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Ep. #1127: Q&A: Salt Water Benefits, Lifting Facial Expressions, HIT Training, Bulking Hunger, & More


Hey there, I’m Mike Matthews and this is Muscle For Life. Thank you for joining me today for another Q& A episode where I answer a bunch of questions that people have asked me over on Instagram. So what I do is every other week currently I put up a story over on Instagram at Muscle For Life Fitness.

Please, please follow me. put up a story asking for questions. I get a bunch of questions. I go through them and I answer a bunch of them there on Instagram. And then I bring everything over here to the podcast because I can answer the questions in more detail and I can share resources for people to go check out if they want to learn more and so forth.

And so if you want to ask me questions again, follow me at Instagram at muscle for life fitness and look for that story that I put up every other week, usually on Monday or Tuesday. And so in today’s episode, I am answering questions related to Mike Menser and Dorian Yates, their style of training, the HIT style of training.

One of my favorite lateral raise exercises that many people don’t do, but I think should do. What you should do if you are hitting a plateau in your Weightlifting, what’s the first thing you should do, at least? How long you should wait in between workouts for an individual muscle group. Some of my religious thoughts.

How you can find your new total daily energy expenditure after you have been dieting for a long time. How do you find your new maintenance calories? And more.

Vivian asks, Am I supposed to have hunger feelings when at slight surplus, so calorie surplus, feels like stuffing myself? Yes, that’s fairly common and it is kind of paradoxical, especially when you go from cutting to lean bulking and you’re cutting and you are experiencing a certain level of hunger. And that’s expected because you are restricting calories and then maybe you go to maintenance for a short period and then you go into a surplus and you are generally more hungry, especially leading up to meals than when cutting.

I’ve experienced that myself and it’s a pretty common experience. More hunger when lean bulking than cutting, especially when you are coming up to, let’s say, within 30 to 60 minutes of your normal mealtime, at least for the first month or two when you are in a surplus, it’s kind of odd. And as far as I know, there isn’t a clear cut explanation, but it may be related to increased metabolic activity associated with increased energy availability.

So your body is just functioning better with a bit more food and in various physiological ways that aren’t immediately obvious to you. And the additional activity going on in your body. Can influence your hunger, your body’s demand for food. And if you’re like most people, though, within a month or two of being in a consistent calorie surplus, your hunger levels normalize and you aren’t getting the bulking hunger pangs before meals.

And within a couple of months, you experience the opposite. Actually, your appetite is going to go way down. You are generally going to be just. Full all the time you’re gonna get sick of eating the final meal or two of every day probably is going to feel like Force feeding that’s also normal because that is what you are actually doing.

You are mildly force feeding Overfeeding your body when you are lean bulking just like how when you’re cutting you are mildly under eating. You are mildly starving your body. That’s what you’re doing. Okay. Andrew McGillian asks thoughts on all the craze about adding salt to your water first thing in the morning.

Uh, yeah, it’s fine. If you don’t get much sodium in your diet, which is usually because people prepare all their food and they don’t use much salt. When they make the food, if that’s not you, though, if you salt your food generously, or if you know that your sodium intake is at least a few grams a day, let’s say four ish grams a day, then it’s unnecessary to add salt to your water in the morning.

It’s not going to accomplish anything special per se, unless maybe you’re about to go run 10 plus miles in the Florida sun in June or something. And even then It’s probably not necessary. You probably are okay. If you just eat enough sodium in general, which again, a few grams per day is adequate for most people.

And as a final comment, I know that runs contrary to what many other people are saying. Many influencers, many prominent people in the evidence based health and fitness space. But I can back that position up with research, with reasoning, with facts. And if you want to Check out the full argument head over to legionathletics.

com search for electrolytes and you’ll find an article with the title along the lines of our electrolyte supplements a scam. Check that article out. I believe I’ve recorded a podcast based on that article too. So you could find the podcast if you prefer and then you will understand where I’m coming from.

And finally, I’ll just say that I would love to be wrong about electrolytes. I would love to be able to sell an electrolyte supplement. I would love for Legion to be able to offer that because many of our customers ask for it. And that’s a pretty big market. There’s a lot of demand for those supplements, but I don’t sell one.

Legion does not sell one because I Can’t make an honest, strong evidence based argument for why just about anyone should bother with buying and drinking electrolyte supplements. And I’ve even gone as far as seeking out smart, educated people like professors and PhDs to prove me wrong. People who believed that Legion could offer an electrolyte supplement.

Maybe the formulation would be a little bit different than your average electrolyte supplement. But that would be an electrolyte supplement nonetheless and would be useful and valuable to legions customers. And ultimately, those conversations didn’t change my position because I wasn’t convinced of their arguments.

I felt like they didn’t fully and satisfactorily address each of the points that I brought up. And so, as for now, my mind remains unchanged about the lack of utility, the lack of value in electrolyte supplements for just about everyone, but I am open to changing my mind. It’s in my own self interest to change my mind.

So if you, dear listener, think that you might be able to change my mind with evidence, logic, facts, send me an email. Mike at muscle for life for life. com. Okay. Con air starring Nicholas Cage asks number one thing you wish every person would incorporate more of in their diet. This is easy. Plants, plant food, please eat vegetables, eat fruit, eat grains, eat seeds, legumes.

There is a massive body of evidence that shows very clearly that the people who eat the most plants tend to live the longest. They tend to experience the least amount of disease and dysfunction. Please don’t go looking for quacky pseudoscientific excuses to not eat plant foods because you don’t like vegetables or you would rather use those calories on meat and butter and Bacon and cheese and so forth.

And please don’t fall prey to the psychosocial dynamics in play, the communities that have organized around different diet ideologies. For example, you might resonate more with your average carnivore. dieter than your average vegan. And that’s okay, but you should be aware of how that is going to influence your preference for dieting, how that can steer you away from eating plant foods, which you identify with vegans, which may be on average don’t resonate with you as an individual.

And Toward animal foods instead of plant foods, because that represents the type of people who you feel best represent you, you have to be aware of those influences and you have to consciously override them just because the majority of your calories come from plant foods, which they should in a well designed, balanced, evidence based diet for maximum health.

Function. Longevity. Most calories should come from plant foods. That doesn’t mean that you are mostly a vegan or that you can’t connect with carnivore people, maybe in other ways, maybe not over food, but maybe over training, over lifestyle, or politics, or whatever. And ultimately, sometimes you gotta choose between being healthy and doing what is objectively the smart thing to do, the highest probability play to achieving long term health and wellness, which is eating a lot of plant foods.

You have to choose between that and being light. And in my experience dealing with many people over the years who have been drawn into many different fad diets, they are often looking for two things. One, they’re looking for a diet that will confirm their biases. They don’t like vegetables. So if a diet tells them they don’t need to eat vegetables because actually vegetables are bad for you.

Vegetables have Antinutrients that are going to destroy your gut, destroy your health. They could even kill you. That is telling them what they want to hear that they should eat the bacon cheeseburger rather than the broccoli. And they’re often looking for a sense of community, a sense of. Belonging and those two factors are just embedded in our DNA.

We are all susceptible to them. All we can do is try to force ourselves to face them and consciously override them. Okay, getting off the soapbox. I’m gonna share one more tip and that is a specific tip. So if I had to pick just one plant food that I wish every person would incorporate more of in their diet.

It would be spinach. Spinach is a nutritional powerhouse. Please eat some spinach every day. All right. Corey Brandon Barnes asks real question. Should you still work out the same after 40 as you did in your 20s and 30s? Good question. Well. The biggest difference between training in your 20s and your 40s is mostly just the amount of room for error that you have with exercise form, with training volume, with training intensity, with resting, deloading, and so forth.

You can F around quite a bit in your 20s without finding out, but not in your 40s. You have to train with a bit more wisdom. In your forties than in your twenties, but otherwise you can train more or less the same. And if you want to learn more about that, a lot more about that, check out my book, muscle for life, which is written specifically for men and women over 40 years old.

And it explains everything you need to know about flexible dieting to make meal plans that you enjoy. And that allow you to reach your fitness goals and maintain your fitness goals, allow you to build a diet that is a lifestyle rather than an. Intervention. And of course, it also has training programs and it explains all the theory behind the programs and what really drives muscle growth, what really drives strength gain.

And there are beginner programs for men and women, intermediate and advanced, a lot of material in muscle for life. Okay. Eric T. Sandoval asks, Does making funny lifting faces increase output? My anecdotal experience says yes. This would be a fun study to do, actually. I bet it does. I immediately think of research that shows how swearing has been shown to reduce stress levels.

I would not be surprised if making Ridiculous, orgasmic like faces when you’re deep into a set and trying to grind out that last rep helps you get it a little bit more than just being stony faced would. Also, if you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, and if you want to help me do more of it, please do check out my sports nutrition company, Legion.

Because while you don’t need supplements to build muscle, to lose fat to get healthy. The right ones can help. And with Legion, you also get all natural ingredients, including natural sweeteners and flavoring. No chemical ingredients, no artificial ingredients whatsoever. You get transparent formulations, clinically effective ingredients, and doses.

The doses is important, not just the ingredients. And also you get free shipping on all US orders and affordable shipping elsewhere in the world. And finally, a no hassle money back guarantee and all that is why over 400, 000 and counting discerning fitness folk have chosen legion but wait there’s more because right now over at buylegion.

com we are having our final sale of the year our holiday sale where you can save up to 40 on everything in our store including our protein powders our pre workout and post workout supplements our fat burners multivitamins joint support and more So again, that URL is buylegion. com, B U Y L E G I O N.

com, skedaddle on over and save big. Okay, uh, Jack Conroy Patterson asks, how much caffeine is too much in a day for a 185 pound male, especially when taking pulse? So the general advice for health is no more than 400 milligrams per day on average. Now, some people can tolerate much more. Some people need to have less.

Of course, body weight comes into play. If you are a 250 pound dude, your body is going to deal with caffeine better than a 100 pound gal. But again, on average, most people would say three to 400 milligrams per day. If you want to just assign a range to it. And there are exceptions that have been noted in the literature.

There are plenty of people out there who have. way more than that who have a gram of caffeine per day on average or more and Exhibit no negative side effects now chances are you are not one of those people? Remember most of us fall in the middle of the bell curve Not everyone can be an outlier but it is worth mentioning because I do come across the occasional person who Has been having a large amount of caffeine every day Non stop for a very long time and doesn’t seem to be impacted by it whatsoever.

Sleep, totally fine. Energy levels, totally fine. Blood work, totally fine. You just can’t find an objective reason for them to cut back their caffeine. Kevin Stroh asks, How much truth to being able to hit side delts with more volume than other areas? Uh, that’s true, and that’s true of all smaller muscle groups.

Your delts, your biceps, your triceps, your calves. These smaller muscle groups recover faster than the larger muscle groups because They’re smaller. There’s less repair that needs to be done. And thus, the smaller muscle groups can be trained more frequently and more intensely. For example, if you are an experienced weightlifter and you are wanting to focus on, let’s say, bringing up your biceps, maybe along with some other muscle group, you’re going to do a specialization block of training and biceps is one of the priorities.

You’re going to be training five days a week. You could train your biceps every training day, so five sessions per week. And you could do upward of probably 20 to 25 sets, direct sets for your biceps every week. And so long as you are an experienced weightlifter, again, you wouldn’t do that if you were new or relatively new, but if you were experienced, that could be a very productive routine.

But if you were to try to do that for, let’s say your quads, a much larger muscle group, you might find that it’s simply. too much. You are going to be perpetually sore. You’re going to notice that your performance declines precipitously, especially as you would get later into the week. So by workout four and five, your quads are simply not able to perform anywhere nearly as well as they could earlier in the week, which is a sign of not recovered enough yet for another training session.

Linden Sepp asks, How can you find your new TDEE total daily energy expenditure? Approximately how many calories are burning every day after a long period of dieting? Well, many people make this more complicated than it needs to be. Fortunately, you just recalculate your TDEE based on your current body weight.

And then you realize that it may be a bit lower than that due to factors related to the metabolic adaptations that occur during dieting. So let’s say 5 to 10%. lower and then you see how your body responds to those calories. So let’s say you’re done dieting and you recalculate your TDEE which you can do very easily.

You can head over to legionathletics. com, go to the learn section of the site, go to tools and you’ll find a TDEE calculator there and then reduce it by five or ten percent and assume now that that number is your maintenance calories. So if you were to Eat that number of calories on average every day, or if you want to look at it on a weekly basis.

So take that number, multiply it by seven. And if your weekly caloric intake is around that, then you shouldn’t see any meaningful change in your body weight, in your body composition, specifically in your body fatness. And so then you do that and you see how your body responds. If you continue to lose weight.

It could be slowly, but you are noticing that your weight continues to trend downward, your body fat levels are continuing to trend downward, then you know that your maintenance calories are actually a bit higher. And so you bump them up depending on how much weight you’re losing. Again, if it’s minor, maybe you see over the course of the next month that you’ve lost another half a pound or maybe another pound.

So you bump it up maybe a hundred calories per day or so, uh, your daily intake bumped that up by 100 and then reassess. Miss Danny Ryan asks, religious thoughts? Just curious. Well, it’s hard for me to believe that the atheists and the materialists have it all figured out for a number of reasons related to philosophy and logic and theology, parapsychology, history, and probably a bit of intuition.

I would be very surprised if there weren’t some spiritual aspect to our existence, if there weren’t a creator or supreme being of some kind. I would be open to it. I don’t feel emotionally attached to that position, but the probability seems pretty high to me. And in case you’re wondering, a few of the reasons why I’m not very defensive of my religious ideas, why I am open to the exact opposite being true, if it could be proven to me, if it could be shown to me with sufficient evidence and logic and so forth, I would accept it.

A few of those reasons are, uh, I’m not I’m not using my religious ideas to fill a hole to fill a deficiency in my life or in my self. I’m not using religious ideas to justify things that I’m doing that I shouldn’t be doing to rationalize harmful and destructive behavior. I’m not using religious ideas as an emotional crutch to lean on when times get hard.

I’m not using religious ideas for social purposes, to fulfill my need to feel like I belong, to have a community. I’m not using religious ideas to justify failures or failing, to tell myself that it’s okay to fail because some religious idea. And so I think you get the point. When you take a lot of that stuff out, which is emotional, often irrational, you’re left with what?

You’re left with. the pursuit of truth. So for me, it’s a little bit more maybe intellectual in character rather than emotional in character in that I am mostly interested in what is true. Whether it is emotionally palatable to me or not, I don’t really care. If I believe that the evidence is compelling, the argument is compelling, and that it is most likely true, there’s just something in me then that can’t ignore it, that just has to acknowledge, yeah, that is probably True.

Now, of course, I have preferences. I would prefer that my current position is true. I would prefer that there is indeed something spiritual in our nature, something immaterial in our nature, and one of the primary reasons for that is I just think it’s more interesting than materialism. I mean, just think of the questions that it raises, the implications that it raises, the hope that it inspires, the comfort maybe that it inspires, compared to bleak, dreary materialism.

Anyway, let’s move on. Mitch Morlitt asks, Is there an ideal time frame for resting between working out muscle groups? Example, legs every three days, four days. Well, generally, 48 to let’s say 72 hours in between sessions is ideal. So if you’re going to train a muscle group more than once a week, ideally, you would put two or three days in between those sessions.

And if you need more than that to recover your strength and performance in a muscle group, then you may be doing too much in those individual sessions. Now notice I did not say if the target muscle group that you’re training a few times per week is still sore, you may be doing too much in individual sessions.

That can be true too, but you should know that muscle soreness does not necessarily mean under recovered or insufficiently recovered for another training session. You can train muscles that are sore, but if you have recovered sufficiently and you are still it’ll probably be a little bit of soreness no more than five out of ten probably closer to three out of ten what you’ll notice is that most of that soreness or all of it will go away when you’re warming up and you’ll notice that your performance doesn’t decline that’s the key if you cannot perform as well as you normally can and you probably also will be sore but even if you’re not really sore If you are simply not able to do what you normally can do on an exercise, you know, with a target muscle group, then you probably have not recovered.

So for example, let’s say you are training your lower body twice per week. Let’s say it’s Monday and Thursday. Monday, you do your Your workout. It starts with squats, 2 25 for five, let’s say a few sets, whatever. And then Thursday comes and you’re still a bit sore from Monday’s workout. Maybe it’s a three or four out of 10, maybe five outta 10.

You do your warmup, it’s feeling a little bit better. You put 2 25 on the bar again, and you can only. Three and that that’s a hard three. Like you most fail on number three. Whereas on Monday you got five with, let’s say on your first set, you had two or three good reps still in the tank. And now a few days later you have seen a big drop off.

It’s 225 for three with like zero or one good rep left in the tank and the muscle soreness. You are probably not recovered from Monday’s workout. You probably did too much in that session. Nimra Bakkash asks, Does making faces in the gym increase wrinkles? You know, that’s a good question. I’ve never thought of that, but I suppose it probably does.

I mean, using our facial muscles does cause wrinkles after all. So I guess we should wear the sunscreen and we should moisturize, right? Powan PJ asks, I’m hitting a plateau. What should I do? Uh, well, if you are having trouble achieving progressive overload in your training, you want to first look at your exercise technique, especially if you are an experienced weightlifter, because the targeted training stimulus of one well executed rep is worth several sloppy ones.

So technique of every rep of every exercise look. there first and really strive to execute perfect reps every set every exercise that is the ideal we are working toward it is not going to be fully achievable like any good ideal but we can get at least 80 of the way there and the reason why that is so important is proper technique perfect reps every set every exercise produces maximal training stimulus in the target muscle groups.

That’s a key phrase in the target muscle groups, because what can happen is with poor technique, that training stimulus can be diluted amongst a number of different muscle groups that are not the target muscle groups of that exercise. Our body is having to recruit muscle groups that we’re not trying to train because we’re not Doing the exercise properly, and in some cases, it can be so bad that the training stimulus is being distributed throughout the entire body that you have most of your major muscle groups contributing at a low non stimulative level at a level that is not going to produce anything in the way of muscle or strength gain simply because your form.

Bad Ross, oh 7 0 5 asks, dumbbell, lateral raise, single arm, or together. Uh, both are good options. Most people do both arms at the same time. You don’t see many people doing single arm lateral raises. And I think more people should, especially people who have gotten fairly strong at a lateral raise because it.

Gets awkward at a point if you’re doing dumbbell lateral raises, both arms at the same time, because to use enough weight to get a good training stimulus in a reasonable rep range, let’s say 6, 8, 10 reps per set. It is very difficult to minimize the body English to minimize the swinging and swaying you can, but you really have to focus on it with the single arm.

You can go over to a metal upright in the gym, like over to the cable station or a power rack and grab onto a post, one of the metal posts with one hand in the other hand, you have your dumbbell, you have your feet close to the upright that you’re holding on to and your feet together and then you lean away.

from the upright and from there you do your side raises. That is a fantastic little modification that helps you keep your body really stable and helps you control the weight that you’re moving and you want to control it up, slight pause, and control it down. Don’t just let that dumbbell drop to your side, um, really control that lowering of the weight.

TA Walsh 01 asks, Can changing the tempo of your lifts help when you don’t have enough weight? can, it can make an exercise more difficult. You can get a little bit more time under tension, obviously, but if you want to make that training maximally effective, I would recommend just doing more regular sets to failure instead.

Even if those are high rep sets, 20 to 30 reps per set, for example, that is going to be more effective than just slowing down the number of sets that you would normally do. Now, if you don’t have time to do more regular sets, then you can slow those sets down. The ones that you do have time to do to get a little bit more stimulus out of them, but you could also do supersets in your workouts to save time.

You wouldn’t superset the same exercise or the same muscle group, but if you have multiple muscle groups to train in a workout and you’re crunched for time, you can superset them in a way that It shouldn’t impair your performance much if at all. And if you want to learn about that, head over to legionathletics.

com, search for superset. You’ll find an article as well as a podcast that I recorded on that topic. Or you could take your workout, you could add sets to it that you don’t have time to do as regular hard sets, just straight sets, and you could turn them into rest pause sets. And if you want to learn about that, again, legionathletics.

com, search for rest pause, check out the article I wrote on it. Probably a podcast as well. And drop sets are another option, but I would prefer rest pause sets. Yanny Pav28 asks, What is your opinion on Mike Menser and Dorian Yates HIT training style? Well, there’s no arguing with the fact that this style of training can work.

We have them as examples, and we have many people who have used those training principles over the years to get jacked. However, regularly using techniques that you’ll find in this HIT style of training like negatives and force reps to kind of push yourself beyond failure. I don’t think it’s worth the hassle.

I don’t think it’s worth the risk. And if you are going to do it, you are going to have to necessarily reduce your volume. For obvious reasons, your workouts are going to get really hard and that we know is not optimal for gaining muscle and strength. We know that you can’t simply replace a lot of normal, which should be high intensity volume.

You should be pushing close to muscular failure in your quote unquote normal training. So we can’t, we can’t replace a lot of normal. Let’s say high intensity volume with a lot less extra high intensity volume and get better or even the same results. Chances are, we’re going to get worse results. Yeah.

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 ideas or suggestions or just Feedback to share, shoot me an email, Mike at muscle for life.

com muscle F O R 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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