Tom Venuto Shares His Story, Tells Us What's New And Talks About The Internet's Most Famous And Effective Fat Loss System
INTRO: After nearly a decade since the release of the international best-seller, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle, One of Tom Venuto's associates tracked Tom down for the first interview he's done in quite a while talking specifically about his Burn The Fat system and what has made it so successful for all these years. Amazingly, Burn The Fat has fans and followers in over 152 countries and its popularity is STILL growing, especially with the Burn the Fat Inner circle growing massively in its membership ranks and with the much-anticipated Burn The Fat 2.0 slated for release later this year. Check out what's new with Tom and Burn The Fat in this brand new interview.
Alex: Hi Tom, could you first please tell us a bit about yourself?
Tom: Sure. Iíve been training since I was 14 years old without ever taking more than two weeks off - and I only did that once, and on purpose, just for a rest!.
Iíve been competing in natural (drug-free) bodybuilding since I was 20 years old. Iíve competed 28 times so far and have won many state and regional championships including the Natural New Jersey, Natural Pennsylvania, Natural New York States, Natural Mid Atlantic States and NPC Natural Eastern Classic championships.
Iíve been in the fitness industry my entire adult life. I got my degree in exercise science and worked as a trainer and health club manager for many years. Then I took up an interest in research and writing. Today Im a full time author, freelance writer, internet publisher, and fat loss coach.
Alex: Could you tell me about how your Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle Program was developed?
Tom: When I was a full time personal trainer years ago, I would always give my clients some written materials about nutrition to take home and study because I knew that if they ate too much junk food or too much of anything when they left the gym, then all the hard work we were doing would be for nothing.
Over the years, I kept developing and expanding those written materials until eventually they turned into a nutrition manual that was exclusively for my clients.
When my schedule was so full I couldnít take any more clients, I figured one way I could help more people would be to turn that manual into the form of a book, so that became the Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle book in 2002. I then turned it into an ebook format and that has been an Internet best seller since 2003.
Alex: So how is your program different to all the others out on the market at the moment?
Tom: I struggled with body fat when I was a teenager. I was never overweight, but was kind of chubby around the waist as a freshman in high school and I was embarrassed to take my shirt off for swimming class. I had the worst affiliction a warm blooded male teenager can have... MOOBS... aka "man boobs" aka a fat, saggy chest.
So I started training when I was 14 and by the time I was a senior in high school I had put on about 25 or 30 pounds of muscle, but I still didn't have any abs. This "getting ripped" thing kept eluding me. Then I went to college and discovered beer... and pizza, cheese fries, stromboli's and hoagies. And I got fat again.
I never got ripped to the point where I could see six pack abs until I was a junior in college, when I had gotten fed up with how I looked and I made the commitment to compete in bodybuilding for the first time, thanks to the encouragement from my gym buddies. I was 20 years old.
That bodybuilding contest diet was the most effective diet program I had ever tried. In fact it was the first and only thing that had worked for me in the 6 years since I took up weight lifting at age 14
I knew I was on to something, and it really makes sense if you think about it Ė bodybuilders are the leanest muscular athletes in the world. So if you find out what they did to get so lean and you do it too, you will get similar results.
That's what my whole Burn The fat program is based on - the nutrition techniques of bodybuilders, which incidentally are the same as for female fitness models and figure competitors - and that's what makes it different than everything else.
Some people say that bodybuilders look the way they do because of steroids and other drugs, and unfortunately in many cases that is true. But I chose the all-natural, drug free path, and while I'm not as big as the pro bodybuilders in open competitions, most people would say theyíd prefer my physique because I donít have the excessive bulk. I have just enough muscle size to compete successfully at my height - 5 foot eight inches - and I get absolutely ripped when I diet down for competition.
So it doesnít take drugs, and it doesnít take any kind of pills or supplements; and that's what else makes Burn The Fat unique. It seems like almost every other diet program has you gulping handfulls of pills and slogging down all kinds of goop. But if you simply eat the foods that NATURAL bodybuilders do, you will get lean too, without drugs or supplements, and that is the premise of my program.
Alex: What are the most important fat loss strategies you would use with a client?
Tom: You have to get the calories right first. The quality of your food is very, very important, of course, but some people seem to believe that as long as you eat certain special foods, you will lose fat and get a six pack. Well thatís not true. You can get fat by eating too much clean, healthy food as well. So I start with precision calorie calculations and once we have a baseline, then we go through a feedback loop process to fine tune the quantity of food.
Burn the fat, feed the muscle is a very detail oriented program, so we create menus using spreadsheets, or some people use software, and we calculate the calories, and then also the macronutrient ratios and we carefully select the foods to match the ideal numbers weíve determined are best for you Ė its always individualized. Eventually, it gets intuitive but I donít recommend guessing for beginners. Get a menu plan on paper.
Usually, fat loss is not difficult at all using this approach in the beginning, but to get to very low body fat levels, or to keep fat loss going after a prolonged period of dieting, you need advanced strategies. Your body really doesnít like to be super lean Ė thereís no evolutionary survival advantage to being muscular and ripped Ė quite the opposite actually.
Alex: And how is your ebook based around these strategies?
Tom: In chapter two, I prepare my readers for what could happen if they use extreme dieting for a prolonged period of time. The body goes into somewhat of a starvation mode, where neuro-endocrine signals are being sent throughout your body to try and trick you to eat more and to store more fat, while releasing less fat. If you know what is likely to trigger these adverse effects, you can use strategies to avoid them and chapter 2 is devoted to those anti-starvation mode strategies.
In chapter 12, I go into the advanced dieting methods that are commonly used by bodybuilders and fitness models and this revolves around my carbohydrate and calorie cycling strategies. Its basically a modified low carb diet, but not an extremely low carb type of diet and you donít stay on low carbs all the time, you strategically inject carbohydrates and more calories at the right time when you need them.
Alex: Would you do anything differently for a male and female client for fat loss?
Tom: Fat loss is definitely more challenging for women, for a variety of reasons. A big difference between men and women is in the daily energy requirements. Women almost always need significantly fewer calories than men, so if a female tries to follow the nutrition program of a man, or if she tries to follow a diet program that gives the same amount of calories to all men and women, she usually will not lose weight and will sometimes gain.
The rest of the differences between men and women have more to do with personal goals than with gender per se. If women should train differently than men for example, itís mostly because they have different goals for their physiques than men in general. If a man and woman had identical goals, I would train them mostly the same.
There are some other female-specific concerns, but the training program is mostly a function of a personís primary goals, not gender. I think female-based workouts are more for marketing purposes than anything, not that thereís necessarily anything wrong with that. If we can get more women into weight training, thatís a good thing.
Alex: Could you give us a few things you see people doing, that really messes up their results!
Tom: Starvation dieting, impatience and wanting to lose the weight too fast. Those are all part of the same negative paradigm. You certainly can lose weight fast, but the faster you lose it, the greater the risk of losing significant amounts of lean body mass, and the greater the risk of regaining the weight later. I prefer a focus on body composition, not just scale weight and taking more of a long term approach instead of a quick fix approach. The long term results are better that way.
Alex: If there was one Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle secret you could share with everyone what would it be?
Tom: Well, I don't know if you consider this a secret, but MY secret is stop looking for quick fixes and accept that this takes hard work, dedication and a change of lifestyle. Even if I shared every little nuance of the advanced techniques from Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle, that doesnít mean its going to be easy. Simple, yes, but easy no. The "secret" is HARD WORK!
Alex: Any last thoughts on helping people burn stubborn fat?
Tom: The last bit of stubborn fat is always the hardest to lose and that is very much a physiological phenomenon. As I mentioned before, being extremely lean is a threat to your survival, from an evolutionary perspective. As you get leaner, your bodyís defense mechanisms kick in more strongly. You are actually more likely to burn up muscle tissue for energy than fat in the final phase of an advanced cutting diet as in a contest or photo shoot or transformation contest prep program.
Probably the best approach for that last bit of fat is a low to medium carb diet with high protein. Some people chalk up low carb diets as a fad and for sure, many false claims are made for low carb diets and you have to be very careful not to demonize carbohydrates as a group.
However, I donít think theres any question that there are some advantages to upping the protein and dropping the carbs when it comes to that final bit of fat. These include increased satiety (protein makes you feel fuller), increased diet induced thermogenesis, insulin control and better retention of lean body mass which helps sustain basal metabolic rate. I'm definitely a fan of a higher protein intake for contest-level dieting.
Alex: Wait, one last question. You haven't competed in a while, right? When's the next show? You're not retiring are you?
Tom: Heck NO! I didn't compete as much in my 30's as I did in my 20's. I competed almost every year usually at least twice a year, in my 20's, but I spent a lot of time focusing on my business, writing books and helping all my clients over the last decade. But I'm far from retired. In fact, I feel like I have unfinished business in competitive bodybuilding. I won the state shows - 3 of them - I won the regional shows, but haven't nabbed a natural national title or a natural pro card yet.
When is the next show? Not sure yet, but I shall keep everyone posted via my blog and newsletters. Who knows... it might be SOON.
About Bodybuilding & Fat Loss Coach, Tom Venuto
Tom Venuto is a fat loss expert, natural (steroid-free) bodybuilder, nutrition researcher and author. His #1 best-selling diet e-book, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle, teaches you how to get lean without drugs or supplements using secrets of the world's best bodybuilders and fitness models. Tom has written hundreds of articles and been featured in IRONMAN, Natural Bodybuilding, Muscular Development, Men's Exercise, Men's Fitness, First for Women, The Wall Street Journal and Oprah Magazine. For more information about Tom's Burn The Fat e-book, visit the home page at: www.BurnTheFat.com, for information about Tom's "Burn The Fat Inner Circle", visit: www.BurnTheFat.com/Inner-Circle.
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