Today, and over the next week, we’re going to turn the interview table here at TTFatLoss.com and have abs expert, Scott Colby (see photo to left), interview me on some of the most perplexing questions people have when it comes to transforming their bodies.
This will be a lot fun and probably prove very useful to anyone looking to burn fat, gain muscle, or take their training and nutrition program to the next level….with that being said, let’s get right into today’s question…
Scott Colby: All right. Hello, everybody. My name is Scott Colby. Thank you so much for being here. I know it’s the holidays, but wanted to get this interview in before the New Year because I know a lot of you have some good fat loss goals and other fitness goals for the New Year, so I thought today would be a great call. Some of you probably have the day off from work, so I hope everybody had a great holiday, and thank you again for being with us. We’ve got a great call today. My guest is Craig Ballantyne.
A lot of you already know Craig; he’s out in Toronto, a strength and conditioning coach, and you may know him better as the author and creator of Turbulence Training. He’s also a contributing author to Men’s Health magazine and a member of the training advisory board for Maximum Fitness and Oxygen magazine. Now Craig’s fat loss/muscle building websites feature his best-selling Turbulence Training for Fat Loss program, and of course he also has a membership site, ttmembers, which offers access to all of Craig’s turbulence training workouts and video clips.
They’re actually for men, women, mass-building, athlete, and body-weight-only workouts, so he has a lot of different niches within the ttmembers site. And of course, discussion forums within the site for support and where you can get all your questions answered. Craig – just so you know, he’s completed a Masters of Science degree in exercise physiology from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. And he continues to really get into the LATEST RESEARCH out there, whether it’s training, nutrition, supplementation – anything that’s gonna help you improve your health and wellness as well as your physical and mental performance.
And I love interviewing Craig because his workouts are similar to mine. He does a lot of body-weight-only workouts, a lot of dumbbell training workouts without the use of machines. Things that you could do anywhere, and they’re quick workouts where you don’t need a whole lot of time. So those are the same philosophies that I believe in, so that’s why I always enjoy having Craig as a guest. So Craig, welcome to the call. Thanks for taking time out of your holiday to be with us.
Craig Ballantyne: No problem, Scott; happy to be here.
Scott Colby: Cool. Well, we got a lot of great questions. Now we won’t get through all of them, but we’ll get through as many as we can. And these are questions that have come in prior to the call. I know people are still asking questions; again, we’ll get to as many as we can, and hopefully the audience listening will learn a little bit from each answer that Craig provides. I would recommend if you are listening to this right now, either live or whether you’re listening to the recording, maybe get out a piece of paper and a pen to take some notes.
And then try to shut down everything that will distract you like your TV and your email and text messaging and all that stuff. It’s easy to get distracted. Craig’s gonna provide a lot of great information today, so you definitely wanna take some notes. George out in Baltimore – I believe George is here listening live – he wants to know, “How do I eliminate fat from the body? Does this question make sense? I run about three to five miles daily. I’m in excellent shape. However, I would love to have a better gut.” So Craig, it looks like George is trying to get a little more defined and lose fat, and he runs three to five miles every day. What would you recommend for George?
Craig Ballantyne: The number one thing, no matter if he wants to do the straight running or if he wants to switch over to the intervals, is INCREASE THE INTENISTY of the TRAINING. And also – actually, the number one thing is the DIET, because we’re talking about advanced results here. And when you’re talking about advanced results you’re talking about having to take advanced measures. So he might be eating pretty well. He might be 80 percent, 85 percent compliance. But if you wanna go to the next level, you have to take it to the next level with your nutrition. You really have to be compliant.
You only get one reward meal per week.
You’ve gotta be that 90 percent compliant, so one reward meal, a couple of reward kind of snacks. So if you’re eating 6 meals per day, your 38 meals on track, perfect, out of 42 for the week. I mean it has to be that good, if not better, if you wanna take it to the next level, because nutrition is where it’s at. You know we’re gonna come back to this over and over again in the call, that nutrition is far more important when it comes to losing fat than anything you could possibly do. So that’s the first thing that you need to do is to really take a good look at his nutrition.
So writing everything down for a week using FitDay or NutritionData or CalorieKing or SparkPeople.
You know there’s a whole bunch of websites out there that allow you to use that type of calorie tracking. You don’t have to do it forever; you just have to do it for a short amount of time until you know exactly how your body responds to foods and how many calories you’re eating, so you can kind of eyeball in the future.
But another thing I just mentioned there is you really have to understand how your body RESPONDS to food. If you eat a big meal at night, do you wake up in the morning leaner or do you wake up in the morning bloated?
You have to take a really good look at that, and you have to associate how you feel with what you’ve just eaten. So many people never make that connection, and it’s really, really disappointing to their results because they never really make that connection that every Saturday at lunch – sorry, every Monday at lunch we have team meeting lunch at Applebee’s and I always end up eating the bread. And then I’m tired all day, and then I have a bad workout at night. Well, most people don’t make that connection to the bread, and they just keep on eating it every week, week in and week out. And that’s the problem.
So FIRST get that nutrition in order, and THEN take the training to the next level of intensity.
So he could continue with that same distance, if he wants, but he has to increase the intensity so he gets that distance done in a shorter amount of time. I’m not a big fan of doing the long, slow cardio, but I mean three to five miles, really if he’s a fairly fit guy he should be able to cover those probably I guess half an hour for the three miles. Maybe even 25, close to 20 minutes if he’s really fit. But you gotta run those miles as fast as you possibly can.
There’s certainly at least one study, if not more, that shows that when you’re comparing high intensity versus low intensity cardio – not interval training, but just straight-on steady-state stuff – that the high intensity people lose belly fat more than the low intensity. So if the guy covers five miles as fast as he can versus he goes and does it moderately, he’ll get better results doing it as fast as he can.
So gonna have to take that intensity up in your diet and in your fat-burning exercise. And then you know of course I’m all about adding in resistance training too.
One thing that I’m sure we’ll cover a couple of times is the MINIMUM amount of resistance training that needs to be done a week. And just talking to people that don’t like going to the gym at all, and they wanna know how much resistance training do I need to do? I would say you can get your total body in about 2 sessions, 15 minutes each. That is a minimum amount of resistance training that you need to do. And when I’m talking about that minimum, I’m talking about to help you stay strong, because most people, when they get older, it’s not their cardiovascular fitness that is the restriction on what they can do in life. It is the strength of their muscles. So that’s why I’m such a big proponent of strength training for longevity – far more important than thinking about endurance training.
Everybody thinks about, “Oh, I gotta go out and do cardio.” But cardio’s not the thing that prevents you from falling when you’re 80; it’s strength. So that’s why we gotta do that minimum 15 minutes twice a week, preferably three times a week. And if you get up to 3 by 20, you probably are gonna get 75 or 80 percent of the results that someone who spends 30-40 minutes in the gym three times per week lifting weights is gonna get. So that’s what we need to do, and that’s what George needs to do. So pretty long answer there, but bottom line is if you want the advanced results, you have to take the advanced measures, and I just listed them there.
Scott Colby: Great stuff, Craig. And I wanted to add something to your nutrition answer. Our last interview when we were talking mainly about a vegetarian lifestyle, you had said something similar about eating 90 percent compliant to get advanced results. And I made a video soon after that, and my point in the video was a lot of people are eating foods like a granola-type cereal and Lean Cuisine and reduced fat Wheat Thins. And I think a lot of people think that this counts as part of your 90 percent compliance, and my argument was that was more along the lines of your 10 percent cheats or reward meals, so to speak.
Because I think people MISCATEGORIZE foods as healthy if they’re looking at just like the front of the box and it says, “reduced fat Wheat Thins,” or “heart-healthy” cereals. And I just want people to keep in mind that these boxed foods, while you might think, “Hey, I’m eating healthy, because look at the wording on the front of the box,” you’ve really gotta look at the ingredient label. And a lot of these foods, like cereals and frozen dinners, have a lot of junk in them. So if you’re eating those types of foods, those would go more in your 10 percent cheat meals, not 90 percent healthy meals.
So you gotta STICK TO your fruits and vegetables and nuts and lean meats and eggs; foods with single or just a few ingredients. So just wanted to add that.
Craig Ballantyne: Another thing to add to that, Scott, is another place where people really end up in trouble with those types of situations is in the portion size. Now obviously if you’re buying a Lean Cuisine, it’s a single serving, and that’s all you eat, then that’s gonna be calorie restricted. But Wheat Thins, breakfast cereals – mostly breakfast cereals. I mean you take a look what an actual serving is of a breakfast cereal, it is a piddly little portion, and it would take the appetite of a bird to really be filled up by that. So most people end up eating two or three portions, but they only look and think that they’ve eaten one portion and one serving size.
And so they only really take those calories off the side of the box, but really it should be three times as much. So that’s a very important point that you just made there.
Check out what to do if you love carbs in part 2 of my interview with Scott Colby.