Book Notes – Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle – Tom Venuto

Book Notes – Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle – Tom Venuto


  • If your goal is to shed fat permanently and safely without losing muscle, it’s truer to say, “Diets never work.”
  • Diets increase hunger and cravings.
  • Diets slow down your metabolism: “adaptive thermogenesis”.
  • When you cut calories, your NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) level drops. Many people already know that low-calorie diets make them lethargic.
  • Without enough fuel coming in, you’ll fatigue faster, your strength will suffer.
  • The odds of you losing fat permanently with traditional low-calorie diets are stacked against you biologically, psychologically, and environmentally.
  • The beginning of a habit is like an invisible thread, but every time we repeat the act we strengthen the strand, add to it another filament, until it becomes a great cable and binds us irrevocably.”
  • The best way to destroy bad habits is to replace them with new ones, rather than trying to overcome them with willpower.
  • Cut calories if necessary as your weekly results dictate. Do it slowly and progressively in stages, not all at once.
  • The fastest way to transform your body is to eat more and burn more.
  • Training (burning more):
    • Raises your metabolic rate
    • Creates a caloric deficit without triggering the starvation response
    • Provides countless health benefits
    • Builds and maintains lean body mass
    • Increases fat-burning hormones
  • Dieting (eating less):
    • Slows down your metabolic rate
    • Triggers the starvation response
    • May be harmful to your health
    • Promotes loss of lean body mass
    • Decreases fat-burning hormones
  • Your body composition is entirely under your own control:
    • How much you eat
    • What you eat
    • When you eat
    • What type of exercise you do
    • How frequently you exercise
    • How long you exercise
    • How hard you exercise
    • Your overall lifestyle
    • Who you socialize with and allow to influence you
    • Your mental attitude
  • Don’t try to become better than someone else; become better than you used to be.
  • Losing weight is the wrong goal. You should forget about your weight and instead concentrate on shedding fat and gaining muscle!
  • ‘Skinny fat’ may be fitness slang, but it’s a real clinical condition: Researchers call it “normal weight obesity.” Where you are lean but carrying excess fat around your frame.
  • John Wooden once said, “Being average means you’re as close to the bottom as you are to the top.”
  • There is no such thing as failure—only feedback, only results.
  • Everything looks like a failure in the middle. You can’t bake a cake without getting the kitchen messy. Halfway through surgery it looks like there’s been a murder in the operating room.”
  • Don’t just follow advice:
    1. Research your own experience.
    2.  Absorb what is useful.
    3. Reject what is useless.
    4. Add what is specifically your own.
  • When gaining/losing weight: Never panic over a one-week fluctuation. The trend over time is much more revealing. Don’t get emotional about short-term results.
  • Each time you make a change, watch carefully for what happens every day during the following week.
  • Performance improves when performance is measured, so always keep score!
  • Another way to penetrate the subconscious (although much slower) is through spaced repetition.
  • By constantly repeating negative commands such as “I can’t lose weight,” your subconscious will see to it that you never lose weight.
  • The instant you notice a negative thought, immediately replace it with a positive thought, affirmation, or question.
  • Most people never reach their full potential because they don’t believe it’s possible, so they don’t even try.
  • He who chases two rabbits catches neither.
  • Whatever idea is fixed in your subconscious will always express itself in physical form: behaviors and results.
  • Experimental and clinical psychologists have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the human nervous system cannot tell the difference between an actual experience and one imagined vividly and in detail.” – Dr. Maltz
  • When losing weight, use a maximum calorie deficit of 30 percent below maintenance.
  • The people with the best bodies in the world are meticulous about tracking calories.
  • Establish a foundation first (follow a program/diet), then experiment, adjust, and customize.
  • Remember the 80‒20 rule. That’s the efficiency principle, which says that 20 percent of your actions—the vital few—will produce the majority of your results. The other 80 percent—the trivial many—is minutiae.
  • When you see nutrient recommendations for the general population, keep in mind that the average person is not training and that minimum and optimum nutrition needs are two different concepts.
  • Fats to avoid: hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated, and trans-fatty acids.
  • Oils are, by nature, unstable substances that go rancid quickly with exposure to light and air.
  • Potatoes had the highest satiety index score of all the foods tested by far.
  • As you become dehydrated, your body’s core temperature increases.
  • Save the drinking for weekends, or even less often—only for holidays and special occasions (you might enjoy it more that way).
  • Track everything: structure, numbers, and timing develops discipline and attention to detail. I believe these are major factors that separate people with average bodies from people with the best bodies in the world.
  • When you’re disciplined about eating, you become disciplined about training and other areas of life as well.
  • We often use the words “good foods” and “bad foods” as figures of speech, but in reality food doesn’t fall neatly into these two categories.
  • Cook in bulk.
  • Most (the leanest people) have two or three favorite meal plans—a total of 10 to 15 different favorite meals—and they rotate those over and over.
  • Diets can actually make you a smaller version of your old self—weighing less, but still flabby and weak.
  • Paradoxically, it’s often the busiest people who get more done than anyone else, because their schedule forces them to become masters of productivity and because of momentum. – How you do anything is how you do everything.
  • Progressive overload (more volume, more weight, more sets, more reps etc.) is the number one principle of all successful training programs.
  • Sometimes you’ll make fast strength gains and increase the weight every workout. At other times, you must be patient and move up one rep at a time.
  • The bad news about plateaus is that they’re common. In fact, you should expect them. You’re more likely to zigzag your way to your goal, with sticking points and good weeks and bad weeks, than you are to shoot to your goal in a straight line without a hiccup.
  • Your body will forever be adapting to everything you throw at it and you will always be working against your body’s tendency to remain the same.
  • I’ve always found that the more complex you make your training and nutrition, the more confused you get. Simpler is better.

I found the nutrition and strength training advice in this book very applicable to other area’s in life. I therefore recommend this book even to people moderately interested in having an improved physique. If you liked these notes, you can support my blog by purchasing the full book on either: Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle on
Amazon: Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle on Amazon
Check out this book on Goodreads. I rated it 4 out of 5.

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