Weight Training: “Were You Born For This”?


Was I born for this?  Not necessarily.

Was I born for this? Not necessarily.

While at the gym today I noticed a caption on the TV screen for what looked like a golf tournament advertisement that said “They were born for this”.  I was listening to music on my MP3 player and not actually watching TV so I don’t completely know what the advertisement was about.  I don’t watch TV at home so I still don’t really know what it was about.  It looked like it was about pro golf players.  I did an internet search and the hits confirmed it was about this years PGA tour.  That is all I know, I didn’t search any further.

Was I born for this?

It got me to thinking about what I spend a lot of time doing lately and the question for myself “Was I born for this?”

Sometimes it feels like yes everything in my life seems to have added up to this point. It feels like what I am doing is my purpose and that it makes an impact on others.

Yet when I think about my family, genetics, relatives, or even my identical twin, none of them have done what I have done regarding fitness (and yet I am also nothing special myself).

It reminds me of a book I read once called “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell.  The first two chapters of this book resonate with me on my experience.  The first chapter was about opportunity and coaching; I definitely missed the boat on that one for the first part of my life.  The second chapter “The 10,000-hour rule” explains why I seem to be good at knowing how to design my own diet and just do the productive workouts every day.  I’ve been doing both consistently for over 30 years.  I Just didn’t have good coaches or good tools until a few years ago.

With the Venus Factor I finally got the tools I needed to succeed

I now have John Barban, Brad Pilon, the Venus program, and Eat Stop Eat which all gave me the coaching and tools I needed to finally succeed in my fitness goals.

And then the skills I have developed during my 25 year career at Hewlett Packard seem to have set me up for doing various jobs recently for the Venus Factor.  I could not have planned it but it seems everything fell into place.  It reminds me of the Seneca quote that goes something like “Luck is when preparation and opportunity meet”.  Sometimes you don’t know what you are preparing for but your passion leads you somewhere.  Especially if you work hard at what you love and simply make the best of the situation at hand, even if it is not yet the work you are most passionate about.

“Were you born for this?” does not really apply to weight training.

Back to the gym:  It made me realize that the question “Were you born for this?” does not really apply to weight training.  We were all born for it and we can all use it to fit our own lifestyle.

It is especially necessary for women because lifting weights just 3 times a week on a consistent basis will ward off osteoporosis.  When I was 51 I got a DXA scan that showed my bone density was that of an athletic 30 year old woman.  That is a direct result of weight lifting.

Women can do the minimum (3 days a week) or take it to higher level conditioning and workout nearly every day.  That is the beauty of the Venus Factor program.  It is not a one size fits all program.

It is a program that women at all levels can participate in; as a beginner, as an advanced athlete, as someone who enjoys working out in the privacy of their own home, as someone who likes a public gym, as a stay at home mom, as a traveling executive, or from any walk of life.

Consistency is the key to being an Every Day Venus

John told this story that I think applies:

The other day I was sitting in a local coffee shop and a guy walked in that recognized. It took me a few moments to remember how I knew him.

Then it hit me, he was a subject in one of the exercise experiments I did when I was in graduate school.

Back when I was doing research in exercise and nutrition I was running an exercise study where I had to make people do a pretty intense workout for 90 minutes at about 70% VO2 max.

That might sound a little technical so let me explain what it means.

VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen your body and muscles can consume and use during exercise. Most people can only sustain their true max for a few moments until they have to back off or stop completely.

The best athletes in the world can stay there a bit longer, but it’s still very short lived. The point is nobody actually workouts out at VO2 max; this is just a way to measure how conditioned you are. It also has a genetic component. In other words some people just have a higher VO2 max even if they don’t work at it.

So in our study we set the intensity level of the workout to 70% VO2max. 70% VO2 is also known as ‘anaerobic threshold’ which is the intensity of cardio (running, cycling etc.) that feels like it’s almost becoming a sprint but not quite a job. In short, it’s right at the edge of what you can handle for long duration.

It’s hard!

Back to the coffee shop:  The guy who walked in had the highest VO2 max of any of our subjects and was in the best condition of anybody we studied.

He was about 6’4 225lbs, big, lean, muscular, and well-conditioned. He kind of reminded me of the Winklevoss twins from the movie ‘the social network’.

…that was then.

Now he looks like he is about 70lbs overweight, and I’ll bet he doesn’t have the endurance or muscular conditioning he did when he was younger.

If you asked me to bet on who I would guess would be in shape 15 years after that study, this is the guy I would have bet on. He had it all.

The point of this story is to explain to you that even the most genetically gifted people still have to work out regularly and pay some attention to their diet in order to maintain a great looking physique and top conditioning.

Nobody is going to lift the weights for you. Consistency from day to day, month to month and year to year is the key to being an Every Day Venus for life.


No one except my husband saw the potential in me early on

For me it was kind of the opposite of John’s story at the coffee shop.  People looked at me in the past and didn’t see any potential.  My husband Randy said he saw something special in me a long time ago.  He called me his “diamond in the rough”.  It’s nice to have someone who believes in you.

No one saw potential in me except my husband Randy who believed in me.

No one saw potential in me except my husband Randy who believed in me.

The slow weight creep started for me in my mid 30’s and continued into my late 40’s where at 5’1″ I peaked out at over 171 pounds.  I did not achieve my fitness goal until I was 50.  The Venus program took me beyond even my wildest dreams with fitness and changed my life completely.  I spent the first half of my life working hard but I was barely average.  My genetics did not look like anything special.

Two years after achieving my Venus goals I am still enjoying the Venus lifestyle

I am enjoying the Venus lifestyle.  In the Caribbean two years ago, last summer in Las Vegas (green bikini), and last week in the locker room.

I am still enjoying the Venus lifestyle two years after achieving my Venus goals. In the Caribbean two years ago, last summer in Las Vegas (green bikini), and last week in the locker room.


So here I am two years after achieving my Venus fitness goals and still living the dream.  You do not have to “be born for this” and as John has coached us “you are not at the mercy of your genetic shape if you don’t want to be”:


In fact you could even say that most people are not genetically perfectly proportioned and that we all have some sort of genetic imbalance or asymetry to our predetermined muscle size that we need to work on.

The good news is that you are not at the mercy of your genetic shape if you don’t want to be.  You can always train yourself toward better overall proportions.

The concept of building a proportioned physique should be your goal if you’re working out to improve the look and shape of your body.

Working with your genetic strengths and weaknesses in mind will help you direct your effort towards the most efficient use of your time in the gym and get you to that proportioned physique in the shortest period of time.

For a look at what we consider the ideally proportioned physique have a look at some of the contest winners from the recent Adonis Index and Venus Index contests.

And you can do it too!

Speaking of contests:  Next Sunday August 11th is the last day of our current contest (VT8).  VT9 will start September 1st and end November 24th (just in time to enjoy the holiday season).

So remember, anyone can do it who decides and then puts the work in.  You don’t have to be “Born for this” like the PGA tour golf pro’s.  I look forward to meeting some new Venus girls in the contest interviews.


How Donna Finally Got The Healthy Body She Has Always Wanted

Today we are honored to listen to Donna-Marie Moy who placed third in the 7th Venus Index Transformation Contest.

Check out her beautiful transformation from the 12 Week Contest:

Donna made an amazing transformation

Donna made an amazing transformation


Read what Donna wrote about her experience with Venus Index:

I find it amazing that it is possible to completely transform your body from something that was always hidden, to something to be proud of in just 12 weeks. When I started VT7 I knew I was committed to making a change, but I never really thought that in 12 short weeks I would not only be at my lowest body weight since the age of 10, but I’d be wearing a bikini in public and have muscle tone to show off. My Venus Index Transformation was a journey of self-discovery. It was an emotional rollercoaster, sometimes I was elated that I was making progress and amazed that I suddenly fit into a smaller pair of jeans; whilst at other times whilst doing the 20th curtsey lunge I despaired as to whether this effort was making a difference. I enjoy cooking and having my partner joining me in the Men’s version of the contest, meant that fixing my diet was easy. Having the willpower to stop snacking however, was not; But the VI community was there to encourage and guide and with the Un-contests I was able to start shedding the pounds. Building the muscle tone was slower. I followed the VI Phase I week after week, sometimes it was hard to see where it was going but I carried on. The program ensured that as I became accustomed to a routine, it changed and kept me motivated to continue. About half way through the contest I realized that I could feel muscles I never knew I had, and from that point on every week I could see a difference. I’ve now completed phase I and this is just the beginning, Now that I’ve lost weight, this is where the hard work begins!


Before and after metrics for Donna Moy

Before and after metrics for Donna


Donna's before pictures

Donna’s before pictures


Donna made an amazing transformation

Donna’s after pictures

Listen to Donna’s interview here, and please “like” it when you’re done:

Cardio Won’t Tone Your Body, You Need to Lift Heavy

Leora placed 4th in the Venus Index Transformation Contest. Just take a look at how has she transformed herself in just 12 weeks.

Leora - Venus Index Transformation

Leora's back shot.

Leora - Venus Index Transformation

Leora's front shot. Red background seems to work for her.

Leora’s goal was to lose 15 pounds of fat and gain another 15 pounds of muscles. She basically wanted a body re-composition. She did lose 15 pounds of fat, but on the other hand, she wasn’t able to gain the same weight of muscle mass. And this shouldn’t come as a surprise, you can’t expect to gain 15 pounds of muscle in just 12 weeks, hell even guys usually can’t gain that much muscle mass in such a short period of time. And guys have a lot higher level of testosterone than you do.

And not only that it’s impossible for you to gain so much muscle (especially in such a short time frame), but there is also no need to do that. Do you know how much 15 pounds really is? Next time you are in a shop take a pound of steak to see how much just a single pound really is.

This is exactly what Leora found out. She thought that just because her husband is and always been masculine, it’s easy and quick to gain muscle.

She just had no idea how big of a muscle gain is actually realistic for her.

5 Pound Dumbbells Won’t Get You Ripped

Usually there is not a lot of women lifting weights, most of them are on a treadmill or doing some other type of cardio. And if they do lift, it’s with pathetically light weights.

Light weights won’t help you or will change your body shape only very little.

You don’t have to worry about gaining lot of muscles and looking like a male bodybuilder. That is really impossible.

Yes, there are few women that have taken bodybuilding little bit too far, but you have to understand that they are on an insane amount of drugs to achieve and maintain such a look. You can’t lift weights and expect to grow muscles like men do.

Your natural level of testosterone won’t allow you to build lot of muscles and those few pounds you will build will only make you look more fit, attractive and feminine.

If you want to build a naturally attractive and toned body, lifting heavy is key.

Most girls make the mistake of just losing fat and thinking that it’s going to be enough, they are scared to death of going to the gym. However, if you just keep loosing fat you will become anorectic and not fit. You need to build some muscle too.

Just put your faith in weight lifting and start believing that what is build naturally must be attractive and you will be rewarded with a great body. Just take some models from Victoria’s Secret as examples, they are fit and they all work out and lift heavy!

At first Leora was lifting 5 pound dumbbells and while she was really trying to get most of her training sessions, the intensity just wasn’t there to stimulate any significant muscle growth. It wasn’t until the second month of training with Venus Index Workouts and also the second month of the contest that she finally realized that she needs to and actually can go significantly heavier on her lifts.

You may be very surprised how strong you actually are when you pick some proper weights. This is what she said: “I Didn’t know I’m that strong, you need to push it to its limits and challenge your body”.

Workouts were challenging on their own, but there was one more thing that was pretty tough for her.

One of the biggest challenges for her was admitting that she needs to lose weight. You would say that 135 pounds is already low enough, even her doctor told her that she needs to gain weight if she wants a prescription for birth control pills. However, judging your weight without considering LBM and your height is really pointless. Weight itself tells you nothing, it doesn’t say if you need to gain muscle, lose some pounds from your abdominal area or your hips. This is why it’s better to rather rely on body measurements and photos instead of your weight scale.

Being concerned about weight can also lead to some disbelief and skepticism about weight loss. People are afraid to weight too light (this is even worse for guys, it’s like they are scared of losing their manhood if they get under 170 lbs).

There is no reason to be concerned, all that matters are your proportions and overall shape. Does it look attractive and healthy? Then it’s okay to be that light.

Fat Loss Happened Kind of on It’s Own

Apart from the other contestants, for Leora dieting was the easy part. She is used to eat around her expenditure level and throwing few fasting days wasn’t really that difficult after a while. Even though she walks all day long, because of her job, she managed eat low enough to lose 15 pounds of fat. All while still enjoying food like ice cream and pizza.

She ate slightly more on the work days and then created bigger deficit in the rest of the week.

You may be wondering how she could lose so much while eating like a regular person, well this is the beauty of fasting with Eat Stop Eat. You can eat like you normally do (assuming you are not overeating) and just throw in few fasts and you will end up losing pounds of fat.

Fasting 2 days a week accounts for about one pound of fat a week. In 12 weeks you have 12 pounds. If you add some activity like her 20 000 steps of walking during the day like Leora did, you will easily get to 15 pounds of fat loss in 12 week.

Leora really transformed her body.

Today she is excited that it is moving in a right direction, its what she wants.

The best part is that anyone can do it.

Take away advice for girls that are in a similar situation as Leora was before the contest:

  • Be patient, building muscle takes some time
  • It’s important to stay busy and keep yourself occupied during the fast
  • You have to challenge yourself every time you are in the gym
  • If you feel pain, work around it – Stop training, don’t risk an injury
  • You need to force your muscles to grow, not expect them to appear all of sudden
  • Get into a supportive community – Chances are whatever your problem is, somebody else already solved it long before you have even encountered it
  • If you are really getting results then stick with whatever you are doing – Both diet and workouts
  • If you want to look better, you need to build some muscle
  • Stop looking at your weight scale and with the whole weight obsession, weight itself says nothing about how you look
  • Fat loss is the easy part if get the flow right, even if it’s struggle for you, it’s still pretty quick compared to muscle building

Plus at the end she tells how she had to call her husband to set up the camera for the after photoshoot and literally ran for food afterwards.

Listen to the interview here: