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Summary of Thinner Leaner Stronger by Michael Matthews

This is an encouraging book for women who want to build a body that is lean, sculpted, and strong. let’s jump into the summary of Thinner Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Female Body

What is the book about?

The book helps women build their ultimate body.  It has a workout program focused on developing aesthetics for women. In other words: lose weight, build muscle, look better naked, etc.

The book will instill discipline, and give direction and motivation to all those who want to take control of their lives and feel healthy and confident.

The personal stories shared in the book are inspirational and the tips are easy to apply. The results can be seen because the program is sustainable and can be made part of a lifestyle.

The author’s mission is to give everyone the opportunity to lose fat, build muscle, get and stay healthy. The book also covers the exercise & nutrition theory that the program is based on, which is important for getting the full benefit of the program

About the author

Mike Matthews is the bestselling fitness author of Bigger Leaner Stronger, and The Shredded Chef, as well as the founder of Legion Athletics. 

His simple and science-based approach to building muscle, losing fat, and getting healthy has sold over a million books and helped thousands of people build their best bodies ever, and his work has been featured in many popular outlets including Esquire, Men’s Health, Elle, Women’s Health, Muscle & Strength, and more, as well as on FOX and ABC.

My mission is to give everyone that opportunity by providing time-proven, evidence-based advice on how to build muscle, lose fat, and get and stay healthy.


Book Summary of Thinner Leaner Stronger

The book begins with a straightforward promise:

“No matter how bad you might think your genetics are, and no matter how lost you might feel after trying and abandoning many types of diets and workouts, you absolutely, positively can have the lean, sexy body that you dream about.”

Michael Matthews also describes why thinner leaner stronger is different. His book is a collection of common mistakes and busted myths supplanted by relevant sets of laws and rules which, if strictly followed, can lose you “10 to 15 pounds of fat in a breeze” and can get you “that ‘Hollywood babe’ body” in no more than three months.

Matthews tells us what most people don’t know about health, nutrition, and fitness. He has divided this term to Physiology, Nutrition and General Health.

The biggest muscle building myths and mistakes

“nine out of ten people you see in the gym lifting weights don’t train correctly.”

They are usually doing nothing more but following worthless programs found on the internet or in magazines, or maybe a not-very functional exercise routine prescribed by their trainers.

Well, Matthews would like to speed up the process for you by first busting the 8 biggest muscle building myths and mistakes.

#1: The Lies of Toning and Shaping

No matter what you do or how well you do it, you will never change the shape of your muscles. It is determined by genetics.

Hence, the claims that some exercises create “long, lean” muscles, while others result in “bulky, ugly” muscles is a myth, unsupported by any known science.

#2: Lifting Weights Will Make You Bulky

This myth is already addressed in #1, but Matthews is so irritated by it that he feels the need to repeat it.

“Unless you’re a genetic freak,” he writes, “you not only won’t get bulky from weight training, you couldn’t even if you wanted to. Your body simply can’t do it. It lacks the hormones and genetic programming.”

#3: The More You Exercise, the Better

Exercising too long on a daily basis leads to overtraining which, in turn, makes you lethargic and gives your body too little time to repair your muscles. Consequently, this can sometimes cause you to lose muscles and hold onto fat.

#4: You Have to “Feel the Burn” to Get Bigger and Stronger Muscles

When your muscles are burning, what you’re actually feeling is lactic acid building up in your muscles, and that may be not as bad as it sounds, but it is not good either.

#5: Wasting Time with the Wrong Exercises

If you’re going to the gym to improve your muscle tone and get stronger, then you need to know that this requires three simple things:

 “lift progressively heavier weights, eat correctly, and give your body sufficient rest.”

The most effective muscle-building exercises are known as “compound exercises” (because they involve multiple muscle groups) and include the Squat, Deadlift, and Bench Press.

#6: Training Like an Idiot

Unfortunately, most people don’t have a clue as to the proper form of exercises, and this doesn’t merely hold back their progress, but it also opens the door to debilitating injuries since it causes unnecessary wear and tear on ligaments, tendons, and joints.

#7: Training Like a Wussy

Training without pushing yourself forward. That will, of course, never work.

Even though evolution works against you when it comes to your perfect body—everyone avoids discomfort in favor of pleasure and ease—if you’ve decided to go to the gym, then you need to put in the effort.

#8: Eating to Stay Weak or Get Fat

Exercising is merely one part of the equation; the other is nutrition. And even the women who know this are way, way off when it comes to eating properly.

“If you don’t eat enough calories and get enough protein, carbs, and fats throughout the day … your muscles simply don’t grow bigger or stronger. It doesn’t matter how hard you train; if you don’t eat enough, you won’t gain any muscle to speak of.”

The opposite is also true:

 “if you eat too many calories, eat bad carbs and fats, and don’t know how to proportion and plan your meals properly, you can gain muscle, but it will be hidden underneath an ugly sheath of unnecessary fat.”

The biggest fat loss myths & mistakes

Just as there are muscle building myths and mistakes, there are myths and mistakes related to burning fat as well.

#1. Counting Calories Is Unnecessary

Of course, it’s pretty essential to count your calories if you want to get fit! If you want to lose fat, your body must burn more energy than it receives through your food, and the energy potential of food is measured in calories. Consequently, eating more calories than you can burn through the day results in more fat. It’s that simple.

#2. Do Cardio = Lose Weight

Not if you’re eating too many calories! Cardio enhances fat loss, but only to a certain point. If you eat 600 calories more than you need, jogging will burn only half of that, and you’ll still gain fat at the end.

#3. Chasing the Fads

The Atkins diet. The paleo diet. The wild diet. The bulletproof diet… Well, how many diets are there? You wonder. The truth is, there are only a few rules (see next lesson), and everything else is just a fad which makes some people serious money.

#4. Doing Low Weight and High Reps Builds “Lean Muscle”

Being lean is not a matter of exercising: it is a matter of having low body fat. And it’s something you certainly won’t achieve with a routine based on low weight and high reps.

#5. Spot Reduction

Fat can be reduced only via proper dieting, and not via isolated exercises targeted at spot reduction. And when it is reduced, your body will decide in what way.

“Our bodies are all genetically programmed differently, and there’s nothing we can do to change that”

Setting Fitness Goals to Motivate Yourself

 “Before you lift a weight, hop on a treadmill, or cut a calorie, you must have specific, tangible goals set in your mind as to why you’re doing it.”

#1. Determine what your ideal body should look like; don’t just throw around adjectives: find a picture; after all, you don’t go to the barbershop without one, do you?

#2. Determine your ideal state of health.

 #3. Give yourself a reason to achieve these goals. Whether it’s being better at some of your hobbies or getting more attention from your partner—it doesn’t matter. Just give yourself one that will motivate you along the road. Because, after all, it is a long one.

The simple science of willpower and self-control.

Research shows that even five minutes of low-intensity exercise outdoors is enough to improve your mental state.

Also, studies show that being kind to oneself in times of stress and failure is associated with better willpower and self-control.

Nothing seems to improve self-control in all aspects of our lives like exercise. Its effects are immediate, and it doesn’t even take a lot to reap its willpower benefits.

“If you want a willpower “quick fix,” exercise is it.”

Build the body you want, eating the foods you love

Regardless of the sources foodwise, 1 gram of protein contains 4 calories, 1 gram of carbohydrates contains 4 calories as well, and 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories. 

When you eat food, you give your body a relatively large amount of energy (calories) in a short period. Glucose levels rise far above what is needed to maintain life, and instead of “throwing away” or burning off all excess energy, a portion is stored as body fat for later use.

Scientifically speaking, when your body is absorbing nutrients eaten and storing fat, it’s in the “postprandial” state (post meaning “after” and prandial meaning “having to do with a meal”). This “fed” state is when the body is in “fat storage mode.”

Once the body has finished absorbing the glucose and other nutrients from the food (amino acids and fatty acids), it then enters the “postabsorptive” state (“after absorption”), wherein it must turn to its fat stores for energy. This “fasted” state is when the body is in “fat burning mode.” Your body flips between “fed” and “fasted” states every day, storing fat from the food you eat and then burning it once there’s nothing left to use from the meals.

How to maximize your gains with pre- and post-workout nutrition

Muscles grow “outside of the gym” – with proper rest and nutrition. The recommended sources are rice milk (tastes great with whey protein) and bananas, but other popular nutritious choices are instant oatmeal, dates and figs, melon, white potato, white rice, raisins, and sweet potato. I

“In terms of numbers and timing, I recommend eating 40 to 50 grams of carbohydrates 30 minutes before you train to feel a noticeable improvement in your performance.”

So eat a healthy medium-high GI pre-workout meal 30 min before (banana, rice milk). Also Eat a healthy medium-high GI post-workout meal, within 30 min.

If you don’t track your food, you don’t know if you are eating enough or eating the appropriate number of protein/carbs and fats. And if you don’t track your strength training, you don’t know if you are getting stronger.

Thinner Leaner Stronger workout

Do Strength Training 5 days/week (working different muscle groups allows for this continuity)

Do HIIT cardio for 20-30 min, 2-5x/wk – if possible separate cardio from strength training by several hours, if you can’t, then do the cardio AFTER the strength training.

Have one day per week of complete rest, no Cardio or Lifting.

Do 3 warm-up sets: set1 50% of Heavy weight x 12 reps, set2 same weight x10 reps a little bit faster, set3 70% Heavy weight x6 reps.

Do 12 Working Sets for the day’s muscle group, 8-10 reps per set (for example, Muscle Group Legs: 3 Working sets of squats, 3 WS of Leg press, 3 WS Barbell Lunges, 3 WS of RDL)… these Working Sets should be heavy enough that the last 2 reps should be difficult. Your goal is to get stronger – either more weight or more reps each week.

Allow 5-7 days before working at the same muscle group again.

Every 8-10 weeks, take a whole week off of training to allow your body to fully recover.


What did you learn from the book summary of Thinner Leaner Stronger? What was your favorite takeaway? Is there an important insight that we missed? Comment below or tweet to us @storyshots.

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Book Summary of Bigger Leaner Stronger by Michael Matthews (Open in the app)

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Book Summary of How Not to Die by Michael Greger M.D., Gene Stone (Open in the app)

Book Summary of The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss (Open in the app)

Book Summary of The Keto Reset Diet by Mark Sisson, Brad Kearns (Open in the app)

Book Summary of The Keto Diet by Leanne Vogel (Open in the app)

Thinner Leaner Stronger summary

Text shots are adapted from the Spark People blog post and Best Book Bits podcast.

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