Muscle for life

MFL Podcast #11: Why “clean eating” isn’t everything and why patience is key

MFL Podcast #11: Why “clean eating” isn’t everything and why patience is key

In this podcast, I talk about why “clean” eating isn’t the key to building muscle and losing fat, and what to expect in terms of the overall experience of “getting ripped” (and why 75% of the time you’re wondering if you’ll ever get there or not).


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

The Definitive Guide to Effective Meal Planning

How to Speed Up Your Metabolism for Easier Weight Loss

The Best Way to Gain Muscle Without Getting Fat

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What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

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  • Nathan

    I loved this podcast. Especially the second part about how long it takes and consistency.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Nathan!

  • Craig

    Very useful about the cycling of cutting and bulking. Thanks for all the inspirational and informative stuff you do. I was in the military for 20 years, getting good at the kind of fitness that emphasises endurance and an ability to run carrying weight. Really enjoying learning about a new aspect of fitness. When is the next book out?

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! I’m really glad you liked it. New book launching soon! Starts in a couple of weeks!

  • Terez

    Hey Mike, at what bf% do you start encouraging refeeds? Are they necessary… Do you recommend them if looking to drop fat as fast as possible?

    • Michael Matthews

      Sub-10% is where refeeding starts to matter as your carbs start creeping down… Otherwise no, they don’t do anything special.

  • James

    Hey mike when is your new book coming out? can’t wait! Hoping it’s going to be available as an ebook too?
    Also – what’s the maximum anount of sets of deadlifts you would recommend in a back workout? And would you adjust the workout in anyway for the extra deads? Thanks james

    • Michael Matthews

      Launch for the new book starts in a couple of weeks! Definitely going to be an eBook as well.

      Good question. I would say 6 heavy sets would be the max, at least for me. After that my lower back would be begging for mercy, haha. I would just count them as heavy sets as always.

  • Colin Bean

    Hi Mike, what are you thoughts on mini bulk/cut cycles?

    My current workout routine, includes a deload week every 5th week so I’m now going to try bulking 4 weeks and then cutting for a week.

    • Michael Matthews

      I don’t like this approach as it tends to just get in the way. When you’re bulking correctly you get in a groove of making gains each week and stopping to cut messes with it.

  • Sam

    Great podcast Mike, thanks really useful and can relate to a lot of what you say. Nice to hear someone talk about things I actually notice day to day in the “real world training”.
    And nice to hear about patience… in this day and age u see all these “3 months/90 day” transformations which can give most of us normals an unrealistic expectation – thank you. 1st time I’ve heard a fitness professional discuss this.
    @16.20 ish great zombie noises!… 😉

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! Glad you liked it!

      Yeah, those transformations suck. They really throw people off.

      Lol @ the zombie noises. 😉

  • moss

    so, after 3-4 years of proper training, what sort of strength goals should the average trainee be hitting?
    e.g., expressed in terms of BodyWeight, 1.75 BW Squat, 2.0 BW DL, 1.15 BW Bench, 0.75 BW Press, etc
    i.e., what goals would you set?

    • Michael Matthews

      Good question. I’d say 1.8 – 2 x BW squat and deadlift, 1.3 – 1.5 x BW bench, and .8 – 1 x BW press.

  • Kathy

    I am a huge fan of your common sense no bs approach to fitness but I have to admit you have lost some credibility with me in regards to this podcast. To say it is much easier for women then men to get into shape and transform their bodies is based on what – your opinion it is easier to lose fat than gain muscle?? How many female clients do you have?? I am sure if you asked any of them how easy it was to get into and stay in shape you would get an earful. Ask a 20-35 year old woman how easy it is to lose the last 10lbs of fat when their body is wired to hold onto it for child bearing, Better yet ask the woman in her late 40s who’s already had a couple of kids and hormones are all over the place how easy it is to stay in shape. Or we can go to the woman you mentioned who can lose 30lbs in a year and then looks in the mirror and decides she needs to add some muscle back on – lets ask her how easy that is. Whether you are a man or woman, need to lose fat or gain muscle, it is a struggle and transformation takes time, patience and dedication. For some it is a year for others it’s several, for a few it is easy for most it is not. The point is for everyone to keep going no matter how long it takes. I train heavy, hard and mostly with men – there is nothing easy about it. I feel your comments discredit all the work women put in at the gym – you might as well hand us a 5lb dumbbell and send us to zumba class.

    • Michael Matthews

      I’m sorry I’ve offended you Kathy!

      Honestly I’ve worked with hundreds of women by now and all in all, they have a great time because in many cases they’re very happy with hitting 18-20% body fat and then slowly working on building muscle. This doesn’t take too long unless they start out severely overweight.

      Guys, on the other hand, often compare themselves to shredded fitness models and feel like scrawny, skinny-fat weaklings for the first 2-3 years, lol. Not joking.

      I’m also referring to what it takes to build a body that other people are “wowwed” by. For an average woman, this takes no longer than a year. Period. For an average guy, 3 years would be a fair average.

      IMO it’s not much of a STRUGGLE if you know what you’re doing. Yes, it takes time, but it should be an enjoyable process whereby you see slow and steady gains, week after week, month after month…

      • Kathy

        I’m with you 100% that knowledge is power. In this regard your books are fantastic and I have actually recommended them. Everything one would need to know is explained in detail in a simple straight forward manner. I just tread very lightly around the word “easy” especially when it comes to lifestyle changes. Doable, achievable, attainable absolutely but it takes effort. I have seen too many people expect tremendous gains with little effort and it just doesn’t happen. Appreciate the apology and I’m getting off my soapbox (promise!!) Still a big fan 🙂

        • Michael Matthews

          Thanks Kathy!

          I totally get where you’re coming from. What I mean was EASIER. That’s more accurate. 🙂

          Keep up the good work!

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