Every Sunday morning, Coach Mickey Halliburton opens the doors at NapTown Fitness at 8:45 am. He’s carrying a water bottle, maybe a spare shirt, and a lunch box. By 9 am his booming voice is leading a Move class. Precisely at 9:45, when class ends, he opens the lunch box and begins eating just as everyone else is peeling themselves off the floor.
That meal isn’t breakfast, brunch, or lunch. It’s just one of several small portions, usually of chicken, vegetables, and perhaps sweet potatoes. Halliburton eats one every two hours. After his 10 am Move class, he’ll head home and prepare 28 similar meals for the rest of the week.
“I definitely meal prep,” he says with his distinct laughter. “That alone makes my week a lot easier because I don’t need to think about what my next meal needs to be. I’m eating every two hours. I like to ensure I’m consuming the right mix of macros, fats, and proteins and hopefully, all by my workout that day.”
“I wanted more muscle”
“I had always been this slim, lean, boy through childhood, high school, and college,” recalls Halliburton. “I worked out and played sports as a kid, but I didn’t know how to do it properly. I didn’t know what to eat to do it properly. I didn’t eat junk food, but I just sorta ate what I wanted.”
By age 30, he decided it was time to figure out what to change. “I was 145 pounds sopping wet when I hit 30. I was tired of that physique. I wanted to mold myself better and hone in on nutrition,” he says.
Through online research, blogs, and thoughtful intent he started to pack on mass. “But every few years I like to introduce myself to a new chapter in health and wellness,” he says. “Around the time I was 32 or 33, I joined NapTown Fitness. That introduced me to a whole new realm of fitness. And I changed, and a few years after that I decided I wanted to pack on more muscle.”
High-performance results from personal training
To do that, Halliburton turned to a personal trainer. Research is clear that anyone interested in improving anything — from being a better writer, musician, athlete, or becoming an elite top performer in any trade or profession — needs three things:
- Consistency in sustained, deliberate practice
- A trusted and experienced teacher, like an editor, trainer, or someone who is already better than you at a skill
- The drive to do the work
Halliburton already developed deliberate practice and the desire to improve. Having a personal trainer vaulted Halliburton’s performance and weight from 125 pounds in his twenties to closer to 180 today in lean muscle.
“That’s also when I started weight training,” he says. Moreover, between high-intensity cardio training with NapTown and deliberate weight training with a coach pushing him, “I decided I wanted to do a competition. It was something new and I wanted to keep going until I placed first,” he says. He placed 4th in his first. By his third competition, he won first place. “Ever since, I’ve been able to maintain that mindset and the nutrition that helped me achieve that physique.”
Cheeseburgers, fries, and lots of water
“I’ve had to tweak my routine as our bodies change, but that’s what has made it easier for me. It was drilled into my head that nutrition is the bigger, key role to be happy with myself.”
As consistent as he sounds, being human is still hard. Even before the COVID-19 quarantines, he started to loosen his diet. “I was having three or four cheat meals a week instead of just one. I started to notice a difference in my body and how I felt. Then a couple of months ago it sunk back in how much I saw my physique different from even six months ago,” he says. He got back on his regimen but still maintains one cheat meal a week, usually consisting of a cheeseburger and fries.
With time Halliburton has discovered that some foods work better than others for him. Rice, for instance, was an early staple but has since been removed. And he’s better for it, noticing he rarely misses most foods. “Right now I have four chicken meals through the middle of the day, but I like to prepare my dinner every evening.” Dinner includes steak with a side salad and sweet potatoes or mixed vegetables. And every day is brimming with water — at least a gallon and a half a day.
For busy professionals with hectic work schedules, parents with young kids, and anyone with interest in replicating Halliburton’s success, even just a little, this might sound wholly impractical and overwhelming. But NapTown trainers, including Halliburton, who joined the staff a year ago, have long seen the best results from personal training. Even people who have come to Strength & Fitness or SWIFT classes consistently for months or years see an intense jump in performance when paired with a trainer once a week.
“All of this is about how serious you are,” says Halliburton. “Do you really want this? People don’t have to do some crazy two-hour long workout each day. Thirty minutes is good. It’s the nutrition plan that makes everything work so smoothly.”
NapTown Fitness has personal training plans starting at just once a week.
If personal training sounds like a lot, focused nutrition planning is available with NapTown Nutrition. New group plans are also available.