Rating: Highly Recommended!
Want to lose fat? If so I strongly recommend buying Tom Venuto’s book “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle”! This very well written, gimmick-free book will give you the motivation and the knowledge to permanently take that excess bodyfat off. So I have to tell you, I was absolutely dreading doing a book review on one of these “lose fat” books because the genre has such a horrible reputation for sleazy tactics, inflated promises, and merely temporary results. I was so impressed with Tom Venuto’s “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle” that I actually feel embarrassed. I am embarrassed that his book is so much better than my website. Basically, the approach to weight loss that I recommend on my website is very similar to what Tom Venuto teaches in his book “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle”. The difference is that on my website I give the information in a handful of pages without going into depth, in Tom Ventuo’s book he covers things in a much more complete, organized, and detailed way. The other important difference is that Tom Venuto has some really interesting and exciting techniques for fat loss with the effectiveness of the low-carb diets without the bad side effects. If I had 6 months full time to work on a weight loss book, and I was good at writing (which I’m not), my book would have been almost a clone of Tom Venuto’s book “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle”. If you want to lose bodyfat and don’t find my website sufficient, I strongly recommend you buy this book!
Lets talk about how this book stacks up next to Will Brink’s weight loss book Fat Loss Revealed (read review). They are both excellent and have basically the same information, I think that the two authors may have even collaborated. The difference is that this book by Tom Venuto’s spends a lot more time helping you with motivation and inspiration. Fat Loss Revealed by Will Brink on the other hand is very no-nonsense and straightforward, he doesn’t coddle the reader. Mr Brink’s approach is “Here is what you need to do, here is why you need to do it, and here is the research that backs me up”. I’m an engineer and a goal driven person, personally I don’t want to be coddled so I prefer Will Brink’s Fat Loss Revealed. Many others find the inspirational and motivational approach in this book by Tom Venuto’s much more to their liking. Both are great books, choose the approach that works best with your personality type. One other big difference is that Fat Loss Revealed comes with an amazing online meal planner better than anything I have seen, Burn the Fat doesn’t.
OK now lets talk about what’s in the book, its 60% nutrition and 20% exercise. In losing fat, nutrition is #1 which is why he spends so much time on this important topic. It doesn’t matter how much you exercise, if your nutrition sucks you will still get fatter. My first hint that I was going to like this book was in the preface where Tom Venuto stated his purpose:
“… to help you lose fat permanently without drugs, supplements or gimmicks and to educate you in the process of losing fat.”
Bravo! So many books are about “diets”, this one is not. Permanently, is a keyword here! When you go off diets, the weight comes back, this book is not about a “diet”, its about a lifestyle change. The second thing I applauded was the recognition of the important role of education. If you just tell people to eat vegetables to lose weight, they will forget. Tell them whyits important and they will remember. Weight loss is all about education in my opinion. I also was excited to see that he was not going to plug supplements in this program! IMHO, supplements are to be avoided until the FDA regulates them.
How many times have you heard me harp about the importance of goals? Well, rightfully so Tom Venuto’s first chapter is about the critically important subject of goals – bravo! Again, I found myself being a little embarrassed because although I definitely mention the importance of setting specific, measurable, realistic goals on my website, I don’t do nearly as good a job of putting it all together in Tom Venuto’s book “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle”. I agree with Tom Venuto completely when he says that this is the most important chapter in the book because if you don’t know what your goal is, you will never achieve it. Double-bravo.
As an important introduction to nutrition, he covers why conventional diets fail. I knew everything in this chapter but again was embarrassed that only a fraction of this is on my website. He goes into detail about the starvation response and it’s perils and the perils of very low calorie diets. He also goes into detail about the optimal rate of weight loss. Throw away those stupid height/weight charts and useless BMI calculations – bravo again, I couldn’t agree more! What’s truly important is bodyfat percentage and he explains in detail why. He also explains in detail why a cheap bodyfat caliper is the best and most accurate way to go. Measuring bodyfat is critical because you have to know if your fat-loss approach is working or not so you can make adjustments. I also love his excellent section on how to break a fat loss plateau, I wish I had a dollar for every time I have been asked that question! All thru the book, I kept finding myself nodding my head saying “Yep, Yep!” and this section on busting thru weight loss plateaus is no exception.
There is just one thing that I disagree with Tom Venuto on, Its about the importance of bodytypes. All of chapter 5 deals with bodytypes (ectomorph, endomorph, mesomorph) and why he thinks its important, he did not convince me at all. I am still of the opinion that pidgin-holing everyone into some arbitrary category is completely useless, distracting and irrelevant. I know I’m in the minority here with this opinion by the way but I would say just skip this chapter, its not important to this book or losing fat in my opinion. To lose bodyfat you do the same things regardless of bodytype, what does vary is the quantities – of cardio, of calories, etc. Tom Venuto does a great job of describing the feedback mechanism used to hone in on the proper amount of calories, cardio, etc in chapter 3. This is a minor point to harp on, its just that Tom and I agree on almost everything so anyplace I can point out something weak I need to pounce on so that it doesn’t look like I yet another of those “yes-men” book reviews.
My youtube subscribers know that I harp on them all the time to eat 6 small well balanced meals a day to optimize muscle gain. What I did not really realize till reading Tom Venuto’s book “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle” was that frequent, small meals are just as important for fat loss! He lays out the case for frequent, small meals so well that you will never skip breakfast again. He has a brilliant way you can immediately break yourself of the skipping-meal habit, wish I had thought of it. Again I find myself embarrassed at the skimpy way I cover this same information on my website, the same information is there but its not clearly explained like it is in Tom Venuto’s book “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle”! Eating 6 meals a day is really tough for most people and he has excellent suggestions how you can achieve it.
Time for a confession here, after reading this book I realize that I have been uncharacteristically sloppy with my protein/carb/fat ratios and have used outdated and unsupported notions of what was best. I know a lot about bodybuilding and nutrition but his chapter on macro nutrient ratios taught me a thing or two. No matter how much I think I have learned about fitness, there is always so much more to learn. I always knew that for me it worked best to eat my protein and carbs together but in Tom Venuto’s book “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle”, he explains the eight reasons why its important. I love his common sense approach to these ratios and I agree with him completely that you really need to experiment and see what ratios works best for you! I read a lot about good fats and their importance but it wasn’t till I read this book that started to question my personal macro nutrient ratios, currently I have 10% fat and after reading Tom Venuto’s book I’m convinced that I should try doubling it to 20%. He also slams the ridiculous high fat,/zero-carb fads, and explains why – bravo! I really like his simple 3-2-1 method for nutrient ratios (as a starting point)! After reading his book, I am personally re-evaluating the protein percentage I consume. I see definite advantages to bumping my protein intake from the 30% that I currently consume to 40 or 50% and he does a good job dispelling the myth about too much protein being harmful.
He spends a whole important chapter analyzing low carb diets, this is really important because so many of the fad diets out there are of this variety. In this chapter you learn their pros and cons and then learn how to get the weight loss benefits of the low-carb type diets without the drawbacks. The first technique “carb-tapering” is just brilliant and although I have always been a strong opponent of the low-carb craze, this technique makes a lot of sense to me and I’m going to use it this summer. Its a natural extension of what I already know works well for me. The next technique for avoiding the disadvantages of the low-carb diets while retaining the benefits is carb cycling. This might be one of the most revolutionary ideas in the book, honestly, this one I had never heard of but it seems to make sense and hundreds of his clients have gotten great results from it so I’m willing to personally give it a try.
The last 20% of the book covers exercise and its importance in losing bodyfat, both cardiovascular exercise and weight training. The book has a section on weight training routines but honestly, I didn’t even read that part because I was so excited about the nutritional concepts in the book.
Again, I highly recommend Burn the Fat by Tom Venuto!
Review Date: 5/12/2010
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