Saturday, August 31, 2013

The 18th Turbulence Training Transformation Contest Starts Tomorrow

To get the Turbulence Training Program:

        Click Here!

Congratulations to Kim, Peggy, Melinda, Sandra, and Melanie.

We are five for five when it comes to Gordon Studio clients who have completed a 12 week transformation and made it into the finals of this worldwide contest.

Everyone has lost multiple inches in all the right places, and Kim placed second in the 17th contest by doing three TT Training sessions a week that were just 30 minutes long!

A Friendly Competition

There is only one Certified Turbulence Trainer that I know of who has had more clients make the finals, and that's Mike Whitfield with six.

What do you say Gordon Studio members and blog followers, shall we try to make it 7,8, or more finalists for Gordon Studio?  Wow, I would love that, because there is nothing more gratifying than sharing the incredible feeling of vitality and accomplishment you get from completing a Turbulence Training Transformation Contest..

Here are the rules for the current contest:

Rules of the 18th
Turbulence Training
Transformation Contest 

1) The 18th Turbulence Training 12-Week Transformation Contest runs from Sunday, September 1st to Monday, December 9th, 2013.
  • All transformations must be submitted before midnight, EST, on Monday, December 9th, 2013, at midnight EST.
  • The last day to enter if you want to complete a full 12-week Transformation is Monday, September 16th, 2013.
  • You can still enter AFTER that date, but you won't be able to complete a full 12 weeks, as you must submit your entry no later than Monday, December 9th, 2013, at midnight EST
2) To enter the TT Transformation Contests:
  • You must use Turbulence Training or 24-7 Fat Loss workouts to achieve your results.
  • You must provide "Before and After" photos via email or by posting them in the Transformation Forum of the Turbulence Training Membership Website.
  • All entries for the 12-week Transformation Contest must be received before Midnight, EST, Monday, December 9th, 2013.
NOTE: If you have placed in the top three of any previous Turbulence Training Transformation Contests then you are no longer eligible to enter the 18th Turbulence Training Transformation Contest. You may only win a prize once.

3) You must take "Before" photos on Day 1 and "After" photos on Day 84.
  • All photos must include your face and a newspaper from the current date in order for your transformation to be entered into the contest. There are NO exceptions.
  • To view a sample of proper photo documentation, visit this link:
Watch "How to Take Your Transformation Contest Photos"

4) Photos can be posted in the Turbulence Training Membership Website Transformation Forum or can be entered by email (see details below).
  • It is highly recommended – for your success – to post your photos, workouts, and nutrition in a training journal in the Turbulence Training Membership forum.
  • Recording your photos, workouts, and nutrition will dramatically increase your chances of losing fat and reaching your goals because of the power of social support found on the forums.
5) In addition to providing Before & After photos, each contestant must write a 300 word essay on their before and after success story. This can be posted on the forum or sent by email.
6) The Transformation Contest will be judged by Craig Ballantyne and voting may be opened to the public.
  • By entering this Contest, each winner of a contest prize consents to the use of his/her name, and/or photograph in any publicity carried out by the Contest Sponsor and its advertising and promotional agencies without further notice or compensation.
7) Prizes are as follows:
  • For the 12-Week Transformation Contest there will be four categories:
    • Men Under 40
    • Men Over 40
    • Women Under 40
    • Women Over 40
  • Each category will reward the following prizes.
    • 1st Place Grand Prize - $1000 plus a 3-Year Platinum TT Membership
    • 2nd Place - $500 plus a 2-Year Platinum TT Membership
    • 3rd Place - $250 plus a 1-Year Platinum TT Membership
8) The Contest Sponsor's rulings are final and without appeal in all matters related to this Contest and the awarding of the Prizes. The Contest is subject to all applicable federal, provincial and municipal laws and regulations.
9) Entering by Email
  • To enter photos by email, send to:Support (AT)
  • All entries become the property of the Contest Sponsor and will not be returned.
  • Contest Sponsor, its advertising and promotion agencies assume no responsibility for lost, stolen, delayed, damaged, illegible, incomplete, postage-due, garbled or misdirected entries or entries that have been submitted through illicit means, or do not conform to or satisfy the Contest Rules or for any problems or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, computer on-line systems, servers, access providers, computer equipment, software, failure of any entry to be received or traffic congestion on the internet or at any website, or any combination thereof including any injury or damage to an entrant's or any other person's computer related to or resulting from playing or downloading any material in the contest.

    If you enter, you may be added to the Turbulence Training email marketing list.
10) The Contest Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to modify, cancel or suspend this Contest should an external circumstances arise which are beyond the reasonable control of the Contest Sponsor. The Contest Sponsor is not responsible for any errors or omissions in printing or advertising this Contest.
The Contest Sponsor collects your personal information for the purposes of registration, program evaluation and to keep you informed about The Challenge. The Contest Sponsor may, if consent was given during registration, also contact you from time to time with information about other ways you can lose weight.
The Contest Sponsor will not share any personal data about entrants with any
other party. The personal data collected for this Contest will not be used for any other purposes unless entrants provide explicit permission as indicated on the entry form. For more information about our privacy practices or to obtain a copy of our Privacy Policy,
By entering this Contest, entrants agree to release and hold harmless the Contest Sponsor and their respective employees, officers, directors, agents, representatives, successors, assigns, advertising and promotional agencies from any liability for any loss or damage of any kind to the entrant or any other person in connection with this Contest or participation in any Contest related activities, including but not limited the taking of a urine test or, if declared a winner, the use or misuse of a prize or any portion of a prize including personal injury, death or property damage.
This Contest will run in accordance with these Contest Rules, subject to amendment by the Contest Sponsor. Contest Sponsor reserves the right to cancel, amend, modify or terminate this Contest or the Rules at any time in its sole discretion and without notice.
Entrants must comply with these rules, and will be deemed to have received and understood the rules if they participate in the Contest.
Craig Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer

I want to encourage all of my local TT students to participate.  If you can't make it in to Gordon Studio, and even if you can and you want to to Turbulence Training at home or at your local gym, here is my affiliate link to buy the TT program, and get all of the training sessions that I used to help my students- and many many more:

        Click Here!

When it comes to transforming your body, nothing beats TT, plus, you could win 250, 500, or even 1000 dollars in the 18th Transformation Contest.  Sandra, Kim, and Melinda did it, and you can too.

One more detail: If you take your pictures by September 3rd, you will complete your 12 week transformation before Thanksgiving.  (Just a friendly reminder for those of you in the U.S.)

I will be entering the contest myself, even though I'm not eligible to win a prize, in order to test the effectiveness of my new "Sugar Freedom Diet"- "No , Sugar, no Grains, No Cravings"  is my motto.

Let's make this the best contest ever, for heath, energy, a great body, and fun!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Turbulence Training Transformation Results

Ever since the Rim Fire started on August 17th, all of us in Tuolumne County have been focused on following the progress of the fire,  doing what we can to help friends who have evacuated, and support firefighters, law enforcement, and volunteers.

Melanie Hurst, who was a finalist in the 15th. TT Transformation Contest, has been actively involved in the transport and sheltering of animals who have lost their pens and pastures.  Meghan P., one of our TT regulars, has spent hours volunteering at the Red Cross shelter at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds, and Gordon Studio will be donating the money we get from the sale of bottled water to the local Red Cross.

In the middle of this crisis, Kim H. was named the Runner-Up in the Women Over 40 category of the 17th Turbulence Training Transformation Contest, and I wanted to post my congratulations to her here, especially as it is time for me to stop obsessing over the fire on Facebook.
So proud of Kim H.!
She and Peggy S., who was a finalist in the same category, had two very important strategies in common.  They both chose an eating strategy they could stick with over the entire 12 week challenge, and they trained safely, consistently, and with focus and dedication.  We're they perfect?  I'll have to ask, but I know that they were smart.

Another TT Transformation Contest starts on September 1st, and I can't wait to see who's next.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Turbulence Training Transformation Finalists

Congratulations Kim and Peggy for being named finalists in the Women Over 40 category of the 17th TT Transformation Contest!

Here is the link to vote for the contestant that you think had the most impressive transformation.  You may think I'm saying this because I am their coach, but I have a tough time deciding between Kim and Peggy.  They both got beautiful results.

As a result of their success, I am walking on a cloud today.  It seems like there is a drumbeat of bad news in the media regarding the difficulties of losing weight and keeping it off.  It gives me so much happiness whenever I can share a story of someone who is doing just that and enjoying it: even loving it!

In less than a year since Gordon Studio opened as a new space for Turbulence Training and Zumba, five of our students have made the finals in TT contests, and all of them are continuing to improve their physiques, energy, and fitness skills.

I want to share two essential strategies  that the latest finalists have in common.

First: They each chose an eating strategy and stuck to it.  Kim followed a plan that addressed her unique nutritional needs, and Peggy attended Weight Watchers meetings.  Their diets were different, but they both got results because they were able to stick to them.

Second:  They did Turbulence Training at Gordon Studio, and at home, consistently for 12 weeks.  They trained safe, had fun, and stuck with their programs.

One more thing, they were so supportive of everyone else in class.  These busy career women were always happy to take time to explain what they were doing, and offer encouragement. They are already having a positive influence on their friends, family members, and the people they interact with at work and in the community.  This willingness to offer support and encouragement is one of the most important keys to making their fat loss transformations permanent.

I can't wait to see where their new skills and wisdom take them next.

If you would like to purchase Turbulence Training to make your own transformation happen, Click Here to follow my affiliate link.

Voting closes Thursday evening.  Good luck Kim and Peggy! (Contestants #4 and #7) at this link:

Monday, August 12, 2013

Guest Post at PT

Here is the link to a guest post I did for PT

If you have a passion for fitness, and you want to share it as a trainer, Zumba instructor, or coach, you need to get clients before you can make a difference.  Bedros Keuilian and PT Power helped me get started, and keep growing.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Another Secret to Transformation

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to interview success story Melanie H. about her transformation.  When I asked her how she felt when she started her transformation journey, her answer surprised me.
Melanie after her transformation.  She's even fitter today!

She said she felt beautiful.  That's right, even before she lost all of the baby weight she wanted to shed as the young mother of two lovely little girls, even before she lost 5 jean sizes, almost 50 pounds, and untold inches everywhere, she felt beautiful.

What did I expect her to say?  "It was terrible, I was beating myself up over the way I looked, I couldn't look in the mirror..."  I shouldn't have been surprised, because I know better.

Yesterday afternoon in Turbulence Training class, another one of my students said that she had read one of my blog posts, and that she was going to live as if she already had the figure of her dreams.

I thought, this can't be a coincidence.  My readers and students need to hear this message again,

"Be Beautiful Now."  The person you want to be is already here.  Live the way she lives, and do what she does.  Don't hold back- dance, train, go out and have fun, enjoy your family and friends.

I think I may have said it better in the post below.

Be Beautiful Now

Last week I was moving files over from an old computer when I came across this photo.  My computer skills have always been a little haphazard, so I'm not really sure when this was taken. It was probably sometime in 2004, when my internet-influenced fat loss journey began.   Whatever you may think about the plethora of programs being sold on the internet, this one urged me to do something very effective- take a before photo.  No bikini in this one!  I post the picture here because I want anyone reading this to know what the woman in that picture knew.

She thought she was already beautiful.

Recently my sister told me about a conversation she had years ago with our Mom.  My sister was feeling distressed over her own looks and Mom told her to be beautiful now.  She said that my sister should choose her clothes, make up, and hairstyle based on what would make her feel the most beautiful in that moment, no matter what she happened to weigh.  I can say that she has always followed that advice, and as a result I have always found my sister lovely to look at, and from the reaction of people around her she brings beauty with her wherever she goes.  Of course now that I think of it, the way she treats people, with kindness and genuine interest, certainly gives the impression she makes a special glow.

Be Beautiful Now

The process of physical transformation is full of paradoxes like this one:  In order to change profoundly, and get all the way to your goal, you must accept yourself completely in this moment.  As I come closer and closer to the weight, size, and measurements I have chosen for my goal, I have to become even more accepting of myself in order to avoid going completely nuts!  My rational mind thinks that with all of the skills and experience I've earned over the past seven years the the push to the finish line should get easier and easier.  I know how to eat, how to lift, how to move, and even how to think.  Indeed those processes do get easier.

Go ahead and learn the skills that lead to physical transformation.  They do work and they will serve you well, but they may not take you all the way to your goal if your greatest challenges are emotional.  If I have to name the greatest emotional obstacle it is fear: the fear that when you arrive at your chosen destination the imagined reward won't be enough.  That perfect measurements won't equal universal acceptance.  I think the essential purpose of this blog has been to help me figure out what in the world I've really been after all these years, and I thought I found it in the concept of perfect physical well being, something I thought I could go out and create for myself.  But as I get nearer to that place physically, it becomes abundantly clear that it's never been about how I look.  It's about how I feel.

Back to the Woman in the Picture

Even in those days, if I did my hair, put on my makeup (which I happen to enjoy doing), and wore my favorite color, I felt beautiful.  That was, and is, my secret.  So as I step onto the fast track toward certification and the realization of the physical goal of 18% body fat and 113 pounds (Ha! why does that sound so mundane after what I've just written?), I have two vital jobs.  I have to feel the fear of success and let it pass thorough me without blocking it with food, and I must go ahead and choose to be beautiful now.  Go ahead and try it.  You don't have to tell anyone what you're up to, and it may end up being your secret too.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Thirty Five Years of Hunger

Question:  How do you stay off of sugar?

Answer:  You eat something else.

This morning I woke up to a splendid feeling.  No alarm was needed, and it wasn't the sun that roused me, now that my husband has turned the bedroom into "The Cave" with blackout curtains.  I was simply completely rested and ready to awaken at 5:30AM.

I felt peaceful, normal, and calm.  I realized that I was looking forward to my first cup of coffee, but I wasn't desperate for it.  I even let in the cat, let out the dog, and fed the fish before turning on the Keurig.

This morning calm is very special to me.  I love to get things done before breakfast: things like getting in a load of laundry, reading, writing, planning the day.  I know that these things sound pretty simple, getting desired tasks done in the quiet of the morning, but for the past week, something has been getting in the way of the simple pleasures of the early morning.

What is that something?  Actually it's a list of somethings: a cluster of consequences from a single behavior.  Here's what I had been feeling on the previous few mornings:


Pardon the drama, especially when life is really good because it's full of people you love, and work you love to do.  I'll cut to the chase.  These feelings of malaise were a direct result of what I had eaten and drunk after returning home from vacation in Southern California.

Let me back up a little.  I became a certified personal trainer two years ago, and I opened Gordon Studio last September because I wanted to help solve a riddle that has plagued me ever since I first stepped into a health club back in the late '80s.  The riddle is this:

"Why is it that so many people are working out, but their bodies aren't changing?"

 After my husband and I had our son twelve years ago, I hit the gym hard.  I did step aerobics, spinning, and swimming.  I tried to run on the treadmill, but it hurt to much so I churned away on the elliptical.  I used the big fancy weight machines with the stacks of weights and the pulleys, but I never got any stronger.  I reduced my calories, fats, and portions, and I went hungry every single day- except on the days when I lost it and binged.  In three years of giving working out and dieting everything I had, I managed to lose and keep off 20 pounds.

Now that might have been ok if I'd only had 20 or 30 pounds to lose, but after three years of constant exercise and calorie restriction I still weighed 155 pounds at 5'1"  I wasn't officially obese anymore, but for the next four years I wasn't able to lose any more weight and keep it off for more than a week or two.

That's Seven Years of Dieting and Exercising without getting to my goal of a normal BMI of under 25. I wasn't trying to look like a fitness model or a teenager.  I just wanted to be healthy and normal.  So where does the Thirty Five Years of Hunger title come from?  I'm 49 years old, and I was put on my first diet by my pediatrician at 8 years old.  When I was 43, I discovered Turbulence Training, and I committed to a cheat-free, low carb, moderate protein, higher fat eating strategy.

After three days of complete commitment to that eating plan, and for whatever period of time I've been able to stay committed, my hunger finally receded.  As a trainer, writer, and transformation coach, I have tried to find a way to promote what is popular, nutritionally, and politically correct.  In the fast year, thanks to the success of my students, I've come to realize that the eating solution to excess hunger and body fat is the willingness to discover what works for you, and to take action every day based on what you know to be true.

So where did the fear and anxiety come from last week?  After a long drive home from LA, and eating something on the road that usually triggers me, I lost it and got into the candy, cookies, and I can't remember what else in the house.

What made the fear, anxiety, and self recrimination go away?  Three days of no sugar, no grains, and no chardonnay.  Do I enjoy consuming those items?  Yes I do, especially the wine, but after three days I get a feeling that's better than any wine or sugar buzz.  It's a feeling of calm, energy, and eagerness to so the work I love: training, writing, and dancing.  If I need to trade sugar for this feeling, I'm happy to do it.

So that's how I stay off of sugar.  I eat something else.  As a result, I get to feel great, and do good work out in the world.  This isn't a sacrifice, it's a total bargain.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Could Your Super-Sized Workout Be Making You Heavier?

Here is a recent headline from the Los Angeles Times:

We're exercising more but still fighting obesity, study shows

Residents of two-thirds of the nation's counties have become more physically active, but obesity rates have climbed, researchers concluded.

The explanation for this apparent paradox is that, even with more exercise, we're still eating more than we burn, so weight loss isn't happening.

Ahh yes, my favorite, the calories in, calories out argument.  Let's just suppose that calorie balance is the key to weight loss, and take a closer look at what might be going on here.

Lucky for me, an article in the May 2013 issue of IDEA Fitness Journal reported on a study that was conducted by researchers at The University of Alabama at Birmingham.  They recruited 72 women ages 60-74 and put them in three groups.  On group did one session of cardiovascular training (40 minute duration) and one resistance training session per week, one group did 2 cardio and 2 resistance sessions, and one group did 3 and 3.

The results that the women in the study received were in line with what I've observed in my own transformation, and in the results that we get at Gordon Studio.

The group that did one cardio and one resistance  session per week increased their non-exercise activity thermogenesis  by 68 calories per day overall.  The 2 and 2 group did even better: their total energy expenditure, activity related energy expenditure, (this was not increased in the 1:1 or the 3:3 group), and their non-exercise energy expenditure increased by 200 calories/day.

Here comes the most important result of the study in my opinion:

The group of women that did three 40 minute cardio sessions plus three resistance training sessions decreased their non-activity energy expenditure by 150 kcal per day.

They trained more, but they burned fewer calories overall.

These results are in line with what happened to me after I earned my ACE certification, got my Zumba license, and started training clients and teaching classes:

The increase I experienced in physical stress and hunger helped me re-gain 15 pounds in the two years after I started my fitness business.

In real numbers my weight went from 118 to 133.  I managed to make some changes and stop my re-gain just short of becoming officially overweight again.

In my experience, and from my observations, I'm beginning to conclude that those of us who have been significantly overweight or obese may have to keep a sharp eye on how we respond to training and exercise.  By refocusing my efforts on metabolic resistance training, reducing my cardio load, and keeping an eye on whether my appetite is well managed, I've been able to take the weight back off.  

I've also seen that my students who bring the intensity to our 30 minute Turbulence Training classes, follow their food plans, and don't add a lot of extra training and cardio sessions, get the best and most visible results.

This can represent a dilemma for me as a business owner and trainer:  more sessions used by more students equals more revenue.  Today, with the success of programs like Insanity and P90X, it seems like the harder and longer you work your students, the more popular and on trend you will be. 

Back in January I made a resolution that I would have to let go of what is popular, and go back to what works.  

If you love to train and do lots of cardio- and your weight and body fat percentages are right where you want them to be- please keep doing what you love and what works!  

If you are going to the gym or training at home, finding yourself hungry all the time, and you're not getting the results and the body you want, why not dial up the intensity of your training, dial down the frequency and duration, and see if your results improve?