Review: Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle by Tom Venuto


Should You Buy Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle by Tom Venuto?

Tom Venuto recently sent me a proof copy of his book, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle: Transform Your Body Forever Using the Secrets of the Leanest People in the World. While the book format is new, Tom has been selling this book and program on line for several years.

This is a specific fat loss protocol, as opposed to generalized weight loss protocol, and there is a difference. Venuto is interested in giving his readers the opportunity to experience the lean and muscled body of a competitive body builder, by following a healthier and less extreme version of a pre-competition program.

While I agree with Venuto's premise that one should emulate those who are the best at whatever activity one is looking at, I do question whether bodybuilders in general are the healthiest, especially those in competition. Every person I know (make or female) who is a fashion model, fitness model, or fitness competitor has a strange and crazy relationship to food, exercise, and his or her body.

My model friends taught me about the importance of dehydration before shows to better show off the muscles. They informed me about the Master Cleanse, the laxative effects of drinking epsom salts (not just for external cleansing), and the joys of high-protein-induced ketosis.

Now, I realize that not everybody does this, but I would say that more than half engage in this behavior.

Of course, Venuto does not advocate any of this insanity, choosing to follow the scientific middle path that relies on numbers - caliper measurements, body fat percentages, calorie ratios, et. al.

Venuto insists that you know yourself intimately. Weight, lean to fat ratio, measurements (tape measure and skin fold caliper), metabolism, etc. Only when you know what to change can you look at how to change.

The 28 day program is pretty clear cut, once you finish the math that will tell you how much you need to eat. Venuto's nutrition program is sound and allows for cheat days. The workouts, involving cardio and basic strength training exercises, are easy to follow and safe. And he also talks a lot about the mental game and how to psych yourself up for the four weeks.

I have to say that some of his affirmations and visualizations, while probably helpful for many, left me a bit horrified.

We are surrounded with fake, photo-shopped images of perfect bodies, and I don't agree that these images should be our archetypes. Say no to thigh gaps and shrink-wrapped skin to muscle!

How about affirmations about being beautiful just the way we are? Won't feeling better assist the program? Must we feel bad about ourselves to spur us on to health and fitness?

Anyway, if you want a clear-cut, scientifically sound, healthy approach to fat loss, check out Tom Venuto's Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle: Transform Your Body Forever Using the Secrets of the Leanest People in the World (available for pre-order now; shipping December 10, 2013).