Will taking diet pills help me lose weight faster?

In our desperation to lose fat, we often move towards methods that are not so safe. Weight loss pills are a controversial subject, one that I have not spend much time writing about.

I want to begin by sharing my story of an experience with fat burners. This was when I was in high school, and was going to Karate classes twice a week. I would also run in the morning, and hit the school weight room 2-3 days per week.

I was desperate to lose fat.

I was overtraining, and undereating, and felt tired all the time. My body was always sore, but my desperation motivated me to keep on going.

I remember walking into CVS and looking at the fat burners. I remember the excitement rushing through my veins as I paid the cashier. The name of the fat burner was Stacker 2, a supplement that was being promoted by professional wrestlers such as…The Big Show.

Clearly stacker 2 did not work for The Big Show since he’s gotten…bigger.

Anyways, I looked at the instructions, and it said that I should not take more than 6 pills per day. I shrugged my shoulders and followed the dosage. It was something like 2 pills in the morning, and 2 pills at night, after food (not 100% sure about this).

Later in the week, about an hour or two after I took my stacker 2 pills, I started feeling strange. My body just felt numb. I stood up, and punched the wall to see if I could feel any pain.


I screamed out loud, but barely any sound came out, but my mouth was numb too. I was scared. I sat on my bed, laid back, and closed my eyes.

Thank God I woke up. I was fine when I woke up. The first thing I did was throw out those stacker 2 pills. I haven’t messed with fat burner pills since that day. Just eat right, and train hard.

Eating right is the key. Exercise, for the most part, is easy. If I had just stuck to my Karate training, plus weight room workouts, along with a solid diet, I would have had better results. Not that I overtraining and under eating. Not eating enough calories, especially if you’re an athlete, is going to destroy your metabolic rate, and your body will hold onto stubborn fat as if your life depended on it!

Another mistake many athletes make is limiting carbs. Your body will need carbs to fuel your workouts. I wished I had known this before adopting a low-carb, low-calorie diet with such a high level of activity. I’ve written an article on how you can still lose fat with a high carb diet. Click here to read this article.

Don’t Hurt Yourself! Top 2 Ways to Improve your Kettlebell Technique

Everyone knows that Kettlebell training is tough, exciting, and produces incredible results. However, if you don’t perform the exercises properly, you can hurt yourself. This is why learning proper technique is absolutely crucial to Kettlebell training.

There are two ways to improve your Kettlebell technique. The first method is free, but it has its limitations. The second method will cost you some money, but it’s absolutely worth it if you wish to excel with your kettlebell training.

Method #1: YouTube

For the past few years, individuals have been posting their kettlebell workouts and exercise demonstrations on YouTube. However, many people are not taking advantage of the real potential of YouTube: free, online coaching. There are hundreds of people out there that comment on exercise techniques of other individuals that post the video.

So, take advantage and tape yourself performing a workout or exercise. Post it on YouTube with a title such as “Kettlebell Turkish Get Up – Critique Technique Please.” I guarantee you within a few hours people will start commenting on your technique, and you will have lots of advice for absolutely free.

If you would like me to check out your form, then simply email me with a link to your YouTube video at shah@shahtraining.com. For an even faster response to your videos, post your YouTube video on Kettlebell training forums. One of the more popular forums out there is Dragon Door.

Method #2: Information Products

The second method of improving your technique is to purchase information products such as eBooks and DVD’s. Most world class trainers have Kettlebell training DVD’s and programs that you can use to improve your Kettlebell technique.

This method is much better than YouTube videos, since you’re getting access to professional help. However, it’s also cheaper than getting a trainer, since you’re not paying someone on an hourly basis. You usually pay a one-time charge, then access the information.

The best information product on Kettlebells is the Turbulence Training Kettlebell Revolution program. This is a program put together by world class coach Craig Ballantyne and his protege Chris Lopez. This Kettlebell program is perfect for both beginners and advanced athletes.

Click here to learn more about Turbulence Training Kettlebell Revolution.

Damage Control For Holiday Eating “Accidents” (Part 1)

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

We’ve all been at the holiday get-togethers, and have quickly devoured something devilishly delicious with little thought. Some feel little shame for eating a cake or drinking half the bowl of punch, but others find themselves feeling guilty afterwards and can’t help but think, “oops, I shouldn’t have eaten that.” I have to admit I do get a little chuckle out of the “accidental” part! Do you ever really “accidentally” eat anything? I think we are all responsible for everything we eat and how much we eat and until you consciously realize and accept this, and take the time to do some proactive meal planning, you will probably continue to have lots of “overeating accidents!”

After you overindulge, I definitely do NOT recommend skipping your next meal or skipping meals the next day to make up for it. I usually don’t even recommend cutting back either, although there may be exceptions where you could manipulate your meal size or macronutrient composition.

I generally recommend returning immediately to your “regularly scheduled meal programming,” because this continues to encourage the maintenance of positive habits such as eating 5-6 small meals every day.

I do suppose whether you cut back could depend on whether you’ve been on low calories a long time, how lean you were already, and on whether you were in a caloric deficit already. If you were in a calorie deficit for the day, then the extra calories might only bring you up to maintenance, not “over” your daily limit, which might not be as damaging as if you were in a calorie surplus.

If you were already very lean or had been dieting strictly for a long time (as in a bodybuilder coming off a competition), a large meal or entire high calorie day might not have any negative effect either. Your metabolism has a way of slowing down if you keep your calories too low 100% of the time.

With occasional (planned) higher calorie days, you’d be using the BURN THE FAT “zig-zag” or “cycling” principle, so eating more in this context can be a positive thing. (Note: You can learn more about this technique in the BURN THE FAT program at www.burnthefat.com). However, there’s a big difference between a planned “cheat meal” or a planned high carb, clean food “re-feed” day and a binge on junk food. Regardless of total 24 hour calorie intake for the day, you could still store body fat after heavy eating if it’s done at certain times and in a certain metabolic state.

Although I do prescribe calorie levels based on daily (24 hr) needs, I believe you should also pay attention to 3 hour “windows” when you’re thinking about adjusting your caloric intake. Calories and macronutrients (protein/aminos, carbs/sugar and fat) are partitioned into glycogen, muscle or fat tissue or burned immediately depending very much on present moment energy and recovery needs and on what’s going to happen over the next 3 hours or so as the food enters your system.

So, if you’re going to be plopping down on the couch to watch football games for the rest of the day and night after that big holiday meal, beware – you might just want to cut back on that next meal a little, especially starches and sugars.

Bottom line: It’s okay to eat small amounts of your favorite junk foods once in a while as planned “free meals,” and it’s a good idea to eat more in general from time to time to keep your metabolism humming along. However, your best bet if you’re really serious about fat loss is to avoid huge meals and avoid bingeing in the first place. ALWAYS practice portion control – even on holidays.

If you ever do slip, don’t beat yourself up, just get right back on the wagon with your next meal and remember, the past is behind you and today is a new day.

Your friend and coach,

Tom Venuto, CSCS, NSCA-CPT

P.S. If you’re interested in burning fat naturally in a healthy, sensible way, then be sure to take a look at Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle – it’s the best place to start your journey: www.BurnTheFat.com

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.burnthefat.com

5 Excuses That Won’t Fly in 2010

By Tom Venuto, author of Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle.

It’s 2010. 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. 2010 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 2010’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 2010, lack of support is no longer a valid excuse. Online social networking is exploding (check out Twitter 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 2010, 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 2010. 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 2010 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 2010, 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 2010, remember my Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle Creed: You can either make excuses or get results, but you can’t do both!

Your friend and coach,

Tom Venuto
Fat Loss Coach

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.burnthefat.com

Fitness Challenge Debunks Holiday Weight Gain Myth

To disprove the myth that weight gain is inevitable during the holiday season, hundreds of Americans are signing up for a fitness challenge that tests their ability to become lean and fit between the end of November and the beginning of January.

For the Holiday Challenge, a fitness contest that begins on Thanksgiving Day (November 26), participants can sign up at the Burn The Fat website (www.BurnTheFat.com/challenge) where they can also track their exercise and nutrition regimens for 50 days. Those who slim down the most could win a Caribbean vacation or other prizes.

The Holiday Challenge is the brainchild of fat loss expert Tom Venuto, author of the best-selling e-book Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle, and The Body Fat Solution (Avery/Penguin), as seen in Oprah magazine.

“Too many people buy into the news stories that say Americans will gain 5 to 10 pounds of body fat in the six weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Venuto says. In reality, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average amount gained over the holidays is much more modest, just over one pound.

“So the idea that everyone is going to pack on several pounds is clearly a myth,” Venuto says. “But people believe that myth and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

To turn the conventional wisdom on its head, Venuto is challenging the thousands who follow his Burn The Fat blog to not just maintain their weight but to actually lose body fat during the holiday season.

“No one consciously sets a ‘goal’ to get in worse shape over the holidays,” Venuto says, “They do it by default. Mentally, people accept the idea that it’s impossible to stay in shape because of all the parties, the family get-togethers and the tempting food, so they say ‘Why bother?’”

Once people resign themselves to thinking that gaining fat is unavoidable they are actually setting a “negative goal,” Venuto says. And, he contends, the only way to counteract that unconscious negative decision is to create a conscious goal to do the opposite: to get in better shape over the holidays.

As an incentive to those who take part in the Holiday Challenge (at www.BurnTheFat.com/InnerCircle ), Venuto will award two grand prizes of a five-day vacation in Negril, Jamaica to the overall winners in the men’s division and the women’s.

Because the Holiday Challenge is a body transformation contest – and not simply a weight-loss competition – participants will be judged on how much they improve their body composition (the amount of lean body mass and body fat percentage). Contestants will also be judged on the visual improvement in their bodies (as illustrated by their “before” and “after” pictures), and the inspirational essay they must submit during the contest. In addition to the overall winners, additional prizes, (including IPods and Kindles) will be awarded to winners in other categories such as “Most Ripped,” “Most Muscular” and “Most Inspirational.”

During the Holiday Challenge, contestants must enter their body fat measurements, workout details and food intake (even on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day) using a daily journal at the Burn The Fat Inner Circle website (www.BurnTheFat.com/InnerCircle).

But participants will need to do more than simply follow contest rules. They will also have to challenge the excuses and rationalizations that cause many people to fall off the fitness wagon during December.

“One of the most common excuses is ‘I’m too busy to work out over the holidays,’” Venuto says. “But no one is too busy for their highest priorities. Your health and your body have to become your highest priority – because without your health, you can’t enjoy anything else in life, including your family or the holidays.”

And those who want to be successful in the Holiday Challenge must also break out of the “either/or” thinking that keeps many people from reaching their fitness goals. “People believe they can either get in shape or they can enjoy themselves – but not both,” Venuto says. “But the truth is you really can enjoy the holidays and get in better shape at the same time.”

“Life is not an “either/or” proposition,” he adds. “It’s a matter of balance. And challenging yourself to achieve that balance is a great way to start the New Year!”

For complete details, prizes and entry requirements for the Burn The Fat Holiday Fitness Challenge go to:    www.BurnTheFat.com/AcceptTheChallenge

For information about Burn The Fat, Feed the Muscle, the official fat-burning system of the Holiday Fitness Challenge, go to:   www.BurnTheFat.com

Huge Buzz Over Burn The Fat Holiday Challenge

A few days ago, fat loss author/expert Tom Venuto issued a bold challenge to hundreds of thousands of people…

Basically, he “called them out,” (but in a motivatingsort of way, that is).

Tom was making an announcement about a new type offitness transformation challenge contest that willrun – get this – through ALL the holidays:

Thankgiving (US), Christmas and New Years.

He actually suggested that now is the BEST time totransform your body and that procrastinating untilNew Year’s is a pointless waste of time. If youwanted a better body, why wait, right?

He also said that he thinks its downright “neurotic”to believe that you can’t get leaner AND enjoy holidayfood at the same time.

According to Tom, that is a catastrophic form of”EITHER / OR THINKING” which leads many people to procrastination or self-sabotage.

You can read more of Tom’s “call to action” here:

Click Here to Read Tom Venuto’s Challenge to You

To say there was a “response” would be an understatement…

Tom’s blog had something like 500 comments on it when he first issued this challenge and he hasn’t even opened the contest registration yet.

He also hasn’t released the prize package list yet, but rumor has it, he is sending the overall winners somewhere tropical… a warm place to show off a hot new body in thedead of winter!


But if it wasn’t the prizes, what created all the buzz, then?

Well, Tom simply asked two questions in his challenge announcement:

(1) “Are you concerned about dealing with holiday food and drink temptations that might lead you to become one of the “holiday fat gain” statistics?”


hundreds upon hundreds of people raised their hands and said, “YES, I accept the challenge!”

It became clear that what people need more than “another diet program” is MOTIVATION…. INSPIRATION… and a REASON WHY to get up, move, and change the things that need improving.

By providing a goal (a contest), a source of motivation (prizes and recognition), accountability (A forum with THOUSANDS of like-minded fitness enthusiasts to help you along) and expert advice (a place with coaching and education resources), THAT combination was the trigger that had so many people say YES to this challenge.

Maybe, if you too say “YES, I accept your challenge,” a fitness competition during the holidays could be an event that not only keeps you from gaining fat from the season’s indulgences, but could inspire and motivate you to achieve your best shape of the year, or even the bestshape of your life.

I can tell you this: I’ve heard it myself from a lot of people; it’s reward enough to get through the “holidaze”in better shape than you began them; winning would just be the icing on the cake.

I agree. And I believe you CAN do it NOW – DURING theholidays – while enjoying the food and festivities (with balance and moderation), and you will NOT beone of the procrastinators who say, “I’ll start afterNew Year’s day.”

Tom’s Burn The Fat Inner Circle Will be “CONTEST CENTRAL”

===> Click Here to Join the Inner Circle

He just opened up a new challenge forum where ALL contestants and members will converge to post their before/after results, post their journals and all support each other
towards an incredible “50-DAY-BURN!”

If you want to be a part of online fitness history andbecome a contestant in the first-ever 50 Day Burn The FatHoliday Challenge, you will be instantly eligible for the contest and get access to the challenge forum whenyou join the inner circle:

===> Click Here to Join the Inner Circle

Another way to get started: Read (or Re-Read) Burn The Fat,
Feed The Muscle.

If you don’t have this ebook yet, this is the classic manual that many people call the “bible of fat loss” – it’s a virtual roadmap for how to eat, train and get motivated to win a transformation contest or, simply get yourself in the best shape of your life

Get Burn The Fat =====> Click Here
Anyone who already owns Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle is automatically eligible to enter the contest, with no other purchase required.

Registration for the contest will open at the Burn The Fat Inner Circle on Thursday, November 19th. There may be some restrictions and the contest is void where prohibited by state or country law.

More details are coming soon.

you can read Tom’s Holiday Fitness Challenge call to arms, and get on the notification list about the contest prizes,rules and instructions by visiting this page:

Click Here to Read Tom Venuto’s Challenge to You
To your best body transformation, while enjoying the Food and festivities of the holidays at the same time!

Caveman Training vs. Bodyweight Exercise Revolution Workouts: A Side by Side Comparison

Caveman Training (CT) and Bodyweight Exercise Revolution (BER) are two very recent methods of training that I have written about on this website. CT is a high intensity training protocol using “caveman” tools such as sandbags, sledgehammers, and large tires.

BER, on the other hand is a complete bodyweight program, which literally requires no equipment. The Continue reading

Tom Venuto’s Holiday Fitness Challenge to You

The following is a Guest Post By Tom Venuto, NSCA-CPT, CSCS and author of Burn The Fat, Feed the Muscle.

Every year as Thanksgiving gets closer, you’ve probably seen the depressing reports: “Most people gain between 5 and 10 pounds of body fat in the six weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.” I’m not sure if this worries you or not, but a lot of people are terrified about getting fatter in the next two months. They anticipate the workouts falling by the wayside and the holiday food calling out to them irresistibly, defeating even the strongest willpower. There’s good news and bad news about this.

Good news: According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average amount gained is much more modest – just over a pound.

Bad news: A study by the National Institutes of Health found that this seasonal weight gain – even just a pound – is the kind of weight gain that most people don’t lose when the holidays are over; it simply adds to the “weight creep” that “sneaks up” on you as you get older.

People often wonder how it’s possible to wake up one morning at age 40 or 45 and “suddenly” they’re 30 pounds fatter – or more – than they were in college. Mystery solved.

Of course, some people really do pack it on over the holidays, but whether its a pound or ten pounds, did you ever ask yourself why does holiday weight gain happen at all?

In previous years, I’ve asked my readers and here are some common answers I was given:

Holiday Excuse Survey Says…

“I’m too busy over the holidays to work out as often as usual.”

“I’m more stressed over the holidays, and the food is there, so I eat more.”

“I have at least three parties to attend and then there’s Christmas and New Year’s, so it’s impossible to stay on a diet”

“No one can tell me not to enjoy myself over the holidays so I’m just going to eat whatever I want.”

These answers all have a few things in common:

“Either/Or” Thinking and “Reverse Goal Setting” Exposed

First, they assume that you can EITHER get in better shape OR enjoy yourself, but not both. Stated in reverse: You can either deprive yourself of holiday enjoyments or gain weight, but it has to be one or the other. The truth is, “either/or thinking” is neurotic thinking and a great killer of fitness programs.

Second, these are all excuses or rationalizations. “I’m too busy” for example, is always an excuse, because I have never known someone who was too busy to make time for his her highest life priorities. We all have the same amount of time – 24 hours a day – the real problem is, most people don’t make exercise and healthy eating a priority. And remember, words mean little. Actions reveal a person’s true priorities.

Third, none of these are the real reasons most people gain weight over the holidays to begin with. The real reason is because an intention was never set for the opposite: To get in better shape over the holidays.

Most people set a “goal” to get in worse shape over the holidays. It’s not consciously set, of course, as few people would intentionally set out to get fatter. They simply do it by default. In their minds, they accept that it must be just about impossible to stay in shape with everything going on over the holiday season, so why bother?

Rationing Lies For Holiday Failure

Once the decision has been made, then the rationalizing continues:

“Why should I deprive myself?”
“Family is more important”
“Worrying about diet and exercise during the holidays is neurotic”
“I don’t care if I gain a few pounds, I’m going to enjoy myself anyway”
“It’s only these two or three weeks that I let myself go wild”
“I’ll start the first week in January and lose the weight then.”

As a result of this “negative goal-setting,” they expect to work out less, eat more and gain a few pounds, and they don’t seem to even consider alternatives.

But what would happen if you…

SET A GOAL TO GET IN BETTER shape over the holidays?

What would happen if you decided that it was not an all or nothing proposition and that you could enjoy the holidays and all it has to offer and get in better shape at the same time?

And what if you decided that your health and your body were the highest priorities in your life, because you realized that can’t enjoy anything else in life, including family or holidays, if you don’t have your health?

Here’s what would happen: You’d get in better shape!

I’m not all that different from you just because I’m a bodybuilder and fitness professional. I have many of the same problems, concerns and struggles as you do. Although today I always get in better shape between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, that’s a result of a conscious choice, a close examination of my old belief systems and a lot of action. For me, it all started about eight years ago.

For most of my adult life, I wasn’t much of a traveler and I didn’t enjoy flying or staying in hotels. For one thing, I had so many business commitments in the East Coast health club business, that I seldom left town for long, as I had to “tend to the stores.” But I also had a belief that if I traveled, my workouts and nutrition would suffer. After all, “it would be hard to stick with my usual bodybuilding diet, and I wouldn’t have access to my usual gyms”, I told myself. For these reasons, I never did much travel..

Then I was forced to take some trips for business reasons. Predictably enough, my nutrition and workouts suffered while I was spending time in airplanes and in hotels. With my experience having confirmed my beliefs, I re-affirmed to myself, “See, travelling is nothing but a pain. You just can’t stay on a diet and training program when you’re out of town.”

After several more trips, I noticed that something very negative happened: I surrendered. I had resigned myself to “not bother” while I was on the road. I let my expectations create my reality.

But I didn’t let it go on for long. As soon as I became aware of what was happening, I decided that I wouldn’t tolerate it, so I challenged myself and my previous limiting beliefs. I asked myself, “Why the heck not? Why let myself backslide? Why even settle for maintaining? Why not challenge myself to improve while I’m traveling?” The answer was: There was no good reason, there were only excuses.

From that day forward, I set a challenge for myself…

To come back from every trip or vacation in better shape than when I left.

Of course there were exceptions, as when I went on a vacation for total R & R. But I never let travel get in my way again. I prepared food that I would eat on the planes so airline food was never an excuse… I usually chose hotels that had kitchens, so I could cook my own food. I went food shopping immediately after check-in. I wrote my training schedule and scouted gyms in advance… And I actually found myself training harder than usual.

No matter where I was training – it could even be some “dungeon” of a gym in the middle of nowhere – it didn’t matter because my mind was focused on improving and looking better when I came home than when I left. I had a goal to motivate me!

What do you think happened? It’s not hard to guess: I always came home in better shape than when I left.

Since then, my “travel challenge” has become somewhat of a ritual in my life. When I’m away from my “home-base” it becomes a “fitness road trip.” I search the Internet or yellow pages or ask locals to help me find the most hard-core gym nearby wherever I will be staying (Gold’s Gym works for me!) When I get there, I train every bit as hard as if I had a competition just weeks away. I look forward to it now. In fact, this is what led me to my “holiday fitness challenge” idea.

Like many people, I travel over the holidays, so I’m automatically in “travel challenge” mode at thanksgiving, Christmastime and New Year’s. But with the additional temptations and busyness that the holidays bring on top of the usual travel stresses, I saw fit to declare a new challenge: “The Holiday Challenge.” The difference was that for my “holiday challenge,” I pledged to not only to return home in better shape than when I left, but to enjoy the holidays to the fullest at the same time.

can you eat this

People who think I deprive myself to look the way I do would be shocked: I eat like a KING over the holidays including Pumpkin (or apple) Pie at Thanksgiving and OF COURSE my mom’s famous red and green Jell-O Christmas cake. Then on New Year’s I’m usually toasting champagne and having a blast with friends or family….

The difference is, I don’t eat like that very often.

Every other meal stays right on schedule and I work out hard and consistently over the holidays; I don’t let everything fall apart just because ‘tis the season.’

The idea that you can EITHER enjoy the holidays OR stay in shape – but not both – is wrong, it’s damaging and it’s limiting.

Life is not an either or proposition; it’s a matter of balance.

Success does not mean going to extremes. Success can be a simple matter of re-examining your beliefs, rearranging your priorities, setting goals, changing the questions you ask yourself and re-evaluating your expectations.

Your expectations will become your reality. What are you expecting? Are you expecting success? Are you expecting to be in better shape after holiday parties, celebrations, banquets, dinners, and desserts? If not, then why not? What’s preventing you from enjoying all of the above and still getting in better shape? Do you have a limiting belief which dictates that it’s one or the other? Could it be that you never set a goal, intention or expectation to do it? Could it be that you’re rationalizing or making excuses? If so, then I challenge you to change it this year.

As of this writing, there are less than two months until the end of the year. Why not see how much you can improve your physique over the holidays, without depriving yourself of any holiday enjoyments or festivities? Just step up your expectations. Step up your standards. Step up your nutrition. Step up your training. Step up your action. Step up and accept the “Burn The Fat holiday fitness challengeand see what happens!

That’s right… The First Annual Burn The Fat Holiday Fitness challenge contest is open from Wednesday November 18th to Wednesday November 25th.

Over the course of a “50-Day Burn” which spans all three major holidays – Thanksgiving (US), Christmas and New Year’s – you’ll have the motivation, the accountability and structured program to end the year strong, start the new year on the foot and possibly get in the best shape of your life.

Even better, you’ll be able to eat delicious Holiday Food and enjoy yourself to the fullest at the same time because this is a lifestyle program which allows your favorite foods in moderation and balance.

And the best part of all: I’m sending the winners of the contest to Negril Jamaica to show off their new bodies on the beach in 2010!

Taking the Burn The Fat Challenge is simple. You can enter the contest two ways:

(1) Purchase the Burn The Fat e-book from www.BurnTheFat.com or

(2) Join the Burn The Fat Inner Circle fitness support community (“contest central”) by Clicking Here.

You’ll be automatically enrolled with either purchase.

Or, if you want ALL the contest details and the FULL list of prizes, visit the contest page by Clicking Here.

Train hard and expect success!

-Tom Venuto,
Author of Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle
Founder/CEO, Burn The Fat Inner Circle

About the author:

Tom Venuto is a natural bodybuilder, certified personal trainer and freelance fitness writer. Tom is the author of “Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle,” 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.burnthefat.com

A Call to Building Muscle and Strength with Bodyweight Exercises

Fitness magazines have evolved dramatically in the past few years. The popularity of Crossfit and “300” style workouts have forced magazines to make a change from only interviewing bodybuilders to interviewing athletes from all walks of life, as well as celebrities and their celebrity trainers.

You have average joes performing “The Spartacus Workout” and doing complex movements such as Bottoms Up Kettlebell Cleans and Turkish Get Ups. The strength and fitness levels of regular folk is quite impressive these days. However, just as the rich get richer and the poorer get poorer…the fit get fitter, and the fat get fatter.

The large majority of information found in fitness magazines is still not useful for the person who is just starting out…the person who has only the weekends to train…the person who just needs to drop a few pounds….has a stressful day job…or goes to school full time.

Shah Training grew at a time where not too many people were talking about simple bodyweight workouts for fitness. I sought to draw the gap between the information presented in fitness magazines, and average fitness enthusiasts. I now realize that there is still a need for this kind of information.

The Era of Full Body Workouts

Life goes in cycles. Bodybuilding became popular with full-body workouts. Bodybuilders of old such a Steve Reeves (the actor who played the first Hercules), used 3-days per week full body workouts to build their bodies.
Then the new bodybuilders of our day began popularizing split-training. You began to see newbie trainees in the gym, who never even had dreams of becoming professional bodybuilders, training their arms in the gym for hours on end.

It was a huge waste of time. Ebooks, youtube videos, and blogs began to prop up speaking against such regimens. Eventually, with the popularity of the “300” workout, the scene began to change, the pendulum shifted back to full-body workouts…sort of.

The new full body workouts looked drastically different than the old full body workouts. Old school bodybuilders used 8-12 exercises for their whole body, and performed majority straight sets. The new full body workouts were all circuit-based.

These workouts were not focused on building strength or muscle. It was all about burning calories, and trainees found that their clients could burn a lot of calories with these high intensity full body workouts using either light weights or bodyweight exercises only.

What are Full Body Bodyweight Workouts Good For?

I’m all for full body bodyweight workouts, but I have discovered that they do not provide the jack-of-all trades benefits I once thought they did.

Now, when I talk about full body bodyweight workouts, I’m talking about circuit style, balls to wall, finish the workout at any cost, type of programs. For further illustration, let’s examine two full-body workouts:

Workout A

  • Pullups 3×10 repetitions
  • Lunges 3×15 repetitions, each leg
  • Bodyweight squats 3×20 repetitions
  • Plyometric Pushups 3×10 repetitions
  • Dips 3×10 repetitions

Workout B

3 rounds of:

  • Jumping Jacks x 50 reps
  • Mountain Climbers x 20 reps each leg
  • Pushups x 20 reps
  • High Knees x 20 reps each leg
  • Burpees x 10 reps

Do you see the difference between these two workouts?

The first one is strength-focused, and the second one is all about burning calories. I would categorize the second workout as “bodyweight cardio.” You do this long enough, and you’ll get leaner, but you won’t be building any muscle or strength.

The first workout, on the other hand, if you consistently add repetitions, sets, and seek to make each exercise more difficult – you will certainly build more muscle and strength.

A Call to Building Strength and Muscle

Bodyweight cardio has its place. Even similar weight-bearing workouts – such as performing high intensity Kettlebell swings, snatches, and cleans – have their place with regards to losing fat.

However, there needs to be a point in your training program where you switch to a complete muscle-building and strength-building plan. There are a couple of benefits to this approach:

Weight Loss – we know that building muscle helps us lose fat. Athletes who have a lot of muscle on their body tend to find it easier to stay lean simply because their metabolic rates are higher. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat. So, even if you completely abandon your interval training, bodyweight cardio, high intensity kettlebell workouts, etc…you will still see a decent amount of fat loss, given you don’t eat too much food to account for the new increase in your metabolic rate.

Increased Muscular Endurance – If you stick to muscle building workouts for just one month, then go back to your usual bodyweight cardio workouts, you will find that the workouts that were once challenging, are now easier to get through! My good friend Dheeraj would always beat us when we performed backyard bodyweight challenges. I did not realize it at the time, but it was because he was more muscular and stronger than all of us. That was the first instance when I understood the importance of muscle and strength-focused workouts.

There are also numerous health and cardiovascular benefits associated with a focused muscle and strength building program. For example, muscle tissue helps protect your joints, tendons, and bones. In addition, strength training helps reduce the symptoms of arthritis, depression, diabetes, back pain, and osteoporosis.

Program Recommendation

There is one program that I recommend with regard to helping you build solid muscle and strength with bodyweight movements. It is called the Muscle Experiment. Click here to learn more.

A Stupid Appetite Control Trick

Hey Guys, the following is a tip sent to me by Adam Steer of BodyweightExerciseRevolution.com:

It takes your body about 20 minutes to register a feeling of fullness, also called satiety. When you scarf down a plate of food in under 7 minutes — which an awful pile of people do — then you could conceivably make it back to the buffet table three times before you even start feeling even a bit full!

So here’s the tip…

It’s actually a two parter. When you take a mouthful, immediately put down your utensils. I mean physically let them go — don’t touch them at all. Don’t prepare your next bite while you are still chewing.

Wait until you have thoroughly chewed and swallowed your food.

And here’s part two. Now that you’ve swallowed, you STILL aren’t allowed to touch the silverware. Take a second to say something tosomeone else at the table before you prepare your next mouthful.

Who knows, you may even start an enjoyable conversation.

Not only is this more social — and a more enjoyable way to spend your meal — but it’ll take you a lot longer to eat and you’ll be more likely to feel it when you start to get full.

Try this “stupid” trick the next time you’re faced with a holiday buffet and I bet you’ll end up eating a lot less than you normally would. It all adds up…
Here’s to healthy holiday eating!


PS If you’re looking for a program that’ll help you drop a few pounds BEFORE the holidays, you may want to check out Bodyweight Exercise Revolution. It sports a 28-Day Fat Loss program that can be done anywhere and anytime.


Click Here to Grab Your Copy of Bodyweight Exercise Revolution