By line: By Craig Ballantyne, CTT Certified Turbulence Trainer
How a 50-Year Old, Former 2-Sport College Athlete got in the Best Shape of His Life
Todd Thompson emailed me 4 years ago with the goal of getting back into shape by losing a lot of body fat with fat loss workouts. Since then, Todd’s been a great client, using the right workouts (Strength training plus interval training) with great success. Todd made such a triumphant return to healthy living with fat loss workouts that he even developed a website dedicated to men’s health.
In this interview Todd shares his tips and tricks to getting the most out of your fat loss efforts and lifestyle changes. These will come in handy on those days that you don’t have the motivation or direction to train. Todd’s the true definition of a “Turbulence Training Fat Loss Success Story” and I’m proud to have worked with him.
CB: What impact does Turbulence Training have on your energy levels?
I find I have a lot more energy when I’m in full training mode, and I use heavy weights and supersets almost exclusively in my weight training. My energy levels seem to be directly associated with how much excess fat weight I carry around, and this keeps it off better than anything I’ve tried.
Of course, I follow proper eating guidelines as well, and this goes a long way toward keeping me filled with the right foods. It’s basically hard work plus clean eating. It’s the efficiency of strength and interval workouts that makes it more appealing to me than any other routine I’ve followed for any length of time.
CB: What time of day do you train and how do you structure your meals around this training time?
Craig, as you may recall, when I started getting into shape last year, after a 25 year layoff, I made the commitment to work out the first thing every morning so that nothing would get in the way of my training.
After reaching my weight loss goals last year, and working it into my schedule differently, I moved my workout time to early evenings, right after I get home from work. I eat my regular noon meal, something like cottage cheese or tuna with some good carbs, and then I have an afternoon snack of high protein content.
Then, when I get home from work, the first thing I do is drink a half serving of a protein shake, or eat some cottage cheese. This gives me about a 30 minute time period before I get my clothes changed and head off to the gym, which is perfect for digesting it.
I hit the weights hard, which takes about 40 minutes, and then I get on the elliptical or bike for my HIIT (interval training). As soon as I get off the machine, I drink a protein shake. I’m usually finished with the whole thing around 6:30 p.m. At that time, my wife and I usually have dinner. On workout days especially, I make sure my evening meal has some excellent protein choices, low fat, and good carbohydrates.
CB: What nutrition tips work best for you?
I’m no expert on nutrition, but my experience this past year is that I need a little more carbohydrates than what a lot of the newer nutrition programs are recommended.
When I drop carbohydrates to a minimal level, it does seem to have an effect on my energy levels. I think of carbohydrates as an energy provider, and on workout days, I make sure I get enough carbohydrates to get my energy level where it needs to be for my workout.
CB: So overall, what is your impression of strength training and interval training?
It keeps it from getting boring, and I have a bit of a creative streak in me. This seems to keep things interesting. No matter what workout I’m doing, the strength and interval program is the design I use.
There are three basic things I do, no matter whether or not the exact exercises are called for:
1. Do 18-22 sets, emphasizing full body. Sometimes, I may emphasize certain muscle groups for an entire workout, but that’s rare. I usually make sure there is some impact on every muscle group at each workout.
2. Do “superset” style without a rest period between sets within each superset. Each superset is designed as a push-pull superset, or sometimes just the use of opposing muscle groups. I like push-pull supersets best.
(CB note: Here’s a tough push-pull superset that you can do in a crowded gym or at home – DB Presses & DB Rows)
3. Every workout ends in an hour or less and is capped off with a very intense HIIT session. I don’t let myself feel guilty if I only have time to do a 12 to 15 minute HIIT. The intensity is so great that I don’t have to worry about whether I’m working hard enough or not.
CB: Do you have a favorite part of the workout?
It’s basically a flurry of non-stop activity, so I don’t really think about favorite parts. However, I think I enjoy the various forms of rows that I employ. Your program calls for Seated Cable Rows and DB Rows, and I have gotten so much stronger in these that I probably have to say I enjoy these most of all.
Truly, though, getting finished each day is what I like best. I always do a full body assessment of how I feel after each workout.
Seldom do I walk away from a workout thinking I could have worked a little harder on any one muscle group. When it’s done, I’m spent. Maybe, it’s just because I turn 50 years old this year, but I’ve talked to a lot of younger guys who are doing strength and intervals as well, and they say the same thing.
CB: How do these workouts compare to others that you have done in the past?
The intensity is awesome. From the time I drink my pre-workout shake until I finish HIIT an hour or so later, it’s like I’m heading down the field on a long run, and I’m not going to let anyone keep me from scoring. I don’t stop for anything. If an area is being used, I just go to the next superset and pick the other one later in the workout.
I think the benefit is that it is very time-efficient and manageable, and it’s really hard to get bored with it.
CB: What are the health benefits you have achieved in your return to training?
In short, I have better health, stronger muscle (and more of it), great cardio endurance for my every day life, and I’m looking good.
Altogether, these benefits have helped me enjoy my life a lot more, and that’s the ultimate benefit as far as I’m concerned.
My life is much better disciplined now, and even when I cheat on my eating, I don’t worry about it any more. I know the commitment is strong, and I’ll get back. This has caused me to enjoy life to the fullest. Recently, I got into an elite musical performing group, and I find that I have much better stamina than before, and a whole lot more motivation to succeed and to live a better life.
Recently, you were made aware that I had given my body a break for a month or so. That went on a lot longer than I intended, and consequently, I put on about 10 pounds. I must say, however, that I knew all I had to do was start back on my workouts, and it would all come back to me.
CB: Thanks Todd, and keep up the great work with your fat loss workouts.
Craig Ballantyne, CTT Certified Turbulence Trainer
Author, Turbulence Training
Get your very own copy of Turbulence Training & the Nutrition Guide here: www.TurbulenceTraining.com
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