Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Diet Compliance vs. Cheating - How Strict Should You Be?

QUESTION: 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,

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 (

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:

About the Author:

Tom 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, "Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle.” 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:

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Glycemic Index

The Glycemic Index (GI) - Key To Fat Loss Or Just Another Diet Gimmick
By Tom Venuto, NSCA-CPT, CSCS

The glycemic index (GI) is a scale from 1 to 100 that measures how quickly carbohydrate foods are broken down into glucose. The original purpose for the glycemic index was to help diabetics keep their blood sugar under control. The glycemic index has recently attracted a lot of attention in the bodybuilding, fitness and weight loss world and has even become the central theme in numerous best-selling diet books as a method to choose the foods that are best for losing weight.

According to advocates of the glycemic index system, foods that are high on the GI scale such as rice cakes, carrots, potatoes, watermelon or grape juice are "unfavorable" and should be avoided because high GI foods are absorbed quickly, raise blood sugar rapidly and are therefore more likely to convert to fat or cause health problems.

Instead, we are urged to consume carbohydrates that are low on the GI scale such as black eye peas, barley, old fashioned oatmeal, peanuts, grapefruit, apples and beans because they do not raise blood sugar as rapidly.

While the GI does have some useful applications, such as the use of high GI foods or drinks for post workout nutrition and the strong emphasis on low GI foods for those with blood sugar regulation problems, there are flaws in strictly using the glycemic index as your only criteria to choose carbs on a weight loss program.

For example, the glycemic index is based on eating carbohydrates by themselves in a fasted state. If you are following effective principles of fat-burning and muscle building nutrition such as those outlined in my Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle (BFFM) e-book (, you should be eating small, frequent meals to increase your energy, maintain lean body mass and optimize metabolism for fat loss.

However, since the glycemic index of various foods was developed based on eating each food in the fasted state, the glycemic index loses some of its significance. you should be eating small, frequent meals to increase your energy, maintain lean body mass and optimize metabolism for fat loss. However, since the glycemic index of various foods was developed based on eating each food in the fasted state, the glycemic index loses some of its significance.

In addition, when you are on a diet program aimed at improving body composition (losing fat or gaining muscle), you will usually be combining carbs and protein together with each meal for the purposes of improving your fat to muscle ratio. When carbs are eaten in mixed meals that contain protein and some fat, the glycemic index loses even more of its significance because the protein and fat slows the absorption of the carbohydrates (as does fiber).

Mashed potatoes have a glycemic index near that of pure glucose, but combine the potatoes with a chicken breast and broccoli and the glycemic index of the entire meal is lower than the potatoes by itself.

Rice cakes have a very high glycemic index, but if you were to put a couple tablespoons of peanut butter on them, the fat would slow the absorption of the carbs, thereby lowering the glycemic index of the combination.

A far more important and relevant criteria for selecting carbs for weight loss - as well as all your other foods, proteins and fats included - is whether they are natural or processed. To say that a healthy person with no metabolic disorders should completely avoid natural, unprocessed foods like carrots or potatoes simply because they are high on the glycemic index is ridiculous.

I know many bodybuilders (myself included) who eat high glycemic index foods such as white potatoes every day right up until the day of a competition and they reach single digit body fat. How do they do it if high GI foods “make you fat?” It’s simple – high GI foods DON’T necessarily make you fat – choosing natural foods and burning more calories than you consume are far more important factors. Although it’s not correct to say that all calories are created equal, a calorie deficit is the most important factor of all when fat loss is your goal.

The glycemic index is clearly not a "gimmick" and should not be completely disregarded, as it is a definitely a legitimate nutritional tool. Is it a good idea to eat low GI foods in general? Sure. Is eating high GI foods after your workouts a good idea? Absolutely. But diet programs which hang their hats on glycemic index alone as the “miracle solution” are just another example of how one single aspect of nutrition can be used as a "hook" in marketing and said to be the "end all be all" of fat loss, when it's really only one small piece of the puzzle.

Eating Low glycemic index foods alone does NOT guarantee you will lose fat. You have to take in the bigger picture, which includes calories/energy balance, meal timing and frequency, macronutrient composition, choice of processed versus refined foods as well as how all these nutritional factors interact with your exercise program.

For more information on carbohydrates and the glycemic index, and for a balanced, gimmick-free look at all aspects of fat-burning nutrition, be sure to visit the Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle website at:

About the Author:

Tom 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, "Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle.” 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:

Friday, October 05, 2007

Muscle Building Mania – A Beginners Guide To Bodybuilding

“Muscle Building Mania – A Blueprint To Building A Body You Can Be Proud Of”

Our story begins in your living room. You’ve just arrived home after another grueling day on the job, competing with your co-workers and battling the behemoths on the freeway.

All you want is something cool to drink and a little R & R in front of the boob tube.

You grab your favorite beverage, flop down into your LazyBoy, flip on the remote and. . .THERE IT IS. . .right in front of your face. Another body that looks like it was carved from a solid piece of granite.

And, here goes that self-defeating prophesy playing the familiar tape in your brain, “some day I’m goona show everybody that I’m not the 160 pound weakling they all think I am.” Someday, some day, some day...

Dear Bodybuilding Wannabe,

Don’t take offense, but does this sound like you? Maybe you’re one of those guys who played sports in school but the years and inactivity have taken their toll.

Or are you someone who has always wanted to look like you just stepped off the runway of a bodybuilding show?

Could it be that you had an experience like the legendary “97 pound weakling, Angelo Charles Siciliano?” He was publicly humiliated when a bully embarrassed him in front of his favorite girl by kicking sand in his face on Coney Island that life-changing day back in the 1920’s. If you have heard the story, the girl walked off right away.

Charles made a decision that day. Run a search, you can find out everything you need to know about him on the internet. From a 97 pound weakling to winning “Most Perfectly Developed Man” contest in
1922, Charles Atlas became an icon whose principles are still in use today by thousands of people around the world.

How did he do it? Simple. He made a decision.

It is the same decision that you are in a position to make today. Take your wishes and wants and finally put them to action. Build a body you can be proud of.

Making the decision is the first step. The second step is to gather information about the options available to help you begin your journey.

Options abound for the beginning bodybuilder and they can all appear quite daunting when you are just getting started. In fact, it’s easy to become extremely confused and discover more questions than answers. Questions like:

How do I build muscle?
How do I strengthen muscle?
Am I healthy enough to begin a muscle building routine?
What should I eat?
How often should I eat?
Should I eat at different intervals throughout the day?
Is there a specific diet for building muscle?
How many calories should I eat?
Should I take supplements?
Should I join a gym?
Can I create my own gym at home?
How can I avoid being ripped off?

While these may seem like very simple answers to a bodybuilding veteran, for the novice faced with decisions that may affect health and lifestyle they are extremely important.

“Muscle Building Mania” is written just for you, the novice who is considering his/her options when approaching such a change in your lifestyle.

You will find answers to the questions above, as well as an exploration of the pros and cons to joining a gym or creating one at home.

Review the different types of equipment that are available to you as a bodybuilder and what purpose they serve.

What changes do you need to make in your dietary habits and what impact they will have on your bodybuilding efforts are revealed.

Learn how to protect yourself against outrageous claims by over zealous marketers.

All this and much more is at your fingertips. “Muscle Building Mania” is an absolute must have for anyone who is considering becoming a bodybuilder.

Before you take that second step, arm yourself with the most powerful tool any budding bodybuilder should have. What is that tool? Knowledge!

Before you even think about your exercise routine
Before you begin researching a nutritional program
Before you shop for supplements
Before you join a gym

Get Your Free Copy of “Muscle Building Mania” right now and put yourself on the road to building a body you can be proud of.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Lowering Your Cholesterol

"Are You Or A Loved One Poised To Become A Statistic?"

It’s that frantic hour. You’ve put in a full day at work, battled the crowds at the grocery store, picked up your three kids from daycare and just begun preparing the evening meal.

The kids are being. . .well, typical kids. "Mom, Billy took my crayon," "did not," he replies.

Above the clamor you hear a persistent ringing of the doorbell. Drying your hands you manage to make your way to the door while dodging kids, toys and coats on the floor.

You open the door. Your blood runs cold when you see the state trooper on the front step. Before he opens his mouth to speak, somehow you know. Panic, fear and grief. . .gut wrenching grief, as the adrenaline surges through your body.

"No, no, no" you sob as the officer begins his painful report. "I am so sorry Mrs. Jones, but there’s been an accident. Apparently your husband had a heart attack while driving home. . .is there anyone we can call?"

In the blink of an eye your entire life is turned upside down. It isn’t until much later when it finally sinks in. After the funeral. After the friends and family have all departed and you are alone. . .totally, utterly alone.

Glancing around the kitchen you see the note on the refrigerator, "Joe, don’t forget to make a doctor’s appointment for a checkup." Sadly, he’ll never have the chance.

Joe has become a statistic. He is now one of the 107 million American adults who had a blood cholesterol level high enough to require medical advice. Unfortunately, he didn’t get the chance to beat the odds.

Will you?

Will your spouse?

High cholesterol claims thousands of lives every year. The really sad thing is that it’s treatable as long as you don’t ignore it.

The chances of you not having this condition are slim to none. Most Americans do have cholesterol. It’s a natural part of our physical makeup. Like everything in nature, it becomes a problem when there is an imbalance.

Sadly, thousands of men and women ignore the warning signs until it’s too late, like our friend Joe.

Do you know the warning signs for high cholesterol?
Are you aware of your LDL and HDL levels?
Do you even know what they mean?

If you don’t have a clue what we are talking about, you are definitely high risk for this potential killer.

Lowering Your Cholesterol tackles those questions and much more, such as:
What is cholesterol?
How does it affect my health?
How do I know if I’m at risk?
Is there a test that will tell me if I have it?
How does it affect my lifestyle?
Will I need medication?
Is it affected by diet?
What can I eat?
Will it go away with exercise?
Should I take supplements?
Is it possible to get rid of it?
What are some of the treatment options?
When is medication necessary?
Are natural treatments effective?

All this and much more is at your fingertips. Lowering Your Cholesterol is written just for you, the person who keeps hearing about cholesterol but doesn’t understand the medical jargon.
Lowering Your Cholesterol spells it out for you in plain English. Once and for all you will learn what the "doctor speak" is all about in words you can understand:

You will find answers to the questions above, as well as an explanation of different medications that are prescribed to control cholesterol.

What changes you may need to make in your dietary habits and what impact they will have on prolonging your life.

Discover how you can have your "beef" and eat it too!

Click Here To Learn More.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Busy, Crazy, Frustrated and Overwhelmed.

Positive Thinking

Do you need a checkup from the neck up?

Have you ever wondered why it is that some people seem to have no problem whatsoever in acquiring everything they want?

The perfect job seems to drop right into their lap. They always have plenty of money. They graduated with top honors. It appears that they were born with that silver spoon in their mouth.
If you know someone like that and find yourself envying their success it’s a good bet that you do need that checkup from the neck up!

The truth is that there is no secret to the success that others appear to manifest so easily in their lives. These people accept their good fortune as easily as others accept their failures.

They succeed because they expect to succeed!

Can it really be that simple?

Well, yes it is. But – there’s always a “but” – you need to understand that it doesn’t just happen overnight AND you have to apply some action.

Thankfully, “Positive Thinking” is here to help you. Take a look:
  • What Causes Negative Thinking – did you know that negative thoughts are unnatural
  • How to Take Control of Your Time – learn how proper time management increases your ability to think positively
  • How to Create and Nurture Motivation – once you know how you’ll never go back
  • Procrastination Is Deadly – it steals your time, self-confidence and positive attitude – but only if you let it
  • Goal Setting Works – how to create an action plan to achieve your goals
  • Fighting Fear – learn how to end this immobilizing factor
  • Enjoy Your Job – what to do if you hate your job
  • Have Enough Money – enough money creates positive thoughts – or is it positive thoughts create the money – how to figure it out
  • Create Momentum – how to breed high energy and enthusiasm
  • Solving Problems – understand why you need to do it quickly
  • Balance In Your Life – how to balance your way to thinking positively
  • Brain Food – yes, there are foods that can help you think more positively
  • Healthy Body - Healthy Mind – what does this have to do with positive thinking - everything
  • Believe and You Will Achieve – feeding the spirit
  • Positive Thinking Or – discover what the alternatives can be – it’s not a pretty picture

There is so much more inside “Positive Thinking”.

Learn how to tap in to your own well of energy to change your mind. Change your mind and you will change your life!
Until you do, you will be a slave to your own self-fulfilling prophecy of a life of mediocrity and sadness. There is so much more out there and it’s yours for the taking.

You can take control of your life and steer the rudder in a new, positive direction. Grab your copy of “Positive Thinking” and you can do it now!

Click Here To Get Your Free Copy

Monday, July 23, 2007

Learning From Success

Okay, so I'm not sure how to put this one?

As my loyal readers know, I've been Internet marketing with moderate success for several years and there is this one thing that keeps bugging me to the edge of my own sanity......

Suppose you are wondering what it is?

Well, when I started Internet marketing there were these two other fellows (who will go nameless) that started Internet marketing at the same time I did.

It was just like starting back to school, making new friends, forming new relationships and exploring a whole new world.

Well they went on to college somehow and I kept getting held back over and over again.

So the key to success is following success right?

So what on earth did they do... that I haven't done...

Okay realistically they both earn High Six Figure Incomes and I don't,

They both have websites and I have websites,

They both have Blogs and I have Blogs,

We all email market,

We buy leads,

We Invest our money to make money,

They did their homework and I did my homework,

So I suppose maybe it was the classes that we took or the homework that we did????


So while I'm kicking the the kickball around the playground I stumble upon this website that puts is all together....

Both of them are Affiliates with this website and I'm not...

So I join, and now the adventure begins again.

The whole nature of Internet marketing is do it once and profit forever. Its that whole leverage and residual income thingy.

Well this Internet marketer pretty much sets you up with an entire website that does all the work for you and what I'm talkin about is.

Free Stuff!!!!!! (free stuff is cool)
Free Internet Marketing How to PDFs
Free Videos
He teaches you how to get Free Targeted Traffic to your websites.
He teaches you how to market yourself and your warez.
Free Auto responders
Free Emails to go with the auto responder
And the list goes on and on........

So I've joined the new club house and I'm gonna see how it goes...

My new club house

Check it out and see for yourself. I'll let you know how it works out.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Crossing the chalk line.

Did you know ants won't cross a chalk line? Yep believe it or not they just won't cross. There is nothing special about the chalk they just wont cross. If you want to stop them dead in their tracks just draw a line. Kinda cool...........

I wonder if an ant would cross if it were faced with starvation? Try a circle and see.