Fitness for Busy Folk

Monthly Archives: December 2010

Best Cardio Workouts

The Following is a Guest Post by Craig Ballantyne:

Evolution of Fat Loss Cardio

I’ve been meaning to write this article for a long time. Today I’m
going to give you the story of how I solved the problem of getting
an efficient and effective fat loss program finished in 45 minutes.
Essentially, how I invented Turbulence Training.

And then I’ll end with a sample TT workout for you…

But first, let’s take a trip down memory lane to the winter of
98-99. I was but a lowly grad student, studying the effects of
androstenedione (the supplement taken by the might Mark McGwire
during his record-breaking home run quest in ’98).

In my study (which was published in the Canadian Journal of Applied
Physiology for any science nerds like myself out there), we had
guys use the supplement and go through a couple of weight training
sessions. By February of ’99 I was stuck in the lab, analyzing the
blood samples using some fancy radio-active isotopes.

And when I say stuck in the lab, I mean STUCK. I’d get there at
7am, and record my last data point at 11pm. Sixteen hours of
mad science. And if I wasn’t there, I was downstairs in the
medical library, studying papers on testosterone and training.

Now coming from a very athletic background, this sedentary
lifestyle didn’t sit well with me. But there I was, studying for a
degree in Exercise Physiology and left with no time for exercise.
Or so I thought.

Fortunately, I actually had a 50 minute window once per day of
“down-time” while the lab’s gamma-counter analyzed blood samples.

That left me 50 minutes to get to the gym (5 minutes across campus)
and get a workout in the remaining 40 or so minutes. I knew that
if I applied my studies to the workout, I could get maximum results
in minimum time.

As a former athlete, I knew that I had to find a way to stay fit
and to avoid the fat gain that comes with working long hours in a
sedentary environment. And I also had to stay true to the
high-school bodybuilder I once was, so there was no way I was
willing to sacrifice my muscle to one of those long-cardio, low
protein fat-loss plans that were popular at the time.

Instead, I had to draw on my academic studies and my experiences
working with athletes as the school’s Strength & Conditioning Coach.

I knew that sprint intervals were associated with more fat loss
than slow cardio, and I knew that you could also increase aerobic
fitness by doing sprints (but you can’t increase sprint performance
by doing aerobic training).

So clearly, intervals were (and ARE!) superior to long slow cardio.

I had seen first hand the incredible results of sprint intervals in
the summer and fall, as the athletes made huge fitness improvements
and shed winter fat in a short time using my interval programs. I
knew that intervals had to be the next step in the evolution of cardio.

The biggest benefit of intervals? A lot of results in a short
amount of time. I knew that I only had 40 minutes to train, and
therefore I could only spend 15-20 minutes doing intervals.

Now onto the strength training portion of the workouts. I knew that
a high-volume bodybuilding program wasn’t going to cut it – I just
didn’t have time. But in the past year I had read so many lifting
studies, that I knew exactly what exercises I needed to do to
maximize my lifting time in the gym.

Those exercises were standing, multi-muscle, movements such as
squats, presses, rows, power cleans, and plenty of other standing
single-leg exercises. I knew those exercises would bring me far
more results than those people sitting on machines would ever achieve.

And I also knew that I had to lift heavier than the average Joe or
Jane Gym-goer lifts. I just knew that doing lighter weights and
high-reps wasn’t going to cut it. And a research study from 2001
later showed that I was right – when women did 8 reps per set, they
had a significantly greater increase in post-workout metabolism
than if they did 15 reps per set.

So I had my plan. Bust my tail over to the gym, through the cold,
dreary Canadian winter afternoon, and do a quick but thorough
warm-up (specific to my lifts – none of that 5 minutes on the
treadmill waste of time).

Once I got through the warm-up, I did as many sets as I could in
the remainder of the 20 minutes for strength training.

At that point, I knew that supersets were the only way to go if I
wanted to maximize the number of sets I could do…so the
non-competing superset of Turbulence Training was put in place.

By non-competing, I mean that the 2 exercises in the superset don’t
interfere with one another. So you can use upper and lower body
exercises together, or pushing and pulling exercises. Just be
careful not to use two grip-intensive exercises together in a
superset – otherwise, one exercise will suffer, if not both.

And then I followed up the strength training with intervals, as I
knew these had to follow the lifting, otherwise it would not be the
correct exercise order. Remember, intervals first leads to
premature fatigue. Lift first, cardio later. Forget that old wives
tale about doing cardio first to burn more fat. That’s junk.

You know, I remember the exact day and exact workout that this all
came together into the Turbulence Training program. It hit me as I
was finishing my intervals. I knew I had found something that was
like fat loss magic.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a way to put it in a pill. But I’ve
been able to put it down on paper in all of the TT manuals.

The exact workout I used that day went like this…

1 set of Bodyweight Squats
1 set of pushups
1 set of Squats with the empty bar
1 set of light dumbbell chest presses
1 set of moderate weight barbell squats
1 set of moderate weight dumbbell chest presses

Strength Training Superset #1
Barbell Squats paired with Dumbbell Chest Presses
3 supersets, aiming for 8 reps per side per set

Strength Training Superset #2
DB Rows paired with Barbell Forward Lunges
3 supersets, aiming for 8 reps per set

Stationary Bike Intervals
After a warm-up, I did 6 intervals of 45 seconds work and 45 seconds
rest, finishing with a cool-down.

And from that point in time, I’ve tried to share this and all the
other Turbulence Training workouts with as many men and women as
possible. The same men and women that I would see day-in and
day-out performing the same ineffective slow-cardio fat loss
programs, and not making a darn change month after month. And
every day they would see me, soaked in sweat, feeling great and
looking lean, and finishing another TT workout.

Eventually I noticed these other men and women weren’t around as
consistently as before, and then soon enough they would drop out
completely – after all, they weren’t getting results with their
slow cardio and aerobics classes (yep, those were still around in

And so here we are today…thousands of TT users later, with
national fitness magazines like Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, and
Shape spreading the good word about Turbulence Training.

Thousands of TT users, dozens of personal trainers, and even
several national fitness magazines all agree with me, Turbulence
Training is the #1 way to fast fat loss.

Thanks for being a part of the TT Lifestyle Revolution, and for
sharing this new and improved fat loss training and cardio system
with the world.

If you haven’t already, get your own copy of the TT workouts and
nutrition guidelines here:


So when you see someone frustrated with their ineffective fat loss
program, tell them there is a better way. It’s research-based,
efficient, and most of all, effective. And yes, it goes against the
crowd. But it works.

And it’s now better than ever,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Creator, Turbulence Training

PS – Don’t know where to start?

If you are a beginner, start by reading Dr. Mohr’s nutrition
guidelines…eating properly will be the biggest factor in your
early success.

Beginners should also start with the Introductory TT workouts to
prepare their muscles for the upcoming intense training.

For others, it’s best to start with the Intermediate Level TT
workouts. If those aren’t enough of a challenge, you can move onto
the Original TT workout and follow the 16-week advanced program
right through.

If at any time you need a break, try the TT Bodyweight 4-week plan.

Get started on the road to fat loss with your very own copy of
Turbulence Training & the Nutrition Guide

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Good Home Workouts for the Winter

Finding ways to workout with limited to no equipment is hard. But at least we can go outside to a playground to use all the equipment there. You know, the pullup bars and dipping stations.

But not when it’s cold. When it’s cold, you don’t even want to step outside the house!

Which is why I usually gain fat. But not this year. This year I made a promise to myself that I was going to get my workouts in, no matter what. This new determination has motivated me to use alternative way to add resistance to my training routines.

The Equipment

Bag Filled with Books

The easiest way to add resistance to your workouts is to get a sports or school bag and fill it up with books. The one I have in the workout weighs 33 lbs. Put in a few more books, and I could probably get it up to 37 lbs.

With a school bag, you wear it on your back while doing pushups and pullups. My friends and I used to put weight plates into the school bag. I urge you to experiment. Go around your house and find objects to place into the bag.

2 Chairs and a Broomstick

You can do a lot with a chair, including elevated pushups and dips. However most of these movement are for the chest or abs. To effectively work your back without a pullup bar, just get a broomstick.

Make sure the broomstick is nice and sturdy. Start the inverse rows with your feet flat on the floor. Keep your body low to the ground, so just in case the broomstick snaps, you won’t suffer too much damage.

The Exercises

Front Squats

Grab your bag and hold it with your hands under the bag as shown above. Keep your back straight and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Push your hips back as if you were sitting down in a chair.

Push your hips back as far as possible before bending your knees. So your hips are pushed back first, then bend your knees. This will help keep your knees behind your toes. Squat as deep as you can while keeping your back straight.

Keep practicing until your can do this movement without rounding your back. Keeping your back straight is usually easier when you are holding an object in front of you. Push back up with your glutes, hamstrings, and quads to starting position.

Cross-Body Mountain Climbers

It’s hard to see in the picture, but cross body mountain climbers are pretty simple. Get into pushup position with your feet on a chair or other elevated object. Lift one leg up and bring that knee towards the opposite elbow.

Bring it back to the chair and repeat with the other leg. To make this movement easier, simply perform it with your feet on the ground. To make it more difficult, you can place your hands on an elevated object.

The last variation is to place your feet on a stability ball. But you may want to do regular mountain climbers first before doing the cross body version. Either way, you’ll be getting a better ab workout then situps or crunches.

Chest Press

Lay down on the floor with bag on your chest. Grab the bag from either side, and press up. It might take a few practice reps before you’re able to balance out the weight and get the hang of it.

But the great thing about having a bag full of books as opposed to a heavy barbell is that you don’t have to be afraid of cold steel hitting your chest. However, make sure you position those books so that no sharp edges are pointed downwards.

Inverted Rows

The key to executing this movement is a solid broomstick. Make sure you test out the broomstick before you start the workout. Once you’ve find the right broomstick and sturdy chairs, you’re ready to execute the movement.

Lay down on the ground and grab the broomstick with a wide grip. Keep your feet flat on the floor and back straight. Brace your abs, and pull your chest towards the broomstick. This is a surprisingly tough movement.

After a few reps, focus on getting the flow of the movement. Inverted rows are a great variation for people who have not yet mastered pullups.

Progressing with your Workout

Perform this workout 3 times per day, for 4-6 weeks. Write down how many repetitions you do per exercise per workout, and try to perform at least one more repetition per workout. This will keep you more interested, and your workouts intense, as opposed to just adding more exercises, rounds, or increasing the time spent on each movement.

At some point, you should also look into grabbing some more workouts. This is because eventually the workout will stop working, and your body needs a new challenge. One of the best home workouts to perform comes from Craig Ballantyne’s Turbulence Training.

Craig uses a lot of dumbbell training in his workouts. However, now that you know how create your own resistance at home, you will be able to perform his workouts. I suggest trying the workouts out first before paying full price.

Click here to try out his workouts for just $5!

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Get Big Muscles Quick…Without Gaining Fat

The thing I hate about building muscle is that you also gain fat at the same time. I was talking to a bodybuilder the other day who’s been training for 8 years. He’s a pretty big guy, and he told me that gaining fat is part of the process.

So then what the hell is Vince Delmonte talking about? Does he know something the rest of the bodybuilders in the world don’t know?

Well…not really. There are certainly people out there who remain relatively lean year-round, including Vince Delmonte. Which is why Vince has just launched a 21-day muscle building program that helps you pack on muscle without gaining fat!

How is this possible?

It has to do with nutrition. Unlike most bodybuilding bulking diets that require you to eat anything and everything in sight, Vince’s nutrition plan focuses on eating real food designed to amplify the hormones in your body that help you build lean muscle mass.

Just because you’re training hard in the gym does not mean you can eat potato chips, fast food, and alcohol. With the exception of a little alcohol junk and fast food should not even be part of your cheat meals!

And with shows on TV like the Jersey Shore where you see bulky guys drinking and partying and still able to maintain their mass, people get the wrong idea. Guaranteed, these guys are going to have some serious health problems when they’re out of their “youthful” years.

Not only are you hurting yourself internally, but you’re also making it harder to lean out when you move onto your “cutting” phase. Don’t be one of those guys that are constantly one a bulking phase just because they don’t have the discipline to break their bad habits.

Now I get it. And Vince gets it too. Building muscle, especially for skinny guys, can be overwhelming. So they follow suit and try to do what Michael Phelps does and eat 14,000 calories of junk every day.

What people don’t realize is that building muscle requires quality calories. Junk food isn’t going to do it. In fact, if you eat nutrient dense foods, you can gain more muscle with less food, so you won’t go crazy trying to get your 14,000 calorie fill on a daily basis (that makes me sick just thinking about it).

The key is to plan it out. Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail. When I ask people what they eat, they’re best answer is usually “Food.” You should be able to spell out everything you eat, from the moment you wake up to bed time.

Vince shares with you his bulking diet, and out of the seven meals he ate, only one was a cheat meal. One cheat meal per day, that’s it. You’re not eating random junk 7 times per day!

However, there’s something more to it…Vince was only able to go through his bulking diet for 2 weeks at a time. He felt sick by the end of those 2 weeks and had to stop. Even I felt sick the last time I went through a “bulking” phase.

My stomach usually gets really gassy with all the food I eat. And I gain weight muscle pretty quickly. However, I realized this – what’s the point of gaining 5 lbs of muscle, if you’re going to gain 5 lbs of fat with it?

Most bodybuilders would say…but that’s the only way. Vince has a different solution.

And he put his new ideas to the test. Not just on himself, but on 100 different people.The results were incredible!

Vince created a short, 21-day cycle with the goal of packing on as much muscle as possible. He packed on 7.4 lbs of muscle, and lost 1.2 lbs of fat!

That’s more muscle then most people pack on after 12 weeks of hardcore training. And this would be super impressive if he was a beginner. But as you know, Vince Delmonte is no beginner.

If you want to learn more about Vince’s new transformation, and why Tradiational Bulking is not a good idea if you want to gain muscle mass, check out his awesome new program.. Click here to learn more.

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How to Stop Food Cravings

There are lots of different methods you can use to stop food cravings, but knowledge is the most important. If you KNOW how damaging eating bad food is to your body, then you just won’t do it. I think most people have this mentality where “oh, I ate an extra french fry, I’ll just burn it off.”

You really think you can do that? Watch this:

The only way to stop food cravings is to actually have 3-4 cheat meals, with small portions, per week. I usually have 3 cheat meals.

What is One cheat meal? Well, a 1,000 calorie cheat meal is more like 4 cheat meals. Hence, your cheat meal should only be about 2-300 calories. If you do decide to go out and eat fast food, then make it just once a week.

No more.

What we also learned from the video, is that steady state cardio does not burn enough calories. What you need is hardcore interval training. Craig has a great manual where he shows you 31 really intense interval workouts.

Click here for more information.

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Your Favorite Diet and Activity

Yesterday was my mom’s birthday! She started exercising a few months ago, and two weeks ago she was diagnosed with a movement disorder. Don’t let it happen to you! Start focusing on strengthening your body – your muscles and your bones – so that you’re not faced with poor mobility when you get older.

With that said, to really stick to a program you need to find an activity you love. There are many options for you: yoga, pilates, bodyweight training, weight training, kettlebells, medicine ball training, stability balls, etc.

Find something you love, and go do it.

You know what I always hated? I always hated situps. I could do hundreds of situps, but after a while, they started hurting my lower back. Well, avoid them because they actually do damage your lower back.

Instead, start incorporating these movements in your training:

I also hated cardio, which why I do Interval training. There are lots of different ways to perform interval workouts. Craig shows you all the different ways in his Interval Training manual. Click here for more information.

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Staying on Track with your Workout and Diet Plan

Craig Ballantyne calls it the “diet creep.” Something happens, and we just cheat on our diets without even realizing it. One cheat meals leads to another, and another, and then another. This usually happens during the holidays (which for most people have already begun).

So what do you do? To keep yourself honest, you need to have a nutrition and workout diary. I like to keep mine on a Google Docs document. It’s online, so I can update it with any computer in the world.

I can then send it to my friends (usually to Daniel Munday) so they can see what I’ve been eating and give me feedback if I’m not hitting my goals. You can do the same. Get a group together, and start sharing your diets.

You can also clean out your kitchen to battle the diet creep. Here is how Craig Ballantyne battles the diet creep:

Another cool way to fight diet creep is to do some more crazy interval workouts. The works especially during the holidays when sticking to your diet is that much harder. Choose from one of Craig’s 31 Interval Workouts and Go!

Click here to learn more about these Interval workouts.

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Make a 180 Change with your Exercise Workout Routines

If you have not been seeing any results with your current training regimen, then guess have to CHANGE! And I’m not talking 1 or 2 things, I’m talking about 180 degree change. Flip it!

That meas if you’ve been doing lots of cardio, do interval training. If you’ve been lifting weights, then do bodyweight training. If you’ve been following some complicated nutrition program that involves lots of calorie counting, then make your nutrition simpler.

One of the biggest problems with most training programs is that they’re too long. Instead of focusing on the length of your training program, focus on making your workouts more difficult! Here’s a quick bodyweight circuit from Craig Ballantyne:

Combine this routine with his Interval Training workouts, and you’ve got a kick ass recipe for fat loss! Click here to learn more about his Interval Training workouts.

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Are you Afraid of Body Transformation?

Body transformation is pretty scary – I must tell you. It’s not the process that’s scary. It’s right before you start the process that it’s scary. You’re looking down at your diet and training program, and you’re like “Am I really going to do this?”

That’s where the fear starts, but it really leads to “What if I fail?” The fear of failure is a game destroyer. You’ve failed before you’ve even started. Well, maybe this will help:

There are two types of failure – failure you learn from, and failure you don’t learn from. The kind of failure you learn from is where you actually do something, and fail. So, lets say you go through the whole process of 4 weeks.

From week 1 to the end of week 4, you stick to your diet and training plan. However, at the end, instead of losing 10 lbs, you’ve lost only 7 lbs. 3 lbs off. Well, first of all 7 lbs is better than 0 lbs, right?

Now, you can go back and look to see where you went wrong. What more could you have done to drop those 3 lbs? Perhaps more interval training?

But, if you did not go through the process, then you have no data to look back to. See how that works? Good, now, if you really do need some more interval workouts, my recommendation is to check out Craig Ballantyne’s Transformation Workouts.

Click here for more information.

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Fitness Motivation: Finding the Motivation to Bust through Plateau’s

Losing the last 10 pounds is much tougher then losing the first 10 pounds. But let me tell you a secret: In order to bust through these plateau’s you just need to stick to your game plan. Of course, making your workouts more intense and diet stricter helps, but the bottom line is that it takes motivation to do so.

I’ve written a couple of articles in the past about finding your own particular story. Something that you can go back and read over to inspire you to keep moving forward on your goals. One of the most motivating films of all time is Rocky.

Out of the entire series, this is the best piece of advice Rocky can give:

Now, that’s some intense stuff. I hear that and I want to go workout. I want to workout till I puke, cuz I know that there’s nothing that I’m doing now that’s worse than what life throws at you. I’m still young, I don’t know what’s waiting for me around the corner.

The people around you. The people that are in worse shape than you have simply let life beat them down. Their just going through the motions, like so many people in the gym these days. They have a gym membership, but their not using it.

They have a job, but they’re not making the best of it. They have a family, friends, people who love them, but they’re not showing any love back. Most of the time, workouts are the least of your worries.

So just do them and get rid of those last 10 pounds. Want even tougher workouts? Then grab Craig’s Interval Training package. Click here for more info.

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Upper Body Workout Routine You Should Stick To

For most people, the dieting part is harder than the training part. So, get your workouts in. Don’t miss a workout. Ever. Of course, you’ll get better results if you stick to your diet as well. But, sometimes you just have one of those days where…you miss meals….you fall into social temptation…or you just forgot to get groceries.

Don’t worry. Get your workout in, and get back on your eating schedule tomorrow. So next time you fall off your diet, try this upper body workout:

So with a short, 10 minute workout, you have NO excuses not to workout. You can do this upper body routine on Monday, then do a lower body and abs workout on Wednesday. Follow up with this workout on Friday.

Or, you can also do some interval training on Friday. Interval training is another way to get in a short, fat burning workout. If you’ve messed up on your diet one day, do an extra interval training session.

Craig Ballantyne has an entire manual he’s written about Interval Training, which includes 31 really intense and fun workouts. Click here to learn more.

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