Time to take my own advice on how to build muscle and get bigger. This is the story about how I grew to 194 pounds back in 2006, and I’m going to do it again – all while maintaining 10% body fat or less.
But I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but on Tuesday, Aug 30th when I stepped on the scale at the gym, I weighed in at only 168.5 pounds. Where has all of me gone? Oh well, at least I’m evidence that you can lift heavy weights and not get too big and bulky.
Unfortunately, due to my travels, reduced frequency of weight training workouts, and increased frequency of biking and hiking, I know I’ve lost a bunch of lower body muscle.
And I’m paying for it with reduced performance in my squat and deadlift. Unfortunately, things aren’t going to get a lot better until I’m done filming the 24/7 fat loss workout videos. That won’t be until after Sept. 15th, because I also have a week’s trip to San Diego and Colorado (again) that will mess my training schedule up. Plus, I’m filming a 24/7 session on Sept. 6th and that will leave me sore for days. Oh well, I’m going to keep fighting to put on the pounds.
To do so, I’ve decided to look back to the spring of 2006 when I hit my peak weight of 194 pounds while remaining at 9% body fat. Hard to believe I weighed 25 pounds heavier…I don’t actually feel like I look any different. I think you’ll find the biggest difference was my diet was more liberal back, particularly on the weekends. (That said, I’m going to run to the fridge and eat some leftover chicken before finishing this article…there, that’ll help.) So here it is, the daily schedule of 194 pound Craig Ballantyne.
4:30am – Wake up & work on Turbulence Training for 20 minutes before racing to catch the bus from the west end of Toronto (High Park area) to downtown Toronto. Believe it or not, I wouldn’t actually eat anything at this time.
6am – Personal training: My morning clients included “Big” Mike the Retailer, Rick the Commercial Land Owner, Boris the M&A guy (you’ll learn more about him soon), Pat the Hockey Coach, and John the Hedge Fund Analyst. I miss those guys. We had great conversation. I still keep in touch with John and visit him in Boston once in a while.
8am – Breakfast break: I was starving by now. I’d head to a local diner and have three eggs, four slices of toast and an apple. I might also grab a Green Tea from Starbucks.
9am – Personal training: My female clients would come in between 9am and noon. I loved training Amy, Darla, and Lynn. However, I also had to train the client I featured last month.
12pm – Lunch: My lunch choices back then were not so good, from a strict nutrition perspective, although the average person would think it was a good choice. I’d almost always go to Subway: and have a chicken breast sub (with melted cheese) and a chocolate milk. Alternatively, I’d have a meatball sub. Man, I like those meatball subs, but I know it’s not top quality ingredients, so I haven’t been to Subway in years. Plus, I c an’t stand leaving Subway and smelling like bread all day.
1pm – Personal training: At this point, the gym was empty. Almost no other trainer had clients in the afternoon, but I had one client named Paul. Awesome, awesome guy. Originally from Wales, and a big Liverpool fan, so we would talk about soccer before and after training. I hope I run into him again someday soon.
2pm – Workout time: I trained with a partner back then, an amazing guy (funny as heck, too) named Anthony Belza who is now the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL. It’s funny, because I grew up with that as my dream job. Good to see such a great guy in that role today. But more importantly, Anthony liked to lift heavy weights, and so we trained hard and heavy, even in the fancy pants gym where he and I were trainers.
The gym was in the richest part of Toronto and we would deadlift in the corner while Canada’s richest man (literally, the richest man in Canada) would be working on a bosu ball falling all over the place while his trainer fell asleep on a bench (again, literally falling asleep while his clients worked out). What a gongshow that place was, as Chris Lopez and Dan Brown (my fellow employees) could tell you…
But for our training, we lifted four days per week, and it was brutal. We used a traditional Westside template of heavy squat, heavy bench, dynamic squat, and dynamic bench. Each morning I woke up and felt like a truck had hit me. Anthony was about 25-33% stronger than me in all lower body lifts, so I was just crushed trying to keep up. And you know what? I loved it all. Those were some of the best workouts I ever did. I’ve definitely lost the intensity in the last two years…time to get that back.
3pm – Chocolate milk time. I’d also get Active Release Treatment if needed.
4pm – Personal Training: At this time clients would start to funnel back into the gym, gearing up for the afternoon rush. But I didn’t have after work clients, I had afterschool clients like Stephanie and Emma – two 16-year old girls. They were a lot of fun and trained hard…and frankly, I like working with kids more than adults. Much more fun.
6pm – Time to ride the subway home. It was a bit of a crapshoot…some days there long line-ups, and I remember waiting for 4 trains before I finally was able to squeeze in. Other days they were empty. The ride was about 20 minutes long and I wrote TT workouts and emails on my Blackberry…never letting a minute go to waste.
7pm – Big dinner time. I lived with my best friend and a girl we knew from our hometown. One of them almost always had cooked a big dinner – or on Friday night, ordered pizza – and so I ate big – of course, I was often starving. Now that I look back, there sure was a lot of dairy in my diet. These days, there’s almost none.
8pm – Work on TT until I crashed at 10:30pm.
So that was the plan…nothing fancy…no supplements…just lots of hard training and heavy eating. Time to get back on that program. At the time I was also training with Anthony once a week (on Sunday morning) down with our friend Larry Jusdanis (a top American-football strength coach). We would do strongman training, including tire flips, stone lifting, farmer’s walks, and car pushing. We even helped Larry train young athletes in his facility. That will make a good training update in a Turbulence Training newsletter. Watch for it.