Hey, and welcome to another episode of Muscle for Life. I am Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today for another short episode. These short episodes that I’ve been doing every other week or so have been getting a good response, and so I figured I would keep them up. And in this episode, I am continuing on the theme of the last two shorter episodes of Hacks.
Easy Ways to. Some part of our health or fitness or wellbeing. And in today’s episode, I’m gonna share with you some very simple health hacks, some very simple things you can do right away. You can start doing them today and start benefiting from them right away today before we get started. If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast, and if you wanna hear my musings on mastering the inner game of Getting Fit so you can reach your fitness goals faster, check out my book, The Little Black Book of Workout Motivation.
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The easiest way to instantly increase your willpower and self-control in any situation, no matter how you feel in the moment. Three, science-based psychological tricks you can use to stay strong during. Temptation. A simple 10 minute technique for beating procrastination and skyrocketing productivity.
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Four and five star reviews on Amazon, and you can find the little Black Book of Workout Motivation on all major online retailers like Audible, Amazon, iTunes, Cobo, and Google Play. Okay, so first on my list is get outside and in the sun every day and move around until you get at least a little bit sweaty.
I know it’s pretty obvious, but you might be at least a little bit surprised at how much it can help with your physical and your mental wellbeing. Next up on my list is to make time to meet face to face with people you like, because phone calls and even video calls are really a shabby substitute for real in-person human interaction.
And this is something that I have to keep top of mind. I have to regularly remind myself. Otherwise, I will go for extended periods of time. Not interacting with very many people, aside from my immediate family and maybe a couple of people, a couple of regulars in the gym who I get to say hi to, but that’s not the same of course as taking time to hang out with people you like because even if you like some of the people in your gym, they are not there to hang out and you are probably not there to hang.
Either. All right, so next I have give yourself at least one day per week of no vigorous physical activity whatsoever. No intense training, no sports and so forth. This will greatly improve your recovery more than just about anything else. You could do. And on the strength training side of things, I generally recommend no more than five strength training workouts per week.
And that’s a lot. That’s a pretty high frequency program for many people. Three to four strength training workouts per week probably makes more sense given their goals and their circumstances. Just speaking personally, I’ve been doing five strength training workouts per week on average for many years now, and for the last two years or so, I’ve been following my Beyond bigger, leaner, stronger program, which you can learn about in my book Beyond Bigger, Leaner, Stronger.
It’s similar to bigger, leaner, stronger, but it’s more difficult. The volume is higher, and you are periodizing your training differently, and you’re doing some very heavy lifting and beyond bigger, leaner, stronger that you don’t do. Bigger, lean stronger. And recently when I was thinking about my past two to three years or so of training experience and body composition experience, that for me to be able to follow that program successfully and feel like I am really recovering from my workouts and not experience any negative side effects associated.
Under recovery, like excessive soreness, joint achiness, poor sleep, and so forth. I need to be consistently in a calorie surplus. If I am trying to maintain a lean body composition or I am trying to cut, I am trying to lose some fat, I quickly fall behind in my recovery. And to give you some context for the programming, it is similar to bigger, leaner, strong.
In that you’re doing a lot of compound weight lifting, but it’s more volume. So bigger, Leaner, stronger has probably around 10 to 12 hard sets per major muscle root per week beyond bigger, Leaner, Stronger brings that up to 15 to 16 hard sets per major muscle root per week. And as I mentioned earlier, in beyond bigger, leaner, stronger, you are getting into some very heavy lifting that you don’t do on a bigger than or stronger program.
So you’re doing, twos on the squats and deadlift and bench press. Overhead press, for example, and some am wrap as many reps as possible sets with heavy weights on those exercises as well. Every couple of months. And ironically, I did mention in the book that this is aggressive programming.
This probably does represent the maximum recoverable volume and intensity for most natural weightlifters, and therefore is. Best suited to lean bulking when your body’s muscle building machinery is firing on all cylinders. And if you are trying to maintain a lean body composition, which really means that you are going to be more consistently in a slight calorie deficit rather than a slight calorie surplus, that’s just how it’s gonna go.
If you want to stay lean or if you are cutting, you probably are going to have to reduce the volume of the program of beyond bigger, leaner, stronger. You. Follow the workouts. You can do the exercises, you can even maintain the intensities, but you are probably going to have to cut the volume from say, four hard sets per exercise in the workouts to three.
And I myself just never did that over the last. Two to three years that I’ve been running that program might even be longer now, three or four years actually. I’ve just been stubborn, basically, and I’ve stuck to the maximum volume, whether I am cutting or maintaining, and again, looking at my experience, I can’t maintain.
That for very long before I start to be undercovered. And the only solution to fix that has been to eat more food because our body does a lot better with the physical stresses of training when food, when calories are plentiful. And About four weeks ago or so, I reduced my volume to three hard sets, basically 25% reduction of total hard sets per week, and immediately have noticed a difference in terms of better recovery.
And I also am in a calorie deficit, which I don’t really need to cut, but I want to see how my body responds to a reduction in volume. With calories restricted because I now know how my body responds to the higher volume approach with calories restricted, and it’s just too much. And so my point with saying all of that is if you are lifting weights five days per week and you are training pretty intensely, you are pushing yourself to your limits.
You have to understand how much demand that puts on your body. Recovery. And I hear from people who train six days a week or even seven days a week, and they do a bunch of cardio and they’re trying to stay lean and eventually the wheels fall off. Even invincible, 20 year olds can only do that for so long before they just start to feel run down all of the.
So just to come back to my tip here, three to five strength training workouts per week. Three to four is plenty for most people, especially if they are new to strength training and their body is going to respond very positively to it. They don’t need to do that much weekly volume to maximize muscle and strength gain.
They can get. All done easily in three workouts per week, very easily in four workouts per week, and then don’t give into the compulsion to do a lot of intense exercise on your rest days when you are not doing your strength training workouts. Again, give yourself at least a. One low intensity day per week.
You don’t have to just sit around on the couch all day, obviously get outside, go for a walk, maybe some light physical activity, some light sports, go swimming, go ride a bike, maybe some hiking, some golf, whatever. But no intense. Formal workouts and no intense informal exercise like, probably not best to go have an intense tennis match on your one day off weightlifting per week.
Okay, let’s move on to the next point here, which is go to bed and wake up at the same time. Ish. Don’t have to be perfect with any of this, of course, just good enough. But try to go to bed and wake up at about the same time every day, including the weekends, because this will help ensure that you get enough high quality sleep, and that really is a prerequisite for high quality living.
Period. Another one, eat a big salad every day. This will give you at least a few servings of vegetables, including leafy greens. Very important. My go-to is spinach and calorie For calorie, a big salad is about as filling as you can get, especially if you add some protein and maybe some fibrous extras like chickpeas or lentils or black beans.
Another one for you. When you are sick or on the brink, skip your. Just take a nap instead. And I know that goes down like a warm bucket of spit. Trust me, I’ve been there many times and I have stubbornly refused to accept that I am probably. Gonna be sick if I keep pushing it, and I’ve pushed it anyway and then gotten sick and it has taken many experiences just like that for me to finally develop the discipline to do what I’m suggesting you do, skip the workout.
Take a nap because that alone can make the difference between getting sick and not getting sick, or if you are sick, it can make the difference between a rapid recovery and a prolonged illness. Another very simple health hack is listening to classical music. Listen to some classical music. Every day because studies show that it can relax your mind and body.
It can reduce feelings of stress, it can improve cognition in sleep. And if you are curious what to listen to for whatever it’s worth, some of my favorites are Beethovens Symphonies, wcs, piano, solos box, so nots in concertos. And if you are more interested in more modern stuff, I really like anything by Ludovico, iui, Max Richter and Jeremy.
And that’s SE with an E S O U L E. And my next health trick for you is gargling with antibacterial mouthwash every day because research. That this can safely reduce the frequency and the severity of respiratory tracted infections, which have been going around these days, and it seems to be even more so in the last year or so.
I’ve heard from a number of friends who have told me that they’ve never had so many sore throats, like not full on sickness, not flu or flu-like symptoms or. The Covid experience that many people had early on, but just sore throats, feeling a little bit sick for just a couple of days, and then having it go away.
I’ve experienced the same several times over the last six months, and I was definitely exposed to c d in that time because my wife got it from a massage therapist who massaged. Sick, which is cool. So my wife gets it and then I get it, and it was a sore throat. I had like a congestion, a mucusy congestion at night.
Lasted a few days, but then a couple of weeks later after I was feeling fine, I started to get a little bit of a sore throat again, a little bit of congestion that lasted a couple of days, went away. And then a few weeks later started to feel it again. Weird. Very weird. Could have nothing to do with Covid because my kids also did start going to school.
And of course, schools are germ factories, so it might have just been a. Coincidence of timing, but I have heard the same thing from a few friends who have had this semi-regularly recurring sore throat congestion, almost what feels like it’s going to be a head cold, but it doesn’t quite get there anyway, though, gargling every day can help stave off those types of infections, and if you are infected, can help you beat it faster.
All right, last on my. Fill your refrigerator and pantry with nutritious food and relegate the quote unquote junk to the back of a hard to reach cabinet because that’ll just make it easier to eat More of the former and less of the latter, out of sight, out of mind really does work. 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. Ideas or suggestions or just feedback to share. Shoot me an email, mike muscle for life.com, muscle f o r life.com and let me know what I could do better or just 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.
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