It's Time To Go Beyond Bigger, Leaner Stronger!
I read a ton of books, yet review so few as the majority are rehashed, don’t peak my interest or simply aren’t worth discussing… I finished reading Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger 2 days ago and felt compelled to share this with my readers.
Mike Matthews not only talks the talk, but he also walks the walk. Having completely transformed his physique naturally of the course of a decade through trial and error, experimenting with supplements, exercises, rep ranges, training schedules and the like Mike knows what he’s talking about.
Strength, aesthetics, health and a positive mindset form the foundation of Mike’s approach to training.
A large portion of ebooks, articles, meal plans, workout regimes and supplement plans produced, specifically on the internet are constructed by:
- An internet marketer hiding behind their keyboard that has no firsthand experience regarding the subject
- An ‘athlete’ that has utilized steroids to obtain their physique, yet claims natural to their potential customers and client base.
Thankfully, this is definitely not the case in ‘Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger’ as you’ll soon learn in this review.
Staying super lean (sub 7% body fat) will still making strength gains is a feat that most people would say is only achievable by an ‘enhanced’ athlete, yet after reading this book you’ll learn that with the correct approach to training and dieting it certainly is possible.
In ‘Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger’ you will not find a single piece of broscience or wild claim regarding the dieting, training, recovery or supplementation discussed as Mike references 277 studies throughout the course of the book – personally I’m a very sceptical person when it comes to new principles and techniques regarding dieting and training as we all know there’s a ton of BS out there… having 4 or 5 studies to back up a technique that Mike recommends to us in the book is a breath of fresh air.
It’s worth noting that ‘Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger’ is an advanced program and is definitely not for beginners, in my opinion you’d want at least 2 - 3 years of solid, structured lifting under your belt before you delve into a routine like this.
If you’re completely new to lifting I’d recommend starting with BEASTMODE, Body of a Spartan or Bigger Leaner Stronger.
Once you’ve got the fundamentals of your main compounds lifts dialled and you’re able to lift roughly the following weight it’s time to apply the fundamentals found in Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger.
Are You Ready For Beyond Bigger, Leaner Stronger?
You’re ready for the ‘Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger’ approach to training when you can:
- Squat 1.75x bodyweight for 4 – 6 reps
- Deadlift 1.75x bodyweight for 4 – 6 reps
- Bench press 1.35x bodyweight for 4 – 6 reps
- Military press 1x bodyweight for 4 – 6 reps
So you’re probably wondering what this special approach to training is to continue to build size and strength naturally once your ‘newbie gains’ in the first year or two of lifting have well and truly disappeared…
Without going into too much detail (I highly recommend you read the book!) you will be utilizing several different rep ranges in each workout in order to target the 3 different types of fibers our muscles are composed of. Like I mentioned earlier, if you’re relatively new to lifting this is not an approach I recommend utilizing – lifting heavy in the 4 – 6 rep range is all you need to do until you reach the level of strength in your compound lifts I mentioned above.
A good physique isn’t just strong, it’s aesthetic too – the big bulky bodybuilders of today are not aesthetic (we can thank growth hormone and insulin injections for this).
It's All Proportions & Symmetry, Baby!
Look at Frank Zane or Arnold, two greats from the golden era of bodybuilding. You may not be able to forge a physique on the same levels as theirs naturally, however as Mike discusses in ‘Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger’ we can apply the golden ratio to calculate the ideal measurements for your physique.
Once you’ve discovered where you’re lacking you’ll learn how to hone in on your lagging body parts in order to get them up to speed in terms of both size and strength to get as close to your ideal size as possible.
When lifting heavy weight and progressively overloading your muscles sufficient recovery is vital for multiple reasons…
You don’t want to hit a plateau and stall in terms of your size and strength progression.
You don’t want to acquire any injuries that’ll leave you out of the gym (or compromised in terms of training and exercises)
A hefty portion of ‘Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger’ is dedicated to recovery – Mike discusses the correct stretching and foam rolling techniques we should be utilizing (along with a handful of diagrams to illustrate the form he discusses) a short flexibility and mobility routine for upper and lower body (shoulders/hips) is included too – after recovering from an impinged rotator cuff I’ve been cautious with my left shoulder, performing mobility and stretches several times per week that are quite similar to those Mike discusses in Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger… and let me tell you that they do work!
Yes, Mike delves deep into the science and explanations for the techniques and training style he advocates yet throughout the book it is stressed that there is indeed more to life than just spending 5 or 6 days a week cooped up in a gym.
Want to maintain your single digit body fat and immense strength while you’re not able to spend more than an hour or two in the gym per week? No worries, you’ll learn how to manipulate your calories when you’re unable to following your usual meal plan and how to alter the ‘Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger’ training regime based on the number of days you can get your workouts in.
Like me, Mike doesn’t preach any particular style of diet because at the end of the day it does come down to the simple calories in vs. calories out (why does everyone have to make dieting so complicated?) manipulate your calories based upon your goals in terms of cutting, maintaining or bulking. You will however learn the pros and cons of the popular style of dieting that’re apparent today such as paleo and intermittent fasting.
All in all this is a very well-constructed, well thought out book written by an individual who practises what he preaches. If you’ve been led astray by ridiculous diets and workout regimes or are just struggling to stay motivated and make gains after your first few years of newbie gains then this book is a must read for you.