“If you want to use strength training for aesthetics, Mike is your source. Read this book, and read mine too, and come away with what you need to know. The rest will be up to you.”
–Mark Rippetoe, author of Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training and Practical Programming for Strength Training
“Nobody cuts through the fitness and nutrition confusion and clutter like Mike Matthews. And in Thinner Leaner Stronger, he draws on a powerful combination of time in the trenches and in-depth research to give you the straight talk about what actually works. This book is easy to read and incredibly effective. I highly recommend.”
–Ben Greenfield, CEO of Kion New York Times bestselling author of Beyond Training: Mastering Endurance, Health Life
“Mike Matthews stands alone in the fitness space. His books are based on scientific research and real-world results. Thinner Leaner Stronger can change your life.”
–Strauss Zelnick, “America’s fittest CEO” and author of Becoming Ageless: The Four Secrets to Looking and Feeling Younger Than Ever
“In Thinner Leaner Stronger, Mike takes us back to the fundamentals of losing fat and building muscle–time-tested and science-backed strategies that have been obscured by a rising tide of popular hype and pseudoscience. The good news: it doesn’t have to be that hard!”
–Alex Hutchinson, author of the New York Times bestseller Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance
“Matthews has masterfully distilled many years of research into the essence of what makes people fit–and fast. His training methods have worked better than anything else I’ve tried for improving my strength and physique. Get this book right now.”
–Stephen Guise, international bestselling author of Mini Habits
“Mike Matthews has done it again. Great information backed by science, and complicated knowledge transformed into practical, applicable strategies. I loved Thinner Leaner Stronger. A must-read.”
–Adam Schafer, co-host of top-ranked fitness and health podcast Mind Pump
“I haven’t been this excited about a fitness book in years. It’s required reading for all gals who want to get–and stay–in the best shape of their lives. A true classic in the making.”
–Sal Di Stefano, co-host of top-ranked fitness and health podcast Mind Pump
“Would you rather spend a month of your life hoping the latest flavor of diet and exercise plan will work . . . or spend thirty days knowing your hard work will provide results you can not only see, but feel? Give me guaranteed results any day, and that’s what Thinner Leaner Stronger provides–all the knowledge and motivation you need to get results for years to come.”
–Jeff Haden, Inc. Magazine contributing editor and author of The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win
“Thinner Leaner Stronger gives you everything you need to know for achieving the body you want. Full stop. No hype and no gimmicks, just solid info backed by solid science. An outstanding book.”
–James Krieger, MS, founder of Weightology (weightology.net)
“A highly actionable book that translates the latest science into a simple plan for strength. In a world filled with noise, Mike Matthews provides the clarity and practical strategies you need to get results.”
–James Clear, author of Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
“As a clinical practitioner who specializes in obesity medicine, I truly appreciate Thinner Leaner Stronger. It’s simple, science-based, and most importantly, it works, and that’s why I recommend it to many of my patients. Drop whatever you’re doing and read this book. It can change your life.”
–Dr. Spencer Nadolsky, board-certified family and obesity medicine physician and founder of RP Health
“I have been following the nutrition plan for 3 weeks (but vegetarian-ized) and the weight lifting plan for 1 week and am already seeing great results.”
–Katrina Lynn (Amazon Verified Purchase)
“I’ve only been on the program a couple weeks, but I’m already lifting more weight and losing fat.”
–“CHERRYBOMB” (Amazon Verified Purchase)
“I have made amazing gains with the advice from Mike Matthews and I continue to return to the books just to remind me why I am following Thinner Leaner Stronger.”
–“EFWATERS” (Amazon Verified Purchase)
“My son and I are doing Mike’s program now and I can see the results already (it’s only been 2 weeks). I also like the fact that Mike answers all your questions by email!”
–Esther Bravo-Mozo Amazon Verified Purchase)
From the Author
Interview with the Author
Q: I can’t find time to exercise but want to get in shape. What should I do?
A: I don’t know anybody who can find time to exercise. I’ve never had anyone tell me, “Mike, I have too much free time these days. I think I’ll spend a few hours in the gym every day to get in shape. What should I do while I’m there?”
It’s always the opposite. Most of us lead busy, hectic lives and feel we don’t have time for anything new. But in almost all cases, that just isn’t true.
As much as some people would like to think they’re too busy to exercise, when they analyze in detail how they actually spend their every waking minute every day, they discover how it could be worked out (no pun intended). And especially when they realize how little time it really takes to get fit!
The reality is people who have successfully transformed their bodies have the same 24 hours in a day as you and the rest of us, and they still have lives to live.
They still have to go work, spend time with their loved ones, maintain some semblance of a social life, and remember to decompress and have some fun now and then. The only difference is they’ve decided exercise is important enough to be in the plan.
For some, that means watching less TV or giving it up altogether. For others, it means waking up an hour earlier than normal a few days per week to get into the gym. For others still it means asking the wife to take the kids after dinner (a favor that can be repaid for her workouts!).
My point is: if you really want to carve out an hour a few days per week to train, I’m positive you can.
Q: Won’t heavy weightlifting make me “bulky”?
At first glance, it sounds plausible, though. Heavy weights are for the boys who want bulging biceps, right? Why would women, who want sexy, defined, feminine muscles, train in the same way?
Apparent proof of this myth can be found at any local CrossFit gym, where you’ll see at least a few women with figures that would make an NFL linebacker jealous.
Here’s what you don’t see, however: it’s very hard for women to build a big, bulky body. It doesn’t happen by accident or overnight. It takes elite muscle-building genetics and years of concerted effort in the gym and kitchen. Anabolic steroids are often involved as well, and especially in the case of professional athletes.
That said, there are still enough women in gyms everywhere who hit the weights regularly and look “bulky” enough to give you pause. And that’s why you need to know what really gives women that look: too much body fat.
Harsh, I know, but let me explain.
Take an athletic woman with an enviable body. You know, toned legs, curvy butt, tight arms, and flat stomach. Now add 15 pounds of fat to her frame, and you might be surprised how “blocky” she looks.
This is because fat accumulates inside and on top of muscle, and the more fat and muscle you have, the larger and more amorphous your body looks. Your legs turn into logs. Your butt gets too big for your britches. Your arms fill up like sausages.
Reduce your body fat levels, however, and everything changes. The muscle you’ve built is able to shine. Instead of looking large and fluffy, you look lean and toned. Your butt becomes round and perky. Your legs have sleek curves. Your arms look cut.
Thus, a rule of thumb for women who want to be lean, toned, and defined: the more muscle you have, the less body fat you must have to avoid looking bulky.
For example, a woman with little muscle might feel scrawny at 18 percent body fat–the percentage of body weight that is fat–and comfortable at 25 percent, whereas a woman with a significant amount of muscle will probably love how she looks at 18 percent but feel a bit roly-poly at 25 percent.
This is why most women I’ve worked with are happiest when they’ve gained 10 to 15 pounds of muscle and dropped their body fat percentage to about 20 percent.
Q: I’m new to weightlifting. Is this for me?
With Thinner Leaner Stronger, you can lose 15, 25, heck, even 50 pounds of fat in just your first year while also gaining muscle definition in all the right places and greatly increasing your whole-body strength.
Moreover, you’re also going to experience firsthand things most people will never know about effective diet and training, including how to perform key exercises with perfect form, ensure you keep progressing in your workouts, break through fat loss and muscle gain plateaus, prevent injuries, and much more.
By the end of your first year of Thinner Leaner Stronger, you’re not only going to be thrilled with the results, but even more so with what you’re going to be able to accomplish in the following year, two, three, and beyond.
Q: I’m in my 30s/40s/50s-plus. Can I do this program?
Every week I get emailed by at least a few people asking if it’s too late to build muscle and get fit.
Most are very pleasantly surprised when I explain that it’s definitely not too late, and that I’m regularly working with guys and gals in their 40s, 50s, and even 60s who are building their best bodies ever.
How should people in their 40s and beyond go about building a great body, though? Certainly they can’t eat and train like the 20-year-olds, right?
You might be surprised to learn that not nearly as much changes as people think.
One of the first things I refer people to who are worried about age squashing their dreams of being fit is a study conducted by scientists at the University of Oklahoma, which had 24 college-aged (18 to 22) and 25 middle-aged (35 to 50) men follow the same weightlifting routine for eight weeks.
Researchers then analyzed everyone’s body composition and found that the middle-aged men had gained just as much muscle as their college-aged counterparts had. Strength gains were very similar as well.
In my experience, this is equally true for women. Middle age isn’t a physiological strikeout, even when compared to your 20s. You can do just fine.
Furthermore, despite what you’ve probably heard, your metabolism doesn’t crater and your hormones don’t implode as you get older.
Research shows that the average adult’s metabolism slows by just 1 to 3 percent per decade and that the primary reason for this is muscle loss, not genetic programming.
Therefore, if you maintain your muscle as you age, you maintain your metabolism. And if you add muscle to your frame, you can increase it.
And as far as hormones go, it was once believed that the hormonal disturbance associated with aging was inevitable. We now know this isn’t true. Research shows that lifestyle factors are equally causative of hormonal changes as aging itself, if not more so.
The truth is you can stay in remarkably good shape well into old age if you stay active and take care of your body, and that’s just as true for men as it is for women.
Q: I’m pregnant or nursing. Can I do this program?
In fact, research shows that women who stay active and follow a healthy diet during pregnancy are at a lower risk of excessive gestational weight gain and conditions such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, preterm birth, varicose veins, and deep vein thrombosis.
Q: How long does it take to see results?
A: One of the best things about Thinner Leaner Stronger is how quickly it works.
You’ll see marked improvements in the gym and mirror within your first month, and it’ll only get better and better from there.
Q: I’m short on time. Can I still do the program?
Thinner Leaner Stronger comes in three flavors–5, 4, and 3 days per week–and individual workouts range from 45 to 70 minutes.
The bottom line is if you can dedicate 3 to 6 hours per week to Thinner Leaner Stronger, you can build the body you’ve always wanted.
Q: I follow a special type of diet (vegan, vegetarian, Paleo, food sensitivity/allergy, etc.). Can I still do the program?
The diet principles are very flexible and can accommodate any and all food preferences and limitations.