by Ellington Darden
Jeff Turner is an old friend from my days at Nautilus. He sold Nautilus equipment for 11 years, primarily in the Pacific Northwest, and was positively influenced by Arthur Jones and his writings. Today, he owns a one-to-one facility called Abstract Bodyworks in Olympia, Washington.
Recently, Jeff phoned and said he and his family would be spending two weeks at the Walt Disney Resort in Orlando in early December and he wanted to check out my Intensive-Coaching plan. Great, I replied, and we set up a date on December 6, 2007.
"I want to get lean," Jeff said as he arrived in a rented car. "I've got at least 20 pounds of fat that needs to come off."
"Sounds to me like you've got your act together," I replied. "Why do you need me?"
"I just can't seem to do it on my own," Jeff said shaking his head. "Like you said in 'The Secret,' I need someone to be accountable to."
I understood what Jeff meant, as I led him to my private gym and office.
Briefly, my mind wandered back to 1986, when Jeff initially visited Nautilus Sports/Medical Industries in Lake Helen. At that time he was actively involved in hardcore bodybuilding. After answering several related questions for him, I asked him to take off his shirt and hit a few poses.
As I eyeballed carefully each of his major muscles — from the front, side, and back, both contracted and relaxed — I declared that I had a solution to his desire to reach the top level in bodybuilding competitions. "Your next time around," I said, "pick your parents differently. Select parents who are taller, leaner, and have extremely long muscles throughout their bodies."
Then, I said: "Jeff, on a bodybuilding scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being very poor genetics, 5 being average, and 10 being very good or great genetics, your overall score is a 6 in some muscles and a 7 in others. It's above average, but several notches below the level that is required to win bodybuilding championships.
"Yes, Jeff, you can get bigger and stronger, but you're never going to look like Franco Columbu (Jeff admired Franco's physique)."
Some bodybuilders would get mad, become defensive, and leave my office upset — and a few did just that — but not Jeff Turner. Jeff picked my brain for another hour and wanted to know more about genetic potential.
We were both laughing as we remembered that encounter some 21 years ago.
"Overall," Jeff said in a sincere manner, "your blunt honesty saved me thousands of hours of training time and mounds of money that I would have wasted trying to compete. You opened the high-intensity door to me in a realistic manner, which motivated me eventually to establish my personal-training business."
Jeff is almost 48 years old. He's been training since he was 19. When I met him in 1986 he was exercising 2 hours a day, six times per week. Since then, however, he's been a basic HIT man. Rarely do any of his workouts last longer than 15 minutes.
Even though Jeff had a good handle on HIT, he still felt like he could use some brushing up on the finer points, as well as motivation to do what he already knows he needs to do.
To get things rolling for Jeff in his Intensive-Coaching plan, I did a series of body measurements. He was 5'6" tall and weighed 207 pounds. His percent body fat was 22.7. Both of us felt like he could lose 25 pounds of fat and, within 90 days, get down to the 12-percent level — which was a realistic goal for his age, background, and day-to-day business schedule.
Another important measurement was the circumference of the waist. I took three positions on Jeff's midsection: 2 inches above the navel, at the navel level, and 2 inches below the navel. Those numbers were as follows:
It will be meaningful to watch the reductions at those waistline levels.
One old-school test I did with Jeff, which many readers will find interesting, was the comparison measurements of hanging and contracted upper arms. These two measurements provide a record of leanness. If you are losing fat and getting leaner, then the different between your relaxed and contracted upper arm will gradually increase week to week.
If you want to do the test, it's more accurate to have someone do the measurements for you. Take the measurements "cold." Here are the techniques to apply:
1. Relax the arm and measure the circumference midway between the elbow and tip of the shoulder with the arm hanging away from the body. Record the measurement to the nearest 1/16th of an inch.
2. Flex the arm and measure it at right angles to the bone around the largest part of the contracted biceps with the upper arm parallel to the floor. Record the contracted arm to the nearest 1/16th of an inch.
3. Determine the difference between the relaxed and contracted measurements.
If you're getting leaner, the differences between your relaxed and contracted upper-arm measurements will get greater. If you are getting fatter, the differences between the two will get smaller.
The reason one goes up and the other goes down is the fact that . . . you can't flex fat! Only muscle contains contractile tissue.
Most of your noncontractile fat is stored directly under your skin, with thicker layers around your hips and midsection. When your percentage of fat is reduced, it's reduced from all over your body.
Jeff's relaxed upper arm was 15-5/8 inches and his contracted upper arm was 17-1/8 inches — for a difference of 1-1/2 inches. From the last photo above, you should be able to see that Jeff has a rather short biceps muscles and much longer-than-average triceps. Also, it should be evident that he has a lot of muscle under his subcutaneous fat.
The largest difference I've ever measured was on the arm of Casey Viator, who won the 1971 AAU Mr. America. Casey's right arm was 17-1/8 inches relaxed and 19-5/16 inches contracted — which amounted to 2-1/4 inches between the two numbers.
By keeping accurate records of the differences between your relaxed and contracted arms measurements, you now have a simple way to monitor your leanness and fatness.
Later that day, Jeff drove over to Jim Flanagan's for a workout. Jim has a gym loaded with vintage Nautilus and MedX equipment. In Olympia, Washington, Jeff has some similar equipment in his gym. Big Jim, with his all-out style, pushed Jeff through a heck-of-a workout. Jeff may want to share some of his thoughts about it in the follow-up.
Afterward, Jeff and I organized two workouts for him to follow back home in Olympia. I want him to alternate his A and B routines, twice a week for three consecutive weeks. After doing each routine three times, I'll evaluate his status and, depending on his progress, continue or make changes.
Here are the Intensive-Coaching A and B routines that I designed for Jeff:
1. Nautilus hip extension
2. MedX leg extension
3. MedX leg curl
4. MedX lateral raise
5. MedX overhead press
6. Nautilus pullover
7. MedX abdominal
1. MedX leg press
2. Nautilus 10-degree chest
3. MedX chest press
4. MedX torso arm pulldown
5. Nautilus triceps
6. Nautilus biceps
7. MedX rotary torso
Of course, part of Jeff's responsibility will be to lower his daily caloric intake to 1,500 and start drinking at least a gallon of cold water each day.
Part of my Intensive-Coaching job is to keep Jeff's motivation at a high level so he can reach his goal of weighing 182 pounds by March 1, 2008. He has another Orlando, Florida, trip planned in March and I will personally do his follow-up measurements and evaluations.
Until then, we'll provide periodic updates on Jeff's progress and answer questions related to his quest for leanness.