Visit the Blog
Here is an article by Tom Venuto from
Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle
There are not many “sure things” in life. Almost every
worthwhile endeavor comes with a certain degree of risk
and no assurance of the outcome. In the case of chiseling your
body into a lean machine, there’s always some trial, error and
experimentation necessary, especially because each person’s genetics,
body type and physiology are so unique.
There can be great value in the trial and error process as a
learning experience, but what if you could skip the unnecesary
trial and error by placing your bets on “sure things” instead
of guessing or gambling? That would be great wouldn’t it?
Unfortunately, in the health and fitness field, there appear to be
fewer “sure things” than anywhere else!
Fitness experts are known for having opinions and theories
that range from one extreme to another. Many competing fat
loss programs represent polar opposites: high carb vs low
carb being the most common example.
Scientists often end their papers with, “more research is
needed” and they rarely stick their necks out and take a
strong stand, unless the evidence is air-tight and rock-solid.
But amidst all the chaos, confusion and conflicting advice
of the nutrition and fitness world, there are a small handful
of “SURE THINGS” and you’re about to learn them all…
These are things that most of the researchers and most of
the fitness and dietetic professionals agree on.
Of course, We will never get 100% consensus on the subjects
of exercise or nutrition, because science is continuously
unfolding and one decade’s sure thing” has been known to
become the next decades “myth busted.” Should we close our
minds and accept our current “sure things” as final, we may
be closing our minds to future discoveries and potential
Even if we get a nearly unanimous vote, there’s almost
always a lone dissenter out there somewhere, and people
sometimes believe weird things, even in the face of science.
People also often believe in their dietary approaches NOT
for scientific reasons, but for environmental, spiritual
or humanitarian reasons.
Nevertheless, if we use science as our guide, then the weight
of the current evidence is heavy enough that these are as
close to SURE THINGS as we can get, and that you can’t go
wrong by applying these principles in your own fat loss
SURE THING #1: FOCUS ON THE CALORIC DEFICIT
One thing that virtually the entire scientific community
agrees on is that the law of energy balance is always with
us. In order to lose body fat, you must burn more calories
than you consume. This is known as having a “caloric deficit.”
Although there are a few people who still claim that “calories
don’t count,” I will be as bold as to say that those people
are mistaken. PLEASE NOTE CAREFULLY: There is a huge
difference between saying “you don’t have to count calories” and
“calories don’t count.”
Some diet programs are “ad libitum” in nature. This means
they do not advise calorie counting; they simply tell you
what to eat and what not to eat. You eat as you please, as
long as you follow the food restrictions provided.
What they usually don’t tell you is that the eating restrictions
are the equivalent of having built-in automatic calorie control.
These programs do not refute the law of energy balance, they
When a diet program claims, “Eat as much as you want and still
lose weight”, you are hearing a Big Fat Lie. Incidentally, the
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says it is illegal to make this
claim in advertisements and they can sue you if you do.
Many people still deny the law of calorie balance in the face
of scientific evidence.
For example, some of the old school low-carbers are notorious
for disputing the calorie balance equation, in favor of believing
in some type of “metabolic advantage” that comes from low carbs.
I.e., “eat X grams of carbs or less, and you can eat as much
as you want.”
I assure you, if you have a caloric maintenance level of 2000
calories a day and you eat 3000 calories a day of protein and
fat (no carbs) you WILL gain fat! Perhaps it will be harder to
consume that many calories in the form of protein and fat as
compared to sugar and protein and fat, but if you manage to
pull off that gastronomic feat, you will gain weight nonetheless
(and low carb writers might be surprised at how much food some
people can shovel down their throats - even sans carbs!)
Fortunately, the low carb community today has some very
intelligent voices speaking out, saying that low carb does
not mean “unlimited calories” and that low carb diets also
require a caloric deficit; they may simply make it easier
to achieve that deficit, automatically without counting calories.
While I am very much in favor of doing things “by the numbers,”
programs that tend to make you “automatically” eat less without
counting calories are not a bad thing at all (the spontaneous
reduction in caloric intake often occurs due to an appetite-
suppressive effect of certain diets, and or due to the selection
of low calorie-density foods which are highly satiating).
That said, no combination of foods, elimination of foods,
or arrangement of macronutrients will override the law of
calorie balance. To lose fat, you have to eat less than you
You have to be diligent about maintaining your deficit
(1) Energy balance is dynamic, and what is a deficit for you
today, may not be a significant deficit six months from now
(2) If your maintenance calories are 2000, and your intake is
1500 one day (a deficit) and 2500 the next (a surplus), you
have NOT achieved a caloric defict over the two day period -
you are in energy balance. Conveniently, most people seem to
have some kind of selective “amnesia” and they only remember
the days they were in a deficit! Consistency over time is
The sooner you accept that the cornerstone of fat loss is a
caloric deficit, the sooner you’ll be able to think clearly
about your nutritional choices and the better you’ll be able
to judge everything you ever read, see and hear about nutrition,
for the rest of your life.
By the way, did you know that there are two corollaries to the
law of calorie balance, which almost no one teaches?
In my Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle program, I reveal these
little-known calorie corollaries (chapter 6) and I teach the
exact, scientific formulas for calculating your ideal calorie
intake for burning the maximum amount of fat, without losing
muscle or slowing down your metabolism.
You can learn more by visiting:
Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle
Your friend and coach,
Tom Venuto, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle