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         FITNESS TIPS FOR  7/9/2003        

by Tom Venuto

If you've been training for at least three months and now you're ready to 
kick it into high gear and start learning more about training and nutrition 
so you can get better and faster results, then this article is for you. 


Ok, so you just got started on a program of walking or light cardio and 
some basic lifting, maybe some dumbbell work, nothing fancy. You feel 
better, you've lost a few pounds, you have more energy and you're 
confident that you're getting healthier. 

But you want more. 

You want the results to come faster. You want to look in the mirror and 
really SEE the difference. You want other people to see the difference 

You want more than "a little tone." Maybe you want a nice hard chiseled 
six-pack with a small waist, or maybe streamlined, muscular thighs. Arms 
like Linda Hamilton perhaps? Shoulders like Carl "Apollo Creed" 
Weathers? A Brad Pitt "Fight Club" body maybe? Nothing too crazy - not a 
miss fitness Olympia body or the massive bulk of a Mr. Universe- but 
definitely better than average. 

Well, if you're prepared to STEP UP to the next level and pay the price 
necessary to reach the next rung on the ladder, here's how you do it:

The answer is very, very simple. As you leave the novice stage behind, 
it's time to start WORKING HARDER.  That's it. 

Were you expecting something more esoteric? Some secret Bulgarian 
periodization program and thermogenic - anabolic supplement stack? 
Sorry, but the secret is that there is no secret. A great body all boils down 
to outright effort and hard work. 

Not counting the genetic freaks who seem to have been born with muscles 
and zero fat, there's one thing that all people with great bodies have in 
common: they all work HARD, HARD, HARD, HARD, HARD!

If you want to ascend beyond the lowly beginner level you simply have 
to push yourself harder. And that means DIS-COMFORT. When you're 
pushing yourself out of the comfort zone, it hurts. Frankly, sometimes it 
sucks! But outside the comfort zone is where you grow. Staying inside 
the comfort zone will only maintain you at best but usually it sends you 
plummeting into a downward spiral.

Most people retreat back into the confines of their comfort zone the minute 
the effort gets difficult. The comfort zone is a very dangerous place 
because if you slide back into the comfort zone even once, then it starts 
becoming a habit. 

First, it's stopping just a few minutes short on your cardio or coasting on 
level 5 when you could be doing level 7. Then you start blowing off 
workouts completely. Pretty soon, you're sliding back in other areas of 
your life; you slide back from making those sales calls; you slide back 
from spending quality time with your family, you slide back from saving 
money and watching your finances. You become.... A BACKSLIDER!

You can either be a backslider or you can be an ACHIEVER but you can't 
be both and you can't "hang out" in between - it's one or the other. 
Although you might think you're safe just "maintaining" in the comfort zone, 
unbeknownst to you, you are always in motion in either a forward or a 
backward direction. There's no such thing as standing still; ask any 
physicist - everything in the universe is always in motion...vibrating... 
pulsating... growing or dying. 

The ACHIEVER is the person who is aware that to "stand still inside the 
comfort zone" is akin to dying, so he or she is ALWAYS MOVING 
FORWARD. The only way to move forward is with hard work and effort 
in the direction of a specific goal.  

The law of life states that your rewards will come back to you in direct 
proportion to what you put in. Everything has its price and that price must 
be paid in advance. If you were a farmer, how ridiculous would it be for 
you to skip the planting of the seeds in the spring and then go out in the 
fields looking for a harvest in the fall?  How ridiculous would it be to 
stand in front of a wood burning stove and say, Ok stove, give me some 
heat and then I'll put in some wood? 

How would you like to learn a way to DOUBLE YOUR FAT LOSS in the next 
seven days? I know, I know - sounds like a gimmick, right? Well, it's not! It's 
really quite simple. To burn more fat you have to burn more calories. Most 
beginners start off with three days a week of cardio training. Usually they 
see some results initially because their bodies aren't accustomed to 
exercise and any increase in activity above no activity will always produce 
some results. 

More often than not, the results begin to slow down a bit within a few 
months of training. Then they scratch their heads and wonder why it's not 
working anymore. 

This is why: Because three days a week is for beginners, and you're no 
longer a beginner. If you want twice as much fat loss and you want it 
twice as fast, double your cardio. 

Suppose you burn 400 calories per workout for three workouts per week. 
That's a total of 1200 calories per week burned. If you doubled that to 
six days per week at 400 calories per workout, you would burn 2400 c
was a real no-brainer, wasn't it? 


While we're on the subject of burning more calories, what would happen 
if, in addition to increasing your cardio from three to six days per 
week, you increased the intensity so that you are burning 600 calories 
per workout? With six workouts at 600 calories per workout you're up
to 3600 calories per week. 


Yes it's that simple and the solution was right there in front of you all 

By the way, this kind of frequent cardio is how I reach 3 - 4% body fat 
for competitions: MINIMIUM six days per week of HARD cardio, 45 
minutes per session.


After the initial novelty of starting a workout program wears off, one 
problem nearly everyone runs into is lack of motivation. I can personally 
confirm this just by the membership attrition (drop out) statistics in my 
health club. 50% of all people who join a health club quit in the first three 
months. Here's how you can prevent becoming a statistic:

Always be on the lookout for something to motivate and inspire you - 
anything! Go see a movie, watch a video, read a book or article. Hire a 
coach or personal trainer. Get a training partner. Think about your goals 
and write them out repeatedly.  Pick a role model of someone you want to 
look like. Attend a competition. Enter a competition. Hang out with people 
who motivate you. Ditch the people who don't support you (I'm not 
kidding - get out of unsupportive relationships fast!)  The list of 
motivational methods is endless. 

Some people insist that "motivation" doesn't last.  I always tell them,
they're right! Motivation doesn't last - but neither does bathing and you 
do that every day, don't you?

Every day you must ask yourself "What can I listen to, do, find, or watch 
to get inspired today." Then follow through. 

I recently watched a movie called Without Limits, which is the story of 
Steven Prefontaine, the runner. Even though I'm a bodybuilder and not a 
runner, that movie got me so motivated I ran to the gym a blasted out a 
leg workout like never before, smashing through several PR's (personal 

I also have the videos of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics narrated by Bud 
Greenspan. If watching Michael Johnson win his races and accept his 
gold medals doesn't motivate you, then nothing will. 

For the bodybuilders, here's an old motivational stand-by. Watch (or 
re-watch) Pumping Iron.

One of the absolute best ways to get motivated is to spend time in 
serious thought about what you want to accomplish and then write it 
down, which leads us to the next subject...


If you ever feel unmotivated and you want to get over it, just take a 
look at your goal list. What? You don't carry a frequently updated, 
written goal list around with you? Well, I guess we know why 
you're not motivated don't we?

Goal setting is not an event - it is an ongoing process. When you 
move up the ladder to intermediate status, the modest goals of a 
beginner are a thing of the past. "I am walking for 30 minutes three 
days every week" is a great beginning, but now it's time to move
out of the minor leagues.

Goals are the fuel in the fire of motivation. Goals get you out of 
bed early and into the gym in the morning.  Goals keep you on 
the treadmill for forty-five minutes when you feel like stopping at 
thirty. In a set of ten reps, goals are what make you push for that 
eleventh and twelfth rep. 

Goals are so much more powerful than you can imagine. If you 
don't have goals...and if you don't have a new set of them every 
few months, then you're not ready to move up to the next level.  

And one last thing - a goal is not a goal if it's not in writing - its 
only a wish (as in wishy-washy)


A full body routine performed three days per week is probably the 
best way for a beginner to start weight training. However, this 
routine gets old fast.  Within months or even weeks, you will 
outgrow it and you'll need to add exercises.

The problem is, the more exercises you add, the longer your 
workouts will become. If your workouts are too long, you begin 
to reach a point of diminishing returns, and ultimately, the 
excessive duration has a negative effect. The solution is a 
split routine.

A split routine means that instead of doing all your exercises in 
one session, you "SPLIT" your body in half and train one half 
on DAY ONE and the second half on DAY TWO.

Adding more exercises allows you to:
1) Work each muscle more thoroughly and more deeply into the 
2) Work the entire muscle group; for example, front deltoid, side 
deltoid AND rear deltoid
3) Concentrate on each muscle more instead of spreading your 
attention out
4) Apply more energy and effort to each body part instead of 
holding back and conserving energy for the last few muscles

Here's a sample 2 day split:

Day one: Chest, shoulders, triceps, Abdominals
Day two: Thighs, Back, Biceps, calves, 

And here's how it would fit into the week if you're training four 
ays per week and hitting each muscle twice per week

Mon:  Chest, Shoulder, Triceps, Abs
Tues: Thighs, Back, Biceps, calves
Wed:  Off (or just cardio)
Thu:  Chest, Shoulder, Triceps, Abs
Fri:  Thighs, Back, Biceps, calves
Sat:  Off (or just cardio)
Sun:  Off: Total rest day

I don't have space to write out a complete program with every 
exercise, but the next section will give you a few ideas. 

Here's one important tip when you're designing your own 
split routines:

alleviate boredom and prevent your muscles from "adapting" to the 
routine (Changing routines every 4 to 12 weeks is called the 
"muscle confusion" principle.)


Does your workout still consist of walking around the block, and/or 
doing the Billy blanks Tae Bo video or the Richard Simmons 
Sweating to the Oldies video in your living room in front of the TV? 

If so, then don't worry, I'm not going to make fun of you - actually I 
want to congratulate you for doing more than 95% of the lazy world 
population - you got started! However, if you're reading this, you've 
expressed interest in moving up to the next level, so it's time to 
put those 2nd grade workouts back on the shelf and move up to 
something with a little more "punch" (pardon the pun).

First, I'm going to repeat my advice from part one of this series: 
Join a health club! Since you'll be adding new exercises, a good 
health club will put an almost infinite number of exercise choices 
at your fingertips. Many people are scared to join a gym "until 
they get in shape." Now that's really putting the cart before the
horse isn't it? If you're in this category, let me put you at ease: 

You'd be amazed how supportive the environment is in a good 
health club. I've been in the health club industry for 14 years and 
I've never heard a member or employee of any club I've worked 
in make fun of a beginner or someone out of shape. (Personally, 
I NEVER make fun of the beginners or intermediates.  I like to 
make fun of the blunders made by the "big-ego, know it all 
experts," but "gym blunders" will have to be the subject of 
another article.)

I've seen people who were very overweight in our club and the 
attitude of the staff and members is usually one of "Good for 
you! Is there any way I can help?"  If fact, you're more likely to 
get a derogatory comment from someone on the street than 
you are in a health club. You owe it to yourself to put yourself 
in a positive, supportive, caring environment and there's no 
better place than a health club.

It also helps to realize that everyone has to start somewhere, 
and everyone was "out of shape" when they started. We're all 
in the same boat in the beginning and intermediate learning 

If you choose not to join a club, that's fine too, but you'd be well 
advised to invest in a few additional pieces of equipment 
beyond the bare basics. 

Let's assume you own a bench and a set of dumbbells. The next 
additions to your home gym should be a barbell set, a set of 
squat racks and a cable-pulley apparatus with a high and a low 
pulley. By owning these pieces equipment, you've just opened 
up a whole new world of exercise options for yourself such as:

Barbell squats, barbell lunges, barbell rows, barbell bench press, 
barbell shoulder press, barbell curls, barbell tricep extensions, 
wide grip lat pulldowns, close grip lat pulldowns, low cable rows, 
triceps pushdowns and cable curls.

By the way, why so much talk about weights? Isn't fat loss mostly 
nutrition and cardio? Yep, that's true. However, I'm emphasizing 
weight training because it plays a bigger role in fat loss than 
most people realize. If you're busy aerobicizing and dieting 
without hitting the weights, you're much more likely to lose 
muscle along with the fat. And when the muscle goes, your 
metabolism begins to go down the tubes too. 


I know you're just a budding "intermediate" now, but would you 
like to know how to rapidly blast through the intermediate stage, 
into the advanced stage and then ultimately go even beyond the 
advanced stage and become an expert? If so, here's how:

Read one hour a day, five days a week, about training, nutrition, 
and personal achievement. In three years you will be an expert.

Suppose you only read 30 minutes a day, but you do it every day 
as a discipline. That's one book per week, 52 books per year, 
520 books in ten years. Think about the level of knowledge you'll 

I personally read two or three hours a day, I have 1700 books in 
my library and several hundred audio and video programs. I'll 
miss an hour of sleep before I'll miss an hour of reading. People
always ask me how I learned so much about bodybuilding and 
nutrition. Now you know. 

About the Author:
Tom Venuto is a lifetime natural bodybuilder, personal trainer, gym 
owner, freelance writer and author of "Burn the Fat, Feed The 
Muscle" (BFFM): Fat Burning Secrets of the World's Best 
Bodybuilders and Fitness Models. To get the FACTS on exactly how, 
what & when to eat and how to train to achieve maximum fat loss, 
without losing muscle or slowing down your metabolism... AND
to discover the shocking truth about the diet, weight loss and 
supplement industries,  Check out Tom's e-book online 

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