Tom Venuto is a personal trainer & bodybuilder, one of the very few who has never used drugs or steroids in his pursuit of the physique necessary to compete in the bodybuilding world. He spent a number of years when he was younger trying various diet programs & reading just about every book on nutrition that he could get hold of. His book is essentially a distillation of all of that, with on top of it some of the accumulated experience of himself & other bodybuilders who might well in fact have the biggest accumulated knowledge of how to lose fat (not just weight, but fat weight) without losing lean muscle mass. Basically, he has compiled information that is available out in the big wide world, but has filtered all the innacuracies & b.s. out so that you don’t have to.
Though he’s a bodybuilder, you needn’t be a bodybuilder to follow his program: the program is, rather, for anyone who wants to lose fat. He estimates based on his customer database that over 60% of his customers are women.
The title Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle reflects Venuto’s overall philosophy of losing fat weight: rather than trying to starve the fat through overdoing calorie reduction in your diet, he recommends burning it off through exercise. Actually, there are four fundamental components to his program: attitude, good nutrition, aerobic exercise for reduction of body fat, & (anaerobic) strength training for building up lean muscle mass (which will also result in speeding up your metabolism so that it will burn more fat even when you’re at rest).
There’s plenty of room for customizing the program according to the specific results you want. That also includes customizing the ratios of the macronutrients — carbohydrates, protein, fats — in your diet. I.e., this is not “one size fits all.”
Although aerobic & strength training exercise are fundamental to this program, the bulk of the very bulky book (over 300 8-1/2 by 11 pages in Acrobat .pdf format that you can read on-screen or print out for yourself) is focused on nutrition. His nutritional focus is on whole foods as opposed to refined foods & supplements (in fact, he thinks that most fitness/muscle mags are function mostly just to sell supplements) & on methods of eating which will promote loss of fat & prevent loss of lean muscle mass & in fact help promote its growth (though you’d also need to strength training to actually grow the muscle).
To this end, he recommends that you reduce calories no more than 15 to 20% of what would be needed to maintain your current weight; lower than that & the starvation response is provoked, which will lower your metabolism & make it harder to lose weight. He’s also cautions about losing weight too fast: “It’s possible to lose more than two pounds per week, but if you do, most of the additional weight will usually be water and muscle. When you lose water weight, you will gain it back immediately as soon as you re-hydrate yourself. When you lose lean body mass, your metabolic rate slows down and your body goes into ‘survival mode’…. [I]f you let your body slip into ‘starvation mode,’ you will almost always gain back the weight you lost and sometimes more. You end up with less muscle and the same amount of fat (or more) than when you started.”
Similar to advice often given to diabetics to eat more & smaller meals, he recommends 5 or 6 smaller meals per day, defining a meal as always including some starchy carbohydrate (e.g., oatmeal, whole grain bread), lean protein, & a fibrous vegetables. He explains the reasoning behind all of this, & pays attention to healthy regulation of blood sugars. (Which is not to say that this is necessarily a plan for diabetics: consult your health practitioner.)
I purchased the book last Friday, & have begun to follow the program, being sure as I do so that the carbs I choose are of the low or medium-GI variety. Too soon to tell how this regime is working in comparison to what I was doing the three weeks before — three meals/day plus healthy grazing on fruits, nuts, seeds, & fibrous veggies in between — but I’m feeling very comfortable on it, & I have lost at least one pound since starting it. (A total of 9 lbs. lost since Dec. 28.)
Your mileage may vary. Check it out for yourself.
Incidentally, purchase of the book comes with lots of extras also related to nutrition, fat loss, etc.