Fitness QnA #1: Loose Skin and Pullups

I subscribe to a lot of newsletters, and the ones I love most are those that include QnA.

So I’m going to start up a weekly Friday Fitness QnA email, taking the best questions from the website. Tons of great content here.

Question: In a recent blog (during Fat Loss Switch) you had suggested on DB Row to increase reps from 8 to 12 and drop weight by 25% to add some core work. I tried this and liked the results. I was doing 8 reps at 65 lbs. and went to 12 reps with 50 lbs.

Now I am doing BDHC and the DB Row reps are 15 — what general % drop should I expect from either 8 or 12 reps?” – Mr. Calgary

Answer: Stick with the same weight and simply do 12 reps, then take a rest of 10 seconds, then pick the weight back up and finish off the last 3 reps. So you’ll get 15 reps with the weight that you usually use for 12 – this will also help grip strength.

Question: Hey Craig, I am 26 years old and just graduated from McMaster University. The long hours on the road for work and having two “homes” at the moment is making it really challenging for me to stick to a routine. To be honest, I have just been “winging” it this whole time. I’m 6’3″ and close to 200 lbs. I know I feel my best when I’m about 185 lbs. My fitness goal is to get back to that.

My first question is: Is my goal reasonable? Should I aim to drop weight first (to 185 lbs) and then put on muscle (meaning more weight)? Or should I try to stay the same weight but aim to turn the mush into muscle? I am excited to give your program a try and get into the culture! – Shobhit

Answer: Hey welcome, great to hear from another McMaster grad.

Yes, your goals are reasonable, and you will gain muscle and lose fat at the same time at first, so don’t get too hung up on hitting 185 next month. Just focus on putting the right habits together – proper nutrition and workouts.

I travel a lot too, so I know the pitfalls of eating on the road, but just plan ahead (buy apples, almonds, and protein powder, and avoid fast food) and you’ll lose fat even as a road warrior.

Please start with the Intermediate program from the main TT for Fat Loss manual and let’s go from there.

Question: Is there a good substitute for pullups and also is there a good program for attaining the ability to do 10 pullups? – Andy

Answer: Hi Andy, great questions.

1) Here’s a great article from Jay Ferruggia on improving your pullups:


2) Also, remind me of your weight and body fat %? Simply put, if there is too much extra weight, (fat or even upper body muscle), its going to be hard to do pullups

3) Here’s a video of alternative exercises that I filmed, showing you how to train your upper back with dumbbells:

Question: I have a problem with loose skin after a few pounds of fat loss. What’s the best way to “shrink” it? BTW, I’m 49. Would that also make a difference? – Mark

Answer: Hey Mark, I’m not an expert in this, but the best article I’ve ever read on this topic is from Tom Venuto here:


As Tom says, how fast you gained or lost the weight is going to be a big factor. But check out his 14 points in that article.

Question: Is there a bodyweight only workout I could use once a week when I have to train at home without equipment, and still get the benefits of TT?

Answer: Absolutely. My most popular NO-equipment bodyweight only workout is the “Bodyweight Cardio 3” program. You can get that workout plus the most popular program of 2011 – TT Metabolic Resistance Training – here:


That will also give you access to the TT Member site where you can ask me your workout and nutrition questions on the forum.

Who knows…I might pick your question for next week’s QnA.

Have a great weekend,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Certified Turbulence Trainer