The fitness industry is a mess.
There is so much misleading information on fad diets and tricks to building muscle and losing fat.
In Bigger Leaner Stronger, Mike Matthews takes an evidence-based approach to explain the science of getting shredded. He uses simple terms to explain how to build muscle and lose fat. He teaches that lifting weights, eating the right kinds and right amount of food, and following a simple program, are all you need to get in shape and improve your physique.
Matthews is an excellent author. He tells you exactly what you need to know, backs up all his claims with studies, and writes in a way that is easy to read and motivates you to succeed. If you want to improve your body, but not sure how, this is the perfect place to start.
Top 5 Takeaways:
1. Most of the information out there about fitness is not true
The fitness industry is filled with salespeople pushing “fat-burners”, fad diet meal plans, and bogus training plans.
Most of these trending diets and training plans aren’t based on science. They will try to convince you that the reason you aren’t in shape is because you don’t have the secret recipe… and for $9.99 it’s all yours.
Matthews takes a different approach. He debunks many of the fitness myths that are holding us back and shifts our focus to the things that really matter: tracking macros, eating healthy foods, and lifting weights.
He shows us that all you need to do is focus on the right things and put your head down and get to work.
2. To gain muscle, or lose fat, you need to eat the right amount of food
Eating the right amount of food is key.
To do this you need to understand energy balance. Every time you eat foods with carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, you are putting energy into your body. During the day, as you move around or do a workout, you burn energy.
If you are putting more energy into your body than you are burning off, you gain weight. Simple as that. Conversely, if you are putting less energy into your body than you are burning off, you gain weight.
Matthews teaches you how much food to eat if you want to gain muscle and how much food to eat if you want to lose fat. He shows you how to track your meals to hit all of your fitness goals.
3. Your meals should consist of natural foods
Eating natural foods is almost as important as eating the right amount of food.
Stick to the basics: meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, grains, and low-fat dairy products. These are your go-to choices when building a meal that meets your energy requirements.
Try to avoid highly processed foods. These foods tend to be high in fats, sugar, and sodium. It’s okay to have these foods once in a while, but they shouldn’t be part of your daily meals.
4. Lifting weights is the best way to gain muscle and lose fat
Endless cardio is not the best way to lose fat.
The best way to meet your body goals is to lift weights. Whether you want to gain muscle or lose fat, lifting weights is the way to go.
Matthews teaches a great beginner training plan with a foundation of compound movements to improve strength and accessory movements to isolate the muscles. It is a simple, but effective program, that is easy to follow.
5. Most supplements aren’t needed, but some help
There is a lot of supplements out there and most of them are not useful.
There are really only a few that are worthwhile taking. Some of my favourites that Matthews lists are:
- Protein Powder: Useful for hitting your protein requirements.
- Creatine: The most-studied fitness supplement out there. Helps with energy production.
- Citrulline Malate: Gives you a juicy pump.
- Caffeine: Increases focus and burns fat.
These are just some of the supplements that Matthews recommends. He gives a full list of effects and dosing recommendations for these and more.
Bigger Leaner Stronger is my favourite fitness book for many reasons. Matthews takes a no-nonsense approach to deciphering all the fitness information out there and gives you an easy-to-follow program that covers everything from meals, to training, to supplements.
Many of the other fitness books make things more complicated than they need to be. Matthews tells you exactly what you need to know to reach your body goals. I highly recommend you check it out.
Have you read Bigger Leaner Stronger? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!