Saturday, July 04, 2015

Wacky Sleep and Fun Workout in Toronto

Wackity-whack, summertime's back. And so is ol' Craiggy. He's back in Toronto and just had a whacked night of sleep (or almost no sleep). Here's what happened.

Friday night I had dinner with a young entrepreneur that had previously attended one of our seminars. It's amazing what these kids are doing. This guy owns a few bitcoin bank machines in Toronto and has already sold two technology companies. He just turned 28 … and he played three years in the NHL for the New York Rangers. Amazing. I was still in school until I was 25. LOL.

After a wagyu rib-eye, we checked out one of his bank machines, and then I walked around downtown Toronto for a bit by myself and got back to my hotel room. That's where I made a big hygiene mistake…yep, bad sleep hygiene will keep you up.

My mistake? I started reading some emails on my computer. I was so wired from our meeting that I was excited to share a few ideas with my young colleague and then write down some big ideas for ETR and TT. I should have done this all on paper, as research shows that the light emitted from electronics keeps you up.

And my life experience shows that, too. Ha. I tossed and turned for an hour, woke up at 2am and couldn't sleep again. So I got up. Wrote. Created. Meditated. Made the most of it. And then…

Whackity-wack, bedtime was back. I slept again from 5am to 7am. Whew. Now I feel a LOT better. My brain and body are still out on Denver on MST.

So everything turned out okay. I don't feel that tired now, but I regret missing out on my magic time between 5-7am. Oh well, I can't feel bad about it (see today's quote below for how I need to put it in perspective). Plus, I still had some fire in my brain to come up with today's long kickbutt mindset tip below.

After I woke-up – for the 2nd time – I was ready to workout. Today's session…was not the deadlift workout I had hoped for… and for three reasons:

a)    The terrible sleep
b)    I don't have any workout shoes
c)    I couldn't locate a great nearby gym

So I'll leave the deadlifts till Tuesday at the YMCA because my forearms and back will need the rest after today's session. Around 8:30am I snuck down to the hotel gym in my socks (again, I don't have any workout shoes) for this total body banger.

1A) Maximus Pushups – 5x20
1B) Pullups – 5x8
1C) Goblet Squat – 5x20

2A) Seated Row
2B) Ab Wheel

And even though this is a long way off my 2006 record of 95 pounds for 10 reps, I finished the workout with a new PR.

3) Biceps Curl Personal Best – 80x8

Tomorrow is an interval day (bodyweight squats and bike sprints) and I will also enjoy big walk under the early morning Toronto sunrise. Then it's off to visit J-Roc, my best buddy, and see how he's doing after his appendix removal. Finally, I'll get back to Stratford mid-afternoon for a long overdue Bally-the-Dog-walk.

Today's Kickbutt Mindset Tip:
Be okay with the decisions you've made. You can't change the past, but you can learn from it. Make the right decisions for your future today. Need less, want less, have less; Help more, create more, give more.

Embrace the decisions you've made in your life that got you here. You've made no mistakes. That's right, no mistakes. Everything you've done has served to make you into the strong person you have become. Appreciate your trials. Leverage your tribulations. Turn the bitter into better. You now have the rest of your life to harness the power of your strengths into actions, experiences, and relationships that will make the rest of your life the BEST of your life. So let's do it.

No more regrets. No more wishing things were different. If you want change, make it happen. If you want more social support, go out and find it. If you need accountability, ask for it. If you want better results, start planning and preparing better. If you want to finally succeed, set a deadline and give yourself an incentive. Those are the 5 pillars of transformation and success. Those 5 pillars will give you the rock-solidest foundation for success. Your achievements will be almost automatic with these in place.

So do the foundational work today. Accept where you are and put the right habits into place, right now, for your right life.

The path to success has been laid before us all. Others have taken it, leaving it well worn for you and I to follow. We have no excuses. It's time to do the work, to embrace the new sacrifices, to accept the challenges, to overcome the obstacles, and to show the world what we are made of. I'm ready if you are. Let's go! This is your time. You can – and WILL – do it. I'm right here beside you and I believe in YOU.

Time to make the most of the rest,

Craig Ballantyne, CTT

This Nutrition Program Fixes Your Trouble Spots

You've probably heard it a million times.

Things like stress, dieting, and lack of sleep can lead to massive increases in cortisol levels, which can make you gain belly fat at a much faster rate than normal.

Enter: HSD (11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-1)

This is an enzyme that "turns on" cortisol within your fat cells causing you to store fat at an alarming rate.

When this enzyme is activated your body will simply NOT release fat, even if you're in a calorie deficit.

In other words, if you gain fat when you're under stress, it means you have very high HSD levels making it almost impossible for you to lose body fat.

But what about folks like me that lose weight when we're stressed out?

It's usually muscle loss.

In fact, I recently lost 10 pounds of scale weight, while gaining fat around my belly and lower back when going through a stressful business decision.

A clear indication that I definitely lost some quality muscle.

Stressful situations in life happen to ALL of us.

Some people lose weight… some people gain it.

But either way it's a losing battle if you don't get a grip on your HSD levels. 

The good news is I've already gained back 4 "good" pounds just by getting my nutrition plan in line, which can reduce fat-storing HSD if you know what you're doing. 

Recent research into compounds known as flavenoids proves HSD can be blocked naturally just by making the right food choices.

In fact, there is one food in particular that contains a unique substance known as ploymethoxylated flavenoids (or PMFs), which reduces HSD activity 500% more than other flavenoids.

Nutritionist and researcher Janet Hradil has discovered a 3 Phase Hormonal Solution that specifically addresses getting control of HSD by using certain foods that contain substances like PMFs. 

It's called Trouble Spot Nutrition because it's designed to eliminate hormone related fat storage, while using a diet that contains specific foods that melt away "trouble spot" fat.

==> 3 Phase Solution "Turns Off" Hormone Related Fat Storage

If you're getting a bit older and you're finding it harder and harder to lose weight… getting control of your HSD, and your hormones, should be one of your top priorities.

Trouble Spot Nutrition is specifically designed to achieve this goal.

Stay strong and keep on pushing on,
Craig Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer

PS - Here's what to do right now.

Move fast. Get momentum on your side and get the ball rolling.

Starting strong requires extra force and power to overcome inertia, but makes life easier in the long run. Plan, prepare, schedule, prioritize, and take action today.

There's never been a better time than right now. If you want to fix your life, it's up to you, and it starts immediately. You CAN do it. We've seen it done by people in worse circumstances than what we're going through right now. If they can do it, if they can overcome massive obstacles, if they can change, so can we.

==> Start by fixing your nutrition here

And follow this 3-C plan for success!

Control what you can (your actions and thoughts).
Cope with what you can't (external emergencies and other's behavior).
Concentrate on what counts.

Stay positive. Believe in yourself. Focus on your progress, not perfection. Let's go!

Craig Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Bench Near Blowout in Denver

Funny thing happened in the gym today. I always like to set a personal best, and I have about a dozen exercises that have records, from Farmer Walks to Squats to Trap Bar Deadlifts to Bench Press and Pullups. Today I decided to go for a pull-up record and that almost resulted in a hamstring or knee blowout. Let me explain.

I was so focused on the exercise and hitting my record that I let go of the bar at the top position and dropped a lot further than expected. Fortunately my body landed in an athletic position, but my left hamstring was loaded with a lot of force under an eccentric contraction. It held out. So did my knee (because of a slight bend when I landed - automatic from all my jump training - and because it is strong).

Things could have went bad. I thank my lucky stars.

The rest of the workout was good times.

- Maximus Pushup
- Band Pull

1) Pullup Personal Best

2A) Bench 5x3
2B) BB Row

3A) Incline Bench
3B) Chin-up

I was gassed by the end, in a neuromuscular drive sense, not muscular exhaustion. Perhaps because it was a fasted, no caffeine workout at 5am after finishing dinner at 5:30pm the night before. I slept okay, but would have loved a pre-workout Coke Zero...but gotta have discipline.

Now here's another crazy story...although this guy didn't luck out.

My best friend of 34 years, TT Client of the Year 2014, J-Roc (who is now a CTT as well) celebrated Canadia Day by...

...having his appendix removed. LOL.

His claim to fame? He says he's the only person to have ridden his bike to his appendix removal surgery. He's still in the hospital bed and the recovery phase is really, really long. Six weeks of no heavy lifting ... and worse, no golf! He loves getting in a couple of rounds on the weekend and his game was just starting to get in the groove.

So random. If you stay in contact with him, send him a nice get-well-soon email. I'll keep y'all updated.

Today's Kickbutt Mindset Tip:
Make small changes every day. Do the work. Commit to getting better. Fix your mindset. Believe in yourself. Truly and fully. You can do this

And here's someone that is doing just that:

Proud of her and you for pushing on,

Craig Ballantyne, CTT

PS - Play up a level.

When you become a mentor, it is required of you to make the right decisions. You shed the skin of the hypocrite. You become a leader, you grow others, and you get better as a result.

The 5 most important lessons I can teach you (best interview ever)
If you want to get better, surround yourself with the right people. If you're always the smartest person in the room, you're hindering your growth.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

How to Fix Lower Bark Pain by Bally the Dog

Woof, woof, ol' Bally the Dog here with an important story to bark to you. It's about my poor ol' Grandma Ballantyne. She takes care of me out on the Ballantyne Farm these days, because my human, ol' CB, is always traveling. He's out in Denver today but Grandma and I are enjoying a nice sunny day working out in the garden.

Now here's the problem. If you've ever had a garden, you know that you end up with a sore back after a long day of bending over, picking strawberries, weeding between your rows of carrots, and plucking yummy potatoes from the ground.

(One of my greatest joys in doggy life is licking a nearly finished plate of roast beef and mashed potatoes after a big Ballantyne Sunday dinner.)
According to research, over 80% of Americans over the age of 50 have back pain, and plenty of younger folks do too. Worse, my dear Grandma was suffering from back pain last winter. That made it really hard for her to give belly rubs.

After spending months – and thousands of dollars – hoping that expensive chiropractic treatments would help, she stumbled across two solutions. The first is a tiny little liquid savior called Soothanol. She just puts this on her pain and rubs it away. It works fast!
And the second trick she uses are a few of these easy-to-do stretches from Missi Holt, a Certified TT Trainer and pain relief guru down in Denver.
Get the EXACT system you need to lose your back pain here
These two solutions have saved Grandma a ton of time and money that can now be put to better use, like towards giving me more belly rubs and buying me Breath Buster treats for my world-famous stinky dog breath. (Hey, just being honest, no dog is perfect!).
I want you to be pain-free too, so no matter if you have tight hips, an achy back, or sore knees, these little stretches are the proven solution.
Get the EXACT system you need to lose your hip, knee, & back pain here
To a pain free and doggy filled life,
Bally The Dog, CD
Certified Dog
PS – Woof, woof, don't forget this bit of Dog Wisdom…
Roll around. Run fast. Give lots of kisses. Have a nap. Bark at the Moon. Chase lots of cats. And never stop wagging your tail. That's how you live a full life!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Squat and Mobility and 3500 calorie Truth

Squat workouts are my least favorite of my Big Three training sessions, mostly because I have to put in an extra warm-up for hip mobility. However, once I get through the extra hurdle walks, cossack lunges, and bird dogs, it's all worth it for a good, deep squat.

Today's 5am MST workout went down at the Colorado Athletic Club in Denver, my Mile-High City gym.

1A) Barbell Squat Jump
1B) Hip Mobility

2A) Squat
2B) Box Jump

3A) Front Squat
3B) Back Extension
3C) Leg Curl
3D) KB 1-Arm Farmer Walk

Followed that up with a weird Ballantyne Breakfast Bowl in my hotel room.

The next two days will be off - although we have an ETR Team trip to the bowling alley tomorrow afternoon to celebrate Canadia Day. I've revised my training schedule to suit my travel schedule.

Friday - Bench (in Denver)
Saturday - Deadlift (in Toronto)

Today's Kickbutt Mindset Tip:
It's OK if you get off track once in a while. It's minor damage that can be dealt with. If one pound of fat is 3500 calories, you'd have to eat an extra 7 Big Mac's to gain a pound. That's an excessive amount of calories…so don't worry, you won't overeat by 7 Big Macs over the weekend.

You won't really gain a pound of fat. Maybe you will eat a little more, but it's the salt and fluid retention that are showing up on the scale. Just get back on track today, drink extra water, avoid sugar, salt and trans-fats today, use my short, burst workouts, and that weight will WHOOOOOSH right off of you.

You'll be back on track in no time. And don't get hung up on the scale. No one knows your weight but you. All that matters is how you feel and perform, how your clothes fit, and how you confidently carry yourself.

Take a deep breath, forgive yourself the mistakes of the past, and let's move on to a better day today. Stay strong and push on, I know YOU can do it!

Back on it,

Craig Ballantyne, CTT

PS - Just like these folks...

Looks like good times had by all in beautiful Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.
Brittney Williams Woodrum's photo.
So proud of this group for staying so committed to their health and fitness! ��
Kudos to you ladies who showed up for an early Sunday workout! Why wait til Monday to set the tone of your week?!? �� boom
Our FBBC fam is growing STRONG!!Daniel Woodrum

Monday, June 29, 2015

Max Pushups and Triceps Crushed in a Weird Trip to Denver

Well, there's a first for everything. Sometimes, like on yesterday's flight from Denver to Toronto, there is a first for three things all in one wild afternoon.

But first, let me start with Sunday morning. Ol' Bally the Dog and I went for a 90-minute leisurely walk to start the day. We got home just before it started raining. That seemed to be the theme for the day, getting in just in time. After a breakfast and some writing, it was off to the airport, where I arrived just before some heavy rains. Fortunately my flight was ready to take off on time…

…except we were delayed an hour waiting for other passengers on connecting flights. I've flown a lot, but I've never waited that long for other passengers. It raised another issue…all the people on our flight were now going to miss their connections in Denver! I guess you can't win.

We sat around so long that I even resorted to watching a movie, Kingsman: The Secret Service, on the plane. I rarely watch movies because I often have so much reading material.

It worked out well because I made some almond butter sandwiches on Paleo Bread (from for the trip.

It almost did NOT work out well because the flight attendant made an unusual announcement after our last straggling passenger arrived.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we have a passenger with a severe nut allergy, so please do not eat peanuts or cashews."

But wait...did this mean almonds, too? Oh dear, I was going to be really hungry if that was the case. Fortunately, once we were up in the air, the flight attendant brought around packages of almonds to everyone in business class (where they usually serve mixed almonds and cashews). Looked like almonds were good to go...and at no point did anyone on the plane start screaming or jabbing themselves with an EpiPen. Hurray!

So I had my sandwiches and an apple and watched that ridiculous - and really long - movie filled with great actors and a few laughs.

Finally, it was time to descend into Denver...and directly into a thunderstorm. This was the first flight I had ever been on where the pilot turned directly towards the lightning. We arrived literally minutes before the airport grounded all flights.

Our lucky day! I've had 8 hour delays in Germany, 6 hour delays in Houston, two aborted landing attempts in one flight, diversions to other airports, early arrivals, late departures due to excessive heat, and many other up-in-the-air adventures in between, but never those three weird things on Sunday's trip.

Good times!

So…after all that…it was an epic wet-n-wild adventure to get to my hotel in Denver, and only about 45 minutes later than planned. That allowed me to get to sleep at a decent time, but I woke up early because my body is still on East Coast Time. I did a quick Monday workout to get rid of some stress and anticipation about a big week of important meetings out here at Early To Rise/TT HQ.

Warmup in the hotel room of upper body mobility and lower yoga

1A) Maximus Pushup (1-1-1-1) - new PB of 35 reps
1B) Iron Cross

2A) Pullups
2B) Bike Intervals

3A) Chinups
3B) Triceps Crushed Dropset <= Great times!

Alright, time to get to work.

Coming up:
Tuesday Off Day Walk
Squats on Wednesday
Thursday Walk
Friday Bench and Flight Home
Saturday Walk
Sunday Deadlift!

Today's article I'd like you to read:

Today's Kickbutt Mindset Tip:
Compare what you say you want vs. What you do & your daily habits. Do they match? If not, time to change, time to plan & prepare, time to figure out what really matters. Embrace the pain, pay the price, earn the prize.

Earn it,

Craig Ballantyne, CTT

PS – Want to know a little bit more about me?

Read this:


PPS – It's up to you…

Be positive. Encourage others. And others will want to help you. Have a "Can-do" attitude. Don't find reasons that something won't work. Provide solutions, not problems. You control your attitude and behaviors. You command your reputation. You determine your legacy. Take massive, positive action today. Make the right decisions, right now, for your right life.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Core Activation Workouts

ave you heard of the NEW ab training technique called a Core Activation Sequence yet? To be honest I hadn't either, until just the other day when my friend Tyler introduced me to the brilliant Dr. James Vegher. 

Dr. Vegher originally designed these unique exercises to help patients with chronic neck and back pain and Tyler (who was a patient of his) ended up discovering that they worked even better for quickly shrinking your waistline and taking you from flabby belly to a slim waist and toned or even 6-pack abs!

YOU should definitely read this page if:
  • YOU Have an unsightly pouch belly or ugly beer gut that you can't lose
  • YOU have back, neck, or hip pain that just won't stop
  • YOU have terrible posture but nothing seems to help
  • YOU love to workout and are looking for the most cutting edge ab exercises
  • YOU desperately want to a flat stomach but don't know how
  • YOU are interested in getting results from this unique Core Activation Sequence ​
=> Get the UNIQUE exercises to shrink your waistline FAST

I hope you enjoy the waist shrinking benefits from these Dr. created Core Activation Sequences

Stay strong,

Craig Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer

PS – You have the power to change…

…at any time, at any age, in any circumstance. It's up to you.

PPS - And remember...

If you are struggling, do not worry or fear, but instead stay strong and commit to positive action. Remember that every day we keep working towards a better tomorrow. 

You may get humbled at first, but there is ALWAYS a solution to your problem. The key is to never give up so that you will in fact find that solution. 

Stay strong. I believe in you. You can – and WILL – do it. Keep on pushing on. Never give up on what is important to you.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Backyard Blitz and Mystery Man

Fun workout today in the garage and backyard. I originally planned to hit the YMCA for a bench press session, but if I can find a reason to stay home and use the garage gym, I always do.

Today it was cloudy. And windy. So I wimped out on biking to the gym. That's no problem on upper body day, but I do not let this happen on squat or deadlift day.

It turned out to be a great decision because I just finished and it just started to rain! I would have been wet out on the bike...and the dog would have needed an extra walk (he gets to hang out in the backyard when I train at home).

The workout:

- Maximus Pushups
- Band Pull
- Yoga stretches

1A) Powerblock (PB) Chest Press
1B) PB Shrug

2A) 1-Arm Overhead KB Press
2B) TRX Row

3) 53lb KB Farmer Walk - 2 minutes 42 seconds. New record. Forearms will be fried tomorrow. Good thing I don't really need them when I fly to Denver...that's more of a lat and triceps thing. :)

Great times. Hope you have a good weekend. I'll do an interval workout on Monday and a Squat session on Wednesday to celebrate Canadia Day.

Today's Kickbutt Mindset Tip is a Success Profile

From Men's Fitness


"He was up at 4:45am, hit his knees in his prayer room, resting on a small church bench his wife bought him for his birthday, head bowed, lips moving earnestly, a daily reflection, a few devotionals sent to him by a friend, a couple of psalms every morning. This has been his routine for the last 15 years: hit the knees and focus, he says, on what's right and what matters. It's what keeps his head on straight."


He's an Oscar-nominated actor, the mini-van driving father of four children, a lifelong pugilist, former drug user and gang member, and a hard-driving competitor in everything he's done. That's why he's become so successful. "I grew up with nothing," he said, "In America, in one generation, you can turn that around."


Thrown in jail at age 16 after pleading guilty to assault, he realized he had to change. I thought, "This is what my life is? No, I don't want this. I'll do everything I can to turn it around." That was the first transformation in his life. The second came a decade later. After everything he'd been through and accomplished, "I didn't become a man, he says, until I became a father."


Today he has a reputation for being a pro, showing up on time, treating everyone with respect, embracing the sacrifice, doing the work, and for never, ever giving up.

Who do you think it is?

Get devoted,

Craig Ballantyne, CTT

PS - Ancient wisdom for today's success.

"Whatever you would make habitual, practice it; and if you would not make a thing habitual, do not practice it, but accustom yourself to something else." - Epictetus

Grocery List for Craig Ballantyne

Exciting news to share with you today... There's a new way to burn belly fat that has been shown in more than a DOZEN research studies to help you burn fat and slim your waist at an accelerated rate.

One breakthrough study showed that those who performed this belly-burning trick just twice daily burned 400% more fat than those who didn't.  Another study published in the Journal of International Medical Research showed that those using this powerful flab-burning trick lost 20% of their body fat in just 12 weeks.  And get this... the trick takes less than a minute to perform!

Would you like to burn 400% more fat by using this quick, belly-busting trick just twice daily? Top nutritionist Shawn Wells show you exactly how to do it here:

==> Do THIS twice daily to burn BELLY FLAB (takes less than 1 min)

To your success,

Craig Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer

PS - The Secret to Success...

"Nothing wins more often than superior preparation. Genius is usually preparation." - Kekich Credo #73 ..... If you are trying to lose weight, you must plan, shop, and prepare your foods on an off day. You must prepare to change your body by using a professionally designed proven exercise plan. If you are trying to fix a problem in your life, you must prepare for every obstacle with 2 solutions. Plan, prepare, succeed. Your life, your choice. Make the right decisions right now.

PPS - Here's my grocery list for getting a flat belly...

My diet is gluten-free. You could almost call it Paleo. But you have to watch out for sneaky ingredients in foods and household products, like lip balm and toothpaste. Many of these contain gluten or gluten-like proteins! I also limit my dairy intake. Fortunately I found something called Paleo Protein Powder to replace whey protein. I like the Ancient Cacao flavor.

I've also made some remarkable changes to my diet in the last few years. Growing up, I was an incredibly picky eater. Foods were not allowed to touch, let alone "mingle" on my plate. "Hey peas, you keep away from those potatoes. Everybody stay in their well-carved out areas on my plate. Do NOT touch one another!" Haha.

Back then I also avoided so many vegetables that are now part of my daily meal plan, such as beets, brussel sprouts, onions and garlic. And believe it or not, I had sauerkraut for the first time – that's right, the FIRST time ever – in my life last year. I was a sauerkraut virgin. Now I'm a huge fan, and I even eat Kimchi. I know, I know. I'm weird. But…Now I'm weird and a better eater.

Recently I moved into a new apartment in Toronto. On Saturday mornings I love going to Whole Foods and buying exotic things, so I threw on my ratty old jeans, sneakers, and sweatshirt (except for food, I'm pretty frugal), and rode the subway up to Yorkville, one of the wealthiest parts of the big city.

Here's what I bought at Whole Foods, starting with produce…

  • organic apples
  • organic blueberries
  • organic broccoli
  • organic brussel sprouts
  • organic mushrooms
  • organic spinach
  • onions
  • pickled beet kimchi <= yes, I'm a kimchi connoisseur

Quick Tip: When to go organic? When you eat the 'outside' of a fruit or vegetable, you should pick organic, otherwise you get a load of pesticides. With bananas, for example, where you throw away the peel, nutritionists tend to agree that you shouldn't need to eat organic.

And then I loaded up on Superfood Snacks, such as:

  • walnuts
  • pecans
  • raw almonds
  • decaffeinated Green Tea 
  • Cacao nibs (watch out for the ones coated in sugar!)

Then for superfood cooking…

  • Extra virgin olive oil (choose a dark bottle and store in cool place)
  • Garlic
  • Cinnamon
  • Tomato sauce without added sugar (difficult to find in America!)

I only eat meat once per day, and when I do, it's typically at restaurants. But here's what I get for home:

  • Organic eggs (I know, these aren't meat, but this is the best place to place them on my list)
  • Chicken breasts and thighs
  • Pork or Chicken sausage with NO fillers (cheap sausages contain gluten fillers)
  • And usually I buy grass-fed beef (steak or ground-beef for one of my favorite big skillet dinners)
Finally, I bought a lot of 'natural' or 'green' household products, like:
  • Kiss My Face shaving cream (fewer of the so-called bad chemicals)
  • natural bars of soap
  • 'green' laundry detergents
  • natural toothpaste (fewer chemicals)
Whew, that's it. 

How much? 

Don't ask.