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Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle By Tom Venuto
How to lose stubborn body fat - natural bodybuilding champion reveals all the secrets...

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Burn The Fat Inner Circle

The Internet's Premier Fat Loss Support Community And Education Resource Center...

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Brink's Bodybuilding Revealed
Independent researcher reviews popular bodybuilding supplements and reveals how to build solid lean muscle...
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The Body Of Your Dreams MP3 Audio TeleSeminar By Tom Venuto
Scientifically proven ways to burn fat, build muscle and sculpt the healthy, lean body you deserve...
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The Fat Burn Files By Tom Venuto
10 uncensored interviews with a renegade fitness guru reveal the amazing body-changing secrets...
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Fit Over 40 By Jon Benson and Tom Venuto
How an obese couch potato - ordered to " lose weight or die" - discovered an amazing anti-aging fitness secret...
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Firm And Flatten Your Abs By David Grisaffi (Foreword by Tom Venuto)
Quickly Shrink Your Waistline, Lose Body Fat, Eliminate Low Back Pain And Develop A Stunning Set of Six Pack Abs...
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In This Issue (#62)

  • Editorial: Your Fitness Future: 20 Predictions for 2008 , By Tom Venuto
  • Ask Tom Q & A of The Month: Which type of alcohol is best when you're trying to lose weight?
  • Article of the month: "The Muscle Head Interview" with Tom Venuto
  • Monthly Motivator: Success Through Goal Setting By Brian Tracy
  • Tom's Selected Motivational Quotes of The Month


Editorial by Tom Venuto

Happy new year! This is my first editorial of 2008 for Tom Venuto dot com and today I'm going to predict your future and forecast exactly what kind of results you're going to get in 2008. Sylvia Browne, step aside, I'm pretty good at this..

Several years ago, a public relations firm in New York City asked me to write an article for one of their publications about fitness trends and predictions for the coming year.

It turned out that my “crystal ball” was pretty darn accurate. I nailed most of the predictions I made about aerobics classes, yoga, core training, “holistic” approaches, online personal training technology, the baby boomer market, increasing obesity and many other subjects.

I do confess, it wasn’t that difficult, because instead of just taking a stab in the dark at it, I actually did some research on industry statistics. I also had some “insider insights” because I’d been a health club manager for so many years and was privy to fitness business trends.

This year, instead of making predictions for the whole fitness industry, what if I could take out my crystal ball again and predict with 99% precision exactly what kind of results you will achieve with your body by the end of 2008?

Well, I can do that too!

I would claim that I have some kind of “gift” for this, but to be honest, you and I don’t need to be psychic to make predictions like these.

There are two things you can always count on: (1)Nature’s laws of cause and effect and (2) human nature.

On that basis, here are my 20 fitness predictions for 2008:

I PREDICT that if you can reach into your pocket on any day in 2008 and pull out a card or piece of paper with all your body and fitness goals written on it in vivid detail, the odds are 95 to 1 in favor of you achieving every one of those goals before the end of the year.

I PREDICT that if you focus your thoughts on your goals and how you are going to achieve them, all day long, you will reach your goals so fast in 2008, it will make your head spin.

I PREDICT that if you focus your thoughts on health woes and body fat problems and if you think about what you don’t want, all day long, your problems will get worse than ever this year.

I PREDICT that if you made a new year’s resolution, but you didn’t turn it into a specific, written goal with a deadline and a strong reason why you must achieve it, you will freely abandon it the moment the going gets tough.

I PREDICT that if you can tell me all the reasons why achieving your health and fitness goals are important to you, you will be motivated from within to stick with it when the going gets tough

I PREDICT that at times, the going is going to get tough.

I PREDICTthat if you can tell me today what is your life purpose and what is your lifelong vision for your body and your health, you will still be as motivated and driven at the end of the year as you were at the beginning.

I PREDICT that if you don’t have long term goals and a “big picture” vision for your life that you will lose your New Year’s enthusiasm and motivation in a matter of months or even weeks.

I PREDICT that the way you see yourself in your mind’s eye today will be an exact reflection of what you see in the mirror at the end of the year.

I PREDICT that if you have a setback that seems to get in the way of you reaching your health and fitness goals and you tell yourself “this just is temporary; this too shall pass,” then it won’t set you back and it will pass.

I PREDICT that if you believe the way your body looks today is out of your control and you feel helpless or powerless to change, you won’t even make much of an effort this year.

I PREDICT that if you accept complete responsibility for the way your body looks today and you believe that you have the power to change, that you will take action and keep taking action, even through the tough times.

I PREDICT that if you’re unhappy with your physical condition and you say, “it’s not my fault” or you blame it on genetics, hormones or age, then your body will look pretty much the same at the end of 2008 as it did on New Year’s day.

I PREDICT that the more you have patience, a long term perspective and the ability to postpone immediate gratification, the more likely you are to be a success one year from now.

I PREDICT that the more you seek “miracle pills” or “quick fixes,” the more likely you are to be a failure one year from now.

I PREDICT that you will be tempted by many quick fixes in 2008.

I PREDICT that if you hang out with losers and negative people this year, you will become just like them.

I PREDICT that if you hang out with winners and positive people this year, you will become just like them.

I PREDICT that you will run into more negative people and losers this year than positive people and winners.

I PREDICT that if you recruit just one friend or support partner that stands behind you and the lifestyle changes you want to make in 2008, you will double your chances for success. If you surround yourself with numerous support partners, you will become virtually unstoppable.

So how does your future look for 2008?

Based on my "predictions" if it doesn’t look as bright as you’d like it to be, then don’t worry, because a prediction is not predestination.

You can’t do anything to change the past, but by changing your thoughts, attitudes and actions in the present moment, the future is yours to create.

Train hard and expect success!

-Tom Venuto

PS If you enjoyed this article, please feel welcome to post your comments or feedback on the Burn The Fat Blog.

PPS this article may be reprinted online or distributed by email provided the authors by line credit and website links are included.

Tom Venuto is a lifetime natural bodybuilder, an NSCA-certified personal trainer, certified strength & conditioning specialist (CSCS), and author of the #1 best selling diet e-book, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle. Tom teaches you how to lose fat without drugs or supplements using the little-known secrets of the world's best bodybuilders and fitness models. Learn how to get rid of stubborn fat and turbo-charge your metabolism by visiting, home of Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle and www.BurnTheFatInnerCircle.Com, the Internet's premier members-only fat loss support community. .



QUESTION: Dear Tom: If you are going to go out and have a drink or two with friends, which drink is "best" on when you're on a fat loss program like your BFFM? Would it be wine or a vodka mixed with soda? Is champagne better or worse than the other two?

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The "Muscle-Head" Interview
Tom Venuto speaks out on weight loss surgery, fat loss vs weight loss, fat loss diet tips, spot reducing and cardio for fat loss

MH: Hi Tom and thanks for agreeing to do this interview. I'm sure all our readers will learn a ton. For those out there who've never heard of you, could you give us a quick run down on who you are and why people should take notes when you speak?

TV: My pleasure. I’m a natural bodybuilder and I’ve been training since 1984 and competing since 1989. I’ve competed 28 times in 7 natural federations and also in NPC open competitions as a lifetime drug free athlete. I was a personal trainer, nutritionist and personal coach for years, and then became a full time author, publisher and independent researcher. I specialize in bodybuilding and fat loss.

I’ve written over 300 articles and my e-book, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle has been a popular top seller since 2003. I’m also certified as a trainer and strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength And conditioning Association and I’m a member of all the major exercise science and obesity organizations and I read all their journals to stay on top of research.

When a coach or expert speaks, I think you should pay attention and “take notes” if that person has three things: (1) Formal education and training, (2) A track history of satisfied clients to show that it works in the real world, and (3) a great physique which proves that not only does he know what he’s talking about, but also that he’s a good role model and he walks the walk. I think I qualify for all three.

MH: I was a bit taken back by a story I saw on the news tonight. The Australian Medical Association are lobbying the government to make lap-band surgeries free for anyone with a weight problem. What's your take on this? Also, the AMA is arguing that diet and exercise just doesn't work for everyone. Do you think this is true?

TV: Well it’s correct that you can’t claim your diet or exercise program will work for everyone, because there are always tough cases. In the U.S., the FTC doesn’t even allow you to advertise that your product will work for everyone, 100% of the time. Some diseases, like thyroid disorders, can make weight loss more difficult. However, one thing that works for everyone for fat loss is a caloric deficit.

Medical conditions and genetics can influence body fat, so it’s harder for some people to establish a calorie deficit than others, but gene defects and health problems that make weight loss very difficult are the exceptions. It’s when genetics meet up with obesogenic environment, lack of personal discipline in eating habits and sedentary lifestyle that you get serious widespread obesity.

Surgery might be a viable option for an obese person who is unable to exercise and has already tried staying on a calorie restricted diet with little success. Lap band and gastric bypass are just forced calorie control if you think about it – you can’t overeat even if you wanted to.

The big problem I see with the government paying for surgery for “anyone with a weight problem” is that surgery should not be encouraged or made more accessible, it should be seen as a last resort and an extreme measure. Let’s keep this in proper perspective – this is dangerous, major surgery, not an everyday procedure. We should focus on lifestyle changes first and exhaust all other options before the discussion turns to slicing you open.

MH: Tom, I know one of the things you like to mention is the real difference between weight loss and fat loss. Can you tell us why this is so important for anyone wanting to become really lean and muscular?

TV: A good example is the Biggest Loser on TV. The show is very inspiring and motivating for a lot of people, but judging a person’s success on total weight loss and the speed of that total weight loss sends the wrong message. What really matters is not how much total body weight you lose, but how much body fat you lose and what happens to your lean body mass. It’s also important to keep the long term perspective in mind and remember that rapid weight losses are rarely maintained.

A quick start may be motivating and positive from a psychological perspective, but if you lose more than 2-3 pounds per week you can almost always rest assured that a portion of it is lean tissue and water weight. This is why my programs always emphasize fat loss not just weight loss and they always recommend body composition testing, which you can do with a skinfold caliper or a variety of other methods.

A body composition test lets you know how much of your body weight is fat and how much is muscle. Its okay to gain weight if its muscle. It’s not okay to lose weight faster if it’s muscle. But the only way you’ll ever know what you’re gaining or losing if you realize that body weight loss is not the same as fat loss, and you actually measure it and chart your progress.

MH: I've noticed that lots of people email me asking about the best workouts for losing fat, but I don't get as many questions about the best way to eat to lose fat. Could you shed some light on the importance of diet and perhaps give our readers some tips on improving their fat loss diets?

TV: The key to nutrition for fat loss is not the particular foods per se. A food is not fattening because it’s man-made, or high in sugar or high in fat or high on the glycemic index or insulin-stimulating or whatever. The real definition of a fattening food is one that is high in calorie density and especially one that is high in calories which does not satisfy the appetite or make you feel fuller.

Somebody needs to publish a book called, “It’s the calories, stupid!” And don’t ask - yes, I already tried – they rejected the title. The marketplace apparently doesn’t want the truth, they want diet book titles that sell, like, “The 2 week boot camp body transformation breakthrough: How to drop 17 pounds in the next 14 days!” Or “The 30 pounds in 30 days French Riviera weight loss miracle!”

Calories are the most un-glamorous part of nutrition for weight loss, but the truth is: It IS the calories! It's not that choice of foods doesn’t matter, it’s that you shouldn’t demonize or praise specific foods, macronutrients or entire diets without also acknowledging their calorie density and ability to satisfy appetite. With that in mind, the best foods for appetite suppression are lean proteins like chicken, turkey, fish, lean read meat and egg whites.

When it comes to carbs, the ones with the lowest calorie density and best ability to satisfy appetite are the ones with a high fiber and water content. The first ones to come to mind are green veggies, salad veggies and other fibrous carbs. A close second is the fruits, but not fruit juice which is calorie dense, has no fiber and does not activate the body’s satiety mechanism like whole foods.

The rest of the carbs – the natural starches, grains and simple sugars – should be eaten in moderation on fat loss programs and focused after or around your strength training workouts and also early in the day. The last tip is to be sure you include adequate amounts of healthy fats. An easy way to do that is to eat fatty fish like salmon or supplement with fish oil or flaxseed oil.

When you combine high nutrient density with low calorie density and high satiety value, you have the best foods for losing fat. In a nutshell: Eat lean protein and more fruits and vegetables. It’s the advice everyone 'already knows' the most but puts into practice the least.

MH: Tom, over the years I've had a lot of people ask me the best way to burn fat from a certain body part. What do you tell people when they ask you the best way to burn belly fat, or how to get rid of man boobs?

TV: Yeah, lots of people want to lose fat from one part of their body first, but that’s not the way that fat storage and fat loss works. Think of abdominal fat like the deep end of an in ground swimming pool. No matter how much you protest, there’s no way you can drain the deep end before the shallow end.

My advice is to focus on reducing your body fat percentage overall with good nutrition and training, and as your total body fat level goes down, your abs and other “stubborn areas” will come down. But to avoid some serious frustration, remember the “deep end of the pool” analogy: First on, last off. The Lower ab flab will go, it’s just the last place to “drain.”

MH: Something a lot of people are unsure about is the role cardio plays in fat loss. Can you share some of your best strategies for using cardio to help with fat loss?

TV: The important point about fat loss is that all you need to burn fat is a calorie deficit. That means you could either cut calories without doing any exercise at all or you can increase exercise without cutting calories at all and either way you get a deficit and you lose weight.

We have a debate going on through, about whether a deficit is a deficit. Do you get the same results by eating more and exercising more or by eating less with no exercise, if the deficit is the same? Well, exercising less is tempting because it’s the lazy person’s method. Just eat less and you lose weight without breaking a sweat. The problem is that no amount of “eating less” will get you muscular and fit, will it?

Cardio burns calories but also provides fitness benefits and develops your body and muscularity. Research even proves that moderate amounts of cardio – in the ballpark of 3 days a week for 20-30 minutes – does not hold back muscle growth, it actually helps it. For fat loss, increasing cardio further is a no-brainer way to increase your deficit. If you do your cardio with some intensity (instead of lazy 3 MPH walks on the treadmill), you can burn a lot of calories. Remember, there are two sides to the energy balance equation: calories consumed and calories burned.

Someone who is bedridden or obese may not be able to do much exercise, but for those who are able bodied and healthy, I believe it’s better to use exercise (“burn more”) and a slight reduction in food intake (“eat more”), than no exercise and a large reduction in food intake ("starvation" diets). You can only cut food intake so far without hunger problems, nutrient deficiencies, muscle loss and metabolic adaptation.

That’s the premise of my program, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle, as the name implies: I encourage people to avoid starvation diets and instead do more on the burn calories side of the energy balance equation, which allows you to eat more. Some experts, such as Dr. John Berardi, call this a higher “energy flux” program, which means more energy coming in, more energy going out.

The question is, how much more cardio specifically? It’s difficult to answer because everyone is different. Someone overweight but healthy can usually get down to average body fat with a fairly moderate amount of cardio – just reduce calories a bit, and do a moderate amount of cardio – at least 3 days a week for 30 minutes or so, in addition to your weight training. Some people, who we might classify as “endomorph” body types, will not respond as well, so they can benefit from more frequent or longer sessions of cardio: 5-7 days a week at 30-45 minutes, or shorter, but more intense sessions (interval training or higher intensity steady state training).

If you’re a bodybuilder or strength athlete, then the ideal amount of cardio is the least you can get away with. However, when you’re already lean, it usually takes more cardio to get “shredded” because your body really starts fighting you at the lower extremes of body composition. Most bodybuilders I know build up to doing cardio daily prior to competition and some of them even go to two sessions a day.

If you do cardio daily, then it’s a good idea to vary the intensity because too much intense cardio can tap into your recovery ability. For example, you might do three sessions a week with higher intensity, and the other 3-4 sessions at moderate intensity. That’s a great plan for the person who wants to get very ripped or who has some stubborn fat to lose.

If you want to get ripped, a higher volume of cardio is usually a necessary evil, but since everyone is different, the only definitive cardio rule I can give you is: Do as little cardio as you can get away with, but as much as is necessary.

MH: Have you got any more tips for those who want to get shredded? Something that hasn't been mentioned yet but something you think people should know about?

TV: Sure, we can finish with three final tips. My first tip is that there is a huge gap between what we already know and what we do. Work on closing that gap.

The second is to make sure your expectations match reality. Most people say they want be ripped with six pack abs, but they don’t have the slightest concept of the amount of work it takes. They’re really just wishing and hoping. If it were easy, everyone would have six pack abs. But ask yourself, how rare of a sight is a truly ripped midsection? The marketplace is very responsible for unrealistic expectations, so it’s not completely your fault. Because of false advertising and phony before and after pictures, most people totally underestimate the amount of work and the amount of time it takes to get ripped.

My third tip is don’t look for magic in supplements or even specific diet or training programs, just work hard and be consistent with the program you’re on. My own Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle is a very solid and effective program, but I have no miracle solutions and neither does anyone else. The magic is in burning desire, hard work, discipline and consistency more so than which program you’re on. There are many different paths that can lead to the same end result, but no one gets anywhere without desire and passion and hard work.

MH: Well, thanks for your time Tom, I appreciate it. For those out there that want to know a little more about you can you tell us what you offer and where people should go to find out about it?

TV: You can learn more about the Burn The Fat program at It’s been a best seller non stop since 2003. In 2006, we opened a fat loss support community called the Inner Circle and since then it’s has grown into thousands of members. We have especially active discussion forums and all kinds of special features like hundreds of articles and Q & A columns, fat-burning recipes, calorie, macronutrient and body fat calculators, downloadable ebooks and MP3 audios that you can download and listen to from your computer or IPOD. I’m on the forums myself and answer member questions all the time. It’s a great place for bodybuilding and fitness minded people to network, learn and get social support. The URL for that site is

Who is The MuscleHead?


Success Through Goal Setting
By Brian Tracy

The ability to set goals and make plans for their accomplishment is the “master skill” of success. It is the single most important skill that you can learn and perfect. Goal-setting will do more to help you achieve the things you want in life than will anything else you’ve been exposed to.

Becoming an expert at goal-setting and goal-achieving is something that you absolutely must do if you wish to fulfill your potential as a human being. Goals enable you to do the work you want to do, to live where you want to live, to be with the people you enjoy, and to become the kind of person you want to become. And there is no limit to the financial rewards you can obtain. All you have to do is to set a goal for financial success, make a plan, and then work the plan until you succeed in that area.

The payoff for setting goals and making plans is being able to choose the kind of life you want to live. So why do so few people set goals? According to the best research, less than 3 percent of Americans have written goals, and less than 1 percent review and rewrite their goals on a daily basis. So the reasons why people don’t set goals have been of considerable interest to me.

I think that there are five basic reasons why people don’t set goals:

The first reason why people don't set goals that they are simply not serious. Whenever I speak with a man or woman who has achieved something remarkable, I learn that the achievement occurred after that person decided to “get serious.” Until you become completely serious and totally determined about your goals, nothing really happens.

The second reason why people don’t set goals is that they don’t understand the importance of goals.We find that young men and women who begin setting goals very early in life invariably come from families in which the importance of goals is emphasized. The discussion that takes place around your family dinner table is one of the most powerful formative influences in your life. If your parents didn’t have goals, didn’t talk about goals, didn’t encourage you to set goals, and didn’t talk about people outside the family circle who had goals and were moving toward a higher level of achievement, then you very likely grew up with the idea that goals are not even a part of normal existence. This is the case for most people. And for many years, it was the case for me.

The third reason why people don’t set goals is because they don’t know how to do it. One of the greatest tragedies of our educational system is that you can receive 15 to 18 years of education in our schools and never once receive a single hour of instruction on how to set goals. Yet we find that in certain schools where goal-setting programs have been introduced since first grade, young people become excited about goal-setting - even if the goal is only to increase the scores by 5 or 10 percent over the course of the semester, or to be on time every day in the course of a month. Children become so excited about achieving goals that by the third or fourth grade, they love to go to school. They get the best grades. They are seldom absent. They are excited about themselves and about their lives. So encourage your children to set worthwhile and realistic goals from an early age.

The fourth reason why people don’t set goals is fear of rejection. The fear of rejection is caused by destructive criticism in early childhood and is manifested, in adulthood, in the fear of criticism by others. Many people hold back from setting worthwhile goals because they have found that every time they do set a goal, somebody steps up and tells them that they can’t achieve it, or that they will lose their money or waste their time.

Because each of us is strongly influenced by the opinions of those around us, one of the first things that you must learn when you begin setting goals is to keep your goals confidential. Don’t tell anyone about them. Often, it’s the fear of criticism that, more than any other single factor, stops you from goal-setting in the first place. So keep your goals to yourself, with one exception. Share your goals only with others who are committed to achieving goals of their own and who really want you to be successful and achieve your goals as well. Other than that, don’t tell anybody about your goals, so no one is in a position to criticize you, or to discourage you from setting your goals.

The fifth reason why people don’t set goals - and perhaps the most important reason of all - is the fear of failure. People don’t set goals because they are afraid that they might fail. In fact, the fear of failure is probably the greatest single obstacle to success in adult life. It can hold you back more than any other psychological problem.

The primary reason why you fear failure is simply this: You probably do not understand the role that failure plays in achievement. The fact is that it is impossible to succeed without failing. Failure is an indispensable prerequisite for success. All great success is preceded by great failure. If you wish to fulfill your potential, you have to be willing to risk failure over and over and over, because there is no way that you can ever accomplish worthwhile goals until you have fallen on your face so many times that you have eventually learned the lessons that you need for great achievement.

In doing research for his classic book The Law of Success, Napoleon Hill interviewed more than 500 of the most successful men and women in America. All of them admitted to him that they had achieved their greatest successes just one step beyond the point where they had experienced their greatest failures.

A key to succeeding through goal-setting is expecting temporary setbacks and obstacles as inevitable parts of the goal-achieving process.

Now, in order to be successful, you need to focus your mental and physical energy in a single direction toward a predetermined objective. People who are especially energetic or talented have a hard time with this. They are the ones who try to do several things at once and end up doing nothing well.

Setting well-defined goals enables you to channel your efforts and focus your energy toward something that’s important to you. Goal-setting gives you a target to aim at and enables you to develop the self-discipline to continue working toward your target rather than becoming distracted and going off in other directions.

Let me share with you five keys that will help you to reach your goals more effectively. Each of these keys starts with one of the letters in the word goals. Whenever you find yourself getting off the track, simply repeat the word goals, and think about how each letter stands for a key that just might apply to your current situation.

G. The first letter is G, and it stands for get to it.

Sometimes, the only difference between a successful person and a failure is that the successful person has the courage to get started, to do something, to begin moving toward the accomplishment of a specific goal.

For example, when I was younger, I realized that because of my limited education, I was stuck in a low-paying job. I began reading the want ads and decided that I wanted to work in advertising, especially as a copywriter. I went to an advertising agency and applied for the job of writing advertisements. The head of the agency was very polite, but he told me that I was unskilled and totally unsuited for the position. He thanked me for coming in and wished me luck.

Now I was back on the street, but I had a goal. I wanted to be an advertising copywriter. I immediately took the first step, which was to learn more about how to write copy, so that I would not be turned down in the future because of a lack of ability. I went to the local library and checked out books on the subject of advertising and copywriting. Over the next 12 months, I checked out and read every single book in the library on the subject. Meanwhile, I read magazines and newspapers and thought about how I could improve their advertising. I wrote sample advertisements and began taking them to advertising agencies.

To make a long story short, at the end of the 12 months, two of the largest advertising agencies in the country offered me a job as a copywriter, and I accepted one of those offers. My income doubled. I had worked at other jobs in the meantime. But I had never lost sight of my goal, and I had kept on doing the things that I needed to do to put myself in a position to eventually achieve my goal.

You, too, may have a long-range goal. In order to achieve it, you need to sit down and make a list of all the steps that you will have to take to get from where you are to where you want to be. Then begin with the first and most obvious thing that you can do on that list. Complete it, and then start on number two. Don’t worry about the long term. Just concentrate on the obvious first step that you can take. Surprisingly enough, everything else will take care of itself. The Confucian saying, “A journey of a thousand leagues begins with a single step,” is so popular in so many languages because it is so true.

O. The second letter, O, stands for opportunity.

Successful people do not wait for opportunities to turn their goals into reality; rather, they make their opportunities, because they are perfectly clear about the kind of life they wish to create. Once you have taken the time to decide exactly what you want, you will experience an endless flow of opportunities that will help move you in that direction.

For example, a young woman worked for me as an executive secretary. At the same time, she had a goal to be a successful real-estate agent and investor. So while she worked for me, she regularly took night courses to get her real-estate-agent’s license and also to learn how to buy and sell real estate profitably. Over the course of a year, she and her husband bought, fixed up and sold three houses. They made more money from their real-estate transactions than they did from their jobs. At the end of the year, she passed the test and got her real-estate-agent’s license.

Within a few days of getting her license, she and her husband were sitting in a small restaurant, and they got into a conversation with a woman at the next table. It turned out that this woman was a very successful real-estate agent who needed an executive assistant to work with her and learn the real-estate profession. They got along so well that my executive secretary was offered the job, where she would be earning double what she could earn as a secretary and have an unlimited upside potential.

My secretary did not wait for an opportunity to come to her. She set a goal, made a plan and went to work to prepare herself for the opportunity when it arose.

A. The letter A stands for ability.

Many people hesitate to set high, challenging goals because they lack the ability necessary to turn those goals into reality. But remember that we all lacked knowledge and experience when we started out in our careers or fields of expertise.

Do you remember when you started your first job? You probably felt a little clumsy, inadequate and unsure about how to do it well. As you progressed and got more experience, you became more and more confident, and in many cases, you did an excellent job without even thinking much about it.

Since you gain the ability necessary for high achievement through knowledge and experience, if you increase the speed at which you acquire both of those, you increase the speed at which you move ahead.

L. The letter L stands for leadership.

Leadership is simply the ability to get results. And you begin to get results when you accept full responsibility for yourself, for your job and for the outputs required in your position.

You demonstrate leadership when you refuse to make excuses or blame anyone or anything for the problems you are having. The acceptance of the responsibility of leadership enables you to move ahead and take action.

When you are not satisfied with your job or income, and you sit down and make a written plan to change it, and then take action on that plan, without waiting for anyone’s approval or permission, you are behaving like a leader.

S. The final letter, S, stands for stay with it.

This is the resolution to persist in the face of adversity until you succeed. Between you and every goal that you wish to achieve, there is a series of obstacles, and the bigger the goal, the bigger the obstacles. Your decision to be, have and do something out of the ordinary entails facing difficulties and challenges that are out of the ordinary as well. Sometimes your greatest asset is simply your ability to stay with it longer than anyone else.

When you look around you, you will see that all achievement is the triumph of persistence. You will see men and women everywhere who are struggling with and overcoming adversities in order to accomplish something that is important to them. And so can you.

So these are the words and phrases to remember in setting and achieving goals: The first is get to it! Get started; take the first action at hand. The second is opportunity. Begin to prepare yourself now so that you will be ready for the opportunities that will inevitably arise. The third is ability. Resolve to learn what you need to know to live the kind of life you want to live. The fourth word is leadership. Take charge of your time and your life, and accept responsibility for your results. And, finally, stay with it. If you stay with it long enough, nothing can stop you from finally winning through.

This article was reprinted with permission from Brian Tracy. Copyright © Brian Tracy International. All Rights Reserved.

Brian Tracy


About The Author

Brian Tracy is a leading authority on personal and business success. As Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, he is the best-selling author of 17 books and over 300 audio and video learning programs. Brian is the most listened to audio author on personal and business success in the world today. His fast-moving talks and seminars on leadership, sales, managerial effectiveness and business strategy are loaded with powerful, proven ideas and strategies that people can immediately apply to get better results in every area. Learn more and subscribe to Brian's free newsletters at:


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“If you're not thinking a brand new thought, you're not thinking at all, you're just running the old tapes of memory, working off of old paradigms, old habits, old conditioning and old beliefs.”

- Bob Proctor

"Success is like anything worthwhile. It has a price. To achieve success, whatever the job we have, we must pay a price. Most important, you must pay the price to stay there.”

- Vince Lombardi

"Also-rans play not to lose. Winners play to win.”

- Gene Landrum

"Find the pack and then split... there are no big wins where the herd lives." ”

- Gene Landrum

"To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, be nothing."

- Elbert Hubbard

"To be normal is the ideal of the unsuccessful."

- Carl Jung

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."

- Winston Churchill

“Many people dream of and hope for success. To me, success can be achieved only through repeated failure and introspection. In fact, success represents 1% of your work, which results from the 99% that is called failure.”

- Soichiro Honda

“Success must be attracted, not pursued. personal value is the magnet that attracts all good things into our lives. The greater our value, the greater our rewards, Since the solution for having more is becoming more, we must be in constant search for new ways to increase our value. It is the acquisition of more value that we must pursue, not more valuables.”

- Jim Rohn

“Your ability to set goals for yourself is the master skill of success."

- Brian Tracy

“By the yard it's hard, but by the inch it's a cinch."

- Robert Schuller

“To achieve something you have never achieved before, you must become someone you have never been before."

- Robert Schuller

“Habits are comfortable beds - theyre easy to get into but difficult to get out of."

- Denis Waitley

“No great battles are ever won on the defensive."

- Napoleon

“There's a common misconception out there that a "sacrifice" means you're losing something. You're not losing here. When you're sacrificing something you're giving up something of a lower nature to bring in something of a higher nature.”

- Bob Proctor

“Self actualizization is about escaping self imposed limits. To become more than we are, we must become what we are not."

- Gene Landrum

“The people who live the longest are those who never run out of something to do.”

- Earl Nightingale

"Short term thinking is the social disease of our time"

- Norman Lear

"“The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen."

- Frank Lloyd Wright


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