A COUPLE DAYS AGO I ASKED EVERYONE ON MY INSTAGRAM TO ASK ME QUESTIONS RELATING TO TRAINING, NUTRITION, AND MINDSET.
People asked some great questions and I really enjoyed answering them — everything from politics to eating disorders, we get into a variety of topics.
Before we dive in, feel free to use the navigation below to jump ahead to a specific question.
If you read this and think, “Hey, I want to ask Matt a question for next time.”
Send me an email to email@example.com and I’ll make sure I get it done.
Let’s dive in.
1. What’s the best/most useful thing that has carried over into the rest of your life from lifting?
2. Do you think you can go one day a week to the gym (it can be up to 4 or 5 hours) and make progress?
3. How would you grocery shop on a budget as a college student with a small meal plan?
4. What are you currently struggling with? And how are you overcoming it?
5. How important is deload and which way of deload (no lifting at all vs % less) is optimal?
6. Best exercises for back muscles, specifically the rhomboids.
7. What lifting split has worked the best for you? Or is most ideal?
8. What are your favorite non-fitness related accounts on IG?
9. Are you a democrat or republican?
10. I kind of struggle with disordered eating habits. Do you have any ideas how I can stop obsessing over calories?
11. How do you feel about weighted dips/pull-ups?
12. What are the 3 main pieces of advice for putting on muscle?
13. What keeps you motivated? When you’re starving/muscles burning, why keep going?
14. How do you decide what information to follow regarding mindset?
1. WHAT’S THE BEST/MOST USEFUL THING THAT HAS CARRIED OVER INTO THE REST OF YOUR LIFE FROM LIFTING?
Knowing that I am in control. Everything that I want to accomplish is there for the taking as long as I’m willing to put in the work. And my results will be dictated solely on what I do or don’t do.
The gym is always the ultimate equalizer.
Sure, you can take steroids and get an advantage. But nobody is gonna be able to walk in the gym and dick around for an hour each day and build an impressive physique over the long-term, steroids or not.
It’s very difficult to “fake it” in the gym. You can buy a fancy watch or a new car, but you can’t buy yourself a great physique.
It has shown me a direct correlation between working smarter/harder and achieving success in my desired goal.
Once you (truly) realize you dictate your entire life, it is a comforting feeling given you’re ready to bear the load that life presents.
2. DO YOU THINK YOU CAN GO ONE DAY A WEEK TO THE GYM (IT CAN BE UP TO 4 OR 5 HOURS) AND MAKE PROGRESS?
I think you can make progress, but it would likely be pretty slow. I would aim for at least twice per week, hitting full body on both days. Make sure you’re really analyzing your day-to-day and see if there’s not 1 measly hour you’re wasting on something else (my bet: you have an extra hour).
3. HOW WOULD YOU GROCERY SHOP ON A BUDGET AS A COLLEGE STUDENT WITH A SMALL MEAL PLAN?
I would try to find a friend or relative with a Sam’s Club or Costco membership and buy everything in bulk.
Maybe save up to buy a Crock Pot or slow cooker and use that for a large portion of meals.
Find meats on sale and go for cheaper options: chicken breasts/thighs, eggs, egg whites, fattier beef, canned tuna/chicken.
Buy raw vegetables and learn how to cook them, clean them, chop them, freeze them, and store them for future use. You can make plenty of stews, soups, and Crock Pot recipes by searching online.
Most importantly: try to learn how to make more money and don’t spend your money on dumb shit. This book is a great start on controlling your finances.
4. WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY STRUGGLING WITH? AND HOW ARE YOU OVERCOMING IT?
Gaining financial freedom from coaching. I would say “struggling” is the wrong word because I’m loving what I do every single day and it’s not like I don’t have enough money to pay rent. It’s moreso what I’m pursuing at the moment, but I understand it’s all a process.
I am overcoming it by putting out all this free content to my beloved peeps, like you reading.
But honestly, learning how to be your own boss and not waste your time is one of the hardest parts.
The biggest key here is routine and habits.
Doing the same shit day-in-and-day-out is absolutely crucial. This allows you to adjust variables as needed.
For example, if what I’m doing isn’t producing results, I know I can just tweak this one thing and use trial-and-error to justify it.
It’s the same reason having a coach is so important — a coach will oversee all the variables as to why you aren’t reaching your fitness goals yet. If you’re not losing body fat anymore, you may think it’s because you’re eating too much sugar when in reality, you just haven’t been in a calorie deficit all along.
A good coach can take the objective data you give them and provide you a non-emotionally charged solution to your problem, whereas you may have clouded judgement from personal bias and pure ignorance.
So, yeah, I’m working to focus on the process and not the outcome. As long as I’m making progress, that’s all I care about. The financial freedom will come later on as long as I stay smart and work until my eyes bleed.
5. HOW IMPORTANT IS DELOAD AND WHICH WAY OF DELOAD (NO LIFTING AT ALL VS % LESS) IS OPTIMAL?
First, let’s briefly define a deload.
This is a graph (source) to represent when it’s necessary to deload.
As you lift, you build fatigue = the red line. As your training starts to get harder, your fatigue increases even more, resulting in adaptations — hence, the increased fitness levels (blue) when fatigue is highest.
The yellow line, your gym performance, may actually end up decreasing some as you start to get close to “overreaching” in the gym. This is usually a good thing, but can often seem like things aren’t working properly. They are. I should note that it is usually very difficult to overreach, so make sure not to be a pussy in fear of this.
Once your fatigue is maxed out and your performance is diminishing, this is when you need a deload to help bring your performance levels back up.
This is why I program deloads every 4-8 weeks for my clients so we make sure to keep fatigue in check and so I know they aren’t always going balls to the wall.
A simple way to deload is to reduce the sets of each exercise by 1 or 2 and drop 2 repetitions from each exercise.
You don’t want to leave the gym feeling fatigued, but you also don’t want to just skip the gym entirely. Don’t over-complicate it.
Deloads can suck because we’re eager to lift, but they’re just as important as lifting hard. Just do them.
6. BEST EXERCISES FOR BACK MUSCLES, SPECIFICALLY THE RHOMBOIDS?
Targeting your rhomboids would be basically impossible, so just stick with the basics: deadlifts, any chest supported row, DB/barbell rows, pull-ups/chin-ups, lat pulldowns.
Again, don’t overthink it. Find exercises that you really “feel” working, eat plenty of protein, and focus on getting stronger in the 8-12 rep range.
Das it, mane.
7. WHAT LIFTING SPLIT HAS WORKED THE BEST FOR YOU? OR IS MOST IDEAL?
It has changed over the years, but any split that allows me to consistently hit each body part twice per week. Check this for examples.
And if you want to make your own workout plan, I wrote an entire article on how to do so.
8. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE NON-FITNESS RELATED ACCOUNTS ON IG?
– Theo Von
– ifyouhigh (it’s not what you think, lol)
9. ARE YOU A DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN?
I am a part of The Freak Party. But really, I know basically zero about politics.
10. I KIND OF STRUGGLE WITH DISORDERED EATING HABITS. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEAS HOW I CAN STOP OBSESSING OVER CALORIES?
If you think you have an eating disorder, you should 100% see a specialist and not think twice about it.
However, I definitely want to expand deeply on this so I’ve decided to turn this question into a full article. Be on the lookout in the near future.
11. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT WEIGHTED DIPS/PULL-UPS?
I think they’re fine, but I think there are better options. Most people have absolute shit form on these exercises, so use them with caution. If you use them, I’d prefer using bodyweight, adding pauses, slowing your eccentric, and more sets/reps to make them harder.
12. WHAT ARE THE 3 MAIN PIECES OF ADVICE FOR PUTTING ON MUSCLE?
- Eat in a calorie surplus with at least 0.8-1g of protein per pound of bodyweight.
- Track your weights in the gym. Get stronger over time in the 8-12 rep range with your main lifts (squat, bench, deadlift, rows, pull-ups, etc.).
- Pick a training and nutrition plan that allows you to be consistent over the long-term.
I actually wrote about this, here.
13. WHAT KEEPS YOU MOTIVATED?
I wrote my first ever blog post on this exact question. Read it here.
14. HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT INFORMATION TO FOLLOW REGARDING MINDSET?
It’s typically trusting my gut and following my intuition.
My momma once told me I have high emotional intelligence, so I’d like to say I’m pretty good at reading people.
So, first, I make sure I feel like their intent is pure and that they’re a good person.
Second, I look at their credentials.
- Have they done what they’re preaching about? Aka have they walked the walk?
- Do they have any formal schooling or education on the subject?
- Who taught them what they know? Have they learned from credible people?
- Do they have experience helping people with whatever they’re teaching (this can sometimes replace formal education)?
- How do most people respond to them? Is the major consensus positive? Do other credible people respect them and recommend them?
- If possible, does the current available literature align with what they say? If they cite sources, are they good?
These are all important questions that need to be considered before I really dive deep into what someone preaches when it comes to mindset.
15. HOW WOULD YOU DESIGN A 4X WEEK SPLIT FOR A NOVICE/INT MALE WITH ONLY ONE LOWER BODY DAY PER WEEK?
I would just use my free workout manual, Ultimate Physique Development, and not do the lower body strength day.
However, to name some other splits:
As always, appreciate you reading. If you have any questions you wanna ask, send me a DM on Instagram or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Would love to hear from you.