The Cardio

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.

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 strength training.

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

We sleep for about a third of our day, and whether you love catching those z's or you wish that you didn't have to bother with it, you can't deny that we need it. Sleep gives your bodies a chance to heal and rest, and though the necessity for sleep still isn't fully explained, it is abundantly clear that without it, many problems start mounting up. If you live a busy life, there is a good chance that you are shorting yourself on sleep, but for many people this can be a difficult thing to really understand. What counts as enough sleep, and how can you be sure you are getting it?

The first thing to think about is what determines how much sleep you need. Chances are, you know someone who looks refreshed after about five hours of sleep and someone else who still looks groggy after nine. What creates this difference in people? Your need for sleep can be influenced by several different factors, including genetics, the quality of your sleep, how much sleep you've gotten the previous night and whether the activities you have conducted during the day are conducive to helping you get to sleep.

Exercise, for example, can affect your sleep a great deal. You'll find that if you tire yourself out a good hour before you head to bed that you sleep a little more soundly, but if you finish a long run and then try to fall into bed, your adrenaline will keep you up for another hour. Similarly, the amount of light you have seen during the day and whether or not you have been drinking caffeine or alcohol can go a long way towards determining what kind of sleep you will get.

Experiments were performed to see what people would sleep if they were kept in a "timeless" environment, one where they didn't have access to clocks or watches. In this condition, almost all participants eventually regulated themselves to a sleep cycle which lasted around eight hours. Assuming that every human being needs about eight hours of sleep, the sleep debt occurs when you end up getting less.

People are very different and one way to figure out how much sleep you specifically need, try getting a solid eight hours of sleep every night for a week. Make sure that you don't drink caffeine or smoke, which will influence your natural inclinations. Then, at the end of the week, don't set the alarm and find out how long your body wants to sleep. If you end up sleeping for nine or ten hours instead of rising after eight, there is a good chance that you need a bit more than eight hours of sleep a night.

Making sure you get the right amount of sleep can be very important when it comes to your own health and mental acuity. If you go too long without sleep, your reflexes will be very dulled and there is a good chance you will start to experience mood swings. If you constantly find yourself feeling grumpy and groggy and experiencing a constant run of low-grade illness, this is an indication that your sleep might be problematic! 

Manage Stress

Stress can do a lot of things to a person. The one thing that it should never be allowed to do though is control a person's life. Most people who are unable to handle the stress associated with everyday life tend to find themselves avoiding the things that at one point made them happy. You do not have to completely change the way you live in order to reduce or eliminate stress from your life, but it is important for any individual trying to handle stress to remember to actively take steps to reduce it. Here are a few ways to better handle stress and still be able to live your life:

1. Disorganization is a major source of stress for most people. Missing a meeting, forgetting an important date, or showing up late for an event can easily cause anyone to stress out. To avoid this, find yourself an organizer (daily, weekly, or monthly) to help you keep track of all the things that have to be done. Instead of trying to remember, you will have an easy way of tracking the things you need to do.

2. Be aware of your stressors and triggers. If certain places or situations tend to increase your stress levels, try to avoid them or try to find a less stressful time to visit them or participate in them. This doesn't mean avoid the mall, it just means to go to the mall when it isn't as crowded.

3. Make some time for yourself. An hour a day reading a book or listening to some soothing music can be the perfect remedy for relieving stress. Some people even find sweeping and washing dishes to be great stress-relieving activities.

4. Minimize the time you spend with stressful people. Some of these individuals are simply trying to pass their stress onto others. You are only playing into their hands by arguing with them or trying to beat them at their own game.

5. Consider the actual benefits of some of today's technological wonders. Cell phones and computers have made people's lives easier, but they also add to people's stress. Constantly having to answer the phone and check your email can interfere with the other aspects of your life. Make it a point to establish a cut-off point or time when cell phones and email will be declared off-limits.

6. If you are in a management or leadership position, don’t take on every task yourself. Be willing to delegate tasks and responsibilities to others and let them stress out for a change.

7. Certain foods have been shown to increase stress levels. That morning cup of coffee might help get you through the morning, but in the end, it can also contribute to increasing your body's levels of cortisol, which is a hormone known to be associated with stress.

8. If a trip to the gym is too stressful, consider an alternate way of exercising. Working-out does not have to be an exercise in stress. A nice walk is good for both the body and the mind. A simple walk is just as good as an intense weightlifting session when it comes to helping relieve and reduce stress.

9. You can't sleep because you're stressed, and you're stressed because you can't sleep. At some point, it is up to you to make the decision to put away all those things that are keeping you up at night (work, television, food, etc.) and get some sleep, especially since rest helps your body build the energy it needs to get you through the day.

10. Let the machines take over. Actually, just let them help. Today's technology has made it easier for us to complete tasks in the comfort of our own homes. Shopping, paying utilities, sending out mail, and even registering your car can now be done without having to leave home.

There are many things you can do to reduce and even eliminate stress from your life. Whether it means going out for a walk or getting more sleep, the important thing to consider it to be proactive. The stress will not eliminate itself without a little help from you.

Between Exercise and Youth

Many people often wonder how exercise, something that can feel tiring and essentially involves the hard use of your body, can possibly help you look and feel younger. If you are a little bit reluctant to get involved in an exercise regimen because you think it will leave you feeling more tired than before, take a look at some of the results from a study that was conducted over a span of thirty years.

The Original Experiment

To test the effects of weightlessness on the diet and fitness of astronauts, five twenty year old men were placed on bed rest for twenty days. Their movement was very limited and in this short span of time they experienced loss in the ability of work they were able to do. Also, a decrease in their cardiovascular fitness was also noticed. It took them two months of intense exercise and training to bring them back to their original capacity.

The Follow-Up

Thirty years later, the researchers who ran the first experiment tracked down the original five men, now in their fifties. This time, the men in question were measured in terms of their cardiovascular fitness and their general aerobic capability; the results of this measurement suggested a strong correlation between their current state and the state they were in after twenty days of bed rest while they were in their twenties. Then, they underwent specifically designed training that was tailored to meet their needs, and within six months of moderate aerobic exercise, all five men were restored to the original level of fitness that they had started in, thirty years prior.


Though the fact that the men in question were all healthy to begin with, and had not suffered any debilitating illness in the thirty years between the two measurements should be kept in mind, there is a clear connection between bed rest and lack of cardiovascular health and between health and fitness. The men in this study produced some fascinating results when they showed that a level of youthful vigor could be retained and even regained with regular exercise.

What Does This Mean For Me?

The important thing to remember is that it is never too late to get started. Start small and you'll find that your endurance will increase day to day. There are many different programs of exercise that you can engage in, and with a little bit of tailoring and thinking, you'll be able to find the one that keeps you feeling great! Be patient and think constantly about how the exercise is helping you, and you'll soon start seeing some very impressive results! 

10 Steps to Help You Get a Great Night's Sleep

1. Make a list of what you need to do the next day, write it all down and keep that paper and pen near your bedside in case you think of anything else you need to do. When you write things down your giving your brain the signal that it no longer needs to think about those tasks.

2. Don't watch television or listen to the radio (especially the news) before retiring for the night - and certainly do not fall asleep with the TV or radio on.

3. Read some inspirational or self-growth material for at least 30 minutes prior to bed. Your goal is to fill your mind with inspirational thoughts before falling asleep so that the last thoughts you have before drifting off are uplifting thoughts - as opposed to the stressful thoughts that most people fall asleep thinking about.

4. Make sure the room that you're sleeping in is as dark as possible - the body is made to sleep when it's dark out - the darker the room the more potential for a deep sleep.

5. Make the room as silent as possible - turn off all electric devices and ask others in the house to be as quite as they can be.

6. Don't eat for at least 3 hours before going to bed. When there's undigested food in the stomach your body is forced to focus on digesting that food rather than being focused on repairing your body and mind - which is what sleep is all about! The body was designed to digest food best while moving - not while laying down.

7. Try to go to bed at approximately 10:00 pm and awake at approximately 6:00 am. In Ayurvedic medicine it's believed that there are cycles that are the most conducive for certain activities. Going to bed at 10:00 pm and arising at 6:00 am appears to allow the body to rest the deepest, rejuvenate the most, and gives the person the most energy throughout the day.

8. Don't take drugs or vitamins/herbs that are supposed to help you sleep (unless required by your physician). Most of these artificial sleeping aids do nothing more than deaden your senses - the goal of 'sleep' is to give your body the time and means to repair itself and prepare for the coming day. When you drug yourself to sleep, every system in your body is slowed down, including all those systems that are responsible for repairing you.

9. Make sure that there's a fresh air supply in the room. The air indoors is said to be some of the most toxic air around. When you sleep, you're only able to breath in the air that surrounds you in your enclosed bedroom. Try opening a window (if it's cold outside then just open the window a crack). The fresh air that comes in while you sleep will help your body repair itself because you'll have access to cleaner, more oxygenated air.

10. That day, do 60 minutes of mild exercise. If you don't have time to do 60 minutes in a row, then break it up into 2 - 30 minute sessions, or 3 - 20 minute session, or 6 - 10 minute sessions --- just get a full 60 minutes in. The best exercise when talking about general health and preparing your body for a great night's sleep is "walking".

You can get loads of other great tips on how to live a healthy lifestyle and sleep better from this day forward on my 4 hour audio program.

I wish you the best night's sleep tonight and every night from this day on.