Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle | A book review

Disclaimer: I don’t normally post on Wednesdays, but today I’m making an exception.

Yesterday was the launch of a fellow fitness professional’s newest book, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle, and as an about-to-be-published author myself, I completely understand the importance of getting those reviews up quick! Although Tom Venuto sent me a pre-release version of his book free of charge, as always, my thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Ten years ago, personal trainer and fat loss expert Tom Venuto published an e-book based on a training and nutrition system he’d tested for over ten years on hundred of his own clients. The original Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle was an instant success and is known in fitness circles as a ‘bible’ of sorts.

Gratuitous selfie

Yesterday, the first ever print copy of the book became available for purchase (except, of course, for the pre-release version I was privy to!) and I suspect it too will be widely read and followed by a new generation of fitness enthusiasts looking to create their own ideal of a lean and muscular physique.

Not just a exercise and nutrition program, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle includes detailed discussions on goal setting, training your brain for success (I love a well-trained brain), calorie and macronutrient intake, cardio for fat loss and breaking through plateaus (we all hit them at some point or other).

A quick look at the cover might make you think that book is intended primarily for body builders and figure competitors. Certainly the nutrition and training protocols are heavily influenced by the way these types of athletes eat and train. However, every day athletes (like you and me!) can also benefit from the wisdom within;

Progressive resistance training – namely weight lifting – is the single most powerful body transformation tool you can use. A weight training program combined with proper nutrition will burn fat and re-shape your body faster than any other single form of exercise. If you’re ever in doubt about how to start working out, start with resistance training. Add cardio and other types of training from there.

The are four main elements to the program; mental training, nutrition, cardio and weight training. While you could follow the program to a T (and get amazing results), the thing I like most about this book is how easy it would be to just focus on the one element that you’re currently having the most difficulty with (and probably still get amazing results).

For example, many of my age 40 and over female clients are struggling with hormonal imbalance. Their own unique nutritional solution to balancing hormones and reducing belly bloat often requires a significant reduction in starchy carbohydrate intake. Following the  nutritional guidelines in this book would help them tremendously, probably more so than the fairly traditional strength training plan outlined later in the book (although strength training is extremely beneficial for women in this age group, most of my clients get stuck on the nutritional piece).

3 things I love about Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle

  1. All facets of the program are completely customizable. This is not a one-size-fits-all book.
  2. The program is appropriate for both women and men alike. The basics of nutrition and strength training are not gender specific.
  3. The nutrition plan does not require the elimination of any particular food group. Processed foods are not a food group 🙂

3 things that would make me love Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle even more

  1. A bit more science; especially in the chapters about nutrition. I’ve found that when people have an understanding of how foods affect their blood sugar and energy levels, they’re more willing to make healthy choices.
  2. Illustrations of the exercises. Although photos of all the exercises are available on the book’s website (www.BurnTheFatFeedTheMuscle.com), I’d like to have seen them in the book as well. Newbies to weight lifting may need to refer to photos the first few times they try the exercises; this is hard to do when they’re only available online.
  3. A discussion of working around injury. Almost every athlete I know has been sidelined by an injury at some point in time or another. Providing instructions about what to do in the event of an injury would be particularly helpful.

Bottom line? If you need a great primer on strength training and nutrition for fat loss, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle is the book for you. Order it today and it might just be delivered in time for help with your New Year’s Resolutions 😉

Disclaimer: I was sent a pre-release version of the book and asked to share my thoughts about it with my readers. I was not compensated for this post.


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  1. I was kinda thinking that the pre-release version we have seen doesn’t have the illustrations but the actual released book will (does?) – not sure though… his last book, which has the program I have been following (now in week 11) is fully illustrated so I just assumed this one would be too.

    • Good point Elle. Were you given an indication that the version we saw was any different from the final version? I just reviewed what I was sent! Can I ask how you’re doing on the program?

      • I did notice that the version we got said UNedited and that the page numbers were not the same as indicated in the TOC listings. But no insight about the pics… just my feeling. I don’t have my actual published version yet.

        I have been progressing slowly by adding weight, or reps or even sets as I go. Very basic exercises and I am ready for something new but committed to the 12 weeks and so I will finish. I am stronger, more flexible and seeing some muscle growth. Since I started following the nutrition guidelines re the protein/fat/carb combos I am really pleased with the way I feel too. It’s simple and makes good sense to me.
        Elle recently posted…#onesmallchange Taking a Step BackMy Profile

        • I’m happy to hear that you’ve made good progress on the program. Tom’s laid it all out so clearly, that it seems to me that if you just follow his guidelines, you can’t help but get leaner and fitter! Will you post before and after pics? 😉

          • I just opened my mail to find an autographed copy of the book as released yesterday. And your instincts are better than mine because there are no illustrations in it. As much as I love the book, I would have to agree with you that this is a shortcoming. I wish the exercises had been illlustrated in the book itself, too.

            Before and after pics? I hadn’t even thought of that. I should have taken some specifically for that!
            Elle recently posted…#onesmallchange Taking a Step BackMy Profile

          • Elle, thanks for letting me know. My copy of the book was the pre-release version (without an index too, which totally drives me nuts!). Did the final version have one?

  2. so cool…
    your observations are very similar to mine! I’ll be keeping a copy of this book on my shelf along with other books that i consider to be reference material for certain sports and hobbies.
    🙂 gene
    gene recently posted…Book Review “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle”My Profile

    • Gene, agreed. This is a great reference book! Not sure that I’ll do the entire program myself, but reading the book certainly reinforced many of the things I believe about fitness and food!

  3. Great review Tamara!!! I have not read the book but I love the points outlined – makes sense to me!!! 😉
    Jody – Fit at 56 recently posted…Giveaway Winner, Upcoming Fun & Random Other StuffMy Profile

  4. Wow, thank you, think I’m going now to get this!! As a beachbody coach I’m always looking to learn as much as I can and this seems right up my alley!!! Can’t wait to share this with my customers and followers!! Thanks!

    jane perillo (janeperillo.com)

    • Hi Jane,
      It’s really a fantastic resource guide. So many great bits to share with your clients. Enjoy!

  5. Very good book which contain all the points of how to reduce weight.

  6. As you are lifting weights, do your movements slowly. Moving too fast uses the body’s momentum instead of letting the muscles do the work. Likewise, don’t swing the weights, because this keeps the isolated muscle from doing the work. This is why going slow seems harder. The isolated muscle is doing its work!

    • I agree 100%. Just not sure why this comment is particularly relevant to the blog post…. 😉

  7. Loosing weight is very hard.What all you want is a little guidance,self motivation and patience is very important when you started working out.