QUESTION: "Tom, on your www.burnthefat.com
website, you wrote: 'Who better to model than bodybuilders and
fitness competitors? No athletes in the world get as lean as
quickly as bodybuilders and fitness competitors. The
transformations they undergo in 12 weeks prior to competition
would boggle your mind!
Only ultra-endurance athletes come close in terms of low body fat
levels, but endurance athletes like triathaletes and marathoners often
get lean at the expense of chewing up much of their lean muscle."
There seems to be a contradiction unless I'm missing something. Why do
bodybuilders and fitness competitors have to go through a 12 week
'transformation' prior to every event instead of staying 'lean and
mean' all the time? If they practice the secrets exposed in your
book, shouldn't they be staying in great shape all the time instead of
having to work at losing fat prior to every competitive event?"
for your question. There's a logical explanation for why bodybuilders
and other physique athletes (fitness and figure competitors), don't
remain completely ripped all year round, and it's the very reason they
are able to get so ripped on the day of a contest...
You can't hold a peak forever or it's not a "peak", right? What is the
definition of a peak? It's a high point surrounded by two lower
points isn't it? Therefore, any shape you can stay in all year round is
NOT your "peak" condition.
The intelligent approach to nutrition and training (which almost all
bodybuilders and fitness/figure competitors use), is to train and
diet in a seasonal or cyclical fashion and build up to a peak,
then ease off to a maintenance or growth phase.
I am NOT talking about bulking up and getting fat and out of shape
every year, then dieting it all off every year. What I'm talking about
is going from good shape to great shape, then easing back off to good
shape.... but never getting "out of shape."
Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?
Here's an example: I have no intentions whatsoever of walking around
365 days a year at 4% body fat like I appear in the photo on my
website. Truth be told, that is day of contest condition.
Off-season (when I'm not competing), my body fat is usually between 8 -
10%. Mind you, that's very lean and still single digit body fat.I don't
stray too far from competition shape, but I don't maintain contest
shape all the time. It takes me about 10-12 weeks or so to gradually
drop from 9% to 3.5%-4.0% body fat to "peak" for competition with NO
loss of lean body mass, using the same techniques I reveal in my e-book.
It would be almost impossible to maintain 4% body fat, and even if I
could, why would I want to? For the few weeks prior to competition I'm
so depleted, ripped, and even "drawn" in the face, that complete
strangers walk up and offer to feed me.
Okay, so I'm just kidding about that, but let's just say being "being
ripped to shreds" isn't a desirable condition to maintain because it
takes such a monumental effort to stay there.
It's probably not even healthy to try forcing yourself to hold extreme
low body fat. Unless you're a natural "ectomorph" (skinny, fast
metabolism body type), your body will fight you and you'll always be
Instead of attempting to hold the peak, I cycle back into a less
demanding off-season program and avoid creeping beyond 9.9% body fat.
Some years I've stayed leaner - like 6-7%, (which takes effort),
especially when I knew I would be photographed, but I don't let my body
fat go over 10%. Thats "the line" I draw - it's like a personal "rule"
This practice isn't just restricted to bodybuilders. Athletes in all
sports use periodization to build themselves up to their best shape for
Is a pro football player in the same condition in March-April as he is
in August-September? Probably not. Many show up fat and out of shape
(relatively speaking) for training camp, others just need fine tuning,
but none are in peak form... that's why they have training camp!!!
There's another reason you wouldn't want to maintain a "ripped to
shreds" physique all year round - you'd have to be dieting (calorie
restricted) all the time. And this is one of the reasons that 95% of
people can't lose weight and keep it off - they are CHRONIC
dieters... always on some type of diet. Know anyone like that?
You can't stay on restricted low calories indefinitely. Sooner or later
your metabolism slows down and you plateau as your body adapts to the
chronically lowered food intake and reduced body weight.
But if you diet for fat loss and push incredibly hard for 3 months,
then ease off for a while and eat a little more (healthy food, not
"pigging out"), your metabolic rate is re-stimulated.
In a few weeks or months, you can return to another fat loss phase and
reach an even lower body fat level, until you finally reach the point
that's your happy maintenance level for life - a level that is healthy
and realistic - as well as visually appealing.
That's how we physique athletes do it...
Bodybuilders have discovered a methodology for losing fat that's so
effective, it puts them in complete control of their body composition.
They've mastered this area of their lives and will never have to
worry about it again.
If they ever "slip" and fall off the wagon like all humans do at times
... no problem! They know how to get back into shape fast.
Bodybuilders have the tools and knowledge to hold a low body fat all
year round(such as 9% for men, or about 15% for women), and then at a
whim, to reach a temporary "peak" of extremely low body fat for the
purpose of competition.
Maybe most important of all, they have the power and control to slowly
ease back from peak shape into maintenance, and not balloon up and
yo-yo like most conventional dieters.
What if you had the power to stay lean all year round, and then get
super lean when summer rolled around, or when you took your vacation to
the Caribbean, or when your wedding date was coming up?
Wouldn't you like to be in control of your body like that? Isn't that
the same thing that bodybuilders and fitness/figure competitors do,
only on a more practical, real-world level?
So even if you have no intention of ever being a bodybuilder, don't you
agree that there's something of value everyone could learn from
Don't model yourself after the huge crowd of "losers" who gobble diet
pills, buy exercise gimmicks and suffer through starvation diets like
automatons, only to gain back everything they lost! Instead,
learn from the leanest athletes on Earth - natural bodybuilders
and fitness competitors...
These physique athletes get as ripped as they want to be, exactly when
they want to, simply by manipulating their diets in a cyclical fashion
between pre-contest "cutting" programs and off season "maintenance" or
"muscle growth" programs.
Even if you have no desire to ever compete, try this seasonal "peaking"
approach yourself and you'll see that it can work as well for you
as it does for elite bodybuilders.
If you're interested in learning even more secrets of bodybuilders and fitness models, visit the Burn The Fat home page at: http://www.BurnTheFat.com
About Bodybuilding & Fat Loss Coach, Tom Venuto
Tom Venuto is a lifetime natural (steroid-free) bodybuilder, freelance writer and author of Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle: Fat Burning Secrets of the World's Best Bodybuilders and Fitness Models (e-book) Tomís articles are featured on hundreds of websites worldwide and he has been featured in IRONMAN, Australian IRONMAN, Natural Bodybuilding, Muscular Development, Menís Fitness, Menís Exercise as well as on dozens of radio shows including Martha Stewart healthy living (Sirius), ESPN-1250, WCBS and Blog talk radio. To get more information about Tom's e-book about natural fat loss, visit the home page at: www.BurnTheFat.com
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