CB Athletic Consulting, Inc. Training Report
"In the 2003-2004 hockey season, we solicited the assistance of Craig Ballantyne, of CB Athletic Consulting Inc., to develop an off-ice program for our 12-13 year old players. On consecutive Sunday's throughout the season, Craig worked with the boys in small groups to assist them in achieving top physical conditioning required for hockey players. Craig developed a pre-game warm-up for the players in addition to teaching them the importance of proper diet and exercise. Craig wrote a monthly fitness column for our team newsletter, offering advice and assistance. I highly recommend Craig Ballantyne. He did an incredible job in teaching the boys the importance of health and fitness and they had a great deal of respect and admiration for him. Given the age of the boys, that in itself is an amazing accomplishment."
Angelo Douitsis, Coach,
Wexford Raiders Peewee AAA,
(416) 287-7773 or (416) 454-7509
1 - 3 Things You Must Know When Training Athletes
According to neuromuscular physiology expert Dr. Digby Sale, "It should be noted that many speed and power athletes are probably doing too much, especially low intensity, high volume activity that may be used simply to kill time in a training session." Don't workout simply for the sake of training, workout with a plan. CB Athletics, Issue 85
"Most athletes are too weak for their bodyweight. And they commonly weigh too much. This is a double strike against them." - Martin Rooney, www.parisischool.com
"I will say this; every strength coach wants to argue on which training method is best, why you should use a wobble board, why you shouldn't squat or throw some non-sense that is backed up by a study done in a small village in Thailand. If these strength coaches would just have their athletes use GOOD FORM on their lifts, 99% of the problems would be solved. It's absolutely unbelievable how many coaches let their athletes lift with poor form." - Jim Wendler, Issue #108 of the CB Athletic Consulting, Inc., newsletter.
2 - An Inside Look at Men's Fitness
Adam Campbell is the Fitness Editor for Men's Fitness magazine. Adam has a Master's degree in exercise physiology from the University of Kansas, where he worked for two years as an assistant researcher in the weight loss and human performance laboratories. He's also a National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), and has a B.A. in English from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Prior to accepting his position at Men's Fitness in September of 2003, he was the Fitness Editor at Men's Health. Over the past four years, he has interviewed and worked with the top strength coaches, scientists, and fitness and nutrition experts in the world.
Before his venture into the world of fitness and magazine journalism, Adam was a futures trader at the Mercantile Exchange in Chicago.
CB Athletics.com: What's missing from most people's workouts?
I think that most strength coaches will tell you balance.
That is, guys tend to spend very little time training the muscles on the backside of their bodies - especially, their upper back and rear shoulders - while over-emphasizing those on the front side such as their chest and quadriceps.
That results in a muscle and strength imbalance that increases the risk of injury, impairs sports performance, and limits the gains on those mirror muscles that they were so worried about in the first place.
(Example: If your traps and external rotators are weak, the amount you can curl will be limited because your shoulders won't be able to stabilize the weight. You can credit Alwyn Cosgrove with that tip). You've addressed the posterior chain a couple of times now in these interviews, but it seems to be the current "hot" topic in training.
I generally speak from the general public standpoint. You know, the average guy who works out three or four times a week, rather than the competitive athlete. So I'd say another component missing is "strength" training. That is, most guys are doing traditional hypertrophy workouts or even what they think is a fat-loss workout (relatively worthless high-repetition, low weight schemes). And they're missing out on one of the most important reasons to lift: pure strength, which in my mind is also a key in helping bring about the vanity changes that they desire.
But at an even more basic level, guys still don't squat. Or at least they don't do it well. I work out at a commercial gym and I have yet to see anyone make it to at least parallel. Maybe they're all working on quad strength deficiencies by doing quarter squats, but I doubt it.
Interestingly, my personal experience working with fitness models for Men's Fitness and Men's Health over the past four years has been a nightmare. These guys look the part, but I've learned that tells very little about their training program. Most of them can't even get down to parallel without their knees pinching in and their heels coming off the floor. And very few of them can deep squat.
I had a casting call for 50 models one time where I basically gave them two tests: a front squat and a bent-over row. I chose these two because they seem to be the two basic exercises in which guys have the hardest time performing with correct form. Most of the "tryouts" went like this:
Me: Do you squat?
Model: Yeah, all the time.
Me: Okay, do a front squat to the basement.
(I show him how to hold the bar Olympic-style. He stops about halfway down, heels off the floor, knees buckling in, elbows dropped down to the chest.)
Me: That's enough. Do a bent-over row.
Model: What's that?
That's really not an exaggeration. Out of all 50 guys, only three or four of them were really solid and only two of those were qualified in the looks (of their face) department. So it's been a first hand lesson in the value of genetics for me.
People don't want to believe it, but most of the great bodies they see on TV and in magazines are simply a product of good DNA (muscle-wise). That's not to say these guys don't work at it, but it probably doesn't matter that much what they do. I guess my point is that it doesn't do you any good to compare yourself to others or to base your training on the advice of guy with "the look you want". You have to find what works for you, which is pretty old cliché advice, but true.
But that gets me back to my point: No balance.
CB: Are fancy training products and techniques necessary?
Is that a loaded question? You're one of the main guys I trust with solid, effective training advice, along with Alwyn Cosgrove, Mike Mejia, Ian King, and Dave Tate. Some other guys that I'm just getting to know, but have been really impressed by are Bill Hartman, Chad Waterbury, and Mike Mahler. All these guys consistently deliver useful information and think in multiple layers - instead of just relying on traditional techniques and conventional wisdom.
As for nutrition, I don't think there's anyone better than Jeff Volek. No one understands the science better, and he has an extremely open mind, which I think is a key to being a good researcher. The opposite type of scientist is the reason that the USDA guidelines are still in place. Other guys that are right up there in the nutrition arena - as well as training - are Tom Incledon and John Berardi. Both really bright guys who are helping people add muscle and lose fat faster than ever through intelligent nutrition. We definitely need more guys like them.
CB: What is the top way you have found to get low fat while not losing muscle?
Obviously, resistance training is the key. But in my opinion, it has to be heavy resistance training, not the light weight, high repetition stuff. That won't come as a surprise to many people that read your site, but the general public still doesn't understand it.
As far as diet, there are a variety of ways to go about it. For me, the lower the carbohydrates, the better. But you have to understand how to do the diet right. Most people don't eat near enough calories. I don't think it's a requirement that you have to take on a very-low carbohydrate approach, but I think for most people, it'll be the fastest method.
Very low-carbohydrate studies are showing that ketosis appears to not only preserve lean mass, but repartitions nutrients from fat storage to building new muscle. That's a new idea, and not one that people are ready to accept. Again, the main problem is that people who follow a very-low carbohydrate diet don't eat enough, and they either don't work out at all or they don't adjust their workout parameters to get the most benefit.
When you're in ketosis - a condition that isn't dangerous for the normal healthy population - you're in a state of accelerated fat loss. So the intention of your workout shouldn't be to burn more fat - that's already at an all-time high - it should be to protect your muscles.
That said, if you're a competitive athlete - rather than the average guy who just wants to get as lean as possible - you're better off using a moderate carbohydrate diet - say 30-40 percent of total calories - and workout longer and more intensely. This approach also works for the average guy.
The difference is, you won't be burning fat as quickly as a result of your diet, but you'll have a greater number of food choices, and the opportunity to increase fat oxidation through longer, higher volume workouts. Either path works, but individual results will vary. Very-low carbohydrate diets work especially well for those with metabolic syndrome, which is about 25 percent of adults over 20, about 40 percent of adults over 40.
CB: Adam, thanks for your time, and good luck with Men's Fitness. Adam has arranged for the magazine to have monthly columns by CB, Alwyn, Mike Mejia, and Ian King, in addition to monthly fat loss and muscle building workouts from a variety of top sources.
The information on cbathletics.com is for
education purposes only. It is not medical advice and is
not intended to replace the advice or attention of health-care
professionals. Consult your physician before beginning or
making changes in your diet or exercise program, for diagnosis
and treatment of illness and injuries, and for advice regarding
CB Athletic Consulting Inc.