Turbulence Training is a new book by Craig Ballantyne, a personal trainer and athletic researcher based out of Toronto. Ballantyne has developed a training regimen designed to help individuals lose weight as quickly – and safely – as possible. The core of the technique is weightlifting-based interval training, using a rotating schedule of exercises. In contrast to most weight loss exercise programs, there is little emphasis on traditional cardio workouts, such as treadmills and stair climbers. In fact, that kind of cardio training does not figure into a Turbulence Training routine at all. In this system, it's all about interval training.
What exactly is interval training? It's a technique that alternates periods of high intensity exercise with periods of rest. An athlete using interval training will push himself to maximum exertion for a short period, then take a brief rest. After the rest period comes another burst of high intensity activity, then another rest. This is not some fad exercise technique – no less an authority than the Mayo Clinic has touted its benefits. And coaches and personal trainers have been using it for years.
Here's why interval training works: during an intestinal workout, muscles produce lactic acid, which is a waste product. An overabundance of lactic acid causes soreness as well as fatigue. Interval training allows the lactic acid to leave the muscle, and also reduces its initial buildup. The reduced levels of lactic acid allow for more comfortable and productive exercise. It's actually rather counterintuitive – you would think that a longer, more strenuous workout would result in better results. After all, those bodybuilders spend hours at the gym, grinding and sweating. But science and experience shows that exactly the opposite is true: pushing yourself hard, but taking breaks, actually gets better results.
Traditionally, interval training has been used mainly in running and other forms cardio training. For example, a runner might sprint at top speed for 100 meters, then walk back to the starting line. The sprint is the acceleration phase, the return walk is the rest phase.
In the Turbulence Training approach, however, weight training is used instead of cardio. You might push yourself hard on a set of ab crunches, then rest 30 seconds, then do another hard set, then rest, then do a final set. Those 30 second rests are the key to the Turbulence Training technique – they reduce lactic acid buildup and allow you to push yourself harder.
So intervals, combined with weightlifting, can have a huge impact on your fitness results. This combination has a number of benefits over a cardio-only training technique. First of all, because you are working muscles, you build muscle mass. Secondly, the intense nature of the workout reduces your body fat levels. Finally, because your workouts are focused on specific types of resistance training and are timed down to the second, you actually spend less time in the gym than if you were doing a traditional cardio-based workout.