By Mike Westerdal
Whether it’s due to the long cold winters or a generally more active lifestyle, Canada has a penchant for turning out some of North America’s most successful and widely-recognized strength and training coaches. Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, M.Sc., is no exception.
Hailing from Toronto, he is one of the industry’s most respected strength and conditioning coaches and is a member of the Training Advisory Board for Men’s Fitness magazine. His fat loss expertise and workout tips are featured every month in Men’s Fitness.
As a renowned strength and training coach, Craig works with a number of high profile athletes and is was a consultant to Rugby Canada helping the National Team prepare for the 2007 World Cup. He has authored numerous books and has even written a chapter on coaching for the new International Youth Coaching Association certification textbook.
Thanks to his extensive background in research, Craig stays on top of the latest cutting-edge training and nutrition strategies that help elite athletes, casual weightlifters and individuals from all walks of life improve their health and wellness, along with their physical and mental performance.
His latest work is entitled Turbulence Training 12-week Home Workout Revolution, which he specifically developed for guys who really want to get in top shape but find it difficult to get to the gym every day.
Craig has based his Home Workout Revolution on his highly successful Turbulence Training principles, which have proven time and time again to be among the most successful strategies around for building muscle while shedding unwanted fat.
Gyms are both a blessing and a curse. On the plus side, gyms are a fantastic, one-stop spot where you can perform cardio and strength training in one location. Most gyms offer a great selection of both strength training machines, free weights and cardio equipment. Some even offer classes, access to fitness trainers and other amenities such as pools or racquetball courts.
But on the other hand, for many guys they are a curse because often times, gym membership can run upwards of $100 a month or even more. Some require lengthy contracts that are nearly impossible to break.
Another problem with gyms is that due to their location or tight job or family schedules, a lot guys find it just plain difficult to work gym time into their daily schedule.
In working with countless clients over the years, Craig realized that gyms presented a major fitness hurdle for a great many individuals—but at the same time, he found that there were few practical home workout routines that would provide the results that men really want to achieve. With that in mind, Craig devised his TT 12-week Home Workout Revolution program.
In designing the program, Craig combined his very successful Turbulence Training techniques with extensive research into exercises that could easily be performed in the home without the need for expensive or bulky equipment.
The end result is a program that is built on short-burst, metabolic workouts that are the ultimate fat loss key to finally shredding the most stubborn fat and keeping it off – forever.
Craig’s TT Home training strategies are based on his 20-10 ultimate fat loss revolution system, ladder workouts, bootcamp-style workouts and more. The system includes bodyweight circuits and supersets, bodyweight/abdominal workouts, challenge workouts, ladder workouts and others.
The TT Home Workout Revolution is comprised of 12-week cycles for beginning, intermediate and advanced trainers. The in-home Revolution workouts are performed three days a week, with the assumption that you will ‘stay active’ the remaining four days—in other words, just because you train really hard for three days, it doesn’t mean you can be a sloth the other four. The idea is to stay moderately active on all days, not just training days. That doesn’t mean that you can’t rest—it just means don’t take the ‘resting’ to extremes.
Most of the routines have two different workouts “strung” together. If you only have time for one workout, then you just use the first workout shown for that day. Another great aspect of Craig’s program is that if you prefer, you can incorporate the Revolution system into your existing routine so that you can keep doing what you’re doing, while ramping up your body’s fat burning systems.
Craig does not excellent job of explaining the overall program and his descriptions of the exercise are top-notch. Even the most beginning athletes will be able to learn to perform the movements properly, just by following the directions and looking at the pictures that are included for each exercise.
Craig also includes some excellent nutrition information and a number of outstanding ‘bonus’ workouts that truly make this program not only one of the most effective around—but also a great bargain in terms of what you get for your money.
If you are one of those guys who really wants to build muscle, increase your strength, improve your flexibility and shed unwanted fat and pounds but just can’t get to the gym, then Craig’s TT 12-week Home Workout Revolution might be just want you need.
by Dean Bennett
On March 23, 2013, ninety powerlifters will come together at Apple Valley Christian Church in suburban Minneapolis to compete in the most important and fulfilling event of their lives. Ninety of the strongest men and women in the country will be under one roof to raise money for a non-profit organization called HopeKids. HopeKids exists to provide hope to families with children suffering from cancer and other life-threatening situations. Please read more about HopeKids and their mission here:
How am I involved? Not only will I be acting as the announcer and emcee of our event on March 23, I’m leading a special team of 28 of our 90 athletes in raising funds for HopeKids. These 28 lifters make up what we call Team Hope. Each Team Hope lifter has been paired with a specific child from the HopeKids organization, and each lifter has committed to raising at least $500 in that child’s name. While I will not be competing at this event, I have also committed to raising at least $500 toward this cause. If you, or anyone you know, would like to donate, you can go directly to my safe, secure Firstgiving page below:
I had the privilege of attending our Relentless kickoff event on January 20. Several of our Team Hope lifters put on an incredible show for the HopeKids families who braved the sub-sero temperatures. For two hours, our team lifted thousands of pounds of weights, flipped tractor tires, ripped phone books, tore license plates, rolled frying pans and crushed cans full of soda. And for two hours, some very sick kids and their families forgot all about cancer, and tumors, and treatments and surgeries.
Please take a look at the photos I’ve attached from our kickoff event, and please help me do my part to meet my fundraising goals for this group.
Dan Long, CPT, CKMT, is a renowned fitness professional who is well-known as a Fat Loss Motivational Advisor, Life Coach and Mentor, and Founder of Kill Mode® Training Company. Working out of his facility in Tampa, Dan is a highly sought after fitness coach and mentor to professional athletes, entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, military personnel, bodybuilders, and ordinary people from every walk of life. Thanks to his incredibly effective, unique style of training, Dan and his team have been featured on Fox Television Network, ABC News, The Tampa Tribune, The Tampa Bay Times, and many other radio, print, and television outlets around the country.
Dan’s latest work—Suspension Revolution—is focused on suspension exercise, which a strength training approach that uses a system of ropes and webbing to allow the user to work against his or her own body weight. And while Dan did not invent suspension exercise, by incorporating his own cutting edge techniques, he arguably has reinvented suspension exercise. Dan’s innovative, highly sought-after approach is spelled out in Suspension Revolution, which includes beginner, intermediate and advanced editions.
The beginner program takes four weeks to complete, as does the intermediate. The advanced program runs for 12 weeks. Dan says that he was drawn to suspension exercise due to recurring back pain combined with overall poor flexibility. He says he was searching for a training regimen that could really strengthen his core and he found what he was looking for in suspension exercise.
Given that Kill Mode® is Dan’s signature training program, it’s not surprise that his Kill Mode® Mindset is a central focus of Suspension Revolution. According to Dan, you activate the Kill Mode® Mindset by spending the first half of each exercise, interval, rep, mile, timed exercise, etc., more or less on ‘autopilot.’ This basically means operating at ‘normal’ speed, resistance and intensity.
When you’re half-way through, you activate the Kill Mode® Mindset by executing a mental shift that jumpstarts the flow of adrenaline. And thanks to the stream of adrenaline coursing through your veins, you finish the last half of the exercise giving everything you’ve got, dramatically increasing the intensity of your workout to points far beyond anything you’ve ever experienced in any other training situation.
But that’s not Dan’s only secret ingredient in his Suspension Revolution training program. One of the key advantages Suspension Revolution has over ordinary strength training programs is that with Dan’s program, your recruit all 600 muscles in your body. That, combined with the fact that Suspension Revolution is comprised of 190 different exercises and you’ve got an unbeatable training program that produces amazing results in half the time of ordinary routines.
The Suspension Revolution routine calls for resistance training three days a week plus two days of interval training. For the resistance training, you alternate among Workouts A, B and C. For the workouts you use the suspension straps to perform the bodyweight exercises. The two days of interval training are designed to pump up your metabolism and shred the fat off your body, showing off the lean, powerful musculature underneath.
Regardless of whether you look at the beginner, intermediate or advanced e-books, Dan does an excellent job of explaining how to perform the exercises properly, including several pictures so you can make sure you’re getting it right.
And although the exercises are fairly straightforward and not too complex, unless you have experience with suspension exercise, be sure to follow the program in order, going from beginner to intermediate to advanced. This will help acclimate your body to the exercises and steadily improve your skill, flexibility and strength.
Other than the suspension straps you won’t need to purchase any fancy or expensive equipment for the Suspension Revolution program. With the cost of gym memberships flying through the roof, that’s always welcome news. And you can use Suspension Revolution with any manufacturer’s straps because it’s not the equipment that makes Dan’s program so unique, but his unique, proven combination of movements that makes his approach so much more effective than the other suspension training programs I’ve seen.
So if you’re tired of the same old routine, have hit a plateau that you can’t seem to shake or are otherwise stuck in a training ‘rut,’ then Suspension Revolution is definitely something you should consider. When it comes to fitness, Dan is a genius whose strategies are proven to take training to levels higher than you ever thought were possible. After 20 weeks of Suspension Revolution you’ll find that your body is leaner, more powerful, with greater flexibility and coordination than ever before. Check it out for yourself—you won’t be disappointed.
Is Intensity Overrated?
By Tyler Bramlett
Over the last decade I’ve seen high intensity training come in and out of favor. One week we call it the devil’s incarnate and the next we decided that it will cure cancer. In this short article I want to share with you the positives and negatives of high intensity training and answer the question, “is intensity overrated”?
To start out, we need to identify the purpose of using high intensity in your workouts. Here’s 3 Reasons high intensity can benefit you and your workouts:
- Building Massive Amounts Of Muscle
- Skyrocketing Your Metabolism Into Overdrive
- Forging Elite Mental Toughness
Sounds good right?
But let’s not forget the downsides of high intensity training. Here’s 3 reasons why high intensity training can hurt you and your workouts:
- Nervous System Burnout
- General Fatigue And Overtraining
So… What makes the difference between training at a high intensity being of benefit for you or destroying you?
Well, the way I see it is that way to many people focus on intensity as their only variable of quantifying results. They forget about things like volume, density and movement complexity, which can be useful components to manipulate in any workout program.
You see, hanging your hat merely on intensity without determining these other variables is a recipe for disaster and must be remedied if you want to safely use high intensity training in your workouts.ee it is that way to many people focus on intensity as their only variable of quantifying results. They forget about things like volume, density and movement complexity, which can be useful components to manipulate in any workout program.
The rest of this article will be spent teaching you exactly how I apply this when I design programs for my clients. It is divided into 3 different phases that you can use to upgrade your workouts, learn to move like a pro and bust through your plateaus!
Phase 1 – Movement Competency
A mentor of mine Pavel Tsatsouline once said to me, “you can only fire a cannon from a canoe once.” What he meant by this is that a canoe doesn’t have the structure to endure the intensity of the cannon. Unfortunately this is why most people get injured.
Take for example the squat. If all you ever do is add more and more lbs to the squat over and over again. You may end up being the proud owner of a powerful 5, 6 or 700lb squat, but will you be able to do that for a long and consistent period of time?
My bet is on NO!!
I aim instead to build muscles that look as good as they perform. How I do this is by focusing exclusively on Movement competency first and foremost.
What is movement competency?
It’s really just a sexy way of saying “good form”. If you have good form, if your muscles are firing properly in the proper sequence then you can move onto phase 2. But… If you move to phase 2 before you are ready, you will battle injuries and plateaus for the rest of your life!!
Seek out a good coach (there’s not too many around these days) who knows movement and have them help you reach a high level of movement competency first and foremost before ever adding substantial load to any movement.
Another thing I will leave you with before moving onto phase 2 is the following quote, “Practice doesn’t make perfect… Perfect practice makes perfect.” Truer words are seldom spoken!
Phase 2 – Increase Volume And Density (To Hone Movement Competency)
Once you are able to move correctly, you must go from consciously performing a movement perfectly to unconsciously performing a movement perfectly.
This is what separates the pros from the amateurs! Think of a time when you watched your favorite sport. Think about a moment you remember when you witnessed an athlete do something that you may have considered impossible, but made it look easy or like it was second nature.
This is what you need to aim for!!
When starting this article you may not even have known that you didn’t know. This is called unconscious incompetence. This is the person who works out with bad form and never knows that they have bad form.
Once you understand that what may be keeping you injured or at a standstill with your gains is your movement competency as in phase 1 you move onto a stage psychologists call conscious incompetence. You are now aware of the fact that you move like doo doo.
By following phase 1 you will move onto the next stage known as conscious competence where you know how to move well, with good form but you must be thinking about it in order for it to happen.
By following these guidelines from phase 2 you will then move from the “amateur” conscious competence to the “professional” unconscious competence, where you don’t have to think and you still move well.
Ok… A lot of psych mumbo jumbo, how do you bridge the gap and move like a pro?
You increase your volume and density over a period of time focusing on ALWAYS maintaining perfect form 100% of the time.
Here’s an example of how this can be accomplished over an 8-week period if we were talking about an exercise like the squat.
- Week 1 – 3 Sets Of 6 Reps Doing 1 Set Every 4 Minutes (Use A Weight You Can Do Every Rep With Perfect Form)
- Week 2 – 4 Sets Of 8 Reps Doing 1 Set Every 3 Minutes (Same Weight)
- Week 3 – 5 Sets Of 10 Reps Doing 1 Set Every 2.5 Minutes (Same Weight)
- Week 4 – 6 Sets Of 8 Reps Doing 1 Set Every 2 Minutes (Same Weight)
- Week 5 – 6 Sets Of 10 Reps Doing 1 Set Every 2 Minutes (Same Weight)
- Week 6 – 7 Sets Of 8 Reps Doing 1 Set Every 90 Seconds (Same Weight)
- Week 7 – 7 Sets Of 10 Reps Doing 1 Set Every 90 Seconds (Same Weight)
- Week 8 – 8 Sets Of 12 Reps Doing 1 Set Every 90 Seconds (Same Weight)
Each of these workouts will only take you 12 minutes and the benefits of practicing perfect movement and steadily increasing volume and density are enormous. Not to mention you may see a sudden spike in lean muscle being added to your frame from the increased volume.
If moving like a pro, increasing your gains and busting through your plateaus peaks your interest, I highly suggest you spend just 8 weeks following this protocol and watch as you go from moving like a chump to moving like a champ!!
Phase 3 – Now You Can Get Intense!!
Once you’ve rebuilt the way you move and ingrained it in your brain so it has become second nature. Then you can add intensity.
What does this mean?
This means it is now the right time to lift heavy, move faster, kick ass and take names!!!
By the inch it’s a cinch, and by the yard it is hard. Be smart, train smarter and remember… Don’t be an amateur, be a pro!!
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By Ben Teal, Certified Metabolic Trainer
Creator of the Metabolic Mayhem System
It was a strange day.
It was fall, and the air was a bit chilly outside. I’d been in Ric Flair’s Gold’s Gym (now a ZX Fitness) here in Charlotte for about half an hour or so.
I laid back on the bench and stared at the bar resting quietly above my head.
On each side sat three 45-pound and one 25-pound plate. It would be a personal record. One time. 365.
I closed my eyes and pictured the weight gliding smoothly down to my nipple line and then exploding back up. Easy. I’ve got this.
I opened my eyes, pulled myself up and set my shoulder blades. I tucked my feet back as far as I could under my rear. Breath in and out, in and out, in and out…
My spotter helped me get the weight off the rack. I lowered the weight. Controlled. Not too fast. I inhaled all the way down.
As the weight descended, the world went silent. It was the same focus I had playing football when I saw a running back heading my way.
Everything around me ceased to exist. Me and that bar was all there was.
It touched my chest and I exploded up with everything my body had. And in that brief moment, I was a well-oiled machine. My nervous system telling my muscles exactly when to engage.
The weight went up about three quarters of the way and then slowed. I could feel the heat of the blood rushing to my face.
I remember grunting through clenched teeth, but I don’t remember the sound at all.
The weight inched up. Never stopping. Slowly. It seemed like an eternity.
And then… lockout!
I stood up. Smiling. I bounded around. High fives.
That was my very last bench press personal record.
I looked in the mirror. In just a few weeks, I’d be getting married.
As I put on weight, I’d gotten stronger. More powerful.
And I looked like crap.
I could bench press and squat and dead-lift way more than the average person walking down the street. But I still was embarrassed to take off my shirt in public.
And, in a brief instant, all of the excitement vanished.
I realized that if I continued to battle my weight, the only way anyone would know I was strong is if they happened to be in the gym at the same time I lifted.
I decided to focus on a chest that not only was powerful, but a chest that looked powerful as well.
One that I wasn’t afraid to show off, or at least one that didn’t look like it needed extra ‘support’.
To do that, I need to shed some – okay, a lot of fat.
It took a few years of frustration and a lot of money buying programs from ‘gurus’ that just weren’t meant for someone with the hectic lifestyle I was living in corporate America and a growing family at home.
You see, life was picking up quickly, my career was progressing. And, by this time there was a bouncing baby boy at home. Time was short and getting shorter.
I wanted a fat shedding program that was quick – not only quick in the sense that I shed fat as fast as possible, but one that only took 20 minutes (or less) to do.
I also wanted a program that didn’t require fancy equipment or a gymnastics certification to do.
Finally, I had to have ample room to do powerful chest movements – dumbbell and barbell presses, as well as push-up variations had to be included.
It took some trial and error to be sure.
The program I designed – called Metabolic Mayhem – eventually took me from over 300 pounds all the way down to a low of 201.
Over 100 pounds gone.
Not only that, I’ve been able to use these workouts to get into the best shape of my life. I’ve completed 3 Tough Mudders and two Spartan Events. And I’m training for more.
What makes the program so effective?
The first component is something that all big-benchers understand. Intensity.
But the second is an innovation in the way you cycle through exercises to maximize the metabolic disturbance – mayhem, if you will – from these short, intense workouts.
As you know, when you work on a specific muscle, like your chest, the blood rushes to the area. You get the ‘pump’ (and if you’re Schwarzenegger, you may get something more… but I digress).
However, when you move the work from upper body to lower body, your system has to work harder to shuttle the blood around.
Add a layer of complexity and alternate between exercises that require your body to be vertical and horizontal, and you’re really starting to tax your system.
That’s where you really get true Metabolic Mayhem.
Here’s a sample Metabolic Mayhem Workout – a short, intense 10-minute Shred Circuit we’ll call the Critical Bench Burner.
Dumbbell Bench Press x 10
Dumbbell Goblet Squat x 15
Inverted Row or Bent Over Row x 10
Tuck Jumps x 10
Do As Many Rounds as Possible in 10 Minutes, resting only where necessary.
Metabolic Mayhem is great system for shedding maximum fat in minimum time when used as a standalone workout system, particularly when you start with 10-minute Metabolic Muscle routine prior to the Shred Circuit.
However, you can use it as supplement your normal strength training routines to give your metabolism an extra kick in the pants.
An example? Sure. Say you’ve been doing drop sets at the end of your chest workout. Instead of drop sets, use the workout above.
Modify it slightly so that you’re using the Dumbbell Bench press as you normally would in your drop set – but instead of immediately running the rack, you insert in the rest of the Shred Circuit.
You can use it with the Triple Drop and Rebound sets or even as the isolation component for Isolation/Compound Rebound Sets.
And the best part? There are no long, slow, boring cardio session to do. You can use short Metabolic Mayhem Shred Circuits like this in place of your normal cardio routine!