Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body (Muscle for Life Book 1)


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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews


"If you want to use strength training for aesthetics, Mike is your source. Read this book, and read mine too, and come away with what you need to know. The rest will be up to you."
--Mark Rippetoe, author of Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training and Practical Programming for Strength Training

"I highly, highly recommend Bigger Leaner Stronger. You don't just read it. You do it. And you see immediate changes and results."
--Hafthor "The Mountain" Björnsson, World's Strongest Man champion

"Nobody cuts through the fitness and nutrition confusion and clutter like Mike Matthews. And in Bigger Leaner Stronger, he draws on a powerful combination of time in the trenches and hard-core research to give you the straight talk about what actually works. This book is easy to read and incredibly effective. I highly recommend."
--Ben Greenfield, CEO of Kion & New York Times bestselling author of Beyond Training: Mastering Endurance, Health & Life

"Bigger Leaner Stronger is a super well-researched and practical guide to strength training that quickly cuts through the massive amount of BS 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."
--Mark Divine, founder of SEALFIT and New York Times bestselling author of The Way of the SEAL, Unbeatable Mind and 8 Weeks to SEALFIT

"Mike has written the encyclopedia of body recomposition for the twentieth century. A great book and a must-buy for beginners looking to get their feet wet."
--Martin Berkhan, fitness coach, pioneer, and author of The Leangains Method

"Mike Matthews stands alone in the fitness space. His books are based on scientific research and real-world results. Bigger Leaner Stronger changed my life. It can change yours too."
--Strauss Zelnick, "America's fittest CEO" and author of Becoming Ageless: The Four Secrets to Looking and Feeling Younger Than Ever

"In Bigger Leaner Stronger, Mike takes us back to the fundamentals of losing fat and building muscle--time-tested and science-backed strategies that have been obscured by a rising tide of popular hype and pseudoscience. The good news: it doesn't have to be that hard!"
--Alex Hutchinson, author of the New York Times bestseller Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance

"Matthews has masterfully distilled many years of research into the essence of what makes guys bigger, leaner, and stronger. His training methods have worked better than anything else I've tried for improving my strength and physique. Get this book right now."
--Stephen Guise, international bestselling author of Mini Habits

"Mike Matthews has done it again. Great information backed by science, and complicated knowledge transformed into practical, applicable strategies. I loved Bigger Leaner Stronger. A must-read."
--Adam Schafer, co-host of top-ranked fitness and health podcast Mind Pump

"I haven't been this excited about a fitness book in years. It's required reading for all guys who want to get--and stay--in the best shape of their lives. A true classic in the making."
--Sal Di Stefano, co-host of top-ranked fitness and health podcast Mind Pump

"Would you rather spend a month of your life hoping the latest flavor of diet and exercise plan will work . . . or spend thirty days knowing your hard work will provide results you can not only see, but feel? Give me guaranteed results any day, and that's what Bigger Leaner Stronger provides--all the knowledge and motivation you need to get results for years to come."
--Jeff Haden, Inc. Magazine contributing editor and author of The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win

"Bigger Leaner Stronger is meticulously researched, clearly written, and utterly practical. Matthews has created something special here."
--Jordan Harbinger, creator and host, The Jordan Harbinger Show

"A highly actionable book that translates the latest science into a simple plan for strength. In a world filled with noise, Mike Matthews provides the clarity and practical strategies you need to get results."
--James Clear, author of Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

"As a clinical practitioner who specializes in obesity medicine, I truly appreciate Bigger Leaner Stronger. It's simple, science-based, and most importantly, it works, and that's why I recommend it to many of my patients. Drop whatever you're doing and read this book. It can change your life."
--Dr. Spencer Nadolsky, board-certified family and obesity medicine physician and founder of RP Health

"Bigger Leaner Stronger is a great book that I'd wholeheartedly recommend. It's full of solid, thoroughly researched information presented in a way that everyone will be able to understand and implement. If you want to improve your body and your health, or just learn more about getting in shape, you should absolutely read this book."
--Greg Nuckols, former record-holding powerlifter and founder of Stronger by Science

From the Author

Interview with the Author

Q: I can't find time to exercise but want to get in shape. What should I do?


A: I don't know anybody who can find time to exercise. I've never had anyone tell me, "Mike, I have too much free time these days. I think I'll spend a few hours in the gym every day to get in shape. What should I do while I'm there?"


It's always the opposite. Most of us lead busy, hectic lives and feel we don't have time for anything new. But in almost all cases, that just isn't true. 


As much as some people would like to think they're too busy to exercise, when they analyze in detail how they actually spend their every waking minute every day, they discover how it could be worked out (no pun intended). And especially when they realize how little time it really takes to get fit!


The reality is people who have successfully transformed their bodies have the same 24 hours in a day as you and the rest of us, and they still have lives to live. 


They still have to go work, spend time with their loved ones, maintain some semblance of a social life, and remember to decompress and have some fun now and then. The only difference is they've decided exercise is important enough to be in the plan.


For some, that means watching less TV or giving it up altogether. For others, it means waking up an hour earlier than normal a few days per week to get into the gym. For others still it means asking the wife to take the kids after dinner (a favor that can be repaid for her workouts!).


My point is: if you really want to carve out an hour a few days per week to train, I'm positive you can.


Q: I'm new to weightlifting. Is this for me?


A: Absolutely.


With Bigger Leaner Stronger, you can gain up to 25 pounds of muscle in just your first year while also dropping pounds of unwanted fat and greatly increasing your whole-body strength.


Moreover, you're also going to experience firsthand things most people will never know about effective diet and training, including how to perform key exercises with perfect form, ensure you keep progressing in your workouts, break through fat loss and muscle gain plateaus, prevent injuries, and much more.


The bottom line is by the end of your first year of Bigger Leaner Stronger, you're not only going to be thrilled with the results, but even more so with what you're going to be able to accomplish in the following year, two, three, and beyond.


Q: I'm in my 30s/40s/50s-plus. Can I do this program?


A: Definitely.


Every week I get emailed by at least a few people asking if it's too late to build muscle and get fit. 


Most are very pleasantly surprised when I explain that it's definitely not too late, and that I'm regularly working with guys and gals in their 40s, 50s, and even 60s who are building their best bodies ever.


How should people in their 40s and beyond go about building a great body, though? Certainly they can't eat and train like the 20-year-olds, right?


You might be surprised to learn that not nearly as much changes as people think.


One of the first things I refer people to who are worried about age squashing their dreams of being fit is a study conducted by scientists at the University of Oklahoma, which had 24 college-aged (18 to 22) and 25 middle-aged (35 to 50) men follow the same weightlifting routine for eight weeks.


Researchers then analyzed everyone's body composition and found that the middle-aged men had gained just as much muscle as their college-aged counterparts had. Strength gains were very similar as well.


In my experience, this is equally true for women. Middle age isn't a physiological strikeout, even when compared to your 20s. You can do just fine.


People in their 60s and beyond aren't left out of the party, either. Studies show that they too can gain significant amounts of muscle and strength, and more importantly, that training and developing their muscles is a great way to fight the "dwindling health spiral" normally associated with aging.


Furthermore, despite what you've probably heard, your metabolism doesn't crater and your hormones don't implode as you get older. 


Research shows that the average adult's metabolism slows by just 1 to 3 percent per decade and that the primary reason for this is muscle loss, not genetic programming. 


Therefore, if you maintain your muscle as you age, you maintain your metabolism. And if you add muscle to your frame, you can increase it.


And as far as hormones go, it was once believed that the hormonal disturbance associated with aging was inevitable. We now know this isn't true. Research shows that lifestyle factors are equally causative of hormonal changes as aging itself, if not more so.


For example, here's a short list of the biggest lifestyle factors that can depress your testosterone levels:


  • Weight gain


  • Stopping exercise


  • Chronic illness


  • Use of medications


  • Sleeping too little


  • Moderate alcohol consumption


These are all under your control. Your hormone health truly is in your hands. 


For example, studies show that there are plenty of ways to naturally improve your hormone profile, including staying lean, doing regular resistance training, and maintaining good sleep hygiene.


You'll also be happy to know you don't need stellar hormone levels to get fit. If you're willing to work hard, you can have below-average hormones and a far-above-average physique.


All that said, there are several key differences between college-aged and middle-aged bodies that make fitness a little harder as you get older. 


Research shows that after about age 50, your muscles recover slower from exercise and that you begin to lose muscle over time (if you don't do anything to stop it).  


Your tendons and ligaments also become stiffer and recover slower, which can increase the risk of injury. 


Overall, though, the science is clear: you can stay in remarkably good shape well into old age if you stay active and take care of your body, and that's just as true for men as it is for women.


Q: I'm an experienced weightlifter. Is this for me?


A: Probably.


With over 400 pages of practical, science-based information on the inner and outer games of getting and staying in the best shape of your life, even the most veteran gym rats can learn a thing or two from Bigger Leaner Stronger.


And if nothing else, it'll serve as a powerful refresher on the 20% of diet and exercise information and strategies that delivers 80% of the results.


Q: How long does it take to see results?


A: One of the best things about Bigger Leaner Stronger is how quickly it works. 


You'll see marked improvements in the gym and mirror within your first month, and it'll only get better and better from there.


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


A: No. 


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


If you have the budget and inclination, however, certain supplements can help you gain muscle and strength, lose fat, and get healthy faster. You'll learn all about this in the book.


Q: I'm short on time. Can I still do the program?


A: Absolutely.


Bigger Leaner Stronger comes in three flavors--5, 4, and 3 days per week--and individual workouts range from 45 to 70 minutes.


The bottom line is if you can dedicate 3 to 6 hours per week to Bigger Leaner Stronger, you can build the body you've always wanted.


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


A: Yup. 


The diet principles are very flexible and can accommodate any and all food preferences and limitations