Thank You for the Weight Loss Mind Map

How to Lose Weight

How to Lose Weight

I’d like to share an e-mail I received from Kevin Kimmel about the weight loss mind map.

“Today whilst on the Sounder Commuter train from Tukwila to Seattle I started to listen to your podcast.  When I saw the title on weight loss I decided to start with that one first, I have so far listened to it three times today.  Three months ago I went to the doctor and found out that I was a diabetic (blood sugar at 267), which is understandable since I weighed in at 442 pounds (5″9′) with family history of diabetes.  My doctor said that if I did not get my weight off he would more than likely be cutting off my feet before I died.  So I considered that a great motivation factor and started changing my lifestyle.  I have not been counting calories as of yet but I started eating four small meals with snack in between my meals.  I no longer eat fast foods and measure everything morsel of food out.  Now it is three months later and I have lost 54lbs which of course makes me happy, but now that I am eating very healthy I want complete body health.  I knew I needed to write everything out and somehow create a way to monitor every part of my health, but did not know how to begin.  I had gone out and bought a white board to start graphing out my weight, goals and exercise.  But since I did not know how to put it together, the white board has not been hung up on the wall and still has not had the first mark on it.  So you can understand why I got real excited when I listened to your podcast.  When I arrived at work, I went to the link for the overview map and opened it up.  I could swear that I heard angels singing with a full orchestra.  This is going to make an incredible difference in my goal for complete body health.  I might leave early from work so I can get my white board hung and start moping.  So thank you so much for taking the time to creating this overview map, it is deeply appreciated.”

You are very welcome Kevin.  Once I got my hands on that particular piece of software, I only had a short trial.  I opted to create something useful that even the highest priced books don’t show you.  A lot of us are visual learners.  While we read and learn how to do many things, unless it’s mapped out in a step by step process, many of the small stuff (important stuff) gets lost in the jumble of the 10,000 tips and tricks and fundamentals we’re supposed to do.

I hope this mind map can help others.  Print it out!

Weight Loss Tips To Get Shredded

There's No Shortcuts to a Six Pack

Here’s my Top 4 Weight Loss Tips for men or women who want to burn the fat and feed the muscle.

  1. Get your workouts done quickly. Start using Supersets if you aren’t already. You’ll get more work done in less time and truthfully, you’ll bump up your metabolism and increase your rate of fat burning while working out with weights.
  2. Interval training. There’s some strong evidence to show that doing interval training can help burn more fat in less time. While I do believe that, I mix my workouts up to have some cardio sessions at a moderate intensity for 40 minutes and other sessions will be high intensity styles. It’s definitely something to look into if you are trying to strip away body fat. I’d even go so far as to say if you are advanced, you do add 2 sessions per day for no more than 30 days. I’m a firm believer in the less is more approach but sometimes when you are doing less, you have a lot of areas when you can tweak your cardiovascular program and use it as a fat stripping tool.
  3. Make weight resistance your #1 priority. As you build more muscle, your metabolism will increase. This means, if you put on a pound of muscle, you could burn approximately 30-35 extra calories per hour because of that (varies for conditions and is not set in stone).  The more muscle you can build, the leaner you will become. If your goal is to build muscle or burn fat, weight training needs to be the foundation of your program.
  4. Dial in your nutrition. Make your meals at home and ensure you are eating 5-6, smaller but frequent performance meals. There’s quite a lot you can do when it comes to nutrition from carbohydrate cycling, nutrient ratio manipulation or just generally tightening up your diet to eliminate processed foods. All too often people have so-so nutritional habits and immediately look to a fat burner, some diet tea or detoxification formula when all it really would take it a few minutes analyzing your current eating plan and making some minor adjustments.

Sure, there’s a heck of a lot more to it than just these 4 little tips but let me leave you with this.

The ONE thing that literally saved me was something Dave Draper said in his book, “Brother Iron, Sister Steel.”


“There are no secrets. You simply have basic God-given genetics, body chemistry and bone structure. And provided the attributes of discipline and determination, you apply yourself full bore, and your body potential emerges, slow and sure.” - Dave Draper

How To Lose 20 Pounds Really, Really Fast

Photo Credit: Piez

After the latest comment wars on the Flat Belly Diet,  I stated that weight loss is irrelevant without a frame of reference.  This generated some feedback from people who wanted to be encouraged about their weight loss no matter what it was (water, fat or muscle).   I stand by that going by the numbers on a scale is the wrong way to go about it.  Maybe this guest article will make the point I was attempting to get across.

This article was submitted by Tom Venuto, author of Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle (rss feed). See Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle for more information on burning fat the right way.

Back “in the day” when I was a full time personal trainer and I met with weight loss clients in person at my New Jersey Health Club, the first thing I would always ask during the initial consultation was:

“Tell me what you want… and I’ll show you how to get it.”

Typical reply from client:

“I want to lose 20 pounds fast.”

My reply:

“Are you SURE that’s what you want? …If I can show you how to lose 20 pounds REALLY fast, will that make you happy?”

They nodded their head affirmatively as their eyes lit up in anticipation of the rapid weight loss secrets I was about to reveal…

Their face went white when – with a totally straight face – I pulled out a hacksaw and started walking towards them…. menacingly.

Not sure whether to laugh or run in sheer terror, they said,

“What the heck are you doing?”

“You said you wanted to lose 20 pounds fast. This is the easiest, surest, most effective way I know to take 20 pounds off you FAST! In fact, I figure that right leg of yours might even weigh 25 pounds!”

I kept walking closer and started to get into sawing position, wielding my fast, effective and guaranteed weight loss tool…

“Bear with me because this IS quick, but sometimes it takes a few minutes for me to cut through the bone.”

By this time, my client (and I) are either completely cracking up, I have seriously scared the living you know what out of them, or they just think I’m a complete lunatic… (depends on whether I was able to keep a straight face or not)

Finally, the light bulb goes on, and my client would see where I was going with this:

“Okay, smart alec,” I get it… I don’t want to lose WEIGHT, I want to lose FAT.”

Sometimes I would be having so much fun, I would just keep on playin’…

“But why not? This is easy, fast and guaranteed – just what everyone wants these days… it’s even better than taking a pill! Come on… let me hack it off! You’ll be my next testimonial: ‘I lost 20 pounds in 5 minutes!’ Imagine what that will do for my business!”

“Very funny. I told you, I get it! I want to lose FAT, not muscles and bones. I need my leg!”

Naturally, of course, I don’t always have to pull out my trusty blade. Every once in a while… about as often as a total solar eclipse… a client answers my question like this:

“What do I want? Tom, I want to lose 20 pounds of body fat in the next 12 weeks. I want to do it slowly, safely and healthfully and then keep it off permanently. I want all the fat around my hips and thighs completely gone and I want a firm flat stomach. I want muscle all over my body while still looking feminine. I’d like to see myself at about 16% body fat and maintain all my muscle or gain a few pounds of lean mass if I can, especially in my arms. This is important to me because I want to set a good example for my kids, I want to be healthy and live to at least 90 and I want my husband to look at me and say, “I love your body,” and I want to be able to *honestly* say back to him, “me too!”

It is on these rare occasions that I know there is still intelligent life on this planet.

If you could answer the question, “What do you want” with the lucidity, clarity and specificity that this woman did, I don’t think you would ever have any difficulty reaching your health and fitness goals… or any other goal in your life, for that matter.

Her answer was what you call a very “well-formed” goal, backed up with lots of emotional motivation-inducing “reasons why.”

“I want to lose weight” is a poorly-formed goal.

“Weight” is not the same as “fat.” Weight includes muscle, bone, internal organs as well as lots and lots of water.

If you only learn ONE thing from all my newsletters, articles and books, PLEASE learn this:


FAT LOSS is what you want, not weight loss.

If your body were 100% rock-solid muscle, with absolutely nothing that jiggled (unless it was supposed to), would you care how much you weighed?

I bet you wouldn’t! And if that’s true, then…


By measuring your body fat, you take the guesswork out of your health and fitness plan and you get an accurate picture of what’s really happening in your body as a result of your diet and exercise program.

Instead of worrying about whether you are losing muscle, or wondering if you are losing fat, you can measure it and KNOW for sure. (I always get a good chuckle when someone tells me they’re worried about losing muscle when they don’t even measure how much muscle they have!)

Instead of being confused by all the “opinions” from weight loss and exercise “experts” who are all telling you something different, you can MEASURE your body composition and based on the results, you can KNOW for sure whether your program is working.

A very wise man once said,

“A single measurement is worth a thousand opinions.”

So, how do you measure body fat?

Thanks to technology, there are some methods today that are so accurate, they can tell you whether your left pinky has more fat than your right pinky! Unfortunately, many of them are either too expensive or they are inaccessible, being found only in hospitals or research facilities

If you want to learn a LOT about various body fat testing methods, chapter 3 of my e-book, Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle goes into great detail about the pros and cons of all the various fat testing methods. Instead of re-hashing it all here, let me give you three quick and easy, practical suggestions:

Suggestion 1: Have a trainer or fitness professional measure you if this service is available at your local health club. Sometimes, there’s a charge – usually $15 – $25, although some clubs offer the service for free to all their members.

Suggestion 2: Purchase an Accu-measure skinfold caliper.

The Accu-measure was designed to allow you to measure your own body fat in the privacy of your own home (you don’t need someone else to measure you)

Some people wonder if this is really accurate. Truth is, it’s not quite as accurate as a multi site skinfold test from an experienced tester, but what’s most important is not the “accuracy” per se, but the reliability and consistency of your measurements so you can track your progress. Skinfold calipers in general are not accurate or inaccurate, it’s the person doing the test that is accurate or inaccurate.

Suggestion 3: If you have a spouse, roommate, or friend who can measure your body fat, you can purchase a Slim Guide body fat caliper (or just about any brand of caliper) from Creative Health Products:

The Slimguide is the best inexpensive caliper available (about $20), but it wasn’t designed for you to measure your own body fat like the Accu Measure. You’ll need someone to measure you with this caliper. Other models of body fat calipers (if you want to splurge), range from $150 to $450. (At our health clubs, I use the electronic “SKYNDEX” caliper with the 4-site “Durnin formula.”)

The calipers come with instructions, or you can use these formulas, which I have used and found to be very accurate:

4 Site formula for men (abdomen, suprailiac, thigh, tricep)

% fat = .29288(sum of 4 skinfolds) – 0.0005(sum of four skinfolds squared) + 0.15845(age) – 5.76377

4-Site Formula for women (abdomen, suprailiac, thigh, tricep)

% Fat = (.29669)(sum of 4 skinfolds) – (.00043)(Sum of four skinfolds squared) + .02963(age) + 1.4072

[Source: Jackson A S, Pollock, M (1985) Practical assessment of body composition. Physician Sport Med. 13: 76-90.]

Body fat percentages vary based on age and gender, but 20-25% body fat is average for women (15-19% is ideal), while 15-20% is average for men (10-14% is ideal). I have detailed charts for body fat charts in my e-book if you’re interested.

Once you know your body fat percentage, then weigh yourself and record your weight and body fat on a progress chart such as the one found in my Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle Program (a fat loss program, not a weight loss program). This chart is how you will track your progress and “keep score.”

You can calculate your lean body mass (muscle and other fat free tissue) very easily just by crunching some numbers:

For example, if you weigh 200 pounds and you have 10% body fat then you have 20 pounds of fat (10% of 200 = 20). That means you have a lean body mass (LBM) of 180 pounds.

Now we’re talking! With this data, you can get a really clear picture of how your exercise and nutrition program are affecting your physique.

Losing weight is very easy. Losing fat – and keeping it off without losing muscle – is a much bigger challenge. If you simply wanted to lose weight, we could just chop off your leg.

Or, (slightly less painful), I could show you how to drop 10 – 15 pounds over the weekend just by dehydrating yourself and using natural herbal diuretics. Wrestlers do it all the time to make a weight class. But what good would that do if it’s almost all water and you’re just going to gain it all back within days?

You don’t have to “throw away your scale” like many “experts” tell you to. By all means, keep using the scale, the tape measure and even photographs and the mirror – the more feedback the better – but body fat is where it’s at.

By the way, I recently bought a chain saw and a shiny new axe from Home Depot, and I’ve been practicing my “American Psycho” and Jack Nicholson, “The Shining” impersonations… so if you want to come to my office any time soon for personal consultation, you’d better have the right answer to my question, “What do you want?”

For more information about a nutrition and training program that focuses exclusively on FAT LOSS, not WEIGHT LOSS, visit: Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle

This article was submitted by Tom Venuto, author of Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle (rss feed). See Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle for more information on burning fat the right way.

So, what do you think?

Weight Loss Tips: The 3 Best and 3 Worst Mistakes

I receive countless emails that start off like this…

In January I was 190 lbs at 25% body fat. 8 weeks ago I stopped seeing results. The last 8 weeks while cutting down I have dropped a few pounds (which I don’t really want to do) and my body fat has remained the same.

What many people fail to realize when cutting is the concept of nutritional periodization. All too frequently, I get e-mails from frustrated weight loss seekers who have been on a calorie deficit for MONTHS. While they understand the basics of calorie cutting and what it means to be in a deficit, very few of them use a Zig-Zag method or fully comprehend the deficits or length a cutting cycle can have on their metabolism.

People who seek to lose weight grasp the very basics.

  1. Calculate calories
  2. Eat less
  3. Eat good foods
  4. Keep cutting until I achieve the desired effect

While that works, at some point they hit a wall and what’s the 1st thing they want to do?


Which is the wrong approach. Nobody told them about the tips below.

The 3 best tips for fat loss are as follows:

1) Cycle your calories and your carbohydrates. This can be referred to as the Zig-Zag approach. In a nutshell, it’s defined as days of maintenance calories mixed with days in a calorie deficit.

2) Understanding your personal level of tolerance to carbohydrates. There are great differences in the way people process foods. You can find your nutritional ratio and then adjust it according to your personal needs and tolerances that you will discover thru experience.

3) “If man made it, don’t’ eat it!” – Jack Lalanne. You need to eat natural foods and avoid refined foods. I notice in many meal plans, more than 20% of the daily protein requirements are coming from protein shakes. My own rule is not to get more than 20% of my daily protein from supplements.

The 3 biggest mistakes are as follows:

1) Too severe of a calorie deficit:

  • 15% below maintenance = very conservative deficit
  • 20% below maintenance = conservative deficit
  • 25% below maintenance = moderate deficit
  • 30% below maintenance = aggressive deficit
  • 35%+ below maintenance = very aggressive deficit
  • 50%+ below maintenance = semi-starvation/starvation

2) Too prolonged of a calorie deficit. More than 12-16 weeks of a calorie deficit could result in a lowered metabolism. The concept of nutritional periodization of cycling calories and carbohydrates comes into play after out 12 weeks depending on your overall progress.

3) Over-training while under-nourished. Long stints of high intensity work in a long period of calorie deprivation no matter how small.

I’d love to take credit for these weight loss tips. Unfortunately I can’t. While I did adjust them and add some of my own tips, I pulled the real gems from pages 47-48 of THE FAT BURN FILES, a unique collection of by Tom Venuto. It gets 2 thumbs up from me because of the way it reveals everything that DOESN’T work as well as what DOES work for burning fat and gaining muscle… all in a fascinating, entertaining personal interview format.

Photo of the Perfect Weight by Jill Greenseth Used under a Creative Commons license

Weight Loss Tips: A Step-by-Step MindMap

weight loss tips

I decided it was about time to draw out a map of what I tell my clients when it comes to weight loss.

This is a nice 50,000 foot overview of what you need to do, step-by-step when it comes to burning that fat. This drawing you see above is called a mind map. It’s a visual way of thinking out a process.

When I think of trying to explain all the aspects of weight loss to a client, these are things we talk about over a period of weeks.

Click Here to see the full color version of the Weight Loss Tips MindMap

PS - The site is still a bit new, I’m fixing a few things. You’ll find the legend on the map that explains the symbols. You’ll get linked to articles about a particular subject that you see that will further explain an item on the weight loss mind map.

PPS - Your comments are most appreciated. I would love to hear back from you.