The Evolution of Cardio
By: Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
I've been meaning to write this email 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, studing 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. Learn More
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 that 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 warmup (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
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
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
3 supersets, aiming for 8 reps per side per set
Strength Training Superset #2
DB Rows paired with Barbell Forward
3 supersets, aiming for 8 reps per set
Stationary Bike Intervals
After a warmup, I did 6 intervals of 45 seconds work and 45 seconds rest, finishing with a
If you are just beginning to get back in
shape, Craig has put together a complete
beginners package for you.
For the Beginner >>>>>>>>>>>>>
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 '99!).
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.
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
And it's now better than ever,
Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Author, Turbulence Training
PS - Don't know where to start?
If you are a beginner, start by reading Dr. Mohr's
guidelines...eating properly will be the biggest factor in your
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.
And then finish off with the bonus programs to cap off a full 24 weeks of
Advanced TT fat loss workouts.
About the Author
Craig Ballantyne is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and writes for Men's Health, Men's
Fitness, Maximum Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and Oxygen magazines. His trademarked Turbulence Training
fat loss workouts have been featured multiple times in Men’s Fitness and Maximum Fitness magazines, and have
helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat, gain muscle, and get lean in less than 45 minutes
three times per week. For more information on the Turbulence Training workouts that will help you burn fat
without long, slow cardio sessions or fancy equipment, visit www.TurbulenceTraining.com