In Which I Give a “Physique Update” | by Mike Matthews | Nov, 2021

Mike Matthews

I don’t do many “physique updates” because, well, there isn’t much to update.⁣

6’2, 193-to-195 pounds, 8-to-10% body fat . . . until I leave my body to the worms and toads.⁣⁣


Because I’ve gained more or less all of the muscle I can ever gain, and I don’t want to pretend otherwise to make people think they can ALWAYS get bigger and stronger.⁣⁣

Here’s the home truth:⁣⁣

1. Guys can gain about 45 pounds of muscle in their lifetime IF they have good genetics. If they don’t, their ceiling will be in the 30s. Women can cut those numbers in half. ⁣⁣

2. As muscle is the primary driver of strength, that too stalls out eventually. There’s more variation in potential strength than muscle gain, but a reasonable endpoint for men to strive toward is “3–4–5” 1RMs (3 plates [on each side] on the bench, 4 on the squat, and 5 on the deadlift), and for women, 1–2-ish-2-ish is doable for most.⁣⁣

3. Guys and gals will gain more or less all the muscle and strength available to them in their first five years of high-quality training. And after that, nothing much will change regardless of what they do short of getting on the #dedication.⁣⁣

Hence, the goo-roos who prattle on about how their physiques are decades in the making and always substantially improving are ignorant, lying, or secretly using steroids.⁣⁣

That is, what we’re seeing is either five-ish years of productive work and a bunch of maintenance, or drugs that have enabled them to gain far more muscle and strength than they ever could’ve naturally.⁣⁣

Some of ’em are trixy little Hobbitses too, using just enough anabolics to keep the needle moving (“TRT”) without making it obvious.⁣⁣

So, do yourself a solid and immediately unfollow anyone with many years of quality training behind them bragging about some new diet or exercise trick that’s supposedly adding yet another pound or three of muscle to their jacked physiques or plate or three to their impressive totals.⁣⁣


None of that means training has to become a dreary, pointless grind. It just means your goals and expectations need to evolve with your body.⁣⁣

You just have to learn to appreciate what you’ve got and find a deeper motivation than bigger biceps.

This can take many forms.

It can be feeling more confident and competent inside and outside of the gym⁣⁣, being more productive at work⁣⁣, setting a good example for your kids⁣⁣, tackling new physical challenges like sports, hiking, biking, or running⁣⁣, avoiding disease and dysfunction, or slowing down the processes of aging and retaining a youthful vitality.

For me, it’s several things.

It’s doing workouts I enjoy that’ll allow me to stay in peak shape and health for the rest of my life, without pain or injury.

It’s keeping the spark alive in my marriage and helping my kids develop a positive relationship with food and exercise — lessons they can pass on to their kids, too.

It’s a matter of personal pride and responsibility, of physically expressing my values and worldview, of producing and presenting my best self.

I view all that as a privilege and prize, not a compromise or comedown. Something to celebrate, not tolerate.


If you want to learn how to reach your “final form” eating foods you like and doing workouts you love, check out one of my bestselling books:

For men trying to gain their first 25 pounds of muscle:

For women trying to gain their first 15 pounds of muscle or lose the same amount of fat:

For advanced lifters trying to reach their genetic potential for muscle and strength:

Go for it!

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