Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle

The day after my bikini competition in November, I flew out to a conference in San Francisco. I had great intentions of sticking with my post-competition diet plan and easing back into less healthy/clean foods. What actually happened was 4 days of eating a lot of (delicious) junk, drinking lots of adult beverages, and attempting to eat a little healthy food each day. Not the best plan.

Sitting at the airport on my way back from San Fran, I was trying to figure out how to get back on track and feeling overwhelmed. I felt gross from a week of over-indulgence and late nights, but wasn’t ready to get on a super-structured plan with my trainer yet. As I was searching the internet for ideas (because google knows all!), I saw an ad for Tom Venuto’s book: Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle (affiliate link). Tom is also a FitFluential Ambassador and had offered preview copies of his book to other Ambassadors several weeks before. I immediately emailed him and hoped I wasn’t too late for a copy of my own!

Disclaimer: I had the privilege of receiving a complementary advance copy of this book from Tom Venuto as part of my affiliation with FitFluential. As always, all opinions are my own and I only share things that I would recommend to my friends and family. You can read my disclosure policy here. If you decide to order you own copy of this book using the links on this page, I do get a small commission from Amazon

Luckily, Tom very quickly shipped me a fresh (signed) copy and within 2 days I had read the entire book.


If you haven’t heard of Tom Venuto before, he’s a trainer & bodybuilder who has built a following for his ability to help others transform their bodies. He originally self-published an eBook with similar information and has testimonials from hundreds of thousands around the world who had great results following his methods. As I read through the book, I realized that much of what he shares is the same process that I went through in training for a fitness competition. He’s simply explained it in a way that everyone can understand and apply to their own goals.

The book is broken down to describe his L.E.A.N. philosophy – Learn, Eat, Activate, New Body. After explaining the philosophy, he starts by describing how to determine your baseline and track your progress. Next, Learn covers the mental side of training and the importance of setting goals. Then the real “meat” begins.

Eat delves into the side of nutrition that I found so fascinating during training and really breaks it down so you understand it. This chapter gives you the tools you need to determine your calorie target (based on your goals) and determine the macros you should target for your personal nutrition plan (which you should play with through training to find what works for you).

Activate touches on cardio, which is good for someone just getting started on an exercise program. He talks through the different types of cardio exercises and how they can fit into your program. Of all the sections, this was probably the most basic, but that may be more that I’m most familiar with creating cardio-focused programs in my own coaching.

New Body is the strength training component, where Tom walks through myths and principals of a good program. He even includes two strength training programs to get you started – one for beginners and one that is more advanced (called TNB-28). I have actually used his more advanced program as my training since the beginning of December and it’s a great plan! I originally intended to use it only for a few weeks, but decided I really liked it and stuck with it.

There is a ton of detail in the book, but you need to get Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle and dive into it for yourself. I know my copy will be well worn before too long, it already has lots of notes and bookmarks throughout. I still think having an objective trainer or coach to guide you is best (which is why I’m starting working with my trainer again on Monday!), but if that’s not in your current budget this will give you the principles you need to build your own program. If you already have a coach and want to understand more about how training and nutrition programming works, this a great book for that too!.


Questions for you:

  • How do you plan your nutrition & fitness training?
  • What’s one of your health goals for 2014?

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    • says

      I haven’t gotten that far to cover that material in the NASM training, but I can’t wait to get there! I agree with you on that most people could benefit from this information and it’s written in a very approachable way!

  1. says

    I’ve seen this book popping up in the blog world, and I’m very interested. I’m training like crazy, but I would still love to lean out a bit and I know my diet is where that needs to happen. However, since I eat healthy 90% of the time, I’m not really sure what to change to make that happen!
    Natalie @ Free Range Human recently posted…HopefulMy Profile

    • says

      You are absolutely right – all the training in the world doesn’t seem to do it without the nutrition as the foundation. Darn! I think you’d see it’s more about the macros and timing to help you get to that next step. This book goes into all of that!

    • says

      Thrive (from Brendan Brazier) also has some great vegan, endurance fueling tips – I got some great ideas from that book! The principals from this book would work regardless of your diet, although he doesn’t spend much time on the vegetarian approach. If you know the macros that work best for you, you build your nutrition plan based on your dietary preferences.

    • says

      I love that it helps you build a solid plan & understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. Although I still wish nutrition didn’t play such an important role is our physique & performance, it does – so the tools to do something about it are key!


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