If getting in shape were easy, everyone would be fit. There’s no way around the fact that going from flab to firm takes effort, and lots of it. But in his new book, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle, released today, Tom Venuto is poised to show readers just how simple the principles of a total-body transformation can be. Using the secrets of the world’s leanest people — bodybuilders — Venuto, a former bodybuilder himself, is demystifying fat loss to make getting ripped a reality.
Fat Loss for Everyone
Put simply, “the way most people are dieting for weight loss doesn’t work.”
Keep in mind, Burn the Fat isn’t about becoming a bodybuilder; Venuto is quick to squash that assertion. As he puts it, this book uses “bodybuilders’ secrets” to help a wide range of individuals reach their personal goals. A strength coach and champion bodybuilder in his own right, Venuto has helped thousands of clients become a leaner, fitter version of themselves, he says. Venuto also counts himself as living proof of the science and experience combo that has made Burn the Fat a success.
Using what he refers to as “bodybuilder science,” Venuto transformed himself from a teen with “moobs” (and later a beer-bellied college student) into a bonafide bodybuilder. But for Venuto, the greatest validation of his teachings comes from ordinary men and women with no interest in bodybuilding, who have used his program to transform their bodies.
Burn the Fat isn’t a quick fix and it’s certainly not a diet. According to Venuto, dieting as the sole method for losing weight is “the biggest myth” in the fitness industry. Pointing to studies on the failure of dieting alone, Venuto reminds us that it’s common for people who lose weight on conventional diet programs to eventually regain it. Put simply, “the way most people are dieting for weight loss doesn’t work.” That’s why Venuto uses a four-pronged approach to shredding fat and building muscle: Learn, Eat, Activate, New Body.
Learn. At some point we actually have to believe that we’re capable of taking control of and transforming our bodies. We have to prepare our mind for success. That’s where Venuto’s learning curve begins, with mental training like self-speak, affirmations and visualization to reprogram our “mental computer.” With this knowledge Venuto believes exercisers will be able to stay motivated, helping them stick to a workout routine overtime.
Eat. “There’s no out-training poor nutrition.” “Abs are made in the kitchen.” We’ve all heard these diet clichés before, but we still tend to overlook the importance of proper nutrition. To hammer this point home, Venuto devotes extra space to the topic of nutrition. As he puts it, what we eat is the “make-you-or-break-you factor.” Vento steers readers away from fad diets that lower the intake of fat and carbohydrates. He also warns against diets that eliminate entire food groups. The “bodybuilder” diet program allows users to eat the foods they love — like dairy and starchy carbohydrates — as long as they stick to “staple” foods the majority of the time.
Incorporating weight training is essential to rebuilding the body and improving body composition, Venuto says.
Activate. After nailing down nutrition, it’s time to activate the body. But Venuto’s go-to form of exercise isn’t as fancy as you’d think. If the goal is fat loss, cardio is king. When done right, cardio training can “double or even triple” the rate of fat loss while boosting metabolism and improving overall fitness, Venuto says. It’s also the best way to create a calorie deficit. Instead of simply subtracting calories, Venuto favors adding training into the mix. Once exercise is factored in, the calorie burn goes up and so does food intake. But now the body is still burning more calories than it consumes to maintain the deficit.
New Body. Don’t be fooled by all the dieting and deficit talk, though — the body won’t be shrinking under Venuto’s watch. Incorporating weight training is essential to rebuilding the body and improving body composition, Venuto says. Muscles can’t build themselves, so without strength training we’re more likely to be scrawny than strong. By first busting myths like “lifting weights will make you bulky” and then laying out the principles of a successful strength training routine, Venuto makes the concept of building a better body a little more accessible.
It’s Simple, Not Easy
After all, that was Venuto’s goal: to show everyone that reaching their health and fitness goals is uncomplicated. Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle succeeds in taking the guesswork out of exercise and eating well. There are no lofty guarantees, no expensive equipment, or supplements to buy. Instead, Venuto offers up a combination of proven science and personal experience to create a system for health and fitness success.
Of course, readers must not forget that Venuto is a bodybuilder, who came up eating and training like a bodybuilder, to compete in bodybuilding competitions. That’s a specific goal and takes a special mentality to achieve. Not everyone has those same aspirations. And although the book isn’t aimed at making a bodybuilder out of everyone, some people will never feel at home in a weight room. For those individuals, Feed the Muscle offers no clear path to fat loss. There are also few considerations for someone who is a runner, weekend warrior or athlete with specific fitness goals. Not all programs fit perfectly into the L.E.A.N. approach. Of course, that’s because no training plan or diet book is a turn-key, one-size-fits-all protocol.
All that said, Feed the Muscle can be a valuable resource for creating a lifestyle that includes exercise and eating well. It’s certainly worth reading and referencing en route to finding the fitness regimen that works for you.
To get access to a free excerpt of the book, head here.