Today we have an interview with Roberta Saum, who placed second in the last Venus Index Contest in the Open category.
Check out her pictures:
Roberta never tried any program specifically designed for look. She was running everyday and lifting in the gym, just following some advice from the guys she knew. Her training plan was pretty similar to a bodybuilding split – chest on Monday, legs on Wednesday and so on.
She was doing mostly what the guys were doing, not really thinking about training for a specific shape.
She was pretty strong though and over the years she build significant muscle mass. Training combined with running also contributed to pretty good conditioning. However, she wasn’t in the shape that she would like.
She was stuck and was doing the same stuff day after day and not getting the results she was after – a slim, toned, feminine physique.
Venus Index Changed Everything
Venus Index is completely different from anything Roberta ever done. Before VI she usually trained for about 30 minutes without any structure that would be getting her towards any specific goal, it was basically lifting to stay fit. This is why she loved the VI workouts, because there is more than one group of muscles trained in every session and it’s designed to get you to a specific goal – perfect Venus Index shape.
Not having a training plan designed to get you to a specific body shape that is attractive is a pretty common problem and it’s more common for women than men. Most women just do cardio and abdominal training while they are at the gym. Then there is a small fraction that lift weights, but it’s usually in a manner that doesn’t focus on bringing certain muscle groups up and supporting the feminine shape.
Only a few women like bikini model competitors actually know how to approach strength training to build a specific looking body.
You have to focus on training your body in a way the accentuates your shoulders and hips and minimizes the look of your waist. This requires some thought and variety with your training program, rather than following a male bodybuilder pattern of individual muscle group splits.
If you can keep your waist down and work on your hips and shoulders, then you will be moving towards the ideal VI shape.
The look is not the only thing you will build with the Venus Index.
A interesting ‘side effect’ that Roberta experienced was a strength and endurance boost. Her running significantly improved since she started training with VI. And while the purpose is the look first and foremost, you will also experience an increase in your strength and conditioning.
Roberta also proved that you can do significant work on top of the regular workouts. While she was focusing mainly on building the shape, she didn’t give up the running. She still ran 5-6 miles four to five days a week.
The combination of running and lifting with VI really worked for Roberta. The only thing that changed was that she no longer puts her running first. Now it always comes second after VI training.
It’s Okay to Eat Less Food and Feel Slightly Hungry
After reading the Eat Stop Eat protocol, Roberta learned to deal with hunger pretty quickly. She started to understand that it’s a signal that her body is losing fat and that if she grabbed something to eat like she did before, she would actually be halting her fat burning while her body digested her latest meal.
She never had a problem with overeating, but still she never realized how much food she was eating. And that’s pretty common. If you don’t really watch what you’re eating and just go through life ‘winging it’ on your diet you could end up gaining a few pounds each year, but those few pounds may easily turn into 8, 10 or 15 pounds every couple of years.
You see, most people are not obese. The reason for weight gain, is not constant overeating, or medicating with food or some metabolic issue. Most people are perfectly fine. The issue though is that today we have an abundance of food, food is a big part of our culture and we can’t resist eating a bit more at social eating events. Just try to remember how much food you had at the last barbeque, wedding, birthday party or over the holidays, probably a bit more than you usually have during your regular day, right?
And that is the point, it gradually adds up over the years and then one day you wake up wondering where those 25 extra pounds came from.
It’s really important to realize how much food we have within our reach on a daily basis.
Once you do it’s just about learning to manage yourself and plan for those events in advance.
Roberta was never what she would call ‘lean’, but with a few fasts per week and controlling the calorie intake on other days, she easily stayed in a deficit during the week and could still enjoy her weekly barbecue events.
In the past Roberta would never skip a meal and would never allow herself to be hungry. However, if you want to stay lean and still enjoy social eating events, then logically you have to make up for it later on (or better yet in advance). This is what most people don’t realize, you can eat more than you burn on some days, you don’t have to diet on weddings, or during thanksgiving and other holidays, but you have to “pay off” those calories sooner or later, otherwise they get stored as bodyfat.
Whether you prefer restricting calories throughout the day or just fasting, you gotta find a way to cut down those calories.
What worked for Roberta was fasting almost everyday and having just one big meal a day, because let’s be honest, no mater how much you think you can eat, there is only so many calories you can eat at one meal.
Then once she got leaner she stopped restricting herself so much.
This is a pretty common pattern. Once you get down to a lower body fat level, extreme dieting and big caloric deficits are not possible anymore. You have to find a way to create a small deficit on a regular basis.
It’s not that you could not manage fasting for 24 hours several times a week, but after the fasts you will end up eating it back up. It may not happen immediately after the fast, it can be delayed even two days, but the urge to eat all the way back up will ultimately come.
This is why most people change their approach to fasting and reduce it to 14-16 hours and fast more frequently when they get really lean.
It’s still about creating a deficit, but just a smaller one more often.
What to do if you want to look like Roberta:
- Follow the Venus Index Workouts and focus on building the hourglass shape
- Find a way to eat less, the key to the VI look is a slim waist
- Fasting is a great way to cut calories, just find the protocol that works for you the best, for Roberta it was Eat Stop Eat, and the length of your preferred fast will likely change as you get leaner
- Cut your portions down and think about what you are eating
- Love your workouts, you have to enjoy what you are doing to be consistent and to do it properly
- No diet will ever tone your body, you need to work out, in fact you need both – diet and exercise
- Don’t do just cardio and ab training, you have to lift heavy and focus on other muscles too
Words & phrases mentioned in the interview:
Venus Index Workout – Workout program focused on building a toned and natural feminine body shape.
Venus Index Community – What if there was a forum where all the cool girls hang out and were exchanging tips on how to get in shape and what works for them to build a healthy, good looking body?
Eat Stop Eat – Lifestyle and diet protocol by Brad Pilon focusing on balancing social eating events with fat loss.
Listen to the interview here: