Hello there. I’m Mike Matthews, and this is muscle for life. Thank you for joining me today for another episode. Another installment in my Q and A series. These episodes are always fun for me because I get to talk about all kinds of stuff. And what I do specifically is every other week. Now it was every week for a while because I was doing three podcasts a week.
Now I’m doing one a week just to free up time to work on other projects. I am every other week. Posting in my Instagram stories, asking for questions. So if you want to ask me questions, follow me at muscle for life fitness over on Instagram and watch my stories. And you’ll see every other week or so story going up where I ask for questions and then I get a bunch of questions and I go through them and I answer usually 15 or 20 or so.
They are on Instagram and then I bring everything over here to the podcast where I can answer the questions in more detail. And so in today’s episode, I’m answering questions regarding meal slash snack ideas to hit protein and calories. If you are constantly on the go throughout the day, you can’t have sit.
down meals. I answer a question here on the value of different deadlift and squat variations. Somebody asked me about AI and chat GPT. And if I have incorporated it into my workflow, and I have, I answer a question here about a way casing blend. Is that better than just whey or casein separately? And if it is, why do I not sell a blend like that?
I answer a question here about whey and acne. If whey isolate is less likely to cause acne breakouts, then whey concentrate and more. Antonio 24r asks meal slash snack ideas to hit protein if constantly driving for work. Well protein bars are an option but if it were me I’d probably just eat a large amount of protein at breakfast along with a fair amount of calories just to keep me full for a longer period of time and then I would do the same thing at dinner if I couldn’t get in.
a serving of protein at lunch and I would probably just snack on fruit and maybe have a pre mixed shake or two or maybe a protein bar. But again, the key to making the snacks work is the bigger breakfast and dinner, particularly the bigger breakfast. You may eat 50 percent of your daily calories at breakfast, have a nice big mixed meal.
protein, carbs, fat, which is maximally filling and stick to nutritious, relatively unprocessed foods. So you’re getting a lot of volume for those calories and that can keep you full for a long time. If it were me six hours, probably easily before I’d have any desire to eat again, I generally don’t get very hungry, but there is a point where I noticed that my stomach is empty and I could use a bit of food.
And so if I were to. Eat, let’s say, 1500 calories, 12 1500 calories, something in that range for breakfast. And again, it was a mixed meal and it was mostly relatively unprocessed food. It wasn’t prepackaged stuff. It wasn’t pancakes with maple syrup. I would be full. For at least five or six hours, and then once the satiety wears off from your breakfast, it is now probably around lunch, maybe it’s even a little bit into the afternoon, and you’re not that hungry though, and then you can just use a smaller snack, ideally something high protein, to take the edge off for another few hours, and then eat a larger portion of your meal.
Thank you. Dinner built for tough 92 asks, what are your thoughts on GABA, which is gamma aminobutyric acid neurotransmitter to reduce stress and anxiety safe, effective. Yes, there is good evidence of efficacy here. If you want to try it out, try 100 to 300 milligrams per day, 30 minutes or so before bed.
And this, by the way, this ingredient GABA is going into a reformulation of legions lunar product, which is our. sleep supplement, and that’s going to be coming out later this year. And it looks like we’re going to be able to do gummies, which I wanted because I personally cut off liquid drinking about an hour and a half to two hours before bed, because if I drink too much liquid too close to bed, it’s going to wake me up and make me go pee.
It did not 10 or 15 years ago, but as I’ve gotten older, I’m now a lighter sleeper. And I know there are many other light sleepers out there who try to avoid liquid at least an hour or so before bed and who like lunar, but would prefer gummies, tasty little gummies. So that’s the plan. Next question comes from cam side and they ask thoughts on the value of deadlift slash squat variations like pause pulse sumo single leg.
Such exercises are not going to hurt, but are not necessary if your goal is to just get strong and fit. For that, I’d rather see you use variations like the trap bar and the rack pull on a deadlift, for example, because they put less strain on the hips and the back, which just feels good from time to time, especially as you get stronger and as you get a little bit older and you notice a little bit more of the wear and tear of the heavy weights on your body.
It’s nice every couple of months. I like to do this. To switch from a traditional barbell deadlift to a trap bar deadlift or to a rack pull and then go back to the conventional or if you pull sumo but go back to the barbell after a couple months of doing a less stressful at least for the hips and for the back variation.
CD Norm asks, Have you started using AI slash chat GPT to help with content creation yet? Yes, I have. And I found it very helpful for research, although it does tend to hallucinate if you get too specific in your research. If you want to find scientific evidence, like specific studies that support certain claims, for example, I have found that it almost always just.
makes stuff up out of whole cloth like it will cite papers and it will format the citations correctly. It’ll look legitimate and then you go and try to find the papers and they don’t exist. So for that, I have not found it very helpful. I have found it better at just giving a general overview of the weight of the evidence on A topic or on a position.
So if you were to ask it, is there any scientific evidence of this or scientific evidence supporting a position or does the weight of the scientific evidence support such a claim? It does a little bit better with those things, but I’m still skeptical and I still have to do my own fact checking. But with research, ChatGPT, which has been my favorite model so far, I’ve found BARD mostly useless.
I guess it’s kind of like an enhanced Google search sometimes. That’s the only real use I’ve found for it. And CLAUD is less sophisticated in my experience than ChatGPT. However, CLAUD has a huge Context window. Claude is great for dumping large amounts of text and getting summaries, getting key takeaways.
Like let’s say there’s a very long article. You’re not sure if it’s worth your time to read it. You could chunk it into chat GPT, but that’s annoying with Claude. You can just dump the entire thing. Even if it’s a. 10, 000 word article, you can dump it into Claude and ask for the top five or top 10 key takeaways, or ask it to summarize the message, summarize the arguments.
And then you can decide, is it worth the time going through these 10, 000 words? And you can do the same thing for papers, even small books, because I think, uh, as of right now, Claude accepts up to about 70, 000 words for. Context. So that’s pretty useful, but chat GPT, especially GPT four is just so much better than Claude and certainly barred at the things that I use it for.
So again, research, it’s great at ideation. Basically, whenever you need to think creatively, whether that is just pure creation, like you’re writing fiction or problem solving, and you’re trying to get creative with possible solutions or, um, with. Creating how to material like nonfiction type material, fitness stuff, for example, and you need to create, let’s say, an outline for a topic that you want to write about, and you just want to make sure that you don’t forget anything that should be obviously Covered a GPT 4 is fantastic at all of those things.
In fact, I came across a paper just in the last couple of days that showed the GPT 4 beat Wharton MBA students on creative tasks related to coming up with products and services that consumers would. Possibly buy or find interesting. And so I highly recommend using GPT. Again, I’m using four, so I can’t vouch for 3.
5, but four is very good at coming up with all kinds of ideas. And in my experience, most of the ideas are immediately discarded. They’re not very good ideas. They often GPT.
The parameters and you ask it to come up with 20 different ways to solve the problem. You can even tell it to think like certain people, for example, maybe you want it to think like Steve jobs because the problem you’re trying to solve is related to designing products, for example, or. Branding or something else he was very good at or if it’s a if it’s a pure marketing problem Maybe you want it to think like Seth Godin or your favorite marketer Maybe Dan Kennedy and even those little additions those little elements of the prompting will change the Outputs and in my experience, it does a pretty good job superficially emulating someone’s worldview Now, something else I like to use GPT for is analysis to critique my ideas, to critique my thinking if I’m writing, for example, and I’m starting with an outline and I’ve put together the general gist of what I want to write and then have GPT go through it and just analyze what is working here, what is not working so well, what What is missing?
What doesn’t make sense? What is incomplete? Those types of questions. It has reliably done a good job pointing out deficiencies and making suggestions as to how I can make my outline in this case better. And in my experience, similar to the ideation comments I made earlier, most of, at least half, If not, most of the critiques and suggestions don’t help me.
I don’t agree and so I don’t do anything with them, but there usually are at least one or two things that GPT will pick up on that I hadn’t thought of and that I agree with and I do something. And I’ve even done little experiments where I will intentionally leave out a couple of elements of something I’m writing that are not completely obvious.
That do require a subtle mind, that do require a nuanced understanding of the topic and of what I’ve written. And it does a good job picking up on those things. I’ve been impressed a few times actually. Now, as far as drafting goes, I found it less useful because no matter how I’ve tinkered with prompts, when I ask it to draft something for me, like, okay, let’s see if I can get GPT to write the first draft of this article or this chapter in my book or some section in the book that I’m working on, I end up changing the material so much that it actually Is less work to just do it from scratch sometimes editing other work that you really don’t like where you really have to do a lot of editing and the line by line editing is more difficult and more frustrating than just writing it yourself from scratch the way that you Want to write it and it’s possible that with even fancier prompt engineering, I could get around some of that.
Like, for example, maybe if I fed it enough of my own writing and asked it to write like me, it would do a better job, which is actually not a bad idea. I’m going to try that. But in my experience with drafting, I Have just had to make too many changes to make it worth it. And as far as editing goes with the right prompts, it does a good job at the developmental level, like I mentioned, where it’s analyzing your ideas, the flow of your ideas, and any possible deficiencies in your ideas, like obvious counter arguments that you didn’t think of.
But when you get to the line by line level, I found it less. useful. I’d rather just work with a good line by line editor who goes through everything, who makes suggestions, which I can then go through and accept or reject or partially accept or whatever. And so anyway, in summary, from what I’ve seen, these LLM models seem to have the most to offer to people who are already good at Creating content who are good at thinking creatively, who are good at thinking critically.
I think it is a force multiplier for those people and it is a lot less useful for people who are not very good at creating content, who aren’t very creative, who can’t think very critically and also your ability to engineer. Prompts and to guide discussions is crucial as well. If you use these tools poorly, the results are going to be poor.
If you use them skillfully, you’re going to get much better results. Okay. Dan Yev DB seven asks, would you ever sell a way slash? casein protein blend. You know, I looked into this a couple of years ago and I couldn’t find any compelling evidence based reason to recommend something like that over just a whey protein or a casein protein or a plant based protein because the claims about the.
Pose its superiority of a blend away casein blend or really a blend of anything other than maybe in the plant proteins. If you’re blending like P and rice, like Legion does, you can make a good evidence based claim for why that is a more robust amino acid profiles. That’s really, really what it comes down to versus just rice or pea protein, whereas.
With way and casing claims that that most companies are making to sell those products are bogus research does not support those claims, even if they’re citing research that sometimes seems to support the claims on the face of. It’s like you read the abstract and that purportedly claims to show that subjects gained more muscle, for example, with the way encasing blend versus the way or casing by itself.
But then if you dig into the research, you find problems, big problems, fatal flaws that for me, at least disqualify it from consideration. I would not sell a product based on that research that I’ve seen. So anyway, I shelved that idea some time ago, and as far as I know, nothing has changed. It has sat on a list of product ideas to revisit, and it hasn’t gone anywhere, because the last time that my team looked into it, the conclusion was the same.
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FLXGSK asks, Had a sudden strain in my lower back while deadlifting, pushing through pain, or aborting the set? Definitely abort. And if discomfort persists, abort the exercise and move on. If you stubbornly continue, you can get seriously hurt. It is not worth it. And it’s okay to stop doing that exercise for several weeks, if you have to, to.
Make sure that whatever happened has healed properly. So there’s nothing wrong with avoiding hip hinges altogether, for example. Like, I’m doing that right now because my SI joint was just getting aggravated and there were a few reasons for that. One of them I recently learned, probably one of the primary reasons is that for some time when I was squatting and deadlifting, I wasn’t getting deep enough into my left hip, which you wouldn’t see on a video.
It was, it was really only. Really became aware of it because I started to work with a physical therapist and it’s really only a matter of probably an inch, but that inch of inadequate depth into my hips when I’m hinging, uh, over time with a lot amount of weight, it irritates the SI joint and currently I’m doing hyper extensions instead of any dead lifting because the dead lifting just doesn’t feel good.
Good. It doesn’t hurt per se, but my hips don’t like it. And if you continually aggravate something that is aggravated, it can become a chronic aggravation. And so when something is bothering you and it doesn’t just go away, and then often that happens, your training, your shoulder starts to bother you a little bit.
It’s not too bad. You don’t make any changes. And then a week or two later, it’s gone. Okay, fine. But if it has been several weeks and the shoulder is still hurting, maybe it’s hurting even a little bit more, it’s time to change something because you don’t want to keep re aggravating your shoulder and then have a chronic shoulder problem.
So anyway, that’s what I’m doing right now. Until my hip feels 100 percent again, and then I’ll get back to the hip hinges. Okay, the next question comes from Jaseer Jack, and they ask, Wei usually causes acne for me. Will Wei Islet be less likely to do so? Uh, possibly because research has shown a link between cow’s milk and acne breakouts, but not cheese and yogurt, which is kind of interesting.
So removing the lactose from your whey may help. Cheese and yogurt generally have less lactose than milk, so it’s probably worth a try. Jamie Woodland 22 asks, for ab training, is it best to work to a certain rep number like hypertrophy or to a time? Well, generally, I would say don’t bother with fewer than eight reps per set because heavy loads on ab exercises will degrade form like with side raises or rear raises.
It just does not work well. But. Also, don’t do just maybe 20 plus reps per set with weighted exercises in particular like a cable crunch or maybe a weighted leg raise. A good routine is several weighted sets of abs per week, maybe between 8 and 12 or 8 and 15. reps per set plus several body weights.
Those would be the higher rep 20 plus reps per set. So do several of those sets per week. In addition to your heavy compound lifting, that’s all you need to maximize your ab development. JustJordyJPG asks, How’s your tendinitis? So I was having some tendinitis in my left arm, which is unusual because in the past, whenever I’ve had things bother me, it’s usually been on the right side.
So I did have biceps tendinitis years ago. Right side, my right knee has bothered me now and then. But anyway, at this point, it’s fully resolved, which is great. And what I did is lay off of it, stop doing the exercises that were continually aggravating it, work on with a foam roller primarily, or a lacrosse ball, work on a couple muscles that were just tight on the left side that that were contributing to the problem.
And then I started to gradually load again on exercises that were previously problematic, like flat barbell bench, for example, was, was bothering my biceps tendon. So I just cut that all together. And so I started to ease back into that exercise, like not putting more than one 85 on the bar, for example, and just doing higher reps sets.
And I had that the same issue many months ago, and I made the mistake of loading again too quickly. getting right back to my normal training weights because I maintained most of my strength because I still was doing various chest pressing. It just wasn’t flat barbell bench pressing. For example, I was inclined barbell bench pressing and that felt fine.
I was inclined dumbbell bench pressing that felt fine. There was an incline machine press that I liked as well, felt fine. So I was able to more or less go back to my normal flat bench weights and I did that too quickly though and that re aggravated it. So when you’re coming off of a repetitive Stress injury, which is all it was, load it slowly.
Be patient. When you get back to doing the exercises that were causing problems. Previously, Carleen rag asks, why don’t I have an appetite on a calorie deficit? Yeah, it’s interesting because some people, they don’t get very hungry in a deficit, which is convenient. I’m actually bulking.
Then when I’m cutting leading up to a meal, when I’m lean bulking, I will physically feel hungry leading up to a meal when I’m cutting. Nah, I mean, maybe, maybe a little bit, maybe I feel a little bit of a desire to eat, but not hunger pain. So I’m more likely to experience that when I’m lean bulking, but you do want to ensure when you’re cutting that you’re not overstressing your body because that can also turn off appetite, heavy calorie restriction, a lot of intense exercise.
But if you are sleeping, all right, if you feel okay, your energy levels are okay. Your workouts are okay, but you just don’t have a big appetite when you’re cutting. That’s fine. Just keep going. Martin Rockwell asks any opinion on mushroom coffee and if it actually has any benefits. Well, it depends on the mushrooms and the doses like any supplements, the exact ingredients and the exact doses matter.
For example, reishi mushroom and lions. main and possibly one or two others have good human evidence of efficacy regarding cognition, mood, immunity, other things, but the mixture would need to be several grams. Like in the case of ratio and lines mean probably about two grams each, not a couple hundred milligrams, usually in a proprietary blend with.
Several different kinds of mushrooms, and that’s what you normally find in mushroom products, and that’s why a lot of those products are in borderline scams, because the claims being made and the research sometimes being cited to support those formulations are using a lot More. It would be like selling creatine at 500 milligrams a dose and claiming all of the benefits that creatine has to offer according to the scientific literature without mentioning, of course, that the proper doses is literally 10 times that you should be taking at least 5 grams per day.
And research is emerging that there are cognitive benefits to creatine supplementation, but you may need up to about 10 grams per day. Thank you. To experience significant cognitive effects. And so if somebody is doing that 500 milligrams per day in their little creatine product, they claim all of the benefits associated with 10 or 20 times that dose.
I consider that a scam. I don’t consider that a little bit dishonest, or still good enough to provide some benefits, or better than what other companies do. No, that’s a scam. And, speaking of mushroom supplements, Legion is going to make one, by the way, that is not going to be a scam. It’s going to have probably only two or three ingredients, but it’s going to have proper doses, because if you are going to use proper doses, those ingredients get expensive, and you can only put A couple, two or three in the product and still have something that you can sell at a competitive price and make at least a halfway decent margin on.
Philly Mitch Steak asks, thoughts on cyclic dextrin as a carb supplement. Well, I don’t sell or support any fancy carb supplements because there’s just no good evidence that these products are better than basically anything else you would eat for carbs except maybe in fringe cases like extreme endurance athletes.
So instead, I would just recommend a bowl of fruit or oatmeal or potato or sweet potato or whatever else you enjoy. Save your money. Rook 101 asks, personal question, any updates on hormones slash testosterone testing you referenced a while back? Uh, yeah, so I did a saliva test. Free tea was right in the middle of normal, so I didn’t.
Even follow up with blood work for my hormones, because I was more just curious about my testosterone and if my free tea is right in the middle of normal, my total tea is also almost certainly going to be right in the middle of normal. Also, I have no desire to get on TRT. because I don’t have low testosterone levels.
And once you start TRT, you basically can’t stop. And unless I used a large for TRT dose, which would put me at the top of physiological normal, or maybe slightly higher, like, you know, if I were to bump up to a thousand or 1200 nanograms per deciliter of blood total testosterone, whereas I would guess I’m probably About half that.
I can’t see myself being higher than 800 at this point. I mean, I’m 39. I mean, I take care of myself, but I’m 39. I’m not 23. So unless I were to at least double my testosterone levels, it wouldn’t do much in the way of body comp or energy or performance or mood or anything else. If I were to go from 500, let’s say I’m at five or 600 and I go to eight or 900, maybe I would notice.
A little bit of an increase in mood, maybe a little bit of increase in sex drive, a little bit of increase in energy, although some of that might just be placebo, it wouldn’t make that much of a difference. And it would come with the potential downsides of TRT and there are potential downsides of TRT. In fact, if you want to learn more about TRT and kind of get.
My full in depth take on it. Head over to legionathletics. com search for TRT and you will find an article that I wrote on it. I may have recorded a podcast based on that article as well, but it’s called TRT. Everything you need to know about testosterone replacement therapy. And to be clear, I’m not anti TRT.
I’m just anti abusing TRT, which is what I see many, many people doing these days. For example, I have a good friend who is probably 36 or 37 and he got blood work done and he did this with a fancy high end concierge medicine service and his testosterone levels were low and his doctor immediately Jumped to TRT.
Let’s get you on TRT. It’s going to help so much. And he asked me my thoughts and I recommended against that. I recommended that he do everything he can naturally first to increase his testosterone levels before he starts injecting himself with testosterone for the rest of his life. Because again, you are not going to be stopping.
And if you do stop, you’re not going to feel good, and you end up going back on. And so, for example, in his case, he does exercise regularly. He does a bit of strength training, a bit of cardiovascular training. For him, it’s, it’s exercise. It’s not training. He’s not trying to get big and strong, per se, or exceptionally cardiovascularly fit.
He’s just doing it because it’s the smart thing to do. And he wants to stay fit ish and healthy. But I know that he was basically vegetarian only because he is Indian. And so he just grew up not eating much in the way of meat. It was mostly just vegetarian eating. So we got used to eating that way, and that is not ideal.
Low protein. And other key nutrients, key minerals and things that can be hard to get enough of, uh, if you are not eating meat of any kind. And that was the case with him, very low protein, very low calorie. So he just wasn’t eating many calories as well. He’s a smaller guy and he doesn’t have a big appetite.
And so I helped him put together a meal plan that brought his calories up to a more reasonable range considering his activity level. Added in some, I don’t know if we added in red meat, but some chicken, I believe some fish, and we added in a protein supplement. So his protein intake went way up. We added some more in the way of healthy fats, and we added in a few supplements that have been shown to help in the cases of low testosterone or that are thought to possibly be able to help, like Tonkat Ali.
That is not a testosterone booster. You should just take it and it’s going to increase your testosterone 20, 30, 40%. No, but it may be able to help if you have clinically low testosterone levels. And he did the same thing with boron and other supplements that are commonly promoted, especially like right now as testosterone boosters.
No, if that were the case, I would sell a product like that. There’s a big market for those products, but you can’t honestly. Claim that Tonkat Ali and Boron and D Aspartic Acid and some of these others will reliably and significantly increase testosterone levels in just about everyone. No, if someone is low in testosterone, it is possible that some of these supplements can help.
And so I put together and they’re not going to hurt, right? So if you have low testosterone, you might as well try them. So I put together a little stack of supplements for him and made a couple of little changes to his workout routine and And he should be getting his new blood work done soon. His doctor agreed with the plan, which is funny, like they didn’t give it to him.
But when they read it, they’re like, Oh, well, yeah, I guess that is a good idea. I guess we should do that first. And their plan was to do it for three months, get them retested. And he’s coming up on three months. But I know it’s working because he has gained quite a bit of muscle in just the last couple of months.
He’s sleeping better, more sex drive, like noticeably more sex drive. He, um, is. having more energy and his workouts are better. So the question is only how much has it helped? And I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s now right in the middle of normal, maybe the lower end of normal, but the lower end of normal doesn’t mean jump on TRT.
If you’re feeling fine, like let’s say again, he’s in his mid to late thirties. Let’s say he’s in around 400 or so, but he’s feeling good. He doesn’t have any symptoms anymore of low testosterone. That probably. Should just be left alone. Save the TRT for clinically low testosterone levels, which includes actual symptoms of low testosterone.
Okay, Vin Anonymous asks, other than caffeine and sleep, what are some natural sources of energy? Good friends, good work, good goals, good sex, good food, Sunlight and ethical and high integrity behavior. 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.