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Ep. #1131: Q&A: Wine and Fat Loss, Building Aerobic Fitness, NMN Supplements, Low Back Tightness, & More


Hello, hello, and welcome to muscle for life. I am Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today for another Q and a episode number 55, according to my records, where I answer questions that people asked me over on Instagram at muscle for life fitness. Come follow me. And I answer them there on Instagram briefly because it’s in my stories.

And then I bring everything over here to the podcast and I answer all the questions in more detail. And so in today’s episode, I am going all over the place. I am answering questions relating to starting a business, relating to wine and fat loss. What’s my take on that? Relating to building your aerobic base, your aerobic fitness.

How to do that most effectively. Answer a question regarding NMN, a very popular supplement right now. Does it work? Is it worth it? I answer a question regarding lower back tightness and soreness after squatting and deadlifting. Is that a good sign? Is that a bad sign? Should you do something about it? And quite a few more.

Shannon 9585 asks, tips for encouraging male partner to work out plus eat better without sounding nagging or patronizing. Um, what about? Hey babe, this fitness guy on Instagram said that strong people have better sex. Do you think he’s right? Okay, I’m just kidding. Well, kind of kidding because that may actually work.

But generally, getting a partner to start eating better, exercising, etc. can be tough because they have to be ready to make money. the change. However, if you set a good example by doing it yourself and if you invite them to join you, that is always a good place to start. Adam Camsell asks, favorite dictator?

In more modern times, probably the founding fathers who were benevolent. Dictators who willfully abdicated if Western civilization is going to survive the next 50 to 100 years. I think we are going to need more people like them in positions of power. We are going to need fewer psychopaths. Sociopaths, Parasites, Degenerates, Mercenaries, and the like.

Bdeblik2 asks, Feeling full in a calorie deficit, what’s going on? Well, the first thing to check is if you are actually in a calorie deficit, if you are consistently losing weight or losing fat, as indicated by, let’s say, your waist measurement shrinking. Body weight can be Uh, misleading if you are also strength training and especially if you are new to strength training or you are coming back to it newly because that is going to add weight in the in the form of muscle mass, but also intra muscular fluid.

Your muscles are going to be generally holding more water, holding more glycogen, all that adds weight. And so at least for the first couple of months, weight loss or fat loss can be obscured by the weight gain associated with. the strength training. However, if that’s not the case, if you have been strength training consistently for some time, at least multiple months and you are in a calorie deficit, then you should be seeing your body weight going down over time.

And if you want to be doubly sure of your body fatness going down, you can also measure the circumference of your waist at your navel. If that is shrinking, you are losing body fat. If that is growing, you are gaining. body fat. And so, assuming you are in a calorie deficit and you are also just generally feeling full, that doesn’t mean that anything’s wrong.

Appetite can fluctuate when cutting. My experience, for example, is no noticeable increase in hunger when cutting until I’ve been in a consistent deficit for At least two or three months. And that means that now I’m pretty lean. And if I’m still cutting, I’m trying to get really lean. I haven’t done that in some time, but I’ve done it several times in the past to get really lean, you know, six, 7 percent body fat or so for a photo shoot.

And so again, for the first couple of months, I’m a little bit hungry here and there, but generally fine. And I only really notice an increase in hunger when I’m Lean, wanting to get really lean, and I’m in the last, let’s say, four to six weeks, maybe four to eight weeks of the cut to get really lean, and ironically, if I compare that with the first couple of months, two or three months of lean bulking, I am generally much hungrier during the first couple of months of lean bulking as my body is acclimating to the increased calories.

And so both of those experiences can throw people off, they can start cutting and maybe even feel less hungry than they normally are. Let’s say eating maintenance calories and then become concerned that they’re doing something wrong because aren’t you supposed to be hungry when you’re dieting? Or on the flip side, they can start lean bulking from, let’s say, maintenance calories and feel a lot hungrier, especially leading up to meals.

At least for the first couple of months. Both of those things are normal. Doesn’t mean anything’s wrong. It’s just a consequence of physiology. There probably are some psychological factors as well. And you don’t have to worry about either of them. Just keep going. BigHeadNary asks, So whose cocaine was it at the White House?

Obviously, it was Barron Trump’s. And obviously, they should indict Donald over it. Seriously though, jokes aside, Hunter is only 53 years old. I mean, everyone is entitled to at least a few youthful indiscretions, right? The real question with the cocaine is, was it used intravenously or anally? Candy Girl 1218 asks for weight loss.

Is it better to do more reps with lower weight or less reps with heavier weights? Well, some people say that higher rep training is better for weight loss because you burn more calories or burn more fat, which is true, but only Barely so little that it really doesn’t matter now with heavier training you are going to better preserve your strength While you’re cutting and that’s going to help you better preserve your muscle or at least it probably will.

Generally speaking, it is a better strategy to lift heavier weights when cutting if you want to preserve as much muscle and as much strength as possible, especially if you are an experienced weightlifter. And so then practically speaking, I would say that doing sets with anywhere between, let’s say, 75 to 85 percent of one rep max.

So let’s say 4 to 10 reps per set, um, pushing close to muscular failure or up to muscular failure, depending on the muscle you’re training and the exercise that is going to work well when cutting and also push for progress. When you’re cutting, you may not be able to make progress, but you may be able to, at least for the first month or two before the.

unwanted side effects of a consistent calorie deficit really start to take hold. Don’t go into a cut with a defeatist kind of mindset. Don’t assume that now that you’re cutting, you simply can’t gain any more muscle. You can’t gain any strength. In fact, you are going to start losing muscle pretty quickly.

You are going to start losing strength pretty quickly. Physiologically speaking, those things are not true. Now, if you are a very experienced and very muscular, weightlifter, then you probably are not going to gain any muscle or strength to speak of when you’re cutting. But, unless you are trying to get stage lean, like striated glutes lean, you also should not lose any muscle, any actual contractile tissue over the course of your cut.

Now, if you are using some sort of technological method of assessing your body composition, you are going to see a reduction in lean mass, especially if you are losing quite a bit of weight, losing quite a bit of fat, but that doesn’t mean that you’re losing muscle tissue per se. If you are doing The most important things in the kitchen and gym right most of the time, basically all of that is going to be comprised of intramuscular fluids.

Your muscles are going to be holding less water, less glycogen in particular, because as a consequence of reducing your calories, you are almost certainly going to be eating a lot less carbohydrate. Then you normally would and that carbohydrates, at least some of it gets stored in your muscles in the form of glycogen.

And then the glycogen also is stored with water and that can pump your muscles up or shrink them. And that will register as a loss of lean mass. If you are getting, let’s say a DEXA scan, maybe before and after your cut. And then there’s also intramuscular fat that you’re going to lose that would also register as a loss of lean mass.

Okay, Chino Free asks, thoughts on the X3 bar. It’s overhyped marketing. That’s my opinion. Bands and bars are fine, but they are far less effective for hypertrophy and strength compared to free weights and compared to machines. Now, that isn’t to say that you can’t generate an effective training X3 bar or bands or other such combinations of bars and bands, and they can be Useful if let’s say you’re traveling and that’s all you have access to, or if you want to have something at home for doing a simple maintenance workout, just giving major muscle groups enough stimulus to stick around just enough to maintain the muscle that you have.

and thereby at least maintain some of the strength you have. You are not going to maintain all of the strength if you’re going from let’s say traditional barbell dumbbell strength training to band and bar training because of the specificity effect like if you want to be good at doing one rep maxes or two or three rep maxes if you want to be strong you have to train those one rms and those two rms and those two rms and and that obviously isn’t feasible with something like the x3 bar bands.

However, if you can maintain your muscle and that’s very easy to do, that does not take more than a handful, say three to five hard sets per week. So those are sets taken close to muscular failure or maybe two muscular failure per week for any individual major muscle group. That’s enough to maintain The muscle that you have and the muscle that you have is really the primary driver of strength of achieving, let’s say, your maximum potential for strength.

It’s not neuromuscular. It’s just muscular. There is a neuromuscular component. There is a skill component. To being really good at squatting large amounts of weight, but the vast majority of your strength that you will ever gain is going to come from the amount of muscle that you have. So you can become detrained, quote unquote.

In your strength training, because you are not able to get in the gym and do proper strength training and you are using workarounds to maintain your muscle, but you are not detrained in the case of maintaining your muscle mass. And so what you’ll experience is you could be out of the gym for. A long period of time, it could be six months, it could be 12 months and you are using body weight training.

You are using bands, you are using bars plus bands, doing whatever you can to maintain the muscle that you have. You eventually get back in the gym and you are going to be weak. It’s going to be a bit odd because you could actually be carrying a fair amount of muscle. You could look pretty jacked, but you are going to be very weak when you Get back to, let’s say, squatting and deadlifting and bench pressing.

However, you are going to regain your strength very quickly. It’s going to come back a lot faster than it took to build it in the first place because primarily you have the muscle, you have the engine of the strength. It just needs to be tuned. Now it needs to be calibrated. You have to reacquaint yourself with the exercises.

You have to reactivate the neuro. muscular components of lifting heavy weights that don’t get activated in nearly the same way when you are lifting lighter weights, which is the effect that band training often has. You are usually doing higher rep sets and you are just taking them to failure. And of course, your exercise selection is limited with bars and bands.

You can’t stimulate your muscles in nearly as many ways as you can with free weights and with machines. And so again, I think bars and bands are great for doing boring but effective maintenance workouts. The TRX trainer should also be included in that category. But if you have access to free weights, if you have access to machines and you’re trying to gain muscle and strength as quickly as possible, You want to be using those free weights and machines.

Clay Minick asks, lower back getting really tight slash sore lately after a couple sets of deads slash squats solution. Well, this suggests that you may need to address your form because even with a deadlift, you should not be getting a big lower back pump. If you are, you’re probably using your lower back too much in the lift.

Many people don’t know that the driving forces of the deadlift are the hamstrings and the glutes. The lower back is just a stabilizing force, but your lower back should not be working in a deadlift like it does in a good morning, for example. If you try to turn a deadlift into a good morning, that’s how you can get hurt because you are probably going to be using way more weight on the deadlift than you would on the good morning.

And so the first thing would be address your form. A common mistake that people make is when they are getting down into position to pull, they are not getting their hips back. Enough to really feel a lot of tension in their hamstrings, to feel the tension in their glutes, to feel the tension in their hips before they pull off the ground.

You can see this just by looking at people’s shins when they are getting ready to pull. So they’ve, they’ve kind of squatted down, they’re getting into position. If their shins are not anywhere even near to perpendicular to the ground, straight up and down. then they are probably not deep enough back into their hips and they are probably not feeling a lot of tension in their hamstrings in their glutes before they start to pull.

I’ve made this mistake myself many times over the years. I’ve had to train the habit out. Actually, it’s a habit I developed earlier on. When I didn’t know as much as I know now, and it didn’t prevent me from getting fairly strong in the deadlift, but it did make my deadlift a little bit too squatty, which in turn can put a lot of stress on your hips, and that can cause problems over time.

And so. If you are getting a big pump in your lower back or if your lower back is getting very sore after deadlifting or squatting, assess your form. Now on the squat, the mistake that often causes the lower back soreness or excessive lower back soreness or excessive lower back. Pump is the hips rising too quickly, so you get down into the hole and then the mistake that many people make is they start the ascent with their hips, but their shoulders stay in the same position, so their hips shoot up and now their back is approaching parallel to the floor.

Maybe it doesn’t get to parallel, but the hips are moving up. The shoulders are staying in place. The bar is staying in place and then to get into a standing upright position, they of course have to lever their lower back like a good morning. So they are starting the ascent of the squat by putting themselves into a good morning position and then they are.

finishing the rep like it was a rep of a good morning rather than a squat. Again, the problem here is the weight on the squat, and we’re talking about a back squat here, is going to be much higher than a proper weight they would use on a good morning, and that can lead to a lot of stress on the lower back.

Now, if you know that your form is correct on the squat and the deadlift because you have videoed yourself and you have scrutinized the footage and you are still dealing with excessive lower back tightness or soreness after squatting and deadlifting, it may just be a repetitive stress issue. Maybe you’ve been squatting or deadlifting for a couple of months and you’ve been pushing hard and your body just needs a break.

Your lower back needs a bit of a break and to do that, you just. change exercises. So maybe you go from a back squat to a front squat, which is friendlier to the lower back. Or you go to a safety bar squat, which is also a very back friendly and knee friendly variation of the barbell squat. And if your gym doesn’t have a safety bar, you can Jerry rig one with a regular barbell and lifting straps.

You can find videos online on how to do that and deadlift. You could switch from, let’s say, a traditional barbell deadlift to a trap or deadlift, or maybe from A conventional deadlift to a sumo deadlift, if you can perform both comfortably, or maybe even to a Romanian deadlift for a bit, which is also a bit more back friendly than a traditional barbell deadlift.

One of the easiest ways to increase muscle and strength gain is to eat enough protein and to eat enough high quality protein. Now, you can do that with food. Of course, you can get all of the protein you need from food, but many people supplement with whey protein because it is convenient and it’s tasty and that makes it easier to just eat enough protein.

And it’s also rich in essential amino acids, which are crucial for muscle building and it’s digested well, it’s absorbed well. And that’s why I created whey plus, which is a 100 percent natural grass fed. whey isolate protein powder made with milk from small sustainable dairy farms in Ireland. Now, why whey isolate?

Well, that is the highest quality whey protein you can buy. And that’s why every serving of whey plus contains 22 grams of protein with little or no carbs and fat. Whey plus is also lactose free. So that means no indigestion, no stomach aches, no gassiness, and it’s also 100 percent naturally sweetened and flavored, and it contains no artificial food dyes or other chemical junk.

And why Irish dairies? Well, research shows that they produce some of the healthiest, cleanest milk in the world, and we work with farms that are certified by Ireland’s FDA. Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme, SDSAS, which ensures that the farmers adhere to best practices in animal welfare, sustainability, product quality, traceability, and soil and grass management.

And all that is why I have sold over 500, 000 bottles of Whey Plus and why it has over 6, 004 and 5 star reviews on Amazon and on my website. So if you want a mouthwatering, high protein, low calorie whey protein powder that helps you reach your fitness goals faster, you want to try whey plus today. Go to buylegion.

com slash whey. Use the coupon code muscle at checkout and you will save 20 percent on your first order. And if it is not your first order, you will get double reward points. And that is 6 percent cash back. And if you don’t absolutely love whey plus just Let us know and we will give you a full refund on the spot.

No form, no return is even necessary. You really can’t lose. So go to buylegion. com slash way now use the coupon code muscle at checkout to save 20 percent or get double reward points and then try way plus risk free and see what you think. Daniel Mufti 1 asks, I feel the sun is too strong these days. Can I just supplement vitamin D?

Uh, yeah, you can if we’re just talking about vitamin D, but you will miss out on some of the other benefits of exposing yourself to the sun. You’re going to miss out on the mood boost, for example, that the sun can provide, and it doesn’t require that much sun to get that. I’m in Florida, for example, and during the summer, it is basically a nuclear reactor.

And so what I do is around 8 a. m. or so when the sun is out and it’s hot, but it’s not infernal yet, I take a 15 minute walk or so. And then I do that again around noon with my shirt off to expose more skin to the sun. And then I take one more walk usually around 6 m., maybe 8 p. m. as the sun is starting to go down.

That works well. It’s enough to feel good and it’s dermatologist approved. DukeDuke07 asks, the new legion cookie, why is there a multitude of sweeteners and sugar? Well, unfortunately, when you are using natural ingredients, getting the sweetness and the flavor right is very difficult. It’s almost like an arcane.

Art, you can’t go study it anywhere official. You can’t go to school for it. You have to basically be apprenticed under people who know how to sweeten and flavor supplements and food products naturally. And so the lab that I work with. It’s very good. They had to try many, many variations of ingredients and doses to get it to taste right.

And with something like a protein cookie, it’s important that it tastes really good. And I think more important than a protein bar, because often a protein bar is standing in for a protein shake. It’s something that is just a, maybe it’s a midday snack and the person might. even prefer to have a protein shake, but they’re out and about, they’re busy, they are not going to be carrying around a shaker with them, so they grab a protein bar instead.

Whereas a protein cookie is often standing in for a treat, an indulgence, a little dessert of some kind, and so it needs to taste something like the quote unquote real thing. It needs to taste something like an actual cookie. And so to get there with our protein cookie, we had to use a couple of different natural sweeteners and we had to use a little bit of sugar.

And if you want to see how we did, if you want to try the cookie, head over to buylegion. com that’s B U I L E G I O N dot com slash cookie. Greg Salisbury 622 asks, comments on the current state of the union. Well, I envision it like this. So imagine we are sitting in a theater, the lights go down. The curtains go up, a spotlight shines on a car that comes out and stops in the middle of the stage, and the door opens, and a clown comes out, and then another clown comes out, and another one, and another one.

And another one. It’s unbelievable. It’s a magic trick. How can so many clowns be stuffed into such a little car? Hayden NG asks, I’m noticing a lack of meme content. Is everything all right? And he’s referring to my Instagram stories. And unfortunately, my meme dealer, who has been Very reliable for, for quite some time.

Unfortunately, he’s been busy with other stuff that is purportedly more important than mining for memes. I can’t even imagine what that could be. It’s me, Luca1 asks, Biceps curl. Palms facing up at the start versus starting it with a hammer grip and rotating to a palms up position. Well, when you are biceps curling and you are using a neutral grip, so your palms facing each other or a pronated grip, your palms facing down, you are biasing the forearm extensors as well as the biceps brachialis, which is a smaller, muscle, um, that is between the bigger biceps muscle, the biceps brachii, that’s what most people think of as the biceps and the triceps and the neutral and or pronated curling is worthwhile.

However, if you want to fully and maximally train your biceps, you want to also do palms up curling because palms up curling biases the biceps. brachii. And so a simple way to put that into practice is to do palms up curling. So your palms are facing up at the start and are ending, uh, facing up as well as something like a hammer curl.

So that’s a, that’s a neutral grip curl, or you can do pronated curls, uh, palms down as well. But in my experience, simply doing plenty of palms up curling and neutral grip curling, Uh, is enough to get great biceps development. James Stepanuk asks, why are you hands down the best fitness influencer on the internet?

Well, I put this to my followers in a in a poll, so I gave them options on vaccinated pattern recognizer. XY chromosomes and white privilege, and 39 percent chose unvaccinated, 18 percent chose pattern recognizer, only 10 percent chose XY chromosomes, and 33 percent chose white privilege. So the people have spoken.

Apparently the secret formula to being a great fitness influencer is pure blood and white privilege. Who would have known? kicksinroute66 asks thoughts on NMN supplement. Well, there has been a lot of marketing money behind NMN. And particularly in the last year or so, and that inevitably results in exaggerated claims, unwarranted hype, and in this case, flawed research as well, which is used to accomplish the first two.

And so here’s my position. NAD levels do decline with age, that’s clear, and with disease, and that may contribute. to some of the negative side effects associated with aging that may contribute to losses in metabolic health and physical performance and some factors related to body composition. However, the evidence is not clear that NMN reliably increases NAD levels.

And even if it does, The evidence is not clear that simply doing that is going to produce desirable benefits. That simply doing that is going to, let’s say, reverse some of the negative side effects associated with aging. And so if it were me, I would rather spend that money if I had some Speculative longevity money that I wanted to spend.

I would put it into flush type niacin and PQQ, which in the context of longevity vitality are still a little bit speculative, but I think have stronger evidence currently than NMN. Luke Wilkins 33 asks ice baths a good thing for recovery and what temperature is too low? Well, ice baths are totally unnecessary for everyday gym goers and possibly even counterproductive because they can blunt muscle growth.

by dramatically reducing whole body inflammation levels and acute inflammation in the context of strength training of resistance training is a good thing. You work out and there’s a lot of inflammation in your body, inflammation in your muscles, and that then triggers some different responses in your body that ultimately lead to Muscle growth, for example.

However, ice baths are useful for athletes who have very rigorous training schedules and really need all the recovery that they can get, especially when they are in season. There’s a lot of practicing, there’s a lot of playing, and there is, let’s say, some strength training. And the point of the strength training is really just to maintain muscle, to maintain performance, and they are just basically feeling beat up all the time.

inflammation is out of control. And so ice baths can be used to bring it into a more desirable range, even if it generally is going to be quite high. Now, as for an effective protocol, the water has to be cold. It has to be no warmer than, let’s say, somewhere in the fifties. It can be colder depending on your Preferences.

Immersion has to be substantial, so you have to be up to your neck and you have to spend a bit of time in the ice bath. Let’s say 5 to 7 minutes. That’s commonly used in studies that have shown benefits. And of course, you have to do it consistently to really notice a difference. Let’s say 5 to 7 days a week.

And again, if you are someone who is not doing many, many hours of intense training slash playing per week, and you are not dealing with excessive soreness basically everywhere in your body and pain and so forth, then regular ice baths probably don’t have much to offer you in terms of physiological benefits that really matter.

However, you may still want to do it for the psychological benefits. For example, many people like it because they don’t want to do it. And they feel like it helps them build more mental toughness by just forcing themselves to do something that is very uncomfortable every day. And I think that’s perfectly valid and maybe even a good idea if somebody tends to struggle with that in other areas of their life, if they tend to struggle with doing the hard things that most people don’t want to do that lead to the results that most people can’t get.

mb haywood asks what are the odds of tearing a muscle at the joint i keep cringing at the videos i see uh they’re very low unless you are on a lot of drugs and you are handling loads that are far bigger than your tendons and ligaments can deal with and unfortunately there are many people out there usually dudes who learn that lesson The very hard, very painful way because they don’t understand that the cocktail of anabolic steroids that they’re on and usually have been on for some time have allowed them to gain a lot of muscle very quickly compared to what it would have taken.

naturally, and depending on their circumstances, they may have gained far more muscle than they could have ever gained naturally. And they don’t understand that that muscular development is much faster than the development of the tendons and ligaments. And again, if they’ve gained way more muscle than they could have ever gained naturally, then their tendons and ligaments may never really be able to catch up, which means that they are going to have these very big muscles that are capable of producing a lot of strength.

And maybe they’re also taking certain drugs that are particularly effective at increasing strength. And so they’re in the gym and very heavy loads. feel very light and so they figure that they can use those heavy loads and they can push right up to failure because they have the energy and they have the drive and then something breaks and a tendon rips off the bone or a ligament tears because again those tissues were not able to handle the amount of stress.

being put on them. Sports Circus asks, slightly off, but what is the best way to develop your aerobic base? The best way is a combination of moderate and high intensity cardio, probably in a ratio of let’s say three or four units, so to speak of moderate intensity to one unit of high intensity. It’s that combination that, uh, will maximally improve your aerobic fitness.

Tiffany Marie asks, what’s your take on wine and fat loss? Well, unfortunately, you’re probably going to have to have a striking realization. And that is that you’re just going to have to drink less wine to finally lose your gut. Okay, so not quite, but practically speaking. Kind of wine per se doesn’t preclude fat loss, but it just contains a lot of calories and it’s so easy to over drink that it really cannot be a regular indulgence unless you are doing many, many hours of exercise per week.

Practically speaking, the people who do best with weight loss, with fat loss, minimize their alcohol intake, at least while they’re cutting and definitely minimize their, their intake of wine because of the calories as opposed to maybe hard alcohol. Okay. Final question comes from Victor Santoro and he asks one advice for someone starting a business.

Um, don’t quit your day job until your new business is paying all of your bills. And the reason for that is quitting your source of regular income is going to put financial pressure on you, and that can lead to many bad business decisions. And that’s not just my opinion, by the way, there’s research on this.

Statistically speaking, entrepreneurs who don’t quit their day jobs too early are much more likely to succeed in their new venture than those who do. So keep the regular income coming, keep the financial stability there, and then in your extra time outside of your normal job, work on the new business until it can replace at least a large enough portion of your existing income to allow you to make decisions that are best for the business, particularly longer term decisions, as opposed to decisions that are driven by the immediate need to make money.

Yep. Well, I hope you liked this episode. I hope you found it helpful. And if you did subscribe to the show, because it makes sure that you don’t miss new episodes. And it also helps me because it increases the rankings of the show a little bit, which of course then makes it a little bit more easily found by other people who may like it just as much as you, and if you didn’t like something about this episode or about the show in general, or if you have.

Uh, ideas or suggestions or just feedback to share? Shoot me an email, [email protected], muscle FOR life.com and let me know what I could do better or just, uh, what your thoughts are about maybe what you’d like to see me do in the future. I read everything myself. I’m always looking for new ideas and constructive feedback.

So thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.





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