Question: Today’s interview is special because I have the honor of speaking with Tom Venuto, who’s probably the biggest online fat loss and fitness expert in the world and author of Burn the Fat Feed The Muscle program and the Holy Grail Body Transformation System. Tom, for those readers who haven’t heard of you, what can you tell us a little about yourself, your experience and so on?
Answer: Sure. I’m a natural bodybuilder and I’ve been training since 1984 and competing since 1989. I’ve competed 28 times as a lifetime steroid-free athlete. I’ve been in the fitness industry my whole life and have worn just about every hat there is. I got my degree in exercise science and worked as a trainer and health club manager for many years. Then I took up an interest in research and writing. And today I’m a full time author, freelance writer, internet publisher and a fat loss coach. I write for the bodybuilding and fitness magazines like Men’s Fitness, IRONMAN and some others. So far, I’ve written about 400 articles and three books on fat loss
Question: Your latest program, the Holy Grail Body Transformation system is about gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time. What made you tackle these two goals together?
Answer: Very simply, it’s what almost everyone wants. Gaining muscle and losing fat simultaneously is the most desirable of all goals. The problem is that it’s not an easy goal to achieve. It takes a very strategic approach. Most people don’t know how to do it and frankly, most people don’t think its even possible, so the “quest” to achieve this goal has eluded most people. That’s why, as the name implies, it’s the “holy grail” of all fitness goals. I’m teaching people that (a) it IS possible and (b) it IS difficult unless you really know what you’re doing and (c) it DOES take a very strategic approach, so I’ve finally put together a step by step program that gives you the system to get it done.
Question: These two goals seem to be contradictory as fat loss requires a calorie deficit and muscle gain a calorie surplus, what made you believe that these two goals were attainable concurrently?
Answer: These two goals are somewhat conflicting. It’s unlikely that you’ll gain muscle and lose fat at the same time if you define “the same time” as right now as you are reading this, or as in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. That would be the “same time” literally speaking but that’s usually not the way it works. You realize how achieving this goal is possible when you change your definition of “the same time” and you change your time perspective.
What happens is your hormones and your state of energy balance are constantly fluctuating. Sometimes you are in a deficit. Sometimes you are in a surplus. Sometimes you are in energy balance. Sometimes you are releasing predominantly anabolic hormones and partitioning nutrients into the cells for growth. Sometimes you are releasing predominantly catabolic hormones and partitioning nutrients out of cells for use as energy.
This happens naturally to some degree, but what we’re doing with this Holy Grail system is not trying to gain muscle and lose fat 24-7, we’re trying to intentionally manipulate these cycles ourselves. By intentionally alternating back and forth between surplus/anabolic state and a deficit/catabolic state, the net result over time – weeks or months – is muscle gain with fat loss.
Question: So losing fat and gaining muscle concurrently is something that’s been scientifically researched and proven possible?
Answer: If you scoured through the research on exercise and nutrition related topics, where the subjects were strength trained and had their body composition measured, you could find a lot of examples of concurrent fat loss and muscle gain. I gave one example in my Holy Grail e-book because it was particularly dramatic and unusual.
In one study published in the scientific journal, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, researchers from the United States Sports Academy studied a group of overweight sedentary men who followed a program of endurance and weight training exercise for 14 weeks. At the end of the study, the subjects had gained an average of 9.5 pounds of muscle and lost 16.3 pounds of fat.
Question: In your program, you talk about the 4 X-factors. What are these factors?
Answer: Occasionally you see people make exceptional gains and they actually make it look easy. It makes people wonder if it isn’t so difficult after all or if they have some kind of secret. The
fact is, there are several unique conditions where large muscle gains with concurrent fat loss are possible. These are what I call the x factors.
The first is beginners – their bodies are more responsive because they’ve never done weight training before. They’re a long way from their genetic potential so they have more room for improvement and can expect greater muscle gains in the early stages.
The next one is muscle memory. Concurrent muscle gain with fat loss is sometimes simply the regaining of muscle that had been previously developed and lost after a layoff. It’s easier to regain atrophied muscle than to build new muscle from scratch.
The third one, unfortunately, is drugs. Anabolic drugs or fat burning drugs can increase the probability of losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time.
The last one is genetics. Genetic superiors (mesomorph body types) are more likely to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time.
You need to keep these in mind when you set goals because if your expectations don’t match your results then you tend to get really discouraged.
Question: Is fat loss and muscle gain at the same time something that the average person, one who doesn’t have super genetics, can achieve?
Answer: Yes, and that’s my entire mission with the Holy Grail program. Some of these factors, like genetics are not in your control, so my program focuses on factors you can control with nutrition, training and lifestyle.
This is only part of the interview I conducted with Tom Venuto. For the rest of our discussion visit Tom Venuto Interview Part 2