QUESTION: Tom, I know that you aren’t really big on supplements, but I remember reading somewhere that you said you believe in a few basic supplements. Could you tell me which ones? I also read something on a website where someone said you are the most “natural” bodybuilder he knows and that you don’t even take aspirin. Is this true? To tell you the truth, Tom, I do not believe it is possible to obtain 3% or 4% bodyfat with as much muscle as you have without drugs or at least fat burner supplements. And also, don’t you think that the term “natural bodybuilding” has been abused quite a lot everywhere? No one who uses it on the net is really natural. Natural would mean one eats only what appears in nature and does not ingest man-made stuff from bottles. Right?”

tom venuto - natural bodybuilder.jpg

ANSWER: You’re absolutely correct – the definition for “natural” is vagueand open to an individual’s interpretation.

If you take creatine supplements, does that mean you are no longernatural? After all, you can’t get that much creatine out of yourfood in it’s natural form (unless you eat half a cow!) I guess it depends on your definition of natural

I used ephedrine back in the 90’s. That was legal and overthe counter, but it was still a drug. does that mean I’m not anatural bodybuilder anymore? Again, it depends on what “natural” means to you.

To me, the definition of a “natural” in the context of bodybuildingmeans no illegal drugs, prescription drugs or any substances thatare banned in competition.

I also use the term “natural” in a different context when describingmy food. Natural food is food that has not been “messed with” byhuman hands. If it grew on a tree, off a plant or out of the ground- it’s natural. If it walked, flew or swam – it’s natural (vegetariansfeel welcome to use the first half of that definition)

As for supplements, I use only a multi vitamin and an essential fattyacid supplement, either an oil blend, flax oil or fish oil (although Iprefer to get EFAs from eating fatty fish such as salmon. I alwaysprefer real food over supplements).

I’ve used creatine in the past with success. The increase in strengthis noticeable. I use some protein powder almost every day (mainlybecause it’s convenient and I think vanilla protein powder mixed inwith oatmeal and some cinnamon tastes good). I consider protein powder natural and nothing more than “powdered food.” I also use post workoutrecovery drinks when I’m working on gaining muscle.

That’s it. I usually take no other supplements and I use no bannedsubstances or illegal drugs and never have. I’ll take a drug test anyday…

Don’t underestimate what you can achieve naturally. Naturalbody builders are setting new standards for muscle size andconditioning every year. You’d be surprised what you can achieveif you’d stop doubting and instead start believing in yourself.

The minute you say, “There’s no way that guy is natural” you justput limitations on yourself. You defined yourself, not the otherperson.

If you don’t believe it’s possible to reach low single digit bodyfat without “fat burning” supplements or drugs, then you never will.As Dr. Wayne Dyer said in the book of the same title, “You’ll see itwhen you believe it.” Have you heard of “self-fulfilling prophecy?”

Even when you believe you can do it naturally – and you should – you’dbetter be willing to work for it. when someone has a well-developed physique, it’seasy to dismiss their results to drugs or genetics. You know thatline about success… “The harder I work, the luckier I get?” Well,in bodybuilding it’s like this:

“The harder I work, the better my genetics appear and the more I’llget accused of taking roids.”

When you look at that guy with 3% body fat and dismiss it to drugsor genetics, you didn’t see what went on behind the scenes.You have no idea how hard that person worked. You have no conceptof the amount of sacrifice and discipline involved unless you werethere with them.

Every time I’m tempted to think I’m training hard, I go spend timewith someone better than me and then I get a wake up call and Irealize WHY they are better than me. when I see where the bar hasbeen raised, it makes me raise my own standards.

Most people not only underestimate the amount of hard work anddiscipline it takes to reach extremes of low body fat andmuscularity, they are downright delusional about the amountof results they expect for the amount of work they put in.

Then they have the audacity to complain that “It can’t be donewithout steroids or fat burners” … or “It’s all about genetics.”

Most people have been so brainwashed by advertising for supplementsand diet pills that they get frustrated and give up at the dropof a hat when they don’t have six pack abs “almost overnight” likethe ads promised.

Forget about drugs and forget about so called fat loss supplements.A great body doesn’t come in a pill – never did and never will.Stay natural (drug free), eat foods as natural as possible andwork your butt off. Raise your standards. Believe in yourself.Pay your dues.

If you’re willing to pay the price in hard work and discipline -and if you also have a rock-solid action strategy such as what I provide inBurn The Fat, Feed The Muscle – then I don’t think there’s anylimit to how lean you can get.

Train hard and expect success,

Tom Venuto,
Fat Loss Coach

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