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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tom Venuto Interview

tom venuto burn the fatTom Venuto author of Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle has turned 40, and was recently interviewed about the success of his book (being readied for a version 2.0 to be released later this year). I reviewed Burn the Fat a few years ago and got great results with it myself.

If getting into single digit body fat is your goal, and you’re serious about your training and nutrition lifestyle, then Tom’s book may very well give you the guidance you need to fulfill your dream.

Find out what’s new with Tom Venuto and read what he has to say about the Internets most famous and effective weight loss system.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

5 Excuses That Won't Fly in 2009

new years resolution excuses
By Tom Venuto
www.BurnTheFatbook.com

It’s 2009. Your old excuses for not getting in shape won’t work. As Dr. Evil (Austin Powers) said, ZIP IT! I don’t want to hear them anymore! Read em’, then haul your excuseless butt to the gym!

1. I have no time.

According to a story in a recent issue of Men’s Health magazine, Barack Obama works out for 45 minutes a day, 6 days a week. Obama doesn’t just play basketball either. Our new president stays fit to lead with cardio and weight lifting. He also says he wishes he could train 90 minutes a day. Have you ever seen what the daily schedule of a U.S. president looks like? If the busiest man in the world can train every day for 45 minutes a day, then what’s your excuse? ZIP IT! You ain’t got one!

2. It’s too expensive.

Getting in shape certainly is expensive… if you keep wasting hundreds of dollars, month after month on worthless “miracle” weight loss pills, internal cleansing gimmicks and “magic” potions that all claim to make you slim. Deceptive advertising and slick marketing for bogus diet aids is more rampant than ever. 2008 was the year of thewu-long tea scam, the acai berry scam, and, of course, the ubiquitous “cleansing” and “detox” gimmicks . Unless you put on your critical thinking cap and learn to investigate before you invest, then you’ll get scammed by 2009’s flavor of the year as well. Your quest for those elusive “6-pack” abs will not only continue to be expensive, you’ll go broke. Walking, jogging, calisthenics and body weight exercises are FREE. If you want to know what’s really expensive, tally up the cost of legitimate expenses like natural food, gym memberships, fitness education, dumbbells and so on, and compare that to your doctor’s bill when you’re sick.

3. No one will support me.

Experts on social influence say your income will be approximately equal to the average of your 5 closest friends. Not only do I think that’s pretty darn accurate, I also believe that your health is your greatest wealth, and your physical condition will be about equal to the average of your 5 closest friends. It’s a real challenge to stay positive, focused and active when you’re surrounded by critical people and negative influences. However, in 2009, lack of support is no longer a valid excuse. Online social networking is exploding (check outTwitter and Facebook ) and more IN PERSON friendships and associations are being made from an internet connection than ever before. Training buddies can be found online. Connect with them. Mentors and coaches are easily found online. Hire them. Support forums have been around for years. Use them. No support from your current friends? Stop whining, start reaching out and go make new ones. In 2009, support partners and new friends are just a click away.

4. I can’t lose weight because of my genetics.

The marvels of modern medical and biological research are astonishing. Our top scientists have mapped the human genome! In the past few years, numerous genes linked to obesity have been discovered. However, the obesity epidemic we’re facing today has only developed over the past 50 years and genetic mutations that lead to serious obesity are extremely rare. Genetic predisposition only means that you have a tendency. It’s when the genetics meet lifestyle and environment that the genes express themselves. If you have a family history of heart disease, is it smart to smoke, eat junk, be a stressed-out, type-A maniac and a couch potato? Well of course not, and it’s the same with obesity. If you have a tendency predisposing you towards obesity, you’d better be the person doing the MOST exercise, not the least. You’d better be the person paying the MOST attention to your nutrition. You’d better be the person with the healthiest lifestyle. But unfortunately, it’s usually the opposite. Most people throw up their arms in frustration saying, “what’s the use, I was dealt a bad hand.” Sorry. That won’t fly in 2009. The latest research says genetics are a factor, but a tendency is not a destiny!

5. I don’t know how.

The lamest excuse of them all in 2009 is “I don’t know how.” NO ONE KNOWS HOW TO DO ANYTHING UNTIL AFTER THEY HAVE ACTUALLY DONE IT! Ponder that for a while. You don’t need to know how at first. To get started, you only need to know WHAT… what is the goal? Setting well-formed goals is the master skill of success. Not wishy-washy resolutions that have no resolve behind them, but real goals. In writing. With emotional ooompf! As you continue to affirm, visualize and focus on your goal with clarity, belief, and expectation, your new goal or intention will be received by your subconscious. Once a goal is accepted into your subconscious mind, your brain, being a goal-seeking mechanism, will turn on your attention filters to seek out all the information you will ever need to reach your goal. It will also turn on an infallible navigation system to guide you to your goal like a torpedo to its target. As your brain guides your attention, your direction and your behavior, you will discover that today, in 2009, there is more good information, coaching and instruction available than ever before. And when you’ve activated that “success radar” in your brain by setting goals effectively, it’s not as hard to find honest, accurate and helpful HOW-TO advice as you might think. In fact, you found this webpage, so you’re doing pretty good right now, aren’t you?

No more excuses. In 2009, remember my Body Fat Solution Creed: You can either make excuses or get results, but you can’t do both!

Your friend and coach,

Tom Venuto
Fat Loss Coach
www.BurnTheFatbook.com

tom venuto burn the fat book



About the Author:
Tom Venuto is a fat loss expert, lifetime natural (steroid-free) bodybuilder, independent nutrition researcher, freelance writer, and author of the #1 best selling diet e-book, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle: Fat-Burning Secrets of The World’s Best Bodybuilders & Fitness Models (e-book) which teaches you how to get lean without drugs or supplements using secrets of the world's best bodybuilders and fitness models. Learn how to get rid of stubborn fat and increase your metabolism by visiting: www.burnthefatbook.com

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

sleep deprivation and weight gain: How does it happen?

sleep deprivation and weight gainBy Tom Venuto, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
www.BurnTheFatbook.com

You've probably seen the magazine articles or news blurbs that say, "lack of sleep can make you fat!"

There is a lot of confusion however, about the mechanism.

It's not uncommon for people to believe there is a cause and effect relationship between sleep deprivation and weight gain.

However, if that were the case, then you would always gain weight if you slept less even if your food intake stayed the same.

To the contrary, if you sleep less AND eat less, rest assured you will lose weight.

If you are awake more hours and you are more active during those increased waking hours, again, rest assured you will lose weight.

Almost all the research on this subject has been cross sectional and therefore does not prove causality.

We Eat More When We're Sleep Deprived


Research suggests that the likely explanation is a disruption in hormones which can affect appetite and food intake so you are more likely to eat more when you are sleep deprived.

For example, a new study published in the December 2007 issue of "Nutrition Research Reviews" says that sleep deprivation can reduce leptin (the anti starvation hormone, also known as an anorexigenic hormone) and increase ghrelin, a stomach hormone that increases hunger.

This makes total sense. Think about it:

  1. less sleep equals more awake time

  2. More awake time equals greater energy needs

  3. Greater energy needs can be satisfied by increasing hunger hormones

  4. Leptin and ghrelin are appetite-stimulating hormones

The human body is incredible and amazingly self-regulating, isnt it?

In addition, when hormones are out of balance, that can affect nutrient paritioning.

Nutrient paritioning refers to where the energy comes from when you have a calorie deficit - fat or lean tissue - and where the energy goes when you are in a calorie surplus - fat or lean tissue.

So, when partitioning hormones are messed up due to sleep deprivation, it's entirely possibly that you are more likely to add fat (not muscle) when in a surplus and lose muscle (not fat) when in a deficit.

This is similar to what happens during stress. Stress also does not "cause" fat gain, but it certainly correlates to fat gain, for similar reasons. Imagine what happens when you are stressed AND sleep deprived?

Some people seem to get by with less sleep than others. I know many people, myself included, who excel physically on 6-7 hours a night, so there is certainly a variation in sleep needs from person to person.

Developing Good Sleeping Habits


Developing sleep habits that promote deep, high quality sleep may also reduce sleep needs an hour or two. This includes:


  • going to bed and waking up at the same time every night

  • getting to sleep early and awake early to maximize night time sleeping hours and daylight waking hours

  • sleeping in a dark room

  • avoiding alcohol and stimulants prior to bedtime

  • reducing stress and exercising regularly

However, in light of past research and the new data that was just published, if in doubt, it's surely better to err on the side of a little more sleep than a little less sleep, if more muscle and less fat is your goal.

About the Author:

night time eatingTom Venuto is a lifetime natural bodybuilder, an NSCA-certified personal trainer (CPT), certified strength & conditioning specialist (CSCS), and author of the #1 best-selling e-book, ".” Tom has written more than 200 articles and has been featured in print magazines such as IRONMAN, Australian IRONMAN, Natural Bodybuilding, Muscular Development, Exercise for Men and Men’s Exercise, as well as on hundreds of websites worldwide. For information on Tom's Fat Loss program, visit: www.burnthefatbook.com

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Can You Drink And Still Lose Fat?

Ask any fitness expert about the effect of alcohol on weight loss and you’ll quickly have them quip back to you that yes, if you drink alcohol you will gain fat. A lot of men are proud of their beer belly, shaking them at football games, painting them with the letters of their favorite ball teams and flaunting them in the faces of many a spectator.
beery belly

That said, the other side of the coin is true as well.

Many men are trying to lose their beer belly, have quit drinking and train hard with weights and include cardiovascular activities like walking, running, biking or swimming into their training program, resigning themselves to a life of sobriety in order to have their dream body.

The latest science seems to show that it’s not the case. You may just be able to drink in moderation and still achieve your dream body. The alcohol and weight loss question has been put to rest by Tom Venuto in this article . Tom lays out the science behind this study and includes 7 tips on how to drink while living a fitness lifestyle.

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Fit For Life vs Tom Venutos Burn The Fat Program

Q: I know you said what started you on the road to fitness was food combining. But, it seems you recommend , like Tom Venuto, a protein and carb at each meal, except at night where you slash the carbs.

Do you still food combine?

I am a petite 5 foot one 120 pounds, which I have finally come down to but have maintained that weight for two years. I want to get down to 115, yeah just a stupid 5 pounds, but the scale does not like to budge, so I am wondering if the food combining thing would be good?

Lauren,
____________________

A: To fully understand my answer to this question, I feel that I must describe the events that led me from food combining all the way to Tom Venuto and his Burn The Fat program.

Read the rest of the answer to this question at Food Combining vs Burn the Fat

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Night Time Eating And Weight Loss

Night Time Eating and Weight LossBy Tom Venuto, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
www.BurnTheFatbook.com

"Eat breakfast like a king, eat lunch like a prince and eat dinner like a pauper." This maxim can be attributed to nutrition writer Adelle Davis, and since her passing in 1974, the advice to eat less at night to help with fat loss has lived on and continued to circulate in many different incarnations. This includes suggestions such as:

"Dont eat a lot before bedtime"
"Don't eat midnight snacks"
"Don't eat anything after 7pm"
"Don't eat any carbs at night"
"Don't eat any carbs after 3 pm"
and so on.

I too believe that eating lightly at night is usually very solid advice for people seeking increased fat loss, especially for people who are inactive at night. However, some fitness experts today, when they hear "eat less at night", start screaming, Diet Voodoo!"

Opinions on this subject are definitely mixed. Many highly respected experts strongly recommend eating less at night to improve fat loss, while others suggest that it's only calories in vs calories out over 24 hours that matters.

The critics claim that it's ridiculous to cut off food intake at a certain hour or to presume that "carbs turn to fat" at night as if there were some kind of nocturnal carbohydrate gremlins waiting to shuttle calories into fat cells when the moon is full. They suggest that if you eat less in the morning and eat more at night, it all "balances itself out at the end of the day."

Of course, food does not turn to fat just because it's eaten after a certain "cutoff hour" and carbs do not necessarily turn to fat at night either (although there are hypotheses about low evening insulin sensitivity having some significance).

What we do know for certain is that the law of energy balance is with us at all hours of the day - and that bears some deeper consideration when you consider that we expend the least energy when we are sleeping and many people spend the entire evening watching TV.

I recently had the privilege of interviewing sports nutritionist and dietician Dan Benardot, PhD for our members-only fat loss support community, and he gave us a very interesting perspective on this.

Dr. Benardot said that thinking in terms of 24 hour energy balance may be a seriously flawed and outdated concept. He says that the old 24-hour model of energy balance looks at calories in versus calories out in 24 hour units.
However, what really happens is that your body allocates energy minute by minute and hour by hour as your body's needs dictate, not at some specified 24 hour end point.

I first heard this concept suggested by Dr. Fred Hatfield about 15 years ago.
Hatfield explained how and why you should be thinking ahead to the next three hours and adjusting your energy intake accordingly.

Although it's not really a new idea, Dr. Benardot has recently taken this concept to a much higher level of sophistication and he calls the new paradigm, "Within Day Energy Balance."

The Within Day Energy Balance


The Within Day Energy balance approach not only backs up the practice of eating small meals approximately every three hours, AND the practice of "nutrient timing" (which is why pre and post workout nutrition is such a popular topic today, and rightly so). it also suggests that we should adjust our energy intake according to our activity.

Let's make the assumption most people come home from work, then plop on the couch in front of the TV all night. Let's also assume that the majority of people go to bed late in the evening, usually around 10 pm, 11 pm or midnight. Therefore, night-time is the period during which the least energy is being expended.

If this is true, then it's logical to suggest that one should not eat huge amounts of calories at night, especially right before bed because that would provide excess fuel at a time when it is not needed. The result is increased likelihood of fat storage.

From the within day energy balance perspective, the advice to eat less at night makes complete sense. Of course it also suggests that if you do intense training at night, then you should eat more at night to support that activity.

Those stuck on a 24 hour model of energy expenditure would say timing of energy intake doesnt matter as long as the total calories for the day are in a deficit. But who ever decided that the body operates on a 24-hour "DAY".

Try this test (or not!):
Eat a 2500 calorie per day diet, with nothing for breakfast, nothing before or after your morning workout, 500 calories for lunch, 750 calories for dinner and 1250 calories before bedtime.


Now compare that to the SAME 2500 calorie diet with 6 small meals of approximately 420 calories per meal and then tweak those meal sizes a bit so that you eat a little more before and after your workout and a little less later at night.

Both are 2500 calories per day. According to "a calorie is just a calorie"
and "24 hour energy balance" thinking, both diets will produce the same results in performance, health and body composition. But will they?

Does your body really do a calculation at midnight and add up the day's totals like a business man when he closes out the register at night? It's a lot more logical that energy is stored in real time and energy is burned in real time, rather than accounted for at the end of each 24 hour period.

24 hour energy balance is just one way to academically sort calories so you can understand it and count it in convenient units of time. This has it's uses, as in calculating a daily calorie intake level for menu planning purposes.

Ok, but enough about calories, what about the individual macronutrients?
Some people dont simply suggest eating fewer calories at night, they suggest you take your calorie cut specifically from CARBS rather than from all macronutrients evenly across the board. Is there anything to it?

Well, there's more than one theory. The most commonly quoted theory has to do with insulin.

The late guru Dan Duchaine was once asked by a competitor,

"I want to get cut up for an upcoming contest. Should I eat at night?
I heard I shouldn't eat carbs after 6:00 pm."

Duchaine answered:

"It's true that insulin sensitivity is lowest at night. Let's discuss what is happening in your body that makes it dislike carbs at night. Cortisol, a catabolic hormone, is highest at night. When cortisol is elevated, your muscle cell insulin sensitivity is lowered."


More recently, David Barr wrote a tip on "lower carbs at night" for the bodybuilding website, T-Nation. He said:

"Even when bulking, you don't want to start scarfing down Pop Tarts before you go to bed. Our muscle insulin sensitivity decreases as the day wears on, meaning that we're more likely to generate a large insulin response from ingesting carbs. Stated differently, we're more predisposed to adding fat mass by eating carbs at night because our body doesn't handle the hormone insulin as well as it does earlier in the day."


Mind you, Barr is a not a "voodoo" guy; he is a respected scientist who also happens to be well known as a "dogma destroyer" and "myth buster". and Duchaine, although he had a shady past and some run-ins with the law, was nevertheless highly respected by nearly all in the bodybuilding world for his ahead-of-his-time nutrition wisdom.

As a result of this advice, word got out in the bodybuilding and fitness community that you should eat fewer carbs at night. Real world results and the "test of time" have suggested that this is an effective strategy.
I also don't know a single nutrition or training expert who doesn't agree that insulin management and improvement of insulin sensitivity aren't effective approaches in the management of body fat.

However, it's only fair to point out that not all scientists agree that cutting carbs at night will have any major real world impact on fat loss.
Dr. Benardot, for example, doesn't think there's much to it. He says that exercisers and athletes in particular, usually have excellent glycemic control, so the ratio of macronutrients should not be as much of an issue as the total energy balance in relation to energy needs at a particular time.

Regardless of which side of the "carbs at night" debate you lean towards, if you consider the within day energy balance principle, it make perfect sense not to eat large, calorie-dense meals late at night before bedtime.

Keep in mind of course, that cutting back on your calories and or carbs at night makes the most sense in the context of a fat loss program, especially if fat loss has been slow. It's quite possible that I might give the exact opposite advice (eat a big meal before bed) to the skinny "ectomorph"
who is having a hard time gaining muscular body weight.

Also consider that this doesn't necessarily mean eating nothing at night; it may simply mean eating smaller meals or emphasizing lean protein and green veggies (or a small protein shake) at night.

Many programs suggest a specific time when you should eat your last meal of the day. However, I'd suggest avoiding an absolute cut off time, such as "no food or no carbs after 6 pm, etc," because people go to bed at different times, and maintenance of steady blood sugar and an optimal hormonal balance even at night are also important goals.

A more personalized suggestion is to cut off food intake 3 hours before bedtime, if practical and possible. For example, if you eat dinner at 6 pm, but don't go to bed until 12 midnight, then a small 9:00 pm meal or a snack makes sense, but keep it light, preferably lean protein, and dont raid the refrigerator at 11:55!

An Important Rule Ro Remember


An Important rule to rememberin all cases, is:

that whatever is working, keep doing more of it.

If you eat your largest meal before bed and lose fat anyway, I would never tell you to change that. Results are what counts. On the other hand, if you're stuck at a fat loss plateau, this is a technique I'd suggest you give a try.

Night time eating is likely to remain a subject of debate - especially the part about whether carbs should be targeted for removal in evening meals.

However, perhaps even those who are skeptical can consider, that if cutting out carbs at night is effective for fat loss, it may be for the simple reason that it forces you to eat less automatically.

In other words, setting a rule to eat fewer calories or to eat fewer carbs at night may be a superbly effective way to keep your daily calories in check and to match intake to activity, whereas people who are allowed to eat ad libitum at night when they're home, glued to the couch and watching TV, etc., may tend to overeat when the energy is not needed in large amounts.

Me personally? Unless I'm weight training at night, I have always reduced calories and carbs at night when "cutting" for bodybuilding competition.
It's worked so well for me that I devoted a whole section to it in my e-book, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle (BFFM) and I have names for the techniques: "calorie tapering" and "carb tapering."

For more information on how I use these methods to help me reach single digit body fat, you can visit: http://www.BurnTheFatbook.com


About the Author:

night time eating is a lifetime natural bodybuilder, an NSCA-certified personal trainer (CPT), certified strength & conditioning specialist (CSCS), and author of the #1 best-selling e-book, ".” Tom has written more than 200 articles and has been featured in print magazines such as IRONMAN, Australian IRONMAN, Natural Bodybuilding, Muscular Development, Exercise for Men and Men’s Exercise, as well as on hundreds of websites worldwide. For information on Tom's Fat Loss program, visit: www.burnthefatbook.com

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Tom Venuto Skyrocket Your Fat Loss Success

free report skyrocket your fat loss successHere is a free report called Skyrocket Your Fat Loss Success in which interviewer Tom Nicoli talks with Tom Venuto of Burn the fat. Mr Nicoli is a clinical hypnotherapist and is featured on Dateline NBC's "Ultimate Weight Loss Challenge". Mr Nicoli is an expert in Personal Success, and he describes a part of that as requiring physical fitness and health, as does my own view.

Mr Nicoli interivews Tom Venuto and shares Tom's views and advice on fat burning and nutrition in this Skyrocket Your Fat Loss Success Interview.

pickup the free fat loss success report.

here are a few snippets from the interview:

Tom Venuto: I think that details matter, and there are some nutrition methods you could certainly call secrets that most people in the general public aren’t aware of. But before you get into those details, I think it’s more important to focus on the more “obvious” fundamentals.

There’s something called “The Pareto Principle,” which is also
known as the 80/20 rule. It was created by the Economist Vilfredo
Pareto in the beginning of the 16th Century, and to paraphrase
him, he said that you have to separate the vital few things from the
trivial many things. In other words, the very first thing you have to
do is master the fundamentals before you worry about little details
or “secrets.”

In my fat loss system, there are four fundamental pillars that must
support your program. The first one is Strength Training; the
second is Cardio Training; the third is Nutrition; and the fourth is
Mental Training, which we already touched on. If you’re missing
any one of those four, then all the attention to details and all the
cutting edge nutrition secrets in the world aren’t going to help you.
Most people just go on diets, and what we don’t need is another
diet. We need to change our habits, change our behaviors, and
change our lifestyles.

What’s missing from most weight loss programs is the exercise
part. I believe that it’s better to burn the fat than starve the fat.
When you starve the fat with strict diets and you cut calories too
low, it works initially, and you see that very gratifying initial drop
on the scale. But what happens to everyone eventually is you
plateau, because your body adapts, and your metabolism adjusts to
the reduced food intake. Your body thinks you’re starving, so your
body just starts burning fewer calories. Strength training and
exercise help because strength training increases your lean body
mass. It helps you keep your muscle, which prevents your
metabolism from slowing down. It also allows you to eat a little bit
more. So instead of a severe cut in calories, you’re burning the fat
instead of starving the fat.

Tom then talks about the ...

4 pillars of fat loss


... the foundation of your success.

free report skyrocket your fat loss success

Read more about that in the free skyrocket your fat loss report.

The interview then continues...

Mr Nicoli: Now is that information difficult for people to understand and apply?

TOM VENUTO: It’s very simple. You know, some people have complex nutrition systems where they talk about metabolic typing, and they may have you go and get blood tests, or you may have to fill out a complex questionnaire. Those things are fine and can be helpful, but what I do is much, much simpler.

What I recommend is to start with a baseline. This baseline consists of fundamentals that apply universally to almost everyone. Without these fundamentals in place, the fine tuning will have much less impact on your results. Once you have your baseline in place, you can simply begin to systematically adjust your intake one variable at a time, things like grams of carbohydrates, for example, and by getting in a feedback loop, you can figure out exactly how your body processes and responds to
food in a very, very short period of time.

Get your free fat loss success report.

The free report is 32 pages long and provides a great insight into the mental aspect of fat loss as well as Mr Nicoli's own advice and information from his own personal success program. This Tom Venuto interview on Fat Loss Success is not to be missed.

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Why Some People Quit And Some People NEVER Give Up

Tom Venuto Why Some People Quit and others never give upBy Tom Venuto, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
www.BurnTheFatbook.com

Throughout my 18 years in the fitness industry as a trainer, nutrition consultant and motivational coach, I have noticed that some people who start a nutrition and exercise program give up very easily after hitting the first obstacle they encounter. If they feel the slightest bit of discouragement or frustration, they will abandon even their biggest goals and dreams.

On the other hand, I noticed that some people simply NEVER give up. They have ferocious persistence and they never let go of their goals. These people are like the bulldog that refuses to release its teeth-hold on a bone. The harder you try to pull the bone out of his mouth, the harder the dog chomps down with a vice-like grip.

What's the difference between these two types of people? Psychologists say there is an answer.

An extremely important guideline for achieving fitness success is the concept that, "There is no failure; only feedback. You don't "fail", you only get results."

This is a foundational principle from the field of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), and the first time I ever heard it was from peak performance expert Anthony Robbins back in the late 1980's. It's a principle that stuck with me ever since, because it's a very, very powerful shift in mindset.

A lot of people will second-guess themselves and they'll bail out and quit, just because what they try at first doesn't work. They consider it a permanent failure, but all they need is a little attitude change, a mindset change, or what we call a "reframe."

Instead of saying, "This is failure" they can say to themselves, "I produced a result" and "This is only temporary." This change in perspective is going to change the way that they feel and how they mentally process and explain the experience. It turns into a learning opportunity and valuable feedback for a course correction instead of a failure, and that drives continued action and forward movement.

It's all about your results and your interpretation of those results

Dr Martin Seligman, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, did some incredible research on this subject and wrote about it in his book, Learned Optimism. Dr. Seligman noticed that the difference between people who give up and people who persist and never quit is what he referred to as "explanatory style." He said that explanatory style is the way we explain or interpret bad events or failures.

People who habitually give up have an explanatory style of permanence. For example, they hit a plateau in their progress and explain it by saying, "diets never work" or "I have bad genetics so I'll always be fat." These explanations imply permanence.

Other people hit the same plateaus and encounter the same challenges, but explain them differently. They say things such as, "I ate too many cheat meals this week," or "I haven't found the right diet for my body type yet." These explanations of the results imply being temporary.

People who see negative results as permanent failure are the ones who give up easily and often generalize their "failure" into other areas of their lives and even into their own sense of self. It's one thing to say, "I ate poorly this past week because I was traveling," (a belief about temporary behavior and environment), and to say, "I am a fat person because of my genetics" (a belief about identity with a sense of permanence). Remember, body fat is a temporary condition, not a person!

People who see challenges and obstacles as temporary and as valuable learning experiences are the ones who never quit. If you learn from your experiences, not repeating what didn't work in the past, and if you choose to never quit, your success is inevitable.

About the Author:

never give up on your goalsTom Venuto is a lifetime natural bodybuilder, an NSCA-certified personal trainer (CPT), certified strength & conditioning specialist (CSCS), and author of the #1 best-selling e-book, ".” Tom has written more than 200 articles and has been featured in print magazines such as IRONMAN, Australian IRONMAN, Natural Bodybuilding, Muscular Development, Exercise for Men and Men’s Exercise, as well as on hundreds of websites worldwide. For information on Tom's Fat Loss program, visit: www.burnthefatbook.com

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Brain Science And New Year's Resolutions

brain science and new years resolutionsBy Tom Venuto, NSCA-CPT, CSCS
www.burnthefatbook.com

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said,
"I find it fascinating that most people plan their vacations with better care than they plan their lives. Perhaps it's because escape is easier than change."


Success psychologists say that 95% - 97% of the people in the world do NOT have written goals and fail, while 3-5% have written goals and succeed.

If these statistics are correct, then Mr Rohn's observation really IS quite fascinating isn't it?

Unfortunately for most people, the odds for success are actually even lower, because out of the few people who do set goals, most don't take goal setting seriously, they don't do it scientifically and they only do it once a year.

Goal setting is so important, that I always teach goal setting and mind dynamics first, and only THEN, do I teach nutrition and training second.

It doesnt matter how much you know about nutrition or exercise. Until specialized fitness knowledge is linked with goals and directions, the knowledge is useless and you won't accomplish very much or keep the changes long term.

In fact, I devoted the entire first chapter of my book, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle (www.burnthefatbook.com) to the subject of goals and constructive "mind programming" for successful, permanent behavior change.

I've also studied neuro linguistic programming (NLP) for many years and more recently spent many months researching the latest information about neuroscience to see just how much of the traditional self help and goal setting wisdom is actually backed by brain research.

As you start thinking about your goals for 2007 right Now, I'd like to help you start the year off right by sharing two very valuable, science based tips on acheiving your goals:

SCIENTIFIC GOAL SETTING TIP #1


Repetition is an effective way to "plant" a goal in the non-conscious mind

Why don't most new years resolutions stick? Psychology and neuroscience today are giving us the answers.

Thanks to new technologies in brain imaging, such as PET scans, SPECT scans and functional MRI's, we can now actually see your thoughts as electrochemical impulses and we can see the formation of new neural connections in real time right before our eyes.

We can also see where, geographically, in your brain, a particular type of thought is occuring.

most importantly, we can see how long it takes to form strong neural patterns and what types of stimuli cause the patterns to form more quickly

Here's what we've discovered:

Setting a goal once is a conscious activity. Willpower is also a conscious activity. But research has shown that at least 5/6 of your brain power is in the non conscious mind and that the information and instructions that reach the non conscious mind are responsible for your automatic behavior.

Some pyschologists believe that 95% of our behaviors are unconscious and automatic... more commonly known as habits.

Long term behavior changes don't take place when you set goals one time as with most new years resolutions. There's an old saying in "self help" circles that it takes at least 21-30 days to form a habit. This has now been proven to be fairly accurate on a neurological basis.

New neural patterns begin to form only after they've been repeated enough times. They continue to strengthen with further repetition. If you make new years resolutions on January 1st and you don't continue to repeat and reinforce your desire for those "goals," no new neural connection is formed, no new habits are formed, no new behaviors are formed....

Your resolutions wither away and die and any results obtained through willpower (trying to force the new behaviors through conscious effort), are quickly lost when you slip back to your old ways.

What you repeat over and over again is programmed into the subconscious mind and begins to take root. On a practical level, this means RE-writing your goals everyday and thinking about them in positive terms and in mental pictures, every day, repeatedly until the habit is formed and turned over to "auto-piliot."

In 1956, when Earl Nightingale wrote
"The Strangest Secret is that we become what we think about most of the time,"
we didnt know what we know now about the brain.

Nevetheless, Earl was right.

You don't change your body by trying to change your body. You change your body by creating new habitual patterns of thinking and visualizing.

Trying to force new behaviors with willpower while continuing with your old ways of thinking will always fail because your automatic behavior is mostly under non-conscious control.

Its not the new years resolution you set once... its the goals (mental thoughts and images) you focus on all day long that create the long term (and automatic) behavioral change... when you change your behaviors, you change your body and your life...

SCIENTIFIC GOAL SETTING TIP #2:


Emotion is a goal-turbocharger

Is there any way around this tedious process of "mental programming" through repetition? Not really. The fields of NLP and hypnosis have given us some tools for creating more rapid changes, but ultimately you have to begin to "run your own brain" and change your habitual way of thinking. No one else can do it for you and there's no way around it.

there is however, a scientifically proven way to to speed up the process and that is with the use of strong emotion.

Since modern imaging technology can see activity in the brain and scientists have located the seat of emotions in the brain, we know that the strength and number of neural connections associated with a thought or behavior are increased when you're in a highly emotional state.

The neuron connections are also stronger, longer lasting and it takes longer to lose a neural connection when it was formed with great emotion.

With this knowledge, we see another reason why new years resolutions fail: They are set casually with no emotion and no strong emotional "reason why" that gives you the leverage to you need to make a change permanent.

On January 1st, you may think you're setting "real" goals, but if you're like most people, you're not only doing it a mere once a year and then losing focus, you're also likely to be making flimsy, wishy-washy, emotion-less "resolutions."

Zig Ziglar once said that,
"A goal casually set and lightly taken will be freely abandoned at the first obstacle."


You might want to back up and read that quote again, maybe even write it down or print it out, because this one hits the bull's-eye!

This truly explains why New Year's resolutions almost never work, and why so few people can keep off the pounds after they get rid of them.

Goal setting should not be casual or lightly taken. Goal setting is an important and serious matter. This is not a game - this is your life, and you only have one life to live.

Goal setting is also not a one time event - it is an ongoing process of literally "re-wiring your brain." With the discovery of brain plasticity, we now know that this is science fact, not self-help fiction.

Make the time to set REAL goals, today! Take it seriously, do it scientifically, re-write your goals every day, think about them constantly, and then take massive action

Do it and this will be the most successful year of your life!

For more information about successfully achieveing your new years resolution using Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle, visit: www.BurnTheFatBook.com

[Robs Note: to read a review of Burn the Fat, visit my Burn The Fat Review. Also, I have reviewed Tom's latest book, ]

About the Author:

new years resolutionsTom Venuto is a lifetime natural bodybuilder, an NSCA-certified personal trainer (CPT), certified strength & conditioning specialist (CSCS), and author of the #1 best-selling e-book, ".” Tom has written more than 200 articles and has been featured in print magazines such as IRONMAN, Australian IRONMAN, Natural Bodybuilding, Muscular Development, Exercise for Men and Men’s Exercise, as well as on hundreds of websites worldwide. For information on Tom's Fat Loss program, visit: www.burnthefatbook.com

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New Years Resolutions Goal Setting Positive Thinking Tom Venuto

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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Cheat Days and Diet Compliance

diet compliance cheat daysQUESTION: Hello Tom, I've been doing BFL for the past year, and did well at first, losing 3 dress sizes and 5% body fat, but then I totally hit a plateau and have had no more results since December. I'm wondering if I've been strict enough with my eating

I bought your ebook, Burn The Fat, and I'm very excited about the information I've read so far, but I need some clarification about the eating part.

I've been eating according to the BFL philosophy with one "cheat" day per week. What I'm reading in your Burn The Fat program is instead, to allow myself a couple of "cheat" meals any time during the week or on the weekend, but not to take an entire day off the program.

However, in your list of foods that turn to fat, you mention that certain foods should only be eaten very rarely. Does that mean that they shouldn't even be eaten at a weekly cheat meal? I can live with that, but then, what constitutes a "cheat" meal, (for example, if my favorite hash browns aren't allowed? :)

I know you get a billion emails, but I would really appreciate it if you have time to answer.

Kind regards,
Kathleen

ANSWER: It's not productive in the long term to totally deprive yourself of foods you enjoy. What you have to do is find a sensible way to work even your most "sinful" favorite foods into your diet, but do it in an amount and frequency that doesn't set you back or sabotage your progress. This can be done by allowing yourself some "cheat meals" (some people call them "free meals" or "reward meals.")

One really good way to look at the "cheat meals" concept is in terms of "compliance," which means, what percentage of your meals are following the guidelines of the program and what percentage are off the program.

Too many meals or days off the program and your results are compromised. Too many days in a row eating nothing but "rabbit food" and you go crazy with cravings, right?

How much you need to comply (stick with) your program varies from person to person. It depends a lot on how ambitious your goals are and on how responsive your body is to nutrition and exercise.

When making your decision, keep in mind we all have different genetics and body types, which is something I discuss in great detail in chapter 5 of Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle (www.burnthefatbook.com).

Are you a carb-tolerant mesomorph who gains muscle easily and loses fat easily or are you a carb-sensitive endomorph who gains fat easily? Depending on the answer, your diet program may need to be more or less strict than others.

Don't compare yourself to others - you have to get to know your own body type. Some people can "Get away with" more cheat meals and still make progress (Yeah, I hate them too!)

Unless you're a competitor in physique sports like bodybuilding, fitness or figure, or you're getting ready for some type of transformation challenge or photo shoot, I suggest at least 90% compliance.

Whether you adjust your level of compliance above 90% (get more "strict") or below 90% (get more lenient), depends how far away or close you are from achieving your goals, and most importantly, on what kind of results you're getting each week.

If you're complying 90% of the time, and you are getting awesome results, you don't have to change a thing, and you may be able to loosen up your diet a little. I know some people who are definitely only "on the program" 80% or 85% of the time and they look great.

90% compliance means you are following healthy nutritious, fat burning eating guidelines 9 meals out of 10. If you're eating small frequent meals like the burn the fat program suggests, that's 5 small meals a day X 7 days a week = 35 meals. 90% compliance means about 31-32 of those meals are spot-on! The other 3 or 4 are for you to enjoy special occasions, reward yourself, and live a little.

If you're like most people, and you simply want to drop a few pounds, trim a few inches off your waistline and look better in shorts or in a swimsuit for summer, then 100% compliance is unrealistic AND unnecessary. 90% compliance is more realistic as a lifesytle, while being strict enough for most people to get results.

On the other hand, if you had a very ambitious goal like preparing for a figure or fitness competition and you thought you had to reach at least 12 or 13% body fat (which is very low for women), and you knew you would be onstage with judges looking at every inch of your body in a teeny bikini (paying very close attention to whether anything on your butt and thighs was "jiggling"), then you would want to be as strict as possible during the pre contest diet period (100% compliance or very close to it).

Keep in mind also, that this is a competitive situation and every time you "cheat" and your competitors don't cheat, you decrease your probability of placing high in the contests.

Unless you have a competitive physique goal like this, however, then total deprivation of pleasure foods or cheat meals (100% compliance), is not necessary because you always tend to crave what you cannot have. That's a binge waiting to happen.

I prefer this 90 or 95% compliance approach over the "entire day of cheating" approach, because I have seen people use the term "cheat day" pretty darn loosely (basically making it the equivalent of BINGE DAY), and they do a lot of damage in terms of setting their progress back.

They end up frantically playing "catch up" for the better half of the following week with punishing extra exercise and dietary deprivation. Slow and steady is better than binge and punish don't you agree?

Allow yourself some leeway. Enjoy food. Enjoy life. Have your pizza, or chocoloate or your hash browns or whatever makes your stomach happy. It will help, not hurt in the long run. Just be sure to be mindful of your calorie limits, and when you say you are going to comply 90% of the time, then keep your promise to yourself and comply!

For more information about dieting for fat loss, visit: www.BurnTheFatBook.com

[Robs Note: to read a review of Burn the Fat, visit my Burn The Fat Review. Also, I have reviewed Tom's latest book, ]

About the Author:

diet compliance cheat daysTom Venuto is a lifetime natural bodybuilder, an NSCA-certified (CPT), certified strength & conditioning specialist (CSCS), and author of the #1 best-selling e-book, ".” Tom has written more than 200 articles and has been featured in print magazines such as IRONMAN, Australian IRONMAN, Natural Bodybuilding, Muscular Development, Exercise for Men and Men’s Exercise, as well as on hundreds of websites worldwide. For information on Tom's Fat Loss program, visit: www.burnthefatbook.com

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Weight Loss Plateau - What To Do When You Plateau

Rob's Note: Weight loss pleatau's can be the worst form of discouragement. When we've hit a weight loss pleatau or fitness plateau, our mind becomes distracted with negative thoughts and sometimes feelings of low self esteem. If you've hit a weight loss pleatau and want to find some way to break it, or be encouraged to continue regardless of anything, please come back to this page, or print it for your files for constant encouragement. I have not read anything on the subject that best describes how to deal with discouragement than this article writen by Tom Venuto. I have forwarded it to friends and clients who have hit plateaus or standstills in their training or diet. There is hope - we must continue to strive for that which we know is right - to follow our program and continue regardless of results when we know what we're doing is right. When you're down, when you think everything has failed, remember my favorite quote "Every good program requires a plan, and sufficient time to implement"

The Wedge of Discouragement


by Tom Venuto, author of Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle

One day the devil was having a sale, hawking his many diabolical tools of the trade. On display, with their price tags attached, were all the devil's tools and weapons: the arrows of jealousy, the hammer of anger, the dagger of worry, the slingshot of doubt, the axe of hatred and numerous others.

But one tool stood out above them all. Displayed prominently on a pedestal high above the rest of his wares was showcased, "The Wedge of Discouragement."

Intrigued by this little tool, which was dented and worn with use, a curious shopper inquired about the high price, because the wedge cost more than all the other tools combined.

"Ah yes," said the devil, "THAT is my favorite tool of all. You see, it's so easy to use. It hardly takes any effort. All I have to do is get the very tip of the wedge into my victim and the rest is easy. Once the wedge is in, I just tap it ever so slightly and it slides in deeper and deeper.

"Sometimes I don't have to do anything - my victims push the wedge in deeper all by themselves! A small opening soon becomes a gaping crack, making room for the rest of my tools. Before you know it, my wedge has completely split a person's dreams, hopes and aspirations in two."

"That's why the wedge of discouragement commands such a high price - because it's my most effective tool. It has opened more doors for me than all my other tools combined."

The moral of this story is obvious and so true, isn't it? The smallest bit of discouragement can split your dreams apart - IF you let it.

Taking the first step toward a fitness, bodybuilding or weight loss goal is seldom spontaneous. I know people who thought about competing in bodybuilding or fitness for YEARS before they mustered up the courage to set the goal and start the training (let alone stand onstage in a "teeny bikini!") Many people spend months "thinking about it" before they finally join a gym and get started.

So much planning, thought, time and effort go into overcoming inertia and getting the ball rolling... and what happens? You hit ONE rough patch (you always do), and you allow the wedge the tiny opening it needs. You stray from your diet, miss some workouts, sustain an injury, or more often than any other reason; you simply don't see results fast enough. One little setback or challenge and you let yourself become hopelessly discouraged.

It's a pity how easily most people are discouraged, because reaching your goals will occur with mathematical certainty if you consistently follow proven principles and natural laws. Too many people get discouraged or quit before they allow the required gestation period to elapse.

If you planted a tree in your backyard, you would know for certain it would grow, as long as you provided the necessary conditions. If you planted it in good soil, nurtured it, and provided it with water and sunlight, your seed would sprout and grow towards the sky as sure as the night follows the day.

Goals are like seeds and they require time to take root and sprout. Getting discouraged just because you have a setback or you don't see your body transform "overnight" is silly. It's denying nature's immutable laws. Becoming negative or quitting because you don't see results fast enough is like digging up your seeds to see if they're growing down there (killing them in the process).

If you're nurturing your "goal seeds" by consistently working out and eating properly, OF COURSE they're growing! Have you ever watched the grass grow in your backyard? You don't actually SEE each blade getting taller, but you KNOW it's growing because every week you have to mow your lawn! Sometimes getting in shape is like watching the grass grow - it really tests your patience. Don't EVER allow that to discourage you! Keep advancing confidently in the direction of your goals.

It's ok to have BIG, magnificent goals, but allow a reasonable time frame for achieving them. Shun the quick fix and cultivate the virtue of patience. Impatience leads to frustration. Frustration leads to discouragement. Discouragement, allowed to fester and grow, is the dream destroyer.

When discouragement strikes - and it will, right along with its brethren, doubt and fear - see it as an opportunity to get stronger. All progress and growth occur against resistance. The lumberjack says, "The stronger the wind, the stronger the trees, good timber does not grow with ease." Just as muscles grow against resistance, the strength of your will also grows when exercised against resistance. You can't become a strong person unless you experience setbacks, challenges and discouragement and overcome them. Life's challenges were meant to be met head on and mastered.

It's been said that when God wants to give you a gift, he wraps in up in a problem. Your current problem, difficulty, or whatever is making you feel discouraged, is your great opportunity! Each time you feel discouraged and press on in spite of it, you get tougher. Your skin gets thicker as if a callous were forming. Eventually, you forge an impenetrable armor against the onslaught of discouragement's wedge and all the other tools that destroy the dreams of weaker men and women. You gain the faith and confidence to look in the mirror and KNOW you'll reach your goal eventually, even though you don't see dramatic changes on a day to day basis.

With the new year before us, I want you to make a commitment today, right NOW: Set goals for year, but don't stop there. Set "a goal for your goals": Decide that you will see your goals through to completion, no matter what slings and arrows (and wedges) come your way. Decide that you will never give up when you feel discouraged, but instead, you will see discouragement as your signal to dig in and work even harder. Decide that you will conquer discouragement, and in so doing, become more resolved, more determined, and stronger than ever. Make the commitment today! Make this year your best year ever!

"To be undiscouraged and undismayed by whatever turn of fortune is encountered is always a mark of maturity and enlightenment."

- U.S. Anderson,
The Magic In Your Mind

Author: Tom Venuto, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle

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Friday, January 27, 2006

Tom Venuto Interview - Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle


I was able to get Tom Venuto, Author of Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle on the phone for a short 14 minute interview today.

Listen to Tom explain in his own words what information is in the book, what you'll get out of it and how it can help you achieve your f-at loss goals



Listen to the interview here:






For those wanting to learn more about how to diet and weight train to help lose fat and build muscle I highly recommend Tom Venuto's ebook, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle. To read more, just go to http://www.formerfatguy.com/burnthefat



It's great for those wanting to incorporate weight training and dieting for maximum fat loss.

Sincerely,

Rob Cooper
http://www.formerfatguy.com/burnthefat

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