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Bigger Leaner Stronger Review [2022 Update and Comparison]

Christian Pinedo


Yes, the Michael Matthews Bigger Leaner Stronger book is worth your time and money. Its how I first started my fitness journey and it has saved me, and thousands of others, a lot of time and effort. If you want to learn why and how, keep reading this Bigger Leaner Stronger Review.

Table of Contents

“Chris, get in here!” said my brother who yelled from downstairs.

“What do you want?” I replied.

“This guy Mike is the real deal. You need to read this book!”

I’ve heard something similar come out of his mouth before for different programs, but something was different. I could hear the excitement in his voice.

Now, you have to understand, at this point in my flawed fitness journey, I was following fake fitness gurus online like Six Pack Shortcuts (remember them – lol).

I didn’t know much about anything fitness and my brother and I have been through many terrible fat loss programs at this point.

“I’m sure he is John,” I said while eating my 6th chicken and broccoli meal of the day because that’s what the fake fitness gurus were eating.

I ignored his recommendation for weeks.

It wasn’t until I failed to see results with other programs that I decided to read Bigger Leaner Stronger.

You may have a similar “word of mouth” story that introduced you to Mike Matthews or maybe you just found it on Amazon like a lot of people.

Maybe you heard about it through his incredible supplement company, Legion Athletics.

Wherever or however you heard about it, you’re interested.

Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s worth every penny, especially if you’re a beginner. This review article is going to show you why.

Let’s get to it.

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NOTE: Updates from his 3rd edition will be marked with Red text like this.

Why Bigger Leaner Stronger is Perfect for Beginners

If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m a big fan of Bigger Leaner Stronger (BLS).

It has saved me YEARS (seriously) of making dumb lifting and nutrition mistakes.

There are no gimmicks or tricks in the book. 

It’s an essential piece of information that is based on scientific research that I recommend to literally everyone I come into contact with who wants to start lifting weights and getting lean.


Because he debunked so many myths that I had previously thought were true.

Let’s go over some of those.

Exercise Myths

He debunks all of these muscle building myths in his book:

  • “Heavy Weightlifting Makes You Stronger but Not Bigger”
  • Some Guys Just Don’t Have the Genetics to Get Big and Strong”
  • “Heavy Weightlifting is Dangerous”
  • “You Can’t Build Muscle and Lose Fat at the Same Time”
  • “If You Do the Same Exercise Too Often, You’ll Get Suck in a Rut”

There are 5 more myths he debunks in his book, but I hope you get the idea.

His workouts, which we will get to soon, are also all great for beginners.

Fat Loss Myths

He debunks all of these fat loss myths in his book:

  • “Calories in vs. Calories Out is Bad Science”
  • “Carbs and Sugars Make You Fat”
  • “Some People Just ‘Mysteriously’ Can’t Lose Weight”
  • “You Can Eat and Drink Whatever You Want in Your ‘Cheat Meals’”
  • “You Can Burn the Fat Covering Your [Body Part]

There are 5 more myths he debunks in his book, but I hope you get the idea.

He doesn’t have an opinion on these myths. He just tells you why they are wrong with scientific research to back up his claims.

Glossary & Keywords You Should Know

Another reason why BLS is great for beginners is that he includes a kind glossary for all the necessary words you will most likely hear in your fitness journey.

The first keyword list is all about the physiological terms such as:

  • Tissue
  • Muscle Fiber
  • Fat 
  • Amino Acid
  • Metabolism
  • Etc.

The second keyword list is all about diet and nutrition and includes terms such as:

  • Nutrient
  • Sucrose
  • Fructose
  • Vitamin
  • Insulin
  • Glycemic Index
  • Etc.

There are a lot more words he covers than the list above, but if you didn’t the REAL definition of these before then this book will make sure you remember them.

With that being said, let’s talk about the BLS Diet.

Bigger Leaner Stronger Diet Review

Calories and Macros Explained 

I’ve made a video explaining the calories and macros plan for BLS below if you’d rather watch that.

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Note: since his recent release of the third edition of BLS, he formulas use percentages now.

It still comes out to be the same calories and macros but he made it into percentages for simplicity so the video above may be slightly different than the formula in the 3rd edition of BLS.

Essentially, there are two “formulas” for fat loss and one for lean bulking.

In the recent update of his book (the third edition), he goes over the exact method in more detail so I won’t go over it entirely here, but there are:

  • 2 formulas for fat loss
    • One if you’re very overweight and one you just need to lose a couple of pounds.
  • 1 formula for lean bulking
  • 1 formula for maintenance

He tells his readers to follow a 40/40/20 macro split.

This means 40% of your calories should be protein, 40% carbs, and 20% fat. 

Sample Meal Plans

With the macros and calories you calculate in the book, he shows you examples of meal plans for people who are in different phases of their fitness journey.

He shows off a meal plan for a

  • 150lb man who wants to lean bulk
  • 180lb man who wants to maintain his weight
  • 200lb man who wants to cut.

How to Track Macros and Calories – Missed Opportunity?

Mike Matthews is all about making sure you’re eating in a deficit and hitting your macros.

However, he does this by creating meal plans, which is great.

Everyone should have a meal plan starting out.

However, he also says that people shouldn’t start tracking macros with an app like MyFitnessPal unless they’ve successfully cut and bulked before.

I agree with that, but he doesn’t really show you how to do this in the book.

That’s why I created my book that shows you exactly how.

The process of tracking calories and macros has been called Flexible Dieting or IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) and that’s why my book is called IIFYM:

If you want to learn how to track calories and macros, check out my book above.

Bigger Leaner Stronger Workouts Review

There is no BS in this section of the book.

If you want to get build muscle and get bigger and stronger, in the least amount of time, then you want to lift heavy and do it often, safely of course.

He explains why and how with his scientific research and references all of the studies why his workouts are laid out in the manner they are.

There are a couple of things you need to know about his workouts:

  1. Each workout hits 2-3 major muscle groups
    • The majority of the exercises are compound exercises (i.e., deadlifts, squats, bench press, etc.)
  2. Every workout consists of working sets and warm-up sets.
    • Working sets are your “heavy” sets
      • These consist of 4-6 reps and 85% of your 1 Rep Max
    • Warm-up sets are the sets right before your working sets.
      • You would do 3 warm-up sets right before your 3 working sets, for example
  3. You do 9-15 Hard-working sets every workout
  4. Rest 2-4 minutes between each and every working set
  5. Take 1-2 days off per week of lifting
  6. Every 8-10 weeks, take a week off

Even if you’re a beginner, do not fear, he gives you exercise tutorials for each and every lift that he prescribes:

[insert picture of the tutorial here]

Let’s go over his 5-day workout routine. 

Why The Bigger Leaner Stronger Workouts Work Well For Beginners

This video I made a while back explains exactly why the workout program inside Bigger Leaner Stronger (and Thinner Leaner Stronger – his women’s book) works:

Essentially, the entire workout plan, regardless if you use the 5-day plan or the other included 4-day or 3-day plan, utilizes heavy weights.

Regardless if you’re trying to lose weight, or looking to get stronger, you will be using heavy weights and as long as you’re:

  • hitting your calories and macros and 
  • getting enough protein per day, 

this workout program will give you tremendous results.

NOTE: In some of the videos below, I had to make some slight variations because I was working out in my garage gym. Also, every exercise with an * means to use 8-10 reps instead of 4-6 reps.

BLS Workout Day 1 – Push 

His push workout consists of the following:

  • Barbell Bench Press
    • 3 warm-up sets and 3 working sets
  • Incline Bench Press
    • 3 working sets
  • DB Bench Press
    • 3 working sets
  • Triceps Pushdown
    • 3 working sets

BLS Workout Day 2 – Pull and Calves

His Pull and Calves workout consists of the following:

  • Barbell Deadlift
    • 3 warm-up sets and 3 working sets
  • One-Arm DB Row
    • 3 working sets
  • Lat Pulldown
    • 3 working sets
  • Leg Press Calf Raises*
    • 3 working sets

BLS Workout Day 3 – Upper Body and Core

His Upper Body and Core workout consists of the following:

  • Seated DB Press
    • 3 warm-up sets and 3 working sets
  • DB Side Lateral Raises*
    • 3 working sets
  • DB Rear Lateral Raises (Seated)*
    • 3 working sets
  • Cable Crunch
    • 3 working sets

BLS Workout Day 4 – Legs

His Legs workout consists of the following:

  • Barbell Squat
    • 3 warm-up sets and 3 working sets
  • Leg Press
    • 3 working sets
  • Lying Leg Curls*
    • 3 working sets
  • Seated Calf Raises*
    • 3 working sets

BLS Workout Day 5 – Upper Body and Core

His Upper Body and Core workout consists of the following:

  • Close-Grip Bench Press
    • 3 warm-up sets and 3 working sets
  • Barbell Curl
    • 3 warm-up sets and 3 working sets
  • Seated Triceps Press
    • 3 working sets
  • DB Hammer Curl
    • 3 working sets
  • Captain’s Chair leg Raise
    • 3 working sets

Again, please note that for some of the videos above, I had to make slight variations for some of the exercises due to limited equipment.

At first, these workouts may seem easy to some and it may feel like you’re not doing enough work, but rest assured that these workouts are based on the laws of muscle growth and building muscle and losing fat is the main priority of the program.

It’s simple, eat less if you’re trying to lose weight and eat enough if you’re trying to gain weight/build muscle and you will see results with this program.

Bigger Leaner Stronger Bonus Material

When you purchase BLS, you get access to bonus material that he gives away to supplement the book.

His bonus material includes:

  • Shareable and printable reference guides
  • Demonstration videos for the exercises
  • Entire year’s worth of workouts laid out (PDF, Excel, Google Sheets ready)
  • 10 simple meal plans for cutting and bulking
  • List of his favorite tools and getting and staying motives
  • And more

Again, these are things he includes for free as a bonus when you purchase his book.

Mike Matthews Supplement Company – Legion Athletics

Unfortunately or fortunately, Mike does pitch his supplements near the end and middle of his book.

This is fine to me because I have been using his supplements for years and I DO recommend them.

Obviously this is a review about this book but you will encounter his supplements within his emails and the book so I figured I would link my reviews of his supplements down below.

Supplements to Build Muscle

  • Legion Whey +
  • Legion Pulse Pre Workout
  1. Legion Recharge Post Workout

Supplements to Lose Fat

  1. Legion Phoenix Fat Burner
  1. Legion Forge Fasted Fat Burner


I highly recommend this book. It is very high quality and the exercise and nutrition advice and information are second to none.

I read it when I was already a couple of years into my fitness journey and I wish I had it when I first started.

If you are brand new to this whole fitness thing, then definitely pick it up.

It will save you years of trial and error.

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Last update on 2024-03-05 at 14:09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Christian Pinedo

Hey there, Christian here. I'm a former fat guy who just wants to help you succeed in your fitness journey. I share my own experiences and experiments right here on this site. Let me know how I can be of help by leaving a comment below. If you want to learn more about my 50 lb weight loss journey, click here.

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