Excepting for John Parrillo, no name has appeared more times on the pages of
the Parrillo Performance Press then that of athletic super-trainer Todd Swinney. Todd is a true physical renovation expert, schooled and skilled in the mysterious methods and modes used to prepare elite athletes for national and world-level competition. Regardless the criterion, Todd’s credentials are impeccable. He has produced champions, male and female, young and old, athletically gifted and athletically challenged. Todd has assisted all kinds of competitors prepare for all types of competitions and events.
The results achieved by those who work with Todd speak for themselves and speak loudly. The list of people Todd has worked with over the last 15- years reads like a Mid- Atlantic States athletic “who’s who.” Todd helps Olympia multi-time runner-up Kevin Levrone prepare for bodybuilding battles. Todd first met the Maryland Muscle Machine way back in 1990. “Kevin had just won the Maryland State championships and weighed about 205-pounds. I thought he was destined for greatness almost from the first time I met him. Over the years that have followed, I have helped Kevin prepare for all of his professional competitions, in various ways and to varying degrees.” The fact that Todd’s place of business is located within the confines of Kevin’s Millersville, Maryland gym should tell you something about the closeness of the relationship between the two men.
Todd helped Teresa Hessler in her quest to become an IFBB fitness professional back in 1995. Shortly thereafter Todd assisted Ivory ‘Papoose’ Turner in capturing the lightweight title at the NPC national championship. Todd worked with Mary Ellen Doss and helped prepare Stacy Hilton win her pro card win . Angel Friend was another athlete Todd helped turn pro. “Recently I helped Tina Forlifer achieve pro Figure status at the NPC Junior nationals. At last count I’d assisted ten athletes to become IFBB cardcarrying professionals.” The athletic elite seek Todd’s council because he tells them not what they want to hear but what they need to hear. Todd obviously gives excellent advice; he has assisted and continues to assist innumerable athletes in their quest to improve. Todd’s main claim to fame is that he helps people acquire lean muscle mass and lose body fat. Todd is adept at devising nutritional game plans that result in the user becoming significantly leaner with no degradation of muscle mass.
As a result, the world is beating a path to Todd Swinney’s door; he is in big demand. “I have never been busier then I am currently. I am so busy that I’ve actually narrowed the scope of my professional services. Nowadays I concentrate on nutrition pretty much exclusively.” Todd utilizes nutritional tactics to help clients achieve physical goals. One universal, elemental goal is to achieve a radical reduction in body fat. Those who follow Todd’s agenda favorably alter their body fat percentile. “My approach has proven itself over and over; the methods work. I combine high intensity weight training with lots of cardio and strict eating. I supply the game plan and the client supplies the discipline, fortitude and patience. If they persevere and stick with the program they will make progress.” Asked to define ‘progress’ Todd didn’t hesitate for an instant, “Increased muscle mass, a reduced body fat percentile…bigger, leaner, stronger, faster.” When someone engages Todd’s services the first order of business is a long interview with the new client. A wide variety of seemingly unrelated topics and obscure minutia are discussed and Todd then takes the information and devises a customized nutritional program; one perfectly suited for the individual.
Todd devises a program that melds with the client’s lifestyle and enhances effort in their part. He concentrates on helping individuals sculpt their physique by manipulating what they eat. When they eat and how much they eat – and drink – are part of the nutritional equation. Todd’s dietary advice has whipped more champions into combat shape than Patton had men in his 3rd Army. Most recently Todd assisted big Joe Sauder in transitioning from a 340-pound world champion powerlifter to 241- pound second place finish at the NPC Maryland State bodybuilding championship; all in one incredible 18-month period. And Big Joe is not atypical. Todd has assisted more amateurs in becoming IFBB professionals (bodybuilding, fitness, and figure) than any other trainer in the country. His Baltimore-based nutritional consulting service caters to a wide variety of clients. He is known as the man to see when it comes to getting real results quickly, safely and without resorting to chemical shortcuts. Only a small sliver of Todd’s clients are elite athletes. “I would say 80% of my clients are what you would likely call ‘normal’ people.” Todd explained his approach over the phone from his office in suburban Baltimore.
“My typical client is someone who holds down a regular job, has a spouse…some have families, all have ongoing commitments. The people who seek out my services – and a huge portion of my new business are by way of referral – are serious people by nature.” He likes working with ‘regular’ people as sometimes elite athletes can be troublesome to deal with. Todd is always diplomatic, “Let’s just say that some champions have a very well developed sense of self – ego – where a regular person is much more inclined to be accepting of the total package I offer.” Those who subject themselves to all the aspects of his comprehensive nutrition program make progress far faster then those who pick and choose, as if they were in some sort of cafeteria line. Todd suggests spreading daily caloric allotment out over many meals. His clients typically eat 4-6 meals each day, all roughly equal in size. “Don’t try and digest all the day’s calories in 2-3 mega meals.” He advises, “…spread the calories out…get rid enof the saturated fat and sugar, kick up the protein, eat lots of fiber and use starchy carbohydrates with great care. Take specific nutritional supplements at the appropriate time. Train hard, train heavy and train often.” Sound familiar? It should; it’s right out of the Parrillo Playbook. “John and I see eye-toeye all up and down the line on just about every aspect of bodybuilding. I am very good friends with the Parrillos: I had John Parrillo out as our guest head judge at the Maryland State NPC championships.
Dominique Parrillo was our competition expeditor. My friend Shawn Ray made the trip from the West Coast to act as Master of Ceremony.” Todd is also an avid follower of Parrillo training and nutrition procedures. “Over these many years I’ve been greatly influenced by John and his revolutionary theories on bodybuilding. I use and recommend his approach to training and I use and recommend his nutritional products to all my clients. John’s super-potent products work!” Elite athletes know that regardless their current level of fitness, regardless of their current skill level or current degree of expertise, as an athlete they will perform even better with a lowered body fat percentile. As an athlete, regardless the discipline, when you carry less body fat – with no loss of muscle mass – you move faster and are more agile and mobile. You can be lean and still carry plenty of functional muscle mass. You can be shredded yet still retain plenty of power. Body fat impedes – not enhances – performance. Todd is successful because he gets tangible, visible results for his clients. “I am busy beyond belief. I have never been more active and productive. But I’ve been doing this for quite a few years now.” His longevity is legendary, “I just celebrated my 15th year as a Fitness Professional. In my business if you don’t take care of business you don’t get to celebrate 15-year anniversaries… you’re long gone by then.” Todd has all the business he can handle.
“These days I won’t weight train a person unless they are on my nutrition program. I tell folks who want me to run them through a Parrillo-style, high intensity weight workout that I can’t – I’m saving my available time and energy to assist the weight training efforts of those who use my nutrition program.” “Unless they follow the guidelines of my nutritional approach and do the right things the other 23-hours of the day, everything we accomplish in the gym will be undone by poor eating habits. I could design for you the finest workout program, yet the results would be horribly, miserably unproductive.” Todd said. To his way of thinking, the workout is the easy part. “A high intensity workout is fine but what does a serious workout do in a physiological sense? It tears you down; literally making you smaller and weaker – only by eating adequate (or inadequate) post-workout nutrients can we trigger (or prevent) the commencement of the recovery process. Eating can either stimulate or retard the process; it all depends if you eat enough and eat the right things after a high intensity workout.”
Another oft overlooked recovery factor is the role of sleep, Todd asks, “Do you get adequate rest afterwards? You should. If you train as hard as you’re supposed to, you need to get ample rest or you’ll never fully recover.” Todd is all about commonsense ideas, ones tried and proven. “Action is the key to success; anyone can think up an ideal training or eating routine, but actually putting a plan into action and keeping it up for 2-3 months, is what separates the poseurs from the serious.” Todd Swinney, The One Man Fitness Factory, draws people to him like bees are drawn to a fresh honeycomb left outside a
country shack on a hot, August Alabama afternoon. Serious fitness folks, the kind intent on taking it to the next level, have sought Todd’s expert council for the past fifteen years. Is it any wonder that a man with Todd’s level of expertise thrives in this age of superficiality? Apparently, results still matter.
CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK
Justin Swinney recently took second place at the 2003 NPC Teenage Alabama bodybuilding championships. Ironically, Justin’s father (Todd) took 2nd place at this very same contest back in 1980. Justin’s win caused Todd to reminisce, “It blew my mind a little bit when it turned out that Justin had taken the identical place in the identical show in the identical age group as I had - 23-years prior!” Like an episode from the Twilight Zone, it was, as Yogi Berra once said, “Like déjà vu all over again.” Justin appears to have a bright bodybuilding future; he has the genetics and the bone structure to go as far as he chooses. Look for a feature article on Justin coming up soon in the Parrillo Performance Press.
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