Q: Right now my main goal is to burn body fat while keeping as much of the muscle I built over the winter intact.
Then, once you’re done, have a meal that contains only protein and essential fatty acids — no starchy carbohydrates or fruits. About two hours later have another meal that contains low-glycemic-index carbs- — along with a complete protein, of course — and you should quickly begin to see the results you’re after.
Carb cycling, or moving from a lower-carbohydrate intake to higher carbs, is a technique bodybuilders use to strip away body fat. Another approach is simply to cut your carb portions in half for 3-4 days, then go back to eating a higher carb intake on the fifth day.
The key is to keep your body guessing, as opposed to letting it get accustomed to one particular nutrient intake day after day.
Maybe I'm being impatient because it has only been a week, but I'm paranoid about losing muscle because I always felt that I was one of those "skinny fat people" you talk about and I've lost muscle before doing crash diets. I bought your Burn the Fat, Feed the muscle program and I'm doing it right this time - all by the book.
Generally you shouldn't worry too much about one week's results, even if there's a significant fluctuation (in the wrong direction).
First, keep in mind it's unlikely that you will lose a pound in a week and lose 0% fat, and therefore assume you lost 100% muscle. There's margin for error in calipers and your water weight can fluctuate greatly in either direction, masking body composition change. One of the best new terms I've heard added to the body composition vernacular in recent years comes from Alan Aragon. Given the fact that your bodyweight and your LBM can fluctuate up and down so much in the short term based on inconsequential changes, you should pay much more attention to the trend over time than short term dips or valleys. This of course requires that you use the Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle technique of weekly progress charting (discussed in chapter 4). I am however, very much in favor of gathering weekly feedback and making quick course corrections. If all signs point toward confirming muscle loss, you might make a program adjustment (nutrition and or training) after just one week even if it's precautionary. While I agree that we shouldn't panic about temporary fluctuations, I disagree with that premise about body comp testing less frequently. Wouldn't it have been easier to keep a close eye on progress more often and change course before getting too far off track?
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Tom Venuto is the author of the #1 best seller, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle: Fat Burning Secrets of the World's Best Bodybuilders and Fitness Models. Instead of becoming overwhelmed at all the changes I needed to make, I asked myself if I could follow this plan for one day. Even though the 7-week competition included my birthday and the holidays, nothing else entered my body.
I did have cravings, especially in the beginning, and my wife and kids continued eating ice cream, popcorn and chicken wings in front me. I injured my back during one of my leg work outs and my legs were not recovering from the cardio, so my decision was to add more cardio and drop a few leg work outs. I used a variety of techniques including supersets and drop sets and I always worked to failure. The fact that I chose to post to the Burn the Fat Inner Circle forums when I had questions, concerns or frustrations was THE main reason I succeeded. MEN CLICK HERE to discover how to burn belly fat and transform your body from fat to muscle in 49 days or less! WOMEN CLICK HERE to learn the simple tricks to shedding fat from your most stubborn areas - in 49 days - without ever going hungry.


While I understand this trainer’s thought process and the physiological mechanisms he is referring to, in the real world the result of such a practice is almost always a severe loss of muscle. Generally, a bodybuilder will eat 100-125 grams of carbs a day for 3-4 days followed by 400-500 grams on the fifth day.
Just as you need to change things up in the gym for continued gains in strength and size to avoid plateaus, you mustn’t let your body get too comfortable with the foods you eat. You could speed up fat loss with a larger deficit, but you'll want to be sure your weight loss is fat before doing so. On a Fitcast show podcast, he made a distinction between "essential lean body mass" and "nonessential lean body mass." I thought that was a brilliant way to express this difference between muscle tissue and other miscellaneous lean body mass.
For example, if your progress chart shows two, three or more weeks in a row with loss of lean body mass you can feel fairly safe in assuming that some of that is loss of muscle and corrective action should be taken. After just one week, you would still be prudent to ask yourself whether you think that measurement and assessment (lost lbm) is correct, based on everything else you see going on - such as how you look in the mirror, your strength level, etc. I know trainers who insist that weekly body composition testing is too often because body composition doesn't change that much in a week.
I believe in getting frequent feedback and making frequent course corrections when necessary. He checks his instrumentation constantly en route, and though he is actually veering off course all the time, he makes constant course corrections, eventually arriving in LA as if he went in a straight line (in reality he zig-zagged his way there, actually getting where he wanted to go as a result of going off course).
I hope you see the obvious relevance of this analogy to your body composition improving endeavors. Tom is a lifetime natural bodybuilder and fat loss expert who achieved an astonishing ripped 3.7% body fat level without drugs or supplements.
I listed all the reasons I wanted to complete the challenge, six pack abs, better health, lower blood pressure, more energy, having clothes to wear that fit. I used NLP techniques, mostly visualization, to associate things I didn't like to the foods I craved! On upper body days, I performed 4-5 sets of chest, 4-5 back, 3 for shoulders and 2 each for both triceps and biceps. My upper body workouts lasted about 90 minutes, which I now know was way too long, but again, this was a challenge! I joined the Burn the Fat challenge the night before it started, I had no idea what the Burn the Fat inner circle was about. A trainer at my gym told me not to eat for about two hours after I’m done to keep burning more body fat. Your solution is rather simple and will allow you to experience the best of both worlds — rapid loss in body fat and effective maintenance of your lean tissue.
That will keep your insulin levels very low, which will allow for a prolonged fat-burning effect from your cardio while at the same time providing necessary amino acids and fats for muscle maintenance and sustained energy. This is also why the occasional cheat day is considered productive for bodybuilders on strict diets. If not corrected, the course deviation would continue to widen, and just a few hours later, our pilot may wake up and find himself in Alaska! Make sure your weight training program is properly designed to help you get stronger and you are working on increasing your strength. Be certain that (a) you are not overtraining in duration or intensity, (b) you are allowing adequate recovery time in between workouts (appropriate frequency of training), and (c) you are allowing appropriate recovery for your body (some people can thrive on higher volume, higher frequency training, others cannot).
Studies on concurrent endurance and strength training show that cardio can interfere with strength at levels of more than 3 days a week especially if all the cardio you do is high in intensity. It has been shown not only to help improve performance during strength and anaerobic training, but also to help prevent muscle loss.
I thought about how I would feel after all those changes had been accomplished and how proud I would be of myself. So the times when self doubt crept in, or when I was hurt, sore, hungry, angry and whiney, I would tell myself it was only one day, and then I would repeat the mantra I created to snap myself out of it: "Do you just want to compete, or do you want to win?" I would look at the picture of the abs and review the reasons why I was in the challenge and then carry on.
I admit, my training was kind of crazy, but this WAS a challenge - it was a competition and there's only one grand prize winner.


My advice to anyone thinking about doing a Burn the Fat challenge would be to make a commitment to yourself in writing and list all the benefits you will receive as a result of completing the challenge or reaching the goal.
I found the resources; articles and interviews within the inner circle helped me get started on the right track.
After one week of doing that, I feel as if my muscles look smaller and flatter and that I’m losing all that I worked so hard to gain. This technique seems to keep the metabolism elevated while a constant lower-carb intake can actually cause the metabolism to slow.
Should I drop my calories further or does it sometimes take more than a week for things to start taking effect? Sure, he could change course in Alaska, but he would have taken a time-consuming and costly detour. Below 100 grams neuroendocrine abnormalities such as decreased thyroid conversion may occur. However some people - women in particular - avoid serious weight training and almost everyone misses workouts or just goes through the motions from time to time. The research also showed neuro-endocrine adaptation to calorie restriction and increased hunger which could indicate likelihood to eat ones way out of calorie deficit.
However, for maximum fat loss, it's beneficial to include frequent cardio, so this is a conflict of opposing goals.
For cardio I had over 100 sessions during the challenge, broken into three fairly equal categories of slow (Walking), moderate (Jogging, swimming, bike, elliptical, treadmill), and intense (sprints, running, stairs, hills, swimming).
Everyone shares so openly, I think I know more about many of the people in the inner circle than I do about some of my own friends or family! Even the contents of your digestive system will show up as lean body mass in some body composition tests, right?
If results aren't forthcoming, you can't afford to not get the most from every workout, let alone miss. If you're doing body weight exercise or non-progressive types of strength training (if you're bopping around in your living room with a DVD "workout"), it's time to step up your game. If you're getting healthier, leaner, stronger and more muscular consistently, with under 7 hours of sleep, god bless you. One solution is to keep up the frequent cardio but keep some of it low to moderate in intensity and don't overdo the duration (hours and hours of daily cardio are not needed.
When I do another challenge, I will change my routine and give my body more time to recuperate between weight lifting sessions. If you're weak as a kitten because you starved yourself on some insane close-to-zero carb diet, that makes muscle-building training awfully difficult. Join a serious gym, or put a power rack down in that dark, dingy basement of yours and start lifting some real iron.
If you're stressed and you know it, escape the source of the stress or develop coping mechanisms fast or your training will be an uphill battle.
If you can't lose fat with 45-60 minutes per day, there is something horribly wrong with your nutrition). For the Burn the Fat holiday challenge, I had 27 weight lifting days over the 49 days, 15 upper body and 12 lower body. Backing off high volume cardio when fat loss is a primary goal is counter-intuitive, but if there are confirmed losses in LBM, and you've been stressed and overtrained, sometimes it's better to use moderate amounts of cardio and manipulate your nutrition to get the calorie deficit you need. I visualized myself on the beach in Maui with warm sand between my toes, the sun warming my tanned six pack abs; I could taste the salt in the air carried by the gentle breeze. I found Tom's food guide and I decided I would only eat A+ and A foods and for liquids I would drink only water and green tea!



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