What does a guy with 3.7% body fat eat? Anytime the topic of discussion in my blogs,
articles or newsletters has turned to my own personal grocery shopping
list, there has always been a spike in interest.
It seems that many
people are not only curious about what foods a natural bodybuilder eats
to maintain single digit body fat, but they also want to be taken by
the hand and told exactly what foods to eat themselves while on
fat-burning or muscle building programs.
That's why I've created 4 separate "top 10" lists of healthy weight loss foods to feed
your muscle and burn fat.
Of course, I can't tell you what YOU should eat because I don't know your
likes and dislikes, not to mention whether you have any intolerances, allergies
or foods you don't eat for ethical reasons, etc.
What I CAN do is show you what I eat, which has helped me keep my body fat
under 10% all year round and peak in the low single digits when I want to
get cut for competitions or photo shoots.
Exact quantities and menus are not listed, just
the individual foods, and of course my food intake does vary. I aim to
get as many different varieties of fruits and vegetables as possible
over the course of every week and there are a lot of substitutions
made, so you are not seeing the full list of everything I eat, only
what foods I eat most of the time.
Sensible carb reduction
I also want to point out that while I
don’t believe that extreme low carbs are necessary or most
effective when you look at the long term, research has shown that there
are some definite advantages to a low to moderate carb and higher
protein diet for fat loss purposes. These include reduced appetite,
higher thermic effect of food and “automatic”
Personally, I reduce my carb intake moderately and
temporarily prior to bodybuilding competitions. Specifically,
it’s the foods that are on the starchy carbs and grains list
that go down during the brief pre-competition period when I’m
working on that really “ripped” look.
I keep the green and fibrous veggie intake very high however, along with large
amounts of lean protein, small amounts of fruit, and adequate amounts
of essential fats ("LEAN, GREEN and MARINE!")
Satisfying your personal preferences is important
This list reflects my personal tastes, so
this is not a prescription to all readers to eat as I do.
It’s very important for compliance to choose foods you enjoy
and to have the option for a wide variety of choices. In the past
several years, nutrition and obesity research - in studying ALL types
of diets - has continued to conclude that almost any hypocaloric diet
that is not completely “moronic” can work, at least
in the short term.
It’s not so much about the high carb -
low carb argument or any other debate as much as it is about calorie
control and compliance. The trouble is, restricted diets and staying in
a calorie deficit is difficult, so most people can’t stick
with any program and they fall off the wagon, whichever wagon that may
I believe that a lot of our attention needs to
shift away from pointless debates (for example, low carb vs. high carb
is getting really old… so like… get over it
everyone, its a calorie deficit that makes you lose weight, not the
amount of carbs).
Instead, our focus should shift towards these
- How can we build an eating program that we can
enjoy while still getting us leaner and healthier?
- How can we build an eating program that helps us
control calories automatically?
- How can we build an eating program that improves
Here are the lists of foods I choose to achieve
these three outcomes. This eating plan is not difficult to stick with
at all, by the way. I enjoy eating like this and it feels almost weird
not to eat like this after doing it for so long.
Remember, habits work in both directions, and as
motivational speaker Jim Rohn has said, “Bad habits are easy
to form and hard to live with and good habits are hard to form but easy
to live with.”
These are listed in the order I frequently consume
them. So for example, if oatmeal is on the top of the list, it means
that is the food I am most likely to eat every single day.
My 10 top natural starchy carb and whole grains
1. Oatmeal (old fashioned)
3. Brown rice (a favorite is basmati, a long grain aromatic rice)
4. Sweet potatoes (almost same as yams)
5. Multi grain hot cereal (mix or barley, oats, rye. titricale and a
6. White potatoes
7. 100% whole grain bread or sprouted bread
8. 100% whole wheat / whole grain pasta
9. Beans (great for healthy chili recipes)
My Top 10 top vegetables
4. Salad greens
6. Peppers (green, red or yellow)
My top 10 lean proteins
1. Egg whites (whole eggs in limited quantities)
2. Whey or Casein protein (protein powder supplements)
3. Chicken Breast
4. Salmon (wild Alaskan)
5. Turkey Breast
6. Top round steak (grass fed beef)
7. Flank Steak (grass fed beef)
8. Lean Ground Turkey
9. Bison/Buffalo (lean game meats)
My top 10 fruits
Other stuff I eat
Note: I DO include healthy fats as well, such as
walnuts, almonds, extra virgin olive oil, flaxseeds, flaxseed oil
(supplement - not to cook with), avocado and a few others.
Also, I do eat dairy products and have nothing
against them, nor am I lactose intolerant. I simply don’t eat
as much dairy as the rest of the stuff on my lists. When I eat dairy,
its usually skim milk, low or non fat cottage cheese, low or non fat
yogurt and low or non fat cheese (great for omelettes).
How strict should you be with following these food lists?
I usually follow a compliance
rate of about 95%, which means I take two or three meals per week of
whatever I want - stuff that is NOT on these lists - like pizza, sushi,
big fatty restaurant steaks, etc. (contrary to the persistent rumors, I'm not some cyborg
that never enjoys a good restaurant meal... believe me - I DO!)
I hope you found this helpful and interesting.
Keep in mind, this is MY food list, and although you probably
couldn’t go wrong to emulate it, you need to choose natural
foods YOU enjoy in order to develop habits you can stick with long
If you'd like to learn more about fat burning nutrition and what to eat for maximum fat loss, then be sure to take a look at the Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle nutrition program. Thousands of men and women call this their "fat loss bible." For all the details, visit: BurnTheFat.com
Train hard and expect success,
Fat Loss Coach
About Bodybuilding & Fat Loss Coach, Tom Venuto
Tom Venuto is the author of the #1 best seller, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle: Fat Burning Secrets of the World's Best Bodybuilders and Fitness Models. Tom is a lifetime natural bodybuilder and fat loss expert who achieved an astonishing ripped 3.7% body fat level without drugs or supplements. Discover how to increase your metabolism and burn stubborn body fat, find out which foods burn fat and which foods turn to fat, plus get a free fat loss report by visiting the home page at: www.BurnTheFat.com