I came across The Venus Factor program about six months ago when I was researching exercises to lose belly fat for women. I was looking for the holy grail of workouts – you know, little effort but huge results, especially for busy women who really don’t like to work out and frankly, who just don’t have the time.
Trim Down Belly Fat puts a strong focus on more sleep, healthy nutritious meals, and effectively managing stress as having the biggest immediate impact on losing weight. It’s not that we discourage exercise – on the contrary. Exercise is necessary, but it is more important to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine to improve and maintain overall health, as well as burn extra calories.
Why Do You Need A Workout Program?
The right workout program can accelerate your weight loss as well as help target, strengthen and tone any soft spots that result after fat loss in those areas. A workout program also introduces a framework and builds in discipline to what you are doing. It keeps you focused and gives you a sense of direction and purpose, further enhancing your goal. With the correct mindset, a good workout program can be a great complement to your fat burning efforts. The Venus Factor is touted to be a current hot seller and I’ve seen a lot of positive feedback and success stories of people losing up to 60 pounds! So let’s see if it lives up to all the hype…
What is the Venus Factor Diet?
First of all, the main Venus Factor program is not a “diet” as such. Instead, it is a 12-week nutrition and body sculpting course designed especially for women to help you lose weight and shape your body based on a female’s naturally unique body shape. The math-geek in me was intrigued with the program’s use of the Golden Mean to identify the “perfect” female measurement ratio. By plugging in your individual measurements, you then get what your ideal body shape should be.
This brings up some valid points when it comes to losing weight. Some people are so focused on the scale or what dress size they think they should be without understanding what the end result might look like. We can easily say “I lost 30 lbs,” but if it means making your face look gaunt and your bones stick out, how attractive is that really? But I digress…
A Weight Loss Program for Women
The Venus Factor is based on scientific research that attributes leptin, the master hormone that virtually controls everything to do with weight loss for both men and women.
However, there are two key differences in the way leptin behaves in women and the studies suggest that traditional methods for weight loss (dieting/fasting along with extreme exercise) actually have the reverse desired effect for women. This explains why losing weight seems harder for us.
The key to The Venus Factor is that it helps us women access our burning potential by triggering the leptin hormone to work for us instead of against us. By using simple effective strategies, it claims to be the only plan to unlock female metabolism by increasing leptin sensitivity, and using food intake timing to restore leptin levels so they never drop too far. (By the way, the number 1 on the list to increase leptin sensitivity is get more sleep…hint, hint…)
In going through the 179-page manual, you get a better sense that the program is truly in tune with a woman’s unique physiology and how your approach to weight loss should be different from men’s. The Venus Factor takes this approach a step further by tailoring the exercise and nutrition strategies based on a woman’s individual measurements of height, weight, age and body type.
How Will The Venus Factor Help You?
The program is broken up into two parts.
Part 1 – Weight Loss and Fat removal
This part focuses entirely on nutrition and diet. It shows you how to achieve hormonal balance through eating the right food at the perfect time. It also addresses lifestyle balance stating that “you should not have to put your life on hold to change your body.” (Hurray! Finally some common sense!)
There’s a great section on specific fat burning food, meal timing, and meal frequency. The “diet” part goes into how to create a calorie deficit the correct way so that you don’t experience the dramatic drop in leptin that slows down your metabolism and ultimately ruins your efforts. By incorporating what is referred to as “eat up” days, leptin levels are normalized and you avoid the crash and rebound effect that is so common in fad diets.
What I like about this is that you are provided with 10 different meal plans for each calorie level but allows for flexibility so that you can mix and match meal plans or make food substitutions as necessary. The plan ensures your body will never go into starvation mode and panic your hormones. The challenge I found was that some of the calorie deficit days were quite low (1000 calories), and made me wonder how easy it would be to maintain, even if it is only for the few days as stated in the plan. I asked the question, and was rewarded with a very quick response from their support:
“This is the lowest number our software will give… Also, the calorie number the calculator gives you for weight loss is the LOWEST doable number we think is safe and manageable… If 1000 calories simply feels too hard you can certainly eat up higher than that…as long as you’re eating below the maintenance number the calculator gives you, you will always be losing weight”
In other words, the plan provides a target range for its calorie-deficit goals, so as long as you stay within that range, you will always lose weight – how much weight is dependent on how close you get to the lower number on the scale.
Part 2 – Exercise Plan
A big message throughout the program is on a woman’s unique body structure and shape. The program claims that once you remove the excess fat, you can then begin to build the muscles necessary to get you closer to achieving the feminine hourglass figure.
Having said that, part 2 of the program is prefaced with a comment that after completing part 1 and removing the main areas of fat from their body, some women are quite happy with the natural shape and tone of their muscles and will not want to, or need to do any exercise for muscle tone and shape.
But for those of you who want to work on particular areas of you body, part 2 provides a 12-week workout plan that can be completed in the comfort of your own home, with no additional equipment necessary.
Main Components of the Venus Factor
1) The Venus Factor Meal Plans
This is a 12-week schedule aimed to reset and re-energize your metabolism by unlocking leptin’s fat burning potential. It comes with 80 meal plans (10 for each calorie-defict levels), which offers a high degree of flexibility. Click here for a sample menu.
Other than a few no-go foods (mainly processed soy products and sugary beverages), there are no real dietary restrictions. This is of particular importance for busy women with families to feed. No need to prepare a separate meal!
The other positive note on the non-restrictive diet plan is the long term benefits. You don’t have to change the way you eat or what you eat simply because the “diet” is over. This is why so many diets fail in the long run – once you’re done with the diet, you can’t WAIT to bite into that juicy burger or your favorite pasta that you’ve had to give up. Because The Venus Factor emphasizes healthy eating habits, program participants have been able to maintain long term success of keeping the weight off, even after they’ve completed the 12-week program.
2) The Venus Factor 12-Week Workout
The workout is based on a 12-week program, 3 days a week. Because a woman’s metabolism responds better to short bursts of exercise, the workouts are structured in sets with long rest periods in between. Depending on your experience, the sessions can last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. You can also break them up throughout the day, which is perfect and what most busy women do.
The workout manual is actually a daily schedule of exercises for that particular day. Each workout links to an online video so you can watch a demo of the correct way to perform the exercise. The videos are quite brief (about 30 seconds or so) and John Barban also explains what part of the body the particular workout is targeting so you are never left guessing. This plays an important role because if you are not interested in toning that particular area, you would just skip that exercise.
I have to admit, considering the relatively small price for the program, I was quite impressed with the quality of the videos, which were excellent. And, the entire program has a whopping 143 different workouts in total! It seems like a lot, but the website is organized by body area, so it is easy to navigate and find an exercise to fit your particular goal. As of this writing, the videos are not downloadable at this time, so you have to be connected in order to watch them. This is not ideal, however, I would presume you would be doing the exercises at home anyway, so I guess this is not too much of a set back.
3) The Virtual Nutritionist
This is a software application that comes with the program. It is the main tool that you will use to create a personalized nutrition regimen based on your personal details. This is the tool that also provides you with your calorie deficit range. I believe this may be one of the reasons that women have found success with this program, because the tool allows you to truly customize your weight loss plan.
4) The Venus Factor Online Community
This is a members’ only forum where you can connect with other women during their various phases in the program. We firmly believe that peer and family support play an important role in determine your success with your weight loss. Being a part of a very active online community where even the VF fitness coaches and John Barban himself are quite active will help you stay on track. This is where you can get a lot of questions answered, receive encouragement from other women, and also find motivation to succeed.
The Venus Factor – A Summary of What You Get
- The Venus Factor Getting Started Guide (32-page ebook, pdf)
- The Venus Factor 12-Week Fat Loss Manual (179-page ebook, pdf)
- The Venus Factor Virtual Nutritionist Software
- Bonus #1 – The Venus Factor Workout Program (38-page ebook, pdf)
- Bonus #2 – Premium Video Coaching Lessons (143 workout video lessons)
- Bonus #3 – Trial Membership to the Venus Immersion Online Community
- Subscription to about 13 newsletters per year
- Access to archive of past blog posts, podcasts and articles
- 60-Day Iron clad Money Back Guarantee
PROS – Benefits of The Venus Factor
1) Focus on healthy eating habits (not restrictive dieting) that targets and kickstarts leptin sensitivity
2) An eating plan that is actually doable – and because it is non-restrictive, you can even use the same menu for the entire family (just with different serving sizes, of course).
3) Non-restrictive diet plan. This almost guarantees long term success because you can continue eating the same thing even after the 21-days is over.
4) Short Workouts are only 3 days a week
5) Program allows for flexibility which is perfect for the busy woman!
6) Tailored for Women. Focus is on your unique body style and proportion, rather than just general weight loss or workouts that make you look like a man.
7) Encourages visual measurement instead of the scale or tape measure. This is particularly helpful because as you build more muscle, your weight will start to creep up since muscle weighs more. However, if solely focused on the scales, you will be under the wrong impression that you are failing your diet due to the weight gain, when in fact, this would be incorrect.
8) The price. At $47, it is slightly more than the cost of a hard cover book but packs a fully-comprehensive program. You literally get a lot of BANG for your buck!
9) An active and vibrant online community. This is one of the most honest and friendly fitness communities that offer encouragement and support – you’re almost set up for success.
10) 60-Days iron clad money back guarantee.
CONS – Drawbacks of The Venus Factor
1) Links throughout the ebooks. This is not exclusive to just the Venus Factor Program, but inherent in all ebooks. On the flip side, the links go to a live website that is constantly updated and that there is actually a body on the other side to address any questions or concerns. And you can’t get that with a published book from the bookstore or library.
2) Calorie counting. Albeit, The Venus Factor calorie range is not as stringent as, say Weight-Watchers, I feel there is still a risk for people to simply focus on the calories, and not what they are actually eating. The problem with calorie-based diets are that people think they can eat whatever they want (even empty sugar-loaded junk), as long as they stay within their calorie limit. I do admit that The Venus Factor addresses this by emphasizing a nutritious diet and that counting calories is not a requirement of the program. The calorie range is meant to be used as a guide instead. The nutritious meal plans provided also support this.
3) Upsells. Aah, the upsells. Just like the embedded links, the upsells are the norm with just about any non-fiction publication these days. Even published books from the bookstore sneak in website links to upsell products or programs online. And yes, The Venus Factor is not exempt. The good news is – you DO NOT have to purchase any of the upsells in order to succeed with the main program. Unlike some half-baked programs on the market which is only complete if you purchase the “exclusive one-time-offer” which cost significantly more than the original program.
4) Workout videos are not downloadable. Sure we would probably do most workouts at home, but what if we wanted to do it in the park? Or even on vacation with no internet connection? I guess the workouts are short enough and not too difficult to memorize. Still, it would have been a nice-to-have.
Verdict: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?
Is The Venus Factor Worth It? I think so. I’ve found The Venus Factor to be a well-developed, well-researched and well-planned program. (Did I put in enough “wells” in there for you?) You’ll learn how to eat properly, the exercises fit in with a busy schedule and everything is laid out and easy to follow. The biggest draw for me is the vibrant online community, which is very active and other than the creator, all are women with the same issues, concerns, and goals as you.