Ep. #1154: How My Coaching Helped Shaun Lose 35 Lb. in 6 Months

Shaun: I I read your books, I did the year one challenge and I started seeing some really good results. So I thought, well, let me call Legion and talk to him about online coaching because there’s still something missing still. So I called and I just asked him just point blank. I was like, look, man, this is my situation.

If I do what you tell me to do. And I work out the way you tell me to work out and I eat what you tell me to eat and I don’t lose anything what happens because you know, I, I pay this money for the coaching class and if nothing happens, what then? And he literally said, if you do what we tell you to do to the letter and nothing happens and we should close our doors tomorrow.

That’s it. All right. Sign me up. 

Mike: Hello. Hello. I am Mike Matthews and this is muscle for life. Thank you for joining me today. For a new episode where I interview a coaching client, a client of my one on one coaching service or I guess you could say Legion’s one on one coaching service, my sports nutrition company.

And Sean lost 35 pounds in six months. He lost 15 percent body fat and that’s absolute, not relative, meaning he reduced his body fat percentage by 15 points. And of course he gained muscle, he gained strength. He improved his health, his mood, his energy, his relationship with food, his relationship with exercise.

And just as important as all of that, Sean also, for the first time, understood why he was getting results. Why his diet was working. Why his exercise routine was working. And the reason that is so important is, as you will hear in this episode, Sean had success losing weight previously. He talks about Weight Watchers and he lost a lot of weight with that.

But because he didn’t know why it was working, it wasn’t sustainable, it wasn’t a lifestyle that he could stick to, and after he was done dieting, he would then regain all of the weight that he lost. And Sean’s not alone there, of course. That is a very common occurrence. It is more common than losing weight and keeping it off, unfortunately.

And that is why my coaching service has always put a lot of emphasis on why, teaching our clients why we are telling them what to do, because with enough of the why, our clients eventually don’t need us anymore. Which is a good thing because if they are going to change, not just their body composition and their health, but change their lifestyle and find a lifestyle that is going to allow them to not just achieve their immediate fitness goals, but to maintain those fitness goals, ideally for the rest of their life.

They have to know why certain things work and why other things don’t work. They have to understand the first principles. Take Weight Watchers, for example. They have to know that all that system is doing is helping them maintain a calorie deficit. And they have to know that that is just one of many ways of maintaining a calorie deficit.

And that would of course apply to any other type of diet that helps somebody lose a significant amount of body fat. It’s important to know that the only reason why that diet worked is It maintained a calorie deficit. So anyway, in this episode, you are going to hear from Sean, his story about how he found me through my book, Bigger, Leaner, Stronger, and how he used that to get started in his fitness journey, which had him in the beginning at 270 pounds.

a serious health scare, a heart issue. And from there, Sean explains why he decided to sign up for my coaching service and how that helped him get even better results than he was getting on his own. Before we get started, how many calories should you eat to reach your fitness goals faster? What about your macros?

What types of food should you eat? And how many meals should you eat every day? Well, I created a free 60 second diet quiz that’ll answer those questions for you and others including how much alcohol you should drink, whether you should eat more fatty fish to get enough omega 3 fatty acids, what supplements are worth taking and why, and more.

To take the quiz and get your free personalized diet plan, go to muscleforlife. show. MuscleFORlife. show slash diet quiz now answer the questions and learn what you need to do in the kitchen to lose fat, build muscle and get healthy. Hey, Sean, thanks for taking some time to come and talk to me and the listeners.

Shaun: Yeah, absolutely. Um, you know, we spoke a little briefly before we started this, but I just want to say it again, it’s not every day I get to speak to somebody that actually changed my life, so this is a absolute pleasure for me. 

Mike: Well, again, I’m, I’m flattered and I’m looking forward to. Hearing the story, usually how I like to start these conversations is, uh, with a quick snapshot, maybe a before and after snapshot of the results that you have achieved, uh, in the, I guess, I think the time frame, because you’re now into your next phase of coaching, but it’s a six month time frame, right?

And then, and then let’s rewind to the beginning and how you found me and found my work and what you were doing at that time, what was working, what was not, and we can move forward from there. 

Shaun: Yeah. So, um, what ended up happening? I think 2021 is whenever I, um, you know, started your program. So let me go before that too, why I started it.

So around 2021, um, I was about 270 pounds, maybe a little more. That’s kind of the last time I, I weighed myself because it really didn’t matter anymore. And, um, I tried other things like weight watchers. I tried that. I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna lie. It did work. Kind of, but I didn’t know why, you know, I’m a statistics kind of guy.

So if you tell me to do this, why am I doing this? So I can learn, I don’t want to be, you know, like stuck on your program because I don’t know what this one point equates to. So, you know, I would eat something that I thought was probably healthy and maybe like a protein bar or something like that. And the next thing I know, that’s half my calories for the day.

And I’m like, well, I thought that was healthy. Now I can’t even eat the rest of the day or I can only eat like an egg or something, you know, so they just didn’t work out for me. Um, and I know it does work for some people, but for me, it just, it just didn’t work. So that was just another list of things that did not work for me.

Mike: And one of the problems with that is even if it works and that you achieve your weight loss goal, if you don’t know why it worked, you’re probably going to struggle to maintain. Your weight loss goal, which, which is the real goal is, is to maintain a healthy body composition for, for the rest of your life.

And, and to be able to do that while also being able to enjoy your life. You really do need to know why. Why do we get fatter? Why do we get leaner? And what matters? What does not matter? What do we need to pay attention to? What do we not need to pay attention to and so forth. 

Shaun: Yeah, I didn’t, and I didn’t feel like I was getting that, you know, here’s your calculator, you know, that’s on your app.

Here’s where you’re supposed to be, you know, for the day and go. So we walk around the grocery store, scanning notes, scanning notes, scanning notes, like what the hell am I, you know, I, I see how you lose weight with this because you can only eat like lettuce and an egg and that’s it, you know, so I was like, this isn’t working, you know, whatever, you know, so I just kind of went back to what I was doing, eating Popeyes and eating ice cream and, you know, living my best life.

And then I. I got a health scare and, um, we had to call the ambulance because I thought I was having a heart attack, you know, 270, 280. I’m only 5’7 you know, so that’s huge for my frame. They take my blood pressure and everything and it was, it was really high. They thought I was having a heart attack, so they took me to the hospital and blood test and my cholesterol was through the roof.

My blood pressure was crazy, you know, so it wasn’t a heart attack, thankfully. So I, Followed back up with my doctor and he’s an old school doc. And I, you know, I really like him and he’s just gets right to the point. He’s like, why are you fat? And I was like, I like ice cream. You know, he’s like, well, here’s the deal.

You got high blood pressure, you got high cholesterol, you have sleep apnea. Cause he sent me home with a sleep apnea test and it was 78 events. Per hour, which it needs to be less than five. So I basically was just choking all night, you know? So I was like, all right, well, I got to do something. So, you know, I tried way watchers that didn’t work.

I tried a couple other things online that didn’t work. You know, I did go to the gym, but I didn’t know what I was doing there. You know, I go get on the elliptical for an hour, probably wasn’t doing much. They’re watching TV. You know, while I’m on the elliptical, maybe I’ll go use this machine or go use that machine.

Probably the form was horrible and I’ll just leave, you know, or I go swim or not swim in the pool. I kind of just floated around and, uh, and then I get up and leave and then, you know, chalk it up. Like, you know, I did a really good workout, you know, I worked out, I swam, but in reality, I probably didn’t really do much, you know?

So I was like, I really need to make a change here, you know? So like in business, find somebody who’s doing it. And see how they’re doing it. So I took that same, that same thing with, um, you know, fitness. So I don’t remember exactly how I came across you. Um, maybe it was Amazon, maybe it was YouTube or something, but, um, I came across your book, your first one, bigger, leaner, stronger, I think.

And it was like, I think like 300 pages. It was a, it was a big one. And so I said, okay, this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to try to do my best as far as eating goes. I’m not going to lift any weights until I read this. Cause I don’t want to hurt myself. So I. Got your audio book and I just started walking.

So I just, I just, you know, was trying to get 10, 000 steps a day and I would just listen to your audio book as I’m just wandering around the streets and I started making sense to me, you know, it was like 1. 5 or 1. 25 to 1. 5 grams of protein per lean body mass. You know, that stuff was like, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, statistics.

I mean, you know, I like statistics, you know, so it started making sense to me. So then I started carrying like a little notebook with me and, you know, I started writing things down and, you know, I started getting really, really into it. And, um, you know, so I read that book, uh, or finished it and then I got your year one challenge.

And this is about the time the pandemic hit or what’s going on or something on somewhere around that timeframe. So I started accumulating gym equipment at home and I. You know, it’s built a gym at home based off of the core exercises, you know, can I bench, can I squat, can I, uh, Roman deadlift, can I, uh, deadlift, you know, and then I would, you know, get like adjustable dumbbells and I just, you know, progressively started accumulating more stuff.

And then I just started doing your year one challenge. I started losing some weight, not a lot, but I started getting stronger though. So I was, I just thought, okay, well, there’s something to this because your thing was like four to six reps. You know, for a lot of stuff, I’m doing like 15 to 20 reps, you know, because that’s just what I thought I was supposed to do.

So then I seen yours, which is like, you know, four to six reps when you hit six, you know, add a couple of pounds, see if you can do six again, if you can, then, you know, keep going until you find your new rep range. So I was like, well, that’s. Sounds almost too easy, you know, just four to six reps as opposed to 15 reps.

And then, you know, I thought I was supposed to do like an hour and a half of cardio every single day. And it’s like, no, like my coach right now, shout out to coach Corey. Um, he’s got me doing an hour of cardio a week and he doesn’t care what I do. You know, he’s like, you know, do your bike. Cause I got a Peloton also, you know, do your bike.

I got a rowing machine, do your rowing machine. So. You know, I just do whatever, sometimes I do like 15 on the rowing machine that day, maybe 30 minutes, a couple of days later, you know, maybe one day I’ll just do an hour on the bike and call it good for the week. It doesn’t matter. It all seems to be working.

So I read your books. I did the year one challenge and I started seeing some really good results. So I thought, well, let me. Call Lee Jen and talk to him about online coaching because there’s still something, there’s just something missing still. So I called and I talked to a gentleman. I think his name was, I think his name was Cody.

He was a super cool guy. And, um, I was just talking to him. I was just straight with him because I don’t want to waste his time. I don’t want to waste my time. And I just asked him just point blank. I was like, look, man, this is my situation. If I do what you tell me to do, and I work out the way you tell me to work out, and I eat what you tell me to eat, and I don’t lose anything, what happens?

Because, you know, I, I, I pay this money for the coaching class, and if nothing happens, what, what then? And he literally said, if you do what we tell you to do to the letter, and nothing happens, then we should close our doors tomorrow. I said, all right, all right, sign me up. And then I was like 2 42 50 by this time, and then within five months, I was 1 90.

And then, you know, the last month I actually injured myself, you know, so I kind of went on kind of like a maintenance for that last month and then, you know, a diet break and then and so on. But that’s how I, that’s how I got started. 

Mike: And how did your strength and how did your performance change over that period?

So you’re dropping a lot of weight. And then what were you seeing? In your training. 

Shaun: Yeah, my, my training was, it was going up fast, like as far as what I could bench, what I could deadlift and everything like that. That was, um, really going off fast, you know, cause I, I did it, I did exactly the way you guys told me to do when I would get on that six rep and like, well, it’s time to add, you know, five fives on here, you know, and then I could only do it like.

You know, three times, well, I can only do it three times. I better go back until I can do it at least four times and then I do that. So by doing it that way and just like really pushing, um, yeah, man, my, uh, I started getting some definition. Why did I have definition before Mike? I was, I was round. That was my definition.

So I started getting bumps, you know, so. In shape, in a shape, a round shape. Right. So yeah, I started getting definition in places that I didn’t think that I could. Um, you know, I, I sent post because, you know, at the first time, um, my coach was Jeff Hain, you know, and a super cool dude, um, I understand he’s on his own now, so, you know, wish him the best, but you know, he was a great coach also very much, um, the same.

Same type, uh, that, uh, you know, Corey is, you know, they seem to, I guess it’s kind of like the blueprint from Legion, you know, they’re both very similar. You know, I remember I sent, I sent him a photo probably like two months in, you know, I was like, Hey, look, I got, I got a baby trap starting, you know, and then by the end of it, you know, I actually had, you know, something to kind of brag about.

So by the end of it, you know, I had, you know, something to kind of brag about. Yeah, I definitely noticed my strength went up, you know, way more than it was when I was just doing it on my own. So there’s a, there’s definitely something to that, uh, that rep range, uh, what was it, the progressive overload, right?

Yeah. Yeah. 

Mike: I mean, that’s the key that that is the biggest lever training lever that we have to pull for, for just getting results for gaining muscle, for gaining strength and everything else is really downstream of that. That’s the ultimate goal is progressive overload. And there are different ways to get there.

And some of them are more complicated than others. Some of them are difficult than others. Some of them are more related to, or let’s say more relevant to experienced weightlifters. The great thing about being new to a lot of this is you really can just stick with the fundamentals, stick with. Simple programming principles, simple principles of progression and get to, I think it’s fair to say that you can get to probably around 80 percent of your genetic potential just doing that.

Maybe Once you cross, let’s say the 50 percent threshold. So you’ve been training for a couple of years. Now you could make a few, a few tweaks to the fundamentals, to the simple stuff you’ve been doing for the first couple of years to make the next couple of years a little bit more productive, but it’s not a radical overhaul.

You’re not making any major changes and you’ll need to make some larger changes. When you’re experienced, you have several years of consistent training behind you and you’re trying to push for that last 20 percent of what you have genetically available. And even then, the biggest change that you have to make really is you just have to work harder.

You’re just going to have to spend more time in the gym and you’re just going to have to do more sets per week and you probably are going to have to get to a point where You’re specializing in certain muscle groups because it just takes too much work. Like if you have to do 20 hard sets per week for a muscle group to grow, you can’t do that for your whole body unless maybe you’re like 20 years old.

So you’re physiologically invincible and you have no other stress in your life. So you can just, Abuse yourself in the gym and you sleep great and et cetera, et cetera, then maybe, and you have the, you have the time and the inclination to be in the gym, like five days a week, two hours a day. But if that’s not the case, then as you get again, toward the end of what you have genetically available to you, you pick, you would say, okay.

For three or four months, I’m going to do a lot of back volume and then I’m going to be doing less volume. I’m going to be doing maintenance volume for these other muscle groups because I only have so much time that I want to give to this and blah, blah, blah. And then you might, for the next four months, go, okay, I’m happy with the progress that I saw on my back.

I’m a little bit stronger. I’ve gained a little bit of muscle. Now the next four months are going to be arms. We’re going to be doing a lot of arms and maybe a lot of shoulders. And again, we’re going to be doing maintenance volume for the rest. But, um, anyway, I, I digress. I have another question. So what was, uh, or what were the key factors that explain the results that you got once you signed up for coaching versus what you were doing previously?

So you had read the book, you understood. At least the, the basics of, of proper diet and of proper weightlifting. And you had started on the year one challenge, which for people listening, if you know what that is, it’s a workout journal that goes with bigger, leaner, stronger. So the idea was simply, I published it years ago was to just give people a year’s worth of bigger, leaner, stronger workouts that I laid out, uh, that they can make modifications to based on what they learned in the book.

Or they can just do what’s in the journal and get through basically everything that they’ve learned in the book, work through all the recommended exercises, work through them in a sequence that makes sense, that takes them from what I’m assuming is a relatively new, that they’re relatively new to weightlifting to then get me helping them become more experienced.

And so that’s the year one challenge. So anyway, Sean, yeah, I’m curious now that you have accomplished that, when you look back, what were the. The big factors that explain the results that you started to get in the coaching versus going solo. 

Shaun: I think the, the big thing that helped me was, well, first of all, consistency.

Um, I think I was either four or five days a week the first time around and the consistency, you just like, I have a lot of friends and family or whatever that I’ve seen, you know, the change and they’re like, Hey, what happened? How’d you do it? And you almost see their face drop when you say. There is no magic pill to this.

There’s nothing magic. I literally ate less. I moved more and I worked out four or five days a week. I did 10, 000 steps a day or close to, um, I tried to make sure my sleep was right. I tried to make sure I drank plenty of water. You know, none of this stuff is what anybody wants to hear. You want to hear that you can, you know, take this or do that and still eat your ice cream.

And, you know, or, 

Mike: or it needs to be something weird and exotic, just some strange new thing. Uh, snake diet or something or, 

Shaun: yeah, but no, it was, it was consistency. It was, um, for me, it was having, um, somebody to be accountable to my wife is easily talked into. Let’s get a pizza. Okay. I’m on a diet. You’re supposed to kind of push back.

Oh, okay. So let’s try it again. Let’s get a pizza. Okay. So, you know, both my coaches then and now, you know, we’ll call them, y’all like, Hey man, your, your steps are getting a little bit low. We need to, uh, we need to pick that up, you know, or, Hey, I just see that, uh, you know, your rep range was this, you know, just something happened, something going on, you know, you’re tired, you just not feeling it, you know, so just being.

Like sometimes, like I just don’t want to hear and I would tell, I would tell coach Jeff this in the first time I was like, I just didn’t want to hear you, so I just got up and I just wandered around my hallway for half an hour until I hit that tick, you know, I got that, that it ticked over to 10, 000 because I, you know, and I, and I tell, you know, coach Corey this time around too.

I’m like, dude, I want you to call me out. Don’t be a dick about it. But I want you to call me out, you know? So if, if I’m not doing something or whatever, you’ve got free reign to just be like, what’s going on, you know, nothing really going on, then do it. So for me, it was consistency and having somebody checking over my food logs, checking over my, my reps and my steps and just being like, all right, you.

You’re doing good, but you need to do this or let’s keep this going or whatever. So it was somebody that knew what I needed to do and then that was holding me accountable. That that was the biggest thing. 

Mike: If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, then you will probably like my award winning fitness books for men and women of all ages and abilities, which have sold over 2 million copies, have received over 15, 000 four and five star reviews on Amazon, and which have helped tens of thousands of people build their best body ever.

Now, a caveat, my books and programs cannot give you a lean and toned Hollywood body in 30 days and they are not full of dubious diet and exercise hacks and shortcuts for gaining lean muscle and melting belly fat faster than a sneeze in a cyclone, but they will show you exactly how to eat and exercise to lose up to 35 pounds of fat or more if you need to lose more or want to lose more.

And, gain eye catching amounts of muscle definition and strength, and even better, you will learn how to do those things without having to live in the gym, give up all of the foods or drinks that you love, or do long, grueling workouts that you hate. And with my books and programs, you will do that. You will transform your physique faster than you probably think is possible.

Or I will give you your money back. If you are unsatisfied with any of my books or programs, the results, anything for whatever reason, just let me know and you will get a full refund on the spot. Now I do have several books and programs, including bigger, leaner, stronger, thinner, leaner, stronger, and muscle for life.

And to help you understand which one is right for you, it’s pretty simple. If you are a guy aged 18 to, let’s say, 40 to 45, Bigger, Leaner, Stronger is the book and program for you. If you are a gal, same age range, Thinner, Leaner, Stronger is going to be for you. And if you are a guy or gal, 40 to maybe 45 plus, Muscle for Life is for you.

Can we talk about your diet? How did you set that up? Did you build out a meal plan? And then did you make adjustments along the way? Were there any specific modifications that you wanted that were different than maybe The kind of just textbook approach that the one size fits all that, for example, in my books, I did my best to try to give a flexible one size fits all approach.

But inevitably, people will find their way of going about it while still respecting the non negotiables, so to speak. Like, yeah, you can’t do anything about energy balance and you can’t do anything about needing to eat enough protein, a few of these things, but you can do a lot about a lot of the other things.

Shaun: Yeah, with the, uh, when I first signed up, I got, um, two different meal plans from Legion. Very, uh, well done, you know, breakfast, lunch, dinner, two snacks, and, uh, I went rogue on that pretty quick. All I really needed was, what are my calories? What are my macros? I will build it from there because I’m, you know, I was, uh, Very familiar with, you know, cooking and being in the kitchen.

I worked in restaurants for a long time, so I, I tried it at first, you know, probably the first two weeks and I just got bored, um, with that. So I just, I just said, okay, I need to, cause I, when I was doing it, um, I was at 1800 calories, which sounds like a lot. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but you can do a lot with that.

If you do it with the right stuff, I, I, I’d use the, um, the milk plant as kind of like a blueprint at first. And I built off of that. I was like, well, maybe I’ll swap this out for that. And then, you know, we used, uh, my fitness pal, um, which was really great. Because it’s you can easily see at the bottom, you know, macros, um, your protein, fat, your carbs, like, okay, where everything’s good, we’ll fast a little high.

So I can go up and look and just see, I said, okay, well, here’s where I could probably adjust this down to like maybe 0. 25 cup. And then, oh, there you go. I’m, I’m in, you know, where I need to be. So I pretty much ate the same thing. I really started eating, um, chicken fajitas. For dinner, just because I just really liked it.

And it was, it was just like grilled chicken breast, one onion, one green pepper, and, you know, a low carb wheat tortilla, you know, a couple of those and some salsa or whatever, which is like five to 10 calories. If that, you know, some hot sauce is like zero to five calories, but it gives a. 

Mike: Yeah, I was gonna say the sauces are great because you can, you can start always have your base, but by switching sauces that often can extend the lifespan of that meal.

Shaun: Yeah, so, um, for breakfast, I do, I like to do this, um, oats overnight, overnight oats or whatever. It’s a protein, it’s a protein one. I did the same thing for a while. It can be delicious. Yep. So I do, I usually, for breakfast, I have a cup of oats overnight and a legion protein bar, you know, like I just went from the peanut butter and jelly ones, which are excellent, but I wanted to see what the chocolate peanut butter one was.

And based off your recommendations, I’m gonna have to throw in the microwave for a minute or not a minute, but a couple of seconds. 

Mike: Yeah, probably 15 to 30 seconds for everybody listening. If if you are currently eating legions protein bars and you have not tried microwaving them first, you got to try it.

I think I think it makes them even better. 

Shaun: Yeah, I was still talking to, you know, my coach about it and because he likes the peanut butter and jelly one. I was telling him about this one. I was like, man, it tastes just like a tastes just like a chocolate chip cookie. Although, although 

Mike: again, you’re, you’re, are you cutting still?

Because we were joking about Halo Top. So then that’s, that’s the caveat, right? That’s the asterisk. He is currently in a deficit. So, which means that Halo Top actually tastes good to him right now. So you may not think that. Our protein bars taste like cookies per se. But I do think that objectively they taste pretty good, considering they also have good ingredients.

Shaun: Yeah, that’s a good point. So, yeah, I, I, he’s got me right now at 2000 calories, which isn’t too bad, honestly. Um, going from 1800 to 2000 calories, um, uh, 200, 200 jump is actually quite a bit of food for me. Well, especially 

Mike: when you consider how much less you weigh and, and for people listening, if you’re wondering why that might be, like, wouldn’t, wouldn’t his calories be higher if he was heavier, even if you were just to go with something like 10 calories per pound of body weight per day, which is generally a good rule of thumb for cutting.

That’s probably what most people are going to be somewhere around there. Sean, you obviously know this because you did it, but for anybody listening who doesn’t know this, when you have a lot of body fat to lose, you actually can afford to run a larger. calorie deficit, because especially when you are eating enough protein and you’re lifting weights, and especially when you’re new to lifting weights, you are not only not going to lose muscle, you are going to gain muscle, even though you’re in a considerable calorie deficit.

You might be in a deficit as large as on average, it could be a thousand calories per day, but because you have a lot of body fat to lose, uh, that Isn’t going to negatively impact your body composition or or your health in in any way now, of course You can take that too far. But but what you did Sean is not taking it too far however, once you are leaner and once you have a bit more muscle because you’ve been training now for a bit.

You can’t afford to run that large calorie deficit anymore. Now your deficit has to come down, um, maybe to the range of anywhere from probably 250 to 500 per day, depending on various things. But anyway, for people listening, who just might be wondering, well, wait a minute, how did he, how did he start at like 270 with an 1800 calorie diet?

And now, you know, Many scores of pounds later, he’s, he’s at 2000. 

Shaun: Yeah. Yeah. So, and then for lunch, you know, right now I’m just kind of doing like a protein shake, um, you know, I doctor up a little bit, maybe a little almond milk, um, fat free milk, a couple of scoops of, um, I’m doing the Legion, um, Dutch chocolate.

You know, if I need a, like a little kick or something, I’ll, I’ll pull like a cup of coffee in there too. And, and, you know, it could be the cut talking, but it kind of tastes like a, like a frappe or something. If you can swing it, you know, a little scoop of peanut butter in there to a couple of ice cubes, blend it up, makes, gives it that texture.

So it usually comes up to like 500 calories, but I think that’s good because there’s a lot of protein and it’s, you know, that’s my lunch. I’m not doing anything else. And then dinner is, you know, like a feeder or something, which probably about 600 calories, 700. And then I’ll end it with like a casein, a legion casein, uh, protein to, uh, get me through the night.

That’s how the mill is, right? It’s not super exciting, you know, but it’s, you know, it’s getting me the results I need right now. And also to something that my coaches always say to me is this isn’t forever. So on 

Mike: the meal plan, I’m curious because you had the two meal plans that we provided to you and those lasted a couple of weeks and you made some modifications, but it sounds like then you found some meals that you were okay with eating It sounds like that you’ve been eating more or less like this for some period of time.

Is that, is that the case? 

Shaun: Yeah, for the most part, I just kind of like swapped out like ground beef with ground turkey. Um, you know, instead of like chicken thigh, chicken legs with chicken breast, things like that, um, you know, ground, ground chicken. So I, I, for the most part, eat whatever I used to, I just made smarter choices.

Like if I want a sloppy Joe, I do it with ground turkey. Um, and then a wheat bun and opposed to, you know, 80, 80, 20 ground beef and, you know, just a big potato bun and more vegetables. And so that’s why I do, I, I do more vegetables and more fruit with my dinners instead of like fried potatoes or French fries, you know, things like that.

I don’t deep fry anything. I bake it. And so it’s just overall smarter decisions. A lot of it is still the same type of thing. It’s just smarter ingredients, better ingredients. And that’s, that’s 

Mike: a good point that it is a lot of the same types of foods that you eat. You’re just being smarter about how you prepare them, how you combine them and so forth.

Shaun: Right. Right. Like if I want a pizza, maybe I use a cauliflower, uh, crust pizza. If it’s done, right. It’s, it might be the cut talking. It doesn’t taste that different. It’s passable. It’s passable. Normally it’s. Into the trash and you order real pizza, but that’s, that’s what I thought the first time I tried it, but I tried it again and I, all right, so I’m not, I’m not even joking about this for like my lunch or whatever.

I had a halo and a cauliflower pizza yesterday and I was like, this is the greatest shit ever. So I think I texted, you know, my coach, I’m like, I’m definitely in a cut because I’m eating a cauliflower pizza and halo ice cream, and it doesn’t get any better than this. And he’s like, you know, like welcome, you’re there or something like that.

That’s what he texted back. Yeah. It’s like a rite of passage. And what 

Mike: about off plan eating treat meals, cheat meals, whatever you various people call them, but the idea is. Okay, you’re going to go to a restaurant or, um, you’re gonna again, you’re gonna eat something that’s off plan because you want to, 

Shaun: yeah, I do that once a week.

You know, some people do it once a month. Some people don’t do it at all. I do it once a week because, you know, for one, this is a marathon for me. It’s not like I got like a bodybuilding show coming up in six weeks. I don’t have nothing. Um, so I’m just trying, if I start craving something or whatever, I’m like, I’ll do a Friday anytime that I started having like bad food thoughts, I was like, well, let me see how I can work it in on Friday.

And it’s not an entire day. I don’t do a cheat day. I do a cheat meal and I go by, you know, the, the rules I was given whenever I joined the program, you know, um, 150 percent of your daily calories stay below a hundred grams of fat. All right. So that’s what I’ll do. So I got plenty of time to plan. Cause I know me and my wife, we do like date night on Fridays.

You know, we kind of just figure out what do you want, you know, and then we just, if we download the menu at first and then I’ll just start looking through like, okay, you know, like 2000 calories, I can go up to like 3000 calories with that’s a lot for me. And especially if I don’t, you know, eat anything else throughout the day, like on those days, I want to kind of save everything for that.

So I might have a protein shake and a protein bar in the morning, and then I’ll just save everything for that. You know, and that might not be the best way to do it, but the way I see it is one day a week. Yeah, no, it is. It’s a good. 

Mike: I mean, yeah, if you’re, if you’re doing that five days a week, I would suggest that you make a change, but if you’re doing it one day a week, it doesn’t matter.

Shaun: Yeah. So I, you know, I just do it one day a week and my skills numbers are still going down. I don’t wait the next day after just because, you know, there’s probably a lot of sodium and it could be a water weight. I don’t need that in my head. So, and then I’ll just pick it back up on Sunday and just get back at it.

And then. You know, it’s just one day a week, one meal. 

Mike: And do you find that you look forward to that meal? That almost is like a kind of like a psychological reset for that for the next week, you know? 

Shaun: Yeah, definitely. Because like you got people who love, you know, to work out and things like that. I’m not one of those people, Mike.

I loved saying that eating ice cream and pizza and watching TV. That’s my thing. You’re going to the gym. That’s not my thing. But I do it because it does make me feel better. It’s like, like, for example, my coach told me he needed me to do, you know, an hour, um, of cardio per week. So when we first started, you know, he’s seen that I logged 30 minutes on the rowing machine on, on Monday.

And he’s like, you know, Hey man, that was really good. I’m like, I do it. I did it because I hate it. That’s why I did it. I did it because I hate it. Anything I hate this much has got to be good for me. So. You know, I look forward to the cheat day. And, you know, I feel like crap after I eat, kind of like if you drink too much the next day, it’s kind of like a food hangover.

Um, but yeah, I don’t know. I look forward to it. Yeah. And 

Mike: over time, what will probably happen is you might keep the habit in, but at least what I’ve seen in many people, it tends to scale down a bit where we’re then instead of going for the full two or 3000 calories. It’s a thousand calories or it’s maybe 1500 and maybe it’s, uh, it’s not as much fatty fried type food.

And anyway, but it doesn’t really matter. Even if it stays exactly as it is now, it’s, uh, it’s, it’s not going to be negatively impacting your body composition or your health. 

Shaun: Yeah. The last one I did this last Friday, my calories for the day was I think 2, 500. So I only went up 500 calories for out, you know, 500 calories extra that day.

And I was happy with it. I was satisfied with it. You know, I, I’m not like, okay, I got, I got, you know, 150 more percent extra calories this day. Let me see, let me, let me maximize this. You know, I can add a cookie here. I can add, you know, I’m not doing that. I’m like, all right, she wants to go here. I want to go there.

Let me look at the menu. Okay. That’s this within my parameters, you know, and I’m not going to be like strict, strict, it was like a hundred calories or whatever. I’m not, whatever. There’s one day, you know, and, and my coach was, you know, super cool about that too, because he said pretty much, you know, what we’re talking about is like, look, man, it’s just one day.

Don’t go like crazy. But just enjoy yourself. It’s just one day. So I mean, he even made out like, I don’t really have to like track it down to the number if I didn’t need to, but I’m going to though, 

Mike: especially if you are mostly eating protein leading up to it, which is also something that if I’m going to use this little technique, that’s what I like.

Cause if I’m going to go out to a restaurant, it’s probably going to be carbs and fat. That’s probably what I’m going to want to eat. I’m probably, unless it’s a steakhouse or something, I’m probably not going to order it. Uh, a steak or I’m not going to want to feel like, well, I, I need 50 grams of protein.

So I got to find that somewhere. And so again, if you’re, if you’re mostly just eating your protein, so you’re done with your protein for the day, and then at dinner, you’re just going to enjoy some carbs and fat, then it’s hard to mess that up. Because again, like you said, after, after you eat, even after you eat 1500, a thousand and 1500 calories.

Especially if, if you’re taking your time, if it’s an appetizer too, and then little bit later, it’s the entree, you’re already going to be probably full and relatively done eating anyway. And so, so it’s, it’s actually difficult for most people at most types of restaurants to go much beyond that anyway.

Where were you then? You just feel like you’re, I mean, you’re force feeding yourself or you’re eating something, you’re not hungry at all. Maybe it’s just good. And you know, that like, I’m not hungry at all. I’m just continuing to eat. Yeah. Yeah. 

Shaun: Yeah. I’m to the point now where when I’m full, I just stop, you know, where before.

I would just keep eating just because it’s delicious. It’s in front of me. I paid for it. I’m just going to keep eating. But now I, I’m not in that mindset anymore. I’m full. I’m done. That’s something that, um, you know, kind of came with time. I guess it kind of had to retrain myself a little bit to recognize that I’m full where before I didn’t necessarily feel full anymore.

I was almost 300 pounds. So something wasn’t registering for me. 

Mike: Yeah, I mean, there can, there can be a disconnect between physiological hunger and psychological or emotional desire to eat where you’re not physically hungry, but you just want to eat or you want to keep eating and for people listening, an easy way to tell, to check yourself is if you have food problems.

The desire to eat. If you were to imagine a bowl of boiled beans in front of you, if you would eat the beans. Maybe you get to salt them maybe, but if you would eat them, it’s probably physical hunger. If you would not eat them, it’s probably not physical hunger. It’s probably psychological or emotional desire to eat, which might be stress related, it might be boredom.

Related just sitting around too much, uh, is an easy way to eat too much as well. 

Shaun: Yeah, yeah, definitely. Yeah. Cause everything we did, you’re having a bad day, go get this, you know, you’re having a good day, let’s celebrate with this, you know, everything was rewarding or comfort or whatever with food. That’s how I grew up.

So, you know, in my adulthood, it just kept on going and it just got to a bad, a bad, bad spot. Let’s talk about training 

Mike: and how that was set up, what your resistance training looked like, what your cardio looked like, and if there were any obstacles that you had to overcome, any changes that you had to make to be able to get the results that you wanted.

You got, 

Shaun: well, my training was a lot of free weight. Um, you know, like I said, this is around the time of the pandemic. And so everything was closed. I’m in Chicago. So everything was closed down here, you know? So I, I found some guy who was selling like a bench press, um, with all, with like 300 pounds of weights.

Um, so I got that, I got a, I got a power rack so that I could do squats. And, um, I have a Peloton for cardio and a rowing machine also for cardio. And that’s what I would do. It was just, you know, like. You know, Mondays was focused around like bench pressing, incline, you know, then I would do some, uh, dumbbell stuff, single arm, incline, dumbbell, or yeah, single arm, dumbbell, and then incline, single arm, just various free ways, things like that, uh, would, you know, probably do maybe 20 minutes on the Peloton to get some cardio in.

And that’s what I did. I did that four days a week, you know, or I would lift four days a week. I wasn’t the same workout, obviously. Then the next day would be worked around like the deadlift and, you know, different pulling exercises, triceps, things like that. Then we’d have a leg day and yeah, I mean, it was just a consistent.

And then around five months in something popped in my elbow. During, during which exercise? It was actually during an incline. So I was doing, um, pretty close to, uh, my max because it was, you know, progression pretty good and I was pushing really hard and it just, something just popped in it and it just never got better.

So we had to just really make some changes. So I went from being able to do a dumbbell curl to where I could only do hammer style curl, and I had to drop it because anything with. Palm up or palm in, I couldn’t do it anymore. So we just, you know, how to work around that, you know, really focus on the diet and steps, you know, different exercises.

And it eventually led to where I actually had to have surgery and they had to, um, remove the tendon, clean the area and then stitch it back. And I’m just now, two years later, able to start lifting again. Wow. And what was the, what was the nature 

Mike: of the injury now that you, you know, specifically 

Shaun: All I, all I know is he said that he had to remove the diseased tendon and then clean the area because he had to detach it from my elbow.

Um, and then, you know, reattach, you know, cut, cut some of it off. That was, I guess, is really, really tore up and then reattach it. And I was in a cast for a couple of weeks and physical therapy for three months. And yeah, it was just a really horribly bad tendonitis. I think I see. Yeah, so there 

Mike: was already tendon damage or dysfunction that can only take so much stress.

Shaun: Yeah, I finally just had it. And so after that happened, I just had to really dial back what I was doing, really focus on my diet and my steps. And I could still do legs, you know, and various different exercises, uh, I could still do, you know, lighter, but it just started getting lighter and lighter and lighter.

And then I have to have the surgery. And at that point I was pretty much just doing like a diet break slash maintenance and, you know, just let myself heal. Yeah, everything’s good now. I just got done with physical therapy about a month ago, and my weights are starting to go back up again. Well, 

Mike: I’m glad 

Shaun: to 

Mike: hear that you’re better and you’re able to get back to it.

I don’t know if you did this, but for people listening, it might be helpful to know that When you have one limb that is injured, maintenance calories is a good idea, especially when you’re trying to recover from, like, a surgery. Eating enough protein, of course, good idea, but something that many people don’t know is, it’s referred to as the crossover effect, and there’s research on this, that if you train your Non injured limb, it will help you retain a muscle and strength in your injured limb, which sounds mystical and woo woo and sounds like bro science, but it’s not.

It’s, it’s actually a studied, it’s actually a studied phenomenon. So if anybody listening, if you find yourself with a limb that is untrainable for a bit, train the other limb. And in the case of you had mentioned, you were doing one arm dumbbell pressing. You can do that. You can do a lot of different one arm or just one limb unilateral exercises, particularly with dumbbells and kettlebells that, uh, Will help you maintain your routine.

It’ll help you, of course, keep your, your mood up and help you retain your sanity, not having to take many months off of the gym altogether. And it will ultimately help you regain the muscle and strength. You are going to lose muscle and strength in your injured limb, but you’re going to lose less if you just keep training the healthy limb.

And so then when you can train the injured limb again, you will get back to where you were faster. 

Shaun: Yeah. Yeah. You know, in physical therapy too, um, we did a lot of stuff with bands and, uh, resistance bands and, uh, actually, actually liked that a lot too. It’s kind of like a different burn for some reason.

Mike: Yeah. And, uh, so with your training, uh, before you had Gotten injured. Uh, were there any changes that you had to make or were you really were just, cause you have a very, you have a very simple setup and you’re just doing your basic barbell training and that got you all the way from 270 to, I think you said, what, 190 or so?


Shaun: 191. It was very basic. That’s kind of what I get gathered from your books too. 

Mike: Yeah, yeah, no, there’s nothing wrong with that. I mean, that’s it. Just, I just want to impress that point on people listening that, uh, with, with such a simple setup, 

Shaun: what you were able to do. That’s what impressed me. And um, I kind of thought, all right, whatever, Mike, I’m reading your book and I was like, just do this, this and this.

I, you know, okay. Mike, you know, so I was like, whatever, I got nothing else going on. So, and I, That’s it because in the gym, I never went over to the freeway area. That’s where the real bodybuilders were. I was like, I don’t know, no business being over there. It was big old dudes, you know, cause here’s the deal.

Mike, I’m 40 years old, five, seven, 270 pounds. You don’t see guys that look like me wandering around over there. You don’t see guys that look like me on the cover of men’s health, you know? So I was like, none of this actually works. You know, I’m, I’m, I’m. Right. So if you see commercials of, you know, people trying to sell like razors for shaving your head, they’re already clean shaven in the commercial.

You know, you see people on the cover of these fitness magazines telling you how to lose weight. They’re already got a six pack and a rip show. Somebody that looks like me, some fat bald guy. You know, and then let’s see something like that. You don’t see that. So I’m reading your book as I do this, this, and this, like, okay, Mike, yeah, I’ll, I’ll do that.

And I don’t want to look like you, you know, cause I’ve seen your pictures, Mike, you know, so I, you know, like whatever, but I was like, I got nothing else going on though. There’s a pandemic, whatever, let’s do it. So I just gave it a shot. Well, what do you know? It worked 

Mike: because of COVID did so. So it was over this course of six months or so.

There’s a radical change in your body composition. I’m assuming there are some people in your life who didn’t see you until so the last time they saw you, you were 2 70. Now you’re one 90. Did that happen? 

Shaun: Yeah, yeah. Um, unfortunately it wasn’t under the best circumstances. You know, my stepfather passed away, so some of us got together for the funeral and, um, you know, they, they noticed and it was like, you know, well she, it was my cousin.

She said, well, Sean really buffed up, you know, I was like, appreciate that, but, um, . But no, I mean, yeah, some people did notice it, and that’s when you just have that conversation with them. They was like, you know what happened? I’m trying to lose weight and doing this and doing that, and I’m like, well, this is what I did, and.

Oh, so, so you listened to weights and did steps and ate healthy. Um, that’s not what I wanted to hear. Kind of like what we talked about earlier. It’s like, that’s it, man. But minimally, 

Mike: you might have planted a seed. Maybe that’s not what they want to hear right now. But who knows? Maybe a year from now, after trying five more fad diets, they’re going to remember that conversation and They’re going to accept that maybe that is what it takes.

Maybe I, maybe I have to look in the place that I least want to look. Maybe that’s how this works. 

Shaun: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. I hope it did. I hope it planted a seed because as much as I don’t like going to the gym, as much as I don’t like eating healthy, I would do it over again. Because I feel great. I feel so much better than I did.

I had sleep apnea. I had a high blood pressure. I just had a blood test not like two weeks ago. Everything’s perfect. My doctor, my blood pressure, my doctor was like, your blood pressure has never been this good. You know, everything is perfect. That’s not been that way for like 10 years for me. You know, I mean, well, I’ll take that back.

The last like two years consecutively, they’ve been perfect ever since I dropped the weight and, you know, since then, Michael, it’s has to have been perfect. I do it every six months. 

Mike: Yeah, it’s great. And I mean, really one of the simplest ways to improve basically every meaningful aspect of our health. is to lose fat and gain muscle.

And yeah, you can take those things to an extreme and it can become unhealthy, but it’s, it’s difficult actually to take that to an extreme. And in the case of gaining muscle, it would almost always involve the use of anabolic steroids. You’re not going to gain too much muscle naturally. Maybe you can overtrain yourself trying to gain too much muscle naturally seven days a week, two hours a day or something, but you’re never going to actually gain too much muscle naturally and losing too much.

fat naturally without the use of various types of cutting drugs is also difficult. You can, you can do it, but you’re going to suffer extremely. And so practically speaking for most everyone, that’s just a rule that if you gain a little bit more muscle and if you lose a little bit more fat, you are just going to be.


Shaun: Yeah, for sure. I feel way better than I did. And it’s really not that hard. I would just like to put that out there to anybody who, you know, maybe was where I was at when I started. It’s really not that hard to, once you get going, it’s a momentum that you just, that just goes. And then you start looking forward to it.

And the hardest part is just showing up. And that’s such a cliche to say, but it really is just show up, just go to the gym, just take two or three steps inside the gym. If you don’t want to go home. But once you get there, you’d be like, you know what, maybe I’ll just go over here and do this, or maybe I’ll just go and do that.

And then next thing you know, you know, you’ve done a workout and you don’t got to go there and do like 45 minutes to three hours. You know, a lot of these workouts I’m done in like half an hour, you know? So unless it’s like a cardio day on top of it, but it doesn’t take all day. And one of the things that I did was new to me was the two to three minute, uh, in between reps.

That was something that I did not do before. And my rep speed, I always. I was, I was too fast. So I think that might’ve contributed to my elbow injury. Cause I didn’t rest and I was like, you know, like a bench press. It was just like up, down, up, down, up, down, up, down. And then it was my coach that was like, Hey man, you got to slow this down.

You got to do it. Like each rep is its own set. I mean, just little things like that, you know, just get your form right. And just show up. That’s, that’s pretty much it. And then to take care of itself. 

Mike: Yeah, it’s very true. Something I’ve. said many times is you just make an agreement with yourself that like you said, you can leave, but you got to show up to the gym.

And I’ve said 10 minutes. I’ve said, you got, you got to show up. You got to do something. You got to do something for 10 minutes. And then if 10 minutes you’ve done 10 minutes of your workout, maybe your workout is supposed to be 30 minutes or even 60 minutes and you’ve done 10 minutes and you want to leave, then you can give yourself the permission to leave, but you got to show up and you got to do your 10 minutes and watch, watch how many workouts get done this way.

Shaun: Yeah. And also to, um, I would like to circle back around to, when I said that, like those big scary guys over in the freeway area, couldn’t be nicer, could not be nicer than, you know, people that I’ve seen in the entire place, you know, they’re eager to help me out or, Hey man, can I get a spot? You know, I don’t know if I could do that.

I got, I got 25s on here, you know, I’m doing 95 pounds for my first. Starting this thing out, you know, and I kind of embarrassed because this guy’s got like 800 pounds on the bar or something. I got like these little itty bitty plates. I’m like, Hey man, I don’t even know if I can do this. Like, Oh yeah, yeah, man, I got you.

I got you. You know, and then like trying to pump you up and you know, I was like, man, these guys could not be nicer. So yeah, so don’t be afraid to, uh, to stroll on over to, to the freeway area too, because, um, you know, for the most part, they love seeing somebody just trying to better themselves. So I thought that was awesome.

Mike: Yeah, that’s absolutely the rule. And, and it’s, it’s actually, in my experience, it’s hard to find exceptions to that. They’re out there. Some, some guys are just dickheads, but that’s, I, I’d have to really think about it to even be able to come up with some examples over all these years where, sure, I can think of some dickheads, but I, I Don’t know if I’ve actually ever seen somebody who’s big and strong or in great shape, treat somebody who’s not badly, who’s just in there working out.

Maybe it’s happened. And I just haven’t seen it. Just, I can’t think of a single instance of that occurring unless maybe somebody was doing something that’s unacceptable, but as far as exactly what you’re saying, going over there, asking for a spot, even asking, Some, some advice, like ask their thoughts on, on a machine or on an exercise or a form or whatever, generally speaking, people in gyms are very supportive are, it’s kind of the, almost the opposite of the stereotype that’s sometimes promoted.

In the media that, that it’s such a toxic environment and no, it’s, it’s, it’s almost always the opposite of that. 

Shaun: Yeah, I, I find that they are more amped if you’re amped, they’re amped, they’re stoked that you’re stoked to do this, you know, because they’re passionate about it and then they want to give their knowledge about it.

Someone probably gave their knowledge to them about it. You know, so yeah, I, I, it’s almost kind of like a brotherhood, you know, when you get over there and you just see how people are just helping each other out. So yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s really cool. 

Mike: And a lot of people have been out of shape themselves too, even then that might not be now, but they once were, so they really understand they have empathy too.

They were there and they enjoy seeing somebody else making improvements because they really know firsthand what that means. Well, this was, uh, this was a great discussion, Sean, and we’ve, we’ve covered the, the big bullet points that I wanted to get through. Is there anything else that you want to share before we wrap up anything I should have asked or?

Shaun: I, yeah, you know, it’s just come to me cause I got a little notepad over here with little notes and stuff too. I just want to let people know if you do the legion pulse, the tingling is normal. I thought I was having, I thought I was having a stroke, Mike, I had to pull over and Google 

Mike: it. Uh, I would hope that that I’m actually gonna make a note.

Uh, I would hope that that’s in the FAQ, not that people read FAQs, but at least a false tingles FAQ, because yes, it’s, it’s beta alanine. And actually it’s a, it’s a good sign in that it is. Indicates that it’s high quality beta alanine because there are low quality beta alanine materials out there that are a lot cheaper than what I use, but you would get no tingles from them because they don’t work.

Yeah, yeah, for sure. 

Shaun: But yeah, Mike, it’s been an absolute pleasure, man. So 

Mike: yeah, again, thank you for the time. I appreciate it.

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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, Uh, ideas or suggestions or just feedback to share, shoot me an email Mike at muscleforlife.

com muscleforlife. 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.

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