CJ: Let's see, I'm a female in my mid 30's and a typical office professional who spends looong hours sitting in front of a computer.
Fitness and nutrition-wise, I grew up understanding the importance of being active and staying healthy. So while I've stayed active most of my life, I recently discovered I still had a lot to learn both about fitness and nutrition.
When I found the strength & interval training I was looking for body comp improvements. I had been introduced to weight training about a year earlier and had made great progress, but had gotten past that 'newbie' effect and really needed something different to jump start my progress again.
CB: How were you doing before?
CJ: During grad school and working full-time I put aside the active part of my lifestyle for the days and evenings tied to a chair, and the delights of eating at restaurants for 1-2 meals a day. I gained about 20lbs and was at my heaviest ever at 160lbs. Once I completed night school, I put exercise and nutrition back on my priority list and lost those 20lbs, mainly from running 5days/wk.
My second stage started when I discovered weight training. I was about 142lbs and probably 28% BF. After about 6months I lost another 8-10lbs and 7% body fat.
So, when I started strength and interval training, I had already made good progress, I was probably 133lbs and 21-22% BF.
CB: What were your workouts before strength and intervals? Why did they not work as well? How have you improved upon those workouts?
CJ: Before this I was a steady state cardio fanatic, so I ran 3-5 miles 3x week and strength trained using a 4 day upper/lower body split. This plan did work for about 6-9 months, but then I just stalled. Not sure what the culprit was, just that I knew I needed something different.
When I first started strength and interval workouts I was skeptical that such a short workout only 3x/wk would be enough. I soon discovered that strength and intervals kept the intensity levels up at EACH workout, so the three days and two supersets were actually more efficient than my 4day split and 3 days of running. I also got on an HIIT (interval) program and reduced my slower steady state runs to about once a week.
CB: How have the strength and intervals workouts helped you? What benefits & results have you achieved? What are your gains and improvements and how do they compare to your before stats?
CJ: I'm stronger, leaner, and faster than before.
On the strength side, my proudest achievements are chin-ups and pull-ups, something I've always wanted to be able to do. I've also improved my 5k times by 2mins. I finally have the muscle definition/athletic shape I've always wanted.
When comparing to my before stats, I've had to throw the scales out the door and use the mirror/compliments as my guide since I have gained a few lbs and BIA hasn't seemed to move, but my clothes have gotten looser and smaller and I'm also making strength and speed gains.
CB: How do you feel in terms of strength and energy?
CJ: I think my strength gains surprise me most, since I typically have high energy/endurance. I particularly enjoy how my strength gains have transferred to running and bike riding.
What I can lift in the gym just sort of evolves, but when I can climb hills on my bike that I used to walk up, and finish 5ks in times that were once out of my reach, it feels pretty good. J
CB: What features do you like about strength and intervals?
CJ: It's fun, efficient, and intense. And it works!! When I'm in the gym, I know that I'm making the best use of my time.
CB: Did you change your eating with the guidelines?
CJ: Not much. I was on a pretty solid eating plan when I started strength and intervals, but am consistently learning about making the right food choices and looking to tweak things here and there. Incorporating a post-workout recovery drink and getting as much variety as possible have been the biggest change in my eating habits since I started.
CB: What would you say to people that ask you about your workouts? Do you get a lot of comments from others?
CJ: When people ask me about my workouts, I try to hold back some enthusiasm so I don't come across as a crazy fanatic and overwhelm them.
I've had quite a few comments from other people in the gym, either noticing how hard and smart I'm working, or complimenting my progress. One lady even pointed me out and said "I want thighs like that!"
It's always fun to see friends and family or even co-workers that I haven't seen in a while because they remind me of the progress I've made.
The best compliment I get now is a form of imitation. People want to know exactly what I do and ask me for tips. They see it works, and want to know how I've done it, and try to apply it for themselves.
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 Mens Fitness and Maximum Fitness magazines and all over the Internet, 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 http://www.TurbulenceTraining.com.