Q&A with Tom Venuto
Q. What do you think is the biggest myth about losing weight?
A. Definitely that dieting is the best way to lose weight, when it’s actually the WORST way! Most weight loss programs focus only on one thing, and that’s usually diet. My book is not so much about dieting your body down as it is about building your body up. It’s about getting leaner, but it’s also about building fitness, building strength, building lean muscle, building health and building confidence… and to do that, you have to approach it from more than one angle. Nutrition is the most important part, but there are four elements you need to transform your body in the shortest amount of time, and most people are missing the other three. Those are the people who say they’ve tried everything, and failed—when the truth is that their previous efforts didn’t focus on the complete picture.
Q. Why is resistance training so important even if someone’s goal is just to lose weight?
A. If you diet and you don’t do resistance training at the same time, you can lose between 30% and 50% of your weight loss in form of lean body mass. If you want to keep the muscle you have, you have to do resistance training. If you just diet, you WILL lose weight, but you’ll just become a smaller version of yourself – you’ll turn into a skinny fat person.
Q. What is the biggest mistake people make when trying to lose weight?
A. Focusing only on food quality or only on food quantity.
Those who focus only on food quantity believe that weight loss is only about calories-in-versus-calories-out, and “a calorie is just a calorie.” Those who focus only on food quality believe that weight loss is only about the nutritional value of the food, not the calories, so if they only eat health foods, they’ll automatically lose weight.
The truth is, if you want to get leaner and get healthier, you need focus on both – calorie quantity and calorie quality, not one or the other.
Q. Is there anything new in the science of burning fat and building muscle that everyone should know about?
A. The biggest breakthrough is that we’re finding that each person’s body type is unique and may need a different approach than other people’s. Most diet programs are very rigid about certain things: for example, saying everyone should eat low carbs. But what we’re discovering as research advances is that everyone is different. Some people get leaner and healthier on lower carbs, some people respond better to high carbs, and most people find that a healthy balance is right in the middle. So the science is confirming that the best approach is to customize your plan for your body type. That’s exactly what I show you how to do in BURN THE FAT, FEED THE MUSCLE.
Q. Is it ever too late?
A. Never! In fact, when you think about how you lose muscle every year if you don’t train, it’s too late not to start, no matter what your age. Resistance training combined with the right nutrition can take ten years off your biological age; it’s literally the fountain of youth. And I’m not just talking about a great body; I’m talking about great health, too.
• "I've kept the fat off for four years." --Brian Nordberg
• "This is not a diet--it's a lifestyle." --Christina Kosha
• "I feel like I'm 52 going on 24 now!" --Gary Vollhoffer
• "If a home-schooling mom of five kids all under the age of eight can do it, anyone can." --Cynthia Cardenas
• "A fitness Renaissance man." --Men's Fitness
• "Honest ... motivation." -O, The Oprah Magazine