Tried Everything to Get Fit But
Nothing’s Worked?

Mike Matthews

Bestselling author and creator of Muscle For Life

Join Thousands of Women Just Like You That Are Building Lean Muscle, Losing Fat, and Getting Strong...

Doing Short, Intense Workouts That They Actually Look Forward To...

Eating Foods They Love Every Day...

And Without Wasting Absurd Amounts of Money on Personal Trainers or


Here are just a few of the thousands of women I've helped get thinner, leaner, and stronger than ever before. I want you to be next.

Here’s the deal:

Getting into awesome shape isn’t nearly as complicated as the fitness industry wants you to believe.

  • You don’t need to starve yourself with very-low-calorie diets to lose fat and keep it off. In fact, this is how you ruin your metabolism and ensure that any weight lost will come back with a vengeance.
  • You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars per month on the worthless supplements and fat loss pills that fitness models shill in advertisements.
  • You don’t need to constantly change up your exercise routines to “confuse” your muscles. I’m pretty sure that muscles lack cognitive abilities, so this approach is a good way to just confuse yourself instead.
  • You don’t need to toil away in the gym for a couple of hours per day doing tons of sets, supersets, drop sets, giant sets, etc. (As a matter of fact, this is a great way to stunt your gains and get nowhere.)
  • You don’t need to grind out hours and hours of boring cardio every week to shed ugly belly fat and love handles and get the body you desire. (How many flabby treadmillers have you come across over the years?)
  • You don’t need to completely abstain from “cheat” foods while bringing your body fat percentage down to ideal levels. To the contrary, if you cheat correctly, you can accelerate fat loss.

Those are just a few of the harmful lies and myths that keep women from ever achieving the lean, sexy, strong, and healthy bodies they truly desire.

And in this book you’re going to learn something most girls will never know...

The exact methods of diet and training that make losing 10 to 15 pounds of fat while building muscle a breeze…and it only takes a few months.

Before I dive into how, though, let me introduce myself.

Oh Look, Another ‘Guru’ Claiming He Has All the ‘Secrets’ of
Getting Ripped...

If that’s what you’re thinking, I totally understand.

In fact, your skepticism is good. It will protect you from the thieves, liars, and shysters that run rampant in this industry (and in some cases, run this industry).

But before you grab your pitchfork and come after me, allow me to introduce myself and explain why you should care about what I have to say.

I’m Mike

and while I could tout the 250,000+ books I’ve sold in the last two years or the 1,000,000+ visits my website gets every month...that’s not why you should listen to me.

You should listen to me because…

I’ve made every mistake in
the book and know
what works and what doesn’t

I don’t have outstanding genetics and wasn’t ripped my entire life. I was your normal skinny kid that got into weightlifting to impress girls, and I had no clue what I was doing at first.

Case in point?

Here’s me after nearly
2 years of lifting, with no extended breaks due to injury, illness, or otherwise

Sure, I had made some gains...but the type of gains you’d hope for after 2 years of lifting 5 to 6 days per week? Not so much.

Along the way, I made every mistake you could imagine:

  • I had no clue how to diet correctly (I thought it was all about “clean eating”)
  • I wasted ridiculous amounts of money on worthless supplements
  • I focused on long, high-rep “pump” workouts and sub-par exercises
  • I relied on ineffective exercises and neglected the most important ones
  • I chronically overtrained everything but legs (which I neglected, of course)
  • I did too much cardio--both too many sessions and for too long each session
  • I changed my workout routines regularly to really “confuse” my muscles
  • I didn’t track my progress correctly
  • And more...

In short, I did what you see most people doing every day, and paid the price in years of wasted time and effort.

Ironically, however, my past struggles have helped me tremendously in showing others how to get fit.

I’ve never used anabolic steroids or fat loss drugs, and here’s my “summer look” of about 7% body fat

I “really let myself go” in the winter and hang out around 9% body fat

I Stay Pretty Strong, Too...

Why am I showing you this though?
To brag? Hardly.

I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time taking fitness advice from someone that doesn’t look the part. I want to follow people that have done exactly what I want to do, not people that just talk about doing it.

I don’t care how many degrees someone has or how smart they sound...if they haven’t achieved success with their own advice...or if they’re too lazy to do it...I’m skeptical.

So, the bottom line is I know exactly what it’s like to be stuck in a rut...to have no clue if I’m training correctly...to boggle over how to eat to get lean...to deal with injuries...to want to give up...and to have just about every other problem most people grapple with.

And now, having overcome these problems myself...I know with 100% certainty what it takes to put them all to rest and finally achieve the type of physique and strength most guys in the gym have always wanted.

I back my work up with scientifically
proven knowledge and principles

Fitness gurus and methodologies are a dime a dozen these days.

Everywhere you look there’s another BSer claiming to have found special “shortcuts” to getting muscular, lean, and strong. All for the low price of $97! Act now before it’s too late!

Trying to figure out who’s lying and who’s not is hard enough, let alone who isn’t lying and actually knows what they’re talking about.

Well, if you peruse my work, you’ll quickly see I’m a bit different.


I Don’t Claim to Have Discovered Anything Revolutionary

In fact, much of what I teach was known decades ago and has since become buried beneath all the bullcrap.

Some of what I teach seems “cutting edge” in terms of debunking long-standing fitness myths and mistakes, but these are hardly my discoveries. I’m just the messenger.

That is, I’m simplifying what we’ve learned from good scientific research and showing how the underlying principles can be practically used to build muscle, lose fat, get strong, and improve health.

And I’m not cherry-picking studies to sell my eBooks or supplements. I’m interested in knowing how things actually work, not how I can spin research to get rich.


I am Very Careful to Keep Everything I Teach Grounded in Sound Scientific Research

Whenever you hear someone make a claim about how to best build muscle, lose fat, get strong, or improve health, your first thought should be, “Is there scientific research to support that statement?”

I know that might sound overly skeptical and even cynical, it’s necessary if you’re to protect yourself from the staggering amount of bad advice in this industry.

Well, if you read any of my work, you’ll quickly notice that I cite a lot of scientific research in my writings. I don’t do this to try to impress--I do it because...

  • I myself want to make sure I understand things correctly and thus review a lot of scientific papers.
  • I don’t want you to just take my word--I want you to understand why and be able to review the research for yourself.
  • I want you to maintain a healthy skepticism and expect to see such scientific references.

    While being able to cite a bunch of science doesn’t necessarily mean someone knows what they’re talking about, it’s a good sign. And if someone cites no science in their work, watch out.

I Strive To Give You the Whole Picture, Not Just “My Way” of Getting Fit

The old “teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” cliche comes to mind here.

That is, I don’t want you to just blindly follow my advice or programs--I want you to gain a holistic understanding of the subjects of building muscle, losing fat, and getting strong. And I want you to enjoy the flexibility this type of understanding gives you.

Yes, there are certain things that aren’t negotiable: energy balance, macronutrient ratios, progressive overload, and the relationship between training intensity, volume, and frequency, for example. (And if all that sounds like gobbledygook to you, don’t worry--I explain it all in the book in simple, layman’s terms.)

But within that framework is a ton of wiggle room for making it fit your needs, preferences, and lifestyle.

When you know what you’re doing, you can eat foods you like, eat when you like, train anywhere from 3 to 6 times per week, rotate through each body part once or twice per week, and so forth.

While I do share with you exact methods that most people do best with, I want you to be able to intelligently modify them to best fit your circumstances.

I get real results with real people

If you’ve ever wondered how some of the transformations you see on the Internet are actually possible, you should know something:

Those crazy 3-month transformations you see all over the Internet are bullcrap.

In many cases, what you’re actually seeing is the result of...

  • Extensive training history that allowed for rapid re-gain of muscle.

    “Muscle memory” is very real and it generally takes about half the time to re-build muscle as it takes to build it from “scratch.”

    This applies equally to men and women. Women that were in great shape in the past are able to get back into great shape much faster than the first time around.
  • Drugs, including anabolic steroids and fat loss agents.

    Some people are a bit shocked to learn how prevalent drugs are in this world, not just with the professionals but with the everyday gymgoers as well. They’re extremely easy to get, and cycle advice is only a forum post away.

    Many people are also surprised how powerful the right cocktail of drugs actually is. When used properly (not necessarily safely, mind you, but effectively), steroids and cutting drugs can enable someone to do in 3 months what would normally take a year or longer.

Case in point? Here’s the 1-year, steroid-fueled transformation of Boston Lloyd, a bodybuilder that’s very open about his drug use:


As you can see, Boston had already been lifting for a couple of years and gained a lot of muscle (30 pounds, give or take) and got absolutely shredded...in just under a year... and used a lot of drugs to do it.

So when you see something similar on the Net, just know what you’re looking at.

Now, that isn’t to say that all impressive transformations are frauds. Anyone can dramatically transform their body naturally...but it takes time.

Fortunately, when you know what you’re doing, the results are consistent and noticeable. For example, check out what Marsha was able to accomplish on my Thinner Leaner Stronger program in 7 months:


7 months

-10 pounds of fat

+ 6 pounds of muscle


Marsha lost 10 pounds of fat and added quite a bit of muscle and strength as well.

Here’s another reader success story that shows a bit more
fat loss--closer to 20 pounds:


8 months

- 20 pounds of fat


Pretty amazing, no?
Makes me proud! :)

I have scores and scores of such success stories, and I don’t just work with professional athletes or fitness models whose lives revolve around exercising, eating, and sleeping…


“I lost 10 pounds and gained 6 of muscle in 7 months!”

Marsha M.


“I lost 10% body fat and stronger than ever!”

Yvonne A.


“I lost 50 lbs in 7 months following Mike's books!”

Kelly O.


“I'm 30 and I've lost 35 pounds in 6 months!”


Load More

“It [Thinner, Leaner, Stronger] was the perfect book to educate and guide me.”

Chrissie R.


“TLS has been the best decision I ever made!”

Christie C.


“Honestly, I am just so so so happy to be at this point with my body!”

Ashley S.


“I went from 140lbs to 130lbs in 2 months!”

Cindy C.


“I have found new strength both physically and mentally!”



“Sometimes I look in the mirror and can't believe that is my body!!!”

Janel B.


“I've managed to gain so much more definition and muscle than I ever have.”

Alixia B.


“I think I could write a book about how this program has changed my life.”

Alexis E.

I work with normal, everyday people that are dedicated to getting fit but also have jobs, families, and social lives, and I show them how to find the balance needed to do it all.

Alright, enough about me.

If you’ve made it this far, I’m going to assume you’re interested in what this page is really about: the launch of my book...

Introducing the Expanded & Revised
Second Edition of

Thinner Leaner

The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Female Body

Ben Greenfield

NYT bestselling author and founder of www.bengreenfieldfitness.com

Most people you see in the gym make little or no progress despite tons of frustrating time and effort. There’s way, way more to getting into the shape you dream of than just knowing how to train and eat properly.

In this book, you will indeed find nutrition and exercise advice, but you’ll also find out everything that the multi–billion dollar fitness industry doesn’t know or doesn’t want you to know. If you’re ready to make fast gains now, then Thinner Leaner Stronger is for you.

Mark Divine

Founder of SEALFIT and NYT bestselling author of The Way of the SEAL, Unbeatable Mind, and 8 Weeks to SEALFIT

Mike Mathew's book Thinner Leaner Stronger is a super well-researched and practical guide to strength training that quickly cuts through the massive amount of bullshit and misinformation put out by the strength training, bodybuilding, weight gain and weight loss industries.

I highly recommend adding this book to your library and referring to it frequently.

Christopher Walker

Author and Founder of www.nogym.net and www.testshock.com

Thinner Leaner Stronger is the single most thorough training and diet resource I've read. And by ‘thorough’ I mean all the information you need to know, and none of the info you don't.

It's like a fitness tome. Form, training plans, no-hype supplementation advice, diet, and lifting paradigms... everything's in here. It's affordable and accessible and 100% badass.

I've seen so many men and women go from being completely clueless (before reading) to being 100% empowered in their fitness journey after reading TLS. Mike's definitely on track to reach his goal to help a million people get fit, and this book is at the core.

Load More

Armi Legge

Author and Founder of www.evidencemag.com

In his usual style, Mike breaks down the complexities of fat loss and muscle gain even better in the updated edition of Thinner Leaner Stronger.

The new material isn't fluff -- it's more of the same practical, effective advice that made the first edition so popular. You're missing out if you don't read it.

Greg O’Gallagher

Founder of www.kinobody.com

Mike Matthews has killed it in the second edition of Thinner Leaner Stronger.

He cuts to a depth most fitness writers rarely ever reach and he explores the inner workings of the mind and willpower in incredible detail, outlining strategies to become successful, not only on your fitness journey but any area of your life.

The book is worth it's weight in gold and I can't recommend it enough.

Chad Howse

Author and Founder of www.chadhowsefitness.com

When you read most fitness books, or books that are meant to be laid out in a series, you're left with a cliffhanger, something missing that leads you to want to buy what's next.

Thinner Leaner Stronger gives you everything, a complete road map to your ideal body with methods that not only make sense, but work, and work FAST.

Mike's killing it, and for good reason. This book is awesome. You should read it, and apply it immediately.

JC Deen

Author and Founder of www.jcdfitness.com

Mike always tells it like it is. While there's a ton of content to compliment on, my favorite part of Thinner Leaner stronger is this line from chapter ten: 'Become the master of your won’ts, wills, and wants, and you become the master of your destiny.'

I'm all about the success mindset and I love how Mike makes the mental stuff so easy to digest, and grasp. Without owning and controlling your mind, you'll never control your physique.

Rog Law

Author and Founder of www.roglawfitness.com

Mike’s original Thinner Leaner Stronger book is an excellent practical guide for achieving a great physique--I am a fan!

Mike gives away the keys to lean city in Thinner Leaner Stronger.

Armed with everything that you ever need to know about achieving the physique that up until this point you may have thought was impossible, it no longer becomes an issue of if you will look and feel fantastic, but when.

William Artamon

Founder of www.workoutlabs.com

This second edition comes with an even more thorough and comprehensive action plan for getting healthy and fit that is still easy to read, absorb and apply. The new content on self control and willpower is especially insightful and will help you unlock and achieve your full potential.

I published the first edition of Thinner Leaner Stronger in September 2012 and it has quickly become one of the most popular workout books out there, with over 50,000 copies already sold.

The bottom line is no matter your age, training history, genetics, or...if you have just a few hours per week to give to it...you can get that “Victoria’s Secret body” faster than you ever thought possible and maintain it with ease...for the rest of your life.

Bold claims, I know, but Thinner Leaner Stronger delivers.

If that’s the case, you might be wondering,
why the second edition?

Well, the success of the book has not only helped me gather up a ton of success stories from people that have applied its teachings, it has also results in a ton of great feedback from readers on its strengths and weaknesses and how it could be improved.

Not only that, but as I continued to research, help others get in shape, and write for everyone here at Muscle for Life, I compiled my own long list of additions and clarifications to incorporate into Thinner Leaner Stronger to just make it the best possible book it can be and answer just about any question women might have about building muscle, losing fat, getting strong, and staying healthy.

The result?

The basic principles in the second edition of Thinner Leaner Stronger are the same as the first, but the book has been rewritten and re-organized from the ground up to make everything as concise and clear as possible.

This isn’t the same book with a few pages of additional content, relaunched as a second edition.

It’s a complete overhaul of the first edition, with the things that made it good even better and the things that needed attention completely ironed out.

For example, many readers suggested that the book be organized differently...and they were right. Many people wanted more information on proper meal planning...so I added it. I received many requests for more information on how to build up the willpower and self-discipline required to get into great shape...so I’ve added an entire chapter.

When you count it all up, “TLS 2.0” (as I’ve been calling it) contains nearly 100 pages of additional content, with absolutely no unnecessary filler. Every single page I’ve added was guided by reader feedback and suggestions.

In short, I believe that with the help of all my readers and followers, I’ve created my masterpiece, and I can’t wait to get it into your hands and see what you think.

What exactly will you learn in this book?
Well, here’s a “sneak peek”...


The 5 biggest muscle fat loss myths & mistakes that keep girls fat, weak, and frustrated.

These BS lies are pushed by all the big magazines and even by many trainers and include things like “Counting Calories Doesn’t Work,” “Do Cardio = Lose Weight,” “Chasing the Fads,” “Targeted Fat Loss,” and more...


How to build meal plans that allow you to build muscle, lose fat, and get healthy with ease…eating foods you love (yes, including those deemed “unclean” by certain “gurus”)…and never feeling starved, deprived, or like you’re “on a diet.”

Dieting” doesn’t have to suck.

When you know what you’re doing, it becomes a tool you can use to gain, lose, or maintain weight with ease. And you do these things without starving yourself...eating nothing but boring foods...or obsessing over “eating clean.”


How to make sure you never get “bulky” from your training, and that you get the long, lean muscles that you desire.

Many women are deathly afraid of weightlifting because they’ve been told so many times that it will make them “bulky.”

This simply isn’t true. Weightlifting can make women bulky...but only when done improperly and not combined with proper dieting. Train and eat correctly, however, and you can achieve the exact opposite look: lean, tight, sexy muscles that curve and pop, not overwhelm


An all-in-one training system that delivers MAXIMUM results for your efforts, helping you get a firm, round butt, toned, shapely legs, a flat stomach, and sculpted arms…spending no more than 3 to 6 hours in the gym every week…doing workouts that energize you, not wipe you out.

There are MANY ways to mess things up the gym: do the wrong exercises, do too much in each workout, change up your routine too often, focus too much on higher rep ranges, and more.

Well, in this book I’m going to show you exactly what you need to be doing in each workout and why, and it’s going to be very different than what you’re used to: short, intense workouts that you actually enjoy, and that build more muscle and strength than the grueling, knock-down-drag-out types of routines so many other people do.


A no-BS guide to supplements that will save you hundreds if not THOUSANDS of dollars each year that you would’ve wasted on products that are nothing more than bunk science and marketing hype.

The supplement industry is plagued by pseudoscience, ridiculous hype, misleading advertising and endorsements, products full of junk ingredients, the underdosing of key ingredients, and many other shenanigans.

In this section of the book, I go over all the popular supplements out there and break down which do and don’t work and why and how to take use actually worth buying for maximum effectiveness.


How to master the “inner game” of fitness and develop the self-discipline and willpower it takes to build the body of your dreams (and actually enjoy the process!).

Just knowing how to eat and train isn’t enough--you need to be be able to stick to a plan and see it through. And that requires an “inner mastery” that many people lack, which ultimates dooms them to failure.

Learn the art of self-control and use it properly, however, and you’re guaranteed to succeed in building the body of your dreams.


In-depth guides to proper form for the most important exercises that must be performed every week to get the most out of your training.

I’m talking about the Big Four: the Squat, Deadlift, Military Press, and Bench Press. These exercises, when performed correctly, are the foundation of every weightlifting program worth a lick.

Unfortunately, however, most girls either avoid these exercises or do them all wrong, decreasing their effectiveness and increasing the risk of injury. After reading this book, you won’t be one of these people.

(If you can’t do these exercises due to injuries or other physical issues, don’t worry, I talk about how to work around this as well.)


Why pre- and post-workout nutrition is important and how to use these “feeding windows” to accelerate your gains in the gym.

There’s plenty of controversy over whether pre- and post-workout nutrition actually matters, and in this section of the book you learn what the latest research shows is best for maximizing muscle growth and how to eat in accordance with it.


How to get as lean as you’d like while still indulging in the "cheat" foods that you love every week like pasta, pizza, and ice cream.

No, you can’t pig out every day and get lean, but you certainly can enjoy these “evil” foods every week without setting yourself back in any way.


And a whole lot more!

Simply put, Thinner Leaner Stronger is 300 pages of neatly organized dietary and training lessons, insights, and principles…backed by decades of anecdotal evidence and over 270 scientific studies…and 100% geared toward helping you build muscle, lose fat, get strong, and stay healthy...for life.

So...imagine, just 12 weeks from now, being constantly complimented on how you look and asked what the heck you’re doing to make such startling progress. Imagine enjoying the added benefits of high energy levels, no aches and pains, better spirits, and knowing that you’re getting healthier every day.

Buy, read, and use this book now and begin YOUR journey to a thinner, leaner, and stronger you!


With this book you'll also get a free 75-page bonus report from me called The Year One Challenge for Women.

In this bonus report, you'll not only find an entire year’s worth of workouts for the program but you’ll also find my personal product and supplement recommendations and recipes from my bestselling cookbooks!

75 pages Special Report


When you download the bonus report you'll also get instant access to 6 exclusive interviews I did with some of the top minds in health and fitness.

An exclusive interview with author and founder of Evidence Magazine Armi Legge on why “clean eating” is overrated, how to keep your diet in check without planning/tracking food intake, metabolic adaptation, and more!

An exclusive interview with elite coach and powerlifter Dr. Layne Norton on how to preserve muscle when losing fat, how smart bodybuilders prep for contests, how to “reverse diet,” and more! (Not for sale! Book launch exclusive)

An exclusive interview with NYT bestselling author and triathlete Ben Greenfield on the difference between overreaching and overtraining, how to use heart rate variability to prevent overtraining, how to speed up muscle recovery, and more!

An exclusive interview with NYT bestselling author and Navy SEAL Mark Divine on how to cultivate mental toughness, how to get training when you really don’t want to, how to maintain your mental edge and prevent setbacks, and more!

An exclusive interview with bestselling author and elite strength coach Mark Rippetoe on how age affects training capabilities, how to preserve joint health, natural strength potentials, and more!

An exclusive interview with YouTube superstar and all-around cool guy Scott Herman on how to train for obstacle courses like Tough Mudder, how much muscle you can build naturally, how to break through weightlifting plateaus, and more!

By applying what you learn in the book and in this report,
you can make more progress in one year than most women
make in three, four, or even five (seriously!).


What makes this book different than the first version?
Is it worth reading if I've already read 1.0?

The success of the first edition of the book has not only resulted in scores and scores of success stories from people that have applied its teachings, it has also gotten me a ton of great feedback from readers on its strengths and weaknesses and how it could be improved.

Furthermore, as I've continued to research, help others get in shape, and write for everyone here at Muscle for Life, I compiled my own long list of additions and clarifications to incorporate into Thinner Leaner Stronger to just make it the best possible book it can be and answer just about any question guys might have about building muscle, losing fat, getting strong, and staying healthy.

The result?

The basic principles in the second edition of Thinner Leaner Stronger are the same as the first, but the book has been rewritten and re-organized from the ground up to make everything as concise and clear as possible.

This isn't the same book with a few pages of additional content, relaunched as a second edition.

It's a complete overhaul of the first edition, with the things that made it good even better and the things that needed attention completely ironed out.

For example, many readers suggested that the book be organized differently...and they were right. Many people wanted more information on proper meal planning...so I added it. I received many requests for more information on how to build up the willpower and self-discipline required to get into great shape...so I've added an entire chapter on this.

When you count it all up, "BLS 2.0" (as I've been calling it) contains nearly 100 pages of additional content, with absolutely no unnecessary filler. Every single page I've added was guided by reader feedback and suggestions.

In short, I believe that with the help of all my readers and followers, I've created my masterpiece, and I can't wait to get it into your hands and see what you think. And trust me--even if you've read the first edition of this book, the second edition is going to blow you away.

I don’t want to get big and bulky--I just want to be lean
and muscular. Will this work for me?


The idea that all weightlifting makes women “bulky” is a complete MYTH. Improper weightlifting programs and dieting is what makes women bulky.

Don’t believe me? Consider the following:

January 2011

May 2013

Here’s the shocker: she weighs the same in each of these pictures. That’s the power of proper weightlifting and dieting, which resulted in her losing fat and adding muscle, not just “losing weight.”

The bottom line is when you know what you’re doing, weightlifting is what gives you lean muscle definition and sexy curves, not “bulk.”

Is this program only for college-aged folk or can
middle-aged women do it too?

Since publishing the first edition in 2012, I’ve worked with hundreds of women in their 40s, 50s, and even 60s, and they not only do great on the program, they regularly come back to me after 4 to 6 months to report that they’re now in better shape than they were in their 20s!

Sometimes we make some slight modifications to the program, but I discuss these circumstances in the book.

If you’re still skeptical of what’s possible in your 40s, 50s, or 60s, check out this article of mine:

What type of training split does the program utilize?

It’s a traditional body-part split with some additional work for your legs and butt every week to ensure you get lower body you really desire.

If you’re worried that a body-part split is doomed to failure and that you have to train everything 2 to 3 times per week to make gains, I understand--I used to think the same thing.

Massive bouts of overtraining taught me otherwise, though, and I’ve since learned that a body-part split can be incredibly effective if it’s programmed correctly...and many such programs just aren’t.

Fortunately, you don’t have to take my word on it. The scores and scores of Thinner Leaner Stronger success stories speak loud and clear: this program gets results.

I’m new to weightlifting. Is this for me?


Many experts recommend that new weightlifters begin with a few full-body workouts per week, and this is a workable way to begin. It has a significant drawback, however: full-body workouts are very hard when you also emphasize heavy weightlifting.

Just try performing heavy deadlifts, squats, and bench and military presses in the same workout and you’ll quickly see what I mean.

Well, fortunately you can do just as well...if not better...on a well-designed body-part split program like Thinner Leaner Stronger. You can lose 35 to 45 pounds of fat in your first year, dramatically improve muscle definition and tone, and build more strength than you ever thought possible (and I can say this with confidence because I’ve seen so many women new to weightlifting do it on the program).

I’m an experienced weightlifter. Is this for me?

Possibly. It depends where you’re at.

If you’ve been focusing on heavy (70+% of 1RM), compound weightlifting for several years and have built a solid foundation of muscle and strength...and if you know exactly how to set up and manipulate your diet so as to lose fat or build muscle as desired...then this book may not be for you.

I say may not because even if you’re a seasoned veteran, I bet you’ll pick up some new insights in Thinner Leaner Stronger. It’s not written just for complete newbies.

How long does it take to see results?

All things considered, one of the best aspects of the Thinner Leaner Stronger program is how quickly it works.

You will see improvements in the gym and in the mirror within your first month, and it only gets better and better from there.

Do I have to take a bunch of supplements to follow the program?


You don’t have to take any supplements if you don’t want to, because the vast majority are a waste of money.

If you have the money, there are certain supplements that are worthwhile, which I cover in the book.

I’m short on time. Can I still do the program?


In the book I give you three training templates to choose from--5-day, 4-day, and 3-day options--and fully explain how to program your workouts for each (which are no longer than 70 to 75 minutes).

I also give you a year’s worth of workouts for each template in the bonus report.

I follow a special type of diet (vegan, vegetarian, Paleo, food sensitivity/allergy, etc.). Can I still do the program?


The diet principles I teach are very flexible and thus can be customized to fit any and all food preferences and limitations.

Have another question?
Submit it below and I’ll answer it!

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  • Megan Thieme

    Hey Mike, so excited about the book launch – Congrats! Cant wait for my new copy! Quick question: can I qualify for the 5 book buy package benefits if I get a couple of the men’s and a couple of the women’s books?? Thanks!

  • Tammy

    To add to Megan’s question, does mixing Kindle and BLS, THS still qualify?

  • Kevin Clark

    Can I order three Bigger Leaner Stronger and two Thinner Leaner Stronger which equals five total books for the giveaway and get everything that I would get if I order five of the same book? I really want to help me and my wife and our friends too. PS Congrats on the updates.

  • MissLauraQ

    I’d love to send the extra books to a donation! (yay tax deduction!) And I know our county library needs one. Where else would I send them?

    • Great idea! Libraries are a perfect idea. That’s what I would do personally.

  • Livefortoday

    I couldn’t purchase the Kindle version because I have the first edition. It kept saying that I purchased this book in 2012. Is there anyway to get the Kindle version without deleting the first edition?

  • Lo_Fi

    Hubby just ordered this for me from Amazon but did not receive the free report.

  • Tunet Koekemoer

    I read your first book and as an engineer I am always looking for the science to back up the facts! Thanks for the awesome work that you have done in releasing a new version of TLS! Didn’t even need think twice about buying it. Also bought the 1 year challenge for women. On a tight working schedule I’m making slow progress but at least it is progress 🙂 Keep it up!

    • Thanks Tunet! I really appreciate it! Let me know how everything goes!

  • Karla Medrano

    I don’t need to loose any weight or gain much more muscle but I need to tighten my skin I’m 48 years weight 114 and 5″1″ walk at 13% body fat, is there a section in the book that can help me?

  • Lynn Garofalo

    If I have a bench with olympic plates, leg curl/press, many plates and dumbbells, could I do these workouts at home? Joining a gym is not an option right now.

    • Livefortoday

      I workout at home. I have a pullup bar, dumbbells, barbells, adjustable bench, and resistance bands. You can alter the workouts to what you have. Check out bodybuilding.com for exercises you can switch to.

      • I can help you with exercise swaps too.

        Cable Crunch: Hanging Leg Raise (you can snatch a DB in between your feet to add weight)

        Leg Press: Front Squat

        Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown: Pullup (use a dip belt to add weight as you get stronger)

        Close-Grip Lat Pulldown: Chinup (use a dip belt to add weight as you get stronger)

        Tris Pushdown: Another triceps exercise of your choice (my favorites are close-grip bench and overhead DB tris press)

      • Lynn Garofalo

        Thank you!

      • Livefortoday

        You’re welcome.

      • Lynn Garofalo

        Thank you! Going to purchase the book now!

  • AshD

    On Google Play, did not have the option to add a quantity and now that I’ve purchased the “Buy” option no longer appears – how can I buy more :/

    • Oh yeah you can only buy one on GP because it’s digital. If you want to buy multiple copies you would want to buy paperbacks from Amazon, you know?

  • Dana

    I downloaded Thinner, Leaner, Stonger and Bigger, Leaner, Stronger to my Kindle app and discovered the One Year Challenge bonuses at the back. Awesome! However, When I access them it pops up, but is there a way to save them as a separate document so I don’t always have to get to it through the other book? Thanks.

    • Thank you! Yeah if you access those links on a desktop you can save them. They are PDFs.

  • Josie

    Hi Mike,
    On Google Play, it updated my 1st edition of TLS to the 2nd edition… did you mean this to happen? I’d feel bad if I’d accidentally sneaked the new one without paying! Thanks.

    • Yeah that was intentional. Thanks Josie. 🙂 Enjoy the second edition!

      • Josie

        Thanks Mike! Unfortunately, Google Play isn’t loading pages 406-463 of the book. I’m not sure if this is an individual problem or a global thing, should I contact Google Play directly about it?

        • Really? WTF? Yes please do contact them and let me know? The file is totally fine on my end so I have no idea what that is…

  • Ashley

    I bought the book and forwarded my receipt to the email address noted for the free content and digital book, how long until I have access to the additional free content?
    I am just about to finish Kris Gethin’s Body by Desifn program which I have enjoyed and gotten great results with. I was going to start with his daily trainer next but I think I’m going to have to go with your guide instead… With the excellent reviews and success stories and AMAZING website with tons of awesome information I can’t wait to start reading the book! This program that I am doing now has me absolutely loving weight training and I’m super excited that you are all for that too! I also started listening to the podcast. Keep doing what you are doing, changing lives by teaching people the right way to live is what it’s all about!! Yay for being healthy and strong!!!!!!

    • Thanks Ashley! You should get a reply within a day or so.

      Definitely let me know how you do on the program! I think you’re going to really like it!

      • Ashley

        I also had another question… could I email you? If so what is your email address? I feel like I saw it somewhere else on the site but now I can’t find it.

  • AMF

    Just purchased the second edition despite only buying & reading the 1st in the past month along w/the workout journal…but I can’t wait to get my hands on the new content! I’m so excited to have a regimented lifting and eating program after feeling lost for so long. I’ve made progress in the gym but am nowhere I want to be and now that I have a plan of attack I know I can get there. I was skeptical about reading a book about fitness initially when my best friend told me about this, but I was never bored and loved every second. Now I just need to pick my “Day 1” and start the journey to getting where I want to be!

    • Thanks so much! Definitely keep me posted on your progress and write anytime if you have any questions or run into any difficulties. I’m always happy to help.

  • Judy

    Hi, I wanted to purchase the latest digital version. I have the first from Amazon…It won’t let me purchase it, saying I already have it in my archives. Any suggestions?

    • Thanks! Yeah google how to update kindle content and you’ll be good to go.

  • Noelle Long

    Hi Michael, I’m a youthful and active 62 years old woman. I’ve been been fit most of my life but slacked off about 5 years ago. I go to the gym 5x a week but generally use lighter weights and multiple reps. Work outs feel relatively easy. I’d like to up my workout program but I’m concerned that using heavier weights might stress my joints. Would you recommend your program to me or can it be tailored to fit my needs in some way?

    • Awesome! I think you can do great on my program. It’s not excessively heavy and you can always dial it back if you ever run into any issues.

  • Kayla Bryson

    Hey Mike! I’m super interested in purchasing this book, and I’m curious about what kind of equipment I’d need to do the workouts. A gym membership isn’t really an option at this point, and the only things I have at home are a pull up bar, dumbbells, and a 25 lb. kettlebell. (Not a whole lot to work with right now. Hahaha.) I’m on a budget financially and space wise, which means building up an entire home gym isn’t really feasible for me. Any suggestions? Thank you!

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  • Gina Jones

    Hi Michael, I’ve just been reading the book and feeling a bit disheartened as my gym which is the only one I can really get to and fit in with work doesn’t have a barbell. There is a bench and a good range of dumbell weights and a few kettlebells. There isn’t anywhere I could fit any equipment at home either. I had thought before buying the book that I would be able to sub any barbell exercises with dumbell equivalents but some workouts use both versions. Any tips or is it just pointless trying to use the workouts in the book with what I have?

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

      Hmm you CAN use only DBs but you’re limited mainly because you can’t barbell squat and can’t deadlift. Any way you can get into a gym with a BB?

      • Gina Jones

        I might be able to go once a week on weekend. The weekdays definitely not. Do you think it’s possible to structure it so I’m doing the barbell work one day and all the other days dumbells?

        • Yeah definitely. We would have you squat and deadlift on that day.

  • Chris

    Hi Mike. I’m new to your website and love the content and science. You rock! I also know a few guy friends who are getting great results. That said, I’m interested the women’s book but wondering why none of your testimonials are from women or mention women? There must be be good women killing it in fitness who could review the book. Also wondering if the book addresses hormones? With these 2 things it would be a no brainer purchase for me. Thanks

  • Chris

    Hi Mike. I’m new to your website and love the content and science. You rock! I also know a few guy friends who are getting great results. That said, I’m interested the women’s book but wondering why none of your testimonials are from women or mention women? There must be be good women killing it in fitness who could review the book. Also wondering if the book addresses hormones? With these 2 things it would be a no brainer purchase for me. Thanks

  • David Zaitzeff

    I am guy and so I am not the usual person to prefer this program of yours, but I prefer a thinner look to a bigger look. I walk at Greenlake in Seattle in skimpy undies, which has gradually learned to tolerate the undies and gives me an incentive to look nice.

    I am 5’10” and weigh 133 with a very slight tendency to skinny fat, depending on the month. A member of a gym with an hour of cardio a day. I walk and run and have done intermittently presses with light weights. After intermittent exercises for the glutes in the last 3 months, been trying to make that more consistent. In fact, I found your website after a review of a book on the glutes also mentions your book favorably. Though, no squats or hip thrusts yet, but probably starting this week!

    I have three different than usual questions, cause I am persuaded that your program is good and I plan to start adopting it . . .
    1) my posture has problems and my head when I am not paying attention, most of the time, is about 5 inches in front of the shoulders . . . Do you wish to offer any ideas on correcting head-forward posture, which my chiropractor would appreciate?
    2) do you wish to offer your thoughts/experience/testimonials re the glutes, if any, in addition to the suggestions you might know from others? (I imagine you know the name and program of the fellow on whose amazon review I found the mention of your book . . .)
    3) In terms of upper-body, I would probably not tend to do the “bigger” program cause I am not inclined to like the bigger look of some of your testimonial guys, but I like the look of Nathan Adrian the swimmer or of Jeremy (one of your testimonial guys) after one year on your bigger stronger page. Suppose I wish the Nathan-Jeremy look, do I train for a year with bigger and then modify things or not go heavier? Though, the look of several gals above is also quite good . . .

    • Hey hey!

      Cool on what you’re doing.

      1. You know I haven’t looked into posture much so I don’t have any good tips on that.

      2. Lots of heavy squatting and hip thrusts is all you need, really.

      3. Trust me it’s hard to get “big,” even on BLS. It takes time. You could work that program until you have your ideal size and then adjust to maintain. Maybe that only takes 6-8 months, which would be cool for you! 🙂

      4. I would go with BLS.

      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

      • David Zaitzeff

        It so turns out that a few days ago, 4/8/15, the online email newsletter for Mens health which is called “the Mens Health daily dose” had 3 recommended exercises for correcting posture created by hours of sitting, and two of them are for helping head-forward postures . . . I will start including a “thoracic rotation” for posture and the “passive single leg hip raise” for glutes . . . my current workout now includes 25 minutes of exercises for the glutes . . . and your TLS workbook came in the mail . . . In the video demonstration, the “single leg hip raise” is like a bridge, but with heel down and toe up, and one leg almost pulled into the tummy . . . and this exercise is one of several done to combat glutes having gone flat from lots of sitting . . . If the trainers on the Mens Health videos have reasonable suggestions, then, these three exercises are a good place to start for correcting postural problems . . . I am writing them to thank them . . .

  • Linda

    Hello! I bought the thinner leaner stronger book and read it. Well, I’m a little confused. I am 5’6″, 177lb with 34.2% body fat. My body fat is too high to bulk so I’m cutting. Well, while I’m cutting do I follow your workout plan in the book since building muscle is impossible while cutting? (The workouts seem to be for body building.) I ordered the workout book but haven’t received it yet. Please help, I’m desperate lol 🙂 🙂

  • Linda

    Hello! I read your thinner leaner stronger book and am patiently waiting to get the one year challenge in the mail. I am confused though. According to your book, you can’t gain muscle during a cut. The workouts seem to be body building workouts (to gain muscle). I am 5’6″, 177lbs, 34.2% body fat. I have too much fat to bulk so I need to cut (according to your book) so while I am cutting do I do these body building workouts or am I wasting my time? I’ve been wasting my time for the past year at the gym doing everything wrong so I want to make sure I start out on the right path lol. Thanks! LOOOVE your book!

  • Emily

    I’m seeing on this page that “With this book you’ll also get a free 75-page bonus report from me called The Year One Challenge for Women”. But when I tried to order “Thinner Stronger Leaner” on Amazon it asked if I also wanted to purchase “The Year One Challenge for Women”. Is the bonus report included in the “Thinner Stronger Leaner” book, shipped with it, or part of the digital content I can receive when I forward my receipt to the email address listed?

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    • The link for the bonus report is at the end of the book but if you want a hardcopy of the workout journal, that’s what you can buy on Amazon. 🙂

  • Audrey

    Hi Mike! I purchased the first edition for my kindle when it came out a couple years ago. Now I purchased the updated second edition but it won’t deliver the second edition to my kindle, only the first. And I purchased it twice. Not sure what to do….

    • Audrey

      I contacted Amazon customer service and they’re working on the problem since it appears it’s a problem with the website. Not sure if it’s just because I ordered the first edition in the past or if it’s a general problem (everyone who orders the second edition kindle version gets the first edition in error).

      • Some people are having funky problems. At first Amazon thought there was no second edition, lol.

    • Doh! Have you googled how to update kindle content?

  • Amy Serra Albright

    Can I buy TLS 2.0 in hard copy or is it just available digitally?

  • Amy Serra Albright

    Where can I buy it in hard copy? In Amazon I can only find the first version. Can you send a link where I can order the new version?

  • Andrea

    Hi I has a few questions. Does this book contain an actual weekly workout plan? 2. Are the examples of how to do the exercises or is it all in text ?

    • Yeah it does. The bonus report contains a year’s worth of workouts as well. I link to videos for form.

  • Karlen Williams

    I enjoy cycling and going for long rides, 60-90 minutes. Hills and mountains are welcomed. Will I be able to include this in my new plan?

    • Yeah definitely. You’ll want to take it into account in your diet.

  • kim

    is your program usable for insulin dependant diabetics?

    • Yes you can adjust the diet to account for this. It usually just means following a lower-carb approach.

  • Dione

    I bought the book on audio book. Will I have access to a hard copy of the workouts?

  • matt

    Hey Mike I’ve been reading your bls book and love it and I want to get my girlfriend on the tls. However she is not fat, she is very skinny(hardgainer I think) it takes a lot to help her gain weight and I was wondering if this would be a good program for her to put on some weight. She’s currently around 13% bf which I know is on the low side for women.

  • NA

    You’re a sexist, stupid fuck.

  • Mary Lonergan Spidal

    Hi, I can’t find the calf workouts (A,B,C), abs circuit, or glute/butt buster workouts referenced in the 2014 Year One Challenge for Women. I also have the 2013 kindle version of Thinner, Leaner, Stronger for Women and can’t find mention of them there either. Thanks for your help!

    • Hey hey!

      They’re in the chapter that describes how to train each body part, which is in the new edition. You can update yours for free. Just google how to update Kindle content.

  • Helen Peter

    I began the 2:5 fast diet 3weeks ago, consuming one 500cal meal late in the day on 2days per week. Second fast day resulted in super heavy menstral cycle for2 weeks and My doctor just found my testosterone levels have shot up to 4x recommended level for women. Could this be the effect of fasting?
    Appreciating your advice and knowledge, thanks so much Helen☺

  • Amanda

    Hi Mike,
    I just bought your book, and I’m loving it so far. I can’t wait to start the program. I am trying to cut as I am not over weight. I am 5’7..142lbs right now. I am making gains, but I know I should be further along. So my question is about the food. How do you feel about eating canned veggies? I really love canned tomatoes and the zucchini that comes canned in tomato sauce…I love canned green beans…do you think this will affect me much? I usually like to mix with my chicken for more flavor. Any feedback is much appreciated!

    Patiently waiting to purchase some Legion Whey…its out of stock on Amazon! =(

    • Glad you’re enjoying the book. 🙂 LMK what you think when your’e done with it.

      The canned vegetables are fine. If you can, I recommend going for the frozen vegetables though.

      Whey+ will be back in 7-10 days! Sorry for the wait!

  • Amy Armstrong

    Do you have any support groups or fitness group challenges regarding the book’s program? I’ve been on your plan for about 11 weeks but I’m starting to wish I had someone to talk to or a group challenge to keep up motivation.

    • No I don’t BUT it’s funny you ask this now because I will be rolling this out soon. 🙂

    • Sarah Frost

      Amy, not sure if this is helpful to you or not but I know there is a group on Facebook following the TLS one year challenge. I’ve not joined it yet as I’m currently on the last cycle of a different programme, but had intended to join it as soon as I finish that. If you’re interested I could probably find out the name of it. Def might help in the meantime, as I have found belonging to a FB group with people doing the same challenge as me has really helped to keep my focus, and stopped me from falling off the wagon (& helped me get straight back on when I have)

  • ceci

    I need help! I had a baby 1 year ago and I can not seem to get my stomach as toned as I want. I am 22, 5’4 and 113 lbs. I wouldnt mind gaining weight with muscle. I can,t ever seem to get full though. And im not sure what a good diet/fitness routine would look like. I constantly constantly hear dont eat dairy or wheat, too much protein is bad, ect… I’m at a loss.
    Thank you!

  • Dana

    So I just bought your book, which is exciting! Less exciting, however, is the fact that I just broke my pinkie. My doctor said no push ups, pull ups, dips, or lifting greater than 5lbs with my right hand for the next 2-4 weeks… This is a huge bummer because I wanted to dive right in to TLS. Any recommendations on what I should do? Definitely will be working on eating healthily but not sure what else I can do for the next month or so

    • Glad you’re excited about the book!

      Sorry about the pinky. :/

      Yeah I recommend eating at TDEE and maybe doing HIIT a few times a week?

      What do you think? Get better soon!

  • Jawsh Yoast

    We bought the book and downloaded the bonus report. Where is the one year’s worth of workouts like the ones you have in BLS?

    • Thanks for picking up my book!

      The bonus report starts going over the workouts on page 30.

      Check it out!

  • Karla

    Hi, will I have to join a gym to follow your programme or can it be done at home?

    • It could be done at home, but you’ll need the correct equipment. That’s why I recommend most people go to a gym.

      To do it at home, you’d need power cage or multi-press rack for squatting and benching, a barbell with plates, a set of dumbbells (I prefer adjustables), and an adjustable bench. If you want, you can get a utility bench for your Military Press. Check this out:


      Hope this helps. LMK.

  • Hey Michael I’m 5 days into the workout you outlined in TLS and I’m hooked. I loved the book and I’m actually considering your bigger leaner stronger book. I compete in rugby and will be soon in MMA so I’m looking for much more than the average girl looking to “tone up.” I was wondering if you program workouts for people like me? Or does BLS have a more aggressive approach that would work for me? Or do I even need a more aggressive approach? If you want shoot me an email at moevol[email protected]. Thanks!

    • Great thanks! I’m glad you’re doing well!

      Yeah I think you should hit the TLS program with the 4 to 6 rep work for a good 6 months and then we can talk about what’s next. I would continue the periodized training but include some heavier stuff.

      Let me know what you think!

  • jenny beckstead

    I just finished the book and started the one year challenge today! I’m excited and ready for the challenge! Thank you!❤

    • That’s awesome Jenny!

      I look forward to seeing your results. 🙂

      Let me know if you have any questions. I’m happy to help!

  • Sally

    I was always outdoorsy and then had some physical things occurred that were not correctly diagnosed for years. Now I am very overweight/lots of water retention. I need to lose about 120 lbs. My concern is this program might be too much of a gradient for me. Do you take that into account on your program, is it something I can win at ?

    • It is absolutely something you can do and get great results doing. We may need to make some substitutions for some lifts depending on what you can do, but other than that you’re good.

      The key will be the diet, and you can definitely follow that. 🙂

  • Allison

    How do I get the Bonus Reports if I bought the Audible book?

  • maria

    i just got this book but i can’t see the bonus material..

  • Jean

    In your one year challenge some of the exercises simply say “3 to 6 abs circuits.” What are abs circuits? There isn’t a reference to it in your book or on the exercise list for the challenge that I can see.

  • Andrea

    I have some questions before purchasing the book. In the bonus stuff, you have workout plans. Are those in the book as well?? Also, that’s like a 5-7 week plan, that whole time should you be on a “moderately calorie deficit?”” Is it bad to maintain a calorie deficit for a long time and if so, what’s a good amount of time or how do you avoid ruining your metabolism??

    • The book will lay out everything you need to know about dieting and training. The training won’t vary too much, but the diet will change depending on whether you’re trying to lose fat, build muscle or maintain.

      You would cut until you reach your goal and/or aren’t getting results. In which case you’d reverse diet to speed up your metabolism. Check this out:


      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

  • Andrea

    And one more question: do you have to buy supplements to get results from the book??? I mean, as in no supplements. I can’t afford to add more supplements.

    • Supplements are not required to reach your goals. Good supplements will help you get there faster, but they certainly aren’t necessary.

  • Alex

    Hey I’m interested in buying your book but I had a question before! I’m female and interested in putting on muscle as quickly as I can not so much leaning out but it seems like this may be more focused on the losing fat rather than making muscle gains?

    • This book will help you with both. If you’re trying to build muscle you’ll just need to follow the diet protocols in the book for putting on muscle. If later you want to get leaner the book will show you how to do that too. 🙂

  • Cynthia Renteria

    I have very bad knees and need another knee replacement. Therefore I can’t do a lot of squats and no lunges. Also have kidney disease and lost a lot of muscle tone . I need help to build up my legs again and tone the rest . Can you help?? I am 58

    • Hey Cynthia!

      I’m sorry to hear about the issues. Do you know what you CAN do for your legs? Cycling? Leg curls?

  • Pierina Ortiz

    Hi! I just did my first figure competition and I want to make improvements for my next show (in about a year), will this book help me with that?
    Thank you in advance!

    • For sure! It’ll lay out everything you need to know about training and dieting to build muscle and lose fat. 🙂

      Cool you’re competing BTW!

  • Nicole

    Hi. I’m interested in buying the book but my cardio options are limited because of bad knees. I might be able to do elliptical (but questionable), possibly cycling. Will this work for me? I’m 42, decent shape, just have terrible joints and some disc disease. Thank you!

    • No worries! Either of those cardio options work plus several more. 🙂

  • Marilyn Espinosa

    I bought the book already, but I can’t seem to find the link where I can see the demonstrations for the workout 🙁

  • Nicole

    Hi – the kindle version seems to be missing the pictures of your sample menu plans. Is this available elsewhere? And is the bonus report available, or did I need to order through this site for that? Thx!

  • Erin

    Hi, I’m an endurance athlete and spin instructor who also loves lifting weights. I’m in great shape and lift heavy but I am always fighting a very stubborn fat layer that is hard to lose because of the endurance workouts. Mostly I struggle with calorie balance because of them. Can I use this system to lose the fat while keeping up with my endurance workouts? I really don’t want to give them up!

    • For sure. TLS will lay out everything you need to know to build muscle and lose fat.

      The amount of cardio you’re doing will make it harder to get results, but it’s still workable. Check this out:


      LMK what you think.

      • Erin

        Thank you so much for your quick response. Your article is on the head with what I understand is going on. I do lift heavy 4-5 times per week so for me it’s the calorie equation. I’ll pick up the book and see if I can finally balance the endurance races with a decent looking physique. Thank you again 🙂

        • My pleasure!

          Sounds good. LMK what you think of the book when you finish it, and LMK if you have any questions. I’m happy to help. 🙂

  • Bosly

    Hi, I just bought your book, and I’m very excited to get started. I’ve always wanted to be in “good shape,” lean and tone, but have never been able to get rid of jiggle. I’m curvy at 5’3″ and 132 pounds, and getting rid of fat in place of muscle is what I’m looking to do. I’ve always tried to remain active, even when I can’t go to the gym on a regular basis. For the past few weeks I’ve been working out twice a day, with heavy cardio and mild weight training in the morning, and interval circuit training in the evening while also doing a heavy HEAVY cut back on calories. I lost weight in my first week, but after that, it kind of just stuck near 132 and hovered. I’m much more concerned with my appearance than the number on the scale (though that doesn’t hurt either). I’m a little nervous that going from eating so few calories to what you recommend might cause a temporary fat gain. Also, I have a very busy schedule, but I make the time to make my own lunches and snacks to bring to work so that I can stay on track with whatever program I’m doing. Is there a meal plan provided in the book or just guidance tips to create your own? The book comes tomorrow, but I’m excited to get started and want to make sure I have all the tools I need to do so.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Thanks!

      We can definitely get you to your goal and you do NOT have to beat the shit out yourself and starve. Trust me. As you’ll see, my program will have you doing less and eating more and your body will respond better…

  • Natalie

    Hi Mike! Just spent the last hour or so engrossed in your articles and they’ve all been really informative. Thanks for writing them. I’ve been strength training for 9 months now and have seen good results in gaining strength and muscle growth however my arms have become disproportionately bulky which has baffled me because I don’t target them much, and also discouraged me because I used to love my arms – they were slender but quite defined. It’s always been my legs that were my problem area and now I feel the need to hide my arms too and while I enjoy strength training and love what it’s done for my body composition elsewhere, there’s part of me that wants to stop because I didn’t expect to end up hating my arms as a result. My plan is to see if fat loss will help them look less chunky but I’d like to know if your book will help me figure out where I’m going wrong and achieve a more defined rather than bulky look? Many thanks.

    • Glad you found the site and have been enjoying it! NP.

      The solution for the arms (and any other body part of concern) is simply getting leaner.

      Women who lift look great, but they have to be lean. If not, you can get that bulky look. Check this out:


      LMK what you think!

      Oh and yes, the book will lay out everything you need to know to build muscle and lose fat effectively. 🙂

  • Sarah

    Hey! I just read through a bunch of articles you wrote and was very interested in your book. But I was wondering if it would be right for me. I am very overweight and looking to lose weight and gain muscle but in a healthy, consistent way. I have seen a lot of people say your program is amazing but none of them were near the size I am. So before I went any further I wanted to make sure that this would be the right program for me, keeping in mind how overweight and out of shape I am. Any feedback would help immensely! Thanks 🙂

    • Thanks for your interest in my book!

      The principles for weight loss are the same regardless of starting weight. You need to be in a caloric deficit to lose weight.

      TLS will lay out everything you need to know to build muscle and lose fat.

      LMK if you have any other questions!

  • Roslyn

    Hi! I just began your workout and diet program today. The book got me really excited, as I think this might be just what I need because I have two things going on: 1) I seem to have plateaued with regards to weight loss. I can gain (fat) no problem (sadly) but losing past 135 (I’m 5’3″ by the way) has become an issue. I’ve never been thinner than that really, I was able to get down to 130 once, but since my latest gain cycle, haven’t been able to make it stick. So I’m looking for a program to get me through that plateau and hopefully down past it. 2) I have never been able to get the muscle definition I so desperately want. I don’t just want to lose weight, I want to be thin and lean. Hence, your book appealed to me.

    After doing the first workout this morning, I have some questions… I am new to weight lifting. I’ve done machines, and reps with light weights, but never barbell work and such, so this morning I worked with the bar only, no weights. It did provide a good amount of resistance, and I did 3 sets of 8-10 for each workout, but I found that I had to concentrate on my form quite a bit. Trying to keep the bar straight, and make sure I’m pushing up evenly with both arms. I just want to make sure that’s normal for someone just starting out. I can tell I did a workout, my arms feel like spaghetti, but is it ok to start at that low of a weight? I might be able to add 5 lbs to the bar next week, but I don’t want it wobbling all over the place as I workout, so thought I would start there.

    I also have a question about cardio work. I’m used to starting my morning off with an hour of cardio. I’ve switched to doing my weightlifting in the morning before work, but still want to keep some sort of cardio in my daily routine. I usually do two workouts a day: cardio in the morning with a circuit program in the evening that consists of light weights, cardio, and abs. Now that I’ve started your program, would that type of circuit work work against the program? Should I cut it out and do HIIT cardio in the evening instead? I’m unable to run because of a back injury, but I can work on the elliptical, which I usually do regularly. I just don’t want to be doing two workouts that are fighting each other.

    Thanks so much for your help, I’m looking forward to continuing with the program and (hopefully) seeing results soon.

    • Awesome to hear you got started on the program!

      The program will definitely help you reach your goals.

      That’s good you focused on form and stuck to weight you could work with. That’s smart for the first week or two. After that, while keeping good form of course, you want the weight to be heavy enough where you can’t get more than 10 reps and light enough where you can get at least 8. And your goal should be to add weight and/or reps to your exercises every week.

      Yeah, I don’t recommend the circuit training type work. The weight lifting and cardio (ideally HIIT) is what I recommend. Make sure you’re not overdoing it with the cardio either. Check this out:


      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

      • Roslyn

        Good to know. Thank you!

        What if I can’t do certain exercises with the barbell quite yet? I’m pretty sure I can’t do a military press with 45 pounds yet (the weight of the bar), is it ok to start with dumbells and work up to that weight?

        • YW!

          Totally fine on working with the dumbbells until you’re able to the barbell.

  • Noel

    Hello! I’ve been checking out your websites and listening to your podcasts too and from work. Even if some of the pods are not what I’m in too, they are very interesting and informative cause there is usually more information than what the title says they are about. I’m planning on ordering Legions supplements and am glad to find out they almost all back in stock. But if I could only get a couple of the fat burner products, which ones should I get first? I’m 5′ 7″ at 190 so I got at least 30+lbs of fat to lose. Also if I purchase the “Thinner” book on Amazon, will I get the updated version? And will I still get the Special Report and bonus interviews via Amazon? Thank you for your honesty and integrity in all you do, I so appreciate it!

    • Happy to hear you’ve been enjoying the site and podcast! Thanks for your support.

      If you can only get a couple of the fat burner products, I’d recommend Phoenix and Forge (if doing fasted training). If you’re not doing fasted training, you can do Phoenix and Pulse.

      Yup, if you purchase TLS on Amazon, you’ll get the newest version. And yes on the bonus report. You can also download it here:


      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

      • Noel

        Thank you for your reply. Sorry late acknowledgement. When you say fasted, is it always first thing in the morning with nothing but water? Or can be anytime also with several hours of no food? Thank you so much.

        • YW! No worries.

          Fasted doesn’t have to be in the morning. That’s when most people do their fasted training because you’re pretty much always fasted upon waking up.

          You can do fasted training at another time though. You just need to make sure you haven’t eaten in 3-6+ hours. Check this out:


  • Sydney Morgan

    I am about halfway through your book, and I had a question pop into my head that I cannot seem to find the answer for on your site. I am running cross country this year (or well trying to!) and I know that I will be running a lot we already have conditioning practices every tuesday and thursday. They are consistently doing about three miles with some light strength training thrown into the mix. We also do at least 20 minutes of light cardio in between days. However, once “actual season” starts I will be running those practices monday-friday and doing some light runs on the weekends. My question is how will that affect my lifting and diet? Should I change it at all from how you recommended it in your book? I know you said you wouldn’t do a ton of cardio just a few HIIT sessions every week, but I really like cross country and I would like to be able to balance that and lifting. How should I proceed? Thank you for your time

  • Nathalie

    I read the book and started training this week according to your program.
    So far I loved it but I have a question about it:
    I’m doing the 4-day split and it says
    1. calf workout a and b
    2. abs routine

    well so now I can’t find a description of those 2 anywhere. Neither in the book nor in the training schedule.
    Maybe it’s too obvious for me to see but I’m lost 😀

    Would appreciate your clarification a lot.

  • Talitha Jackson

    Hey Mike,
    After reading the sample copy of your TLS book, I went on Google Play and purchased the full copy. I have to say those first few chapters were insightful and intriguing, I found myself totally immersed in them. It was not only your knowledge but your straight forward and honest approach that drew me in and I am certain its what drew others in as well. I’ve been working out for about 1 year now with results but not the results I am capable of achieving. I’ve read articles upon articles about the best way to getting ripped and realized that majority of them didn’t emphasize the importance of how to feed your body properly. If it did, it was just some copy and paste version of what they thought was best. After months of frustration I just backed off from reading shelf top articles and magazines all together and after doing some research on my own found your website. I’ve read your book Fit is the New Skinny in the past but didn’t really incorporate it into my workout regimen. But now that I am on a new mission to be in the best shape of my life I am excited to introduce what I’ll learn into my life! Getting fit doesn’t have to be as complicated and dreadful as it is advertised and I am learning that right now. And your simple approach makes it worth trying and fun! Keep up the good work. Hopefully some day I will be able to motivate others to get into the best shape of their lives the way you do!

    • Thanks so much for all the kind words and support Talitha!

      Glad you enjoyed the book and are now enjoying your journey to getting in the best shape of your life.

      Definitely keep me posted on your progress and write anytime if you have any questions or run into any difficulties. I’m always happy to help.

  • Louise

    Hi Mike, loving the TLS book. I’m a few months in and can squat 60kg so far! I love doing lower body exercises, but I’ve noticed these dents (I don’t know how else to describe it, it’s like a hollow?) on either side of my butt. I’m aiming for a more rounder booty. Are there any exercises I can do to fill these dents for the perfect round squat booty? Thanks.

    • Thanks! Great job!

      I think you’re just seeing the natural development of the glutes? Do you see the “dents” more when you flex your glutes?

      • Louise

        Hi Mike, yes the ‘dents’ do become deeper when I flex my glutes. I was a bit puzzled as I’ve never seen my butt like that before! If it’s the natural development of the glutes then that’s fine – was just worried I wasn’t doing the exercises properly!

        • Haha yeah just natural development. You’re building muscle! 🙂

  • glenna

    Hey mike. So why would it be different for women? Why would I need 8-10 reps instead of 4-6 as you recommend for the guys? I ask cause I been following the guys and see great results so far.

    • The main reason why is because women usually have a harder time working in the 4-6 rep range.

      If you’re comfortable lifting heavy in the 4-6 rep range and are able to progressively overload, go ahead!

      Glad you’re getting results. 🙂

  • Laurie

    Hi Mike. I rec’d TLS yesterday. I’m confused on calculating my protein, carb and fat. How many calories?? And also is there a site to visually see the exercises? Can’t wait to get started tomorrow.

  • lscarpello

    Hi Michael – I just bought the book and am already getting really excited to start (hopefully this week!) but I have a quick question: if I have a set of adjustable dumbbells (Select Techs going up to 50-ish pounds each), is that enough to start? Will I eventually need to invest in a barbell and more weights or a gym membership?


    • Thanks for picking up the book! Glad you’re excited. 🙂

      Working out with only dumbbells is a bit tough because you can’t squat, deadlift, bench press, or military press (and these are the most important exercises in any program, really).

      My first standard recommendation is to get a proper home setup (a power cage or multi-press rack with an Olympic bar and plates), or work out in a gym instead. Here are the products I like:


      That said, if neither are possible, you can focus on the dumbbell exercises given in the “approved exercises” section of the book.

      You can also add a couple exercises to make your legs day more challenging:

      Goblet squats are decent, albeit limited.

      One-legged squats are challenging even without weight.

      For your back, I recommend doing a lot of dumbbell rows and weighted wide-grip pull-ups.

      You also have the option of working in some modified body weight exercises, as discussed here:


      I hope this helps and let me know what you think!

      • Hi Mike,

        Thanks for your reply! I think for now I am going to take your advice and purchase a couple more things for my home gym – a barbell and items for an incline bench. My work is moving to a new building in January that has a gym, so I think if I can work out at home until then, I’ll be good. Thanks so much for your help and for your reply! I am very excited to get started this coming Monday and I will of course leave you a review on Amazon once I get a feel for the program. Thanks again!

        • YW! Sounds like a plan.

          I’m excited to see your results.

          Thanks a ton for the review. 🙂

          You should go to maintenance cals, when you’re happy with your BF%. You will want to reverse diet to your maintenance cals to prevent rapid fat gain. Check this out:


          • Hi Mike,

            I’m so sorry, one last question. (I hope!) I just re-checked the nutrition in the book and it says for a woman of 140 lb (my weight) the macros should be 170 g of protein, 140 g of carbs and 30 g of fat, but then in a sample diet plan for a woman of the same size, it says 140 g of protein, 140 g of carbs and 30 g of fat. Do you know which is correct? Want to make sure I’ve got it right. Thanks!

          • No prob.

            You can stick with the book and you’ll do well. If that’s too much protein for you (if you have a hard time getting it down), you can go down to 140 and up fats by 10 grams.

      • I’m sorry, Mike, I have one more question if you don’t mind. I just finished figuring out my meal plan for cutting, but when should I go to maintenance? After I reach my goal body fat % or weight? Should I increase gradually, or should I recalculate my numbers? Thanks!

  • Seren Matthews

    Hey, I bought the women’s book and found lots of useful information in there. However I’m struggling with the nutritional recommendations. I’m used to “paleo” style eating i.e I don’t eat grains so I’m struggling with 40/40/30 and 40/30/30, I’m also worried that low fat has links with depression. Because I’m trying to keep my fat down and I don’t eat grains I’m not meeting the calorie requirements. Also I’m struggling to eat enough protein, even wtih 3 – 4 shakes a day, it seems protein in my meal barley touches the sides. This is in part becuase natural protein contains fat, so I’m trying to keep the fat down. I can’t eat chicken breast 3x a day, and I miss eggs :(. I really like the workout guide book and I’m looking for something I can stick to long-term and I really enjoy the workouts, if I can get the nutrition side sorted, its a keeper!

    • Thanks for reading my book and writing! I really appreciate it. Anything you could do to spread the word would rock too! 🙂

      IMO drop the Paleo dogma. Check this out:


      What do you think?

      If you’re really wanting to stick with the high-fat, you can–you just have to reduce carb intake. For every 2 g of carb you drop you can add 1 g of fat…

      • Seren Matthews

        Thankyou so much for replying! I love the workouts. I must admit I think I panicked in the first week – regarding nutrition. I’ve found ways to make it work now. That link is really useful thanks. I’m not really paleo, I eat dairy etc, thats why I put it in quotes. Paleo seems a bit die hard. I just I don’t eat grains, they don’t sit with me well, bloating, energy crashing etc – even if weight loss works out the same, I’d rather stay away. Th whole point of this is to be healthy and feel good – as well as look good ;). Anyway thankyou so much for your input, already shared with my sisters.

        • YW!

          Okay cool. Avoiding foods that cause negative reactions in your body makes sense, of course. 🙂

          Keep up the good work and keep me posted!

  • Larissa Calado

    Hi, Michael. I have the ebook version of Bigger, leaner and stronger and I really love it. I think maybe I have the first version and as you have mentioned on the FAQs, you have changed some things in the new version.
    Anyway….I’m trying to follow the instructions on the book but I’m afraid if I keep doing the exercises routines in this book I will get big as a man (ok.. Not that big but big for a girl). Do you think I can keep doing the exercises recommended on the “boys” book or not? By the way, I’m from Brazil and here we just have the version in Portuguese of Bigger, leaner, stronger… Maybe you could think to print some protrudes copies of your other books.
    To finalise, you say to us do cardio exercises on Sundays, Tuesday’s and Thursday’s but you don’t recommend no exercises. Could you help me (I hate run!!) ?

    • Thanks for reading my book and writing! I really appreciate it. Anything you could do to spread the word would rock too! 🙂

      Hmm I’d like to send you the female workout program because it focuses more on the lower body, which is what you probably want to emphasize in your training?

      Shoot me an email and I’ll be happy to help.

      You don’t HAVE to do cardio. Check this out:


      • Larissa Calado

        Hey, mike. Thanks for answer! This is awesome! I’d be dazzled in receive the female workout. My email is [email protected] . I’ll read the article you sent me about cardio. And about a Portuguese version of your books? Give a think about it. Cheers

        • YW! Great I sent it to you! Yup I’m working on getting the rest of the books into Brazil. 🙂


    Hi mike, I have the audiobook version but am unable to view the attached documents that you discuss in the book…like sample meals etc:..how can I get access to this. Thanks, Katie

  • Denise Alves Coelho Alves

    There is a version in portuguese about book Thinner learner strong?

    Please ask me.

    I have the book in portuguese Dieta da academia .
    Othwrs boojs i cant find in portuguese.

    Please help me.

    Denise Coelho

  • Elizabeth

    Hi! Im reading your book & getting my mind blown! I do have a question! Im an intermediate faster, last meal 8/9pm dont eat again til 11/noon next day. This really has worked for me and I hope I can continue! BUT I work out at 5am weekdays. Right now I just drink BCAA’s during my workout as they dont effect my fasted state. But im reading in your book 30-40 grams of protein is really important before/after weight lifting. Should I stop fasting like I am asap to get muscle gains??? Or can I drink 30-40grams whey before bed & then again when I eat at noon and still grow maximum muscles???

    • Thanks Elizabeth!

      Cool on the IF. You can keep it up. This will help you:


      • Elizabeth Abbinante

        Thanks Mike!!! I switched to your recommendation of only fasted training. Eating carbs/protein after work out and I feel great! Im day 10 in your 1year challenge journal & cant wait to share my transformation!

        • YW! Happy to hear it! I look forward to seeing your results. 🙂

  • Julie Essad

    I don’t want a gym membership. Is this something I can do from home?

  • Roslyn

    Hi Mike! I’ve been following your workout program for about a month now, it’s the best. I really enjoy weightlifting. I just had a few questions for you…
    First, I had to take a few weeks off due to being sick, but now that I’m getting back into it, I was really wanting to add cardio back into the mix. I didn’t do any for the first four weeks but really, I just enjoy it. Do you think 20 to 30 minutes of medium cardio (ie the elliptical) at the end of a weight training session would be detrimental to my progress? I work out five times a week, probably would do cardio 3 to 4 days. Thoughts?
    Second question… I’ve certainly noticed some weight loss in the first month, which I am thrilled about, I’m following your cutting plan. I hit a plateau about a year ago, and really didn’t think I could lose any more. BUT… the most important thing to me is getting toned and tight, and while I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten smaller, I don’t see any definition. With any workout program, I know patience is important, so I’m certainly not giving up, I’m just curious. I’m new to weightlifting, and workout alone, so I’m adjusting my weight slowly to make sure I can really handle it, but I’m definitely making improvements with each workout. I’m just still super jiggly to be blunt about it. Any suggestions or just wait it out and results will come, what do you think?

    Thanks so much!

  • Nicole

    Hi Mike! I loved the book and loving the program. I can honestly say that getting over the fear of entering the weight room in the gym has been one of the most challenging parts! The question I have is around diet… I am following the cutting program, I am currently about 161 lbs and 37% BF… I am eating roughly 1700 cals per day (190g Protein 160g Carbs 32g Fat) all from nutrient dense sources; and I am hungry… like all the time! And often fatigued. I have not seen a whole lot of movement on the scale only a few pounds in two months. Do you think I am eating too little? Or will I get past this hunger eventually? Will energy levels pick up? I feel like I hit that 3pm “brick wall” almost daily.

    Thanks for any help!

  • Lis

    Hi Mike,
    I’m very interested in trying the program and have been told by my Dr. I need to build muscle.
    Problem is I can’t get to a gym at the moment. Will this hold me back or can I do this program from home?

  • Kimba

    Hi Mike – My mom recently gave me your book hoping it would help me ‘snap out’ of my moodiness & get fit again. I’ve gained 30lbs in the last yr due to mentality, laziness & a sedentary job I started 2 yrs ago (I actually bought a timer to remind me stand & stretch every 45 min, lol) – Anyway, bottom line, I’m no longer ‘fit’ & have become what I call a jelly with a high % of body fat! Your ‘success’ stories are all fit people & who are looking for that cut. What about those who are ‘heavy set’ w/a high Body Fat%? Do you suggest they jump right in w/your weight lifting techniques? or, this isn’t the program for someone like me? My goal is to significantly lower my body fat %. I have a generic set up at home; punch bag, bike, tread, total gym, “machines” as you say. I started reading your book last night while on treadmill (on chap 4 now) & I’m at a loss on where to begin in getting back in shape now. I don’t want to build muscle over my fat, which is what I fear if I jump into weight lifting. I had planned on starting out w/what I use to do…but as you say, if I’m just wasting time & energy on the wrong things…then where does someone like me start? I have a dedicated room at home. If I need to get rid of the treadmill & total gym to swap for bench & weights, then so be it. But, if a jelly like me should be starting w/something else…then “Please” advise.

    • I hear you Kimba. Let’s get you back in shape. 🙂

      I recommend you start with reading the book. It’s going to answer a lot of your questions and address a lot of your concerns. It’ll lay out everything you need to know to build muscle (if you want) and lose fat effectively.

      From there, if you have any questions or need help getting started, I’ll be happy to help.


  • Lisa

    Hi Mike – first of all, highly impressed how much you’re engaging with the community and reviews of your book on here and on Amazon! Finished reading Leaner, Fitter, Stronger and it’s been very insightful indeed!

    Quick macro and calorie goals check: I weigh 156lbs and am looking to cut whilst gaining muscle, so I’m calculating my macros based on the 1.2g protein/1g carb/0.2g fat per pound of body weight ratios. This gives me 187.2g P /156g C/31.2g F, which seems to be approx 1650 calories overall? My bio-electrical body composition gave me a BMR of 1622 (15kg dry muscle mass) so I’m just wondering what the right calorie goals should be for me. A nutritionist advised that I could eat 1900 on a rest day and 2300 on days when I do physical activity.

    I’m mainly interested to know general ballparks on 1) what my caloric goals ought to be, and 2) what my protein intake should be.
    Any insight would be very much appreciated as I am a bit unsure of my goals and don’t know what to be aiming for, which is confusing and getting in the way of progress! 🙂


  • Valle

    Hi! I actually bought your thinner leaner stronger book and the year one training booklet, in the training booklet in the workouts it says to do calf circuit a, b, c and so on or to do the ab circuit but I can’t find these circuits listed anywhere so I don’t know what to do

  • Brian

    Hey Mike, I might have missed it in the TLS book, but I don’t see an explanation of why someone should train the non compound exercises in the 8-10 rep range on the TLS program, but in the BLS program its the usual 4-6 rep range. I’m assuming it’s to help you get thin, but do you have any evidence or studies to back it up?

    • The reason why I recommend 8-10 reps for women is actually simply because the majority I’ve worked with were already quite intimidated by the weight necessary to work in the 8-10 rep range. The 4-6 rep range was REALLY uncomfortable for them (generally speaking).

      The reality is 4-6 reps does work fine for women, but they can do great with the 8-10 rep range as well. There’s also the issue of overtraining to consider–women’s bodies can’t repair nearly as much muscular damage as guys’.

      So, if you’d like to work in some 4-6 training, I recommend doing no more than 3 sets in the 4-6 rep range, and using it on the following exercises:


      Military Press

      Bench Press


      What do you think?

      • Brian

        That makes a lot of sense, especially in regards to overtraining. Thanks for the response

  • Sara Weber Campbell

    What rep range am I looking to achieve and where is the ab circuit??

  • Carolyn Johnson

    I love reading through everything in TLS – and was so excited to start going and working out in my apartment gym, only to discover there’s no barbell! There is a smith machine, so I know I can translate some of the exercises – what else can I substitute for some of the barbell exercises??

    • Glad you’re enjoying TLS and were excited to get started on the program.

      Sorry to hear about the equipment! My first recommendation would be to sign up at a gym with the proper equipment. If that’s not possible, there are a few alternatives.

      All pressing can be done with dumbbells and an adjustable bench so no need for the Smith machine there. The only exercise you really need the Smith machine for is the squat. Instead of the deadlift, you can do hyperextensions, instead of barbell rows you can do extra one-arm dumbbell rows, instead of hip thrusts you can do lunges and instead of the barbell curl, you can substitute it with any of the exercises available to you in this article:


      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

  • LadiKnight

    I purchased the first edition of your Thinner and leaner book, I’m trying to decide if I should purchase the second edition. Did you add a lot of new content in the second edition that will enhance my results.


    • Thanks!

      Yeah I did add quite a bit. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. 🙂

  • Jason Jackson

    My girlfriend wants to gain (and keep) muscle to compete in figure competitions. She did her first recently and did great but I want to reinforce to her the need to eat and how well “heavy” weight lifting works compared to 2 hour, 12 reps x 4 set workouts for most people. Would BLS or TLS be a better book? Yes, she does want big, thick muscle. I love your fact-based statements and everything I see you writing is what I have seen work for me personally. Thanks

    • I recommend she picks up TLS. It’ll lay out everything she needs to know about proper training (mainly heavy, compound lifts) and dieting. 🙂

      Thanks for the kind words and support Jason! I appreciate it. Happy to help!

  • Kimberly

    I want to gain muscle and get bigger in the legs and butt. I see a lot of women here have smaller legs in their before and after pictures. I want to be leaner, but not lose my legs!! I am finally getting the legs and butt I love!

    • I hear you Kimberly. That’s how those women wanted to look. If they wanted, they could put on more muscle. They’d just need to do a few more bulk/cut cycles.

      TLS will lay out everything you need to know about training and dieting to build the amount of muscle you want and lose fat. You’ll just be doing more bulking than they did. 🙂

      • Kimberly

        Great! Thank you so much! I will want the layer of day, but want to lose my gut first.

      • Kimberly

        Sorry, should’ve read first. Want the layer of fat, but want to lose my gut first.

  • Sulema Landa

    I recently purchased your Thinner Leaner Stronger book and will soon be changing my current workout program to follow the guidelines you provide in your book. I’ve been lifting weights for about two years now with little change, so I’m excited to begin. However, I’m currently training for a half marathon and run between 15-20 miles/week (2 days pace/tempo, 1 day long run, 2 days sprint). I’ve been told by many that I can’t build muscle while running so many miles, but I simply don’t believe it. What are your thoughts? Any tips?

    • Thanks for picking up my book!

      Cool on your plan to start following the program. 🙂

      That much cardio can effect your ability to put on muscle. Check this out:


      I recommend you follow the 3-day split from TLS and see how you do. You already have a lot of training volume from the cardio so doing more than 3 days a week of lifting could lead to overtraining.

      What do you think?

      • Sulema Landa

        Thanks for sharing that article! I’d much rather focus on building muscle, so I’m going to play around with my running program and find a good balance.

  • MelissaB

    Hi, I’m a mom of two kids–a 3 year old and a baby who was born premature and who has a lot of doctor’s appointments and other things that take up a lot of time. I also work part time and my husband works very long hours. I mention this to say that going to the gym is not an option. I love your book, I agree with most of your theories on nutrition and training and I’m excited to get started. But I need to be able to do the program at home during the kids’ nap time. I have a barbell, dumbells in plenty of weight variations, and a flat weight bench that it doesn’t incline. I have to admit that I looked at Week 1 of the Year One Challenge for Women and I got discouraged right away. I can’t do any of the incline exercises, and I’m a little intimidated to do really heavy barbell exercises by myself at home (bench presses, squats, etc.) Any advice you can give me would be great.

    • I totally understand. We can figure it out.

      Do you have a stand of some kind to squat and bench and overhead press on?

  • MelissaB

    I have both your Thinner, Leaner, Stronger book and the Year One Challenge book. Thinner, Leaner, Stronger has so much information and I love that it’s backed up by research. But why isn’t there more on how to do the actual workouts themselves? For example, Bent-over Rear Delt Raise on Week 1 Day 3. Where is the description or example of what this is?! Do most people just google every exercise that they don’t know? I’m a little overwhelmed. I just spent my hour that I had set aside to work out just trying to figure out what each exercise actually IS.

    • Thanks Melissa!

      Ah yeah you want to download the free bonus report in the back of the book because it links to videos that show how to do everything. I wanted to do it that way instead of stuff the already large book with a ton of diagrams and such.

  • Robin

    Hi Michael,

    I am a 22 year old girl, student. I came across your book through watching one of your Youtube videos about metabolism. I have been having issues with my constant bloated stomach, where I am suspecting it is because my digestion and metabolism is not working properly. I am very keen to heal my gut, and I understand that it might take a while. I have also been diagnosed with hypothyroidism since 2013, and I have been having trouble with constipation and eczema for years. I want to find a way of solving my issues, and I was wondering if this is the right book for the problems I want to fix? Or where do I go from here if I want to fix things myself? I just downloaded the 5 first chapters which I will be reading over the holiday season. I would very much appreciate your feedback and/or any suggestions of what I should look into. At the moment I am just very frustrated with my stomach and finding the right balance through eating and exercising right to be able to heal my gut. My goal is basically what the title of your book says: getting thinner, leaner and stronger.

    • Robin

      I realise maybe I should give you a bit more information about my current physique, training and eating situations and habits. I have always had quite an athletic body type, due to my athletic teenage years. The past 3 years I’ve been doing yoga regularly, however not as much the last couple of months. I have been going to the gym every now and then, approximately once a week or fortnight. So I realise that my training habits definitely has to change. I have been really getting into cooking, and have been cooking everything from scratch which I find fun and also good for me. Definitely eating more fruits and veggies than ever before, and having more control on what I put into my body. However, I have a weakness when it comes to sweets and chocolate. I believe I eat too much of it, and it is definitely affecting my eating habits and my body. I feel like I shouldn’t have any excuses for my current habits, and therefore I find it a bit hard to know what exactly to fix my problems. Since it is not my first priority in life at the moment, I become depressed and stressed about my body situation…

    • Hey Robin,

      TLS wouldn’t address your specific problems, no, but it would teach you the fundamentals of proper dieting and training.

      This may help you with your bloating:


      And this may be relevant too:


      Hope this helps! Let me know!

  • Christina

    I’m a stay at home mom of 3 kids, 3 and under. I still breastfeed. Is this for me? If not, is there a modification I can do? I’m mostly talking about the diet plan here because as a breastfeeding mom, I know I need more calories, but of what and how much, I’ve never been sure. I often feel hungry. 🙁 I desperately want to find a better way to care for my body and get in shape (never been that way) and find more energy (can always use more).

    • Absolutely. Breastfeeding burns 500 to 700 calories per day but otherwise nothing needs to change. I’ve worked with quite a few women in your position. You can do great.

      • Christina

        Hi Mike, thanks for the reply! I’m impressed that you respond personally! Much appreciated.
        I found the free first 5 chapters of your book Thinner Leaner Stronger and got through it pretty quick. It was soo informative and I started getting excited! And then I found the link to the custom meal plans and was reading some of the samples, and well I feel pretty discouraged now. I was never really taught how to cook, and I have small children, like I said, so they obviously want nothing to do with veggies, and obviously I do want them to end up eating well… But, how did you find a plan for other moms? I mean I usually just need something that I can prepare quick for my impatient kids, and then I just end up eating what they are… I really don’t want to try anything unless I can get everything going, you know? Like you’ve said, if I exercise but I’m not eating right, then there probably won’t be any results or I’ll be just gaining in all the wrong places. It sort of seems like I need to get the diet going first before the discipline of exercising regularly. As is, I go to the gym about 3 times a week for an hr each, usually to do cardio, but I plan to implement what I’ve learned. What do you suggest? How do I start? It sort of seems a bit overwhelming, and I want it really badly, but I’m really scared my hopes will “fall flat.”

        • Welcome! Happy to do it. 🙂

          Glad you enjoyed the first 5 chapters!

          No worries on the custom meal plan. Everyone has different food preferences, time availability, schedules, etc. Each plan is made completely custom, and we’ll be able to make a meal plan that fits your lifestyle.

          You can also set up your own meal plan and include the foods you like. You just have to make sure it fits within your cals and macros. Check this out:


          Cool you plan on implement some weightlifting.

          Let’s start with getting a meal plan set up either on your own or by ordering a custom meal plan and then following a standard TLS split. The 3-day split is good. If you can do a 4-day split or 5-day split, that’s better.

          What do you think?

          • Christina

            Hi Mike, thanks again for getting back to me! So you suggest getting the custom meal plan in place first. I will get on organizing that! The only problem is that I’m not certain what body fat % I am. I’ve given birth 3x in the last just over 3 yrs, so I’m quite stretched out… I looked up a bunch of different online body fat calculators and got a range of results from 50% down to 28%. So I averaged to my guess of 40 based on the body composition photos. Is that a good guess? How would I know to reevaluate if it was very off and say I was eating too little/too much?

            Also, *whispers* I’m really new to all of this. What exactly is a split? Is that your recommended workout plan? What makes a workout a split?


          • My pleasure! Yeah, let’s get the meal plan set up.

            To help get an accurate number on your BF%, check this out:


            Haha no worries. The split is just how the muscle groups are split up in your weekly workouts. On a 3-day split, you’ll have more muscles each day to workout because you only have 3 days to fit them all. On a 5-day split you have only 1-2 muscles per workout. Hope that clears it up!

            Welcome! Talk soon. 🙂

          • Christina


            So, I’m planning to start figuring out my calories and what foods I like to eat. Is there a website with # of calories for common food items? Like fruit? And other things that don’t come in a box with serving suggestions/# of calories listed?

            About body fat percentage, it really doesn’t sound like it’s easy to figure out or that any method is really accurate… I may have skipped over it somehow but I did spend quite a bit of time reading all of your articles and even some external websites on measuring the percentage. So correct me if I’m wrong, but the best suggestion you had was comparison with the pictures? So based on the photos in your article, I think I’m in the 30-35% range… But I also somewhat felt like the woman in the 35-40% slot perhaps was at a lesser body fat % than the woman in 30-35%, no? Maybe I’m just confused about what belly buttons would look like at different %s… Any other info or tips?

            About exercises, I’m very interested in the compound exercises (did I say that right?). I found your article on the 5/3/1 program and I’m seriously gearing up. I’ve done a bunch of research into 1RM and I’ve so far I’m fairly confident in my understanding of how much I can lift already for squats and overhead press. However, I’m not sure if overhead press is the same as military. It is a machine I’m using, also. My plan was to be at the gym M/W/F & Sat, but would only have a spotter for Sat, when my hubby is off work. Do you know of a machine (name/body part) that would work the same muscles so that I could do some upper body training without a spotter? I’m also pretty strong already, so I’m planning to work in the “3 sets of 4-6 rep” range. However, I have had some low back problems in the past. I think it’s likely due to it not being strong. Does that mean upper body is out of the question even with a spotter? Hopefully this info is helpful and not excess.

            By the way, I’m super excited about what I can lift already! I never would have thought it was possible. Today after slow progression and proper rest between I worked my way up to squat 50lbs + bar weight for 6 reps. I hear the bar is a standard 45lbs, is that right?


          • Christina

            Oh! This may be more helpful! I just did a little research and found out that the machine I was using for squatting in the Smith Machine. I know you often say that free weights are best and I definitely can understand the added benefits, but since I won’t have a spotter is this the best machine for me? Can I do all 4 exercises of 5/3/1: squat, deadliest, bench press and military press, on that machine? I started using it after I asked about a squat machine by one of my gym’s employees and they told me about the safety feature.

          • Cool! You can calculate that here:


            Yep, I recommend Calorieking.com and Caloriecount.com.

            To accurately track your BF%, check this out:


            Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of using machines for the main compound lifts. Check this out:


            Regarding the lower back issues, I just don’t recommend any exercises that cause pain or discomfort.

            Awesome to hear on your strength! Yep, a standard bar is 45 pounds.

            Regarding the spotting issue, what you want to do is end your bench, squat, and military press sets (the only exercises where you need a spot) with one rep still in the tank–that is, end your sets when you struggle for a rep and aren’t sure you can get another. You shouldn’t need a spot for any other exercises.

            Or you can always ask for someone else in the gym to give you a spot. I do it all the time. The last resort is the Smith Machine. 🙂

  • Sasha

    I’m a 27 year old female, 126lb and approx 19% body fat. I’ve read your book and am looking to cut a little more fat. Having worked out my calories for cutting to be 1333 a day, I’m concerned this is too low as it is below my BMR. If this is not enough, how much would you recommend I increase my calories by to avoid under eating?
    Thanks in advance

    • Hey Sasha! Thanks for the info and thanks for reading my book and writing! I really appreciate it.

      Hmm. Yeah I don’t recommend eating below BMR. What % of a deficit did you use? Also, what’s your activity level like?

      My pleasure! LMK.

      • Sasha

        Thanks for replying!
        I use the gym 4-6hours a week, doing a mixture or resistance and HITT training. Planning in the new year on starting your 4day a week workout plan in Thinner Leaner Stronger.
        I calculated my macros using calculations you give for cutting in TLS. I then worked out the calories on the on the basis of 4cals per gram of protein and carbs, 9 for fat, and came up with that figure, So didn’t come up with a calorie deficit myself. What would you recommend my intake be?
        Thanks again!!

        • Okay cool. The book’s formula is going to be a little low for you because of your body composition (you’re much leaner and more muscular than the average woman).

          This will help you:



          • Sasha

            Thank you so much! Can’t wait to get started!
            Really enjoyed the book btw, found it very informative.

            Thank you again.

          • Welcome! I look forward to seeing your results.

            Glad you enjoyed the book. 🙂

            Happy to help!

          • Sasha

            That’s great!! Thank you!

          • My pleasure! 🙂

  • Iva

    Hey Mike! Happy New Year! I bough the book and have made my way through 3/4 of it. Great stuff. Am having trouble, however, getting started. Is there a place where I can go and get a walk through (step by step, really) the #1 day? For example, if I wake up at 5 am and plan on getting to the gym by 6:30 am, what should I eat? Then, what’s the first workout for someone who has never done free weights and barely any weights at all? Then, what should I eat after my work out? Sorry if I am asking for really bush league stuff but if I don’t, I am afraid, I’ll never get the guts to get started. Thanks!

    • Hey! Thanks. 🙂

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

      I don’t have anyone to recommend to walk you through it, but I’m happy to answer any questions you have!

      Regarding what to eat pre-workout and post-workout, check these out:


      For finding your starting weight, honestly it’s just trial and error for your first week or two. As a general rule, for every 5 lbs you add to a dumbbell exercise, you’ll lose 2 reps. The same for every 10 lbs added to a barbell exercise. So if you put 100 lbs on the squat bar and do 10 reps, you should be able to get about 6 reps with 140 lbs.

      Just work with light weights at first and learn the form, and then increase. You’ll get your numbers within a week or two. 🙂

      Hope this helps! My pleasure.

  • Sarah Berwick

    Hi. Just about to start TLS and feeling very excited. I have just completed Jamie Eason’s LiveFit trainer with nice results but now want AMAZING results!! Quick question- any thoughts about some 30sec HIIT during the rest periods ie:mountain climbers, high knees, star jumps etc….for accelerated fat burn and stamina?? Thanks in advance. Sarah

    • Cool you’re about to get rolling on the TLS program! I look forward to seeing your results!

      Awesome on the results you got on Eason’s program.

      Nah, I don’t recommend doing those types of things while resting. The whole point of the longer rest periods is so that you have the energy to go as heavy as you can for 9-12 sets. Doing HIIT during your rest will effect your strength.

      I am a fan of HIIT, but it should be done separately.

      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

  • Em

    Hi there, I am considering purchasing TLS. I have a ten week old baby (not breastfeeding) and gained a lot of weight during my pregnancy (about 27kgs). I have lost 17kg by eating clean (well actually I don’t think I’m eating enough each day) and I walk every night but have about 10 kg to go. I had a c-section and am wondering whether I will still be able to follow TLS? I feel totally back to normal and have had my 6 week check up with no problems. Also, we have a small gym set up at home, would I be able to use that? I’m not keen on going to a gym and need to work around the baby. Thanks in advance.

    • Good job on all the weight you’ve lost so far!

      I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to follow the TLS program, but I recommend checking with your doctor just to be safe.

      You would be able to follow the TLS routine at home with the proper home gym set up. Check this out:


      My pleasure. Talk soon.

  • Jen

    Mike, I just received TLS and so far so good but I’m getting wildly different numbers when calculating my daily calories for cutting. To start: I’m 32, 5’7, 117lb LBM, 184lbs total, with a bf % (at last check) of 36%. Using your calculators on Muscle For Life, I was getting a TDEE of around 2050 with 80% of that being 1650 cals. Well now I have your book and I read on p. 118 the example of a 180lb woman eating 1430 cals / day. There’s no way. So below that I used your formula for the 35%+ body fat example and that comes out to around 1800 (I used my bmr from your calculators). 1400 to 1800 is quite a range and I’m already having issues feeling wiped out in my workouts on even 1650 cals. I already have a history of metabolism issues and had to reverse diet last summer just to fix it. I’m very fearful of eating too little and causing that to happen again. Because I’m getting such wildly different answers from all of your methods I was wondering if you could please help me nail down my target cutting calories, and what multipliers to use for p/c/f. Thanks in advance!

    • Thank you!

      Sorry for the confusion! The formulas in the book err on the low end, but let’s start you at 1600 with 40% from protein, 40% carb, and 20% fat, and see how your body responds?

      Should be good to go. 🙂

      Let me know!


      • Jen

        Thanks Mike. I’ve been doing 1650 since Sunday with that same Macro split. Its an adjustment for sure and weaker lifts to be expected – I don’t know if I just need to get used to it or if I really am not eating enough. I weigh in on Friday though so I won’t know until then. Will keep posted. Thanks for the response.

        • Welcome!

          Yep, lifting in a deficit can be tough. Proper pre-workout nutrition and supps can help:


          LMK how the weigh-in goes. The goal is to lose 1-2 pounds a week. The first couple weeks can be more due to water and glycogen but after that it should level out.

          My pleasure!

          • Jen

            Hi Mike. Just checking in. Unfortunately I’m way past newbie gains as I’m nearly 11 months into it (but only 2 weeks officially on TLS). My progress isn’t as fast as I’d like but it’s about 1lb per week and measurements going down while keeping LBM exactly the same. Several personal bests lifted this week also. FYI I do take Phoenix. Tried Forge and I can’t handle fasted cardio. I also have whey and creatine daily post-workout. Gonna continue what I’m doing and see how it goes. Thanks for all your help.

          • I hear you Jen!

            I understand wanting it to go faster, but you’re right on track! Just keep doing what you’re doing. Awesome job on the PRs!

            Cool you’re taking Phoenix, creatine and whey protein. Understood on the fasted training. It isn’t for everybody.

            Sounds good! Definitely keep me posted on your progress and write anytime if you have any questions or run into any difficulties. I’m always happy to help.

            Welcome! Talk soon.

  • T.G.

    Hi- I recently started reading the Kindle version of your book and I find it very informative and helpful. However, I thought I had purchased the wrong book at first because of all the passages directed at males and passages that include male pronouns. Here are a few examples:
    “…the wink from the girl or the advertisement for the testosterone booster” (pg. 50), and “Write a letter to your future self about what you think he’ll be like, what your hopes are for him, and what you’re doing for him now that will pay off later” (pg. 59). I understand the point you’re trying to make, but the message does get lost when it’s not directed at your target audience. I picked up this book because it claimed to be written for the female body. I’m not sure if this is just a fluke on the Kindle version, but I would suggest hiring an editor to fix these passages. They were good for a laugh though 😉

    • Thank you!

      Whoa, that’s really weird. I wonder if something got messed up on Amazon’s end (did a file get swapped or something?). I’m going to get this fixed.

      • T.G.

        Thanks for your speedy reply! It definitely seems like it could have been a swapped file or something. It`s still a great resource even with these passages. I`m looking forward to the rest of it!

        • Welcome! LMK what you think of the book when you finish it. 🙂

    • Jen

      I noticed that also and I have the print version

  • Sharon P

    I’ve heard and read great things about your book but I have a congenital problem with my right shoulder which also affects my neck. Therefore I can’t do any upper body exercises without the pain flaring up. Even putting pressure through my shoulder or neck by doing the plank, sit ups etc causes pain. I tried using weights recently and even though I started with light weights I regretted it for days! Does this mean i wouldn’t get the benefits by following your book?

    I currently do 5 30 minute Hiit sessions a week on a treadmill without any problems as long as I keep my shoulder relaxed.

    Regards Sharon

    • Sorry to hear that Sharon. It won’t really be possible to follow the program from the book in your case.

      How about a bodyweight routine? Check it out:


      LMK what you think.

      Cool on the HIIT you’re doing!

      • Sharon p

        Thank you. I think I need to avoid upper body exercises. Would incorporating just a lower body exercise routine help me build muscle and loose fat? Maybe swapping one of my Hiit sessions a week for squats, leg press, leg extensions, etc. If so do you have a suitable routine?

        TIA, Sharon

        • YW.

          Yeah sure, we could work around the issues. For example, you could do 3 lower body workouts per week plus cardio?

  • Hi Mike! I’ve been plateaued in my weight loss for approximately one year (yes, A FRICKIN YEAR!). I eat very clean food, in my opinion (no sugar, no dairy, no wheat, no soy), and though I don’t count calories currently, I’m experienced enough with it to feel that I’m not eat too much. I’ve been working out consistently for the past 2 1/2 to 3 years, and after losing about 30 lbs, my body has failed to progress and lose the last 20 pounds since January 2015. I stumbled across your book, TLS, on Amazon, and I’m very interested to try your program!

    My concern is, I saw some reviews mention that a gym is pretty necessary, to be able to do the program as outlined in the book. I work out at home, and I’m very dedicated to keeping it that way (for several reasons that are too long to get into right now). I have dumbbells and kettlebells that range to fairly heavy weights (my heaviest set of dbs are 25#, then I have a lone 40# db, as well as 2 x 12kg bells, 2 x 16kg and a 20kg bell). I also have a barbell (not Olympic) with enough plates to get it to around 40 pounds (can’t quite recall; haven’t used it in a while), a doorway pull-up bar, TRX, step bench/high step, jump rope, and a few other bits and bobs that I’ve left out.

    With this kind of set-up, I was wondering if you feel that your book would be adaptable to a home exerciser? I just want to make sure it would even be possible to do the TLD program without a gym, because I’d really love to give it a shot to see if I can finally break this plateau. Thanks!

  • Megan Olvera

    Hi Mike! I’m on Week 2 of TLS, and my husband is working through BLS. Quick question for you: His regimen has him doing sets of 4-6 reps, while I’m doing sets of 8-10. The TLS book does make mention that eventually I’ll move to sets of 4-6 reps, but I wasn’t able to find any guidance on when it’s appropriate to make that adjustment for myself. Advice?


    • Hey Megan! Cool you’re rolling on TLS and that your husband is rolling on BLS.

      I recommend sticking to the 8-10 rep range for at least 6 months before moving on to the 4-6 rep range for the main compound lifts.


      My pleasure!

  • Sofia

    Hi Mike.. Am very thin and now that it’s getting too embarrassing when my friends makes fun of me.. I was fat before and then I lost some pounds and got back in a good shape but after some time I kept loosing and one of the factors include poor diet.. Now am 23 years old, 45 kg is my weight and am so much worried now.. Need help…

  • Eli

    Hello Mike, I just received this book today. Where can I download the bonus report from?
    Thank you

    • Eli

      I Got it!

  • Sue

    Mike, hello! I’ve tried ALL the programs out there and am so disappointed. There seems like I’ve done so much training volume that I end of overtraining and not eating enough. I just ordered your 3 books for women on Amazon (they will get to me on Wed) so I will start next week. Since I’m 43 and in the military, at 5’4″ weighing 165 I have access to gyms so no problem there. I have a few pressing questions that I am interested in YOUR opinions: 1) Don’t you need step-ups with dumbbells to really target your bottom half? 2) My form just suffers so much with the heavy barbell on all the exercises it seems. Can I use dumbbells until I get stronger? Or the shorter little barbell that doesn’t weigh as much (not sure what it’s called, it has a big dent in the middle but little plates can be added)? 3) Don’t you need to do exercises like leg abductor side lifts and lots of planks to help the core/lower body? 4) I’m always concerned my Deadlift form will cause injury…are there form pointers in the book? 5) What warm-up and cool-downs do I do? Sorry for all the questions. Something about your eating and workout plan just seems to fit with my needs and what has worked/not worked for me in the past. I tried the Strong Curves program and believe exercises for your backside are so important (really helped with my tight back/hips) but all the equipment (even on a military base, like the extension equipment, just wasn’t there!). I was all over the gym and with so many guys lifting so heavy at each rack (the gym is really packed every day) I wasn’t shy just felt like there were too many equipment changes to not be frustrated. Thank you in advance for your assistance and I can’t wait to start your program next week! It is just so devastating when all the programs I’ve tried just left me hungry (starved), getting bigger or seeing NO results, and do a number of my self-esteem. – Sue

    • I hear you Sue! Time to get results. 🙂

      Thanks for picking up my books.

      1. No, you don’t. Check this out:


      2. I recommend you stick to the heavy barbell exercises like squats, but go as light as you need to do the lift with proper form. Totally fine if you need to use the shorter/lighter barbell.

      3. Regarding the core, take a look at this:


      4. I understand your concern with the deadlift. Keep your form in, and it won’t be an issue. Check this out:


      5. For the warm-up, I just do lighter weight and higher reps of the exercise I’m about to do. Check this out:


      I don’t do any cool downs. If that’s something you want to do, go ahead.

      Let’s stick to the TLS routine for now and see how you do. Stick to the proper training and dieting and you will get results!

      My pleasure! Hope this helps. Talk soon!

      • Suzette

        Mike, It’s 1pm on Wed and my books just arrived from Amazon (TLS, Year Challenge, The Shredded Chef)! I have dedicated the next few days to dive into your books and create my workout and food plan for success.
        Thank you for your reply and encouragement! It means so much since I’ve tried so much in the past without sustained success :). Do your female clients get really hungry on your workout plan???
        And, One last question if you don’t mind (for now)…with your experience, what protein powder do your lactose intolerant and gluten intolerant female clients tolerate the most? By belly also does not like sugar alcohols.
        Hopeful to get started,

        • Sue


        • Nice! My pleasure. 🙂

          • Sue

            Great! TY! On week 2 and doing well figuring my new food and workout plan from your book.

          • Welcome! Nice!

            Definitely keep me posted on your progress and write anytime if you have any questions or run into any difficulties. I’m always happy to help.

  • Monera Al Mudhaf

    Hello Mike,

    i’ve read your book and i’m going to start the cutting phase, but i’d like to ask a question, my weight is 121lb/55kg, and my body fat is 33.3% it’s impossible i know, it’s because i’m a mom of 2. and i got pregnant between the two in a short period of time, and i didnt have the time to exercise, my 2nd baby is 6 months now and i’m happy i got rid of almost 70% of the extra weight, but i’m not happy with the amount of fat my body carries, do i do the exact calorie calculation you gave in within that phase? or shall i cut less?

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

      Cool you’re going to be cutting. Awesome on the weight you’ve lost since pregnancy. Let’s lose the rest of it. 🙂

      Not sure what cal calculation you’re talking about, but you can calculate your exact intake here:


      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

      • Monera Al Mudhaf

        Thanks for your instant response! i’m happy to hear that! my question was, on chapter 14: Cutting Phase: calculating your diet section: you mentioned: 1.2g of protein, 1g of carb, 0.2g of fat per pound of body weight. My weight is 121 lb so it will be a total of 1282 calories per day am i correct? My exact question is, because i have a high fat percentage (33.3%) does this daily calorie intake will make me loose weight because of my fat %? will i be cutting? shall i reduce my calorie intake or it’s fine?

  • Amanda Bhikhari

    Hi Mike, I purchased your book, and I am not sure if I should be cutting or bulking or maintaining. I am 36 years old, 25% body fat, 116 lbs. I would like to be lean and toned and strong, but not sure if cutting would make me look skinny, or if bulking will make me look fat. I appreciate your suggestion. Excited about this program.

  • Cindy Mareska Craddock

    Hi, I am a runner of about 25miles per week. I love running.how can I encore orate your program with my running? Thank you

  • Hey I just bought your book via the german amazon. How do I receive the bonus interviews and the report ? Thanks.

    • Thanks for picking it up! The bonus report link is in the back of the book.

      If you have trouble finding it for any reason, shoot me an email at [email protected] with a receipt or some other proof of purchase, and I’ll get it to you. 🙂

  • Nina

    Hi! I’m gonna order the both of the books (TLS and one Year challenge) but would I need a gym or can I do it home? 😁

  • Nina

    Hi! I been thinking about ordering your books(TLS and one year challenge) and the meal plan. But I was wondering if I would need a gym or if I train at home?:) all new to it

  • Janell

    I bought your book and have started following the diet and exercise plans. So far, it’s been great. My Legion Protien powder will come in the mail tomorrow so I’m sure that will help me meet my protein requirements. I just have one question. Your book says that it doesn’t matter when you eat, but I’ve always been told “6 meals a day, 3-4 hours apart.” Would it be bad for me to skip out on breakfast and start eating around noon? I find that as soon as I eat in the morning I get hungry again soon and it feels like I have to battle hunger all day long so I prefer to just start the battle later. Will that hurt my progress?

  • Neva W.

    Hey Mike,

    I borrowed your book from a friend recently and am a month into my training. (I am already getting compliments at the pool–I’m a lifeguard.) I read the comment below from Cindy Craddock about being a runner. I don’t run 25 mi/wk, but I average about 15. I’m lifting 5 days/wk and running 3 days/wk. I see you told her you would recommend lifting 3 day/wk, but honestly I enjoy it too much to take off two days of lifting from the week. On the flip side, I love running and swimming too. I always lift first and never run on leg day. I also swim about 45 min one day of the week. Is the running/swimming still going to negatively effect my results? I also checked out your Cardio and Muscle Growth article (great by the way), but I thought I’d clarify these things.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge with the world! People are living happier and healthier lives because of you.


    • Hey hey! Hope you enjoyed the book! Cool you’re rolling on the program.

      How many hours a week are you doing of cardio? The amount you’re may still negatively affect results.

      I completely understand not wanting to decrease to a 3-day split, and I’m glad you’re lifting first. Smart move.

      My pleasure! Happy to help. 🙂

  • Alex

    Hi mike,

    I was wondering if you ever did/ are doing or will do personalised diet plans? While your book give all the information I’m really no good at putting a diet together.

    Thank you for all your amazing knowledge!


  • Stacey S

    Hello, I just got the book in the mail and I was wondering why there are similar exercises for the same day. On chest and calves we are doing incline barbell bench press and incline dumbbell bench press? There are two inclines for chest?

    • Hey Stacey! Yep, most people have underdeveloped upper chest. That’s why I put more volume on the incline training.

  • JJ


    I have your book, haven’t started it yet due to some health issues I’ve had to get over, which I would like to ask you about in a more private section. if that’s possible. I’m a competent weight lifter and have been in the gym anywhere between 6 days to 3, have competed regularly as a bodybuilder for 4 years (no drugs) but haven’t been able to see or maintain the lean healthy look, instead (despite different coaches) I’ve ended up severely over trained. Would you recommend starting from a beginner level w/ your book?

    • Hey JJ! Thanks for picking up my book!

      I hear you. Feel free to email me at [email protected].

      Yep, I recommend you read the book and start following the routine and set up a proper meal plan just as it’s laid out in the book.


  • Jennifer Barba

    Hi mike i am 163 cm and 49 kg with 18% body fat but my tummy is spongy from the babies, i do some intense yoga and cardio, but that is about it, I dont have a lot of time with two small kids, can your program help me all of the befores dont seem to have my tummy problem thanks!

    • Thanks for the info! Yep, the program can definitely help. It’ll lay out everything you need to know about training and dieting to build muscle and lose fat effectively.

      To help specifically with the belly, check this out:


      Hope this helps! LMK what you think.

      My pleasure. 🙂

  • Karen Henderson Jones

    I downloaded the TLS audiobook from ITunes but did not receive the accompanying reference guide or or the Year One Challenge. How do I get those docs?

  • Monika

    Hi Mike,

    My fiance and I both got the TLS/BLS books and really liked reading through the material. We’re excited to start working out – even went ahead and bought ourselves barbells, weighted plates, squat rack etc. Just 2 questions for you:

    1) We live in the country so we’re limited to the equipment in our new home gym. In the laid out routines, we saw face pulls and leg presses. What can we do in place of these since they need cables/machines which we don’t have? Skip it? Do a squat variation? Bands?
    2) I have a pre-existing membership at a yoga studio that I’d like to continue. My goal is to cut (F, 5’7″, 170lbs, ~26% BF). My plan was to start the 3 day lifting routine and add 3-4 days of HIIT training. Could a hot vinyasa class count as a HIIT session? Or should I still do 3-4 days HIIT and any yoga is “bonus.” I don’t want to overtrain (and a hot yoga/vinyasa class can be pretty intense at times).

    Thanks in advance! 🙂

    • Hey hey! Glad you both picked up the books and enjoyed the reading. Great to hear you’re both excited to get started and picked up all the equipment. 🙂

      1. No worries! Instead of leg press, you can do front squats. Instead of the face pulls, you can do these rotator cuff exercises:


      2. Totally fine to continue with the yoga. Replacing 1 HIIT session for yoga works.

      My pleasure! Hope this helps. Talk soon!

  • Fi

    Hey Mike,

    I’ve just discovered MFL, been reading around the site loads, it’s ace. I’ve recently joined a bootcamp training program, where I’m training 3 times a week for an hour, doing HIIT/tabata training (lots of bodyweight exercises combined with sprints and jogs, very short rest periods).

    I’m struggling with the upper-body exercises at the moment because my arms and core are weak, but I know this will improve over time and with willpower! I don’t seem to struggle too much with squats/squat jumps etc., which I put down to the fact that I’ve been cycling regularly for several years now.

    At 31 years old, my goal is standard – to lose weight (aka fat) and tone up – and I’ve calculated my calorie intake for my weight (166 lbs)/ height (5’6.5″) / BF% (37.30%) at 1117kcal/day.

    I’d really like to follow the advice in your book in order to maximise the results, and plan on supplementing with whey protein in the mornings and pre- or post- workout (either/or, right? not both pre AND post?)…

    I notice there’s a lot of talk about weightlifting… Sooo, my question is… Do you think I’d be OK to continue with the bootcamp training while following the advice in your book, or would you recommend that I move my training program to a gym, for maximum results?

    Cheers, brilliant site.


    • Hey hey! Glad you’re enjoying it. 🙂

      Cool on the boot camp you’re doing.

      Yep, I’m sure the cycling helped with your lower body strength.

      I like your goal. Let’s make it happen.

      Whey protein pre-workout and post-workout is great. It isn’t required, but it’s a good choice to have specifically before and after training.

      You’re fine to continue with the boot camp, but you will get better results hitting the heavy, compound lifts.

      Talk soon!

      • Fi

        Cheers Mike, you said what I thought you were probably going to say! Would love to start weightlifting while continuing the bootcamp HIIT so need to work out what’s possible or what needs to give. Thanks a lot, speak soon. Fi

  • Jennifer Murphy

    How would you incorporate yoga into the TLS program? Thanks!

  • Aileen

    I just started your 5 day training plan on your website. I also started counting my macronutrient intake. I just ordered your Thinner Leaner Stronger book and should get in a couple of days. You say I can cheat but just looking at my macronutrients for the past couple of days I just don’t see where there is room to cheat.
    Also, I love to do yoga. Is doing too much yoga bad and would you classify yoga as strength training?

    • Cool you’re rolling on the program and tracking your intake! Thanks for picking up my book too. 🙂

      Every week or two you can eat over your intake. Check this out:


      Totally fine to do some yoga. How much are you doing weekly?

      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

  • Steph

    Hi, where in Canada can I buy the newest issue of this book in physical paperback, not n E version?

  • Tierra

    I’m a female and looking to gain some healthy weight while keeping my body fat at a minimum. Is this book right for me? I do not want to be “thin.” I want my legs to be bigger, my butt, my calves etc. Is this book right for me? I feel like I need to read the men version lol thanks

    • Absolutely. It’ll lay out everything you need to know about training and dieting to effectively bulk and cut to get to the size you want.

      No need to pick up the book for men. TLS has everything you need. 🙂

      Welcome! Talk soon.

  • Elly

    Hey Mike. I am 16 and my the last time I checked my body fat% was at 35%. It’s probably more now. I have a skinny figure but my belly is baggy and big. Will this program work for me?

  • Diedra-Anne B

    I recently got rid of 65 lbs, I know how to eat to melt fat but im stuck at 22-25% body fat. I have a stubborn areas of my lower tummy id like to flatten out and to grow my butt since thats the new thing these days, =P , I lack in knowledge of how to properly eat to gain muscle and not to just lose weight or lower the number on the scale, and how much time to focus on those too areas im most self-cautious about. Will this book teach me what i am missing? Ive struggled with being picked on on my life, and i never believed I could be where i stand today. 65 lbs lighter and writing you for guidance. Heeeelp me!!! hahah
    thank you for your time!
    Diedra-Anne B.

  • josephine

    Hi I would like to know if I need to join gym? Or is it sufficient to do exercises with adjustable dumbbells which I have at home or do bodyweight exercises? I am deciding whether to buy a book.

  • Cate Lloyd-Tam

    Hi Michael, I love the articles I’ve read of yours recently and previewed your book. I definitely want to buy it, but how do I buy a PDF version that I can download to my computer? I don’t have a kindle and would prefer to have PDF format so I can print and make notes on some sections. Thanks, Cate.

    • Hey Cate! Happy to hear it. 🙂

      I recommend just picking up whatever form of the book works best for you and shooting me an email with the proof of purchase, and I’ll send you the PDF free of charge.

      Does that work? LMK.


      • Cate Lloyd-Tam

        That sounds brilliant Michael! I have 2 proof of purchase items now – one from iTunes and one because I’ve actually purchased the hard copy book and am expecting delivery today – yeaaa!!! I’d still love PDF version too coz then I can print certain bits and make notes rather than photocopying pages out of the book (like the old days)!! Is there an email address I can forward the proof of purchase emails? I can’t see how to attach them to this forum. Thanks again MM – I’ve never been so convinced that I’ve finally found the sensible, “Magic bullet” that I’ve been looking for, for years!! 🙂

        • Awesome! Thanks for picking up my book. 🙂

          Yep, you can email me at [email protected].

          YW! Happy to help, and I look forward to seeing your results!

          Talk soon.

  • Nicole

    HI! I’ve read your book and have your one year challenge: Thinner, Leaner, Stronger in one year. My question: I’m 5′ 3″, 126 pounds with about 29% body fat (according to fitbit scale). Mom of 2 under two. What should my macros look like? Am I bulking, am I cutting?? It’s so confusing to me. Technically my body weight is ok, but my body fat is way too high. I want to be lean and strong, not skinny fat! Appreciate your feedbak.

  • Shylah Haldeman

    Hello, I just finished your book and I am starting the plan today. I am an old hat at counting macros so I am not worried about that part. I come from a history of extreme calorie/carb restriction and currently eat about 1500-1600 calories(better than 700-1000) a day without seeing weight loss or gain. I am a 36 year old mother of two coming in at 5’8″ and 155lbs with a 22% BF(fit bit scale). With extreme dieting in the past I was able to be 140# and I hope to get back to that. But as you can guess and know I started gaining weight with out changing anything and I was unable to (no matter how little I ate) loss it again (crazy huh). My question is with my goal of getting back to 140# I am going with the cutting version (1650 cal/ 186gms protein, 150 carbs and 31 grams of fat), I do crossfit with weight training about 4 days a week(30-45mins), yoga twice a week(1 hour heated sessions) and run about 3 miles a week ( I plan to add more running because we just moved to CA and now I can!!) I also plan to incorporate some of your training but I love crossfit and can’t give it up!!! Does this sound like the right plan for me? Thank you for the book and the advice.



  • Rachel G

    Hi, I’ve been “following” your workout for awhile now but have only recently been actually working the meal planning into it. Since I have started following your cutting meal plan I have lost around 6.5 lbs in the last 4-6 weeks as well as consistently going up on lifting weights! I’m currently deadlifting 140lbs not including bar(woman’s Olympic bar) and squatting 110 not including bar, 4-6 rep range. My question is how long do you recommend following the cutting diet for? I’m 29, 5ft 6in and 137lbs, I’ve been caculating around 1300-1400 calories, 146grams of protein and 130 grams of carbs a day. I’d say my body fat percentage is roughly 20-24. The calipers are tricky for me to figure out and get consistent readings off of them. I still know I have more fat to loose especially around my butt, just unsure of the best method for getting it off while maintaining muscle. Oh and absolutely LOVE the cookies n cream whey powder you recently came out with! Thanks!!

    • Hey Rachel! Glad you started actually following the meal plan and awesome job on the weight you’ve lost so far and the strength you’ve gained! That’s great. You’re strong.

      I recommend you continue cutting until you reach your goal BF% or until you reach BMR and aren’t getting results.

      To help make sure you’re using the caliper correctly, check this out:


      To help ensure fat loss and not muscle loss, take a look at this:


      Glad you’re enjoying the cookies n cream Whey+. 🙂 It’s my current favorite.

      Welcome. Hope this helps! Talk soon.

  • Mairead Fahy

    HI Mike,
    I have read your book and will be starting week five of the one year challah get tomorrow. I feel stronger but i find that I am eating a lot on the diet (I’m on 1460cals. 5.3″ and 138 pounds) my weight has not yet changed which Im not worried about. I am just wondering if I should be sweating a lot when I am lifting as of right now I am only sweating on leg day. Just looking for some reassurance that I’m doing everything needed

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

      Glad you’re about to be rolling on the program.

      Hmm. You should be losing 1-2 lbs a week when cutting. So, if that’s not happening. Something needs to change. Check this out:


      Don’t worry about how much your sweating. That’s not an indicator of progress.

      Check out that article and LMK what you think!

  • Nimrah

    Hi Mike! Just got your book. Silly question-I have had 3 kids and am 32-I don’t want to be muscular like the “after” pics, but more toned and thick fit (like Kim K). I have the junk in the trunk and want to shape it-not be too cut. Will following the workout and meal plan in your book help with that? Thanks!

    • Thanks for picking it up! Don’t worry. Not silly!

      Yep, it will! It’ll lay out everything you need to know about training and dieting to get the body you want. 🙂

      Welcome! If you have any questions after reading the book, feel free to ask! I’m happy to help.

  • Maria

    Hi Mike, I just got your book and it is fantastic! I worked out for 2 years straight with great results until I got a stroke last year following an accident, which knocked me out for 11 months. I am now cleared to go back to the gym, but my doctor instructed me not to do barbell squats –my fav, so I am devastated. I can’t put weights on my shoulders and I cannot lift weights above my head 🙁 I looked at the training schedule, which looks pretty awesome, but how am I supposed to get great results if I can’t do heavy squats? I squatted 135 lbs before my accident and I love working out with heavy weights. I’ve tried to do front squats and goblet squats, but I can’t go super heavy on those, so I will reach my max soon. Right now I cannot do more than 65 lbs for front squat. So, my question is, what is the best squat variation I could get the best result with doing your workout plan that doesn’t involve putting weights on my shoulders? Thanks a bunch!!

    • Hey Maria! Thanks for picking up my book, and I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      Damn. Sorry to hear about the accident and stroke. 🙁

      Glad you’re cleared to get back to the gym! Understood on your limitations. Front squats are the best alternative. Leg press and hack squat are good too.

      YW! Hope this helps! LMK how it goes.

  • Patricia Terrell

    Mike I love your book. I was a former bodybuilder and have not worked out steadily for the last four years due to lack of desire, which I will blame on menopause (gotta put the blame somewhere :-). Although I have not gained too much weight, I have lost a significant amount of muscle mass. I’ve decided to follow your cutting plan and my primary question is three-fold and relates to me (a post-menopausal woman.) (1) Since I used to compete, will muscle memory still kick in even though I am post-menopausal? (2) What special tweaks in my diet and exercise program will help? (3) If I do not supplement with hormone-replacement (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone), will I still be able to cut the body fat and build lean mass? In a nutshell, I want to know about the special challenges post-menopausal women face and how we can overcome them. Thanks Mike!

  • Patricia Terrell

    Hey Mike, sorry for the huge picture. I thought I was adding an avatar pic.

  • Katie Redington

    I had this program recommended to me by someone I know. Would this program work for someone who is obese? I am currently 248 lbs. and 47% body fat. Obviously, I know it will take a long time to get down to 20-25% body fat, but I was wondering if there is anything in the book that I would need to adapt for my situation. I just started reading the free sample, but I was curious before I buy the book. Thank you!

  • Sherry owen

    Mike I am a 61 year old women and I was always athletic in school and after marriage and 2 children and when I began going through the change I began working out with a
    Train and loved it I didn’t gain the weight most women do . I weighed 130 ate 120 gr protein 100 gr carbs
    Less than 30 gr fat … I weighed and measured everything I put into my mouth …being in the gym was additive because I loved it but in 2009 I was diagnosed with lung cancer and had to take an eight week break but returned to the gym
    At a skinny stage but thanks to muscle memory I gained some back but not like I would like to be . When I started getting your emails it really fired me up because as I call it I am still a skinny fat !!! I can’t wait to get your book in hopes that all the things I have read and been told that when you reach my age it
    Impossible to gain muscle that you’ve lost . I was at one point 113
    Pounds but have gained 10 pounds luckily and in the gym 3 days a week ….will your book put me in the right
    Direction after all I have read it gives me hope …
    My fiancé says I’m a 61 year old women in a 18 year old body but he is you might say very partial !!!!😊
    Thanks for taking the time to read this extended question ( but I’ve been granted a second chance in life and I want to make the very most of it by being the best I can
    be!!!! Loving life,

    • Hey Sherry! Thanks for all the info!

      Sorry to hear about the diagnosis. 🙁

      Glad you made it back to the gym and have been able to put on some muscle, and I’m happy to hear the emails have helped get you fired up. 🙂

      Definitely LMK how you like the books once you read them.

      Nope, you can definitely put on muscle at your age. Take a look at this:


      And yes, the book will lay out everything you need to know to build muscle effectively.

      I’m sure he’s being honest. 🙂

      My pleasure! Happy to help! Talk soon.

  • Sarah Frost

    Mike, I’m a 51 year old woman, currently on the third cycle of the Body Coach Plan by Joe Wicks but am planning on following your plans when I graduate, as lots of people in the FB group I’m in have been talking about TLS and YOU!

    I bought your books ‘Thinner Leaner Stronger for women’ ‘The one year challenge workbook’ and ‘The Shredded Chef’ recently from Amazon. I am halfway through reading TLS and really enjoying it, however the cover of the book has an issue, I don’t know whether this is common to all the TLS books but the cover has curled both front and back, and this happened within days of me receiving it. I have tried weighting it down to get it to lie flat, but no luck. Have you heard of this happening before? Am pretty upset as its the kind of book I want to keep and refer back to often but it’s literally like it hasn’t got a cover at all in it’s current state, and the book is only a few weeks old. Any thoughts? Really keen to get started on your plan. Thanks for reading.
    Sarah UK

    • Great Sarah! Thank you!

      That’s no good. If you contact Amazon they’ll actually send you another one. I used Amazon’s print-on-demand service, CreateSpace, and sometimes the printing goes wonky.

      That said I AM working on switching over to proper print runs for the UK, which will produce higher quality books. I should have it up later this year…

      • Sarah Frost

        Mike, this is great news, thank you. There is a lot of positive chatter about you on the Body Coach (unofficial) facebook support group which has over 24,000 members so am sure there will be lots more people buying the books. I look forward to following your year one challenge in the future. Sarah

        • YW! Happy to hear that! 🙂

          I look forward to seeing your results on my program!

          Definitely keep me posted on your progress and write anytime if you have any questions or run into any difficulties. I’m always happy to help.

  • Jennifer Wheatley Passaro

    Hi Mike! I’m following the ladies’ program and my husband is following the mens’ program. If I’m reading the ladies’ book right, I should be doing the big exercises with warmup sets in the 4-6 rep range for my working sets, but all the subsequent exercises in a day in the 8-10 rep range. Is that correct? The mens’ book says to do all exercises in the 4-6 rep range, and I wanted to make sure I haven’t misunderstood. Thanks! Jennifer

    • Great! Glad to have you two. 🙂

      Yeah I recommend that women start in the 8 to 10 rep range and, after several months, add in some heavier work if they’re comfortable with it.

  • Bart Ellebaut

    Hi Mike, just read through maximal muscles. But you explain how to calculate to loose weight with nitrition, but your trainingsplan is to build muscle. Experience taught me that those 2 don’t really go well together. Can you explain?

    • Sorry but I don’t quite understand your question. Can you elaborate?

      • Bart Ellebaut

        I just noticed i am under the wrong book. Sorry for that.
        I read maximum muscles, bigger leaner stronger. And the workout program is all for building muscle mass, yet the explnation of nutrition is how to calculate the correct macros for losing weight. Building mass and loosing weight at the same time is almost impossible. You can’t build muscle in a calorie deficit. Or am I wrong?

  • Claire Haughian

    Hi Mike. Bit confused…I’m working out my macros for cutting and used your 140 pound woman as an example to check I was doing my calculations right…when I multiplied 140 pounds by 1.2 for protein I get 168g not 170g…can you help? Am I doing something wrong? Thanks, Claire

    • Hey Claire! That’s fine. 2g is close enough and won’t make difference.


  • Andi

    I just sent a scathing comment wondering why the workout was not in your book. After looking closely, I realized my Kindle had not downloaded the entire book. Contacted customer service and they are working on it. I am sorry. In the meantime, I do have a question. I am a beginner and will have to start with the lowest weight possible. Should I tailor my diet accordingly? Do I still need the same amount of proteins and based on my weight when I obviously won’t be burning nearly as many calories as those who are starting from a much more advanced place than I am?

    • Haha, thanks for the heads-up. 🙂 Glad you were able to get it figured out.

      Nah, don’t worry about that. You’re over-thinking it. Keep the calories and macros the same and adjust them based off results.

  • Eric

    Mike, I downloaded the audio book (from Audible) Thinner Leaner Stronger for my wife. She’s been listening although not 100% complete yet. How do I get the workout for her?

    • Hey Eric! The workouts are all laid out in the bonus report. The link to download the report is at the end of the audiobook. If you have trouble for any reason, shoot me an email at [email protected], and I’ll send you the report. 🙂

  • Janey smith

    Hi Mike, I’m on week 4, phase 1, im 140lbs and used the macros example from your book, so far I have gained 3 inches, including an inch on my waist, I know this is supposed to be reducing. I’m sticking to 1510 cals. My body fat is approx 30. My weight has stayed the same.
    I’m doing 4 day split and 2/3 HIIT weekly.
    Where am I going wrong?

  • Erin

    Hi Mike,
    I am a Les Mills Bodypump instuctor. I just finished your book and I loved it and am anxious to dive in. However, I’m having a hard time figuring out how I will squeeze in the workouts in addition to my weekly regimen. I teach Bodypump Mondays and Fridays, and HIIT Bootcamp on Wed and Sat. If you are unfamiliar with Bodypump, it’s just about everything you say not to do in your workouts. It certainly has worked me for but I’m ready to take my training a step further. We work every muscle group, 10 different tracks, all choreographed to music. While teaching, I’m all about pushing myself and my class but it’s pertinent that I maintain perfect form without rest the entire time so I can’t go nearly as heavy as I could with a few reps. Each muscle group is worked for about 5 minutes.
    I guess I’m wondering how your program could work for me with the workouts. Should I do the 4 days a week and train on the days I’m NOT teaching bodypump? I don’t want to risk injury so juts trying to figure out how to make this all work.
    I loved your book and have recommended it to a few friends at the gym!!

    • Hey Erin,
      I’d suggest starting with the 3-day TLS split and seeing how that goes before giving the 4-day split a shot.

      That’s so great you enjoyed Mike’s book and are sharing the knowledge! That’s what we’re all about. Kudos. Keep up the great work.

  • BrittneyandKyle McKnight

    Hi Mike
    Just bought TLS and was wondering how to substitute the workouts with an adjustable dumbbell and adjustable kettlebell? I read that this was possible but just wanted to double check.

    • Hey Guys!

      Working out with only dumbbells is a bit tough because you can’t squat, deadlift, bench press, or military press (and these are the most important exercises in any program, really).

      My first standard recommendation is to get a proper home setup (a power cage or multi-press rack with an Olympic bar and plates), or work out in a gym instead. Here are the products I like:


      That said, if neither are possible, you can focus on the dumbbell exercises given in the “approved exercises” section of the book. For instance, a chest day would look like this:

      Incline dumbbell press: warm up and 6 sets 4-6 reps

      Flat dumbbell press: 3-6 sets of 4-6 reps

      While that might seem redundant and inefficient, it’s actually a great chest workout. I did that for nearly 6 months a couple years ago and was amazed by the gains I was able to make.

      You can also add a couple exercises to make your legs day more challenging:

      Goblet squats are decent, albeit limited.
      One-legged squats are challenging even without weight.
      For your back, I recommend doing a lot of dumbbell rows and weighted wide-grip pull-ups.

      You also have the option of working in some modified body weight exercises, as discussed here:


      I hope this helps!

  • Andi

    ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ HELP! I’m on day five and I LOVE it because I hate cardio. I so much more enjoy your program then 60 excruciatingly boring minutes on the treadmill because of the mantra without 5 days of excessive cardio you will never lose weight.
    1.I CANNOT do a full squat correctly due to ankle surgery leaving me with very limited mobility. What exercises can I do in place of this❓❓❓
    It is very unlikely that I will ever have the mobility to do that particular exercise correctly‼️
    Of course, now I’m feeling is failure because I can’t do one of the exercises- A BIG ONE‼️‼️‼️
    2. I LOVED 20 years ago, pre- children when I worked out regularly and was in the best shape of my life. a cut line on arm between shoulder and bicep. Do you have any videos or information on what exactly to do to be cut there?
    3. My appetite is very low. Last evening I tried to leave a bonus skinless chicken breast which was fairly large size and about six pieces of asparagus and I was so full I felt like I needed to vomit. I cannot FATHOM eating that much protein every day. The way I did it before was through drinks or protein bar… I’m concerned about my ability to working my way up to eating that much and then also what is it going what’s going to happen if I don’t?
    Oh, Bought the 100 Day Challenge today but as well! I am seriously committed to this but image stream Lee concerned about the food side of it and my inability to do a squat.

  • Claire Haughian

    Help please. Do I eat differently (less / more) on a rest day? Thanks 🙂

    • Hey Claire! To keep things simple and straightforward with fastest results, keep calorie intake the same through your week regardless of rest or workout days.

  • BrittneyandKyle McKnight

    What about the kettlebell also?

  • Marcia

    I’m very interested in trying your program. I’m a long distance runner currently training for the Chicago Marathon in October. Can I work my marathon training into the program? I want to lose weight and get leaner, but running is my favorite thing to do (not just for exercise or weight loss).

  • Francesca Roll

    Hi, I bought the book on Audible. Is there anywhere online I can get the workouts?

  • Tracey Hansen

    ive purchased a few books and a plan yesterday [just waiting on delivery] but need to start training at home , where can i find the workouts online and what equiment should i invest in

  • Amy Robertson

    I have taken a DNA test that shows I have the FTO gene marker and MC4R gene marker for obesity. Another gene marker is the INSIG2 that shows to cause a higher fat volume with strength training. I know someone your system has done wonders for, but I am hesitant to strength train with these test results and the fact that I did it for a year without any significant fat loss. I currently am fasting 16-18 hours a day. I am also following a low-card diet per my DNA test result recommendations. What do you know about these gene markers and will your system overcome them?

    • The long story short is some people are going to lose fat faster and stay leaner easier than others, but the fundamentals are the same with everyone.

      A caloric deficit = fat loss, and you get there through caloric restriction and exercise, and you preserve muscle primarily through resistance training.

      So yes the book can benefit you but just realize your results may be slower than your friend’s (and may not, really).

  • Danielle

    I have the TLS book and both cookbooks and 1 year plan, I have just worked out my cals/macros (1590/150C/180P/30F) but I am struggling to hit the Fat and Protein macros due to being a Vegetarian (most veggie alternatives are much higher in fat/carbs than the meat option and the veggie options in the cookbook seem to have different macros when I use similar ingredients (UK)). Also I do crossfit 3-5 times a week and I am not sure how to work the 1 year plan into my current plan? Do I need to do 5 days a week weights when I am already doing a lot of weights in my CF programme? 3 days cardio….?


  • Amanda

    Hi, I just finished reading your book and will be starting your approach to dieting! I’m not overweight at 5’3.5″. I’m 128lbs but store way too much fat to my liking! I competed in the npc bikini division for 3 years and was used to high reps, low carbs and low calories diets coupled with 2 times a day cardio and long workouts. In the end, every off season seemed to be awful with fat storage!! And It seemed to get harder everytime I started a new diet to get the fat off. I enjoying weighing around 115lb even though I would compete at 108lbs. Im just curious, since I’m not a newby at training and dieting, will my body be resilant at first to this big change? Just wondering what I should expect with your method?

    Thank you!

    • Welcome Amanda! Glad to have you on board. Because you’re new to this style of training, you will see and experience good changes even though you’re a seasoned athlete. LMK how it goes!

  • Denise

    I have just purchased the book a week ago & have not lifted weight in years, but having always exercised w/ some sort of cardio 2-3 times a week. Not sure where to start as a 50+ women. Do you have any examples for my age as to where to start and what results I can expect. Nervous & excited.

    • Welcome, Denise!

      To start, I would be conservative with the weights and make sure that your form is correct on each exercise. You’ll want to use lighter weights at first to learn (or re-learn) the movements.

      Also, take a look at this article:

      I’m excited for you too!

  • Laura

    Hey Mike! I am thinking about getting TLS and TLS than ever in 12 months, and I was wondering if I can do the programs properly at my home gym and get the same results as If I went to the gym. Or do I need the isolation machines at the gym??

    This is what I have:

    -power rack, olympic bar
    -a lot of dumbbells
    -resistance bands
    -pull up bar
    -adjustable bench
    -high and low pulley
    -fit ball

    Thank you 🙂

    • Hey Laura! That’s great. Yup, you can do the TLS workouts with what you have. Nice setup! No need for isolation machines.

  • Zoe

    Hi, Mike! I bought your book! Love it! Still reading it! I’ll let you know if i stop loving it at any point, LOL! Quick question: I am a well-educated healthy vegan (no sugar, no junk food, no packaged food–I cook or eat raw), and getting plenty of protein for bulking, but my carbs are around 90 g per day. Could you please explain why I really should increase my carbs? (I’m sure there’s a deep explanation in the book somewhere. Feel free to refer me to the page #.) My energy level is not low, btw. I’m 124 lbs, 5’7″, and taking in about 1700 calories/day. I lift 4-5 times per week, and hate cardio, but try to do 30 min 3-4 times a week. (BORING!) I’m 54, (female) and have been lifting on and off for…oh, 25 years or so. Cheers! Great research, you really did your homework! PS, i was trained “old school” by two Mr. Universes, back in the lat 80’s…so, i never lifted “Barbie dumbbells”. To Barbies, i say, “get out of my way and go pose at the juice bar!”

    • That’s great, Zoe! Glad to hear you’re loving it so much 🙂

      Starting on page 92, I discuss why carbs are great for cutting and bulking.

      That’s quite a training history!

  • Viv Westbrook

    Hi Mike
    I joined a gym 2 months ago and have started tracking calories and macros and, so far, have lost 11lbs. However, I’m 54 and still have 80lbs to lose. The women in the photos above are young and already slim. Is your method for people who don’t have much weight/fat to lose?

    Have to say that your book talks a lot of sense and removes a lot of the confusion.
    Many thanks, Viv

    • Hey Viv,

      The book is for everyone! Good work dropping 11lbs. Keep up the good work. It’ll be a matter of time and consistency to reach your goal. You got this.

      Good. Glad you got a lot out of it. 🙂

  • Kathy Calhoun

    I don’t have a gym membership. Is this something I can do at home?

  • Kameron

    Can you please post
    the link to the e version? thanks

  • Pam Moody

    Hi Mike,
    My boyfriend had gastric bypass surgery in November of 2014. When his surgeon told him (in January 2016) that it was time to start lifting weights he found you and his body has totally transformed! Seeing his amazing progress I purchased Thinner Leaner Stronger for myself. I am 57 year old female who has never lifted weights and I am a truck driver so I have a very sedentary job. I am very excited to get started on your program. I ordered the book in paperback and for my Kindle because I was so excited I didn’t want to wait for my book to arrive.
    My question is about figuring my BMR in the example on page 77 I’m not sure what calculation the * symbol is and how you arrived at 2100 calories. Could you please clarify this for me. Thanks!

    • Welcome, Pam! That’s so great your boyfriend transformed his body and you too are on the way.

      The ” * ” means multiply. In the example, 167lbs is converted to kilograms first. Plug it into the equation and you get 2000kcals/day.

  • Letisia

    I’m already thin. Sadly though I’m fat thin. : ( I want to get rid of the cellulite I have on the back of my legs without losing weight. I’m already thin and don’t want to look sickly thin. My goal is to actually get thicker muscular legs and of coarse tone up everything else along the way. Especially my love handles. I was woundering if the Thinner Leaner book is right for me because I don’t want to appear any thinner then I already am. But I do need to lose fat.

    • Welcome, Letisia! Thinner Leaner Stronger will show you how to lose fat and build muscle (tone up).

  • Letisia

    Oh. And to add to my previous comment.I also want to get a bigger firmer caboose (butt). 😃.

    • Can definitely help with that too! 😉

      • Letisia

        Hello again Mike! So I bought your book the Thinner Leaner Stronger. I’ve been reading it since yesturday. I’m on chapter 15. I’m 28 years old, 22.7% body fat and weigh 151.3. I’m looking to start the cutting so I can lose some fat but then after that bulk up. I like to look meaty and muscular in the legs and butt area. Plus I definitly don’t want to appear any skinnier then I already look just more fit. 😃I’m writing because I wanted you to double check my numbers to make sure there correct and I’m rounding right. Also to clarify some things for me.
        Here’s my numbers.
        My LBM in 117 in lbs and 53 in kg.
        My BMR is 1515 calories
        My TDEE is 2045 calories ( using the 4-6hr per week)
        My protein is 182grams
        My carbs is 151grams
        My fat is 30 grams.
        Here’s my questions
        Do I use my BMR as the daily calories I should be consuming per day? Or is it the TDEE calories my daily target goal? And when I add up all my macronutrients I get 1572 in calories.
        Total being the 1572, which is higher then my BMR. So if I do go my BMR is the fact that my macronutrients are over by 57 calories going to affect me? Because u said in the book that with cutting its good to try to be within 50 calories of my daily target. Which means I’ll have no wiggle room if I use the 1572 because my BMR is 1515. On the other hand if I do use the TDEE then were does the 470 extra calories I need to consume to reach my goal of 2045 of my macronutorents only gives me 1572? I’m sure I’m over thinking this but I definitly want to succeed. 😃👍🏼. Thank you an advice!!

        • That’s great you worked out the math, Letisia. Here’s a handy calculator you can make use of:


          Some corrections:

          Taking the TDEE 2049, your 20% deficit comes out to 1639kcal/day with the following macros:
          P 181g
          C 147g
          F 36g

          You don’t want fat to be below 20% of your total cals. That’ll really mess with your hormones. Also, while protein and carbs are 4cals per 1 gram, fat is 9 cals per 1 gram.

          Hope this helped!

          • Letisia

            Okay great! Thanks I got it. I guess I didn’t see the part were I’m suppose to take 20% off my TDEE. 😊 But now I have another question. When I use the link u gave me and plug in everything and even use the CUT it gives me different numbers for my protein, carbs and fat, then the numbers u have for me 🤔. can u tell me how u got those numbers? And we’re it’s at in the book, so I can refer to it later. I guess cuz I’ve been reading like a mad women I must be overlooking some things. 😩
            And I remember seeing somthing in the book about how i should eat the same on non training days as I do on training days. Correct.

          • NP!

            The calculator defaults to 40/40/20, which is perfect in some cases, but not all. Protein is 1.2g/lbs body weight, fat is 20% of total cals, rest of it is in carbs.

            Yup! Same cals/macros every day.

          • Letisia

            Thanks! I definitly understand now!

          • Great!

  • Karina Callirgos

    Can I do these workouts at home? — I am a 34y old woman, 5’4”, I have already gotten thin doing Insanity and quitting sugar for 2 years. (190lbs down to 129 lbs) but now I need to shred the last 20 pounds of fat and its taking over a year with no results.. I have been told that I need to eat more, but when I did, my muscles got big (like everywhere) and I gained 14 pounds. To be fair I lost 2% fat but I don’t fit in my XS shirts anymore. Should I plan time out of the house to go to the gym? or can I do this at home with simple weights?

    • Hey Karina, you can do these workouts at home and my first standard recommendation is to get a proper home setup (a power cage or multi-press rack with an Olympic bar and plates), or work out in a gym instead. Here are the products I like:


      That said, if neither are possible, you can focus on the dumbbell exercises given in the “approved exercises” section of the book. For instance, a chest day would look like this:

      Incline dumbbell press: warm up and 6 sets 4-6 reps
      Flat dumbbell press: 3-6 sets of 4-6 reps

      While that might seem redundant and inefficient, it’s actually a great chest workout. I did that for nearly 6 months a couple years ago and was amazed by the gains I was able to make.

      You can also add a couple exercises to make your legs day more challenging:

      Goblet squats are decent, albeit limited.
      One-legged squats are challenging even without weight.

      For your back, I recommend doing a lot of dumbbell rows and weighted wide-grip pull-ups.

      You also have the option of working in some modified body weight exercises, as discussed here:


      I hope this helps.

      Fat loss and muscle gain all come down to energy balance. Eat less than you burn, and you’ll lose fat. Eat more than you burn, and you’ll put on weight. The key is eating the right amount for your goal. I explain how to do that in the book.

  • Tracy

    I bought the book and am ready to start. However, I am new to weight lifting and your plans include various exercises that aren’t described in the book.

    Also, I have been riding my bicycle to work 2-3 days/week to build up my cardio (9.5 miles each way). Can this count as my cardio in the program.


  • sofia

    Just bought the audio book for women…fingers crossed!

    • Welcome, Sofia! Let me know how it goes, and feel free to shoot me an email if you have any questions.

  • Gayle

    I’m currently counting calories worked out as per some of your tools! Anyway the calories burned in mfp should I eat them also or stick to the calories I was given not exercising? Hope that makes sense? Tia Gayle

    • Awesome! When you calculate TDEE, you already are taking exercise and calories burned into account. Stick to the TDEE and surplus/bulk that you calculate from it. Disregard the MFP #s.

      Lastly, I wouldn’t trust MFP to give you accurate # of calories burned.

      • Gayle

        I’m not using it so much for cals burned just to track cals eaten! How would you work out cals burned? I’m currently doing a mix of hiit & weights alternate days!

        • Ah okay. Most devices or formulas that measure cals burned overestimate them big time. So, I just recommend you determine your intake using my calculator (which takes activity into account so no need to add back cals) and then adjust intake based off results.

  • Melanie Shutter

    Is there a “Year 2 Challenge” Thinner, Leaner and Stronger workout guide? I’ve finished the first year and I love the results.

    • Great job, Melanie. Glad to hear you’re loving the results. Keep up the good work 🙂

      You can repeat the Y1C again.

  • Lisa Bohnert

    I strained my right forearm and elbow, not sure how. Its more of a soreness as opposed to sharp pain. I’m concerned about continuing to lift heavier weights and injuring it further. Just wondering if you think its better to take a few weeks off to let it heal or just keep up the program but back off the weight. I’m three months in and doing well and its become a good habit. I’m terrified that 2 or 3 weeks of not lifting will turn into 2 to 3 months.

    • Sorry to hear that, Lisa. I’d wait until you recover before lifting. You’ll be back in action in no time! I have full confidence that you’ll continue the habit. Plus, you can still do lower-body work and HIIT cardio!

  • Marie Kamburoff

    I purchased the book directly from Amazon. How do I get the bonuses?

  • Kristin Hunteman

    I just ordered from Amazon and the link for the bonus at the back of the book isn’t working. Can you help?

  • Erin

    Hi there, I just ordered the book from Amazon.ca but it didn’t give me an option for the bonus report. Do I have to sign up somewhere for that?

  • Diana Luevanos

    Hi Mike, I purchased the ebook and have been following the program for 3 weeks now. I come from a crossfit back round so I love that TLS has me lifting heavy weight; however, I notice that I do not come out of the gym sweating or even breathing hard between sets. Is this normal due to the 2-3 minute resting periods? I’m used to being drenched after workouts so was just curious to see if this was normal. So far I enjoy this programming and can’t wait to see the changes my body will make. I do at least 2 HIIT sessions per week and those obviously leave me sweating. Thanks.

    • Hey Diana!

      As long as you’re getting in your 9-12 heavy sets per workout with good form, you’re doing it right. And you should see results to prove it–your strength should go up and you should gain muscle. That said, if you’ve been training for quite some time, I recommend bumping the workouts up by 3 more sets. Just add one more exercise, and do 3 sets.

      • Diana Luevanos

        Okay, sweet thanks for the advice!

  • Joe

    Hello i just started losing weight. Im 260 pounds 5 feet 11 inches tall . and im getting into bodybuilding. Eventually i even want to compete . do u have any suggestions on a diet type that i should stick with?

  • Abby

    Hi Michael, Just purchased your books thinner, leaner, stronger and the 1 year challenge for women (purchased today). Does your book include suggestions for weights or a way to determine what weights you should be using? Thanks!

  • Shamika THOMPSON

    Good day, I just ordered the book on amazon before coming to this site, as your book was recommended by my doctor, I did not see an option for the bonuses, how can I achieve those? I’m excited about getting started. Thanks so much

    • Welcome! That’s great your doctor introduced my book to you. There is a download link in the book, but for your convenience, I’ll email it to you.

  • Michelle

    Hey Mike!

    I bought the book on Amazon, but was wondering how I can download the bonus material? Please let me know!

  • Stephanie

    Hi Michael. I’m wondering whether I can do this at home. Considering buying a squat stand, 150kgs of bumper plates from Rogue and a bench anyway. Would this be enough for your program? I don’t want to go to a gym as I have my treadmill and indoor rower at home already. thanks

    • Sounds great! Some dumbbells and a pull-up bar would be great as well. Check out this article on building a home gym:


      That’ll be all you need for working out at home.

      • Stephanie

        thanks, Michael. Unfortunately, my basement is too low for a full sized power rack/squat rack with pull-up bar and the way the basement is build/isolated, I cannot drill one to the wall. So in the near future, no pull-up bar for me 🙁
        But I wil get adjustable dumbbells. Saw some pretty cool ones that go up to 17.5 kgs. Would this be sufficient for a woman? The men version goes up to 25 kgs I think but is so huge and not appealing 😉
        Can I also ask you about the squat rack? I saw the S-1 or SML-1 from Rogue and I think they are very well build. If I buy the safety spotters, I should be able to use this easily alone at home, correct? does a squat rack like this have any disadvantage to a power rack, despite not having the pull-up bar? Meaning, would I be able to perfom more exercises with a power rack than with a squat rack, if I buy the safety spotters and have an adjustable bench?
        thanks a lot !!

        • No problem! There are pull-up bars that can be placed in a door frame without any drilling. Those are pretty sturdy. Dumbbells up to 17.5kg work for now, and you can always purchase more when it’s time to upgrade. The Rogue S-1 and SML-1 both work for solo workouts with safety spotters. All you need is the adjustable bench, barbell set, and you’re ready to rock!

  • Louise

    Hi, i was considering in buying your book but before i just wanted to know if there is a french edition of the book available? Also, i have the impression that after reading your book, i will finally understand the logic of eating and training. Will i be able to take the nutrition knowledge and apply it to different type of training: I like running and workouts like P90X ?

    • Sorry, I do not have a French edition at this time. Yes, after reading the book, you’ll have enough nutrition knowledge to take it to different types of training.

      • Louise

        Thank you for your quick reply! 🙂

  • Kerry

    Hi Mike, I have just purchased this from Amazon. How can I get the bonus material too?!?

    • Hey Kerry, keep an eye out for my email 🙂

      • Kerry

        Hi Mike, I found the link in the book thanks 😊

  • Laura VerMeer Loomis

    Hi mike! I bought both thinner leaner stronger and bigger leaner and stronger on Amazon but did not receive the special bonus report for guys or girls. Can u please help me out? Thank u!

  • Christina Crawford

    Hi Mike,

    Also purchased your book TLS on Amazon and was looking for the bonus report. Thanks! Christina.

  • Ashley

    I am still exclusively breastfeeding my 8 month old son. Should I allow any extra calories for this to keep my milk supply up or will that jeapordize my results?

    • Hi Ashley, if you are considering going on a fat loss cutting plan, I recommend that you add 500-700kcal to your cutting calorie target to account for breastfeeding. Then adjust your activity and/or calories based on weight loss result.

  • Jessica Edmondson

    Hi Mike,

    I just downloaded the audio book. Is the free report still available?

  • Deana

    Hi Mike,

    I just received TLS and The Shredded Chef. So excited to read and use both of these books! How do I get the bonus
    1 Year Challenge? Also, I’ve been using your supplements and recently purchased Genesis but I am not sure what time of day I should be taking it and do I take it with a meal or by itself?

    Thanks so much,

    • That’s great! Be on the lookout for my email.

      I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying my supplements. Genesis can be used any time during the day by itself or with meals.

  • zoe dee

    Hi, i bought the book on amazon too, and would like access to the bonuses. Please let me know…

  • Kat

    Hi I also bought the book on Amazon as a kindle download but my kindle browser won’t support the download. Can you help please?

  • Maria

    Hi Mike – I am interested in your book, but I prefer working out at home. Have an adjustable bench, dumbbells and a Smith Machine. Will I be able to use the book / audio, or is it realyy more built for gyms? Thank you

  • Kaitlyn

    Just bought your book. I was curious if you discuss a damaged BMR. I am a 21 year old female weighing 194 lbs with a height of 5″1. My caloric intake has always been small (I don’t eat when I am stressed and have had the habit since I was 10) and I’m so confused about what my caloric intake should be. A friend turned me on to your book. Thank you for your reply.

  • Sheila

    Just bought your book and waiting for delivery. I have struggled for years and years with my weight and need a lot of help. I believe that I eat healthy but I am obviously not if I have 35% fat and weight 68kg. I started going to the gym 9 months ago and have gained 3kg and still have the same BF. I am doing weights. I started at 5kg and can now do 75kg plus on lower body and 25 + on upper body. I am willing to pay a trainer but many of them have contradicting ways to loose fat/weight. Need expert advice.

    • Glad to hear you picked up my book, Sheila. That’s really awesome you’ve been eating healthy and going to the gym. Training aside, the biggest reason why you are not seeing results is nutrition. You need to be in a calorie deficit to lose fat. So far, you have been eating more calories than you burn. The book will help you set your calorie and macro targets so that you will consistently lose weight and drop body fat.

  • Sheila

    I have purchased your book TLS on Amazon and was looking for the bonus report also. Will they arrive together.

    • Be on the lookout for the email I just sent you 🙂

  • Kaia

    Hi! I’m interested in starting the program, but I’m wondering how it compares to Stronglifts 5×5? I did 5×5 for about 6 months, and while I did get stronger, and I liked how my core looked, I didn’t like how the rest of my body looked. I already have a big butt and thighs, and the program just made my legs bigger (and stronger) but I lost all my definition. Years ago, I was a dancer (and danced about 20 hours a week) — it’s not practical for me to dance that much now, but I noticed when I was dancing, I had a ton of DEFINITION in my legs and I could see every striation! My body fat percentage was actually HIGHER when I was dancing than when I was doing 5×5. 5×5 just made me bigger and sturdier. And my boobs kind of withered away. Lol. I know that everyone’s body is different and will react differently, but I’d rather have the body I did when I was dancing than the one I had when I did 5×5. How does your program compare to 5×5 in that way? Am I just gonna get a bigger butt and thighs again and lose all my definition? Thanks.

  • Christine Balan DeMorat

    Hey Mike. So excited to read this book. I’m a triathlete and cycle instructor but really struggle with the nutritional part of my fitness regimen. I’ve always loves weight training but am ready to take it to the next level and focus on leaning out my thicker muscular legs (some of which is not muscle and is stubborn to get rid of). I’ve retired from racing and want to focus on strength and gaining more energy now that I’ve just turned 50. I’d love to receive the 1 year challenge, but I don’t think it came with the book. Also, how do I go about ordering a meal plan if i choose to do that? Thanks

  • Kaia

    Hi. I don’t know a lot about this program — is it good if I want to do 12 reps (my goal is hypertrophy)? My body looks a lot better, leaner, and there’s a LOT more definition when I’ve done sets of 12. I did 5×5 in the past, and even though I got a lot stronger and leaner, I actually LOST definition in my muscles. Also, does the program tell you what weight to start at and how much to add every time? Thanks.

    • Hey Kaia, the program is absolutely good for you if you want to have more muscle definition while minimizing growth. Ultimately, fat loss comes down to energy balance. The book will show you how to eat to cut, maintain, and bulk. It will also guide you on how to set your weights. Fractional weight plates can help, but aren’t necessary.

      • Kaia

        Ok but you just told someone else in another comment that this program was good for making her butt bigger haha

  • Ashley

    Hi Mike,
    Just finished your book and would love a copy of the bonus report.

  • Fabienne Portellano

    Hey Mike! I’m thinking of buying your book. Is it possible to follow the program without a gym membership. I only have a home gym. And if yes, what equipment would I need?! Thx!

  • Sophie Horn

    Hi Mike, will I still get the one year challenge with my purchase of TLS if I buy the kindle version?

    • Yep! There is a download link in the book.

      • Ry Mack

        Hi Mike! I’m ‘reading’ the 2nd edition on audible. Do I get the 1 year challenge with my purchase?

  • Sherri Felton

    HI Mike! Bought TLS and the Shredded Chef. Have been enjoying reading it! Is the 1 year challenge in the book?? Also, I do Crossfit about 3 days a week. I really love Crossfit and don’t want to change. How can I incorporate this into your program?

    • Thanks for picking up my books! Glad you’re enjoying them. 🙂

      The 1YC isn’t in the book, but you do have a year of workouts to follow in the bonus report.

      Hmm. In order to fit in both, I’d recommend you follow the 3-day TLS split. That and 2-3 days of Crossfit a week should be fine. This will be good to keep in mind, though:


      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

      • Sherri Felton

        Thanks Mike! Where can I find the Bonus Report?

  • Renee

    HI MIke
    I bought your TLS for Women book on Audible and now on Kindle as well and looking for the 1 year challenge and bonus’ you mention .. where do I find these ? thanks !

    • Hey Renee! That’s awesome! Keep an eye out for my email.

  • Alycia Garson

    I want to get a meal plan from you, but it says only one day for $77 and then the books, which I already purchased the shredded chef. What other options are there? I would love to have more of a meal plan from you and your team other than just one day.

    • Hey Alycia,

      Awesome! Yes, the meal plan service comes with one full day’s worth of food. If eating more or less the same foods for longer periods of time is new to you, and if you’re worried you’re going to hate it, I guarantee it’s not as bad as you’re thinking.

      Not only is it much harder to get sick of foods you actually love eating, once you get settled into your meal plan and are seeing results, you’ll be able to make your own modifications and turn it into a lifestyle, not a short-lived test of your willpower. That’s why we always recommend that people start dieting in this way, regardless of whether they’re following one of our meal plans or creating their own. Also since we are creating each meal plan custom to each person and it’s not a copy-paste product like many others, it does take a bit of time so making multiple days is not really feasible.

      Also, if you want to swap out some food though you totally can, just match up the calories and macros so they fit pretty well. This site helps and you can also use any recipes from http://www.caloriecount.com

  • Jessalins

    I am reading the 1 year challenge for TLS but cannot find where you list the ab circuits. Am I missing something?

    • Hey! You’ll find the info in Chapter 17 of TLS. The approved list of exercises you’ll find in the Y1C as well. Do a set of a weighted exercise like the cable crunch, then immediately followed by 1 set of an unweighted exercise, then another. Rest 2-3 minutes between circuits.

  • Justine Warnick

    I’m not sure if this has been answered yet, but I am starting the 5 day program and day five says to do “Calf workout C,” yet I can’t seem to find it anywhere in the book. Am I missing something or is this a workout I’m meant to create on my own? Thanks!

    • Hey Justine! You’ll find it in Chapter 17, or page 194 of the PDF.

  • Kate L

    Hi Mike,
    I’m female, 5’9″ and 120 lbs, 18-20% BF (based on caliper readings and comparison pictures). I had been working out with a trainer for nine months, and gained 15 pounds, mostly of muscle, to put me where I am now. I’ve recently moved, and started your program (4-5
    days a week) about three weeks ago. I decided to cut (~1350 cal/day, 150g Protein, 125g carbs, 27g fat) to get rid of some fat on my hips and inner thighs. I work full time and am in my last semester of graduate school (also full time). In order to get a decent amount of sleep, I
    don’t have much time for cardio, and I’m having energy problems throughout the week and issues sticking to my calorie goals on the
    weekends. I’ve also stalled on my lifts this week. Should I buckle down and keep trying to cut, or switch to maintenance at least until I
    graduate in December and will have more time to cut properly?
    Thanks for your help! I love your book, and my boyfriend just got started on BLS as well.


  • Adrienne G

    I just started the TLS program and I’m a little confused with the nutrition portion. I’m 175lbs and 31% bf. Is this correct macros:140protein, 105 carbs, 53fats? If so, how long do you usually adjust them? Is this considered “cutting”? I know I’m above the 20% body fat so I don’t want to bulk, just loose as much fat as possible 🙂 thanks again!

  • terri lukashewich

    not sure how to get to the daily caloric intake number
    I see how to use the formula to get the grams needed of all parts i.e. protein, carbs,fats…just don’t know how to know what is my daily number of calories

  • terri lukashewich

    Wow- i am thinking this is WAY too complicated
    the average person would not be able to get a true body fat percentage reading- which is needed to plug in those numbers to end up with all the smaller pieces to the puzzle
    Love the idea but see it to be more than just putting information into an app to track foods. bummer – would have loved to make this happen
    food part is important – as i read these questions below- people are a bit confused We want to get it right…
    160 pound 50 year old lady
    rather active
    1-3 hours of exercise a week
    Need to lose 15-20 pounds
    have the exercises down- just not sure of the food requirements…AHHHHHHHHH

  • tolanaomi

    Hi – I’m 58, disabled with bad back and now bad knees, Post- menopausal too. I was doing racewalking until I got a complex meniscal tear in my knee and I’ve waited over a year to get surgery because my doctors are idiots. Are used to body build back in the 80s and 90s but now I’m limited to lifting only 20 pounds or less due to my disability and can’t do squats because of both of my blown out knees. I was doing great with the race walking and biking but since the injuries I’m limited to simple things. Also recovering from a collapsed lung and a fractured sternum as well as ribs due to CPR. That’s another long story. I just don’t know if you can help me or if I’m beyond repair .

  • Sheri

    Hi Mike, I purchased your book through audible. I really enjoy listening to it however I feel it would be great to have something I can see. I was hoping there might be some online access to the material you cover. Also, I had weight loss surgery (vertical sleeve gastrectomy) five years ago. I lost 130 lbs and have kept it off but feel like I could lose at least 30 more lbs. When it comes to nutrition, how would you suggest I get all those calories in? Would I calculate my caloric needs the same as someone who did not have the weight loss surgery? I prefer to eat whole foods but I did purchase your legion protein powder that I will start using tomorrow. I am 5’9″, 170 lbs and I’d guess around 27-30% body fat.
    I’m excited to start your program and see the changes in my body!

    • Hey Sheri! Glad to hear you’re enjoying TLS. You can check out the articles on muscleforlife.com for the material I cover in the book, and more.

      The same macro guidelines apply for you. That’s great you picked up Legion whey as well! It’ll help you reach your protein target easier. Whole foods is great. You can split up your intake into smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.

      I’m excited for you too!

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  • Kayleigh Putsock

    bought your book of amazon! looking for the one year challenge and bonus material. Thanks!

  • Louise-Andree

    Hi, I bought the book Thinner Leaner Stronger and i love it! I’m on my 4th week of cutting and things are looking good. My husband is interested in starting his own journey because he is struggling to loose weight. Can he apply the same knowledge and same formulas from the book TLS for cutting and maintaining (even though he’s a man)? Thank you

    • Nice work with your progress! The principles still apply, with the following changes:

      Men cut to 10%, and bulk to 15%.

      Protein guidelines:
      1.2g/lbs body weight if under 25%. 1g/lbs otherwise.

      He should also work in the 4-6 rep range.

  • Danielle Koalani

    Hi Mike!

    I’m currently in the middle of TLS and am greatly enjoying it so far! I’ve been working out for 7-8 years with little results despite eating healthy/pescatarian/very minimal processed foods. I am hoping your program works for me. Just one question for you — most of the before/after pics I’ve seen are thin/average sized women who tone up quickly. I am perpetually about 30 lbs “overweight” and haven’t really seen any before/after pics that are of people my size. Will your program work for me? I’m assuming you’re going to say “yes”. Are there any testimonies of women like me who have used your program? Thank you!

  • Anne V

    Hey Mike! I’ve just completed reading chapter 17 of your book, and obviously have a bit more to go, but a few questions have come up for me on how to work with my current activities and incorporate TLS methods to gain more muscle. I am a fairly active person, with a sedentary job and I am typically around 25% body fat. I currently practice Vinyasa Yoga 2-4 times per week, which I do mainly for stress management and mental health. I would prefer to continue practicing yoga, but I’m not sure whether to count it as part of my cardio, or keep it separate all together. I’m also a huge outdoor enthusiast and hike 7-15 miles every week during the nicer months and ski once a week during the winter months. How can I best build muscle, but maintain the current activities I enjoy? Thank you!

    • Hey Anne, that’s great! You’ll be able to build muscle, no problem. I recommend that you first cut down to 20% before bulking, though. This is ideal for several reasons: it preserves insulin sensitivity and hormonal balance, it allows you to maintain a calorie surplus for many months before having to reduce body fat levels, and it saves you from long, grueling cuts. Keep up all the activity you’re doing, and start training with weights.

  • Nana E

    Hi Mike, couple of questions for you:
    1. I’ve just had a baby so have no time to getting the gym (currently getting up at 05:45 to workout before the baby wakes up!) can I do your programme at home? I’ve got adjustable dumbbells but no fancy equipment or machines that are available in the gym.

    2. Before my baby I never lifted weights seriously, I did a tonne of walking plus HIIT workouts which encorporated weights and I was nicely toned. I have a mesomorph body shape so have good muscle mass anyway but my thighs are always bit chunky unless I get down to a very low weight. I absolutely do not want to bulk up my thighs (or any other part of my body!!) under any circumstances and I’ve heard steady state cardio is effective for slimming down thighs – what are your thoughts?

    Thanks so much!

    • Hey Nana, congrats on the baby!

      1. Working out with only dumbbells is a bit tough because you can’t squat, deadlift, bench press, or military press (and these are the most important exercises in any program, really).

      My first standard recommendation is to get a proper home setup (a power cage or multi-press rack with an Olympic bar and plates), or work out in a gym instead. Here are the products I like:


      That said, if neither are possible, you can focus on the dumbbell exercises given in the “approved exercises” section of the book. For instance, a chest day would look like this:

      Incline dumbbell press: warm up and 6 sets 4-6 reps
      Flat dumbbell press: 3-6 sets of 4-6 reps

      While that might seem redundant and inefficient, it’s actually a great chest workout. I did that for nearly 6 months a couple years ago and was amazed by the gains I was able to make.

      You can also add a couple exercises to make your legs day more challenging:

      Goblet squats are decent, albeit limited.
      One-legged squats are challenging even without weight.

      For your back, I recommend doing a lot of dumbbell rows and weighted wide-grip pull-ups.

      You also have the option of working in some modified body weight exercises, as discussed here:


      2. No problem! Just don’t be in a calorie surplus. You want to be cutting to slim down your thighs.

      • Nana E

        Amazing, thanks so much for coming back to me Mike, very much appreciated. Can’t wait to get your book and get started!

        • Any time, Nana! Happy to help. I’m excited for you to start too! Talk soon.

  • Ruth

    Hi mike

  • Ruth

    Hi Mike….I recently purchased your book and am excited to begin my journey. I am so confused though as so many calculators are telling me different calculations. Would you be able to help me calculate my macros?

  • Aashima Mehta

    Hi there, I want to lose my belly fat ( that’s the only place where I have a little fat) and gain muscle mass. I workout 5 times a week ( thrice with weight) Should I first focus on losing fat first ( deficit calorie) and then work on gaining muscle mass? Or vice versa? Please help!

    • Absolutely. Start cutting first to 20% body fat before bulking. This might help:


      • Aashima Mehta

        Thank your for responding. I bought your book this morning and very grateful to you for sharing such valuable info. I wanted to pick your brains on 2 things: I have sliced out my macros ( after a 20% deficit in calories) Heres the challenge – I always go a little overboard with the fat% target for the day but unable to exhaust my daily calorie and carb target becuase if I try to up my carb and calorie intake my fat% also goes up and since ny aim is too first reduce my belly fat not sure if that’s ok?

        • Any time 🙂 That’s great you picked up a copy of the book!

          I recommend rearranging some of your portions, and/or reconsider some of your food choices in favor of leaner options. As long as you stay under the calorie target, and get enough protein, you’ll still lose weight!

  • Alex

    Just got your book. I must be a complete dummy because I do not understand the set up and would love for someone to explain:
    e.g. phase 1, day 1
    4 x warm up with the same exercise ?
    then 3 more reps with the same exercise – first one 12 reps, 2nd one 10, 3rd one 4?
    I assume one is supposed to change the weights for the reps? e.g. frist warm up 10 lbs, next warm up 12 etc?

    No warm up for the next exercise? Instead 12/10/4 reps? again with different weights?
    I assume this whole section is called calf Workout A?

    and the next day the whole section is called Abs Circuit? But if so where does the 3 to 6 come from?

    I’ve never worked from instructions like this before, so I am lost. Please help so I can get started. thanks.

    • Awesome! OK, let’s get all these cleared up for you:

      1. Correct. The warm up progressively increases the weight. 50% of set weight for 12 and 10 reps, then 70% for 4 reps.
      2. Warm up, then begin your heavy sets of 8-10reps.

      If you’ve already warmed up a muscle group, there is no need to warm up again for the next exercise. For example, once you’ve warmed up on the incline bench, you don’t have to warm up for the bench press because they both are chest presses.

      No warm-up for calves or abs. Jump right in and follow the exercises as listed in the book.

      An abs circuit consists of 3 exercises: A, B, C. So, do your circuits like this:

      A, B, C, break. A, B, C, break. A, B, C, break. And you’re done with 3 circuits.

  • Gerri Issoverry

    Hi there. I am a female Oly lifter and was so disappointed to see that the title of your book for the female body was THINNER Leaner Stronger vs the male body being BIGGER Leaner Stronger. I main goal is strength & mass – NOT thinner. If I was to purchase one book – would I purchase the yellow book or the purple book? I am female, but my goal is not to be thinner, it is to gain muscle mass. Thanks for the input!

    • Sorry about that! That’s what most women are going for, but TLS will lay out everything you need to know to about training and dieting to build muscle and strength effectively. 🙂

  • Katy McDonald England

    I have a quick question, Michael. I am in the midst of reading TLS and just received the year one challenge in the mail. Glancing over it, are we supposed to do 5 day split, then 4 day split followed by 3 day split? Are we supposed to pick one and stick with it? I’m new to non-les mills bodypump weight training so forgive me if there is an obvious answer. Thank you so much! I’m looking forward to getting started!

    • Hey Katy, pick a split and stick with it. Can’t wait for you to get started!

  • Laura

    Hi Mike! I am an experienced lifter, but now I want to compete and I would like to prep doing your program! Is it good to prep for a Bikini Competition? Is it challenging/intense enough or should I modify something for that purpose? 🙂

    On the other hand I would like to ask if there’s a PDF of the TLS book… I don’t live in the U.S. and shipping through amazon is very expensive! I think a PDF would solve that haha and maybe print the workout sheets or whatever I need to take to the gym! Also, it says it comes with the 1YC, so why do you sell a separate book as well?

    And my last question for now haha I have been noticing that my deadlift grip is SO weak! My grip and forearms fail way before my legs do, and it’s so frustrating! What would you recommend?

    Have a beautiful day 🙂

    • Nicky

      Hi Mike,
      I would definitely like to second these comments that Laura made.
      I’ve been lifting for about 4 years, and would like to start competing in Figure, but I am not sure if your book is geared towards beginners, or if it would still be an effective resource for someone needing to take her physique to the next level.
      Also, PDF would be ideal. I actually hadn’t gotten so far as to add the book to the cart yet and didn’t even consider the possibility that, in this age of technology, the book would be a hard copy.


    • Violet

      Hi Laura,
      I had the same issue with my grip strength. It is important to train your grip strength like any other muscle (try farmer’s carry or dead hangs), but you don’t want to let that hold you back during your big lifts like deadlifts, or rows, etc. Try wrist straps. I personally use Versa Gripps PRO and they made a world of difference in the amount of weight I could deadlift. I would recommend only using them when you really need them – if you can get through one or two working sets without them, don’t use them. Only add them to the sets/reps that start to fail due to grip strength. http://store.versagripps.com/cart/product/8192/Versa_Gripps_PRO__BLACK/
      Hope this helps!

    • Hey Laura! TLS is great for building a foundation, and it’ll lay out everything you need to know about training and dieting to build muscle and lose fat.

      That being said, as an experienced lifter that’s competing, you may need/want to increase the overall volume–for sure on any weak points you’re trying to bring up.

      No problem. Feel free to pick up the Kindle version and then shoot me an email at [email protected]. I’d be happy to send you the PDF free of charge. 🙂

      As to the 1YC, sorry for the confusion! The free bonus report that comes with TLS does come with a year of workouts, but it’s not quite the same thing as the 1YC. The 1YC is more detailed, and you’ll be able log all your workouts. The one from the bonus report doesn’t have a place to log your workouts.

      I hear you on the grip! Check this out:


      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

  • Melody Battaglia

    Hey Mike! I just finished your book on audible and I loved it! I’ve been trying to find something that works for me for years and I really feel like you’re program is going to work for me. I do have a question though, I like doing cardio in the early morning around 4:30 or 5:00. If I do this when is the best time to do my weight training? I was thinking about going to the gym during my lunch around 1100 or 1130. Thank you for your help!

    • Hey Melody! Glad you loved the book.

      Ideally, do your weight training first, and then your cardio. But, if you want to keep your routine, the 11/11:30am workout works just fine.

  • Akilah Muhammad

    Hi Mike I just finished reading your book and I haven’t lifted consistently but not new to lifting. Really started off using your program what’s the best way for me to determine my 1 max rep. I can lift 10-12 lbs using Dumbbells but I’m wondering if I should start off with less weight. Thanks Akilah

  • Benedetta

    Hi it’s me, Benny. Before getting your book I have few questions 🙂
    1. Will this book help me to gain muscle mass and get me maybe with some extra help to bikini competition?
    2. I have few eating problems: I am wheat, turkey, egg, tuna, almond and lactose intolerant, will this affect my gains? Have you got alternative diets?
    I really love training, I’ve done it for a year but with no results cause I don’t know the proper portions I have to eat and what’s the best training type for me. I spoke with hundreds of people and followed all of their “advices” but my bum is still flat and my shoulder skinny as the rest of my body and not toned enough too. It is very frustrating when you have a goal but you don’t know how to reach it. Will this book help me to reach my goal??
    Thank you 🙂

  • Cheryln Barber

    Hi~ I’m totally stoked to get started but I have some limitations. I have a bad L5-S1. I don’t want this to stop me but it means that things like barbell front and back squat and deadlift are out for me. What can I substitute them for and will I still see results without these very important lifts? Thanks in advance.

    • Hey Cheryln, that’s great you’re stoked to get started! Sorry to hear about your back. There are substitute exercises you can do, and you will still see results without those lifts.

      • Cheryln Barber

        What can I substitute for those lifts?

  • Kari Lovro Jones

    You recommend low reps/ high weight. And yet, in the women’s 1 year plan book, you recommend 8-10 reps per set. So…should I be aiming for 4-6 reps per set or 8-10?

    • Hey Kari!

      The reason why I recommend women start in the 8-10 rep range (~75% of 1RM) is most start out with very low levels of muscle and strength and find that to be quite heavy. 4-6 would be really daunting and possibly even dangerous (due to poor form).

      Once women have put in a good 6 months or so at that rep range, though, they’ll have the strength and experience to comfortably (and safely) include some heavier work in their routines.

      So, if you’re at that point and would like to work in some 4-6 rep range training, I recommend doing 3 sets in the 4-6 rep range, and using it on the following exercises:

      Military Press
      Bench Press

      Hope that helps.

      • Kari Lovro Jones

        You hit that right on the nail! It has just been many years since I’ve hit the weights, so muscle is lacking. Thank you for the direction. I love your simplistic style!

        • Great! Glad I was able to help, and thanks for your support.

  • Rebecca

    Can this program work for runners? I am a runner and plan to train for a May marathon – and I also need to shed some body fat. I benefited a lot from adding strength training and sprints to my regular half marathon training last spring, and know that I could do even better at enhancing my overall fitness.

    • Absolutely! I recommend starting with a 3-day split.

  • susan gourley

    Hi, I have finished the body coach 90 day plan and started it again but really bored with it and looking for something else. I have bought your book and my head is mangled. Where do I start?

  • Lindsay

    I purchased the audible version and I’m in the midst of the nutritional information and I’m wondering if there is a PDF worksheet or something to help me figure out what I should be aiming for specifically for my current body and the goals I have. It’s a little difficult to only “hear” the formulas instead of seeing them.

  • Oky

    Hi, Mike
    I wonder if there’s an e-book version of this I can purchase since I live quite far away (Bali, Indonesia).
    I am 31 yo female, 53kg, 154cm. I have stubborn fat around thighs and hips plus cellulite.

    • Yes, it is available on Amazon as the Kindle version.

  • Jen

    Hi Michael
    I read your book and just ordered the one year challenge journal. Counting macros and I’m fairly experienced at lifting. I have some imbalances (much like you spoke of in your book) where my front is much more developed than my back giving my shoulders a pulled forward appearance.

    If I follow your programming would you recommend laying off the front delts/chest until the back catches up? Maybe doing back twice a week until I’m more balanced? Thanks for any help! I’m so excited to start a new program. 🙂

    • Hey Jen, that’s great you piked up a copy of the book and are about to get started! You can do back twice a week, and still keep your presses. (Just don’t increase weight for a short while)

  • anu

    Hi Mike, I’m a 46 year old woman with 3 kids – 14,12,12. I’m serious about working out. Have quit my job for it. I have worked out with a trainer for a year & lost 12 pounds. I have another 20 to go but I have hit a plateau.
    Some concerns
    1] I have a left knee issue. When I do jumping jacks or lunges – I have a medial sweilling that shgows up & I feel pressure below my knee cap. No pain. I have had an MRI & Doc says there is nothing. There maybe a small cartilage tear not visible on the MRI. Ok to do your workouts given the above?
    2] I’m primarily vegetarian & like Indian food. Healthy food – salads & veggies are fine. I don’t need heavy curries but I do like the spices a lot. If there is a special diet to follow in the book – my concern is what’ll happen when I go back to a regular diet?
    3] Supplements – are they necessary?I want to be careful to not make my body more acidic in order to be disease free.

    Thanks, Anu

    • Hey hey! Awesome job on the weight you’ve lost so far! To help get the weight moving again, check this out:


      1. I’d run the exercises by the doc before doing them just to be sure.

      2. No worries. You can stick to your vegetarian diet! You just need to make sure you hit your target cals and macros. It can be tough to get enough protein with a vegetarian diet though. To help, check this out:


      3. Nope, they’re not. The right supps can help accelerate results, but you can still reach your fitness goals with proper training and dieting alone.

      Hope this helps!

      • anu

        Thank you for writing back. I’ll look through the web links. Also I just got the book and have stared reading it. Thanks again.

        • Any time! Glad to hear you started.

          • anu

            Hi Mike,
            I’ve started the diet. I am now reading the training section & I need to “cut”. I don’t have a bench press. I have individual weights – 7, 10, 15, 20 pounds. I did the shoulder press with the weights – 7, 10,15. Couldn’t do 20. Should I be getting a 17 or 18 lb weight since I couldn’t do 20. I did the one lying down with hand above head & lift up weight as well – 7, 10, 15. Couldn’t do 20. Can the rest of the exercises be done with free weights? Also are there any videos showing these exercises with free weights. Or do I need to invest in a bench press & get barbells?

            Thanks, Anu

          • Hey! That’s great you started the diet and are training. If you plan on working out at home, I do recommend getting an adjustable bench and a barbell set. If you can get something like this set up, even better!


          • anu

            Thanks Mike. I would love to but don’t have the space. I’ll get the adjustable bench & a barbell set or go join a gym. The exercises you mention in the book – do you have a video of them or should I just google them? I’ve never done weight training so I don’t have a clue what they are?

          • Google will turn up a good number of videos. Bodybuilding.com has a decent library, and Scott Herman has a pretty good YouTube channel you can take a look at too.

          • anu

            Thank you!

          • YW!

          • anu

            Hi Mike, I’m trying to figure out how to calculate body fat which is needed in the formula on page 77 for BMR calculation?

  • Brandi Burdette

    Hi Mike, I am on week 19 now of the One Year Challenge and I’m loving it! But I’m doing everything from home with free weights and I’m not sure what alternative exercises I can do for Butt Blasters or a seated cable row without machines. Do you have any tips?

    • That’s great you’ve been on it for 19 weeks, Brandi! In place of the Butt Blasters, you can do Hip Thrusts, and in place of the Seated Cable Row, you can do Dumbbell Rows. Whenever you run into equipment limitations, you can always refer to the Exercise List in the Y1C.

  • Zend HetMij

    Hi Mike, I started about 2 years back with the bls 5 day program, my parter joined me using the tls program on the 3-days schedule. But now starting with course for six months. She can now only manage 2 days a week, combining work, sport, study and ofcourse our kids. What would be the recommended practice? do the 3 days schedule only 2 days a week and rotate or create a 2 days schedule based on the three day schedule?

    • That’s great you two are on the program! If she only has two days available, this can be a viable option:


      • Zend HetMij

        I’ve spotted that program before asking here. Though it was not a good fit based on your advice in tls. That program doesn’t use any of the stuff mentioned in tls that benefits woman especially. Even the bench press seems to get prioritized over the squat, the squat is normally trained first because people find it the bigger muscle group and is also targeting more popular musclegroup with woman. Also missing other stuff like the higher rep ranges you advice for woman, etc.

        Are you sure this is better? She already did rippetoe as before using tls to focus more on bodybuilding and woman training theory. I’m afraid she’ll get bore quickly on this.

        • Ehh. With the deadlift, squat, hack squat and Romanian deadlift, there’s plenty of lower-body work that women like to focus on. If you’d like, you can also add in 2-3 sets of lunges or barbell hip thrusts. That should be good.

          Eventually, ideally she’d get on one of the 3-5 days splits.

          • Zend HetMij

            It wasn’t my intention to make this a discussion, thanks for your time and advice.

  • Lior Maleh

    Hey Mike, i’ve been introduced to the likes of Kayla itsines and Victoria with their BBG and so on, I couldnt get myself to do it. and they also show amazing before and after pics. i’m 69.7 kilos on 1.71 height. which means i have these 8 kilos to lose mostly of fat. and its not easy. I’ve been on a balanced diet for the past 4 weeks and didnt lose a gram. then i read your article The Definitive Guide to Why You’re Not Losing Weight and it made sense to me. my problem is that i hate cardio, but i dont think there’s anything to decrease from my current menu. can you tell me how using your book will help me? the more i read the more confused i get on whats right, frustrated as can be.

  • Kathleen Anderson

    HI Mike… Am a few steps away from purchasing your book. I have just one concern though. I had a double mascectomy and reconstruction surgery a year ago. Have u worked with any ladies that have had this surgery? Would i still be able to do the lifting as my muscles have obviously been compromised and there are risks involved. I will be a complete beginner with weightlifting if I start this. Thank u in advance! Kathleen

    • Hey Kathleen! That’s something you should check with the doc on to make sure, but I’ve had women in similar positions, and they were able to follow the program just fine.

      • Kathleen Anderson

        Thank you so much! You ask 5 different doctors you get 5 different answers. Oncologist says no ways. PS says go for it…🤔 So I’m glad to hear you have had ladies in similar situations following the program. Thank u!

  • Katy McDonald England

    Hi Mike! I finally got started and I am two weeks in. I have a ton of fat to lose and so far I’ve lost about a pound(I’m happy. Slow weight loss is ok with me.) and the most immediate result of my efforts up to this point is my posture. It is BEAUTIFUL since starting your program. And I love how easy it is to get started.

    I do have a few questions, though. The bolded warm-up exercises: are we supposed to do the four warm-up sets and then 3 more sets totalling 7 sets or just the 4 warm-up sets and then move on to the next exercise?

    Also, if we have a strange week (like Christmas holidays or a sick kid) and we’ve chosen the 5 day splits but we can only make it 4 days to the gym, should we do a 4 day split that week or double up workouts one of our days? Thanks so much!

    • That’s great, Katy! Nice work on the fat loss and improved posture! For the warm up exercises, you do both the warm up sets and the actual 3 regular sets. And, if a strange week is coming up, you can switch to a 3 or 4 day split as needed.

      Hope that helps!

  • Natalie Nixon

    Hi Mike! I have been following TLS for a few months now and I am loving it. I have managed to break through plateaus that had held me up in the past, leading to me giving up on lifting for a while. With your program I have progressed on my squat from 143lbs to 160lbs, my bench 88lbs to 99lbs and my deadlift from 231lbs to 248lbs. Most of this came within the first phase though I am finding the accessories in the second phase to be really helpful. I am also feeling a lot stronger, more defined and healthy. So thank you for that!

    So, my question is related to my diet. Two months ago I started a keto/low carb diet high protein. Mentally and physically I feel better for it. I find that my appetite is less severe whereas before I would always be hungry, I have more energy and I am generally eating a lot healthier. However, I want to lose about 5% body fat (currently at 25%~) without sacrificing my strength. I have already noticed my lifts going up a lot slower since starting this diet and have not noticed any change in my weight or body fat composition (according to my analyser scales). I really love this way of eating but I also love your program. Are these things inherently incompatible? I know you recommend high carb and for a while that was working for me but overall I am finding low carb is better for me. I follow your 4 day split and have tried to add in small amounts of cardio (2-3 x 30m) as well as HIIT (usually twice per week). Is there anything I should be doing differently?



    • Hey Natalie, that’s great you’re loving TLS and have been making great gains on the program. If you’re not losing fat, check this out:


      As long as you’re in a deficit, you’ll still lose weight. I’d start by increasing your HIIT cardio to 3-4x/week. Regarding diet, you’ll have better workout performance with higher carbs.

  • Lisa Rose

    I’m not sure which of your books to purchase. I’m 38 5’2 125 lbs and about 26% body fat. I’ve been working out for years off and on so I know my way around the gym and not afraid of gaining muscle. I just suck at being consistent. Which book should I get?

    • Hey Lisa! That’s great you’re looking into picking up one of my books. I recommend that you get Thinner Leaner Stronger, as that is the book specifically for women.

  • Heather

    Hey there! I just started phase 3 (5 days a week) and noticed that day 5 has barbell squat twice in a row. Is this correct and is there any difference in the two sets? Thanks! Loving the program!

    • That’s correct! Use the same weight unless you come to a point where you’re unable to perform 8 reps–at which point you should reduce the weight so that you can.

  • anu

    Hi Mike, I’ve started the workouts. A couple of questions.
    – I am doing 5 days of the Day 1-5 weight workouts on Pg 206-207 but I’m confused – when should I do the cardio workouts? Alsp should I do the spin cycle? For how long?
    -On Pg 206 & 207 – in Day 2 & Day 4 workouts – it says 3-6 Ab circuits. I;m assuming you mean the Ab exercises on Pg 199 – how many of each of these should I do?
    Thank you!

    • Hey Anu, that’s awesome you’ve started the workouts! A 5-day split is great. Do your cardio after your weight training, for 25-30min. A spin cycle is great! You can also consider the treadmill or row machine.

      Pick three abs exercises, with one being weighted, and perform them in a circuit: A, B, C, rest, A, B, C, rest, A, B, C. Then, you’re done!

      • anu

        Thanks Mike. Just to clarify – 5 days of weight workouts Day 1-5 (for example Monday to Friday) as per pages 206 and 207 and then Saturday & Sunday of 1 hour cardio (Spin bike or treadmill or row machine). On the treadmill – do I need to run or fast walk ok in the fat burning calorie range?
        In addition also do 25-30 minutes on spin cycle on Days 1-5 after the weight training?

        • Well, you can do cardio any day of the week, really. I recommend HIIT cardio:


          25-30min or each session 3-4 times a week is a great start!

          • anu

            Thanks Mike. What’s HIIT cardio? I have trouble with my left knee – chondromalacia – so cant do lunges, burpees, anything where the knee is bent more than 90 degrees. What do you suggest?

          • NP! Read the article I linked above. 🙂

            Hmmm. Are you able to do squats, leg press or half squats to 90 degrees or just slightly under? No need to go super low, but you also want to have a good range of motion.

          • anu

            Thanks Mike – that really helped. I understand HIIT now. I am able to do squats to 90 degrees & can do leg presses if I take a day’s break in between. So you mention in the article:
            “When I’m cutting, I like to do 4 to 5 hours of weightlifting and 1.5 to 2 hours of HIIT per week.”

            So 1.5-2 hours of HIIT is 4 – 30 minute sessions/week and 5 days of weightlifting?

            With the weightlifting workouts of Pages 206-207 – they take me 30 minutes/workout. When you say 3 sets – you mean 8-10 reps of lighter weights(heavier than warmup weights) & 4-6 reps of heavier weights which I can’t lift as much.

            I’m wondering if I’m doing too less?

            Thanks, Anu

          • Great!

            Yes, 4 30min sessions of HIIT and 5 days of lifting is good.

            Three sets per exercise, each set performed in the 8-10 rep range. The whole workout should take no more than an hour, so you’re fine.

          • anu

            Got it! Thanks for clarifying!

          • NP 🙂

          • anu

            Hi Mike, I’ve been following the program & have lost 2″ on my belly button! I’m HAPPY! Quick Question – I can’t find “Calf workout C”. I see Calf workout A & B. Can you tell me the page number I should look at? Or give me Calf workout C please?
            Thanks, Anu

          • Nice! Good work dropping the 2″.

            Take a look at Page 194, where all the calf workouts are listed:

            Standing Calf Raise – 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps
            Seated Calf Raise – 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps
            Rest 1 minute in between these sets

          • anu

            Thank you!

          • No problem!

  • Kim May Smelcer

    There is no gym close to me (closest is 1 hour away.) Do I need extensive amounts of weights? I really only have light dumbbells.

  • EllaV

    Hey Mike,
    I want to get back to training, and my friend says she loves your workouts. The thing is I’m not trying to lose weight, in fact I’m trying to gain some as well as build muscle, and the fat loss I want is the ab area. Is this program for me? What do you think.
    Female, 27, 100 lbs, 5’2″

    • Welcome, Ella! The program will definitely help you reach your goals. Whether or not you build muscle or lose fat is controlled wholly by your diet. The actual workout routine is the same for both goals. The book will teach your how to accomplish both.

  • Susan

    Hi Mike
    I have just bought your books and am planning my meals … I have created an excel spreadsheet to log my foods and have used the data on the back of the food packets. However, on my trial run (and I followed your example in your book for a 140 pound woman) I seemed to be getting a high ‘fat’ score … should I be only counting saturated fat or total fat? Thanks.

  • Vicki Tovar

    Do you need to join a gym to follow your workout plans? Can you use free weights at home and see the same results?

  • Heather Cropper

    I’m excited to start “The Year one Challenge for Women” but I won’t be able to do a barbell squat due to herniated discs in my neck. What is the next best thing to a squat? A leg press machine? I just can’t have any weight on or near my neck. ;(

    • No problem, Heather! Glad to hear you’re excited to start. Try the Hack Squat Sled, Front Squats, or Goblet Squat. Leg Press works too.

  • Michelle Marcum

    Hi Mike, I have been doing TLS for about 6 months now and am loving it! My question is, when should I transition from 8 reps to 4 reps and does that apply to all lifts or only some? Thanks! ~Michelle

    • Hey Michelle!

      Once women have put in a good 6 months or so at that rep range, though, they’ll have the strength and experience to comfortably (and safely) include some heavier work in their routines.

      So, if you’re at that point and would like to work in some 4-6 rep range training, I recommend doing 3 sets in the 4-6 rep range, and using it on the following exercises:

      Military Press
      Bench Press

  • Karen Davidian

    Hi. I would like to buy the book, however, I am not comfortable using free weights. Is the program adaptable to weight machines?

    • Hey Karen, for best results, you’ll want to use free-weights. I assure you that once you practice and become familiar with the exercises, you’ll be very comfortable with free weights. Start with lighter weights for practice, and it’ll soon become routine 🙂

  • Faith

    Hi. I’m doin weights the last yr. YEAR!! Built muscles in arms and legs but stuck at 51kg. I’m 5ft. Can’t seem to drop any more body fat. Its 27%. And can’t get rid of my belly. Please advice.

    • Hey Faith! Have you been following a cutting diet? Set your macro and calorie targets here:


      If you’re not losing fat, take a look at this:


      • Faith

        Hi. Thanks for reply. So. I’m on 1350 cals a day. I use fitbit so 3 days I burn 2000cals and other days it’s 1800. I’m drinking 2litres water a day. I’m 5ft and 51kg. 27% bodyfat. Its like I’m stuck. I weight lift 3 days a week and walk dog. Should I up my cardio or does it matter once I’m in 500 deficit. Also I use Myfitnesspal pal. And religiously weigh everything.

        • Nice work dropping 8kgs. Regarding the use of My Fitness Pal, make sure you’re tracking only your intake to hit your 1350 calorie target. There is no need to take into account supposed calories burned and then “eating back” the calories to hit your 1350 calorie target.

          I recommend that you increase your activity to a 4 or 5 day weights split and incorporate HIIT cardio 3-4x a week:


          • Faith

            Ok thanks. I dont eat the cals back. Il up the cardio. Thanks

          • Perfect!

  • Renée

    Hey mike I’m Renée and I noticed something about the pictures you have of before and after for women. None of the women are fat to begin with just flabby. And they do tone up. You can clearly see that. But what about women like me? Who have 100lbs or more to lose and a bmi in the high 40’s have you ever helped someone like me? And if so why aren’t there pictures of it? I would also like to know if there are any exercises you would suggest that can be done without putting pressure on my broken ankle? Thanks for you’re time.

    • Hey Renée! The laws of energy balance still apply and the diet doesn’t change. The only thing that changes is the more fat you have to lose, the longer you have to cut to get down to your desired BF%. Check this out:


      I don’t have as many before and after pictures of women overall just because I have a lot more guys picking up my books and reading my blog, but I’ve helped plenty of women with a lot of weight to lose.

  • Margaret MacDonald

    I purchased the book thru Amazon. How do I download the bonus report?

  • Vishruth

    Hi Mike,

    I bought TLS for my wife. I have been following BLS for 3 weeks now. I noticed that the rep ranges are higher in TLS. Any specific reason why you dont recommend the 4-6 rep range for women?

    • Great! The reason why I recommend women start in the 8-10 rep range (~75% of 1RM) is most start out with very low levels of muscle and strength and find that to be quite heavy. 4-6 would be really daunting and possibly even dangerous (due to poor form).

      Once women have put in a good 6 months or so at that rep range, though, they’ll have the strength and experience to comfortably (and safely) include some heavier work in their routines.

      So, if she’s at that point and would like to work in some 4-6 rep range training, I recommend doing 3 sets in the 4-6 rep range, and using it on the following exercises:

      Military Press
      Bench Press

      • Vishruth

        For the last 4 weeks she’s been doing most of these exercises in the 4 to 6 rep range. Once she saw the TLS reps she got a little worried as to whether she will bulk-up like a man.


        • Nah. Physically impossible for her to bulk up like a man. The biggest concern is form and technique.

  • Miz Eloise

    hi. i bought the book and also follow the advice here the 5 day workout routine. after 6months of doing the 5 day routine here u realized im not doing tls right. im in the 4 to 6 rep range even before earning them. i thought i was so bad ass lol.

    my question is am i supposed to do all the workouts per muscle group in tls or just choose 3 exercisesaking sure that each muscle has a compound move?

    • As long as your form and technique are correct, you’ll be fine doing 4-6 on deadlifts, squats, overhead presses, and bench presses.

      Follow the TLS exercise routine as it is presented. The same applies to the Year One Challenge.

  • Tatiana Cardoso

    I’m reading your book and I realized that all examples of food and exercise are targeted at the male audience.
    I am a 53 year old woman and would like to adapt these tips to my profile. How to make it?
    Best regards,

    • Hey Tatiana, that’s great you picked up a copy of TLS! Food and exercises are gender-neutral. TLS guidelines and the program are focused for women, however. You’ll do very well following them 🙂

  • Lily Tran

    What can I do if the weights I am using is too light but the next weight up is too heavy?

    • Good question, Lily! Complete 3 sets of 10 reps, then try it again. If it’s still too heavy, then go for sets of 12 before attempting it again.

  • Christine Jimenez

    Is this program good for someone who is obese? I have about 100 pounds to lose, and I definitely want to build muscle as I lose the fat.

  • carolina

    Hi Mike,
    I am about to start with the program (btw, I love the book!). I am 36 years old, 5’1”, 127lbs at 25% of body fat. I am no stranger to exercise. In my teens and early 20’s I played tennis anywhere from 2 to 8 hours a day 6 days a week and lifted 3 times a week. I managed to keep my body fat at about 20%. My life nowadays no longer allows me the luxury of endless exercising time though. I am a single mom of an autistic child. Between work and home demands I can only work out Monday through Friday during my 1 hour lunch break (a solid 45 min gym session). If I do the 5 day split I would not have any time left for cardio. Do you recommend I do the 3 day split and cardio on the other 2 days so I can reduce my body fat %? ( my food intake is of about 1600 cal with 45% protein/35% carbs and 20% fat)

    • Awesome, Carolina. Glad to hear you love the book too!

      Since your Supermom schedule is pretty packed, I recommend a 3 or 4 day split so you can work in the cardio. You were thinking on the right track! Good job 🙂

      • carolina

        Thank you so much for your reply! I started this week with the year one challenge program with a 3 day split (cardio two days during lunch and one night while my son has his therapy session). 🙂
        BTW, I love Whey +… It is the best tasting protein shake I have ever had! Are you planning on also launching a casein protein or any other slow digesting protein shake anytime?

        • Welcome! Perfect!

          Glad you’re enjoying Whey+ too. Yup, there are several products ahead of it in the pipeline, but I do plan on releasing a casein protein soon. 🙂

          • carolina

            Hey Mike,

            How are you? I started your thinner, leaner and stronger program about a month ago and I already see great results! However, as expected my legs and hips are lagging behind my upper body in terms of fat trimming down. I still have a significant amount of body fat (about 24%) and I am considering taking Phoenix to help with the fat reduction process.

            I understand that overtime the body becomes conditioned to certain substances if you take it on a regular basis and thus the substance becomes less effective. Since I am still at nearly 24% body fat at this point I am wondering if based on your experience would you suggest I should hold off on using Phoenix until I can get to closer to 20% body fat with no fat burner supplementation. My concern is that if I use Phoenix now I would end up hitting a plateau at lower body fat percentages.
            On a completely different subject, I just placed a new order of Whey+. I got another bottle of chocolate (because it is absolutely delicious!) and after reading the reviews I thought the vanilla and peanut butter chocolate were my next flavors to try. They are both very good flavors as well! I must say that the eggnog and cookies and cream were supper appealing to me but the reviews were so mixed on flavor that it discouraged me from committing to 30 servings of a powder I might dislike. Have you ever considered selling a sampler size protein mix with a few servings of each of the flavors? I am not sure how this translates in dollars due to packaging cost and what is the demand like for a sampler size package but I figured I’d throw the idea out there… 🙂

  • Stephanie Veganni

    Hey! I’m almost finished reading the book and I put together a vegan meal plan (which is mostly supplements bc ive noticed its hard to get 120g protein on a calorie limit of 1100 (I’m 5’1 120lbs and just coming off a starvation diet i was on before I read the book)) but my concern is with the weightlifting schedule as I just had breast implants at the end of November and my dr instructed me not to work upperbody at all (can’t lift more than 10 pounds) bc of the type of implants i got that are under the muscle. I’m wondering if i can spend just as much time strength training (5x a week) and just alternate legs, but, and core days to get the results. As my main areas of focus are core, but, legs, anyways. Thanks for your time!

    • Hey Steph, nice work putting together your meal plan! Double check your macro targets here, and if you’re coming off a starvation diet be sure to reverse diet up to TDEE first before you do anything:



      Chest day would be a problem, for sure. Did your doc say anything about shoulders or rows? I’ve recently had a coaching client with implants under the muscle and she was cleared for (and did fine on) shoulder and back workouts. I wouldn’t hammer legs with twice the TLS legs volume week after week.

      • Stephanie Veganni

        My surgeon said i can only work lower body and core. He was even hesitant about letting me do planks. I’m very petite and got large implants so that may be the difference between me and your client. Thanks for the articles, I did recalculate my macros and came up with BMR 1308 and TDEE 1766 but since I’ve just now worked my way up to 1100 calories a day(I did 500-800 a day for a few weeks to drop weight i put on after my surgery and after reading your book I’m kicking myself for it) i think next week I’ll do 1200 and then increase 150 cal a week as your book suggested until i get to TDEE. I workout 6x a week doing HIIT cardio 30 mins, 8 mins on core, and twice a week legs. Maybe bc of my restrictions i should hit legs/butt twice a week (with different exercises) say Tuesday and Saturday, and then do the ab circuits 3x a week say Monday, Weds, and Friday?

        • Ah okay. Let’s stick to his recommendation then.

          Yup, let’s keep increasing your intake by 100-150 cals every 7-10 days until you reach TDEE.

          I recommend reducing the cardio volume:


          Cool on the ab circuits, and legs twice a week is fine.

          LMK how it goes!

          • Stephanie Veganni

            Thank you! Reducing cardio is going to be a major challenge for me bc I’m addicted to running but I’m definitely going to follow your advice. Your book says no more than 5 sessions of HIIT cardio a week for cutting so I can do 5 instead of 6 and I’ll just walk on the other 2 days. I really enjoyed your book by the way I’m going to borrow my daughters kindle so I can download some others you’ve written.

          • YW! Glad to hear you enjoyed my book so much 🙂

  • Andrea

    I”m thinking about getting the book and workout journal but a few questions. I can’t do HIIT right now because of knee tracking, so if I do bike or elliptical as intense as I can handle, I”m in pain the next day. Also, because my movements for squatting are not right yet (again the tracking) I am doing squats, but very light weight, so will that not allow me to succeed?? Also, if some of the exercises you list, like the seated calf exercise, if I don’t have the equipment needed at my gym, what do you do then??

    • No worries if you can’t do HIIT and certain exercises. For cardio, just stick to SS. For the exercises, just let me know which ones you aren’t able to do from the routine, and I’ll let you know what are some good alternatives. 🙂

      • Andrea

        and every time I have a question, like on finding alternative exercises, is this the place to shoot you the questions?

        • Best to shoot me an email: Mike at muscleforlife.com 🙂

  • Mai-ana Hutchinson

    I have the books and am about to start…do you have videos of the exercises?

  • Jana Gunter

    I have just started reading this book, and I also have the workbook. But there is something in the beginning of the workbook that I don’t understand. Where it’s talking about the “cheat sheet”, it says, “…with 50 percent of your heavy, 8- to 10- rep set weight…”. I do not know what these words mean. I have never lifted weights before. If this is part of the workout, I’m going to need to know what this means. Heavy what? Barbell? I don’t know where to begin, but I want to get going.

    • Honestly it’s just trial and error for your first week or two. As a general rule, for every 5 lbs you add to a dumbbell exercise, you’ll lose 2 reps. The same for every 10 lbs added to a barbell exercise. So if you put 100 lbs on the squat bar and do 10 reps, you should be able to get about 8 reps with 110 lbs.

      Just work with light weights at first and learn the form, and then increase. You’ll get your numbers within a week or two. 🙂

      • Jana Gunter

        Ohh, ok! So being a noodly-armed weakling, I should start with a lower weight and work my way up? I’m going in the morning, so I’ll just find what fits to begin with. Thank you so much!!

        • We all start somewhere! Yes, start with a lower weight, learn the exercises, and work your way up.

          YW! 🙂

  • Aimee Ocampo

    Can the exercise portion of TLS be done using CrossFit?

    • Sure! As long as the volume and intensity work out to be the same.

  • Mai-ana Hutchinson

    Another question from me…sometimes I have to workout at home…I can’t do a seated leg press at home, what is the recommended alternative?

    • No problem! You can do Front Squats or the Goblet Squat.

  • Jacqui Thomas

    Hey Im reading Eat Green, Get Lean and at the start, you say that some recipes are for gain while the others are for fat loss. Which ones are the fat loss ones? Or should I just calorie count?

    • Nutritionally dense recipes will be more suited for a bulking plan due to the higher calories. You can still include them into a cutting plan, but just be sure the calories and macros work out.

  • Paola Buitrago

    So I just started the workouts! I’m lifting pretty heavy and seem to be good working sets. In the end of the entire workout I feel like I could have done more or like I should add workouts. What do you think? I have been working out and playing volleyball for years should I make them tougher or add more weight?

  • Jessica Yoder

    I’m a complete newbie… I need detailed instructions on form and the exercises spelled out. I don’t know which exercises are which because I don’t know the lingo. Is that in the one year workout plan or do you recommend another book or dvd that would give me a look at all the exercises you use? I really want to get started just want to know I’m doing things right and maximizing my workouts. I’m in over my head;)!

  • Gail A.

    Hi Mike! I’ve read so many of your free articles online, which I loved, so why should I buy the book? What I’m asking is can you convince me to buy the book even though you provide a lot of free info online? What more will you teach me? Thanks for everything so far!

    • Gail A.

      Like the majority of people here, I want to mamimize fat loss and minimize muscle loss. I cannot decide between the TLS and Strong Curves programs. I’m leaning toward TLS. 😉

      • Hey hey! If you apply the info I provide in the articles, you can get great results.

        The book does provide additional info that isn’t covered with the articles, but again, even with just the info that’s available on the blog, you can get great results.

        Thanks for your support!

  • Blee Dickerson

    Mike, My husband and I want to do your program at home. We have power block dumbbells and are thinking about getting a Rogue power cage. Even with those two things it seems like we can’t do a lot of the “approved” exercises in the bonus report. Several of them require equipment found at a gym. Any suggestions for replacement exercises?

    • With dumbbells, an adjustable bench, and the power cage, you guys are pretty well equipped for the program! In place of the leg press, for example, you can do front squats. Pick any free-weight alternative on the list.

  • Alissa

    Hey Mike. I’ve read your book the shredded chef as well as a bunch of your articles. I’m a mom of three, 40 years old and live and work in Africa as a midwife. I workout 5-6 days a week– currently doing a hybrid of body beast and 21day fix extreme. I eat clean, track macros, though I consistently don’t have enough protein, have some food sensitivities that keep me from gluten, corn, etc which I’m good with. Though I’ve been working out consistently with a good mixture of weightlifting, hiit, and/or cardio for over 4 years, I’m still not where I’d like to be… I don’t feel that my body reflects the work and care I put into it, despite my strength gains continuing. I have hypothyroidism with lab values in normal range but I do wonder at times if this is part of the issue. All that to say, I’m curious as to TLS but my biggest hang up is the workouts. I like to watch and follow rather than read and do. Thoughts?

    • Hey Alissa, thanks for picking up my books! That’s great you’re so active. Manipulating your calories based on the results you get will help with getting to your goals. Regarding the TLS workouts, if you download the bonus report, you can follow exercise form videos if you click on an exercise in the exercise list. Other than that, it’s going to be “read and do”…

      You can grab the TLS Bonus Report here:


  • Summer Bryant

    Hi Mike! I just purchased the paperback of TLS and the Kindle version. How do I get the special report and bonuses? Thanks! I’m excited to start the program!

    • Awesome! You can grab the TLS Bonus Report here:


      • Summer Bryant

        Thank you so much! I am loving reading the book at the report! I have question on diet.

        I currently participate in Weight Watchers. I have since 2008 and have gone from 245 to 160 in a year (Theatre Dance helped!) but, I’ve stopped working out about 2 years ago and I’ve maintained at 180(ish) – I love the program very much as it has been very successful for me and have started it up again. Will this work well with your nutrition and workout plan? Thanks again!

        • Hey Summer! Glad you like the book.

          First off, congrats on the weight loss. That’s a huge change.

          Weight Watcher’s is absolutely compatible with TLS, but I think you may have more luck just committing to the advice in the book. It’ll probably be simpler that way, and it might be a nice change of pace from what you’ve been doing.


  • Gill

    I have used weights in the past, but I have had breast cancer and lymph node removal. Although this was a few years ago and I have movement in my arm I don’t want to cause any damage. I would be grateful for your guidance on this issue. I am 64 years old, but keep fit with running,and some pilates.

    • Unfortunately, I really haven’t done much research on your situation. That’s something you should check with your doc on…

  • susana osório

    Hi, I have a slight lower back scoliosis, thus I’m not sure if the deadlift & squats are safe. Could you clarify which options could I use safely and effectively to be able to follow your 3-day split?
    Great book btw, thanks.

    • Hmm. That’s something that you should check with your doc or PT on. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help!

  • Jillian Hession

    I’m in the process of reading “thinner leaner stronger” and was trying to calculate my LBM. In order to calculate that I need to know my BF%, is that just my BMI? If not how can I find out my body fat percentage?

  • anu

    Hi Mike,
    I’ve been following the book & the diet ie calories, protein, carbs, fat too. I’m a little disappointed. My weight has increased by 4 pounds in the last month. There has been no change in the fit of my clothes though. No medical conditions/periods either? So I’m confused :((

    Thanks, Anu

    • Hey Anu, I suggest you reexamine your calorie target:


      If you’re gaining weight, then you are in a caloric surplus and need to increase your exercise activity/intensity and reduce calories. Also, check this out:


      • anu

        Thanks Mike. Just some info – I weigh 135 lbs, I am 5’2″. I do have 20% body fat. So I’ve gained 2 lbs not 5 lbs as I originally thought. I have been exercising 30 mins/day HIIT cardio for 5 days/week & about 45 minutes weights/day with increasing weight as I can & doing the warmup as per the book. From the link you send I calculated my calories to cut i.e 1400/day. Could this extra 2 lbs possibly be extra muscle? (hoping!!). I checked my diet too. The diet varies daily. I would say 4 days/week I keep it at 1400. The other 3 days it does go over. Could this be the problem? Thanks, Anu

        • If you’re 135lbs and 20% BF, your BMR is about 1450. Did you read the not losing weight article?

  • Roseanne Rodriguez

    I am new to lifting and tracking food intake. I was wondering if my macros are good. I calculated them from the TLS book. I am using the 1 year challenge and lift 5 days a week. I do interval cardio 3 days a week for 30-45 minutes and 1 day of long (1hr) cardio, usually a run. I know cardio that long isn’t as good for you but I want to make sure my cardio is just as strong. My Macros are 149g protein, 156 carbs, 30 fat and stay between 1400-1500 calories. I am cutting but haven’t lost much weight and I’ve actually gained about 30lbs. After reading a lot I understand that the weight gain was going to happen since I was pretty much starving myself and was malnourished at 115. I was anemic, vit D was 9 and b12 was in the tank. It took 6 months to get those numbers out of the danger zones with medication. I was still not eating right at the time. I was cold all the time. I was miserable. I was skinny fat. I am 30lbs heavier but feel better than ever. I’m 5’5″.So to support my increase in working out I first increased my calories to 1200 for about 6 weeks. I put on the lbs. my legs are getting bigger but my belly and arms look better than they ever have so I’m not worried about the weight gain……for now. Now I am holding steady. Just looking to see if you think my macros are too high. My bf is 24%

  • Terry

    Hi Mike – In TLS I’ve come to the Training Program part of the book but I may have missed something earlier. How much am I supposed to start lifting? I keep going over past chapters and can’t find a recommendation or formula. How much should I start with and what page is that on?

    • Hey Terry,

      Finding your weights will be a little awkward at first, but you’ll get the hang of it by the end of week 1 and it will be smooth sailing from there on out. You just start light and know that as a general rule of thumb, for every 5 lbs you go up on DB exercises, you’ll lose about 2 reps, and the same for every 10 lbs added to barbell exercises.

  • Jane

    Hi Mike, is your book suitable if you need to modify your training, are unfit and over 100kg? Also, the link to Amazon shows your book but offers the year one challenge at a cost separately – is that right? Thanks

    • Hey Jane, the training is still suitable regardless of training level.

      The Year One Challenge bonus report is free with the book, and the tracking journal is a separate purchase.

  • Kate Ward

    Respectfully, would you consider eliminating the word, “girls,” from your website, except where that’s what you really mean? I’m 45. I’m all woman.

    • Hey Kate,

      I’m sorry you don’t like the use of the word “girl” in this case. I understand that it might imply a younger female, but I generally use it just to keep things more informal.



  • Nicola Elvin

    Hi, I love your articles, so much so I bought your book last night. It’s a great read. Your style is really engaging. I often get bored reading diet/exercise blogs/articles but I don’t with yours.

    One thing though that turns me off is your articles for women about getting ‘a sexy body’. To me sexy means sexually attractive to men. I don’t want to improve my body for men to find me sexy. I want to do it for me. For me to look in the mirror and see what I achieved for me. I don’t want to be lean, toned and sexy; lean and toned is fine.

    • Nicola Elvin

      BTW, don’t think I’m not grateful for all the free material and articles. I really am! I wanted to bring your attention to why words like sexy put women off.

      • Hey Nicola,

        Thanks for the support, and I’m glad you like the book!

        That’s a fair point, but most of the women who read the book and the site consider themselves “sexy.” I certainly didn’t mean for it to put you off.


  • natalee campbell

    Hi Mike! I love how knowledgeable you are and I thoroughly enjoy reading ALL your articles. I’d like to get your book and do the prescribed workouts but I don’t want want to be THINNER. I want my thighs and butt to be MUCH bigger. I would love to look like the woman in the woman in the attached photo. I know that we aren’t suppoed to expect our results to be exactly the same as someone else but I’m naturally petite, 5 ft/ 111lbs with a pear shape (Used to be 94lbs before going on a weight gain journey), as she is so I’m just using her as a reference. I’ve been following the workouts from your definitive workout guide mixed with your workouts specific for butt building but I want to kick it up a notch. Will the program in your book be good for my goal or should i do something completely different?

    • Hey Natalee, Glad to hear you’re enjoying my content! The book has guidelines for both getting leaner and for bulking and maximizing muscle growth. The program definitely can help you get to where you want to be!

      • natalee campbell

        Thanks for getting back to me Mike! I have a couple more questions. I got TLS and the 1 year challenge and will be doing the 5 day split. I’m doing my compound exercises in the 4-6 rep range and prefer to do leg day/heavy squats at the beginning of the week so can I move day 5 to day 1 and bump everything else down a day after that? Also, I’d like a bit more butt work so can I add some more hip thrusts on the Back, Butt & Abs day, after the squats? If so, which rep range would you recommend? Another 8-10 or throw in some 15-20? Since the end of December, I’ve been doing a 5 day split consisting of the butt specific workouts 3 times a week plus 1 pull day and 1 push day for the upper body (taken from the 3 day split workout). I’ve had great results so far (now up to squatting 180 and hip thrusting 235, adding weight to the bar every week) with this volume so was hoping I could add a bit more butt work to the workouts prescribed in the 1 year challenge since the leg and butt work seems to be a bit less than what I’m currently doing. LMK. Thanks in advance!

        • Great! Have you seen this for more butt work?

          • natalee campbell

            Yup, that’s the one I mentioned doing 3 times a week since December of last year. To make my long question shorter, since I’m already doing that, how do I mix it with the 5 day split in the one year challenge and is this extra butt work something I can do Year round? Thanks

          • Gotcha. On that split, do your upper body lifts on your two off days. For example, a push day, then an upper body pull day. You can do it year-round.

          • natalee campbell

            Awesome! This is what I’ve been doing. Nice to know I’m on the right track. Thanks a lot Mike!

          • Great! YW 🙂

  • Meghan Sheeba Elizabeth

    Hey Mike,
    I started reading your book to help me gain a better understanding of physiological processes in order to create a program for my ultra marathon training. I’ve finished several before, but now am starting to get competitive, so decided to really dial in nutrition, strength training, HIIT, and obviously obscene amounts of mileage. I think the way in which you cut through the BS is wonderful, and the information is very succinct. That being said, my goal isn’t to get bigger or leaner (I’ve been reading both books), but to increase endurance and performance. Are there tweaks I should be making? Most of the info holds true, and I cross reference “runner rules of thumb”, but I feel like ultra running is a different, and far more specific beast. Any insights? References you would recommend? I read avidly, but there is A LOT of conflicting info in the fitness world haha! Thanks in advance!

  • Stacey Jones

    Hi. I just purchased the TLS book, One Year Challenge and custom meal plan and am excited to get started. I love to take spin class (45 min) and Title boxing classes (15 minute pure cardio warm-up, 30 minutes on the bag and 15 minutes of core) and am wondering how I can still incorporate those into my week while doing your program. I really don’t want to give either those up. Thanks!

    • Welcome, Stacey! That’s great you picked up the journal and a meal plan as well. Those don’t conflict with the TLS program at all. You can schedule weight training and the classes however you’d like. 🙂

      • Stacey Jones

        Great. Thanks for answering. Is there a limit to how many times I should each in the week? I am kinda scared of doing too much cardio now.

  • Natalia Skogland

    Hi Mike,
    I’ve tried weighlifting programmes a few times before. They were designed by a trainer at the gym and every single time, I got bigger. After 6 weeks, we measured my thighs and they were bigger than when I started. The trainer never explained why and I stopped weight training and went on a starvation diet. A few of my friends had the same experience. Do all women get bigger at first, or is it dependant on the programme they follow? Is there any way to avoid it?

    I’m one of those skinny-fat people thanks to a severe eating disorder, too much cardio etc. Getting bigger makes me panic. I’ve undergone treatment for anorexia and am now eating like a normal person but I think its time to do something about my body and fitness level. I’ve ordered your book online and am looking forward to getting started….I’m just worried about getting bigger, even if it means I’ll get smaller later on.

    Thank you 🙂 N.

    • Hey Natalia,

      I’m glad you’re doing better, first of all.

      To your question, you will generally get a little bigger at first, but if you also keep your calories at a reasonable level, it will be pretty minimal. You’ll likely get a little bigger as your rate of muscle gain outpaces your rate of fat loss, and then you’ll start getting smaller as you lose more fat. I know it can be really disconcerting at first, but if you stick with it, you’ll likely find that you’re happier in the end.

      Shoot me an email if you ever have any questions too, and I’ll do my best to help.



  • Laurel

    I just stared the one year challenge, can I swap out exercises in each category or do I need to follow it to the letter? If I am able to swap, should I do a swamped exercise for a minimum amount of time? Thanks!

    • Awesome, Laurel! Follow the Year one challenge to the letter unless you have equipment limitations that require you to make the swap.

  • Sirin

    Hello, I am reading “The Thinner, Leaner and Stronger”. I loved the book. My problem is in the gym we do not have bars the only weight is the dumbells. Will it be ok to do all those 4 basic moves with dumbells? How should I modify?

    • Glad to hear it, Sirin!

      Working out with only dumbbells is a bit tough because you can’t squat, deadlift, bench press, or military press (and these are the most important exercises in any program, really).

      My first standard recommendation is to get a proper home setup (a power cage or multi-press rack with an Olympic bar and plates), or work out in another gym instead. Here are the products I like:


      That said, if neither are possible, you can focus on the dumbbell exercises given in the “approved exercises” section of the book. For instance, a chest day would look like this:

      Incline dumbbell press: warm up and 6 sets 4-6 reps
      Flat dumbbell press: 3-6 sets of 4-6 reps

      While that might seem redundant and inefficient, it’s actually a great chest workout. I did that for nearly 6 months a couple years ago and was amazed by the gains I was able to make.

      You can also add a couple exercises to make your legs day more challenging:

      Goblet squats are decent, albeit limited.
      One-legged squats are challenging even without weight.

      For your back, I recommend doing a lot of dumbbell rows and weighted wide-grip pull-ups.

      You also have the option of working in some modified body weight exercises, as discussed here:


      I hope this helps and let me know what you think!

      • Sirin

        Thank you for the detailed reply 🙂 I will try them

  • M

    I started year one challenge when I finished your book. Im just having a hard time to understand how to load weight in your exercises. I just dont understand when to introduce the low rep range and when to add weight!??

    Love the book and methodology

    • That’s great you’re on the program! Add weight (5-10lbs) when you hit 10 reps. If on the next set you’re unable to do 8 reps, then go back to the original weight and wait until you can do 2-3 sets of 10 before attempting to increase the weight again.

      The reason why I recommend women start in the 8-10 rep range (~75% of 1RM) is most start out with very low levels of muscle and strength and find that to be quite heavy. 4-6 would be really daunting and possibly even dangerous (due to poor form).

      Once women have put in a good 6 months or so at that rep range, though, they’ll have the strength and experience to comfortably (and safely) include some heavier work in their routines.

      So, if when you’re at that point and would like to work in some 4-6 rep range training, I recommend doing 3 sets in the 4-6 rep range, and using it on the following exercises:

      Military Press
      Bench Press

      Hope that helps! Glad to hear you loved the book 🙂

      • Rae

        Hi Mike,

        I have a question on this. I used to do cross fit less than 4 months ago. I took a break due to a crazy work schedule and dental surgery. I got my husband the book and he is doing amazing. I am starting the workout. I started in the 4-6 range. If I understand correctly, I should be okay since I have that strength? First week and my squat is 65 lbs. I PR’d at 90 during cross fit.

        • It’s great that you’re getting back into fitness after life happening. It can be tough.

          Starting in that range should be OK for the exercises you are confident that you have proper form doing. I recommend using the technique described above for the exercises you may not be as strong or confident with, yet.

          LMK if you have any other questions!

  • Lisa Bohnert

    Hi, I do cardio in the morning and then do my lifting at about 2pm before the kids get home. I know that you recommend doing weights first or separating them by several hours. I ride (equestrian) several mornings a week and then lift right when I get home. While plenty of people have told me this isn’t really exercise I’m wondering what your take is on whether riding is considered enough cardio to negatively affect my lifting. Would I be better off getting up early and lifting before I do my morning cardio?


    • Hey Lisa, riding in the morning will not impact your afternoon weight training. 🙂

  • Nancy T

    I am thinking about starting this program. One question I have is, I was in a car accident many years ago and broke both of my shoulder blades. I don’t have full range of motion & really have an immense amount of trouble lifting my arms straight up beside my ears without weights let alone with weights. Will this impede my progress or is there a substitute exercise I could do?

    • Hi Nancy, there are other exercises you can do if you run into movement limitations. For example instead of the overhead press, you can try dumbbell front raises. Experiment with bodyweight or light weights with basic movements to see which are (or aren’t) doable.

      LMK how it goes!

  • Molly Opie Persian

    Do the splits have to be in a row? Like can I do Mon-Wed take off Thursday then do Friday and Saturday? I read the whole book in one sitting because I was so excited, so I’ll re-read it and see if I just missed it.
    And in one part of the book I read that if you have over 30% body fat to eat your weight times 0.8 and in another article of yours I saw it say body weight times 1. Which one is it? (I bought your meal plan but I want to try eating correctly while waiting for it) I’m 170 pounds, 29 years old at 41% body fat (used an Omron body composition scale).
    I am BEYOND excited to do this! (someone said you didn’t have before and after pictures from a chubby to fit girl and I will DEFINITELY provide that hahaha)

    • Hey Molly, that’s awesome you enjoyed the book so much! You can do the splits in a row or spread them out through the week.

      Both guidelines are workable. To make the math easier and to customize it further, I recommend this:


      Glad to hear you picked up a meal plan as well! Looking forward to your Success Story 🙂

  • Kelsey Miller

    So, I’m reading the book and can’t wait to get started! My only concern is that I’m a collegiate cross country runner and I’m afraid my training for that will interfere with making gains in the weight room. I can’t slack in your running though. What should I do?

    • Hey Kelsey, that’s great you’re looking to get started! I recommend a 3-day split or even a 2-day split:


      Also, be sure to eat enough calories to support both activities.

      • Kelsey Miller

        Awesome! If I do a 3 day split should I lift in the morning and then do my running workout later in the day on lift days? And regarding food intake, should I add enough calories to just cover the estimated burned for my running?

  • Hajera Asmal

    Hi Mike can i buy ur supplements in south Africa NFL if I can give an address pls I love this whole programme of yours I’m a regular gamer nd love being in good shape

    • Thanks for the support! Legion does ship to South Africa. You can go to wwww.legionathletics.com and place an order 🙂

  • Liz

    I’m just about to start Phase 1 and wondered can I use dumbbells instead of barbells?

    • It’s great to hear you’re changing your body with TLS. You can use dumbbells, but you’ll get stringer and need to use barbells to get the same intensity of workout. Good luck with TLS!

      • Liz

        Thanks for prompt response👍

  • Ava

    Hi Mike, I’m a new mom with very limited time to actually go to the gym. My questions is, can I perform all these exercises at home only using dumbells, and barbell? Is it actually doable?

    • Sure. With a barbell, dumbbells, bench, and squat rack, you’ll be able to do the majority of the exercises at home. You can make substitutions from the exercise list as needed.

  • Joanna perez

    Hi! How can I download or receive The Year One Challenge? I purchased the TLS book & am currently reading it. Thanks!

    • Hey Joanna, The Year One Challenge can be found in the Bonus Report. Did you get it? Visit http://bit.ly/tls-bonus

      You can get a hard-copy of the Year One Challenge for recording your workouts and progress on Amazon 🙂

  • zuzana nemcova

    Hi Mike, I am from Slovakia, Europe and I would like to buy the PDF book plus bonuses, but if I click the “I want the book” button, it just redirect me to amazon site but not showing anything…
    Could you help?
    thank you

  • Maya

    I don’t have a membership or any thing to workout with is there body weight workouts in your books?

  • Shannon McLeod

    I have numerous health issues and have to take IV steroids due to my immune system. Will this program work for me? I’m a 38 y/o woman and weigh 230

    • You can check with your doctor, but if you’re cleared for exercise and lifting, there’s no reason you can’t do TLS. The principles of building muscle and losing fat are the same 🙂

  • Melissa

    Can I “slim down” my legs while following the program? What about distance running, will it hinder results?

  • Kelly Machin

    Hi I have recently bought the book as I am stuck and just finished a 6 week work out plan. Is there a clear plan set out in the book or do I have to create one myself from the exercises there are?

    • Hey Kelly, TLS gives you a specific routine you can follow. There’s actually a few given depending on if you can train 5, 4, or 3 days a week, as well. The Year One Challenge is a workout journal that gives you a year’s worth of workouts. I hope this helps! 🙂

  • Elisa A. Allen

    Hey mike I am a Wellness DIrector at the Y. I am so siked to see so many ladies toting around your book and doing lifting workouts!!! Thank you!!! I have a question on the eating plan. Is it counting MACROS? I was looking into buying the book! But i wont count macros.

    • That’s great! Is there a reason you won’t count macros? The book explains how to set your total calories, protein, fat, and carbs depending on if you want to lose fat, build muscle, etc.

  • Lauren Rakebrandt

    I just downloaded your book on my nook. You ever think of doing a workout for pregnant women so they can have a fit and healthy pregnancy?

  • Luisa

    Should cardio be done before or after weight training? I’ve heard it’s best before so you can warm up your muscles for the weight training. Is that true? Thank you!

    • If you can’t do cardio in a separate session, you should do it after the weights. A good warm-up is important, but doing a cardio session before heavy lifting will just tire you out.

  • Nixie

    I just got done with my bikini comp, and I know how unrealistic expectations of my image. How can I get to 4 weeks out healthy?

    • Hey, I don’t really specialize in competition, but I’d say that’s probably too low of a body fat percentage for most people to maintain. I’d recommend reverse dieting to at least get your calorie intake up, and you can also reduce cardio. We will be releasing a course in the near future on bikini comp 🙂

  • Rhl

    Hi, I am a Nutritionist and Trainer and I have been working out for years…. I’m frustrated though because although I have tried every type of upper body weight training routine, I can’t seem to get ripped arms (I came to this site with the search of how to get more vascular arms) and my legs get bigger with weight training (ectomorph upper body, mesomorph or maybe even endo lower) so I do more reps for lower and avoid too much quad work. The point is, I workout an hour a day and eat well (around 1800-2000 cal/day) but my goal is to be ripped. Will Thinner leaner stronger help me? I’m 45, 5 ft 10, 145 lbs and about 18% body fat so I know I need to lose body fat to reach my goals but have no idea how to do that without losing the small amount of muscle in my arms. Oh yeah and I also take a lot of supplements, ie Bcaa, CLA, beta alanine, arginine, Carnitine, Ashwaganda, to name a few, and not sure they’re doing much of anything except maybe adding a bit more energy to my workouts. Thank you!

  • SP

    Is there somewhere I can get a copy of the book in Spanish? 🙂

  • Alvina Price Lofters

    Hi Mike! I recently bought your book can I follow the female cutting diet plan that you have listed in the book?

  • Nina

    Hi, I was wondering if you have a vegetarian diet plan to help with female strength training? My diet is horrendous. Not going to lie – I don’t really like food. I’m not vegan so I can eat eggs and dairy. But I’ve found that I can’t sustain my current strength training with little to no food inside. Any suggestions that you could provide would be greatly appreciated:-) thanks

  • Tori Keso

    Hi! I bought the book and started the program recently but I’ve found most exercises assume you go to the gym. I workout at home and have a full set of weights for my barbell and dumbbells as well as a bench. Don’t have any machines though. Are there any good resources for alternate exercises?

    • Sure, you can use any of the “approved” exercises in place of any that you can’t do at home. For example, on Leg day you can do Front Squats instead of the Leg Press. I hope this helps!

  • Molly

    Hey Mike! So my brother and I both read the books (BLS & TLS) and have been following the program for about 7 months. I was wondering, as a female, is it okay to do the BLS training program? It’s nice to have a workout buddy and since the TLS & BLS are different we decided to go with the BLS program. Will this effect my gains since that program is designed for men?
    Loved the book by the way!

    • Hey Molly, thanks for reading my book! You could do the BLS program with your brother. The only thing is it has a bit more of an upper-body focus, whereas TLS is more lower-body focused. This design is based on the different goals men and women typically have, but there’s no reason you can’t do BLS. I hope this helps!

  • Lori Baldwin

    How are your vegetarians hitting their daily proteins and not going over their carbs?

  • Lauren

    Hey! So I just came across your site and I’m loving it. Great tips. I just got a membership to planet fitness due to the being all our budget can afford while I’m in school. Before purchasing your books are all of the workouts available to be done in a gym such as that one. They don’t offer some of the same things a typical gym would and I’m worried if I purchase the book I won’t be able to actually use it completely and I’m terrible at improvising on my own! Also there’s SO much awesome information on here such as HIIT training and nutrition. Does the book have all of that included?

    • Hey Lauren, I’m glad you’re loving my site! TLS goes over everything you need to know – training, diet/nutrition, cardio, etc. The routine requires free weights (barbells and dumbbells) and a few machines, so you will need to check your gym to see what’s available. The machine work can be substituted, but you’ll need barbells and dumbbells to be able to do the exercises. I hope this helps!

  • K Jacques

    I just turned 71. A few years ago I was injured and it’s taken a long time to heal. I’m interested in your program, but the people I have talked to tell me that I am too old to get in the shape I was in before the injury. Do you think I will benefit from your book?

  • Diane

    I already bought the book. How do I get the free one year challenge?

  • Lori Anderson

    Is there a mistake in Phase 3 Day 5 where the workout says Barbell Squat, Barbell Squat, Dumbbell Lunge, Glute Bridge? What should the second exercise be.

    • Hey Lori, when an exercise is listed twice like that, it just means you do 6 sets instead of 3. I hope this helps!

      • Lori Anderson

        Thanks! I love squats, so I’m in!

  • Meme

    Good day, i wanted to know is there still a free offer for The Year One Challenge for Women workbook as posted on this site, I’m so ready to get started on your plan. Its the first time I actually am reading a fitness book and you kept my attention. I like your straightforward approach . Thanks

    • Hey there! Thanks for the kind words 🙂

      The Year One Challenge is included in the bonus report, yes. The physical workbook is available on Amazon

  • Lynn Crean

    Hey mike thanks for ur book it’s cool – maybe I’m being a dork but where do I find the ab and calf workouts?

    • I’m glad you like it, Lynn! The ab circuit is described in detail on pg. 199 and calves on 194. I hope this helps!

      • Lynn Crean

        Thanks mike awesome will find it now!

        • YW 🙂

          • Lynn Crean

            Hey mike I still haven’t found the workouts but most likely because I have the ebook but I’ve found equivalent on some of your blogs so all good. I’m one week in and I’m down .6kg (I’m getting married next year so looking for an amazing back for a backless dress and I need to tighten up a bit). What I thought i would just mention is that most of your literature etc talks about loosing weight at a slow rate at .5kg per week but it’s amazing just how much rubbish is out there to the contrary and therefore I noticed my own expectations where also higher. I was like ok I’ve released this much but should I be happy with that?! Just weird how conditioned we/ me/ people are by quick fixes…I thought I would mention it here as I expect others would appreciate some assurance that loosing at a slow rate is best.
            Anyway the other fascinating thing is that I’m tracking my food (which is serious eye opener!!!) omg the difference between what I thought I was eating circa 1500 to what I was eating circa 2000 is astounding!! I’ve never actually tracked before and positives are that I am faaaaarrrr less terrified of carbs than I was (a lifelong fear lols!!!)..I have restricted carbs for yeeaaaaarrs now and omg it is so eye opening how calorific the so called clean food I was eating is!!! And I thought the random slice of bread was the problem!!?One portion of a certain lentil protein I ate often was 510 calories per serve!!
            Anyway what I am enjoying most is learning the weight lifting moves. My fiancé helps me a bit to gauge the weights etc and helps me with form but delighted to let you know that prior to your workout schedule I was literally terrified/ so self conscious of like the “guy” area in the gym and I literally would avoid it outright. I took a bench there this morning to do my stuff and I was like omg I can’t believe I’m ok in this area. It sounds small but it’s huge for me. To be honest the guys are super nice and accomodating so it’s amazing what our heads can tell us!!!
            Anyway the reason that I’m really grateful to you is that i have been so nervous of weights and the gym for many years as there is so much fad stuff out there.
            From a random girl just wanting to look her best thanks for your simple, sustainable, encouraging and healthy approach 🙂 I’m looking forward to having an amazing back for my wedding dress (and for a long time after hopefully!)

          • Hey Lynn, thanks for the comment! You’re right – tracking your calories for the first time can be a real eye-opener. I’m glad everything is going well with learning the lifts, too.

            Good luck with the routine, and make sure to take some before and after photos so we can feature you as a Success Story on the site 😉

            Let me know if I can ever help with anything!

  • Ellen Palmer

    I’m looking to start TLS on a 4 day split. I’ve come from 2 months of Stronglifts 5×5 with the addition of Barbell Hip Thrusts after every session. I don’t want to decrease my Thrust volume by too much as I want a bit of a focus on my glutes, so could I add glutes to day 2 as well?
    Also regarding cardio, I know you recommend HIIT but I am currently working through C25K, can I count that as my cardio? Thanks

    • Hey Ellen! Day 2 on the 4-day split is for Back, Butt, Biceps, and Abs, so you will be hitting your glutes plenty already with the deadlifts and squats. I’d do the routine as is, but if you want to add hip thrusts to the end of the workout, you can.

      Running/C25k can be your cardio. Just beware of any symptoms of overtraining, especially if you’re adding additional sets of hip thrusts. If you do notice anything, you’ll need to back off on something. Check this out: https://legionathletics.com/signs-of-overtraining/

  • Meg

    Mike – I just want to say that I love the TLS program, your website, podcasts, and everything you have to offer. Right now, I am actually on my 3rd time “starting” the TLS program….sadly the previous two times within the last year, I’ve quit after about a month each time. I’m kicking myself really hard right now for quitting, if I’d kept up with it I’d be rocking a new bod right now! Well…hindsight is always 20/20, and the third time’s the charm, right??

    ANYWAY! The point of this comment is to request more success stories, and specifically I’d love to see more success stories of women with 30-40% body fat getting lean. I mean, that is real motivation right there! I’m currently about 30% body fat, and on this third time around starting TLS, I’m busting my ass as hard as I can! I love the success stories as they keep me motivated. 🙂

    Keep up the awesome work Mike, I’m a fitness n00b and I absolutely love all the information you put out there that I can learn from! <3

    • Thanks so much, Meg! I’m glad you love my content. We’ve got lots of Success Stories in the queue. Make sure to take “before” photos so that you can be one, too! 🙂

      • Meg

        Hi Mike! First of all I love that you answer people’s questions and posts, that is just a really awesome thing of you to do! It shows that you really care about people’s progress and want to help them, something hard to come by these days. 🙂

        I have a couple questions for you. I started TLS a week ago, for the 3rd time like I said before. 🙁 The last 2 times I started, I noticed a clear difference in the first 2 weeks, an inch or so lost and a slight change in the mirror. This time however, while I have made myself a very detailed meal plan and am taking the same supplements as before (Legion Whey, Phoenix, Forge, and Recharge), I don’t feel like I’m making progress this time. I went back to the book to calculate my macros again and I don’t know if they’re right, I’m getting different numbers every time I try to calculate. I’m hoping you can help me nail down my macros so I can see progress quickly 🙁

        Here’s my stats:
        5′ 10″ female
        209 lbs
        43% body fat
        After a previously sedentary lifestyle, I’m now doing TLS 5 day split with 2 days of HIIT cardio and 2-3 days of yoga, so I’d put my activity level at about 5-7 hours a week (versus probably 0-3 hours before starting, lol!). I also discovered yesterday that my old scale was waaaay off, so went and got a new one that calculates body fat % at least somewhat accurately (the Fitbit Aria).

        Previously on the program, I was doing 1750 cal, 175 protein, 175 carbs, and 38 fat per day.

        After refiguring everything last night ,I came up with: 1660 cal, 166 protein, 124 carbs, and 55 fat. The fat just seems like a TON to me! Am I supposed to be eating that much fat? Are these numbers anywhere close to right?

        As a fitness n00b, I find it really hard to hit my protein intake for the day unless I’m taking in a ton of meat like turkey, tuna, and chicken, and filling in the gaps with Whey+. In trying to keep my fat intake down, a lot of things like whole eggs, cheese, and avocados are out of the question because they contain too much fat for me. Similarly, things like sweet potatoes and brown rice contain too many carbs, so usually I can’t fit those in either. 🙁

        While I don’t see changes in my body yet, I do already feel stronger, my lifts have already increased and I want to push myself harder in the gym! 🙂 I’m definitely an instant-gratification person, which I am trying to work on as I know that a body transformation is not immediate. I’m hoping that I can start to see something by the end of week 2 or 3.

        Sorry for super long post! ^^

        • Hey Meg, for simplicity’s sake, I’d use the macro calculator here: https://www.muscleforlife.com/macronutrient-calculator/

          The numbers you used previously (1750 cals) look good to me. For protein, I’d also recommend egg whites, non-fat greek yogurt or cottage cheese, etc.

          You should be able to fit in some brown rice and sweet potatoes. You have 175g to work with 🙂

          This article should help you out further:


          You’ll definitely need to be a bit patient. One week is not really long enough to make any evaluations or adjustments to what you’re doing. Plus, when you first start lifting heavy, you’ll be storing more water/glycogen, building muscle while losing fat, etc. Your scale weight can be a little misleading during the first couple months, even. This article will help explain why:


          I hope this helps!

  • Annie

    Hi Mike,
    Ive been dying to get a copy of your Thinner Leaner Stronger book and start my body transformation. Do you know of any stores that sell a physical copy?

    • Hey Annie! Your best bet is actually to buy it on Amazon 🙂

  • Lori Danyluk

    Just bought the book! How do I get the bonus report and interviews?

  • Bree

    I’m very overweight, I’m a girl who is 5’6″ and 209 lbs. The success story girls were already thin before starting. Does this program work for heavy people or should I look elsewhere?

    • Absolutely! The same principles apply if you’re very overweight. Some of the diet calculations change a bit if you’re obese, but you should still be lifting weights and using a calorie deficit to lose weight. I hope this helps!

  • Rachelle France

    Hi me and my husband bought the audio
    books but we are not sure how to get the actual workout plans?

    • Hey Rachelle! Thanks for listening to my books! The workout routines are read out in the audio book, but you can also find them in the Bonus Content. Have you downloaded that yet?

  • Carika Smith

    Hello!I’ve downloaded the e-book on Audible and really excited about starting with your programme. In the book reference is made to a ‘bonus section’ at the end of the book which for example have illustrations/pictures of the exercises you discuss. How do I get access to this, considering I purchased the e-book?

  • LibertyBelle

    Will your program work for a 70 year old woman? I keep thinking of how Jack LaLane stayed trim and muscular into his 80s and beyond. I have always been fit and toned and want to be that way again. Is it possible?

  • Katie Bailey

    I’m trying to purchase your book with the “I want this now” link above and it says it’s supposed to come with the free copy of the one year challenge. However the link takes me to amazon where I see only the option to purchase each book separately. Any other way to buy the book and get the challenge book free?

    • Hey Katie, when you buy TLS, inside the book will be a link to download the free bonus report, which includes the One Year Challenge.

      If you want the physical workout journal version of the One Year Challenge, that’s on Amazon as well. I hope this helps!

  • Serah Farron

    Hi Mr. Michael Matthews!! I stumbled upon this by complete chance and I am super, super, super, super glad I did! I am a total big fan of you! I read this entire article and I was very impressed of the transformation many underwent! Will this book help for me? I am a 13 year old girl, turning 14 in around 6 months and I want to have a nice body. I just have some questions that I’m ashamed to ask of my friends (because they will judge), my parents (too awkward), and…..I thought why not someone with experience, online? I want to have a little bit of arm muscles (not too much, no please!), but i want to focus on my core, legs, and…..butt. Gosh, that was awkward to write. Anyways, for core, I don’t want to have really tight abs like men do, but y’know, abs would be very nice! Some girls can pull off abs really nicely. And for legs…I want to aim for taut, smooth legs that are really flexible and resilient, and lastly, a nice butt. I’m just going to end it there for now. I don’t want my shoulders, backs, and chest to be too unproportionate, but i don’t want those to be big and kill how I look. Will it work for me? This age isn’t too early for me to start, right? I am 97 pounds and I’m 4’9. Thank you Mr. Matthews! This was really, really a nice read and I can’t wait to hear from you!

    • Hey Serah! I’m so glad you enjoyed the article. I’ve actually written an article for young people wanting to get into lifting and fitness. Check it out here: https://www.muscleforlife.com/teen-weightlifting/

      I think it’s great that you’re interested in lifting and improving your physique at such a young age. However, you’re still growing, and I wouldn’t focus on getting shredded abs or get neurotic with your calories. Abs can look good, but at your age, I recommend maintaining a healthy body fat percentage, listening to your body, and getting stronger by lifting weights. No need to take any supplements, so don’t worry about that just yet. You can worry about all of that stuff in a few years. 🙂

      In terms of whether or not you should try to get abs eventually, what I think really doesn’t matter. Ultimately, the reason you should be lifting is for yourself and how you think you look. If you think they look good, then go for it, if not, then don’t worry about it (although, most women do get the look you’re going for if they reduce their total body fat percentage and lift).

      When it comes to feeling strange in the gym, it’s very possible you’ll be the only girl you’re age there, but that’s how most things are in life. The people who start early, even if it’s something life-changing like a smart exercise plan, are generally on their own at first. Plus, you could also try to enlist a friend to go with you.

      Hope that helps, and let me know if I can help with anything else!

      • Serah Farron

        Yes Mr. Matthews. It did a lot. Thank you so much for your response!! I really appreciate how simple and detailed you made it for me to understand. 🙂

        Would you recommend that I get your Thinner, Leaner, Stronger book? Will it help me? I was kinda thinking of going to the gym when there isn’t a lot of people and to just work out all by myself. I just hope that I will be able to learn the deadlift without snapping my back, because I heard from a lot of people that wrong form can do that and it hurts badly. I’m shivering right now.

        I read your article for teens and I’m happy to say that it helped me a lot! I learned a lot of new things. Well, everything I learned were new things, but I’d like to say thank you once more! What I’ve learned and what I’ll keep to heart is that proper training and nutrition is what will help me the most in the long run!

        Where can I start then now? With the book? Should I research about the deadlift, squat, and overhead press and start doing it daily? Thank you!

        • Hey Serah, sure thing, happy to help!

          If you’re looking for a simple overview of the most important things you need to know to get the body you want, then yes, I recommend you start with TLS. There are plenty of great programs out there, but based on what you’ve said, I think you’re going to enjoy it.

          80% of what’s in the book is on MuscleForLife.com and LegionAthletics.com, but the book makes the info much easier to follow and implement.

          I’m also glad you liked the article!

          As for the exercises, I recommend you watch the videos on the site that demonstrate proper form, and then start practicing with an empty bar. You can do that before you even start TLS (though I recommend you do both).

  • Nancy Johnson

    Hi! I have your book, I’ve figured out the macro breakdown but where do I find info for calorie breakdown? I see your example for a 140 lb woman who wants to cut, but what about a 155 lb woman? Where do you explain how to get those numbers? Thanks!

  • Chelsea

    Hi. Is it possible to do this program at home or do you need to have a gym membership? I’m a stay at home mom with several littles, and I’d love to get into this kind of shape, but I don’t have access to all of the equipment. Is it possible to modify? Thanks!

    • Hey Chelsea! All you really need to follow the program is a power cage or multi-press rack for squatting and benching, a barbell with plates, a set of dumbbells (I prefer adjustables), and an adjustable bench. If you want, you can get a utility bench for your Military Press. Check this out:


      Really the only limitation you have is not being able to do a few things like lat pulldowns, triceps pushdowns, and captain’s chair leg raises. All can just be substituted for other “approved” exercises, though.

      For instance, barbell rows instead of lat pulldowns, skullcrushers instead of tris pushdowns, more dumbbell or barbell pressing instead of dips, more squats or barbell lunges instead of leg press, and flat bench lying leg raises instead of cap’s chair raises. You can definitely do the program with only free weights.

      You also have the option of including bodyweight exercises as talked about here:


      What do you think?

  • Haadiya

    Will this book help me build back. Muscles and bugger flutes I don’t want to be just toned I want bigger curves. I have started lifting but don’t understand how and what to eat to make my gains help!

  • Magdalene Pracht

    Do you offer recommendations for trainers that follow your program? I live in Dallas. I’ve always performed better with a trainer

  • Caterer Melissa Major

    can I into ketosis following your protocol?

  • chhavi gupta

    Hi, i am into your program and o 1 week . Don’t i need to do cardio or some functional training?

  • Robynne Masson

    I am from South Africa and I can’t download the iBook on my iTunes as it’s not in the store. Any suggestions how else I could download it. Thanks

    • Hey Robynne! Try Amazon for the Kindle version or the Google Play store.

  • MCM2ChiTown

    Good afternoon,
    I’ve purchased the hard copy and the Audible of Thinner, Leaner & Stronger for Women. I’m already at Chapter 17. I’m currently working out with a personal trainer that is great however she is going slowly with allowing me to go into progressive overload as I have a slight misalignment of my c1 through c5 and have a little arthritis behind my kneecap/meniscus. It has been over 3 months now and I feel as though I’m ready I have already lost 1% of body fat and have gained 1.5lb of muscle and that’s with marathon training and not having Balanced Energy or Eating. I’m now starting that after getting almost halfway through the book in a day. What would you recommend as I’m beyond ready to start with weights NOW. I’ve done resistance/weight training before with all free weights and am super excited to start asap. Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks much.

    • You can jump right into the TLS routine if you like. I’d recommend starting light while you get the form down of all the lifts and figure out what weights you should be using. You can even practice with an empty bar. Keep me posted on your progress and LMK if I can help with anything else!

      • MCM2ChiTown

        Thanks for the Super Quick Response Mike. YOU ROCK! Well as my Dad used to say “Be careful of what you ask for because you just may get it”. I didn’t mention anything to my Personal Trainer but last night’s session Free Weights from beginning to end with the exception of my warm-up and cool-down. It was challenging but hey! I survived. You mentioned starting the TLS Routine. I haven’t gotten that far in the book as of yet so what is that Routine and what does it consist of? Thanks again for all of your work and not just wanting to help Some but Millions. I believe you will reach that goal if you have not already. Each one Teach One! Sharing is Caring!

      • MCM2ChiTown

        Hi Mike what is the TLS Routine? Haven’t gotten that far in the book yet.

      • MCM2ChiTown

        Mike My apology. Do you recommend a specific place to start in TLS and/or should I concentrate or focus anything in particular that I’m a marathon runner and to prepare for a Ragnar Trail Race that I have approaching April of 2018

  • Savannah

    Does the book cover BODY RECOMPOSITION? I’m looking for the how to on it. Thanks!

  • Lisa Coles

    Does this book work for post menapausal women over 50 ?

  • Sarah

    Where next after TLS? Is Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger good for women too?

    • Hey Sarah! I don’t have a Beyond TLS yet, but there’s no reason you couldn’t do BBLS if you’ve done TLS for a year or two. Have you started incorporating heavier work in the 4-6 rep range?

      • Sarah

        Thanks for replying Mike. No I haven’t yet. Would you recommend doing the same phases as TLS for a second time but working all exercises in the 4-6 rep range?

        • Yup, I’d do TLS again, but do 4-6 reps for the main compound lifts. You can stick with 8-10 for the other exercises. Let me know how it goes!

  • Kary Hartmann

    I have 2 questions.. How much is the ebook, I didn’t see it listed, and would you recommend this book for a woman 178 lbs with almost 30% body fat ??

    • Hey Kary! I’d definitely recommend TLS in your case. It lays out everything you need to know about diet and training to build muscle and lose fat effectively. Here’s the link to get it:


      Lemme know if I can help with anything else!

  • Kary Hartmann

    My bad, its not an ebook

  • Alexander Arsoudis

    Hey Mike, I have a question for you. I bought the book for my girlfriend after I bought BLS for myself and we’ve joined a gym and started working out together. Problem is, one of her knees was operated on a few years ago and has had limited mobility ever since, resulting in her being unable to properly perform squats to target depth, because as soon as her thighs are close to knee height, her injured knee cannot bend any further without severe pain and she leans over to the other side quite dramatically. Same thing goes for similar movements that require her knee to bend a lot.

    Could you recommend any alternative exercises for her? Would you suggest working on knee mobility exercises, if that is even possible, or consulting a doctor?
    You emphasize in no uncertain terms how important big compound lifts are to building a great physique and she’s rather bummed that she cannot perform a rear-loaded squat. Is half-squatting even a viable alternative in this case?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hey Alexander!

      Glad you’re enjoying the book, and that’s great you’ve recruited a partner, too. 🙂

      Since she’s had surgery, it’s best to check with her doctor. That said, even though they’re not optimal, it’s not like half-squats are useless. They still work the legs quite a bit, and she can also incorporate the leg press, Bulgarian split squats, lunges, hip thrusts, etc. I would look into why bending her knee past about 90 degrees hurts so much, though, it sounds like it might not be entirely healed.

      Working on mobility could help. Ultimately, I’d avoid any exercises or stretches that hurt for now, though. This article may help:


      Let me know how everything goes, and if I can help with anything else.

  • island time

    I bought the book, been reading it, got to the workouts yesterday was my first. Going to do the 5 day.
    I went to download the app you mentioned, but looks like it’s just for iPhone. I use android.
    I think i will have to use a different app, do you have any suggestions?

    and in the book, i haven’t got tot he end yet, but is there a workout list there as well as on pages 379,380 etc?

    • Hey there! Ah yeah, Stacked is just on iOS for now. On Android you could try Fit Notes maybe. It looked kinda nice.

      The main TLS routine is listed in Chapter 18. Was there something else you were looking for?

      • Amod Oke

        Hey Mike,
        Is there ever going to be an Android version of stacked??

        • Yeah, I’m still hoping to bring it to Android. I just have some improvements I want to implement with the iOS version first 🙂

  • Steve

    Hi there, I just brought the book and wanted to know if I should start the 20% restriction now or not. I have been on a 10% restriction for about 5 months now and have lost weight but want to take it further. Should I reduce further to 20% now after All this time or increase back to TDEE and then reduce?

    • Hey Steve! You can increase the deficit to 20%. No need to increase first. Let me know how it goes!

  • Jacci Garrison Askin

    Hi Mike. I like the articles that I’ve read so far. I’m 47, lost 100 lbs after bariatric surgery and need to tone my body. I’m the term you spoke of, “Skinny-Fat” right now. I’m not sure which program I should follow to get the tonest body possible. I’m more than willing to do what it takes to tone my body WITHOUT surgery. I have been partially successful in reducing the extra skin / fat stores but I have a long way to go. What do you suggest? Not sure your book is the best route or is personal training?

    • Hey Jacci! Congrats on the weight loss so far! I’d definitely recommend giving TLS a read. The program would be perfect for you 🙂

      It goes over everything you need to know about training and diet for building muscle and losing fat. Let me know if you have any questions!

  • Ryann

    I have considered buying bigger, leaner, stronger because I’m already thin & the reference to thinner in this book is sort of off putting.

    I want to lose *some fat and definitely want a good dieting template but I also want to get bigger – muscle wise and lift heavier in the gym. I’m at a standstill with all my major lifts and definitely need a boost.

    Does this book make sense for that?

  • Kathryn Bridge

    Hi Mike,
    Firstly, kudos to you for answering every single question on this post!
    My question relates to calorie/training volume and how to adjust if you should hit a plateau. My stats are exactly the same as the 140lb female example in TLS. However, 1,510 calories seems a pretty low starting point to me. I wonder how much wiggle room I would have if I needed to start dropping at any point. How low would you recommend someone go before starting to add calories back? Likewise with adding in cardio – if I want to cut, would I better to start with 1 or 2 sessions a week and add further sessions as necessary? Or is 2 or 3 a better number to work with for optimal results?
    Many thanks!

    • Hey Kathryn! Essentially, I recommend sticking with your calorie intake as long as it’s working. Once you reach a plateau (no fat loss for 7 days), we can adjust.

      Typically, you’d want to increase activity levels before reducing calories further. Once you reach a plateau, can’t add any more activity, and are eating around your BMR, it’s time to reverse diet. Check this out:


      In terms of cardio, I like to start with three sessions a week while cutting, and then increase as needed. This article should help:


  • Casey Hellriegel

    Mike- I just purchased your book and can’t wait to read and start implementing. I consider my weight to be a bit too high even though no one believes how much I weigh (180-190ish at 5’8″ when people guess 160s) and I am strong as an ox. I’d like to get my weight on the scale to accurately reflect how much people think I weigh…I’ve switched up my program for the past few months and have seen progress. I can deadlift 275 for reps of 10 when prior I was just doing reps of 225..I can do pull ups…My belly looks leaner..etc but I am not quite where I want to be yet… I think I’ve made a ton of mistakes (I’m 27 but have been a gym/fitness person since high school with no breaks) and am just coming to realize how to fix my years of errors/inefficiency in the gym. I am hoping your program helps me shed the fat around these muscles to get way more definition and look like I am as strong as I am!

    • Hey Casey! Great to hear you bought my book and are starting the program!

      Sounds like you have a great foundation with the lifting, so ultimately, losing the fat will just be a matter of getting your diet right. 🙂

      I think you’ll like this article:


      Keep me posted on your progress!

      • Casey

        Thanks, Mike! Since I’m not a n00b at lifting..I’m going to start with the 4-6 rep range. Form can always be improved though so I’ll tighten whatever I can on form based on your suggestions.

        As for nutrition, any thoughts on Avatar Nutrition? I already had subscribed to them prior to reading your book. Do you think their program will work well with yours? Or should I just stick with what you have? Your macros are slightly diff than what avatar is suggesting for me to follow. Just wanted your two cents on it.

  • Denise Corcoran Fitzpatrick

    Mike, I bought The Year One Challenge for Women so I could have the workouts. Should I be testing my 1 RM before starting the program or can I just start with weights I’ve been working with. Then increase as I progress through the weeks?

    • Hey Denise! It’s great you’re starting the program 🙂

      You don’t have to test your 1RM for the program. it’s a bit of trial and error in the beginning, but just work with the weights you can, and if you can get 10 reps or more, add weight to the next set. You’ll find the appropriate weights to be using soon enough 🙂

      I hope this helps!

      • Denise Corcoran Fitzpatrick

        Thanks Mike. Once you hit 10 reps on a particular set you increase the weight, is that correct?

  • Mimi Nguyen

    Hi. In your book you talked about focusing on a few exercises and not worrying about ‘muscle confusion’, so I wanted to ask how your program differs from starting strength and what would be more appropriate for someone wanting to get stronger, gain muscle mass and lose body fat. Thanks!

    • Hey Mimi!

      Starting Strength is a great program. Much better than a lot of the options out there, and I’d have no qualms recommending it to a beginner. It will get you bigger and stronger, no doubt about it.

      That said, over time you’ll probably find that certain parts of your physique lag in terms of development. TLS is kind of a hybrid between the SS approach, and the traditional bodybuilding approach.

      Furthermore, TLS covers everything you need to know to gain muscle and lose fat not just in regards to training, but also with diet and nutrition.

      So in short, you can’t go wrong doing SS, but there will be a point when you’ll probably want to focus more on lagging body parts to balance out your physique.

      I hope this helps!

  • Jordan

    Hi I just bought the audio book ( liking what I hear and have learned so far !) -but I am curious about whether or not there are pictures or a weekly weight lifting routine in the book that I’m missing out on? Any other way of getting some of the visual materials I’m missing out on ?
    Thanks Jordan

  • achu

    do i have to use any dumbbells

    • The program is based on compound lifting with barbells and dumbbells, with some assistance and machine work as well. You could modify the routine slightly and just use barbells if you liked.

  • Laura Green

    I purchased the book but did not get the bonus reports. I was counting on those, especially the one year plan. Can you email them to me? Also on page 97 of the book you mention water filtration recommendations in a bonus report in the back of the book.but I could not find that. Please tell me what page. Thanks

  • Laura Green

    Hi Mike, I purchased the book and I’m liking it a lot. On page 97 you mention water filtration recommendation but I’m not finding those in the back of the book. Help me please. Thanks.

  • Elly Obas

    Hi Mike, I’m 39 years old, 112 lbs, 5’4” height. I love your book. I’m reading it over and over to absorb and memorize. From Thinner Leaner Stronger, I wanted to follow the cutting diet program, but my target daily calories are already lower than my BMR.(I calculated so many times😭). I still want to lose fat around my torso, butt and thigh and gain muscle overall. What should I do now? You did mention that I should regain up to my TDEE and cut again. I’m afraid to gain again since it was hard to lose after having 3 kids, my stomach is loose unless I flex. Please help me what program would be the best to gain muscle and lose fat. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4b741bfd0040c7374b4f626810a2fc8ad238267de7feffa9b1e8ab0df441c801.jpg
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5c3cc1704c92b05130679a423e9e9cd5ece743abf5cda65a868ea8f71b7887ed.png Thanks. – Elly.