0:00:11.5 Mike Vacanti: Hello, Jordan.


0:00:12.6 Jordan Syatt: What’s going on, Michael?


0:00:14.3 Mike Vacanti: Just fasting and caffeinated on this early morning podcast recording, a little fired up.


0:00:19.6 Jordan Syatt: You’re feeling good? You’re feeling… You’re ready for this?


0:00:22.5 Mike Vacanti: No, I’d say more irritable, but fired up, for sure.




0:00:26.9 Jordan Syatt: Fired up is fired up, whether it’s irritable or excited.


0:00:30.4 Mike Vacanti: That’s true. They’re two sides of the same coin.


0:00:36.0 Jordan Syatt: Do we have anything that you just wanna jam on? How is your golf weekend?


0:00:40.3 Mike Vacanti: You know what, I actually had something I wanted to jam on.


0:00:42.9 Jordan Syatt: Alright. You J it up, I’ll just T with it.


0:00:45.2 Mike Vacanti: Golf weekend was good. It was really fun. Played Sand Valley and Mammoth Dunes in Wisconsin, which is, for any golfers, they’re fun, nice courses, with a big group of my high school buddies.


0:01:00.8 Jordan Syatt: It’s called Mammoth Dune?


0:01:02.5 Mike Vacanti: Dunes, I believe, yeah.


0:01:03.8 Jordan Syatt: Mammoth Dunes.




0:01:07.7 Mike Vacanti: But yeah man, it was fun. This podcast is gonna be a little different because Jordan is asking me questions. Well, not really, you just picked the questions that we’re going to talk about.


0:01:19.2 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, yeah. And they’re not surprises, you saw them yesterday.


0:01:23.1 Mike Vacanti: I honestly only remember like one of them though.


0:01:25.0 Jordan Syatt: The golf one?


0:01:27.1 Mike Vacanti: No, not… Well, now, I know two of them. [chuckle] Here’s what I’m curious about, because this morning we were just talking about work and schedules and starting down the conversation of how to make yourself do work when you don’t have a boss who’s got his boot on your neck, basically jobs like we’ve had for the last 10 years. And my mind went to thinking about necessary income and savings for future expenses, right?


0:02:02.5 Jordan Syatt: Mm-hmm.


0:02:02.9 Mike Vacanti: Like lifestyle now doesn’t always equal lifestyle in two, three, five, seven years. And something I was gonna ask you, but I saved to surprise you on the podcast, is you’re getting married in early September, when do you plan on procreating?




0:02:23.9 Jordan Syatt: Oh, man, really saving these deep, deep discussions for the pod, I love it.


0:02:29.0 Mike Vacanti: Just the questions that people want to hear.


0:02:32.5 Jordan Syatt: We’re thinking about trying within the first… Within about a year to… A year to two years after we’re married.


0:02:41.3 Mike Vacanti: Okay, cool.


0:02:42.8 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. So within… I would say within one to two years, which is very odd, like a very odd… The odd part, there are many odd parts to it, but you spend your entire life trying not to get someone pregnant, [chuckle] and then all of a sudden it’s like that’s the goal, it’s like a weird mind shift to go into. You’re like, alright, so we’re trying to do this now, this is… [laughter] Which is also funny because, apparently, it’s not the easiest thing to do. Some people aren’t able to, and some people will try for years before they can. And then it’s like you’re a kid and it’s just like, “Oh, my god… ” And some people get pregnant on the first shot.


0:03:32.8 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, you get close to a girl. Yeah.


0:03:34.8 Jordan Syatt: It’s crazy. It’s crazy how that works.


0:03:38.3 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, yeah. Well, good, that’s exciting.


0:03:41.1 Jordan Syatt: What about you, when do you think you wanna have kids?


0:03:44.8 Mike Vacanti: Not only am I not quite at that stage in my life yet, but I feel like I’m also moving myself more off the radar personally, and so…


0:03:55.0 Jordan Syatt: So I’m the only one that has to answer the question?


0:03:58.0 Mike Vacanti: Yes, that’s correct. [laughter] I mean, in the not super, super, super distant future. And it’s an interesting mindset shift for the reason you just mentioned, but also on a lifestyle perspective, like you have people in your life that you’re responsible for, but none more so than a child. And then what originally led us to this topic of conversation was on the finances side, just planning for… I’m ISTJ budgeter guy. And thinking about, alright, what changes from a spending perspective when you are single versus when you have a family, and planning for and just making sure that all the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed.


0:04:55.4 Jordan Syatt: How much do you think you should… What do you think a good amount generally to have saved is, if there is a number?


0:05:02.5 Mike Vacanti: I have no idea. Honestly, I think that there’s no blanket recommendation, right, because it’s so dependent on what country do you live and where in that country do you live? What kind of lifestyle do you wanna have? What types of things do you buy? What types of things do you like to do? And same for your spouse and your family and, yeah, there’s… I can’t give a recommendation. But I do think that I err on the side of being overly cautious, and that I could probably be just fine and happy with less than I think, but who knows?


0:05:39.2 Jordan Syatt: Yeah.


0:05:40.0 Mike Vacanti: We’ll cross that bridge. But that’s why I wanted to know when you were planning on making a little Jordan.


0:05:44.6 Jordan Syatt: Uncle Mike, this is Uncle Mike.




0:05:51.0 Mike Vacanti: Grab those dumbbells, kid. See you in the gym.


0:05:53.4 Jordan Syatt: No. You’re gonna be like, “Alright, we got the knee hockey nets, let’s get… Let’s play some knee hockey.” I feel like that’s gonna be the play.


0:06:00.1 Mike Vacanti: Absolutely.


0:06:02.8 Jordan Syatt: Anyone who doesn’t know, playing Mike and knee hockey is intense. He knows how to do a killer wrist shot. Is that how you say it?


0:06:11.0 Mike Vacanti: Oh, yeah.


0:06:11.8 Jordan Syatt: A wrist shot? Yeah.


0:06:12.9 Mike Vacanti: Absolutely.


0:06:14.0 Jordan Syatt: That’ll get you.


0:06:14.7 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, we played a lot of mini sticks out east. Dude, you got your competition in three days.


0:06:23.5 Jordan Syatt: Oh yeah. I mean, this is worth discussing from a… Maybe just the shooting the shit, but also business-wise, I know we’ve spoken about it before, but people love to actually see you go through the process of what they want to do. Every single time I show a cut publicly, I see an immediate boost in whether it’s inner circle or online coaching request, every single… And I do it like, I don’t know, two times a year, and it’s like every single time there’s a dramatic boost, it’s just… I know a lot of times people are like, “Well, how do I launch a program? Or how do I get people to sign up for online coaching?” The craziest thing is any time I do a cut, I don’t have to talk about online coach, I don’t have to talk about the inner circle, people just go out of their way to ask, “Can you help me do this?”


0:07:21.0 Mike Vacanti: Does that do anything? Has that shifted your thesis even a little micro bit on talking about yourself versus purely teaching? And I don’t wanna misrepresent your position, but because I don’t think you think that content should be purely teaching, I think you do a good balance of talking about yourself and teaching like I verse you in writing, basically, but has this shifted you at all on that topic?


0:07:55.1 Jordan Syatt: No, not really, ’cause especially… I still feel… This is what I feel. I feel like if you’re early on in your career and you don’t have very much of an audience…


0:08:07.6 Mike Vacanti: No one’s gonna care about your cut.


0:08:08.9 Jordan Syatt: No, no, not that no one will care. Actually, I think the opposite. I just think your cut is another form of teaching. When I say talking about yourself, I mean like about your new pick-up truck, like no one cares about your new pick-up truck and what kind of engine you’ve got inside of it. No one cares. They just don’t. It’s not a big… But if you have 27 followers, and the vast majority of those 27 are family members, co-workers, college roommates and friends and classmates, and they see you doing this cut, it’s like they already have a background about who you are, number one, and they’re watching you do what they want to do, and you are proving to them that you have the skills and the knowledge and the tools to be able to make it happen. So I think it’s another form of education. When I say talking about yourself, I mean more like as your audience grows and as people get more and more interested in you, then you can do things that are more… I think Maxx Chewning is probably the best example of this, who technically, I don’t even think he can say he’s in the fitness industry at all anymore, because his two biggest business… He has YouTube, which is his main media, but his two businesses are a clothing company and a candy company.


0:09:28.9 Jordan Syatt: They’re not fitness-related. Literally, a candy company. And he talks about in his YouTube videos all the time, how the vast majority of it has nothing to do with fitness. And he built that off the back of his initial fitness brand, which was talking about fitness, but people grew and people liked him so much that they’ll watch him, they’ll watch him wrap candy, or they’ll watch him mow the lawn, or they’ll watch him do whatever because they’re interested in him more than anything else. That takes time and years and a larger audience to develop. But no, I don’t think it’s changed my stance at all. I think it’s just further solidified it, if anything else. I just think most people early on… I think some coaches early on, they get… Whether you wanna call it imposter’s syndrome or not, they get nervous to try and be educators because they don’t want other coaches to say, “Oh, that’s wrong, or that’s stupid,” or they don’t wanna be called out or they don’t wanna be put on the spot. So they default to just talking about themselves, when in reality they should be an educator first, and then talk about themselves later on as time goes on and as people care about them more.


0:10:40.3 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. Alright, that makes sense. And it is funny because as a coach, we can say, “Oh, just because somebody can get lean themselves doesn’t mean they’ll be good at getting someone else those same results. Just because you can do it doesn’t make you a great coach inherently.” And that is true, however, from the layman, from the average person, from your friend or co-worker or family member, when they see you do it, they believe that you’re better at helping other people do it, which, call it marketing, call it whatever you want, but it works and we’ve both experienced that.


0:11:20.1 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, yeah, absolutely.


0:11:22.7 Mike Vacanti: I wrote an article in 2015, it was a short blog post along the lines of, “don’t sign up for coaching if you wanna look like me.”


0:11:32.6 Jordan Syatt: I remember that.


0:11:33.5 Mike Vacanti: Don’t think that you’re gonna do my workout and then you’ll have my physique. We are different for this reason, this reason, this reason, this reason. Be the best version of you. Don’t sign up to be like me, which obviously drove a bunch of coaching submissions, which makes no sense, it just… It is.


0:11:51.8 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, yeah, and people appreciate the honesty of that as well, but also you were shredded to bits. People are like, “Alright, I know I’m not gonna look like you, but I still wanna do that.” [laughter] Yeah, but the cut’s going well. I hit officially 10 pounds down this morning, for… 30 days in, 10 pounds down. I’ve still got three pounds to lose, unfortunately, just ’cause I have to weigh in with the GI on, so the GI weighs 3 pounds. So I’m on weight for what I need to weigh right now, if I wasn’t wearing the GI so… This is something I’ve been struggling with because I’m going to have to cut water weight for this competition, and anyone who knows anything about whether it’s wrestling or mixed martial arts or any weight-controlled sport, there’s usually some type of a water cut prior to the competition that has literally nothing to do with fat loss, it’s all just losing water. Most people have no idea how much water weight you can lose in a matter of an hour, they just have no idea. It’s completely and utterly against what I would ever want any of my clients to do because their goal is lifestyle-focused and health, but…


0:13:13.9 Jordan Syatt: So the battle I’m having is like, do I show them this or not? Do I show them what a water cut looks like just so that they can see about my life and what I’m doing, or should I hide that part? Because I’m nervous that they’ll think, “Hey, I should do that as well.” And obviously, I would be like, “Listen, I’m not losing fat like this, I’m not recommending this, but I wanna show you what I’m doing for this competition in a road to make weight for this competition,” that’s a battle I have in terms of showing them more about me, that has literally nothing to do with what they should be doing.


0:13:47.5 Mike Vacanti: I mean, you could say that 15 times and you’re still gonna have 100 people, 20 of which are saying, “This is stupid and not healthy and water cutting doesn’t do anything, and another 20 will ask if they should be drinking a gallon in a half or 1.75 gallons and for like… “




0:14:06.6 Jordan Syatt: And people who just like… You have someone who’s 40% body fat being like, “How do I do this?” It’s like that’s not… There’s no reason for you to be even thinking about this, the only people who need to think about it are people who are competing in a weight-controlled sport who are water cutting to get to that weight class.


0:14:23.5 Mike Vacanti: Do you want to draw more of those people to you?


0:14:28.0 Jordan Syatt: That’s a good question. I would like to, just because I think in the future, it might be another form of coaching that I’d like to really get into. Not right now, but in three, five, seven years really, maybe getting more into that world as a coach, for sure. But as of right now, main goal is just regular everyday people, which leads me to be like, I’m just not gonna show it, not worth it for the everyday person to watch something or see something like that and then eat… No matter how many times I say it, no matter how clearly I say they’re being… They see the scale to go down three pounds in about 35 minutes and they’re like, “What the hell is that?” So yeah, yeah.


0:15:10.4 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, I hear you. But what is… Out of curiosity, what’s the most you ever had to water cut for any match, like in high school or at any point in time?


0:15:22.5 Jordan Syatt: So the most I actually ever had a water cut was for a power lifting competition. I was competing at 132, and I weighed… Before I started the water cut, I was like 141.


0:15:38.2 Mike Vacanti: Alright. So nine plus pounds.


0:15:41.1 Jordan Syatt: Nine plus pounds of water, which it was the most I ever had to cut for water, and you take someone who’s 250 pounds, nine pounds of water, it’s not that crazy, but percentage of total body weight, that was a significant, significant cut. The good news about that competition was I had 24-hour weigh ins, so which means you weigh in 24 hours before you compete, so you have plenty of time to re-hydrate and all that.


0:16:11.0 Mike Vacanti: If it was day of, you wouldn’t have left yourself in a position where you had to water cut nine pounds…


0:16:16.4 Jordan Syatt: Correct. Exactly, yep. For wrestling…


0:16:20.0 Mike Vacanti: Jujitsu is like you weigh in and then your first match is what?


0:16:27.1 Jordan Syatt: Within five months. Within five months. You weigh in… And then it’s so funny, like you weigh in, and they put you in this little bullpen area with all the other people you’re gonna be competing against. So all the people that you’re gonna be competing against are in this like a little caged in spot right in front of the mat, and then within five minutes they call you and your opponent, and then you walk to the mat together, and then you step on and try and kill each other. [chuckle] So yeah, so I literally just got some honey and maple syrup yesterday to take with me right after our weigh in, just to be able to make sure I’ve got some carbs in me right before… I think what I’ll do is I’ll be checking my weight beforehand and taking a little bit of some really quickly digesting carbs like hours before, so I’m not completely depleted.


0:17:13.0 Mike Vacanti: Right. Awesome, man. Well, good luck, I’ll talk to you before then, but… Good luck from everyone listening.


0:17:23.4 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that’s it, man. Cut’s going well though. Walking, really one of the bigger contributors here.


0:17:32.0 Mike Vacanti: Awesome.


0:17:33.1 Jordan Syatt: Should we get into these questions?


0:17:35.4 Mike Vacanti: Let’s do it.


0:17:36.3 Jordan Syatt: Alright. Do you wanna start off with the one that you remembered?


0:17:41.1 Mike Vacanti: No, I just want you to hit me. I’m P-ing it up, Jordan.


0:17:44.4 Jordan Syatt: Okay, alright, Mike’s P-ing it up. Someone asked me a question on my Q&A yesterday… Oh, actually, this is Harris Benjamin, Harris Benjamin asked this, who also just by the way, started up to jiu-jitsu, which is awesome.


0:18:00.7 Mike Vacanti: Nice. Attaboy, Harris.


0:18:02.8 Jordan Syatt: He said, “How would you segment your email list? Would you do it by goal, by relation, etcetera. I want simplicity, but personal.” So what Harris means by segmenting your email list, first and foremost, is like, I’m pretty sure have podcasts on email list. Oh we do, we did one with Pat Flynn. So we have Email List Essentials with Pat Flynn, if you haven’t heard that already. But without going into excruciating detail now, building your email list is arguably the most important thing you can do, more important than Instagram or Twitter or whatever, how many followers you have. Get people on your email list so you can contact them. You might be able to… You might post something on Instagram, but people aren’t using Instagram, the algorithm doesn’t show your post, email, they always get your email, it’s always in their inbox no matter whether or not they’re there that day, they’re gonna see it. So email is most important. And what Harris means by segmenting it is you could just have one email list, which is totally fine, and that’s like what…


0:19:03.7 Jordan Syatt: If you don’t have an email list yet, you don’t need to worry about segmentation. Even if you do have an email list, if you’ve got less than 5000 people, you need to worry about segmentation. Segmentation is something that you start to think about when you get a lot and a lot and a lot of people on your email list and potentially a lot of people with very different goals. So this is really when it becomes most important. If your entire social media is fat-loss based, then there’s really no reason to segment your list. Like if your entire business is fat loss focused, you don’t need to worry about segmenting your list because you have the one goal that they’re there for. If you’re doing different things for male versus female fat loss, which there are… I don’t know if you wanna talk about menopause or versus if you wanna talk about… Whatever it is, if you wanna segment, then you could segment male versus female, so that way you could know… Even if your entire business is fat loss, you could have one segmentation for male versus female, so that if you’re gonna run something that’s just for women, cool, versus if you’re gonna run something that’s just for men, cool. That can be great. I’ve personally never done that. I just prefer to have one list of fat loss because it’s far more similar than many people would expect.


0:20:20.9 Jordan Syatt: The way that I’ve segmented my list is… Because I’ve basically segmented my list into a fitness business list. So for coaches who want to build their business, I have a list just for that because not everyone who wants to lose fat is in there. So I have a fitness business coach’s list, I have my fat loss list, but then I also have more of a strength focused list, and specifically, I did that with my Deadlift Program. I gave away a free Deadlift Program. ‘Cause anybody who signs up to maximally increase their deadlift is clearly very strength focused. Now, they might also wanna lose fat, they might also wanna be a coach, but I got them in there just from that. So this segmentation allows me like, if I’m gonna run a Deadlift Program, which I actually am in the next few months, if I’m gonna run a maximum Deadlift Program, I have a list that is just for people who love maximum weight lifting and, specifically, for the deadlift. If I’m gonna run a program just for fat loss, then I know what list I can send it to, and if I’m gonna run a program just for coaches and personal trainers like the mentorship, then I know what list to send that to.


0:21:23.4 Jordan Syatt: Again, if you don’t have an email list or your email list is under 5000, this is not something you need to worry about. And if you really don’t have many different offers, that’s not something you need to worry about. If you only offer one major thing, you don’t need to worry about segmenting it. This is something that a lot of coaches really overthink, sort of like, if your client was like, “Hey, how do I make sure… How do I track each of my micronutrients and make sure I’m getting enough of each and every single micronutrient?” I’ll be like, “Honestly, the majority of your diet is Burger King. You need to just relax and just start eating better first before you start thinking about the individual micronutrients.” So yeah, I would say 99.8% of coaches don’t need to be worrying about segmenting the list, but if you are among that very small percentage, it’s something to think about. And even if you’re not gonna start segmenting your list, it is something worth thinking about in your messaging on social media, “What is your main message? What is your main goal as a coach? What is your offer?” And then once you understand what your offer is, then you can start to really target the type of people that you’d like to work with.


0:22:28.0 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. I think you hit the nail on the head with the main reason to segment if you’re going to, is if you have distinct goals that don’t overlap with one another or that minimally overlap with one another, and you could put hardcore power lifters in one category versus someone who is very overweight and struggles with their relationship with food, those are far enough apart that it could make sense to segment. I would say for almost every… I’ve never segmented an email list, fat loss, strength, a little bit of muscle gain, look better, feel better, those are all gen pop enough and everyone wants a piece of all of them enough that I never found it worth the time or effort to do so. Yeah. And I have a lot of… I think that no matter how many emails you have, if your potential clients’ goals are close enough to each other, the ROI isn’t there to spend time segmenting your list and working on having different segmentations because there’s an opportunity cost. And an opportunity cost is basically anything else you could be doing, making any kind of content, probably being the primary one, but also doing more with your clients, working on refining your systems for your current coaching program…


0:23:50.6 Mike Vacanti: There are so many other things that you could be doing, that unless you have… Or even if you wanted to segment, if you do work in the fitness space and also do something outside of fitness that you’re playing with… You know, if I were to start making content around personal finance, that would be something where maybe I sent an email with a, “By the way, if you’re interested in this, click here,” and then anyone who clicks and signs up there is on, that would be a place to segment, but it’s… Within the fitness space, I think it makes sense for very, very, very few people to focus their time and energy there.


0:24:29.2 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, yep. Agreed, 100%.


0:24:31.4 Mike Vacanti: Good question, Harris.


0:24:34.0 Jordan Syatt: Okay. This one’s a good one. “How much of a deficit is a good place to sustain the deficit and avoid burnout?” She added 50 calories at the end of it. So how much of a calorie deficit is a good place to start to sustain your deficit, but also avoid burnout, 50 calories? What do you think, Mike?


0:24:58.2 Mike Vacanti: So the general rule that we all were passed down from Lionel McDonald is that about 3500 calories equates to a pound of fat loss. So if you’re in a 500-calorie deficit per day for seven days, that’s 3500 calories, which equates to about a pound of fat loss over the course of the week. I’ll start by talking about 50 calories a week, which was her kind of thought and I kind of like actually, where… ‘Cause most people, if they hear that are like, “Okay, well, I wanna lose four pounds a week. So I should be in a 2000-calorie deficit a day. How can I do that? How much work can I do to make that happen? Because I gotta be down 40 pounds by my wedding, which is next Tuesday.” The woman who asked this question is thinking in terms of, “Okay, I wanna be able to sustain this. So how small of a deficit should I go?” which I love that mindset, but 50 calories a week, rounding air…


0:26:04.4 Mike Vacanti: It’s basically impossible to… If I’m within 50 calories of my target, I consider that an absolute perfect day. I might be 50 or 100 calories over, 50 or 100 calories under, that’s all maintenance to me. The lowest… I’m trying to think of a situation where I would intentionally have a client lose less than half a pound a week, which would be a 250 calorie a day deficit, and I’m struggling to come up with any scenarios outside of someone who I’m calorie cycling around their maintenance with the intent to build muscle and lose fat within the same training phase, which isn’t a deficit, is just re-composition. But the lowest, to give a concrete number, or the smallest daily deficit would be 250 calories.


0:26:54.3 Jordan Syatt: Smallest would be 250…


0:26:55.3 Mike Vacanti: I mean one, the reason that if you go too small, it’s just too hard to manage, you’re not gonna know if you’re making progress, it’s gonna take a month or more to know if you’re… If it’s scale variance, because 50 calories a day, it’s gonna take two months to lose a pound, and you’re not gonna know if you’re actually losing body fat or if it’s water weight. And the other thing to consider here is from a psychological perspective, and I don’t wanna just walk all over every point that you could potentially be making.


0:27:26.4 Jordan Syatt: No, no, no, make ’em all.


0:27:28.1 Mike Vacanti: But if you’re… Slow and sustainable is good, because it’s not the person who is trying to lose, hit their goal physique by next month, but when you’re losing body fat too slowly, and if you have a decent amount of body fat to lose or your client obviously, it’s demotivating to not see progress. It’s demotivating to aim to lose a third of a pound a week, so you’re losing about a pound a month and change, which means it’s gonna take six months before you’re seeing anything visual in the mirror, which isn’t gonna lead to you… You know, action, result, motivation, it’s not gonna lead to you wanting to continue. So there’s something to losing body fat at a decent enough clip to see some progress, feel good about it and wanna keep going that you lose when you lose fat too slowly.


0:28:27.9 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, yeah, 100% agree. And I think the two biggest points are, like you brought up, number one is it’s gonna be too slow in order to actually be motivated by it. In the same way that there can be too quick weight loss, I think there can be too slow. If you don’t think that it’s working, and then what the hell? Why would you keep doing it? And to compound that, it’s not even ambitious, is like what compounds that is… Like 50 calorie a day, it’s just… It’s so small, you have to be so meticulous with it. So not only do you think it’s not working because you’re not really seeing the progress, but you’re also working so much harder because you have to be so much more meticulous with tracking, being… Trying to be that perfect with your calories. So that really… If you try and make too small of a deficit, it’s gonna work against you in so many ways. So 250 a day would be the lowest you’d give, what do you think about the highest deficit per day?


0:29:36.1 Mike Vacanti: It depend… So the larger a person is, as a general rule, the larger a person is, and the more body fat they have to lose, then early on in their fat loss journey, I’m comfortable with a bigger deficit or a higher pounds per week fat loss goal. I have found that calorie maintenance estimates get a little harder with people who are… The more body weight someone has, the harder maintenance estimates are because then it’s like some people can be very overweight and firmer offensive line men strong with probably two or three times as much lean mass as someone else who is overweight and is like 60 plus percent body fat, which in my experience, leads to a pretty… It leads to a significant difference in activity levels and inherently leads to a significant difference in maintenance, even absent activity levels.


0:30:35.7 Mike Vacanti: But the person who is stronger, more athletic, more able at a higher body weight is going to be able to burn more calories through activity during the day too, so that’s like a piece of it in getting a reasonable maintenance estimate, because someone’s maintenance could be more than 4000 calories, which means if that person is 380 pounds and has a lot of weight to lose, I might have them… I’m gonna say three pounds a week, even though there are situations where I might under-shoot someone’s maintenance in that situation, and they’re losing four pounds a week for the first few weeks.


0:31:15.3 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, but yeah…


0:31:16.8 Mike Vacanti: So we’ll say, as a general rule, three pounds a week on the high end, but for most people, it’s going to be much closer to the 0.75 to 1.25 to maybe 1.5 pounds a week.


0:31:30.2 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, yeah. Which is how many calories a day is that on average about? Of a deficit?


0:31:37.3 Mike Vacanti: 500 to 700, I mean, 400, we’ll say, to 750 calories a day below maintenance.


0:31:43.7 Jordan Syatt: Got it. Yeah, yeah. Makes total sense. Speaking of which, by the way, my brother is officially down 100 pounds.


0:31:52.0 Mike Vacanti: Dude, I saw that.


0:31:53.3 Jordan Syatt: How crazy is that?


0:31:55.1 Mike Vacanti: Good for him, that’s amazing.


0:31:56.2 Jordan Syatt: How crazy is that? Yeah, I’m blown away. I’m blown away.


0:32:01.0 Mike Vacanti: Dude, good for both of you guys.


0:32:03.7 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, good for…


0:32:03.9 Mike Vacanti: Your pictures are crazy.


0:32:04.9 Jordan Syatt: Oh my god. Unbelievable. Unbelievable.


0:32:07.8 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, he looks great.


0:32:09.9 Jordan Syatt: And the cool part is… My fiancee was asking me last night, she was like, “Has he ever… Has he struggled with weight his whole life?” My whole family struggled with their weight for… Everyone in my family. And she was like, “Has he ever lost this much weight before?” And I remember there was one time that I know of that I think he lost 90 or something pounds, but the difference was, he did a juice cleanse, where he literally only drank juice, that’s it, for a very long period of time, and then apparently his doctor told him like, “Hey, you are not getting enough nutrients, you could actually kill yourself doing this.” So then he had to stop and then he didn’t change any of his lifestyle habits or behaviors, so he gained all the weight back and then more. But the cool part about this time is he’s just eating regular food in more appropriate portions, which I’m like, “Man, that’s fucking awesome, he’s really crushed it.”


0:33:03.1 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, that’s a huge point though, you go from drinking nothing… You go from a liquid diet to eating food, you didn’t learn anything about how to make progress or even maintain it eating food, when you’re doing it eating foods you enjoy in smaller portions and maybe playing with meal timing, you start paying attention to labels, you go higher protein, those are skills that lead to you being able to maintain that progress. So big shout out Lee.


0:33:32.4 Jordan Syatt: Okay, next question. “Do you have any tips for stopping yourself from overeating?”


0:33:40.8 Mike Vacanti: Do I ever? I think it’s… This could be a whole podcast, so maybe we’ll just… Maybe this will be a little bit of a rapid-fire one, it depends on the reason why you’re overeating. If the reason you’re overeating is because your calorie maintenance is 3300 and you’re trying to eat 1200 calories a day while lifting every single day and doing cardio and being active, no, I don’t have any tips, the tip is to increase your calorie intake because you’re going to be extremely hungry and tempted to overeat if you’re in too large of a deficit. If the reason you’re tempted to overeat is because you decided to lay in bed all day and blow off your work, and not do anything, and you didn’t get any sunlight, you didn’t have any human interaction, you didn’t get outside, you’ve been scrolling on your phone, your dopamine is completely depleted, and so you have this physiological neuro desire for ice cream, not for satiety, but to feel better, and you go for ice cream for that reason, well then my recommendation would be to live your life… And you know, one day is one day, but if that’s every day, probably not good, and I’d recommend getting some sunlight, getting outside, moving around, talking to some people, trying to engage in some meaningful work.


0:35:09.0 Mike Vacanti: And I guess we can boil that down to boredom eating. So those are two situations. Then we… We’re literally working on a section right now in the book called, How to Stay Full in a Calorie Deficit. So we have countless more strategies, we can talk about sleep, we can talk about food volume and fruit and vegetables, hydration, there’s a lot of strategies here.


0:35:39.3 Jordan Syatt: I think an important point to talk about though is, is this just a one day thing or is this an everyday thing? That’s I think one of the most important parts ’cause you have the extreme of people who overeat almost every day if not literally every day, and then you have the other extreme of people who are so scared to possibly go over their calories that they never ‘overeat’, they’re always trying to restrict and they never give themselves any leeway. Both of those extremes are bad for different reasons, one extreme leading to severe health implications from obesity and from literally never restricting at all, which I think can lead to other behavioral issues outside of just food. But the other one, being a lot of health implications, like mental and emotional health issues, probably outrageously high cortisol and stress-related issues, anxiety-related issues, obsessive-compulsive behavior issues, there’s a lot of issues that come with that. So they’re both…


0:36:42.0 Mike Vacanti: And to clarify, the second population isn’t obese.


0:36:46.1 Jordan Syatt: Correct. Correct.


0:36:47.4 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, okay.


0:36:48.5 Jordan Syatt: If they’re scared of ever overeating once and they’re constantly in restriction, yeah, they’re not obese, but it goes to say just because someone has a healthier body weight doesn’t mean that they’re healthy in some cases, right?


0:37:03.3 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, mentally and physically in many cases as well, yeah.


0:37:06.5 Jordan Syatt: So I think the… And we could have their… Talk for hours and hours and hours about both of those populations separately, but I think there’s something to be said for strategic overeating, and you don’t even necessarily have to be strategic with it, it’s just like there’s something to be said for overeating sometimes, that it’s actually good for you in some cases. Not all the time, not overeating just for the sake of overeating just because you’re bored or just because you want to all the time, but I think there’s something to be said for having periods of time where you overeat, whether it’s for… Whether you have it on one day a week, whether you have certain periods of your training and nutrition phase where you deliberately overeat for a sustained period of time, but not going massively overboard…


0:37:57.9 Jordan Syatt: I think it’s really important to have these periods, not just for the cliche muscle growth and strength and all of that, but also the mental side of it, the mental side of giving yourself a break from being in restriction and from eating fewer calories. And the more that I’ve found people get comfortable doing that, the less they’ll have the urge to overeat on a day-to-day basis. It’s the same thing where it’s like when you stop making it something that’s completely off limits, then there’s relatively little guilt or shame around it, and then you’re like… It’s like the reason you wanna pull a fire alarm is ’cause you’re not supposed to pull a fire alarm, that’s… Everyone wants to pull one, but you’re not allowed to legally, unfortunately. But if it was legal, if everyone could just pull a fire alarm whenever they wanted to, it wouldn’t be like this thing that you walk by and you just look at it like, “Oh, that’d be pretty cool to pull that thing.”


0:38:48.0 Mike Vacanti: Can I… I don’t wanna detract you, but I’ve never been tempted to pull a fire alarm before.


0:38:53.3 Jordan Syatt: You’ve never wanted to pull a fire alarm ever, really?


0:38:56.4 Mike Vacanti: No, yeah.


0:38:57.2 Jordan Syatt: I’ve always wanted to pull fire alarm.


0:39:00.0 Mike Vacanti: I believe it but I’m just…




0:39:01.7 Jordan Syatt: You’ve never just wanted to do it just to see what would happen?


0:39:05.9 Mike Vacanti: I know what would happen. It would make a noise, and everyone would have to clear out, and it’d be annoying.


0:39:10.1 Jordan Syatt: It’d be fun, assuming no one gets hurt in the stampede to run out and… Also there are some fire… Now, it’s different because there are cameras, they can see who did it. But I remember there are old fire alarms where, if you pull it, it shoots out this liquid dye that will stain your skin and will stain your shirt, so that when the fire department gets there, people can say, “Okay, this is the person that pulled the fire alarm.” Now, obviously it doesn’t matter ’cause there are cameras, but, yeah, I’ve always wanted to pull a fire alarm. But there are things, when it’s off limits, it’s like you’re more likely to wanna do it.


0:39:48.1 Jordan Syatt: So, similar concept here, where it’s like, if you’re never allowing yourself to ever overeat, then that’s all you’re gonna be thinking about. And eventually there’s gonna be a breaking point where it’s like, alright, you’re just… It’s gonna be uncontrollable. So having a deliberate… Deliberately overeating, whether it’s… Some people will call this a cheat day, some people… Whatever it is. Some people will call it a re-feed. It’s like when you have the ability to eat more calories on a regular basis, then it becomes something that you do and you’re okay with rather than making it something that’s taboo. And when it’s taboo, then you feel guilty about it, and you often keep doing it. There are many other aspects to why someone would consistently overeat, but I think incorporating it into your schedule on a regular basis will actually help you be more consistent on the days that you don’t overeat.


0:40:40.2 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. I agree. I think it’s important to… I think you probably see a greater percentage of the latter group, of the group that does need to… That is constantly trying to over-restrict definitely than exists in society just based on the useful information that you put out, but it’s definitely prevalent. I can actually think of a couple of situations where clients struggled with that exactly coming out of a deficit. So, lost a bunch of weight maybe for the first time, and then coming back up to maintenance, didn’t feel great about eating that many calories, and definitely didn’t wanna eat more calories than that because there’s this mental fear of going backwards that we’ve had to work through.


0:41:34.8 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, yeah, 100%. Okay. “Can you get your muscles stronger without making your muscles larger?”


0:41:47.7 Mike Vacanti: Yes.


0:41:49.0 Jordan Syatt: Yes. Alright, next question. [chuckle] What population of people have you seen this in… Who do you see this mostly… What group of people is mostly this focused on, in your experience?


0:42:04.9 Mike Vacanti: You mean who can do this or who wants to do this?


0:42:06.8 Jordan Syatt: No, no. Who wants to do this most?


0:42:10.3 Mike Vacanti: I see it the most in women who want to lose fat and don’t want primarily with upper body muscle gain.


0:42:21.4 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, yeah. They wanna lose fat, but they don’t wanna look like Arnold.


0:42:24.7 Mike Vacanti: Correct.


0:42:24.9 Jordan Syatt: Who’s often what… They don’t wanna get big and bulky.


0:42:27.2 Mike Vacanti: And that’s been… I wrote an article in 2013 about how strength training won’t make you look like Arnold, like…


0:42:38.1 Jordan Syatt: Like a bodybuilder, yeah.


0:42:38.3 Mike Vacanti: A male who is trying to win the Olympia. But that pendulum did swing too far because you can… If you’re trying to gain muscle, male or… You can gain a lot of muscle. And so if you don’t want to gain upper body… Or gain muscle in general, if that’s your personal preference for your body, then eating in a surplus, plus progressive overload, and add four, five, six years of training and making consistent progress… Like, obviously it’s not gonna happen overnight, so you can course correct if you don’t want that to happen. But I just think that we’ve… The fitness industry… I can’t say “we,” ’cause I haven’t been beating it for many years, but in general, we’ve gotten too far to the point of, “Oh, you can’t gain muscle,” like, “you won’t get big and bulky,” when you can.


0:43:33.6 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. Which is almost funny ’cause they’re saying the opposite of what they’re promoting. Usually they’ll be like, this is… If you actually think about it, the messaging goes like this, they’re like, “You’re a woman, you can’t gain that much muscle.” When you break it down, you’re like, “Wow, that’s not true.” It’s a pretty aggressive thing to say, like, “Listen, you’re a woman, you can’t get… ” It’s like, “What are you talking about?”




0:44:00.3 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, mixed messaging.


0:44:01.2 Jordan Syatt: It’s mixed messaging and it’s not accurate. And they’ll usually say… If they’re saying, “Listen, it’s hard for you to build as much muscle as a man.” Yes. But I’ve seen so many messages where it’s like, “Listen, you’re a woman, you can’t gain much muscle.” [laughter] I’m just like, “What are you talking about?” And then you look at, I don’t know, CrossFit athletes, some of these women are just jacked to the gills, just super strong, traps up to their ears, incredible athletes. And then you speak to regular everyday women who are like, “Listen, I don’t wanna look like that.” It’s worth having that discussion with them, being like, “Listen, if you trained like that person did, you very well might. If you’re doing that many snatches and hang cleans, and that type of Olympic lifting, you might build muscle similar to how that woman is building muscle,” because that’s how she’s training.


0:44:54.1 Jordan Syatt: It’s like you could sort of talk about… The phrase “model athlete,” the model athlete. You look at… Louie Simmons would talk about this all the time. If you look at the best athletes in any given sport in a professional level, they all very much have a similar build. The best athletes in any given sport often have a very similar build, and not just in terms of height, but in terms of which muscles are the most developed. You look at sprinters, every sprinter, man and woman, has a fat ass. Every sprinter has huge glutes, which makes sense, it’s like the primary driver muscle that’s gonna help them sprint, and then also big legs and quads and hamstrings, and all of that.


0:45:39.6 Jordan Syatt: They’re also incredibly lean up top, right? In general, but they’re super, super lean. You need to be lean, if you’re gonna be really, really, really, really fast. You look at most marathoners, very similar build, they don’t have huge muscles, they don’t have huge glutes, right? Because that would slow them down over that long duration. You look at CrossFit athletes, like CrossFit athletes at a high, higher level, they all look so damn similar in terms of body fat, in terms of which muscles are the most developed, they all have traps up to their ears, like their lats are huge, their abs are very well developed which is no surprise, they’re doing toe to bar, like leg raises all day every day. It’s a massive part of what they do.


0:46:24.8 Jordan Syatt: So you can see the way you train can really build your body into what… The way that you train really does have a massive effect, shocker, but it’s true. So, you know what I mean? It’s like… So if you’re training like a CrossFit athlete, then yeah, you can expect to have some serious muscle growth like a CrossFit athlete, and if you don’t want your muscles to get larger or significantly larger and you just wanna get stronger and more defined, then… Yeah, the way you train is actually gonna be very important to make sure that you’re giving your client what they want, not what you want or what you think is superior, just because maybe you’re into Olympic lifting, or you’re into this. It’s like what you’re into and what you like as a coach is irrelevant to what your client wants and needs, right? And I made this mistake early on when I was a competitive power lifter, and basically any client that came my way was gonna be doing really heavy squats, benchers, bench press and deadlift, because that’s what I was really into. And it took me a while to be like, “Okay, that’s stupid.”


0:47:26.3 Jordan Syatt: “I’m making a mistake here. How do we fix this?” So yeah, I mean, now to get into like, “Well, how do you get your muscle stronger without getting them larger… ” Do you wanna talk about that for a little bit?


0:47:39.7 Mike Vacanti: I mean, the first and key one is controlling nutrition, right? So if you run the exact same program and say it is like a strength plus hypertrophy program, and you’re eating in a moderate calorie deficit compared to a moderate calorie surplus, you’re gonna have a much harder time building muscle, you’re going to gain strength on both programs, very likely, like if you’re just starting a moderate calorie deficit. The time when it’s hard to gain strength when in a deficit is, one, if the deficit is larger, and two, the longer you’ve been in the deficit, the harder it’s gonna be to gain strength, and we’ll mix in, three, like training age, if you’re a complete beginner, it’ll be easier, if you’re more advanced in your training, you drop calories, it’s gonna be harder to make strength gains. But if you have a, let’s say, 400 calorie deficit compared to a 400 calorie surplus, you have that 800 calorie window and you’re running the same program, the person who’s eating in a surplus is going to gain substantially more muscle, whereas the person who’s in deficit is, depending on their training experience, going to gain little to no muscle, maybe a little bit if they’re new but very little lean mass, and they’re both going to gain strength, so not being in a surplus is number one.


0:48:57.7 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, yeah, not being in a surplus is number one. That being said, obviously, like we have said, you’re not gonna be in a deficit forever. So even when you do increase increased calories towards maintenance, or even if just… Yeah, you could just be in maintenance as opposed to being in a surplus, but even with that said, one of the biggest things here is… If someone says to me like, “I wanna get stronger, but I don’t wanna get bigger,” I’ll always ask like, “Where do you not want to get bigger?” And I’ll have them point it out, “Well, I don’t wanna have traps, I don’t wanna have big, big traps,” right? Or “I don’t wanna have… I don’t wanna, I don’t know, big calves,” or whatever it is. They’ll point it out, but traps have really been a big one recently. They say they wanna get more defined shoulders, but not huge shoulders and they don’t want big lats, they just wanna get stronger. So what’s important to remember here is strength… And training for strength and training for hypertrophy are two different things, but also it’s like you can get someone significantly stronger without isolating these individual muscle groups that they specifically don’t want to get bigger.


0:50:03.7 Jordan Syatt: So if I have someone who’s telling me they don’t want their traps to get huge, well, they’re definitely not gonna be doing any type of Olympic lifting, they’re definitely not gonna be doing many shrugs, I’m gonna make sure that they’re getting significantly stronger without putting those specific… Like no one… You don’t need big traps in order to get stronger, you just don’t. That’s just something that you can specifically target, you can specifically target your calves if you want them to grow, you can specifically target your hamstrings if you want them to grow, but there are ways to get maximally stronger without targeting and isolating those specific muscle groups for growth. Just because someone gets significantly stronger with a deadlift does not mean that their hamstrings are gonna get massive just because they’re using their hamstrings, that’s not how it works.


0:50:49.3 Jordan Syatt: It’s like if someone says they wanna get stronger and not bigger, I’m really focusing on big compound movements, just like squats, like squat variations, deadlift, deadlift variations, chin-up, chin-up variations, push-up, push-up variations, and spending very little time on isolation exercises that are designed to make those individual muscles grow. And that’s one of the major differences here, when you’re doing exercises that are big multi-joint compound movements, you distribute the load across your entire body as opposed to just focusing on one muscle group and overloading that one muscle group.


0:51:25.6 Jordan Syatt: So if you wanna get really, really strong without getting significantly bigger, especially in a certain body part, just be smart with your… It’s smart strength training, like big compound multi-joint movements, and then maybe instead of finishing the workout with isolation exercises geared towards getting that one muscle bigger, put them through some type of a circuit. Put them through some type… A training circuit, whether it’s more of a cardio-based circuit, mobility circuit, core circuit, whatever it is, but put them through a mini-circuit rather than being like, “Okay, now we’re gonna do… ” I don’t know, “We’re gonna… ” One of the things that my mind goes to is like plate front raises, like plate front raises that like go over your head. It’s like those hit your traps so much, especially as you go overhead and you go into upward rotation, it’s like if someone says, “I don’t wanna get really big shoulders or traps,” and then you’re like, you’re overloading super heavy, a 25 pound plate to fill your front raise, I’m like, “You’re literally doing the thing that they told you they don’t wanna do,” so do something that’s more cardio-based or whatever, or mobility-based, once they got… You don’t… That’s the thing.


0:52:28.4 Jordan Syatt: You don’t need a lot to get stronger, especially early on in your training career, you don’t need a lot to get stronger, and then the topic, or the question comes up, it was like, “Well, how much strength do they need,” right? It’s like… Ben Bruno does a really good job with this, and I know he talks about it ’cause Ben Bruno trains a lot of models, whether it’s Victoria’s Secret models, or movie stars and actors who, for their job, they cannot get too big, for their job based on what they currently do. And he talks a lot about, he’s like, “Listen, I’m gonna get them stronger, I’m gonna make them do exercises that really push them and get stronger, whether it’s super heavy Prowler pushes or whatever it is,” but he’s like, “After a certain point, I’m gonna stop having them add weight to the bar, because adding an extra 50, 10, 15 pounds of weight to the bar, they’re not… ” It’s going to… For them, it’s not going to make a difference in their quality of life.


0:53:22.9 Jordan Syatt: It’s not gonna make their quality of life any better and it could actually potentially hurt their career based on where they are now, right? And keep in mind, his clients are super strong, they’re like hip thrusting, whether it’s 315 or 275, and they’re like 100 and 110-pound women, they’re super, super strong, but he’s like, “Why am I gonna make them work up to a 405 or 495-pound hip thrust when it could potentially take away from their career and it’s not adding to their quality of life.”


0:53:48.6 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, all great points, especially your idea and recommendation to not program isolation movements on the body parts that they don’t wanna grow, and those are some great alternatives, cardio circuit, mobility circuit, core circuit. Amazing. Instead of smashing someone with shoulder volume who doesn’t wanna grow their shoulders…


0:54:14.5 Jordan Syatt: We… You want to wanna do another one. Or what do you wanna do now?


0:54:17.2 Mike Vacanti: I’ve got Gary here shortly, so I think now’s probably a good time to wrap.


0:54:21.7 Jordan Syatt: That was good. That was a good one. I feel like these were some good questions.


0:54:25.2 Mike Vacanti: Great. Great questions. Great episode. That was fun. Thank you very much for listening. We are… I’m feeling really good about a weekly routine… So…


0:54:34.3 Jordan Syatt: Oh, yeah, is today Tuesday or Wednesday? Today’s Wednesday.


0:54:38.2 Mike Vacanti: Friday episodes. The streak is one. We’re at one. Let’s not break the streak.


0:54:44.9 Jordan Syatt: We got this, we got this. Thank you for listening. Everyone, have a wonderful rest of your week. Enjoy the weekend, because you’re listening to this on Friday, and we will talk to you next week.

0:54:54.8 Mike Vacanti: Bye, everyone.

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