can be a little bit hard to know exactly, “Am I exactly six, am I six and a half?” I don’t know.

But, I’m somewhere down there, which is…Mainly, how you look, that’s really what we’re going for.

You look in the mirror and you go, “Do I need to be leaner? Yes or no.” So, yeah, my calories at the end, I got down to about 2,000 a day, which isn’t even that bad. It’s enough food. I’m not particularly hungry during the day, I feel fine. So, that’s basically how it went.

And, right now, I have the photo shoot that was supposed to be this week, but it’s going to be next week, so I’m just keeping my calories to 2,000. I might as well see if I can lose a little bit more fat by the time the photo shoots roll around next week.

I just want to do that. And then, I’m going to maintain [inaudible 07:26] and [inaudible 07:27] . It’s simply a matter of increasing calories.

Usually what has happened the last time I cut down to this lean was, I was increasing my calories. I’ll probably increase 100 calories a week. I’ll add in some carbs, just because they’re great for…My body does very well with carbs, some people’s bodies don’t do too well with them.

Most people, I find, do, but if they do have any problems metabolizing carbohydrates, regular exercise and healthy eating usually does a lot to improve that. So, anyways, I’ll increase my carbs, just ’cause it gives you more energy in the gym, you can lift more weight, and that’s what I like to do.

So, I’ll probably increase them by, I don’t know, maybe, like 30 a day or something like that. So, I’ll bump my calories up 100, 150 calories a day, do that for a week, and see how my body responds.

Last time that I was cutting to around this kind of level, it’s funny, I kept on losing weight, like, I was having trouble stopping the weight loss.

At that time, I wound up around 178, and I was pretty lean. I was probably, I was right around six, six-ish, maybe even a little bit below that. I really had, like, nothing left I could grab.

My skin just felt like the top of my knuckles everywhere. But, as I increased calories, I was continuing to lose. I wanted to stop the weight loss at 180.

I bumped my calories up to 100 a day, still lost weight, you know, about a pound that week. I bumped them up another 200 or so, now I’m up to, like, 24, 25. Lost another pound.

There are other people that run into that, I guess it’s just that your metabolism does regulate itself, based on how much food you’re eating.

So, that’s what I’m going to do this time. I’m going to bump my calories up between 100 and 200 per day and just find…

All I’m looking to do is stop the weight loss. I’ll stay the same in terms of body fat.

Regarding my cheating, this is also a good little tip. If while you’re cutting or if you want to maintain a particularly lean look, is to use some intermittent fasting.

I don’t do it every day, because I honestly don’t like it that much. The fasting part doesn’t bother me. What I don’t like is actually having to eat really large meals. I don’t like the feeling, I just want to pass out. Like, if I go eat 1,500 calories, even of good food, it just knocks, it makes me tired and [inaudible 10:05] .

So, yeah, I don’t like doing it on a day-to-day basis. But it is useful, I find, in two different scenarios, where I actually do like to work in a little bit of [inaudible 10:21] .

One is, I like to eat pancakes. Pancakes are straight delicious to me, it’s probably one of my favorite cheat foods. Very high carb, though, obviously.

What I’ll do is, like, Friday night I’ll eat my last meal maybe, like, let’s say I eat my last meal at 10:00 PM. I have some protein or whatever, a little bit before I go to bed.

And then, I won’t eat again until Saturday around…I’ll probably do, like, 12:00 PM or 1:00 PM, maybe even stretch as long as 2:00 PM.

So I’m fasting somewhere between 14 and 16 hours, which is, you know, if you are familiar with intermittent fasting, I wrote an article called “Definitive guide to intermittent fasting.”

It goes over the whole theory behind it and it goes over the science of it and some different protocols.

But if you’re familiar with it, you’re probably familiar with Martin Berkhan’s Leangains protocol, which is, if you’re interested in IF, I recommend that’s the protocol that you follow. Because it’s particularly well suited to people who lift weights.

Whereas other protocols like the warrior diet is just kind of stupid because you’re allowed to eat fruit throughout your “fast,” I don’t know how that’s a fast if you’re eating fruit.

There are alternate day fasting, there are health benefits and if you have health issues there could be reasons to do that, but for people who are lifting weights that would be terrible. Anyway, you can read more about that on the website if you’re interested.

I’ll fast about 16 hours and then I’ll eat, usually about 150 grams of carbs in one go, and that’s pancakes and maple syrup. I don’t like the Walden farms cancer…I don’t know what it is. It’s like one of those jokes when you just don’t even know what you’re eating. Some weird zero calories sweet syrup. No, I like the real shit.

I have [inaudible 12:12] syrup and whatever recipe I’m feeling like. I like the pancakes, but I usually will keep it around 150 grams carbs and low fat.

I use a little bit of butter, but I want to keep the fats down in that meal, probably, to maybe 15 or 20 grams. Then, I’ll have some protein, usually with some Greek yogurt that I put on the pancakes. I have this all worked out.

I’ll have a protein shake with that, or whatever. That’s 1:00 PM, just massive amount of food, and then I’m not hungry again until, probably 4:00 or so. Then I’ll have some shake and that’s basically my big carb up.

Depending of what I’m doing with my carbs, I may eat some more carbs, maybe I’ll have some more at dinner. I always like to have vegetables at dinner, but I might have some food throughout the day, or something like that.

You can use intermittent fasting to feel like a cheat, like that huge pancake meal feels like a cheat meal but it’s not. I was doing that every week throughout my cut which, I don’t know if I said this, but it went about eight weeks or so.

I lost about 13 pounds, I went to about nine percent now to about six. I was doing that every week. If you’ve read any of my work or follow my website, you know about refeeding which is important when you’re cutting, especially as you get leaner, you need a bunch of carbs.

What it does is it spikes a hormone in your body called leptin that basically tells it that it’s fed and that it can continue losing fat. Leptin regulates the metabolism. It’s actually produced by body fat.

When you have a lot of fat, your body produces a lot of leptin. When you have lower fat levels, your body produces less leptin and it slows the metabolism down, and so forth.

What I would do…when I was cutting, I was using this pancake meal as the first meal of my refeed day. I would shoot for about 350 grams of carbs, about 180 grams of protein and pretty much as little fat as I could eat, it would usually come out to be about 30 grams though.

I could go lower, some people try to have less than 10 grams. But I’m not too worried about 30 grams of fat. It’s just not an issue.

The reason why you keep that low is because dietary fat is most easily stored as, or more efficiently stored as body fat. Because the energy cost to convert the dietary fat into body fat is just very very low.

Whereas the energy cost to convert protein into fat is very, very high. The energy cost to convert carbohydrates into body fat is considerable.

It’s higher than, if I remember correctly, somewhere between 20 and 25 percent of the energy in the carbohydrate has to be used just to turn it into body fat. Of course, your body doesn’t store carbohydrates as fat until the liver an muscle glycogen levels are full, and then it would store body fat.

With the refeed, what I would do is to eat a bunch of carbs, a bunch of pancakes. And then, usually I would then plan another big carb meal at dinner, just because I wasn’t that hungry. Just to keep my fats low, keep my protein up, and that’s it.

If I wasn’t refeeding, then I would eat all those pancakes and that would be pretty much…the rest of my carbs for the day, I would get about 30 more, which would be vegetables.

I would add some vegetables at dinner, and a little bit of carbs. I usually like to eat some Greek yogurt at night that has, I think it’s nine grams per cup, so there’s one big meal I got to enjoy and I was still able to keep within my numbers.

That’s an IF use that I like to use, because it makes it fun. Fasting doesn’t really bother me. Some people get very hungry, especially women tend to get very very hungry when they’re fasting.

This makes for a good article, I’ve been looking into it recently, what’s the science behind that. From what I’ve read so far, it’s related to fat oxidation, because what your body does, the process of losing body fat, there are two steps.

There’s lipolysis, which is breaking down the body fat itself into free fatty acids, which are then released into the bloodstream. Then there’s fat oxidation, which is where your cells actually take those fatty acids and use them as energy.

It’s a two step process there. If your body is not very good at oxidizing fats, and there are things you can do to impair or improve.

Like I’ll say, if you are used to eating a lot of junk carbohydrates, very high carbohydrate, a lot of processed foods, low protein diet. Your body is not going to be good at oxidizing fats. It’s going to want carbohydrates for energy.

If a person that is in that condition tries to fast for long periods, they get very hungry, because the body, even though lipolysis is occurring, it is breaking down its body fat and releasing those fatty acids into the blood, saying, “OK, here. Here’s energy.”

The cells, they can’t use it efficiently. They need energy, so they’re freaking out, basically, is how you feel.

You get that real deep hunger that is like pain. Which I know how that feels, I’ve had that in the past. My diet wasn’t bad, but I didn’t really know what I was doing. My protein was actually high, but I’d eat too many carbs.

I was doing various things wrong, that would affect my fat oxidation. Now, though my body is good at oxidizing fats.

It probably also has to do with I’ve been doing cardio, regularly,, for a while now which keeps that system working, you could say. The fasting I don’t find hard. I don’t even get that hungry, after 16 hours of fasting, I’m just like, “All right. I guess I’m going to eat now.”

But some people do. It’s something that you’ll have to try and see for yourself. A friend of mine, when he would do IF, he would get so hungry, his hands would be shaking by the time he was able to eat. He would go 16 hours and he would be like, “Uh, it’s time to eat.”

For him, I was just like why are you doing this? What is the point. IF, it is a workable way of dieting, but it’s not going to do anything the traditional dieting can’t do either. Anyway, one other little use of IF is let’s say you want to go out and have a cheap meal, say it’s Friday night.

I want to go out, what I will do is, this isn’t totally IF, really, but it’s I guess a similar concept in terms of meal frequency and meal composition is throughout the day, I’m going to keep my carbohydrates and fats low.

Basically, I’m just going to eat animal protein in the morning, maybe a little bit of fat, maybe a little bit of carb, maybe an apple with some protein, or whatever.

Throughout the day, I like to eat smaller meals more frequently, it just feels better for me. Then basically, what I’m doing is I’m saving pretty much like 80 percent of my carbohydrates and of my fats.

That I’m allowed to have every day for this dinner. I’m going to come to dinner knowing that alright, I may get some sort of protein just because I’m out, maybe I want to eat some steak or something cool.

I’m going to have to give myself the protein that I need from the steak, and then I’m going to have a 150, or whatever, grams of carbs and 60 grams of fat in one meal, and just enjoy it.

That’s also useful, I don’t do that when I’m cutting especially just to get leaner, just because I prefer to know my numbers a little better. But that can be useful for maintenance because you have some more leeway when you are just maintaining. It’s kind of the fourth day on the card.

What I’m going to do from here on is just to stay lean through the summer, for doing pictures and whatever being lean, because it’s fun. [laughs]

That’s to move on to the next thing here which is a question that somebody asked. This other person says, “I am in great shape, most for muscular for a great height with a paunch I can’t seem to get rid off, even when I was in national class distance runner, at six foot, 143 pounds.”

“I had a midsection as hard as a rock with only a pack showing, the bottom two abs are lost somewhere although my paunch is very unpronounced,” so on and so on.

How do you get a great six pack? Now, I’m assuming he’s talking about paunch, so I assuming we are talking about body fat here. My abs genetics duck they just do, doesn’t matter how lean I get.

I will not have more than…you can see four of my abs super visibly, and there is one that is up here, so it’s a five pack thing, and there is nothing I can do about that.

It doesn’t matter how much I train my abs, there’s no way to make them symmetrical, make them look perfect. For talking just about body fat here, and by the way you’ll know when you have a abs veins, you’re lean enough.

If you don’t have a full six pack when you get to seven percent and below, it’s just not there and that’s me unfortunately.

I get this kind of question a lot, where people they think they are leaner than they are, that’s usually the problem. I have people that will write me and they’ll say, “Oh, I’m four percent body fat, but I don’t have a full six pack.”

No. [laughs] No, you’re not four percent body fat. Four percent body fat is body builders on stage, that’s four percent body fat. You don’t have fat on you.

All your skin feels like this, everywhere back here, lower abs feels like that. If you sit, you could have it straight, you’re shredded like you are crunching down, so that’s one issue a lot of people they think they’re leaner than they are.

They think like, “I’m six percent, but why am I not shredded.” Well, because you are not probably six percent.

I see that often, but there are also two other things. One is a stubborn fat thing, which I talk about on our website of an article on stubborn fat which is real, and I’ll talk more about that in one second. Another part of it is leading to body composition.

This is where a person can actually be right, a person could be eight percent body fat and look very soft, and look skinny fat.

Somebody who has a lot of lean mass, can be eight percent, look pretty good. You’re going to have full abs at eight percent, you are not going to look rock hard. But you’re going to have full abs. That’s probably like the look that most girls are into. You don’t have crazy vascularity, but you’re going to look good.

You going to have a Hollywood kind of look at eight percent if you have good amount of lean mass. We’ll talk about stubborn fat first.

Stubborn fat it is real, it sounds kind of bro-scientific, but it’s not, it’s real. What it boils down to is the fat cells in your body they have two different types of receptors which you can think of as kind of like docking stations for chemicals, that your body produces.

And they’re called A1 receptors, sorry A2 and B2 receptors, and the alpha and beta.

The A2 receptors they play a role in storing energy because fat cells shrink and expand. They fill up with fat and you could save energy. The B2 cells are related to the actual mobilizing that and shrinking the fat cells which is what we want.

Certain fat cells have a lot of B2 receptors, and they are mobilized very quickly and very easily. That’s in most people like in guys, it’s normally in our arms, our shoulders, our chests are where we lose weight easily and quickly.

Stubborn fat, which is the fat that has more A2 receptors than B2, is for us guys, it’s on our lower abs, it’s our lower back.

In girls, it’s the butts, the hips, it’s the thighs, it’s the area all harder to get lean on. The solution is simple, all you have to do is to keep losing weight, that is all you have to do. There are a couple of strategies that you can use to help mobilize stubborn fat quicker, I talk about them on the website.

If you go the website muscleforlife.com, and you search for stubborn fat, you’ll see talk about green tea extract, talk about HIIT cardio, talk about [inaudible 26:16] hydrochloride, and a couple of things in that article, that you could do to mobilize stubborn fat quicker.

I would go look at the article. Because you’re going to want to understand how these things work and how much to take, based on how much you weigh and so forth.

The bottom line is, keep on losing weight and the stubborn fat goes away, it does. It’s just weight loss gets slower. If you are quite overweight, you could lose two to three pounds of fat a week, and that’s exciting, but there’s no way to do that once you start getting leaner.

Like at this point, and I’m actually not trying to lose weight anymore. But I started off water comes out and stuff so it’s hard to say how much I really lost. But once my weight loss stabilized, it was about one pound a week and then it slowed down to about a half a pound a week.

I was happy with that, because I knew that’s exactly where I needed to be.

The stubborn fat is harder to lose, its slower and you just have to keep on your diet, and keep on your exercise program, and make sure that your weight is going down, and you are looking leaner and it all goes away in time.

Basically, the answer to this question is it’s either a point…This person has to lose more weight, or it’s a body composition issue. Which is this other point of if you don’t have enough muscle, and this is something I see with girls a lot.

It’s unfortunate. Because the standard invite is to a girl that wants to lose fat, get leaner or whatever, is just starve yourself and do a bunch of cardio.

That’s the standard in the magazines and stuff, it’s kind of what a lot of girls get the idea that they should do.

That’s the worst thing that you can do, because really what it does is it burns up a lot of muscle. Yeah, you are going to lose fat of course when you drastically cut your calories and you do a bunch of cardio, but you’re going to lose.

In some studies, people if when they just cut calories they will lose just as much muscle as they will fat.

When you throw a bunch of cardio on top of it, you are probably going to lose more muscle than you going to lose fat. Because cardio burns out muscle, and especially when you go up on the stair mast 45 minutes or something like that. There are some people who do that twice.

Two times, 45 minutes of cardio, seven days a week and just based on a starvation diet, maybe a 1000 calories, when they should be probably around 1,500 or so.

Yes, you going to lose weight, you are going to feel miserable. They are going to be the worst workouts like cardio which is myth or just probably the worst, you just feel terrible.

You burn out too much muscle and you can damage your metabolism that way. If you do that enough, if people yo-yo like starve, starve, starve, burnout, burn out muscle and then what happens is your metabolism, one of the primary if not the primary driver of the metabolism is the amount of lean mass that you have.

By the end of doing that, the person now has a slower metabolism and muscle is healthy.

There are studies that correlate the manner of lean mass with overall mortality, meaning the less the lean mass a person has, the more likely he or she is to die, especially of diseases.

Because if you are ever to get a serious disease, the immune system pulls and needs amino acids, and will pull on its muscle to get that. And it’s seen, I believe, like in an AIDS patients.

There is a point where they lose too much lean mass, they die, they have a heart attack and die. There is research that correlates overall lean mass to just one [inaudible 30:11] .

Like, especially in the elderly, there is not just the fact of like if you don’t have enough muscle and you fall down, you are weak, you fall down and break your heap, and that’s the beginning of the end.

It’s also just been shown that the body wants to have muscle. When you are burning a bunch of muscle up trying to lose weight, and then you wind up looking skinny fat, that’s the problem.

Because, you can have lots of the lower amount of body fat, but if you have very little muscle. A skinny leg cannot actually have that much fat, but there’s no muscle to fill it up, so it looks like a little sausage and that also can be a problem.

I see it with women that have done a lot of the cardios, starvation stuff. But also I see it with guys that have done a lot of long distance running, not eating a lot, never weight lifted and then they get this kind of skinny fat look.

The solution is fixed body composition. Start lifting weights, start eating enough. The first one, will get people off the starvation diets.

I have worked with so many women that start eating more, in some cases go from not losing weight on a 1,000 calories a day, and then we get them in exercising, get them exercising properly.

Get them lifting weights, get them doing HIIT cardio, increasing their calories in some cases up to 1,500 to 1,800 calories a day, and then they start losing weight.

Well it seems like, what are you even saying right now? I have seen it many times, it’s amazing what the metabolism can do when you can do when you treat it correctly, and you don’t abuse it.

If you do abuse it too much, you can get into a situation, this will probably be a good blog post. You can cause enough metabolic damage, that it could take upwards of six months to just fix your metabolism.

Forget about weight loss, it’s not going to happen anymore. You have to now fix your metabolism, and there are different things you can do, and it’s not just eat more food. That’s one of the things.

But there are certain types of foods and certain types of exercise and stuff. Building lean mass is a part of it, you are going to have to lift weights.

You don’t have to worry about that, but just know that that’s why cutting calories drastically, that’s one of the worst things that you can do. Stay patient. One or two pounds a week, for most people, that’s all you’re looking to see, in terms of weight loss.

You want to see your strength staying about the same, in the gym, you don’t want to see big drops in strength, and you should feel fine. You shouldn’t be starving. Sure, you can be hungry sometimes, I understand. You shouldn’t feel miserable. You should generally feel good when you’re losing weight. So, that’s that question.

Let’s go to the next one, here. Someone is asking if exercising in the morning helps more. Yeah, fasted cardio is good. Fasted training in general is good. I talk about it in an article on my website on stubborn fat, actually. If you search for stubborn fat, you’ll see.

The thing is, though, is to minimize the muscle breakdown, you want to have BCAAs before [inaudible 33:47] acids. There are three amino acids, leucine, Isoleucine and Valine, I believe. Leucine is really the one you want, because it stimulates muscle growth, is actually what it does.

BCAAs have a negligible effect on insulin, so they don’t break the fasting state, so what you are able to do is minimize the amount of muscle loss. If you didn’t do that, if you go to work out on an empty stomach, without any sort of protein or BCAAs, you are going to burn too much muscle in that time period.

Because, your body is in a constant state of either breaking muscle down or building it up. At the end of each day, you’ve either broken more muscle down than you had in the beginning, or you built up more. That’s muscle growth.

You want to do whatever you can. Working out breaks muscle down, it’s what we’re doing. It’s a catabolic activity. The anabolism, the anabolic, the building up, occurs afterwards. That’s rest, that’s nutrition.

So, what can happen is, if you train in a fasted state, without doing anything to mitigate the amount of muscle breakdown that’s going to occur, that occurs at an accelerated rate when you’re fasted.

You’re breaking down a lot of muscle when you’re training in a fasted state. Then, you’re not able to build that amount that you lost plus extra back by the end of the day, you could say, by the end of a 24-hour period, or whatever.

Maybe you’re a little bit positive, so you gain a little bit of muscle. Whereas, if you were to do something simple like have some BCAAs before, you want about ten grams, because in most formulations I give you, about three grams of leucine, which is a good amount to stimulate muscle growth.

Usually, what it’s stimulating, so you have that before and a good post-workout after. You go about your day, and do your normal thing on your diet. So, yes, fasted training, it does speed up the fat loss process.

I have a link to a couple of studies in the stubborn fat article that explains how that works. I would say I recommend it. It depends on how your body does with it. This kind of goes back to how your body can oxidize fat.

I lift fasted. I have ten grams of BCAAs before I lift, and I do my cardio fasted. I do everything fasted, and I don’t have any problems. But once again, that’s most likely because my body just does very well with burning fat for energy.

Also, your body learns to not pull on its glycogen stores as heavily when it’s in a fasted state. Simply because it doesn’t have carbohydrates in its system to get energy from. It learns to be more efficient with what it does have, which is the carbohydrates stored in the muscles, which is in the form of glycogen.

So, see how you do with fasted training. Some people, especially weight lifting, some people do totally fine. I do fine, I can gain strength. It doesn’t have any negative effects that I can tell. But, I have emailed with a lot of people who hated it.

They had no energy. Their strength was totally bottomed out. So I just told them, “OK, let’s stop.” It’s not like you have to do fasted training to lose weight. You absolutely do not. It is something that can speed it up, you’ll just have to see how your body does.

Cutting in, someone is asking if cardio is necessary for weight loss. That’s a good question. A lot of people wonder about that, I get asked that very often. The answer is no. Cardio is not necessary for weight loss.

Exercise is not necessary for weight loss. But it depends on what shape you’re in. If you have a lot of weight to lose you can lose a fair amount just through diet alone, because your body is willing to just dump the fat, basically, and it’s very easy.

You just put yourself in a deficit, and that’s it, you lose weight. But remember that your metabolism does slow down when your body is in a calorie deficit. So, there is a point where exercise does become necessary. It doesn’t have to be cardio, though.

Weight lifting is great. Weight lifting burns a lot of calories. It burns a fair amount of calories while you’re doing it. It burns a good amount of calories in the after burn effect, so that is additional caloric burn.

It builds muscle. Muscle requires calories to maintain, so it boosts your metabolism. Weight lifting only and proper diet, in my experience, with myself and people that I’ve worked with, it will take you to a certain point.

In some people, and it really depends on your genetics, I guess it really is genetics, how low can you go without having to add cardio. Because, you can reduce your calories, like I was saying with my cut, I started around 2,500.

I reduced it about a hundred calories a week for the last four weeks or so, to just keep the weight loss going. I was already doing three to four days of cardio per week, and weight lifting five days a week.

I didn’t want to cardio myself. I didn’t want to cardio twice a day, because that will just burn more muscle. I’d rather just cut a little bit of calories. You can’t do that when you’re lifting alone, you can reduce your calories.

Once your weight stalls, you can cut them by a 100 to 200 calories per day. There is a point where you can’t do that anymore, or you start getting into that starvation, where you’re damaging your metabolism, you start losing muscle. Then that’s when you have to add in cardio.

Cardio has a lot of health benefits. I generally recommend for people to just start doing some cardio in the beginning. Start getting used to it. Even if it’s just, like, two days a week, you know, do 30 minutes of HIIT, or 20 minutes of HIIT, twice a week. I do that even when I’m maintaining.

I even do cardio even when I’m bulking. I like cardio, it makes me feel good. Also, especially when I’m flipping from a bulk to a cut, it helps my body burn fat. I talk about this in an article, I find that it helps keep the fat oxidation working, when I keep cardio in.

If you don’t want to do cardio from the beginning, then start with diet, and weightlifting as the first thing. Then, there will be a point when your weight loss will stall with just doing that. Instead of cutting calories further, I would recommend adding cardio.

I would say, add three days of HIIT per week, 20 or 30 minutes. I find it more enjoyable to be able to eat more food, I don’t mind doing the cardio. For me, it would be more annoying to cut my food back more and more, than hop on a bike for 20 or 30 minutes, and listen to a podcast. [laughs]

So yeah, that’s kind of the answer to that one. I’ll wrap it up here, you know how long forty minutes. I’m going to try and keep it shorter in the future, maybe keep it to 20 minutes or something like that, or 15 minutes, even.

I hope you liked it, this is going to be the first of many. I’ll probably do it weekly or bi-weekly, just depends on my schedule, things are kind of crazy right now.

I would love to hear what you think. Leave a comment, I don’t even know, we’ll put it on YouTube so you can leave a comment on YouTube. I’m not sure on the podcast where exactly it’s going to go, but if you can comment, leave a comment, shoot me an email, a message, let me know what you think.

And, submit questions. I’ll probably keep this format, where I’ll talk about something random that I want to talk about, maybe in the beginning, for five minutes. Then, I’ll address people’s questions, and address various subjects that people want to know about. Same idea with the blog, with the post and such.

Again, this is Mike Matthews, muscleforlife.com, thanks for spending some time with me, and I’ll see you next time.

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  • Danno

    Nice Job Mike. Lots of great info. Keep them coming if your schedule allows. Should I send you down some Maine blueberries to put on your pancakes? Great antioxidants:)

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Danno! Definitely more to come. And haha blueberries are my favorite fruit to use in my pancakes! 🙂

      • Pedro

        Thanks, actually I started your program 3 days ago and my legs are on fire!!! Today si my rest day so im zero carb. I will go 180 grams of protein, 140 of carbs and 45 of fat on training days. I just bought the test booster and the fat burner you recomended. My goal is a 10% body fat in 12 weeks, that means dropping from 13.5 to 10. Posible?

        By the way I will buy the ON whey but I still have in my house like 3 pounds of combat powder from Muscletech. What do u think about ir?

        • Michael Matthews

          Hahah nice. I don’t recommend going zero carb on rest days. You can lower them if you want, but don’t go below .5 grams per pound. And make sure to increase protein and fats to compensate for the loss of calories.

          Yes, you can definitely make it to 10% in 12 weeks. Possibly even lower.

          Some of MT’s products are okay. I say use the powder before you buy more…

  • Jorge

    Great job, Mike. Following your philosophy has got me down to 211 from 241. Goal is 195 for my frame at 6’3. Keep up the good work.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Jorge! Wow awesome on your progress! That rocks. Keep it up and let me know if you run into any difficulties–I’m happy to help.

  • ScottA1

    I enjoyed the video. I feel a lot of people have a tendency to short of BS their way through this kind of stuff, but I felt you were very honest, giving us an inside look to how you do things, why, etc. Nice to see that.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Scott! Glad you liked it. More to come soon!

  • Gilberto Gil

    I am so glad I stumbled across the book, which led me here. I am slimming down and there is a ton of good info here. Just listened to the video podcast while having lunch. Good stuff!

    • Michael Matthews

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

  • Harriet

    Very nice to listen and look at this. I am so glad you are so clear about the starving diets. Just started to weightlift, I am a skinny fat, and I am going to add some short HIIT cardio to my program now. Thanks, and I like your “aura”!

    Pls take a rest too every now and then, too much work is too much, even how fun it is…

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Harriet! Really glad you liked the video. Let me know how things go for you, and I work in a little downtime here and there, haha. 😉

  • ken dublin

    hey mike – great podcast. do you see more benefit in using a recumbent bike vs. an upright or racing exercise bikes? If so, why?

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Ken! For me yes simply because the upright bike really burns out my quads, which then interferes with my lifting. The recumbent bike doesn’t. I suppose it just has to do with the angle of motion?

  • Never2old

    Love the podcast. Great info. Looking forward to the next one.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thank you! Next one coming this week!

  • Kevin

    Really liked the podcast, thanks. Nice to learn from you in a different format, i look forward to the next one!

    Would you say 8 weeks is a good length of time to cut? What are the drawbacks of going longer, would it be mainly sacrificing more muscle growth?

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Kevin! Glad you liked it. Another one coming soon!

      Yeah 8-12 weeks is a good duration, after which you maintain for 3-4 weeks and then get back to cutting if you want to get leaner.

      The drawbacks are your metabolism slows down over time which necessitates further cutting of calories or increasing of cardio, which negatively impacts your workouts and can cause some muscle loss.

  • James Conedera

    Hey Mike, great podcast. I cycle to and from work about 30 minutes each way. (I live in vancouver so with all the hills, I kind of count my commute as a natural HIIT cardio routine.)
    My question is, should I be eating more to account for my cardio?

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks James! Cool on the cardio. Possibly. It depends on what you’re doing with your diet. Are you cutting or bulking?

      • James Conedera

        I just started cutting.

        • Michael Matthews

          Okay. An hour of cardio 5x per week is a fair amount. I would probably add about 200 calories per day on top of the cutting formula I give in BLS.

        • James Conedera

          Thanks so much for your help, mike. I’ve never really had any direction when it came to my workouts before coming across your books. You’re doing a great job on the website too.

          • Michael Matthews

            YW and thanks. I’m glad you like my work. 🙂

  • Jessica Snigir

    Listened to this podcast a few days ago while doing my workout – loved it! Please keep them coming & don’t make them much shorter!! I thought the length was perfect.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Jessica! I’m glad you liked it! 🙂 The next one is coming soon.

  • Pedro

    Hi Mikel. I read your books and im pretty excited about my new training program. The fact si that ive been 13-14% body fat for 2 years. I want to get serious lean. Yo think training, eating and supplementing like You told us in your book I will?

    Otherwise, I am afraid of eating more than 90-120 grams of carbs per day. I have been eating 180 protein, 60 fat, 90-120 carbs. Im 5’8, 151 pounds, 13% body fat. Pretty good shape, but a fluffy muscular tone no abs and chest. Nice arms and legs. Any special advice???

    Ive tried EVERYTHING. I have read every single word about nutrition and fitness.
    Thanks man.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks for reading my books and writing! Cool on your goals. Yes, you can accomplish that with my program. Fairly easily really.

      Don’t be afraid of carbs. Check this out:

      https://www.muscleforlife.com /carbohydrates-and-weight-loss-should-you-go-low-carb/

      Just stick to the diet formulas and training advice in BLS and you’ll do great. What do you think?

  • Pedro

    Thanks, actually I started your program 3 days ago and my legs are on fire!!! Today si my rest day so im zero carb. I will go 180 grams of protein, 140 of carbs and 45 of fat on training days. I just bought the test booster and the fat burner you recomended. My goal is a 10% body fat in 12 weeks, that means dropping from 13.5 to 10. Posible?

    By the way I will buy the ON whey but I still have in my house like 3 pounds of combat powder from Muscletech. What do u think about ir?

  • Hernán Schmidt

    Nice podcast! You mention many articles throughout. It’d be very useful if you listed the links to them below the video, so we don’t have to go searching around.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Herman! Ah yeah duh, they’re linked in the YT description but not here. Sorry about that. Fixing now!

  • mattparle

    Hi Mike, great information in here I’ve really been enjoying ALL your books and posts. The wife has just started the Thinner Leaner Stronger book. I am about 5 weeks into the Bigger Leaner Stronger plan and have noticed considerable positive increases in size and weight. Everything is coming together quite nicely. Your advice is some of the best I’ve come across in the last 12 months. I will spend some time listening to the second podcast before the end of the week.

    Thanks for sharing such useful knowledge.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks so much Matt! I really appreciate it. That’s awesome you’re rolling along. Keep me posted on how everything goes!

  • Michelle Stiff

    Hey Mike, do you have a way to just download the podcast to the computer? Usually there is a button but I don’t see it-I live in Africa and the internet here is too slow for itunes or to watch the video. Thanks you have amazing stuff!!! THANK YOU

    • Michael Matthews

      Ah good point, I will add download links! Thanks Michelle!

  • Michelle Stiff

    YAY Mike you are so awesome. I was able to watch it even with my slow internet! Loved it, it is good to “see” you too.Please don’t make them much shorter! I loved the length of this one, hope you can put the download buttons doe the MP3 on there soon too, thank you for looking into that!

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! Glad to hear it works and much more to come!

  • sean

    Hey Mike,

    Any Advice for someone looking to purchase some of the products you recommend in Australia? shipping from Legion is very expensive and Amazon wont ship supplements here!

    • Michael Matthews

      Hey Sean! Yeah sorry about that. I don’t have international distribution set up yet but it will be worked out later this year!

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

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  • Dave

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the great info and books. I’ve seen you mention a few times that you don’t want to cut (ie total intake < TDEE) for "too long" and I've never really seen you write what that means in practice. How long is too long for a cut phase? What would be the ideal length? How do you optimise this if you still have more to lose?

    Thanks
    Dave

  • Seth

    Hey Mike,

    In a cut, how often should one recalculate calorie intake? After you lose 5lbs, 10lbs 15lbs? ,I’ve lost about 10lbs and want to lose about another 15-20lbs.

    As always, many thanks!

    Seth

    • You only recalculate when you stop getting results. So, when you stop losing 1-2 pounds a week at your current cals, recalculate your cals and macros.

  • Richard

    Hi Mike,

    There is of course plenty of good research behind green tea and its fat burning effects, but what about the effects it has on decreasing testosterone. Do you think this is a reason to avoid it?

    Thanks
    Rich

  • TD

    I’m really enjoying the podcasts. Such great information. Definitely will be watching out for future podcasts. 🙂 P.S. You don’t have an accent which I find sort of funny because I’m from NYC (think Leah Remini but less annoying sounding). Haha

  • Mathew Laskowski

    Just listened to your podcast, really enjoyed it! Have you thought about uploading them to Google Music as well. They have a Podcast section now and once you subscribe it can auto-download new episodes. I have a 90 min train commute each day so I listen to tons of them and it makes it super easy, especially where I’m an Android guy and don’t have an iTunes account. You probably have a who crop of potential subs sitting out there.

    • Thank you! That’s a good idea. Thanks for letting me know. Making a note!

  • Jon Miller

    Just a quick question… If you do fasted cardio in the morning, how long do you wait before you do non-fasted weight lifting? I understand that fasted cardio has an enhanced catabolic effect, but how long does that last? I am one of those people that is miserable lifting while fasted. Thanks!

    • I’d make sure you get at the very least 3-4 hours in between them. Personally, I do one in the AM and one in the PM with about 10-12 hours in between them.

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